Comment On The Phylosophical Synthesis Of Karl Marx

5790 words - 23 pages

The Philosophical Synthesis of MarxNot very long ago it was extremely fashionable among official men oflearning to say that Marx had really produced nothing new in thephilosophical sphere. Such a well-known philosopher as Wilhelm Wundt inhis Introduction to Philosophy wrote "This lack of clarity in itsmetaphysical premises (i.e. of Marxism. N.B.) has a comprehensiblebasis in the fact that practical questions alone interest sociologicalmaterialism. Therefore the system does not even possess the necessarytheoretical foundation, which it openly leaves to physiologicalmaterialism to work out."1)It would be hard to find an argument so utterly ignorant and untrue asthe above-quoted argument of Wundt. However, the course of the socialstruggle and of vast ideological changes which, like the overwhelmingmovement of geological formations, express the depth of the conflictwithin the perishing world of capitalism, has compelled considerationof the question of Marx the philosopher. Since the publication of newworks by Marx and Engels (above all the German Ideology and Engels'Dialectic of Nature) it has become quite clear how right were theorthodox Marxians when they considered that in the philosophical fieldalso Marx fills the place due to him.Indeed Marx is the creator of a great philosophical synthesis withwhich none of the latest and most fashionable philosophical systems canbe compared. Marx, as we know, reached dialectical materialism fromHegel through Feuerbach, including all the rational elements of thepreceding thousand years of philosophical development in his system. Hehad a splendid knowledge of the history of philosophy and there are nomore brilliant historical and philosophical characterisations (bothfrom the point of view of the social conditioning of doctrines and thatof their "immanent" logic) than certain of Marx's characterisations.2)In order to show the full originality of Marx's philosophical creationit is right to begin our analysis with the question of the relation ofsubject and object in which it at once becomes apparent that Marx hasstarted an absolutely new epoch in the historical development ofphilosophy.Marx started from the premise of the objective reality of the outerworld independent of the subject (in opposition to the subjective,idealist philosophical tradition of the Berkeley-Hume school, theconsistent development of which leads to solipsism). Marx was theadversary of objective idealism and philosophical identity when hestood the Hegelian philosophical conception on its feet. Hence Marx wasa materialist. But his materialism differs sharply in its starting-point from the mechanistic materialism of the great encyclopædists,from the "vulgar materialism" of Büchner and Moleschott and from LudwigFeuerbach's anthropological doctrine.In Marx's philosophy the object is treated in an absolutely exceptionalmanner.1. It is an historically developing "quantity". The world, the cosmos,has its history. Nature is not an unchanging...

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