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The Philosophy of Marxism

The Philosophy of Marxism

Philosophical aspects of certain concepts have always been quite fascinating. This term “philosophy” itself sounds so intellectual and wise no? And why it would not! Philosophy means “love of wisdom”. It is basically the study of widespread and basic questions, like those about reason, knowledge, existence, language and values. These questions are frequently presented as dilemmas to be reviewed or resolved. One such philosophy we’ll be diving deep into is “The Philosophy of Marxism”. So let’s get into the details of the widely discussed notion of Marxism and the philosophy behind it.

What is Marxism?

First and foremost it is very crucial to understand what is the concept of “Marxism”. So, it is a tool for socio-economic analysis that uses a materialistic translation of historical development, better say historical materialism, in order to understand class associations and social disputes as well as a rational philosophy to perceive the social conversion. It is derived from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

What is Marxist Philosophy?

Marxist philosophy, also known as Marxist theory, are works in philosophy that are strongly inspired by Karl Marx’s materialist approach to notions, or works written by Marxists. The key elements of Marxism in philosophy are its materialism and its obligation to political pursuit as the end objective of all beliefs. Marxist ideology is not a precisely interpreted sub-field of philosophy, because the diverse impact of Marxist theory has broadened into areas as varied as ontology, ethics, theoretical psychology and philosophy of science and the philosophy of history. 

Who was Karl Marx?

Karl Marx (1818-1883) is often considered an extremist, an activist instead of a philosopher, whose works influenced the foundation of many communist regimes in the 20th century. Marx’s early works are overseen by a perception of alienation, a diverse category of social ill whose diagnosis seems to rest on a controversial description of human behaviour and its prosperity. He thereafter formulated a significant theory of history called “historical materialism” which focuses on the notion that aspects of society rise and fall and further hinder the development of human productive energy. The comprehensive role of ethics and ethical critique in Marx’s review of modern capitalist society is much talked about. Marx saw the historical process as commencing through a sequel of methods of output, characterised by class struggle, and steering humankind towards communism. However, Marx was famously resistant to explain much about the explicit configurations of the communist choice that he pursued to fetch into being, asserting that it would originate through historical processes, and was not the realisation of a predetermined blueprint.


Karl Marx’s Philosophy

There are countless translations of the “philosophy of Marx”. Although some have segregated Marx’s works between a “young Marx” which is in regards to the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and a “mature Marx” or by distinguishing them into solely philosophical works, economic works and political and historical interventions. Marxism’s philosophical cores were hence generally elucidated as concluded from the following three sources viz English political economy, French republicanism and radicalism, and German idealist philosophy. Apart from this, “Vulgar Marxism” was noticed as slight other than a diversity of economic acceptance, with the apparent resolution of the idealistic framework by the economical infrastructure. This was majorly based on Engels’ latter dissertations in an endeavour to postulate “scientific socialism” (coined by Engels) which has been questioned by Marxist theorists, such as Lukacs, more recently, Étienne Balibar.

Marx advanced an extensive, detailed theoretical conception of political reality initially in his scholarly and activist career utilizing a crucial adoption and radicalization of the sectors of 18th and 19th-century German Idealist thought process. 

Marx assembles on four contributions Hegel brings about to our philosophical perception. They are:


 1)Aristotelian organicism and essentialism

  •  Hegel accepts the stance that opportunity is not the basis of phenomena and that episodes are supervised by laws. On the other hand, Hegel argues and insists for the unity between universal and particular.
  • Dismissing the belief that laws independently establish phenomena, Hegel modernizes the Aristotelian position that law is something understood in a thing, a possibility that is not substantial but is in the procedure of becoming substantial and considerable. This indicates that if we want to understand the principle of regulating something, we need to identify its conventional life process and decipher its behaviour. 
  • The scenes of history arise from a whole with a significance which withstands modification of structure and which has an end. For Hegel, the essence of humanity is freedom and liberty and the end goal of that essence is the actualization of that freedom and liberty. 


2) Stages of world history

Human history goes through various phases, each of which raises an elevated level of the human consciousness of independence. Each phase also has its principle according to which it evolves and lives by. It is transmitted using the actions of men which juggle their passions, needs and interests. Well! According to Hegel,Teleology is not obstructed by the valuable connection provided by passion. Contrary to this, the latter is the carrier understanding the former. 


3) Difference between natural and historical change

Hegel differentiates between the application of organic, essentialist classifications to the sphere of human narrative and the vicinity of organic behaviour. According to Hegel, human history seeks perfectibility, but nature doesn’t. Marx broadens this impression into the assertion that mankind itself can modify society to its objectives and expectations instead of adapting itself to it. Natural and historical alteration, in accordance to Hegel, have two distinct sorts of essences. Organic natural elements are cultivated through a straightforward method, which is somewhat easy to understand at least in summary. However, historical advancement is a more sophisticated process. 


4) Contradiction

In the advancement of a natural thing, there is no contradiction between the process of advancement and the way that advancement must emerge. When a transition in the essence takes place, for instance, it does in the process of evolution, we can understand the transition primarily in terms of using precepts of genetics and natural selection. Nonetheless, the historical process never strives to conserve an essence in the first place. Instead, it creates an essence through subsequent shapes. This suggests that at any juncture in the way of historical shift, there is a contradiction or paradox between what exists and what is in the process of coming.


The importance of humanism in Marxist reflection and thought process has been quite controversial. Many Marxists, particularly Hegelian Marxists and also those devoted to political policies such as many Communist Parties, have firmly believed in humanism. These humanist Marxists speculate that Marxism depicts the actual and valid capability of human beings and this potential can be fulfilled in combined sovereignty after the Communist rebellion has wiped out capitalism’s limitations and the triumph of humanity. 

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