Sunday, 20 March 2011

Lecture 3, Semester 2 - Raw Notes

-- Marx --

"Capitalism comes into the world dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt"

Marx - Born into a Jewish family, some of his family were rabbis

You could argue he saw himself as a modern day prophet. Born 1818 in Germany, converted to Lutheranism. Studied law, philosophy, journalism (much to the dismay of his parents) Met Frederich Engles in 1844 in Paris. Communist manifesto - 1848.

Marx was a Journalist and editor for radical newspapers in Europe. Fled to London where he lived until his death in 1883.

Tombstone: "Workers of the world unite. The philosophers have only interpreted the world - the point however is to change it" - Marx was different to other philosophers. He wanted to change the world fundamentally through philosophy. Overtly campaigning for revolution. 1848 - Marx publishes communist manifesto - Gave philosophical backing to the changes happening in Europe.

Marx believed that you could explain everything about society by analysing the way economic forces in society shape social, religious, legal and political processes

"Everything's economically determined"

Aristotle - Man is rational
Plato - Man is political
Kant - Man is moral
Hegel - Man is historic
Marx - Man is productive

Marx - We are productive, man is a tool-maker.

According to Engels, Marx achieved a fusion of:

1) Hegelian philosophy (especially the philosophy of history and dialectics)
2) British Empiricism (especially the economics of Smith)
3) French revolutionary politics, especially socialist politics (man is born free but everywhere is in chains)

His method was scientific, believed he was using the same method as Darwin. Researched every aspect of society to try and understand it. Worked for years at the British Museum - painstakingly working his way through the vast amount of material

-- Hegel --

Believed the subject of this historical spirit and through history it is seeking self-understanding

History ends when spirit will achieve full self-knowledge - become the absolute spirit. The process works through the dialectic

(Zeitgeist - the spirit of the age)

History has a purpose, moving towards an eventual end. Marx attacks Hegel's dialectic idealism / mysticism - Geist, battle between good and evil. The real dialectic, he thought, was rooted in money, the economy. Class struggle.

"Marx sought the explanation of the historical process between man and the material conditions of his existence. Marx's theory of history is therefore called 'dialectic materialism'"

The property-less working class - proletariat - have nothing to lose and everything to gain. "Nothing to lose but their chains, they have a world to win" - Other groups stand to lose private property and social status, and so cannot be relied on to act in a selfless way


Marx's theory of alienation relies on his theory of human nature - like Plato - Marx proposed the tripartite self

The theory of the human person having 3 different aspects / sets of needs:

1) Alienated self - The natural needs are perverted by a capitalist system e.g. sex is dominated by the male-dominated nature of society

2) Unalienated self - Species self understands we are all part of one another. This will emerge in a communist state

Capitalism alienates men from themselves and from each other. People begin to value things over each other. Work is the loss of the self - it belongs to another - it does not develop the body or the mind. We are alienated from our need for satisfying work. We are also alienated from our higher species needs - as yet to be fully known or realised.

"It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers" - Everything's economically determined. Marx says it doesn't have to be like this! Communicate society capitalized by equality.


Thesis - The Bourgeoisie (free market capitalism, liberal state, individual rights)
Antithesis - The proletariat
Synthesis - Socialism

Seeds of its own destruction - "Capitalism produces all the things in profusion, but most of all it produces its own grave diggers" (Marx thinks inside the capitalist system are the seeds for its own destruction)

Intense market competition. Bourgeoisie would inevitably seek a competitive edge by exploiting their workers. Workers cannot afford the product of their labours - unemployment, market crash. Capitalism Will try to survive by investing in better tech, exporting the products (competition and imperialism) the state using the surplus on state expenditure - education, military

Marx is historically determinist - he believes that the fall of capitalism and the rise of the proletariat are equally inevitable. Finally the proletarians would rise up and dispossess the Bourgeoisie. Dictatorship of the proletariat. This would result in socialism. People work together for the common good and the state would wither away.

Communism will be a garden of Eden.

No difference between mental and physical labour. Freedom of expression, no alienation, Utopia is not neccesarily a theory, it's based on fact!


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