Marx’s Attempt to Leave Philosophy

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Harvard University Press, 1998 - Philosophy - 425 pages
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Daniel Brudney traces the development of post-Hegelian thought from Ludwig Feuerbach and Bruno Bauer to Karl Marx's work of 1844 and his Theses on Feuerbach, and concludes with an examination of The German Ideology. Brudney focuses on the transmutations of a set of ideas about human nature, the good life, and our relation to the world and to others; about how we end up with false beliefs about these matters; about whether one can, in a capitalist society, know the truth about these matters; and about the critique of capitalism which would flow from such knowledge.

Brudney shows how Marx, following Feuerbach, attempted to reveal humanity's nature and what would count as the good life, while eschewing and indeed polemicizing against "philosophy"--against any concern with metaphysics and epistemology. Marx attempted to avoid philosophy as early as 1844, and the central aims of his texts are the same right through The German Ideology. There is thus no break between an early and a late Marx; moreover, there is no "materialist" Marx, no Marx who subscribes to a metaphysical view, even in The German Ideology, the text canonically taken as the origin of Marxist materialism. Rather, in all the texts of this period Marx tries to mount a compelling critique of the present while altogether avoiding the dilemmas central to philosophy in the modern era.

Table of Contents:

Abbreviations

Introduction
Themes from the Young Hegelians
Feuerbach's and Marx's Complaint against Philosophy
The Interest of These Texts
Chapter by Chapter

1. Feuerbach's Critique of Christianity
The Critique of Christianity
The Method of The Essence of Christianity
Comparisons
The Geistiger Naturforscher

2. Feuerbach's Critique of Philosophy
The Status of Philosophy
The Method of the Critique of Philosophy
The Content of the Critique of Philosophy
Problems
Antecedents
Final Comment

3. Bruno Bauer
Self-Consciousness
State and Civil Society
The Critique of Religion
Bauer's Method
Assessment

4. The 1844 Marx I: Self-Realization
Species Being: Products
Species Being: Enjoyments
The Human Relation to Objects
Species Being: Immortality
The Human Self-Realization Activity

5. The 1844 Marx II: The Structure of Community
Completing One Another
Mediation with the Species
3 Digression on Community

6. The 1844 Marx III: The Problem of Justification
The Workers' Ignorance of Their True Nature
The Problem of Justification
The Problem of Communists' Ends and Beliefs
Marx's 1844 Critique of Philosophy
The Problem of the Present

7. The Theses on Feuerbach
Fundamental Relations/Orientations
Thesis Eleven
Labor
The Practical-Idealist Reading
The Problem of the First Step
Thesis Six

8. The German Ideology I: More Anti-Philosophy
Some General Comments
The Attack on the Young Hegelian
Empirical Verification
Anti-Philosophy I
Anti-Philosophy II
Transformation

9. The German Ideology II: The Picture of the Good Life and the Change from 1844
Division of Labor
Community
Self-Activity
The Change from 1844

10. The German Ideology III: The Critique of Morality (and the Return to Philosophy)
What Is the Problem with Morality?
The (Weak) Sociological Thesis
The Strong Sociological Thesis and the Structural Thesis
Morality and Moral Philosophy under Communism
Can The German Ideology Justify a Condemnation of Capitalism?
Returning to Philosophy

Conclusion

Notes
Index



Reviews of this book:
"[Marx's Attempt to Leave Philosophy] is plainly the work of a thoughtful and intelligent philosopher. The discussions of Bruno Bauer and Marx's writings of 1844-6, in particular, are valuable resources for students of German philosophy of the 1840s." DD--Brian Leiter, Times Literary Supplement

"Brudney's work offers some fascinating insights into the world of the Young Hegelians from whence Marx came. It also makes some subtle points about the epistemology of moral theory and about the communitarian aspects of Marx's vision that are important for contemporary philosophy." DD--R. Hudelson, Choice

 

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Contents

Feuerbachs Critique of Christianity
25
1 The Content of the Critique of Christianity
27
2 The Method of the Critique of Christianity
37
3 Comparisons
45
4 The Natural Scientist of the Mind
54
Feuerbachs Critique of Philosophy
58
1 The Status of Philosophy
59
2 The Method of the Critique of Philosophy
71
5 The Problem of the Present
217
The Theses on Feuerbach
227
1 Fundamental RelationsOrientations
228
2 Thesis Eleven
236
3 Labor
242
4 The PracticalIdealist Reading
247
5 The Problem of the First Step
254
6 Thesis Six
261

3 The Goal of the Critique of Philosophy
88
4 Problems
93
5 Antecedents
103
6 Final Comment
106
Bruno Bauer
109
1 SelfConsciousness
110
2 State and Civil Society
114
3 The Critique of Religion
120
4 Taking the Critics Standpoint
128
5 Assessment
134
The 1844 Marx I SelfRealization
143
Products
144
Enjoyments
152
3 The Human Relation to Objects
155
Immortality
160
The 1844 Marx II The Structure of Community
169
2 Mediation with the Species
176
3 Digression on Community
183
The 1844 Marx III The Problem of Justification
192
1 The Workers Ignorance of Their True Nature
193
2 The Problem of Justification
197
3 The Problem of Communists Ends and Beliefs
201
4 Marxs 1844 Critique of Philosophy
210
The German Ideology I More Antiphilosophy
264
1 Some General Comments
265
2 The Attack on the Young Hegelians
268
3 Empirical Verification
278
4 Antiphilosophy I
282
5 Antiphilosophy II
287
6 Transformation
294
The German Ideology II The Picture of the Good Life and the Change from 1844
299
2 Community
302
3 SelfActivity
307
4 The Change from 1844
310
The German Ideology III The Critique of Morality and a Return to Philosophy
323
1 What Is the Problem with Morality?
324
2 The Sociological Thesis
326
3 The Strong Sociological Thesis and the Structural Thesis
329
4 Morality and Moral Philosophy under Communism
337
5 Can The German Ideology Justify a Condemnation of Capitalism?
347
6 Returning to Philosophy
353
Conclusion
360
Notes
367
Index
419
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About the author (1998)

Daniel Brudney is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago.

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