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|Title:||The Idealist Problematic of Marx's Early Works|
|Keywords:||Political Science;Marx Early Work|
|Abstract:||The question of Marx's Early Works over the past ten years has been invested with a renewed significance by a debate over the theoretical --and ultimately political -conclusions to be drawn from them. At the center of this debate is the problem of determining the point at which Marx formed his oistinctive position vis-a-vis the major philosophies which he had to traverse, namely those of Feuerbach and Hegel. A great number of works dedicated to the interpretation of Marx's theoretical formation, by recourse to a residual concept of 'transition', do not, it is true, raise this question, nor pose it as a problem. Over the past ten years, however, the problem has taken on a new urgency in the light of serious attempts to accomodate Marx to various avant garde philosophies such as Phenomenology and various forms of 'critical' sociology. Supported by a re-reading of Marx's Early Works, these attempts to 'resuscitate' Marx and Marxism via a return to its philosophical roots, have sharply raised the very question of Marx's 'philosophy'. The way that this question has been raised has posed in clear terms the problem of establishing the 'specific difference' between Marx's thought and that of his predecessors and contemporaries in theory, a problem that takes the form of locating the point at which a distinctive Marxist position emerged. The answer to the question that underlies this problem has taken various forms, each associated with a distinctive type of interpretation (historicism, humanism, structuralism). The 'break' between Marx and his predecessors in theory has been located variously in 1843, at the level of the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right; in 1844, at the level of either the Jahrbucher articles or the Paris Manuscripts; and in 1845, at the level of The German Ideolog. Addressing myself to the problem which underlies these diverse and mutually conflicting interpretations, and to settle the questions of principle associated with it, I argue for the thesis that Marx's Early Works are all governed by a philosophy shaped by Feuerbach's revision of Hegel, and thus not distinctly his own, but that he forms the basis of his own theoretical position in 1845, ,at the level of The German Ideology. To argue for this thesis it is incumbent on me to demonstrate, first of all, that Marx's Early Works are all unified by the same philosophy, governed by its theoretical problematic and schemata. To set up a centre of reference for this philosophic problematic I reconstruct the opposed solutions of Kant and Hegel to the 'problem of knowledge', and firmly establish Marx's essential dependence on Feuerbach, whose philosophy is inversely-related to and bound by the principles of Hegel's dialectic. In order to trace out this dependence I reconstruct the path of Marx's intellectual development, re-assessing the theoretical and political meaning of his texts. In the process it becomes the central burden of my study to show that there is no fundamental Break' in Marx's thought either in 1843, and that, in effect, the texts in question are not theoretically distinct vis-a-vis the 'philosophy of praxis' shared by the Left-Hegelian Movement in general. I also subject the renowned Jahrbiicher essays to a re-reading which radically revises the meaning assigned to them. The Paris Manuscripts are similarly read in the light of a previously unsettled ....; problem of Feuerbach's relation to Hegel, and of their en-counter within Marx's thought. A short, not too well known text is invested with a special significance in terms of my vcentral thesis viz Marx's dependence on Feuerbach's humanist problematic. Several points of original interpretation are thus introduced. Finally, I show how in The German Ideology . Marx breaks with the 'philosophy' that had to date governed lthe mode of his theoretical reflection, the structure of his critique. Although in The German Ideology Marx does no more than indicate the minimal conditions of his distinctive approach, we trace out the epistemological and methodological dimensions of his 'break' with Feuerbach and Hegel. ,From a phenomenological reduction of phenomena to their inner essence based on the principles of Hegel's dialectic, Marx shifts towards a class analysis based on the principles of Historical Materialism. The-·dissertation on our thesis not only settles the central problem of interpretation with which it is concerned, but it gives a coherent reading of Marx's Early Works within the framework of their underlying premises,-and it establishes as a point of principle that the search for Marx's philosophy should be directed at his later and not his early works.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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