The author believes that one all-inclusive assessment of Marx’s philosophy is inevitably misleading. Although Marx constructed one theory that has a texture of a uniform fabric, the fabric has been woven with threads of two very different qualities. His presentation of capitalist instability, exploitation and alienation has the quality of scientific explanations. But his treatment of dialectic, economy formulated in terms of priceless commodities and his vision of communism is fantastic and arbitrary.
The author argues that the philosophical position of Karl Marx was primarily shaped by three determinants. The first was the traditional Jewish culture, with its high esteem for intellectual effort, for the genius reflected in intellectual discoveries, and for the ambition that influenced interesting life plans and culminated in some visions of an ultimate end in life. The second was neo- -Hegelianism, which Marx himself recognized as a dominant factor in his thought. Thirdly, Marx was affected by Martin Luther, and this influence is in the focus of this paper. The author clams that both Luther and Marx believed that the essential trait of specifically human existence arises from hard work of any kind except the dullest. Both were bewildered by ideological gullibility and blindness of the masses. Both were convinced that this boundless credulity was sustained by fear of eternal damnation spread by the official church and by slave mentality. Finally both claimed that this noxious influence could only be overcome by a revolution in life conditions and by new social ideas. Each, however, entertained a different conception of that desirable revolution.
I address the question of Marx’s understanding of the role and function of religion in social life. Marx’s pronouncements on this topic are few and far between. Yet relying on them I undertake to examine the proposal ostensibly made by Marx that it was possible, or even necessary, to purge religious institutions and religious attitudes from social life. I point to a number of inconsistencies and errors that Marx committed in making such proposals.
The author claims that Marx’s ideas have succeeded, the proletariat has been victorious in the class conflict but the victory is completely different from what Marx has expected. The vision of the proletariat state ended up in a total failure. The vestiges of Marx’s proposal testify to complete inapplicability of his main ideas to the circumstances of the contemporary world. The concept of a state managed by the proletariat class turned out to be defective. The ownership of the means of production has failed. The concept of private property defended itself and has even been strengthened. And where a public ownership won the upper hand, as in State Treasury, it turned out to be institutional and not collective. Moreover, the state interferes more and more vigorously in private businesses and their activities. On the other hand, however, the proletariat succeeded in the area of employment law where it won some durable legal guarantees. Thus Marx correctly perceived certain needs of the proletariat but proposed inapt solutions to them.
The aim of this analysis is to determine whether Marx’s diagnosis of alienated work applies to work that is performed in our time, and whether the concept itself is useful for philosophical anthropology. Marx assumes that there is a link between alienation of work and alienation of the worker. The author asks if these premises lead to further questions, such as: Is the phenomenon of alienation of work characterized unambiguously and precisely? Can it be useful for analyzing social phenomena occurring outside the proletariat? Is it relevant to apply this phenomenon to the philosophical discourse on man conducted independently of the historical perspective assumed by Marx? Will abolition of private ownership of means of production eliminate the phenomenon of alienated work? Which is more nearly true: Marx’s idea that private property is the result of alienated work, or the opposite, that private property is its cause?
Religion has two functions: a social one (it consolidates a group of followers) and a personal one (psychological). In modern times, the social function of religion has been taken over by ideologies. Socialism is one of such ideologies. The creators of Marxism called their version of socialism scientific socialism, but their vision of the course of history (‘from capitalism to communism’) has become the foundation of a new religion and a new church. The author calls this church ‘Marxo-Leninism’. The text shows similarities between the Catholic Church and the Marxo-Leninism (or the Stalinist church), as well as the analogies between the Jesuit order and the ‘Len-Party’ (i.e. the Leninisttype party).
The author champions the belief that Karl Marx offered a theory of capitalism, and not a theory of socialism. This explains, she argues, why we cannot find a detailed and well-constructed conception of human society that will exist in the future. Marx continued, however, to draw prognostic conclusions from his diagnosis of the capitalist status quo, and his numerous manuscripts are replete with social predictions. They were different at different times, and as the capitalist system tended to change in his lifetime, so changed Marx’s expectations about the future course of events. One thing remained unchanged, however. He always proclaimed the coming of a classless community based on the principle that a free development of each is a necessary prerequisite of a free development of all.
The article discusses views and the ideological evolution carried out by Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin, a Russian-American sociologist, philosopher and political activist. Influenced by his observations of the events of 1917, Sorokin radically reformulated his opinions about Marx and Marxism which resulted in his espousing of a traditionalist and anti-revolutionary position. He still shared with Marx his negative diagnosis of the modern world, but proposed a different solution as a remedy. His solution was a purification of the idea of equality by liberating it from reductive materialism. Nevertheless Sorokin’s concept of spiritual equality was as utopian as Marx’s. He presented his ideas in a littleknown novel titled: Предтеча (or Прачечная человеческих душ – ‘предтеча’ means ‘ancestor’ and is commonly referred to John the Baptist). This work is a signal for Sorokin’s denial of Marx’s ideas and his revolutionary zeal.
The subject of this article is an analysis of the earliest of Karl Marx’s articles, Comments on the Latest Prussian Censorship Instruction. The essence of his views presented in that article was to protest against the restriction of the right to free expression of opinions by journalists. Marx pointed out that the new Prussian Censorship Instruction only seemed to liberalize censorship, but in fact in many aspects tightened the rules, for example, reinforced those that pertained to religious criticism. He thought that the Prussian Censorship Instruction was not an enactment of law, because by limiting freedom, lawmakers acted against the essence of the press, law and state. Marx thought that a press law was needed to guarantee freedom of the press and that censorship should be abolished entirely.
The article presents the main themes of the philosophy of Max Horkheimer, a representative of the Frankfurt School, starting from their social theory, with close affinities to the ideas of Karl Marx, up to the concept of transcendence and eschatological longings, which seem to be close to the views of Arthur Schopenhauer.
In his philosophical commentary to the thought of Karl Marx, Leszek Kołakowski refers to his assimilation of G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy. He pays particular attention to the swinging of Hegel’s theory ‘the right side up’ and standing him on a pair of feet instead of the head. Marx undertook the difficult task of ensuring a unity of man in a way quite different from the attempts made by either Kant or Hegel. They all wanted to abolish the contingency in human life, but in Marx’s thought the abolishing of the contingency is nothing else but a subjecting of a human being to his/her own existence. A man is no longer dependent on alienated forces that he has created himself, neither is he dependent on an anonymous society. Taking clue from Kołakowski we can say that exteriorisation of natural forces has replaced exteriorisation of consciousness and the Absolute Being of man is realized in his/her actual being.
The article discusses little-known facts from the lives of two great representatives of the Silver Age of Russian philosophy – Nikolai Berdyaev and Sergei Bulgakov – referring to the period when both were ardent Marxists. It discusses the beginning of the academic career of both thinkers, the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the archives of Karl and Luise Kautsky in Amsterdam (International Institute of Social History) there are two Berdyaev’s letters to Kautsky regarding polemics about Marx and Marxism, which unfolded between them after Kautsky’s decision to publish in the pages of Die Neue Zeit an article by Berdyaev “F.A. Lange and Critical Philosophy in Its Relation to Socialism” (1900). This correspondence has probably become the catalyst for Berdyaev’s transition from ‛orthodox’ to ‛critical’ Marxism. On the other hand, Bulgakov’s letters to Kautsky (and those of his wife, Helena Tokmakova, to Luisa Kautsky) refer to the time of a research internship of Bulgakov in Berlin in the years 1898–1900. He then met Kautsky and Bernstein families, and engulfed himself in theoretical problems of Marxism. The text of the speech is accompanied by a translation into Polish and provided with comments on two Berdyaev’s letters to Kautsky (February and May 1900).
The article offers a presentation of one of the most influential currents in contemporary Marxism. The author claims that the vitality of Marxism comes from its ability to conceptualize ongoing transformations of capitalism, mainly the new forms of productions and appropriation of social wealth. The latter day Marxists propose a materialistic theory of common good. Its main concepts (primitive accumulation, enclosure of the common fields, productive labor and re-productive labor) are of Marxian origin, but they acquire a new sense in the new context. These reinterpretations are inspired by three basic philosophical and political sources: post-operaism, radical geography and bottom-to-top history. The article analyzes the connections between these concepts and the Marxism of common good.
The main aim of the essay is to examine three philosophical narrations. One of them, Hegel’s master-slave dialectic, clearly inspired the other two, that is: Marx’s reflections in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and the interpretation of the Odyssey in Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment. Whereas Hegel’s dialectic opens a perspective of mutual recognition of individuals, permanently codified in their fundamental rights, the two remaining narrations lead to totally different conclusions. According to young Marx, the subjects not only do not recognize themselves mutually but even, under the influence of economic relationships, treat each other with disregard. Also in Adorno and Horkehimer’s view the labor processes, which according to Hegel led towards the freedom of individuals, distort interpersonal relations and strengthen the growing coercion. At the end, the proposal of Jürgen Habermas is taken into consideration. He argues that communication acts instead of labor processes are the real emancipating factor.
The aim of this paper is to consider the not so well investigated problem of the role that language has played in Karl Marx’s thinking. The first section discusses several examples of Marxist attempts at philosophical or linguistic reflection on language. I propose the thesis that Marxist meaning theory did not seriously evolve due to the domination of the ‛Traditional Meaning Theory’ (TMT) – irrespective of the actual social conditions. In the second section I undertake some adumbrations on the tendencies of contemporary philosophy of language, such as externalism or pragmatism, whose premonitions can be found in Marx. I also point out that combined with historical materialism they can no longer fit TMT. Finally, I argue that the notion of language and the division of linguistic labor may solve some issues of Marx’s conception of ideology.
Karl Marx (and also Friedrich Engels, by the way) was – contrary to his own opinion – an author of several utopias which played a role in the 20th century. The question (which is of both historical-philosophical and historical-empirical character) therefore arises how important this role was. The author focuses on the characteristics of Marxian utopias, and specifically – on their axiological content and current relevance. According to the author, Marx’s utopias can be a convenient starting point for searching for various projects (political, economic, technological etc.) necessary to cope with global challenges that mankind faces in our time. The author is also considering Marx’s motives for a critical approach to utopias and points to those of them which in his opinion should be accepted, while distinguishing them from others which should be rejected.
In 1844 Max Stirner published The Ego and Its Own, a book doomed to cause uproar, but which failed to seriously antagonize the authorities. No reservations about its printing were voiced, mainly because it was judged that the book contained ideas so absurd as to pose no threat to the public order. K. Marx and F. Engels took exception and criticized The Ego mercilessly, making fun of Stirner’s theoretical ideas in their German Ideology. The critique is much longer than the book itself and it seems rather puzzling that so much space was devoted to an undeserving piece of work. One cannot help but wonder why that seemingly worthless book was made an object of a lengthy analysis. I try to disguise their motives and show why Marx and Engels felt threatened by the utopian and absurd figure of Stirner’s Ego. Against this background I describe Marx’s ideas on man and society.
In the 21th century we can observe a return to Marx, particularly in the circles of New Left. A critical approach to the legacy of Karl Marx implies a readiness to revise or even reject the false or no longer valid propositions of Marx in order to be able to confront his legacy with the current state of contemporary science. Some of his views have already been definitely rejected (particularly the theory of revolution and of the dictatorship of proletariat). But a part of his contribution remains valid: (1) the philosophy of praxis, i.e. a theory oriented toward a social change, and (2) the sociological theory that interprets politics in terms of class interests.
The aim of the author is to present some messianic and prophetic ideas, which are intrinsically fused with Karl Marx’s doctrines, and which had also been expressed in Jewish mystical thought as well as in the ethical message of the Bible. Although Marx did not obtain any proper Jewish education, he was not able to reject his own being-a-Jew or his inborn spirituality together with the implicit axio-normative system of Judaism. Marxist philosophy, generally speaking, is dominated by the postulate of building a better and a more just world, and by the ethical demand of creating a new reality, from which poverty and social marginalization would be eradicated. However, such views were not new. For, it was the author of the Biblical “Book of Devarim”, who earlier emphasized the need for social solidarity. There had also been some Jewish prophets who criticized kings and priests, and Tsfat Jewish mystics who had formulated an ethically radical tikkun ha-olam postulate in the 16th century.
The claim of this article is to argue that the main thrust of Karl Marx’s philosophy was neither a critique of political economy, nor a critique of the bourgeois political system, but an anti-theistic raid of a metaphysical nature, and that this drive gave him the impetus that motivated his intellectual activity from the time when he had not yet had any economic theory and when the proletariat had not yet played a major role within the purview of his interests. Marx’ rebellion led him to a condemnation of the entire creation as a product of an evil Demiurge, who – to exacerbate the situation even further – was nothing else than a product of human false consciousness, manifesting itself politically as a division of any populace into friends and foes, who were subsequently conglomerated into antagonistic social classes but could be transformed in appropriate conditions into stateless community of friends.