The Origins of Marxian Thought

The Origins of Marxian Thought

The Origins of Marxian Thought

The Origins of Marxian Thought

Excerpt

The purpose of this essay is to determine the place of Karl Marx's work in modern thought. The original plan was to have been an analysis of the connections between Marx and Hegel; this is why, of the three sources of Marxism: Hegelianism, French materialism and socialism, and English political economy, the first is dealt with at such length. Such a procedure may perhaps be justified if we consider how dominant an influence Hegelianism was during the period when Marx's views were taking form.

Actually, the other elements of his thinking entered into the Hegelian dialectical framework. Marx gave the Hegelian dialectic a materialist basis in the place of its original idealist cast. By doing so he went beyond Hegelian idealism, mechanical materialism, utopian socialism, and the basic notions of English political economy, and fused all these elements into a new dialectical and materialistic conception of history on which scientific socialism is based.

If our comparison of Hegel and Marx takes Marx's thought out of history, we shall fail to understand it. We have to set it in its place in the large movement of modern thought in order to show how Marx undertook to solve problems which had already been raised.

The present essay, presenting the formation of Marxism as a chapter in the history of ideas, brings the development down to the German Ideology, that is to the point at which the ideas of Marx and Engels are already fixed in their general outlines. Being an intellectual history, as it were a history of the concept of integration, it inevitably . . .

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