Truth and Reality in Marx and Hegel: A Reassessment

By Czeslaw Prokopczyk | Go to book overview

1
Philosophical Sources of Marxism in Engels' Retrospection

If Anti-Dühring is the first popular and systematic exposition of Marxist philosophy,1 Ludwig Feuerbach und der Ausgang der klassischen deutschen Philosophie (Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy)2 is the first retrospective attempt at illuminating the Marxist Weltanschauung through relating it to its philosophical sources. Both of these works by Engels turned out to be of enormous influence on several generations of Marxists. Anti-Dühring, through subsequent continuations and elaborations by Plekhanov, Lenin, Bukharin, and Stalin, resulted in the formation of dialectical and historical materialism.3 The book on Feuerbach frequently served as a double paradigm, of how to write the history of philosophy from the Marxist point of view, and of how to write about Marxism itself from the perspective of the history of philosophy.4 The object lesson of how to write about Marxism from this perspective was assumed by many to have been demonstrated by Engels as he tried to situate Marxism in relation to its closet philosophical predecessors: the philosophies of Hegel and Feuerbach. At this point the book becomes of direct interest to us.

There is in Marxism an established tradition according to which any subject taken up by a Marxist in his studies in the history of philosophy, or in the history of human civilization in general, is sooner or later submitted to a dialectical bifurcation, and then presented in equally ambivalent terms. Thus, in every phenomenon under investigation, a good Marxist would ultimately

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