Karl Marx

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Historical Materialism

  • Marx was historicist - History cannot be done in abstraction from histrorical events
  • Englightenment lacked explanation for social change
  • Thought humans were an organism that changes and develops
  • Society and individuals cannot be understood other than historically
  • What is History? - For Marx history can be understood through historical materialism
  • Our ideas and philosophies etc rest on nature of the production of our means of survival
  • For Marx, humans are essentially producers

Communist Manifesto

  • All human history is based on class struggle. This would dissapear with the victory of the proletariat.
  • Modern work is alienated, insecure, workers paid little whilst capitalists get rich.
  • Unemployment is freedom and capitalism is bad for capitalists
  • Marx also thinks we should not have private property


  • Preceded and influenced Marx
  • Hegel thought that the historical process was dialectial
  • The Dialectic: All things are contradictory in themselves - Contradiction is basis of movement, life and change.
  • Everything exists in the infinite mind of God (absolute spirit)  = Hegel's dialectic. Simple unity
  • Human history is an aspect of God (absolute spirit) because he is an idealist.
  • Marx did not agree with this or that everything was an aspect of this because alienation is sold by developing our human consciousness
  • For Marx the dialectic is a tool to understood historical change because for Marx history is all about class struggle.

Relations of Production

  • Social relations in which we enter in order to produce and survive
  • Involves cooperation towards a common goal and division of labour
  • Involves power relations between those who control production and those who don't
  • Class arises when…


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