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The Bourgeois Ideology Essay

1986 words - 8 pages

Political Phil.The Bourgeois IdeologyHegel was the first to know, "every philosophy...belongs to its own time and is caught in that time's restriction." However that raises the question: How can a philosophical outlook stay alive after its "time" has passed? The answer is taken beyond philosophical argumentation to a deeper penetration of its own time. This is why the key to what is alive in Hegel's thought lies in Marx's critique of it (Marx-Engels Reader p. 5).First, there must be an understanding of Marx's critique. It is closely bound with Hegel's idea of sublation, or aufheben - which is to negate, and thereby to preserve the inner truth of something (Ibid p.35). It is similar to Marx's ...view middle of the document...

So Marx's critique of Hegel is an assessment of philosophical science. He concludes that philosophy cannot answer the questions that philosophy brings to the surface. In the end, these questions are not philosophical but practical. Marx claims that his work is scientific (Knowledge and Human Right ch. 3). However, this did not mean that he was elaboration a set of doctrines, of theories, but that, by tracing the contradictions of existing science to their roots in the inhuman way in which humans lived; he could bring to light the necessity to revolutionize that way of life (Marx-Engel Reader p. 85). To shift from contemplation would be to move to more revolutionary solutions.Yet this has little to do with the old story about Hegel the idealist and Marx the materialist, about Marx's transition from "idealism" and "democracy" to "materialism" and communism, or about Marx dropping Hegel's conservative system to preserve his revolutionary method. If one accepts the collection of prejudices that were once called "Marxism", one is prevented from even beginning to establish an answer to the initial question.Throughout his life, Marx continually looks toward Hegel, each time deepening both his differences and his agreement. Marx commences his critique of Hegel's summary of the history of political philosophy, the Philosophy of Right. After presenting that Hegel's conception of the modern state is based upon bourgeois economic relations, Marx can identify Hegel's standpoint with that of political economy. It is now that he can begin his critique of the achievements of bourgeois economic thought as the highest expression of inhumanity of bourgeois society. At each stage of his work, Marx uses his study of Hegel to penetrate to the essential connection between the philosophical attitude to the world and the oppressive, exploitative, inhuman nature of alienated social forms (Ibid p. 452-454).Marx's Doctoral Thesis, which he works on between 1839 and 1841, is on "The Difference between the Democratic and Epicurean Philosophies of Nature." His way of dealing with these two Greek atomists contradicts the opinions of Hegel - along with almost everyone else - in that it emphasizes the originality of Epicurus (Knowledge and Human Right ch. 3). Marx declares that his aim is to find the source of human self-consciousness and ideas in material reality (Marx-Engel Reader p. 109). The other is his contention that philosophy must circle outwards to the world. Finding that existence does not measure up to fundamental nature, it must become practical, and turn its will against the world of appearance. Moreover, the world confronting a philosophy total in itself is a world torn a part (Ibid p. 35, 39). This gives the direction of Marx's critique of religion. In opposition to Kant, Marx contends that religious belief is not just and illusion:All gods, the pagan as well as the Christian ones, have possessed a real existence. Did not the ancient Moloch reign? Was not the...

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