[OPE-L] karl marl

From: Dogan Goecmen (Dogangoecmen@AOL.COM)
Date: Wed Nov 01 2006 - 11:48:05 EST

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was born in Trier/Germany and  originates from a Jewish 
family. His parents were very much attached to the  values of humanism, 
European Enlightenment and French socialism. Following his  father’s advice he 
started studying Jurisprudence, but soon he discovered that  he was more attracted 
to philosophy than Jurisprudence. He studied in Berlin between 1836 and 1841 
philosophy in  an intellectual atmosphere which was still dominated by 
Hegelian philosophy. His  doctoral thesis was on the difference between Democritus’ 
and Epicurus’ natural  philosophy. After his studies he worked as the chief 
editor of the Rheinische Zeitung. But because of its  leftwing radical views the 
paper was soon banned. He went to Paris where he met his friend Friedrich  
Engels (1820-1895) in 1844. From now on almost everything they produced was more  
or less a common work. 
The aim of Marx was to develop a total critique of  capitalism by analyzing 
its inner logic (immanent critique). It is sometimes  suggested that there is 
shift or even break between his early and later works.  But his whole work may 
well be seen as a continuation and development of his  original aim. He 
pursued the same question: what is the foundation of a total  critique of 
capitalism. The essence of the whole work of Marx’s is expressed  best in his famous 
11th thesis on Feuerbach. He asserts: The  philosophers have only interpreted  
the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. This statement 
of Marx’s is  often interpreted in a pure actionist sense as if Marx would 
discard philosophy.  However, Marx never gave up philosophy. Rather, he wanted to 
rescue philosophy  from its, say, abstract from and get it involved in 
practical issues. His  program to change the world has two interwoven aims: to 
revolutionize philosophy  and all the rest of theoretical fields and change the 
world with the  revolutionized scientific-philosophical method. The term critique 
assumes  therefore a central role in his work. He starts with the critique 
jurisprudence, continues with  the critique of philosophy and over  the critique 
of politics he arrives  at the critique of political economy.  The critique of 
political economy is, then, the basis from which he wants to  develop his 
total critique of capitalist social formation including the state,  moral, legal 
system. Some scholars suggest therefore aptly starting studying  Marx’s work 
from the Capital and  viewing his earlier works from this more mature work. Two 
concepts are essential  to understand Marx’s system: dialectical and 
historical  materialism. 
Dialectic is an Ancient Greek concept but may also be  found in the 
philosophy of other civilizations. It is a theory of logic which  wants to reflect the 
structure and the development of the world. Most  comprehensive system of 
dialectic is developed by Hegel in its idealist form. It  is a theory of the 
motion of the terms. Marx gains his theory of logic by  reversing the Hegelian 
system. It is therefore called dialectical materialism.  It wants to explain 
genesis of the motion in the world from within. It implies  that there are laws of 
motion, which govern nature, society and thought. These  fundamental laws 
concern the nature of natural and social phenomena. It  suggests, first, that 
every natural  and social phenomenon may be seen as a unity of opposing qualities. 
The  contradiction or struggle between these opposing qualities is then the 
cause of  motion. It supposes that, second,  this motion proceeds from gradual 
quantitative changes to a revolutionary change  of quality. It assumes that, 
third,  in this process of revolutionary change there is a permanent process of 
 negation, which brings about new qualities. 
Historical materialism is the application of dialectic to  society and social 
history. It implies that the production of the means of  subsistence is 
prerequisite for human history and assumes a complex set of  factors that are 
responsible for the changes in the history of human kind. The  change in the 
history of society derives, on the one hand, from the  appropriation or humanization 
of nature by means of labor, and, on the other  hand, from social class 
struggles in a given society. It explains the genesis of  the state, religion, 
metaphysics, morality and system of law (superstructure) by  referring to material 
relationships (structure) prevailing in a given society.  According to Marx 
(and Engels) every social formation has its specific form of  the production of 
the means of subsistence, which also establishes its adequate  ideological 
Doğan  Göçmen

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