[OPE-L:2517] Marx & Darwin

From: Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 10:09:19 EST


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1] "Marx certainly used biological metaphors to express his ideas and
considered his method in the study of economic formations more akin to
biology than to physics and chemistry. The only place where M. drew a
direct parallel between himself and D. was in an ironical revies of his own
work for the Stuttgart newspaper Der Beobacher [References: Avineri S.,
>From Hoax to Dogma: A footnote on Marx and Darwin, Encounter, March 1967;
Lucas E. Marx' and Engels' Auseinandersetzung mit Darwin, International
Review of Social History, 1964.] M. certainly wished to dedicate the Second
Volume of Capital to D. (D. refused the honour, apparently because he had
the impression that it was an overtly atheistic book and did not wish to
hurt the feelings of his family.) But this suggests no more than that M.
appreciated D's work - and not that he approached history in the same way
as Darwin had approached natures. Thus Engels' equating the views of M. and
D. in his famous speech at M's graveside is highly misleading."

David Mc Lellan, Karl Marx, p. 424.

2] "He offered to dedicate his book to D., for whom he had a greater
intellectual admiration than for any other of this contemporaries,
reagarding him as having, by his theory of evolution and natural selection,
done ofr the morphology of the natural sciences, what he himnself was
striving to do for human history. D. hastly declined the honour in a
polite, cautiosly phrased letter, saying that he was unhapplily ignorant of
the economic science, but offered the author his good wishes in what he
assumed to be their common end --the advancement of human knowdlegde."

Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, p. 204-5.

It seems Berlin confuses the story about Marx wanting to dedicate Capital
II to Darwin with his sending of the 2nd edition of Capital I to him!!

3] "Come Ŕ noto, Marx invi˛ una copia del Capitale a Darwin, che ne accus˛
ricevuta in una lettera del primo ottobre 1873. *Non si sa qualle
fondamento reale abbia la storiella secondo la quale Marx avrebbe voluto
dedicare a Darwin una delle sue opere, mentre il naturalista avrebbe
gentilmente ma inesorabilmente declinato l'offerta*."

Giorello, Giulio, Sapere & Potere, in "Marx", Paralleli, II, 9, 1992, p. 75.

Hope you all understand this piece in Italian... Otherwise, I'd try to
translate... better.. Paolo, Ernesto or Riccardo can do that!. In any case,
it seems Giorello *couldn't* trace back the source of the story about
Marx's intention to dedicate a book to Darwin.

4] Regarding Patrick's original query:

>>Somewhere, sometime, someplace, I remember reading about or hearing about
>>the relationship between Marx and Darwin. Does anyone have a reference
>>handy?
>>
>>I ask because I am a co-author on a paper where racial identity and wealth
>>are endogenous variables. The formal model is an application of
>>evolutionary game theory. I'd be happy to forward the paper (e-mail) to any
>>interested person(s).

I have here a copy of Thomas Masaryk, Die philosophischen und
sociologischen Grundlagen des Marxismus, 1899. On pp. 51-2, he cites a long
list of works dealing with the relation between Marx and Darwin, some of
them published in Die Neue Zeit. As this was in 1899, I can guess that
there is a small library devoted to the issue. If you need this, I can copy
the references given by Masaryk later, or tomorrow.

Another refernce in Blake's An American looks at K.M., p. 691:

Prenant, Marcel, Biology and Marxism, London 1937. Blake comments: "The
dean of the French biology reappraises Darwinian experience in the light of
Marxian doctrine, which he then applies, and he reaches some specific
conclusiona even as to unemployment."

Alejandro R.



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