Morality and the Dialectic Method (1857–1883)

Philip J. Kain

in Marx and Ethics

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198239321
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679896 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Morality and the Dialectic Method (1857–1883)

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Karl Marx's doctrine of historical materialism, as developed in the German Ideology, led to the implication that morality was ideological illusion, an implication that at least before 1853 Marx fully accepted and even embraced. This chapter argues that Marx does not continue to embrace this implication, and that he probably began to struggle against it as early as 1853 in his discussion of British rule in India. In grappling with the complexities of his doctrine of historical materialism and in qualifying it, Marx transforms his moral views. There is a good deal of evidence in Marx's later writings (1857–1883) to suggest that he no longer thinks of morality as ideological illusion destined to disappear in communist society. Moreover, Marx begins to shift away from the view that consciousness is as strictly determined as he had previously claimed.

Keywords: Karl Marx; historical materialism; morality; communism; consciousness; equality; freedom; capitalism; essence

Chapter.  22450 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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