Marxism and the Status of Critique

Alex Callinicos

in The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234097
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


Marxism and the Status of Critique

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Marxism has always had a complex relationship with philosophy. Marx himself was indubitably a philosophical child of German classical idealism: his conceptual vocabulary and intellectual preoccupations are unintelligible outside the whole complex movement from Kant to Hegel. But the painful process through which Marx, alongside Engels, worked through left Hegelianism and began to develop a distinctively different theoretical project pulled in two conflicting directions. This project involved, of course, the two collaborators' political judgement that communism, which they identified with the struggle of the working class to liberate itself from its plight in capitalist society, represented the only acceptable solution to the conflicts of European modernity in the era following the French Revolution. But Marx and Engels did not see communism primarily as an ideology or a moral and political doctrine, but rather as a historical process arising from the material and social conditions of capitalist society.

Keywords: Marxism; German classical idealism; Hegelianism; political judgement; communism

Article.  12649 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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