WEEK 4 READINGS PART I: ZEITLIN CH. 13 AND CH. 14 – SOC 2111/2
CHAPTER 13: THE PHILOSOPHICAL ORIENTATIONS OF KARL MARX (1818-
- revolution = transformation of the social system
- Marx had a conception of ‘natural man’ – the individual human being, his
needs, and his potential for development
- Man is infinitely perfectible
- Man’s essential powers – his latent and potential human powers – are
unlimited in their capacity for development
- Man’s latent creative powers were stifled and repressed under the social
conditions of all class societies.
- Capitalism, was not only preventing the fulfillment of his potential, it was
even depriving hum of his animal needs – fresh air, food, sex, and so on
- Marx thus condemned the capitalist system for its effect on individual human
- The workers’ needs were now at the ‘barest and most miserable level oh
physical subsistence’ and their activity for the better part of their waking day
was a tedious and repetitive mechanical movement
- For instead of developing his essential human powers, man was being
debased and deformed and thus becoming something less than an animal
- The dehumanization of a man was viewed by Marx as a consequence for
- Ludwig Feuerbach - Religion as an illusion – God was simply a symbolic
expression of humanity’s yearnings for perfection.
- Marx believe religion is the product of social alienation.
- Humanity has been divided against itself by the social-class cleavages of
society. It is the domination, oppression, and exploitation of man by man that
has given rise to religion. Religious ideas are an expression of human
suffering and a protest against it as well.
- Marx concluded that a demonstration of the illusory character of religion was
not likely to have liberating effects. So long as oppression and sharp
inequalities prevail, people will continue to create comforting illusions.
- Religion is an ‘opium’ because it so often leads people to seek meaning and
happiness not in the human world but in the divine here-after
- Men are alienated from their property and therefore compelled to sell their
labor power to the capitalists entrepreneurs awaiting them. The two parties,
capitalist and laborer, thus enter into an essentially instrumental
relationship with each other
- The more he produces, the poorer he becomes.
- The worker puts his life into the object; but now his life no longer belongs to
him but to the object.
- The alienation of the worker from his product means not only that his labor
becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him.
- His labor is an alienating activity, not only because he loses the product in
which he has reified a part of himself, but because the whole productive
process in external to him and