GER150 January 14
GER150 Lecture 2
Marx, „A Contribution to the Critique...“ (Marx, Selected Writings, 27-39), “Economic and
Philosophic Manuscripts” (58-79) Theses on Feuerbach (98-101), German Ideology (102-131)
• Carl Marx (1818-1883) was the 3rd generation of modern philosophers in Germany - the ﬁrst
being that of Kant, and the second being Hegel.
• During Marx’s time, conservative laws were reinstated... in 1812, there were laws introduced
allowing Jews to be a part of normal society, but now they were rebuked, not allowing them
to be at par with other citizens.
• Marx’s father was a Rabbi
• Intellectual family background
• He doesn’t talk much about Judaism; once wrote a controversial essay about it though - On
the Jewish Question (1843).
• Proudly secularized and assimilated
• Freud later would talk about the toxicity of Religion
• Marx strongly supported enlightenment movement; studied philosophy
• Early writings supported a materialist philosophy over idealist. He was alsovery leftist.
• Feuerbach’s Essence of Christianity - religion is about “fantasies”.Theories of human thought
via the written word.
• Became active as a journalist - editor of the Rhine newspaper.
• At the age of 25, moves to Paris due to there being a lot of repression in Germany
• Became close to Heinrich Heine, a German poet/critic living there. Considered to be like the
second best writer after Goethe.
• Eventually Marx was kicked out of Paris by German spies - Heine was untouched as he had
been there a long time with a lot of connections (practically a parisian).
• Marx had to go to Brussels, then to England, and stayed in London for the rest of his life.
Read a lot about history of economy...
• Married daughter of a Prussian baron. Had 7 children, 3 survived.
• Friends with Engels, from Manchester.
• Engels occasionally wrote articles under name of Marx for the NewYork telegrapher
• Marx - analytic theory vs. normativevisions/speculative thoughts are separate
• “As for me, I am not a Marxist”.
• Marx thought the revolution would happen at the most advanced western European
societies, not Russia or China.
• Meaning of “Critique” pre and post Kant - more sophisticatedversion of being skeptical
• Critique involves a practical validity GER150 January 14
• Wrote as a journalist, bringing up ideas can make a big impact/reaction from society
• Ampliﬁed what is wrong with society
• Engaging style of writing, aim is to redirect the mind of the reader.Takes idea od critique
very literally, it is a style of writing. Urges action.
• Reported about local parliaments/assemblies to the public. Ex. It was illegal to take wood
from the forests which belonged to aristocracy.Theft issue discussed in the parliament.
Marx made a point of the fact that the democratically elected penalty was chosen by
representatives of the land