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SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - The German Ideology, New Class, Aristocracy

Course Code
Irving Zeitlin

of 1
“The German Ideology”
Karl Marx
Methodological Foundations
- Thought and being are indeed distinct, but they also form a unity.
- The existing relations of production between individuals must necessarily
express themselves as political and legal relations.
- The ideas of the ruling class are, in every age, the ruling ideas: i.e. the class
which is the dominant material force in society is at the same time its
dominant intellectual force.
- The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has
control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that in
consequence the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production
are, in general, subject to it.
- The dominant ideas are ideal expression of the dominant material
- The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things
consciousness, and therefore think.
- Rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production
and distribution of the ideas of their age. ---> consequently, their ideas are
the ruling ideas of the age.
- The division of labour, manifests itself also in the ruling class, as the division
of mental and material labour.
- Thinkers of the class: develop and perfect the illusions of the class about
- Material labour: more passive and receptive attitude to these ideas and
- Certain opposition and hostility between the two parts.
- Aristocracy --> dominant concepts: honor, loyalty, etc.
- Bourgeoisie --> dominant concepts: freedom, equality, etc.
- new ideas are increasingly take on form of universality.
- New class trying to represent its interest as the common interest of all
members of society, i.e. employing an ideal formula, to give its ideas the
form of universality and to represent them as the only rational and
universally valid ones.
- A new class’s victory, may also benefits many individuals of the other
classes which are not achieving a dominant position, but only in so far as it
now puts these individuals in a position to raise themselves into the ruling
- The earlier conceptions of these relations of intercourse, in which the real
individual interests were asserted as general interests, decline into mere
idealizing phrases, conscious illusions and deliberate deceits.