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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC201H1
Professor
Charles Jones
Semester
Fall

Description
Lecture 8 – November 5, 2012 Marx on Religion 1. Marx and the Young Hegelians 2. Ludwig Feuerbach on religion: Against Hegel 3. Marx on religion: With Feuerbach Against Feuerbach 4. Marx on ideas: a contradiction? Marx and the Young Hegelians: Feuerbach was part of a young group of thinkers called the Young Hegelians. The Young Hegelians were not admirers of the philosopher Hegel, they took issue with the conservative, religious parts of Hegel‟s thoughts. Feuerbach criticizes traditional religion and opposes Hegel in that sense. Other reasons why these people were followers of Hegel – they valued his dialectical method. “Dialect,” makes you think of dialogue – take this idea and apply it to social sciences – the key message is to be alert to the internal complexity of things, the external relations between things and other things, and the ways that things change. For example, the projector – to think dialectically is to not forget that the projector is made up of different parts (lens, light, cord, etc). Secondly, you have to think of the projector in its context, its environment (it‟s on a table, in a lecture). Finally, think about how the thing is changing – it‟s made by constituent parts, let‟s say it was made in 2000 – before then, the steel rod may have come from Ecuador, etc. What you have is a temporary conglomeration of different parts which each have their own history. Hegel: “Being is becoming.” – A cryptic phrase, seems hard to decipher, but the projector example depicts it. The thing has a history, and it is becoming something else – perhaps it will be recycled, or perhaps it will be compacted in a garbage pile. Hegel argued that everything should be seen in this way – you should see everything as a conglomeration of parts existing in an environment. Marx is a dialectical thinker. The fundamental difference between Marx and Durkheim – for Durkheim, the parts of society must be in harmony with each other, and for Marx, he thinks parts of society (social classes) are antagonistic with each other. Marx: “The dialectic is an abomination to the bourgeois.” Says the bourgeoisie, in trying to pull the wool over our eyes, treats the capitalist system as natural – if the capitalist system seems like the only possible state of affairs, then we‟re more likely to accept it. But to think dialectically means to take any thing, i.e. the projector or capitalist system, as something that has a past and a future – just as the projector will end up in a garbage heap one day, capitalist society will become something else as well. It is not here forever. And that allows us to think of alternatives. Marx, like the young Hegelians, shared their admiration for Hegel‟s mode of reasoning – at the same time, in focusing on religious questions, the Young Hegelians disagreed with him. Feuerbach on religion: For Hegel, what is real comes from the divine – what Feuerbach argues is the reverse. The divine is a product of the real. God, for Feuerbach, is a fantasy – humans, who see themselves as limited and imperfect, project onto „god‟ their highest qualities. Feuerbach identifies concept
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