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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2112
Linda Hunter

ZeitlinChapter 13 The Philosophical Orientations of Karl Marx 18181883 Comtes positive philosophy was a conscious attempt to discredit and repudiate what he had termed negative philosophy The negativecritical philosophy that emerged and took shape with the Enlightenment had prove itself a formidable weapon in the hands of the rising bourgeoisie in its struggle against the older classes of theologicalfeudal order With the establishment of the bourgeois order Comte believed negative philosophy the legacy of the Enlightenment had outlived its usefulnessNegative philosophy led only to divisiveness conflict and disorder Prolateriat citizen of lower working classIt stirred the imagination and hopes of the proletariat and encouraged class conflict Each stage in the evolution of the new organic society was viewed by him as a necessary one therefore the working class must adjust to the present stageRevolution that is a total transformation of the social systemwas out of the question and could only have negative consequences it would only shatter the existing order without bringing in its wake any fundamental change in the condition of the vast majority of the peopleProgress was best assured not by criticism class conflict and revolutionary activity but by reconciling the conflicting tendencies and classes oby educating all classes of society to take their proper place in the new hierarchically organized society and to resign themselves to their conditionChief function of new positive scienceto achieve an organic and conflictfree social order With Comte there is a complete renunciation of the legacy of the Enlightenment Marx restores and skilfully employs the very philosophical premises Comte so intensely detested Marx had a conception of natural manthe individual human being his needs and his potential for developmentMan Marx believed is infinitely perfectibleMans essential powers are unlimited in their capacity for developmento He can attain the highest forms of creativity thought and actionLatent creative powers were stifled and repressed under the social conditions of all class societies The existing system capitalism was not only preventing the fulfillment of his potential it was depriving him of his natural needs fresh air food sex and so onMarx thus condemned the capitalist system for its effect on individual human beings Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 It offended Marxs conception of man that the capitalistindustrial system had reduced him to an animal laborans a beast reduced to the strictest bodily needs Marx had an image of man as he could be and hence ought to be and what he saw and described was a far cry from that image o Instead of developing his essential human powers man was being debased and deformed and thus becoming something less than an animalo The dehumanization of man was viewed by Marx as a consequence of alienation Alienation for Hegel was exclusively a phenomenon of the mindo Ludwig Feuerbach elaborated the Enlightenment view of religion as an illusion o The Essence of Christianity presented a view of religion quite similar to that of the Enlightenment God is a creation of the human imaginationThe Divine is a symbolic expression of humanitys unfulfilled promises and aspirationssocial alienationhumanity has be divided against itself by the socialclass cleavages of society o 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 wellMarx concluded that by itself a demonstration of the illusory character of religion was no likely to have liberating effectsSo as long as oppression and sharp inequalities prevail people will continued 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 hereafterThere are several senses in which Marx employed the term alienation and the meanings he assigned to the concept may best be grasped from the two German words he used to describe the phenomenonEntaussern verbto part with to give up to deprive ones self of Entausserung nounalienation of property
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