Karl Korsch pp 62-96 | Cite as

Marxism and Philosophy

  • Patrick Goode


The immediate post-war years had seen Korsch closely involved with the concrete political problems of the day—first the socialisation movement, then the factory councils. But at the same time he was writing on the basic aspects of Marxism, as they related to such problems, for example in the Quintessenz and the Introduction to the Critique of the Gotha Programme. His next work, Marxism and Philosophy1 seems to mark a departure. At first sight, the relation indicated in the title seems to be only a ‘history of ideas’, and of the most arid variety, tracing the influence of A upon B, and, in the case of Marxism, requiring the painstaking exegesis of fragmentary texts. This might give interesting information about the genesis of Marx’s ideas, and the logic of their development, but it does not seem to have that relevance to practice with which Korsch was always concerned. Yet at the time it was thought that this apparently scholastic question did have a bearing on practical problems of the highest importance; so mulch so that in 1924, the year after Korsch’s Marxism and Philosophy and Lukács’ History and Class Consciousness were published, it became the centre of heated debates in the Communist International. To understand why this was so, the debate has to be seen in its political context. Since this is only partly made explicit in Marxism and Philosophy, a brief sketch will be offered here.


Social Revolution Marxist Theory Class Consciousness German Idealism Marxist Philosophy 
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4 Marxism and Philosophy

  1. 57.
    Kautsky, ‘Review of Marxism and Philosophy’, Die Gesellschaft (1924), p. 312. Google Scholar
  2. 57.
    This point is repeated by S. Marck. ‘Neukritizistische und neuhegelsche Auffassung der marxistischen Dialektik’, Die Gesellschaft (1924) p. 576.Google Scholar
  3. 66.
    Korsch, ‘Über materialistische Dialektik’, in MP (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1966), p. 172.Google Scholar
  4. Korsch, ‘Über die Zeitschrift Die Internationale’, Neue Zeitung (21 March 1925).Google Scholar
  5. 81.
    Korsch, ‘Der junge Marx als aktivistischer Philosoph’, Geistige Politik (1924), p. 43.Google Scholar
  6. 91.
    F. Engels, Dialectics of Nature (London, 1964), section entitled ‘Dialectics’, p. 63; MEW, vol. 20, p. 348.Google Scholar
  7. 92.
    S. Marck, ‘Neukritische und neuhegelsche Auffassung der Marxsche Dialektik’, Die Gesellschaft (1924), p. 576.Google Scholar
  8. 94.
    Korsch, ‘Die Marxsche Dialektik’, MP (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1966), p. 169.Google Scholar
  9. 104.
    Korsch, ‘Der junge Marx…’, MP (Frankfurt-am-Main, 1966), p. 41; also MP p. 64.Google Scholar
  10. 121.
    R. Hilferding, ‘Die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie in der Republik’ (Sozialdemokratischer Parteitag in Kiel, 1927); Protokoll…(Berlin, 1927), p. 165.Google Scholar

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© Patrick Goode 1979

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  • Patrick Goode

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