Introduction: Marx, Ethics and Ethical Marxism

  • Lawrence Wilde

Abstract

Least of all must a philosophy be accepted as a philosophy by virtue of an authority or of good faith, be the authority even that of a people and the faith that of centuries. The proof can be provided only by expounding its essence (Karl Marx).1

Keywords

Sine Defend Fetishism 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Karl Marx, ‘Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy’ in Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 1 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1975), p. 506. Further references throughout the book will be to CW followed by the volume number.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Harry van der Linden, Kantian Ethics and Socialism (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988). Tom Bottomore and Patrick Goode (eds), AustroMarxism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), Introduction and Part One.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    For a short review of the progress of ethical debate within Marxism see Agnes Heller, ‘The Legacy of Marxian Ethics Today’, in Praxis International 1 (4), 1982. Heller’s own position is a fusion of Marx and Kant, although she acknowledges that this approach was specifically rejected by Marx (p. 362); also Steven Lukes, Marxism and Morality (New York: Oxford University Press and Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), pp. 14–26.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Richard Norman, The Moral Philosophers: An Introduction to Ethics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 8 — Norman points out that Freud’s work poses a similar challenge.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    The first complete edition of the Manuscripts in Russian did not appear in the Soviet Union until 1956 — Ernest Mandel, The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx (London: New Left Books, 1977), p. 186n.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    Martin Nicolaus, foreword to Karl Marx, Grundrisse (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), p. 7.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    Lucio Colletti, Introduction to Karl Marx, Early Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975).Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    On Engels, see Terrell Carver, Marx and Engels: The Intellectual Relationship (Sussex: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1983); on Kautsky, Massimo Salvadori, Karl Kautsky and the Socialist Revolution, 1880–1938 (London: 1979).Google Scholar
  9. 16.
    ‘It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic. Consequently, half a century later none of the Marxists understood Marx.’ — V. I. Lenin, ‘Philosophical Notebooks’ (1915) in Collected Works, Vol. 38 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1972), p. 180; Marx acknowledged the methodological usefulness of Hegel’s Logic in 1858 — see CW 40, p. 249.Google Scholar
  10. 17.
    Georgy Lukács, History and Class Consciousness (London: Merlin, 1971), pp. 24n and 132–3Google Scholar
  11. Karl Korsch, Marxism and Philosophy (London: New Left Books, 1970, p. 69n). The use of footnotes for such important observations indicates the strength of the prevailing orthodoxy that the view of Marx and Engels must be the same.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    Quoted by Fred Halliday in his introduction to Korsch’s Marxism and Philosophy, pp. 14–15; see also Douglas Kellner’s ‘Korsch and Communism’ in his edition of Karl Korsch: Revolutionary Theory (Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    Andrew Arato and Paul Breines, The Young Lukács and the Origins of Western Marxism (London: Pluto, 1979), chs 10 and 11Google Scholar
  14. Hedda Korsch, ‘Memories of Karl Korsch’ in New Left Review 76, 1972, pp. 40–4.Google Scholar
  15. 22.
    Perry Anderson, Considerations on Western Marxism (London: New Left Books, 1976)Google Scholar
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  17. 23.
    On the Frankfurt School, Rolf Wiggershaus, The Frankfurt School: Its History, Theories, and Political Significance (Cambridge: Polity, 1995)Google Scholar
  18. Stephen Eric Bronner, Critical Theory and its Critics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995). On Sartre’s Marxism, Wilfrid Desan, The Marxism of Jean-Paul Sartre (New York: Doubleday, 1966)Google Scholar
  19. Pietro Chiodi, Sartre and Marxism (Brighton: Harvester, 1978)Google Scholar
  20. Mark Poster, Sartre’s Marxism (London: Pluto, 1979).Google Scholar
  21. see Michel Trebitsch, Preface to Lefebvre’s Critique of Everyday Life (London: Verso, 1991).Google Scholar
  22. 25.
    Adam Schaff, Marxism and the Human Individual (New York: McGraw Hill, 1970)Google Scholar
  23. Leszek Kolakowski, Toward a Marxist Humanism (New York: Grove Press, 1968)Google Scholar
  24. Karel Kosik, Dialectics of the Concrete: A Study of Problems of Man and the World (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1976; originally 1963)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Agnes Heller, The Theory of Need in Marx (London: Allison & Busby, 1976)Google Scholar
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  27. 26.
    Mihailo Markovic and Gajo Petrovic (eds) Praxis: Yugoslav Essays in the Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979)Google Scholar
  28. M. Markovic, The Contemporary Marx: Essays on Humanist Communism (Nottingham: Spokesman, 1974)Google Scholar
  29. M. Markovic, From Affluence to Praxis: Philosophy and Social Criticism (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1974)Google Scholar
  30. M. Markovic, Democratic Socialism: Theory and Practice (Brighton: Harvester, 1982).Google Scholar
  31. See also Oscar Gruenwald, The Yugoslav Search For Man: Marxist Humanism in Contemporary Yugoslavia (South Hadley: Bergin, 1983)Google Scholar
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  33. 27.
    Erich Fromm (ed.) Socialist Humanism (New York: Doubleday, 1965 and London: Allen Lane Penguin, 1967).Google Scholar
  34. 28.
    Some of the most influential scholastic works were: Bertel Ollman, Alienation: Marx’s Critique of Man in Capitalist Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971)Google Scholar
  35. Istvan Meszaros, Marx’s Theory of Alienation (London: Merlin, 1970)Google Scholar
  36. David McLellan, The Young Hegelians and Karl Marx (Macmillan: London, 1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shlomo Avineri, The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1968)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Eugene Kamenka, The Ethical Foundations of Marxism (London and New York: Macmillan, 1962), and Marxism and Ethics (London: Macmillan, 1969).Google Scholar
  39. 29.
    Louis Althusser, For Marx (London: Allen Lane, 1969)Google Scholar
  40. Louis Althusser and Etienne Balibar, Reading Capital (London: New Left Books, 1970).Google Scholar
  41. 30.
    George Brenkert, Marx’s Ethics of Freedom (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979)Google Scholar
  42. Norman Geras, Marx and Human Nature: Refutation of a Legend (London: Verso, 1983)Google Scholar
  43. Allen Buchanan, Marx and Justice: The Radical Critique of Liberalism (Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Littlefield, 1982)Google Scholar
  44. Kai Nielsen, Marxism and the Moral Point of View (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1988)Google Scholar
  45. Philip Kain, Marx and Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rodney Peffer, Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 31.
    Marx makes this distinction in Capital, Vol. 1 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976), pp. 758–9n. I have argued elsewhere that Marx’s concept of human essence is at the heart of his social theory — Lawrence Wilde, The Concept of Contradiction in the Works of Karl Marx (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Liverpool, 1982), pp. 60–76; Lawrence Wilde, Marx and Contradiction (Aldershot: Avebury, 1989), pp. 20–35.Google Scholar
  48. 33.
    A relatively small number of scholars have recognised the significance of Aristotle’s influence on Marx — see Scott Meikle, Essentialism in the Thought of Karl Marx (London: Duckworth, 1985)Google Scholar
  49. Michel Vadée, Marx: Penseur du Possible (Paris: Meridiens Kilncksieck, 1992), particularly ch. 7Google Scholar
  50. George McCarthy (ed.) Marx and Aristotle: Nineteenth Century German Social Theory and Classical Antiquity (Savage, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1992).Google Scholar
  51. 34.
    Sarah Brodie, Ethics with Aristotle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 45.Google Scholar
  52. 35.
    Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics (London: Routledge, 1973), p. 3.Google Scholar
  53. 36.
    Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 33Google Scholar
  54. see also Agnes Heller, Beyond Justice (New York: Basic Books, 1987).Google Scholar
  55. 37.
    Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London: Duckworth, 1981), chs 4, 5 and 6.Google Scholar
  56. 43.
    Lawrence Wilde, Modern European Socialism (Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1994), pp. 117–19; I am in agreement with David Lovell’s conclusion that Marx’s project has no direct and necessary association with Soviet authoritarianism-From Marx to Lenin: An Evaluation of Marx’s Responsibility for Soviet Authoritarianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).Google Scholar
  57. In The Civil War in France Marx wrote that ‘nothing could be more foreign to the spirit of the Commune than to supersede universal suffrage by hierarchic investiture’. CW 22, p. 333; for a convincing defence of Marx’s democratic credentials, see Daniel Doveton, ‘Marx and Engels on Democracy’ in History of Political Thought XV (4), 1994.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lawrence Wilde 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Wilde
    • 1
  1. 1.The Nottingham Trent UniversityUK

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