"Theses on Feuerbach" Karl Marx - Adam Gómez

"Theses on Feuerbach" Karl Marx - Adam Gómez

Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels Sociology 100 The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it Karl Marx 1818-1883 Middle class Settles & works in London Supported by Engels

Young Left Hegelian Dialectical materialism The importance of context 2 Friedrich Engels 1820-1895 Industrialist Theorist Activist

Co-author, The Communist Manifesto 3 Ludwig Feuerbach 1804-1872 Materialist, atheist

The Essence of Christianity Romantic religion The religious instinct is inherent in humans Sensation of religion in fact contemplation of own infinity God is the projection of man, of inherent human desires & qualities God useful to give good/desirable qualities meaning & force beyond mere

preference God is a chimera, but by seeking God humans can pursue their own selfrealization 4 Historical Materialism Theses on Feuerbach Written 1845, published 1886 Materialism Historicism Dialectic

5 I The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialismthat of Feuerbach includedis that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence, in contradistinction to materialism, the active side was developed by idealismbut only

abstractly, since, of course, idealism does not know real, sensuous activity as such. 6 I Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from the thought objects, but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective activity. Hence, in The Essence of Christianity, he regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude, while practice is conceived and fixed only in its dirtyjudaical manifestation. Hence he does not grasp the significance of revolutionary, of practical-critical, activity. The products of theory/analytical reason are not objectively true

Feuerbach thinks that man (or any object) can be contemplated in itself, but hes wrong Things, thoughts & beliefs are not separate from, much less above, the subjective and practical sphere of life Their being emerges from the relationships between people and things 7 II The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Man must prove the truth, that is,

the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question. Intellectual activity as science How has science become the authoritative form of truth? A matter of history, not philosophy 8 III The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore,

changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. Hence, this doctrine necessarily arrives at dividing society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice. Human beings are strictly products of their environments. 9

IV Feuerbach starts out from the fact of religious self-alienation, of the duplication of the world into a religious world, imaginary world and a real one. His work consists in resolving the religious world into its secular basis. 10 IV He overlooks the fact that after completing this work, the

chief thing still remains to be done. For the fact that the secular basis detaches itself from itself and establishes itself in the clouds as an independent realm can only be explained by the cleavages and self-contradictions within this secular basis. The latter must itself, therefore, first be understood in its contradiction and then, by the removal of the contradiction, revolutionised in practice. Thus, for instance, after the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be criticized in theory and revoltionised in practice. Interrelationship of secular and sacred power. God the Father and your dad.

11 V Feuerbach, not satisfied with abstract thinking, appeals to sensuous contemplation; but he does not conceive sensuousness as practical, human-sensuous activity. 12 VI

Feuerbach resolves the religious essence into the human essence. But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relation. ! There exists no human nature 13 VI Feuerbach, who does not enter upon a criticism of this real essence, is consequently compelled:

1. To abstract from the historical process and to fix the religious sentiment as something by itself and to presuppose an abstractisolatedhuman individual. 2. The human essence, therefore, can with him be comprehended only as genus, as an internal, dumb generality which merely naturally unites the many individuals. 14 VII Feuerbach, consequently, does not see that the religious sentiment is itself a social

product, and that the abstract individual whom he analyses belongs to a particular form of society. 15 VIII Social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice. Everything can be explained by examination of

social conditions (power & economy). Practice forms ideas, not the other way around. 16 IX The highest point reached by contemplative materialism, that is, materialism which does not comprehend sensuousness as practical activity, is contemplation of single individuals in civil society. Contemplative materialism (Feuerbach) is unable

to analyze society in its entirety 17 X The standpoint of the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or social humanity. Thus, the distinction between the private sphere (civil society; association & business) and the public sphere (state & politics) is neither natural nor inevitable.

18 XI The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. Theory & practice 19 Historical Materialism

Reality is the product of activity, the relationships and practices of people and things Rejection of idealism (the position that ideas precede things) Materialism new and old Old (Feuerbach): things are meaningful as objects of our contemplation New (Marx): things are shaped by our practical interaction with them 20

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