Lizzie, Audrey, Mitch – MARX 1


1. What is the nature of the argument?

- Marx uses both material dialecticism and inductive logic. Confirmed by empirical investigation, but starts deductively.  Dialectic is rooted in the clash between classes.

- He uses the opposite of Hegel’s dialectic by proceeding from the material world to thought and

Hegel uses thought or ideas to proceed to the material.

- Hegelian philosophy of law (56)



2. Who/What is the argument against?

- identify the targets, other authors or systems of thought that this author is bent on challenging.

- The target of this section is Hegel and his use of the dialectic.  He believes that Hegel actually defends the problematic status quo by only concerning himself with idealism and not with the material world.

- the sins of all forms of the state will be found in the Holy German Empire.” (35)

- “War on German conditions! By all means!” (29)



3. What is the argument?

- or more loosely, what is the author trying to do? persuade the reader of?

Marx is arguing for the emancipation of the human through a revolution of the proletariat.  He believes that industrialization has created a form of labor in which men are alienated in many different ways and are not able to be species-being.

How does Marx conceive of species-being? Alienation? Emancipation? “Communism is…” (71)

Species-being, “the members of the political state are religious by virtue of the dualism between individual life and species-life, between the life of civil society and political life” (13). Alienation: from money, nature, and religion

- the objectification, the worker’s production and with it the alienation and loss of the object, his product” (60).

- the mediating activity or process--the human and social act in which man’s products reciprocally complement one another--becomes alienated and takes on the quality of activity” (41)


The abolition of religion. Man makes religion (28). People project unto God their own ideologies, therefore unhealthy for society.

difference b/w political democratization and radical democratization

what are the clues that he is giving us about what the goal is or what the future hold? what does communism look like?--only 18 passages total--Marx is deeply evasive

what’s the task of philosophy? what’s the view on revolution? why the proletariat?


labor--being intentionally productive--we are what we make, not “reason” like everyone else

the proletariat, because they have nothing, are only the act of making and totally alienated from the essence of themselves as human beings--essentially flippIng Hegel

Labor devalues man- page 59

“His work, therefore, is not voluntary, but forced labor” (62)


Marx is a humanist, historically religion belongs in the ideological superstructure.  It makes people bear their own suffering with no other thought.


- philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is, to change it.” (101)


3a. What does the author regard as the distinctive problems and possibilities in the Modern



Obviously Marx has a huge problem with the political economy, but also more fundamentally those ideologies that believe that the political economy is the only starting point because it is what is already in existence.


- “Germany will not be able to shed the specifically German limitations without shedding the general limitations of the political present.” (36)

- Ancien Regime is the hidden deficiency of the modern state.” (30)

- “The relation of industry and the world of wealth in general to the political world is a major problem of modern times.” (31)


3b. How does the author address liberty, equality, and fraternity?

- how does the author define, conceptualize, and operationalize each concept?

- how does the author prioritize them.


Liberty as the emancipation of the human.

-(16) “liberty is thus the right to do and perform anything that does not harm others”--the practical applications of the right of liberty is the right of property

- no class in civil society has any need or capacity for general emancipation until it is forced to it by its immediate condition, by material necessity,

- a sphere, finally, that cannot emancipate itself without emancipating itself from all other spheres of society, thereby emancipating them…” (38)

- “In Germany no brand of bondage can be broken without every brand of bondage broken.” (38)

- “We must emancipate ourselves before we can emancipate others.” (3)

- relation between political emancipation and human emancipation.” (5) (7)

- the state can free itself from a limitation without man actually being free from it…” (7)


Equality as the equality of opportunity, subsistence, and to some degree outcome as well.  Labor in its current form devalues humans and there needs to be a society where this is not the case.

- (17) every man is equally viewed as a self-sufficient monad. The law is the same for all.

- “Demanding the negation of private property…” (38)


Fraternity as interdependence, Marx believes that man is a species-being that is interconnected. The alienation of man from man by labor prohibits us from living a species-life.

- a sphere of society having a universal character because of its universal suffering…” (38)


What are the strengths of the author's argument?

Marx has strong critiques of ideology and of Hegel in general. Good focus on the material real world instead of focusing solely on the ideas behind things.  Didn’t focus on reason as the guiding force of the world, but rather on the power of the proletariat.

- persuasive, call-to-action claims (38-39)



5. what are the weaknesses of the author's argument?

Marx’s only mention of women throughout was to use them as an object which man interacts with and nothing more.  They play no role of import in Marx’s philosophy.