Marx: Idealism vs. Materialism
Karl MarxÃÂÂs infamous statement that, ÃÂÂI am not a MarxistÃÂ? holds a profound truth deeply connected with his philosophy. It could be understood to mean that he disdained the hundreds of interpretations of his work following their publication. However, the statement resounds with a more important idea ÃÂ" that a person cannot ÃÂÂfollowÃÂ? a philosophy at all. Or perhaps even that there is no such thing as philosophy, at least not as men normally understand the term. For when philosophy is understood to be independent of the philosopher, or the reader, or any conditions of the material world in which they live, it has fallen into the garbage heap of idealism. Marx insists that, ÃÂÂLife is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life... When reality is depicted, philosophy as an independent branch of knowledge loses its medium of existence.ÃÂ? (155) When one treats ÃÂÂMarxismÃÂ? as an idea separate from their consciousness of the material world, they have lofted it into the cloudy realm of ideology, which contains the very shackles of oppression Marx attempts to fight. Indeed, this is merely the most extreme example, since the philosophy of Marx is entirely materialist. For Marx, every other ideology,...
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