philosophyofhistorythesesonfeuerbach - Dudziak 1 Noah...

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Dudziak 1 Noah Dudziak March 23, 2008 Philosophy of History Professor Dobbs-Weinstein Marx on Feuerbach In “Theses on Feuerbach”, Karl Marx asserts his critique on German idealism and new materialism with eleven notes focusing on the “significance of ‘revolutionary,’ of practical-critical, activity (Marx 143)” brought about by a socialized humanity. First Marx describes the need for the merging of the theoretical and the practical, bringing into light the futility of philosophy that is “isolated from practice (Marx 144)”. He then addresses the requirement of accepting the necessity of religion and using an understanding of it to reveal contradictions and flaws within secular society. Finally he addresses the human essence that is “the ensemble of the social relations (Marx 145)”, and uses this truth to critique the old materialism. In his first thesis, Marx states that “the chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism—that of Feuerbach included—is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation , but not as human sensuous activity, practice (Marx 143).” To Marx sensuousness is the key to materialistic philosophy, focusing on the definite and real in order to develop the abstract and idealogical, instead of vise versa, as evident in his contemporary Young-Hegelians. In Feuerbach’s materialism Marx sees only contemplation of the problem rather than the conscious analyzation of the problem in the practical form—the form that leads to viewing “human activity itself as objective activity (Marx 143)”.
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Dudziak 2 And for Marx, practice is not only the goal of materialistic philosophy, but in fact a necessity. Consciousness achieved can only be purposeful through action and reaction. He claims that there is no power in claims made without proof, and that proof can not be brought about by theoretical and abstract thinking only, but by definite results in real functions. Marx condemns Feuerbach’s willingness to attribute truth to philosophical ideas that never leave the realm of speculation. In his second thesis, Marx declares that “The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question (Marx 144).” If there is no application in the answers to the questions which philosophy addresses, then philosophical thinking serves no purpose but to stimulate our minds. In his third thesis Marx addresses the issue of circumstances and human activity, and the power of mankind to change these. He states that “The materialist doctrine… forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. (Marx 144).” This doctrine, Marx claims, divides society into a superior and an inferior, and presents reason for this division. In this sense Marx is reaffirming his claims in
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philosophyofhistorythesesonfeuerbach - Dudziak 1 Noah...

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