Marxist Philosophy

Aug 28, 2011

It should be clear by now that I think there is, in fact, a Marxist philosophy. Throughout this book, I have tried to show that Marxism is best understood as a philosophical worldview – specifically, a variant of Hegelian Idealism that sees itself and presents itself as materialist. Beyond this, I believe Marx and Engels did hold to a conscious ontological position, a view of the nature and structure of the natural world, one that has come to be called “Dialectical Materialism."

Although I suspect that most Marxists, especially the “orthodox” Marxists of the Stalinist, Leninist, Maoist, and Trotskyist persuasions, would agree with me, some commentators have argued that there is not, and cannot be, a truly Marxist philosophy of nature, and definitely not one called “dialectical materialism.” Among these figures are the Hungarian philosopher and literary critic, Georg Lukacs (at least in his book, History and Class Consciousness); the former Polish dissident, once-Marxist, and ultimately religious thinker, Leszek Kolakowski; and the major French spokesperson of the philosophy of Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre. In the view of those who hold to this position, Marx, in contrast to Engels, was not interested in questions of “metaphysics,” that is, abstract speculation about the nature of the universe, and as a result, did not have an ontology/philosophy of nature of any kind, and certainly not one describable by the term “dialectical materialism.”


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