Marx’s Philosophy Summary

Karl Marx

According to Marx, theoretical philosophy should be essentially practical. The philosophy should be inseparable from a radical transformation of society, thus contributing converted into praxis, energy and human social practice, in order to free the human beings.

It is often appropriate to distinguish two periods in the analysis of the philosophy of Karl Marx:

– The first corresponds to that of early writings, from 1841 to 1848.

– The second work was written after that date.

While early writings …

– Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law (1844)

– Manuscripts (1844)

– The Jewish Question (1844)

– The German Ideology (with Engels and Hess – 1845/1846 – appear in this book the first elements of historical materialism)

… Are in a philosophical or anthropological perspective generally (describing the very being of man), the latter mainly develop an economic analysis and policy.


– The Communist Manifesto (1848)

– Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859)

– The Capital (1867 -1894), the last two volumes being posthumous

Marx and dialectic:


How to understand the reality? In a dialectical approach : Marx inherited here of the Hegelian philosophical theories  .

The dialectic, conceived as a unit of contradictory terms, refers to the method of providing the key of the reality.

– By doing by thesis, antithesis and synthesis unifying opposites that reflection is able to grasp the truth.

– Yet should we put the dialectic on its feet “: this is not the idea (as in Hegel) which controls the dialectical process. Economic phenomena and physical play, instead, a predominant role.

Marx and alienation:

The dialectic is a method to understand more deeply the reality and the human essence. But what about this gas?

– This is the philosophical notion of alienation that must be considered: the man is a producer, who creates his life physically in order to satisfy their basic needs.

– But in this act of begetting of his livelihood, he was stripped of himself and of his own essence.

– Alienation nucleus of Manuscripts of 1844, refers to a situation where a man is confronted with an “other-being (and still coming to himself) which dominates and enslaves it means to become alien to itself.

– It’s another of the man who is facing him and governs his life.

– Take the example of money, human product which means any currency within the economic cycle.

► Money, this intermediate created by men, has acquired a demonic power and dominates those who have caused.

► Likewise, capital, wealth … govern our lives through the figure of Otherness.

Thus, human being who works, which subjects the nature and all things physical environment at will, does he see himself in the process, alienated: estranged to his creations, the fruits of its work and its production abroad, ultimately, himself.

Marx and his economic concepts: a critique of capitalism

From 1848 or so, Marx makes a socio-economic analysis focuses on notions of class (a class name for a group of individuals characterized by an economic situation in neighboring relations of production, by an identity of income) and control classes, designed as the antagonism between social groups whose interests are strictly incompatible.

This class struggle, the motor of history and social evolution, understands itself in terms of concepts of production relations and productive forces.

– In the social production of their existence, men enter, in fact, in relationships determined and necessary.

– The existence of a social class is directly dependent on these production relations established between men.

– As the forces of production, they refer to all means and powers which human society has to work, produce, transform reality, master it and appropriate it.

The trial of labor, namely the combination of the work, the object on which the job operates and the means by which it acts, the development of transformative activity to appropriate nature, presents itself differently for each mode of production, defined as the set consisting of the productive forces and production relations, as the method of production of material goods.

Marx was particularly the capitalist mode of production, capital pointing at his home, the value for the exploitation of workers and getting the most value.

– This word means gain additional value produced by the labor of the wage worker, the capitalist appropriates value without pay, without the worker thus find a financial compensation.

– If the proletarian receives money to pay its financial pretend work, in fact the wage does not pay the surplus labor, that is to say free labor, which does not give rise to any remuneration and resolves in appreciation.

Within this economic and historical interpretation, Marx gives significant importance to the economic structure formed by the forces of production and exchange ratios:

– It bears the name of infrastructure, superstructure designating the top floor of the building (concepts, notions, ideas, representations) rising on the socio-economic base.

– The award of infrastructure and superstructure ordering historical materialism, the science of laws of social evolution, the idea that economic structure of society is the real foundation and basis explaining the superstructure.

– The culmination of this interpretation is the following:

► representations and ideas of men reflect, in fact, the economic and social reality.

► These are ideologies, which can claim to neutral, but nevertheless express reports and class conflicts.

► The individual, who feels free in his choices and behavior is shaped, in fact, by ideology, all ideas and beliefs of a society or class.

► So, should we always explain the thinking of men by social and economic relationships in which they are incurred.

Marx and the sense of history:

Marx superadded to this economic analysis a vision of historical evolution. Indeed, the proletariat, class consists of paid workers having no means of production and undergoing the operation …

– (Economic relationship that we discussed earlier, consisting of what these men work, in part, free to owners of means of production)

… Is finally over history:

– As a revolution ahead and a non-adversarial, ignoring conflicts …

Here, the economist, that Marx was giving way to the Prophet or even utopian, and Sociology at the vision of a world reconciled with itself.

– To draw the communist abolition of private property, end of human self-alienation, and real appropriation of human nature by man and man, end the division between man and nature and between man and man …

Despite its ambiguities and its uncertainties, the economic and philosophical work of Marx must necessarily be studied, both in economic terms as the philosophical point of view.


Cite this article as: Tim, "Marx’s Philosophy Summary, April 24, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 24, 2012,

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