Karl Marx's Philosophy

Karl Marx began a philosophical revolution. Although rejecting the legacy of philosophy completely, he spent his life developing a radical idea which focused on the material world and the economic forces which drive it. Central to his thought, is that our consciousness is determined by our material reality and that history proceeds from material change. Essentially, class struggle is the engine of history, and has been responsible for slavery, feudalism, and modern capitalism. Marx’s historical narrative is teleological. It is the proletariat’s historical mission to overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish authentic emancipation for all people. Marx rejects the negative liberal definition of freedom. Authentic emancipation, he argues, can only …show more content…
Gramsci shares Marx’s ideals and objectives but not his methodology. For Gramsci, the struggle and preordained victory of the proletariat was not a foregone conclusion. Rather, instead of Marxism being essentially passive in its philosophical ideology, Gramsci believes it ought to be pedagogical. In order for meaningful transformation and egalitarianism to manifest itself, it is essential that we reformulate our social norms and common-sense conceptions of justice, fairness, and equality. Marx argues that economic structure creates the superstructure and that material relations determine consciousness. However he neglects the weight which ideas bear upon human consciousness. The bedrock of the bourgeois’ hegemony of exploitation exists in the realm of ideas. From ideas, cultural, political, and economic modes of legitimization entrench the domination of one class over another. For Gramsci, consent is of utmost importance and in order to persuade the working class and the bourgeois itself, philosophy and eloquence must be used to the fullest. Thus in order to for the working class to emancipate themselves, their psyche must change so that they may reformulate their “commonsense” norms. Gramsci understood that the clash of ideas was essentially a war of positions where nothing could be certain. In order to exemplify the eloquence of Marxist thought, he would rely on the works of previous philosophers. The philosophy of praxis as it has become known, is the fusion of older ideas into new ones and this is precisely what Gramsci sought to

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