Early vs Late Marx- Was There a Break in Philosophy?

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  • Topic: Karl Marx, Marxism, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
  • Pages : 2 (670 words )
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  • Published : October 9, 2006
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Some scholars believe that there is an ideological break in Karl Marx's writings where he changes from a Hegelian philosopher to a structuralist who was focused on economics. I feel that this question is difficult to answer without a date or textual specified break in writings. There is definitely a change in the focus and tone of Marx's writings, but a clear line of theoretical change where a previous belief is discarded does not seem apparent. Instead, I see a large shift of focus that still retains Hegelian principles, followed by a gradual move away from those principles.

Looking at a change in Marxist thought could be interpreted as very Hegelian in itself. In order for a shift in Marxist thought to exist, one must recognize the young Marx versus the mature Max and see that young and mature are part of each other and led to a new synthesis. This is an example of Hegelian dialectic and it's somewhat ironic to read interpretations of Marx that are structuralist in focus yet use dialectic principles.

First, I find the move between philosophy to practice a simple one. After theorizing about the nature of things one looks for examples in real life, which for Marx's theory of alienation was the class struggle and economic theory. In Marx's earlier writings he addresses issues of supply and demand, class struggle, and controlling the means of production. Marx continues to focus on these issues during later writings, yet focusing on more concrete examples this time and lays out more of a plan on how things could be altered. He focuses on the experience of class struggle and concrete ways of improving the state rather than the process of how the feeling of alienation is created in different societies and among various classes within those societies. I feel that this is a natural evolution of work and that evolution is important. It is important for individuals to respond to new ideas and experiences—for Marx, this was the political landscape of Europe...
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