LITS2307 MODERN CRITICAL THEORY

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WEEK 7: MARXISM (HISTORICAL MATERIALISM)

Required Readings:

Lecture 1:

  • G. W. F. Hegel Lectures on the Philosophy of History [1837] (see selection in course folder)

Lecture 2:

  • Karl Marx The German Ideology [1845-46] (see excerpts pp. 625-625 in Adams; pp. 767-769 in Leitch)

Tutorial:

  • Karl Marx Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy [1858-59] (pp. 625-627 in Adams; pp. 774-776 in Leitch)

Recommended Readings:

PhilWeb:

Notes:

Questions:

Hegel:

  1. What do you understand by the term ‘idealism’?
  2. What, according to Descartes, is the source of human consciousness?  What is the philosophical school with which he is synonymous?
  3. What, according to Locke, is the source of human consciousness?  What is the philosophical school with which he is synonymous?
  4. What, according to Kant, is the sources of human consciousness?
  5. How does Hegel conceptualise the nature of physical reality?
  6. What, according to Hegel, is the source of human consciousness?
  7. How does Hegel conceptualise the history of mankind and human civilisation?  How does the concept of the dialectic figure in this explanation?
  8. Explain Hegel's concept of the expressive totality.
  9. Why is Hegel often described as a Neo-Kantian philosopher?  In what sense is Hegel’s world view an ‘idealist’ one?

Marxism:

  1. What do you understand by the term ‘materialism’?
  2. What do you think Marx meant by his claim that he had "stood Hegel on his head"?  How does Marx conceptualise the relationship between his own theories and those of Hegel?
  3. How does Marx conceptualise the nature of physical reality?
  4. What, according to Marx, is the source of human consciousness?  What does Marx mean when he writes in this regard: "It is not the consciousness of men which determines their social being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness"?
  5. Explain Marx's Base / Superstructure model of society.  What is the precise nature of the relationship linking Base to Superstructure?
  6. How does Marx conceptualise the history of mankind and human civilisation?  How does the concept of the dialectic figure in this explanation?  How is his dialectical model of history different from Hegel’s?
  7. What are the main stages into which Marx divides European history.
  8. Define the following key Marxist terms: the Economic Mode of Production; determination; reflection; means of production (MOP); forces of production (FOP); social relations of production (SROP); class; the ruling class; the bourgeoisie; the proletariat; ideology; the dominant ideology; false consciousness; feudalism; capitalism; communism.
  9. Why did Marx term his philosophy historical materialism?