Karl Marx’s German Ideology: A Materialist Philosophy of Ownership, Labor, and Family

Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
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Karl Marx’s German Ideology is a relook at the foundation of Philosophy and all combined artistic expressions of man in the new focus of material activities and quests. Since Karl Marx was influenced by the disparities in human beings and wanted to explore the conditions that either give birth to, or arise from, these disparities, his philosophy is more aligned to the more mundane daily activities.

German Ideology is a critically significant relook at the philosophies of the day to incorporate the basic needs of human being as the basis for the concepts of ownership, labor and family as a unit of the society. Marx argues that 1. Concept of ownership is a convenient work around of self interest, 2. Labor forms the basis of the social structure, and 3. The relationship between man and woman has a pragmatic basis of increasing and procuring labor (more than the element of love or companionship, which is propagated through every other form of philosophy).

The main differentiator of Human beings and animals is that Man produces the means of his subsistence. Marx argues that the act of production defines human being and his existence.”This mode of production must not be considered simply as being the production of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part”.

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Therefore any interaction between two communities or two countries is essentially a discourse between tow productive forces. The act of productivity, in order to continue in a manner that serves the self interest of each of the individual unit as well as the dependant community around it gives birth to the earliest form of ownership. Great stretches of uncultivated lands give birth to the necessity of large ownership including that of an adequate labor force.

All social interactions spring out of the necessary exchanges between the different producing classes or the labor. According to Marx, social and political relations evolve over age from the life process of individuals, not out of any empirical or imaginary form of individuals, but a realistic, form – how they operate and how they produce. Marx goes on to theorize that the production of ideas, conception and consciousness are directly “interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men, the language of real life.”

Production as in the means of distinguishing human beings from animals as argued in point one and the production of more human forms are both two aspects of the same function, argues Marx. According to him, creation of new need (the act of satisfying one need gives rise to the need for instruments and the labor required to produce those instruments) is the first step of creating history. In this step of history, one of the first social interactions of man is to procreate or produce more of human beings and this is to be considered as the family that we know of today.

Family and reproduction start of as the essentially production oriented early steps in social interactions. These interactions, when they happen on a macro level, give birth to huge feudal or any other form of community. Marx argues that the necessity of society in Man is equivalent to the herd mentality in animals but in this association instinct is replaced by consciousness.

Karl Marx gives a truly “materialistic” twist to the motives of human endeavor and in this he philosophically captures the radical views of P.B.Shelly. Shelley has been highly sanitized by later day critics in that his works like “Ozymandias” always appear to be the defeatist or woefully inadequate human ramblings in the face of unattainable immortality or eternity. In reality the highly radical views of Shelly hint at a revolt.

That might be one of the reasons why Shelly is considered a very high influence on pre Raphaelites and ultimately the precursor for labor movement. Marx also subscribes to Shelly’s views of human materialistic quest being worthy of filling the annals of history. As one radical poet wrote in favor of Marxism, “History shall henceforth be the chronicle of the palanquin bearers”

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Karl Marx’s German Ideology: A Materialist Philosophy of Ownership, Labor, and Family. (2017, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/karl-marxs/

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