Tuesday, February 06, 2018

my understanding of marx's theses on feuerbach

I Ontology = What exists = the furniture of the universe
Combine 1 and 5
Hegel wrong: Ideal thoughts
Feuerbach wrong: Material objects
“Correct” abstract thinking, even imaginative “correct” abstract thinking doesn't grasp reality
Human practice, activity grasps reality
Practice is not just doing, it is the full, messy, sensual social human drama of activity

II Epistemology = the path to true knowledge
Combine 2 and 8
Thinking, rationality, logic, dialectics separated from practice, can't achieve truth
The path to truth is in the world, lived practice

III Emancipation
Combine 3, 4 and 11
Humans change society which changes humans in a never ending dynamic spiral

Existing secular social relations are just as oppressive as religious social relations. It is not enough to understand or interpret the world from an atheistic viewpoint. The stinking mess of capitalism needs to be changed, revolutionised.

IV Human essence
Combine 6, 7, 9 and 10
You have to look in the right place to find the essence of humans → the ensemble of social relations.

The atomised, isolated, abstract individual is a dead end which must not be our unit of social analysis. That belongs to the capitalism social form.

An individual is nothing more or less than a vehicle of dynamic social relations. Our individual self is spin, we invent ourselves from the available social relations. The idealised, independent, autonomous, successful individual in capitalist society is merely someone who has selected the social memes, and is a slave to those memes, that make for success in capitalist society. They have an individual body but a human is fully social, not just a body.

The original:
Theses on Feuerbach

Brecht De Smet on this xmca thread

Reading List (started not finished):
The Mathematics of Mathematics: Thinking with the Late, Spinozist Vygotsky by Wolff-Michael Roth (2017)

I believe that Marx's theory can be updated and that Wolff-Michael is making a valuable contribution to that. My notes on Wolff-Michael's book are here, which includes further references most of which I have yet to read or only skimmed myself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill

Very much agree with your summation. Regarding the "leap of faith" which troubles you, you might be interested in the work of Ernst Bloch (a much under-utilised thinker in my opinion).

His take on the theses is available at the Marxist Internet Archive:

I also recently did a Blochian-inspired blog post which touches on the Theses, which may be of interest: