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An Anthropology of Marxism$
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Cedric J. Robinson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649917

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649917.001.0001

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German Critical Philosophy and Marx

German Critical Philosophy and Marx

Chapter:
(p.60) 3 German Critical Philosophy and Marx
Source:
An Anthropology of Marxism
Author(s):

Cedric J. Robinson

, H. L. T. Quan, Avery F. Gordon
Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649917.003.0003

In this chapter, Robinson explores the German intellectuals who form the basis of Marxism. He links the history of German pietism and the Church with the development of Kantian materialism, which advocated for a radical reformulation of the German social order. Robinson then demonstrates how Kantian German idealism set in motion in German thought a series of determinations essential for Marx’s philosophy. While Marx is applauded for positing a revolutionary theory from the less radical ideas of Hegel, Robinson instead suggests that Hegel in fact contributed far more directly to Marxism than Marx admitted. Indeed, Robinson demonstrates how Hegel’s conception of a universal class (to be Marx’s proletariat), secularization of history (making history happen), and privileging of Western civilization as the only society based on Reason (the secularization of social change) all made their way into Marxism, notwithstanding Marx’s dismissal of Hegel as a mystical idealist. Robinson historicizes Marxism by demonstrating how Kant’s formulation of the German bureaucracy as a class, followed by Hegel’s argument that this class’s consciousness came from its political work, were appropriated by Marx and Engels for their later work.

Keywords:   Kant, Hegel, Marx, German idealism, pietism, materialism, Reason, class consciousness

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