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The Marxism paper is predominantly addressed to those aspects of Marx's thought that have attracted the attention of analytical philosophers. Thus of Marx's copious writings, only a small proportion will be studied on this course, and only a few examples of the work of his many followers. Nevertheless, all of Marx's writings are relevant as background, and lectures are often given on the work of selected Marxists.
Although the paper is not divided into sections, the topics broadly fall into a number of distinct areas. The paper is usually designed so that students must answer questions on at least two of the areas listed below.
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The best selection of works by Marx is Selected Writings, Karl Marx. Edited by David McLellan, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977). Particular readings from Marx will be indicated in the sections below. Many primary texts can be found at www.marxists.org.
Of the general secondary sources on Marx, strongly recommended are:
Wood, Allen W. 1981. Karl Marx. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Elster, Jon. 1985. Making Sense of Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kolakowski, L. 1978. Main Currents of Marxism: its Rise, Growth, and Dissolution. Translated by P. S. Falla. 3 Vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Vol.1.
Conway, David. 1987. A Farewell to Marx: an Outline and Appraisal of his Theories. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Usefully assembles and summarises a number of critical discussions, although the interpretations and judgements it contains are often controversial.
Carter, A. 1988. Marx: A Radical Critique. Brighton: Wheatsheaf Books.
Singer, P. 1980. Marx. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Carver, T. 1982. Marx's Social Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Important collections of papers include:
Cohen, M., T. Nagel, and T. Scanlon. eds. 1980. Marx, Justice and History: a Philosophy & Public Affairs Reader. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press.
Callinicos, A. ed. 1989. Marxist Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Roemer, J. ed. 1986. Analytical Marxism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Carver, T. ed. 1991. The Cambridge Companion to Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wolff, J. 2002. Why Read Marx Today ? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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This is the part of Marx's work that has attracted most attention from analytical philosophers, following G. A. Cohen Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978) which gives the definitive ‘technological materialist' interpretation of Marx's theory of history. Cohen's interpretation is given a useful shorter statement in Chapter 1 of Cohen's History, Labour and Freedom: Themes from Marx, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988) (Chs. 2-10 are also relevant). Topics emphasised by Cohen, and taken up by others include Marx's theory of historical change and development; the relationship between the economic base and the political superstructure; and the role of functional explanation in Marx's thought and in history. Allen Buchanan raises related questions concerning revolution and class struggle (‘Revolutionary Action and Motivation', in Cohen, Nagel and Scanlon). Marx's concept of ideology is explored by Michael Rosen in ‘The Problem of Ideology', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 70 (1996): 209-228.
German Ideology, Pt.1.
Critique of Political Economy, Preface (the ‘1859 Preface').
Capital, Vol.1, Chs.26-32.
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.
Secondary Sources, responding to Cohen's interpretation
Wright, E. O., and A. Levine. 1989. ‘Rationality and Class Struggle'. In A. Callinicos ed., Marxist Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Revised version in E. O. Wright, A. Levine and E. Sober, eds., Reconstructing Marxism: Essays on Explanation and the Theory of History. London: Verso, 1992.
Cohen, J. 1982. ‘Review of G. A. Cohen, KMTH '. Journal of Philosophy 86.
Torrance, J. 1985. ‘Reproduction and Development'. Political Studies.
Carter, A. 1992. ‘Functional Explanation and the State'. In P. Wetherly, ed., Marx's Theory of History: The Contemporary Debate. Aldershot: Avebury Publications.
Secondary Source, proposing an alternative interpretation
Miller, R. W. 1984. Analysing Marx: Morality, Power and History. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press.
—. 1981. ‘Productive Forces and Forces of Change'. Philosophical Review.
Acton, H. B. 1962. The Illusion of the Epoch: Marxism-Leninism as a Philosophical Creed. London: Cohen & West.
Bober, M. M. 1948. Karl Marx's Interpretation of History. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
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Marx wrote a Doctoral thesis in philosophy, and his early writings show German philosophy's influence upon him, while at the same time mark his attempt to broaden his position by studying and reacting to economic theory and contemporary politics. Thus in the early writings Marx is writing both as a philosopher and as a critic of philosophy. The concept of alienation is central to his view at this point, and it is used as a critical device in his early criticism of religion and society; money; and private property; and strongly influences his view of emancipation.
‘On the Jewish Question'.
‘A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right ', Introduction.
‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts', esp. ‘Alienated Labour'.
‘On James Mill'.
‘Theses on Feuerbach'.
McLellan, D. 1970. Marx before Marxism. 2 nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1980. Chs.5-7.
Maguire, John. 1972. Marx's Paris Writings: an Analysis. London: Macmillan.
Hook, Sidney. 1950. From Hegel to Marx: Studies in the Intellectual Development of Karl Marx. New York: Humanities Press. Chs. 1-3, 8.
Kolakowski, L. 1978. Main Currents of Marxism: its Rise, Growth, and Dissolution. Translated by P. S. Falla. 3 Vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Vol.1. Chs.1-7.
Arthur, C. J. 1986. Dialectics of Labour: Marx and his Relation to Hegel. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Wolff, Jonathan. 1992. ‘Playthings of Alien Forces'. Cogito 10.
Adams, W. 1991. ‘Aesthetics: Liberating the Senses'. In T. Carver, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tucker, R. C. 1972. Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx. 2 nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fraser, I. 1998. Hegel and Marx: The Concept of Need. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Ch. 6 & 7.
Cohen, G. A. 2000. If you're an Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich? Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Chs. 4 & 5.
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Marx believed that his version of the labour theory of value provided the key to understanding the nature of capitalism; the origin of profit; exploitation and the breakdown of capitalism. This view has come under severe pressure, and it is commonly thought, even by those sympathetic to Marx, that the labour theory of value is fatally flawed. Nevertheless many of his economic insights survive.
Capital, Vol.1, Chs.1,2, 4-10, 25; Vol.3, Pts.2, 3.
‘Wages, Prices and Profits'.
‘Wage-Labour and Capital'.
Sweezy, Paul M. 1946. The Theory of Capitalist Development: Principles of Marxian Political Economy. London: Dobson. Chs.1-12. Broadly defends Marx's view.
Robinson, Joan. 1942. An Essay on Marxian Economics. London: Macmillan. Sympathetic to Marx's general approach, but not to the labour theory of value.
Wolff, Robert Paul. 1985. Understanding Marx: a Reconstruction and Critique of Capital. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press.
Cohen, G. A. 1980. ‘The Labour Theory of Value and the Concept of Exploitation'. In M. Cohen, T. Nagel, and T. Scanlon. eds., Marx, Justice and History: a Philosophy & Public Affairs Reader. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press. Reprinted in Cohen's History, Labour and Freedom: Themes from Marx. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.
Ruben, Isaak Il´ich. 1972. Essays on Marx's Theory of Value. Translated by Milos Samard´zija and Fredy Perlman. Detroit, Mich.: Black & Red.
Braverman, H. 1974. Labour and Monopoly Capital: the Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. London: Monthly Review Press.
Nozick, R. 1974. Anarchy, State & Utopia. Oxford: Blackwell. pp.252-262.
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Much of Marx's writings concerns the analysis and development of various political concepts, including the state; the dictatorship of the proletariat; class. Certain of Lenin's writings take this process further.
The Communist Manifesto.
The Class Struggles in France.
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.
The Civil War in France.
What is to be Done?
The State and Revolution.
Avineri, S. 1968. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Also relevant for the Early Writings.
Milliband, R. 1977. Marxism and Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Parkin, F. 1979. Marxism and Class Theory: a Bourgeois Critique. London: Tavistock Publications.
Graham, K. 1992. Karl Marx, Our Contemporary: Social Theory for a Post-Leninist World. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Moore, S. 1980. Marx on the Choice between Socialism and Communism. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Milliband, R. 1979. ‘Marx and the State'. In T. Bottomore, ed., Karl Marx. Oxford: Blackwell.
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Although Marx began as a philosopher, only his Early Writings include any explicit attempt to write on philosophical themes. What is often identified as Marxist philosophy—dialectical materialism—stems from the writings of Engels. Whether or not this accurately reflects Marx's own view remains controversial.
The Holy Family.
The German Ideology.
Dialectics of Nature.
Callinicos, A. 1983. Marxism and Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon.
Ruben, David-Hillel. 1979. Marx and Materialism: a Study in Marxist Theory of Knowledge. Rev. ed. Brighton: Harvester.
—. 1999. ‘Karl Marx'. In German Philosophy Since Kant, edited by Anthony O'Hear. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Marx's views on morality generate if not a paradox, then certainly a puzzle. On the one hand there seems little doubt that he writes about capitalism from the standpoint of high moral outrage. On the other, on certain readings of Marx morality is merely a form of ideology, with no independent critical force. This has led to a variety of views on the place of the notions of morality and, more particularly, justice in Marx's thought. Reading on this topic should begin with the seminal paper of Allen Wood, ‘The Marxian Critique of Justice'. Related questions concern the nature of communism, for which Marx's most developed writing occurs in his Critique of the Gotha Programme.
The German Ideology.
Critique of the Gotha Programme.
Capital, Vol.1, Chs.26-33.
Wood, A., and Z. Husami, papers in M. Cohen, T. Nagel, and T. Scanlon. eds., Marx, Justice and History: a Philosophy & Public Affairs Reader. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1980.
Geras, N. 1989. ‘The Controversy about Marx and Justice'. In A. Callinicos, ed., Marxist Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lukes, S. 1985. Marxism and Morality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Kain, P. J. 1988. Marx and Ethics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Buchanan, A. 1979. ‘Exploitation, Alienation and Injustice'. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9: 121-139.
Cohen, G. A. 1995. ‘Self-ownership, Communism and Equality'. In Self-Ownership, Freedom and Equality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wolff, J. 1999. ‘Marx and Exploitation'. Journal of Ethics 3: 105-120.
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The following are among the most interesting and influential of works by other writers in the Marxist tradition.
Althusser, L. 1977. For Marx. Translated by Ben Brewster. London: NLB.
Adorno, T. 1973. Negative Dialectics. Translated by E. B. Ashton. London: Routledge, 1990.
Benjamin, W. 1936. ‘The Work of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction', in Illuminations. London: Pimlico 2004
Bernstein, Eduard. 1899. The Preconditions of Socialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Lukács, Georg. 1971. History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics. Translated R. Livingstone. London: Merlin Press.
Marcuse, H. 1963. Reason and Revolution: Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory. New York: Humanities Press.
Horkheimer, M. 1972. Critical Theo ry: Selected Essays. Translated by Matthew J. O'Connell and others. New York: Herder and Herder.
Merleau-Ponty, M. 1974. Adventures of the Dialectic. Translated by Joseph Bien. London: Heinemann Educational.
Sartre, J-P. 1976. Critique of Dialectical Reason. Translated by Alan Sheridan-Smith, and Quintin Hoare. 2 Vols. Rev. ed. London: Verso, 1991.
——. 1960. The Problem of Method. Translated by Hazel E.Barnes. London: Methuen, 1964. (This translation originally published as Search for a Method. Knopf, 1963).
Anderson, P. 1979. Considerations on Western Marxism. London: Verso.
McLellan, D. 1980. Marxism after Ma rx: an Introduction. New York: Harper & Row.
Kolakowski, L. 1978. Main Currents of Marxism: its Rise, Growth, and Dissolution. Translated by P.S.Falla. 3Vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Vol. 2 and 3.
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