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But they do ground the early Marx within the concerns of the Young Hegelians and perhaps explain, to some extent, why Marx needed to use the critique of religion as an entry point into his own thought. What remains interesting is that Marx utilises religious language to explain this thought within the text.

Feuerbach, L. New York: Bobbs-Merrill. Marx, K. London: MIT Press. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Of course, the Hegelian philosophy is aware of this as well. Being, whence the Logic proceeds, presupposes on the one hand the Phenomenology, and on the other, the Absolute Idea. Being that which is primary and indeterminate is revoked in the end as it turns out that it is not the true starting point.

But does this not again make a Phenomenology out of the Logic? And being only a phenomenological starting point? Do we not encounter a conflict between appearance and truth within the Logic as well? Why does Hegel not proceed from the true starting point? Is this the way for philosophy to constitute and demonstrate itself as the truth so that it can no longer be doubted, so that skepticism is reduced once and for all to absurdity? Of course, if you say A, you will also have to say B. Anyone who can countenance being at the beginning of the Logic will also countenance the Idea; if this being has been accepted as proved by someone, then he must also accept the Idea as proved.

But what happens if someone is not willing to say A? Or else prove if you can the reality of general notions! Is the Logic above the dispute between the Nominalists and Realists to use old names for what are natural contraries? Does it not contradict in its first notions sense perception and its advocate, the intellect? Have they no right to oppose the Logic? The Logic may well dismiss the voice of sense perception, but, then, the Logic itself is dismissed by the intellect on the ground that it is like a judge who is trying his own case. Have we therefore not the same contradiction right at the outset of the philosophical science as in the philosophy of Fichte?

In the latter case, the contradiction is between the pure and the empirical, real ego; in the former, it is between the pure and the empirical, real being. If you therefore leave out determinateness from being, you leave being with no being at all. It will not be surprising if you then demonstrate that indeterminate being is nothingness. Under these circumstances this is self-evident. If you exclude from man that which makes him man, you can demonstrate without any difficulty whatsoever that he is not man.

But just as the notion of man from which you have excluded the specific difference of man is not a notion of man, but rather of a fabricated entity as, for example, the Platonic man of Diogenes, so the notion of being from which you have excluded the content of being is no longer the notion of being. Being is diverse in the same measure as things. Being is one with the thing that is. Take away being from a thing, and you take away everything from it. It is impossible to think of being in separation from specific determinations.

Being is not a particular notion; to the intellect at least, it is all there is. Therefore, how can the Logic, or any particular philosophy at all, reveal truth and reality if it begins by contradicting sensuous reality and its understanding without resolving this contradiction?

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That it can prove itself to be true is not a matter of doubt; this, however, is not the question. A twosome is needed to prove something. While proving, the thinker splits himself into two; he contradicts himself, and only after a thought has been and has overcome its own opposition, can it be regarded as proved. To prove is at the same time to refute. Every intellectual determination has its antithesis, its contradiction. Truth exists not in unity with, but in refutation of its opposite. Dialectics is not a monologue that speculation carries on with itself, but a dialogue between speculation and empirical reality.

A thinker is a dialectician only in so far as he is his own opponent. Hence, if philosophy or, in our context, the Logic wishes to prove itself true, it must refute rational empiricism or the intellect which denies it and which alone contradicts it. Otherwise all its proofs will be nothing more than subjective assurances, so far as the intellect is concerned. The antithesis of being — in general and as regarded by the Logic — is not nothingness, but sensuous and concrete being.

Sensuous being denies logical being; the former contradicts the latter and vice versa. The resolution of this contradiction would be the proof of the reality of logical being, the proof that it is not an abstraction, which is what the intellect now takes it to be.

The only philosophy that proceeds from no presuppositions at all is one that possesses the courage and freedom to doubt itself, that produces itself out of its antithesis. All modern philosophies, however, begin only with themselves and not with what is in opposition to them.


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They presuppose philosophy; that is, what they understand by philosophy to be the immediate truth. They understand by mediation only elucidation, as in the case of Fichte, or development, as in the case of Hegel. Kant was critical towards the old metaphysics, but not towards himself. Fichte proceeded from the assumption that the Kantian philosophy was the truth. Similarly, Schelling proceeded from the assumption that the Fichtean philosophy was the established truth, and restored Spinoza in opposition to Fichte.

As far as Hegel is concerned, he is a Fichte as mediated through a Schelling. Hegel polemicized against the Absolute of Schelling; he thought it lacked the moment of reflection, apprehension, and negativity. In other words, he imbued the Absolute Identity with Spirit, introduced determinations into it, and fructified its womb with the semen of the Notion the ego of Fichte. But he, nevertheless, took the truth of the Absolute for granted.

All he accused it of was that it lacked form. Both were critics of certain specific qualities of the existing philosophy, but not at all of its essence. That the Absolute existed was beyond all doubt. All it needed was to prove itself and be known as such. But precisely for that reason the proof of the Absolute in Hegel has, in principle and essence, only a formal significance, notwithstanding the scientific rigor with which it is carried out.

Right at its starting point, the philosophy of Hegel presents us with a contradiction, the contradiction between truth and science, between essence and form, between thinking and writing. The Absolute Idea is assumed, not formally, to be sure, but essentially. What Hegel premises as stages and constituent parts of mediation, he thinks are determined by the Absolute Idea. Hegel does not step outside the Idea, nor does he forget it. Rather, he already thinks the antithesis out of which the Idea should produce itself on the basis of its having been taken for granted.

It is already proved substantially before it is proved formally. Hence, it must always remain unprovable, always subjective for someone who recognizes in the antithesis of the Idea a premise which the Idea has itself established in advance. The externalization of the Idea is, so to speak, only a dissembling; it is only a pretense and nothing serious — the Idea is just playing a game.

The conclusive proof is the beginning of the Logic, whose beginning is to be taken as the beginning of philosophy as such. That the starting point is being is only a formalism, for being is here not the true starting point, nor the truly Primary. The starting point could just as well be the Absolute Idea because it was already a certainty, an immediate truth for Hegel before he wrote the Logic; i. It posits itself in advance as true; that which the Idea posits as the other, again presupposes the Idea according to its essence.

In this way, the proof remains only a formal one. To Hegel, the thinker, the Absolute Idea was absolute certainty, but to Hegel, the author, it was a formal uncertainty. This contradiction between the thinker who is without needs, who can anticipate that which is yet to be presented because everything is already settled for him, and the needy writer who has to go through a chain of succession and who posits and objectifies as formally uncertain what is certain to the thinker — this contradiction is the process of the Absolute Idea which presupposes being and essence, but in such a way that these on their part already presuppose the Idea.

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This is the only adequate reason required to explain the contradiction between the actual starting point of the Logic and its real starting point which lies at the end. As was already pointed out, Hegel in his heart of hearts was convinced of the certainty of the Absolute Idea. In this regard, there was nothing of the critic or the skeptic in him.

However, the Absolute Idea had to demonstrate its truth, had to be released from the confines of a subjective intellectual conception — it had to be shown that it also existed for others. Thus understood, the question of its proof had an essential, and at the same time an inessential, meaning: It was a necessity in so far as the Absolute Idea had to prove itself, because only so could it demonstrate its necessity; but it was at the same time superfluous as far as the inner certainty of the truth of the Absolute Idea was concerned.

The expression of this superfluous necessity, of this dispensable indispensability or indispensable dispensability is the Hegelian method. That is why its end is its beginning and its beginning its end. That is why being in it is already the certainty of the Idea, and nothing other than the Idea in its immediacy. What the Idea says is different from what it thinks. That is exactly why, to repeat myself, the proof or the mediation of the Absolute Idea is only a formal affair.

The Idea neither creates nor proves itself through a real other — that could only be the empirical and concrete perception of the intellect. Rather, it creates itself out of a formal and apparent antithesis. Being is in itself the Idea. However, to prove cannot mean anything other than to bring the other person to my own conviction. In the field of philosophy, proof therefore consists only in the fact that the contradiction between sensuous intellect and pure thought is disposed, so that thought is true not only for itself but also for its opposite.

For even if every true thought is true only through itself, the fact remains that in the case of a thought that expresses an antithesis, its credibility will remain subjective, one-sided, and doubtful so long as it relies only on itself. In addition, logical being is only an indulgence, a condescension on the part of the Idea, and, consequently, already that which it must prove itself to be. This means that I enter the Logic as well as intellectual perception only through a violent act, through a transcendent act, or through an immediate break with real perception.

The Phenomenology cannot be seen as invalidating this accusation, because the Logic comes after it. Since it constitutes the antithesis of logical being it is always present to us, it is even necessarily brought forth by the antithesis and provoked by it to contradict the Logic, all the more so because the Logic is a new starting point, or a beginning from the very beginning, a circumstance which is ab initio offensive to the intellect.

But let us grant the Phenomenology a positive and actual meaning in relation to the Logic. Does Hegel produce the Idea or thought out of the other-being of the Idea or thought? Let us look at it more closely. Therefore, this shows itself again as mediated simplicity or generality.

Is it thereby proved that the general is the real? It may well be for someone who is certain in advance that the general is the real, but not for sensuous consciousness or for those who occupy its standpoint and will have to be convinced first of the unreality of sensuous being and the reality of thought. My brother is called John, or, if you like, Adolph, but there are innumerable people besides him who are called by the same name.

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Does it follow from this that my brother John is not real? Or that Johnness is the truth? To sensuous consciousness, all words are names — nomina propria. They are quite indifferent as far as sensuous consciousness is concerned; they are all signs by which it can achieve its aims in the shortest possible way. Here, language is irrelevant. The reality of sensuous and particular being is a truth that carries the seal of our blood.

The commandment that prevails in the sphere of the senses is: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Enough of words, come down to real things! Show me what you are talking about!

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An Unfinished Project: Marx’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right | SpringerLink

To sensuous consciousness it is precisely language that is unreal, nothing. How can it regard itself, therefore, as refuted if it is pointed out that a particular entity cannot be expressed in language? Sensuous consciousness sees precisely in this a refutation of language but not a refutation of sensuous certainty. And it is perfectly justified, too, because otherwise we would have to feed ourselves on mere words instead of on things in life.

The content of the whole first chapter of the Phenomenology is, therefore, for sensuous consciousness nothing but the reheated cabbage of Stilpo the Megarian — only in the opposite sense. It is nothing but a verbal game in which thought that is already certain of itself as truth plays with natural consciousness.

Consciousness, however, does not let itself be confounded; it holds firmly to the reality of individual things. Today is now, but tomorrow is again now, and it is still completely the same unchanged and incorrigible now as it was yesterday. It refutes the refutation in that it puts another individual in place of the previous one. Hence, to sensuous consciousness it is sensuous being that lasts and does not change. The same unmediated contradiction, the same conflict that we encounter at the beginning of the Logic now confronts us at the beginning of the Phenomenology — the conflict between being as the object of the Phenomenology and being as the object of sensuous consciousness.

I turn around and this truth has disappeared. The tree delimits my back and excludes me from the place it already occupies. He shows the untruth of an individual being in so far as it is determined as a theoretical reality in imagination. The Phenomenology is nothing but a phenomenological Logic. Only from this point of view can the chapter on sensuous certainty be excused. However, precisely because Hegel did not really immerse himself in sensuous consciousness, did not think his way into it because in his view sensuous consciousness is an object in the sense of an object of self-consciousness or thought; because self-consciousness is merely the externalization of thought within the self-certainty of thought; so the Phenomenology or the Logic — both have the same thing in common — begins with itself as its own immediate presupposition, and hence with an unmediated contradiction, namely, with an absolute break with sensuous consciousness.

Given this, thought is naturally certain of its victory over its adversary in advance. Hence, the humor with which thought pulls the leg of sensuous consciousness. But this also goes to show that thought has not been able to refute its adversary. Quite apart from the significance of the Phenomenology, Hegel started, as was already mentioned, from the assumption of Absolute Identity right from the earliest beginnings of his philosophical activity.

The idea of Absolute Identity, or of the Absolute, was simply an objective truth for him. It was not just a truth for him, but absolute truth, the Absolute Idea itself — absolute, that is, beyond all doubt and above all criticism and skepticism. But the idea of the Absolute was, according to its positive meaning, at the same time only the idea of objectivity in opposition to the idea of subjectivity, as in the Kantian and Fichtean philosophy. As we know, Schelling wanted in the beginning to go in an opposite direction to idealism. His natural philosophy was actually reversed idealism at first, which means that a transition from the latter to the former was not difficult.

The idealist philosopher sees life and reason in nature also, but he means by them his own life and his own reason. What he sees in nature is what he puts into it; what he gives to nature is therefore what he takes back into himself — nature is objectified ego, or spirit looking at itself as its own externalization.

Idealism, therefore, already meant the unity of subject and object, spirit and nature, but together with the implication that in this unity nature had only the status of an object; that is, of something posited by spirit. The problem was, therefore, only to release nature from the bondage to which the idealist philosopher had subjected it by chaining it to his own ego, to restore it to an independent existence in order to bestow upon it the meaning it received in the philosophy of nature.

This product — matter — is therefore completely a construction by the ego, although not for an ego that is still identical with matter. The philosophy of nature was supposed to begin only from what is objective, but at the same time to arrive at the same result at which idealism arrived through and out of itself. That is why the philosophy of nature, with all its integrity, left idealism undisturbed, for all it wanted was to demonstrate a posteriori what idealism had said of itself a priori. The only difference between the two lay in the course taken, in method.

Nevertheless, basic to the opposite course, there was an opposite intuition, or at least it had to emerge unavoidably from this opposite course. It was bound to happen that nature thus received a meaning for itself. The object had already been released from the confines of subjective idealism in so far as it had also been posited as the object of a particular science. If not in itself, nature was nevertheless not something derivative or posited for natural science, but rather something primary and independent.

In this way, nature received a meaning that was opposed to the idealism of Fichte. But even so the meaning which nature had in and for idealism — that is, one which was diametrically opposed to the meaning of nature in the philosophy of nature — was to retain its validity as if nothing had happened, and idealism was to continue to exist undiminished and with all its rights and pretensions. Consequently, we now have two independent and mutually opposed truths instead of the only absolutely decisive and autonomous truth of the Fichtean ego — the truth of idealism, which denies the truth of the philosophy of nature, and the truth of the philosophy of nature, which in its turn denies the truth of idealism.

For idealism, nature is only object and accident, but for the philosophy of nature it is substance, i. How do we find a way out of this conflict between a philosophy of nature that negates idealism and an idealism that negates the philosophy of nature? Only by turning the predicate wherein both concur into the subject — this would then be the Absolute or that which is purely and simply independent — and the subject into the predicate. In other words, the Absolute is nature and spirit. Spirit and nature are only predicates, determinations, forms of one and the same thing; namely, of the Absolute.

But what then is the Absolute? But are we really making any progress in taking this step? Did we not have this unity already in the notion of nature? Further, the connection between the notions of subject and object within the notion of nature was precisely the supersession of the separation — effected by idealism — between mind and non-mind, hence the supersession of the separateness of nature and spirit.

What is it, therefore, through which the Absolute distinguishes itself from nature? The Absolute is the Absolute Identity, the absolute subject-object, whereas mind is the subjective subject-object. Oh, what brilliance! And how surprising! Suddenly, we find ourselves on the standpoint of idealistic dualism: We deprive nature at the same time of that which we give it. Nature is the subject-object with the plus of objectivity.

That means that the positive notion of nature — provided that the plus gives us a notion whereby nature is not suspended into the vacuum of the Absolute, but still remains nature — is that of objectivity; and similarly the notion of the spirit — in so far as it is spirit — is not a vague, nameless entity, but the notion of subjectivity in as much as the plus of subjectivity constitutes its distinguishing feature.

But are we the cleverer for this approach than we were initially? Do we not have to bear again the same old cross of subjectivity and objectivity? If the Absolute is now cognized, that is, if it is brought out of the darkness of absolute indeterminateness where it is only an object of imagination and phantasy into the light of the notion, then it is cognized either as spirit or as nature. Hence, there is no science of the Absolute as such, but either the science of the Absolute as nature or that of the Absolute as spirit; that is, either the philosophy of nature or of idealism, or if both together, then only in such a way that the philosophy of nature is only the philosophy of the Absolute as nature, while idealism is only the philosophy of the Absolute as spirit.

But if the object of the philosophy of nature is the Absolute as nature, then the positive notion is just the notion of nature, which means that the predicate again becomes the subject and the subject — the Absolute — becomes a vague and meaningless predicate. Hence, I could just as well delete the Absolute from the philosophy of nature, for the Absolute applies equally to spirit as to nature; as much to one particular object as to another opposite object; as much to light as to gravity.

In the notion of nature, the Absolute as pure indeterminateness, as nihil negativum , disappears for me, or if I am unable to banish it from my head, the consequence is that nature vanishes before the Absolute. That is also the reason why the philosophy of nature did not succeed in achieving anything more than evanescent determinations and differences which are in truth only imaginary, only ideas of distinctions but not real determinations of knowledge.

But precisely for that reason the positive significance of the philosophy of Schelling lies solely in his philosophy of nature compared to the limited idealism of Fichte, which knows only a negative relationship to nature. There-fore, one need not be surprised that the originator of the philosophy of nature presents the Absolute only from its real side, for the presentation of the Absolute from its ideal side had already occurred in Fichteanism before the philosophy of nature.

Of course, the philosophy of identity restored a lost unity, but not by objectifying this unity as the Absolute, or as an entity common to and yet distinguished from nature and spirit — for thus understood, the Absolute was only a mongrel between idealism and the philosophy of nature, born out of the conflict between idealism and the philosophy of nature as experienced by the author of the latter — but only in so far as the notion of this unity meant the notion of nature as both subject and object implying the restoration of nature to its proper place.

However, by not being satisfied with its rejection of subjective idealism — this was its positive achievement — and by wanting itself to acquire the character of absolute philosophy, which involved a misconception of its limits, the philosophy of nature came to oppose even that which was positive in idealism. Kant involved himself in a contradiction — something necessary for him but which cannot be discussed here — in so far as he misconceived the affirmative, rational limits of reason by taking them to be boundaries.

Boundaries are arbitrary limits that are removable and ought not to be there. The philosophy of identity even rejected the positive limits of reason and philosophy together with these boundaries. The unity of thought and being it claimed to have achieved was only the unity of thought and imagination. Philosophy now became beautiful, poetic, soulful, romantic, but for that matter also transcendent, superstitious, and absolutely uncritical. Discerning and determining thought came to be regarded as a finite and negative activity.

Rather, they were friends. Hegel restored philosophy by rescuing it from the realm of imagination. The natural basis of human being which lies at the ongm as a given condition becomes more and more the object of human practice with the consequence as Marx However, it is important to distinguish the selfmediatedness of spirit established through absolute negativity from the self-mediatedness of human being established in and through material practice. Take this crucial passage cited by Marx p.

In this truth nature is vanishing, and spirit has resulted as the idea which has attained being-for-itself, whose object as well as subject is the concept. This identity is absolute negativity, for whereas in nature the concept has its perfect external objectivity, its alienation has been sublated and the concept has become identical with itself.


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Marx charges Hegel with characterizing the externality of nature as a defect, and with positing it as potentially superseded from the outset pp. From this we must conclude that Marx could not simply replace the negating activity of thought with the material transformation of practice, while yet holding nature in the same contempt. If Marx insists, following Feuerbach, that man acts in the context of objective relationships, then his selfIT! This is because he bases himself, not on the identity of opposites, but on their unity, in this context. Hunt and Swan agree this is true of the mature Marx.

The former conception always implies a return, however more developed — a closed circle. The latter conception implies a spiral progress which is open-ended. In the latter case the end bends back on the beginning which in some sense presupposes it. The problem is to distinguish transitions within a self-developing totality from transitions of a more radical type — ontological breaks — which refound the fundamental determinants of social being.

But one wonders if this is not a fundamentally different concept. In my opinion this issue has been insufficiently studied in the literature 43 and I raise it now as an important question for future research. It has a bearing on the question of the transition to socialism …. For example: in the transition from capitalism to socialism the achievement of capitalism in developing the productive forces is to be appropriated and preserved, not by incorporating their alien form as private property within a higher totality, but by divesting them of their alien form through abolishing private property; it will not be the case that socialism will recognize its productive forces as marked by their origins in private property once the transi tional stage passes , even though Marx believes the capitalist stage of their development was historically necessary.

Hence the negation of the negation brought about through communist revolution opens out the possibility of a real human history no longer carried on under the mark of estrangement.

Peter Singer - Hegel and Marx

Page numbers bracketed in the text refer to the English translation of the Mss. I do not mean that a priori arguments can establish the necessity of these categories. He says in a private communication to me that this was a slip. It is not surprising that commentators of an analytical rather than dialectical turn of mind have proved unable to comprehend the interchanges of these determinations.

Karl Marx Early Writings, trans. Bottomore, London , p. This is indeed the moment of truth in the statement that private property appears as the basis of alienation. However, to view this relation as static, and external, as a given, such that activity works in a pre-existing institution, reifies the living social relation, instead of seeing it as reproduced by that activity. I take this happy expression from I. Clearly the communist movement develops in opposition to private property.

In some sense it is even the creation of the movement of private property. But in a higher phase of development socialism stands on its own feet so to speak p. For the confusion on this issue see Early Writings trans. Benton , p. The argument of this section is very condensed. It is worth pointing out that Marx does not mention the Master-Servant section which so many commentators insist was an influence. Livingstone, London, , p. Hegel, Gesammelte Werke Band 9 Hamburg , p. Miller, para. The Young Hegel, p. Lukacs repeats the point in the Preface to History , and Class-Consciousness English trans.

Livingstone, London pp. However, the picture is by no means so simple. I agree with Herbert Marcuse who writes in a article on the Mss. On the other hand, he thereby more precisely through the concept of labour turns back to Hegel over across Feuerbach…. The matter is therefore more complex than simply a straight line development from Feuerbach to Marx subsequent upon a renunciation of Hegel.

But central to the Mss. I will show below that it would be wrong to characterize the Mss. Hanfi New York , p. See on this G. Lukacs, Political Writings , ed.

Notes on Religion in ‘Toward a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’

Livingstone London , p. Lukacs, Political Writings, pp. In their critique of Feuerbach, Marx and Engels write wit! They themselves begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence…. This mode of production … is a definite mode of life on their part…. As Lukacs observes Political Writings, p. This does not mean, however, that Hegel is totally abandoned with the materialist turn. There is an English translation by W. Lukacs makes a helpful distinction between epistemological and ontological Aufhebung in his Ontology: Hegel trans.

Fernbach, London , pp. Fulllength articles max. Please send reviews to Martin Barker, address in inside back cover. Marx comments trenchantly on the situation endured by the worker: he executes plans he does not 10 form; he objectifies himself in his product only to have it taken from him; he produces palaces but lives in hovels; his labour creates beauty but deforms himself; the more intelligence is embodied in the design of a factory system the more machine-like and stupifying the routine of work, so much so that the labourer faces machinery as a competi tor for his place; at work he does not feel at home; he feels himself only when he is not working; his labour is therefore not voluntary but forced labour; in it the worker belongs not to himself but to another.

Marx says: Capi tal is … the power to command labour and its products. Here is the passage in question: Private property is … the product, result, and necessary consequence of alienated labour der entausserten Arbeit , of the external relation of the worker to nature and to himself…. Later, however, this relationship becomes reciprocal. What is the origin of value? What is its substance? Marx says: It is only at the culminating point of the development of private property that this its secret reemerges, namely, that on the one hand it is the product of alienated labour, and on the other it is the means through which labour alienates itself, the realiZation of this alienation.

As Marx observes: All it succeeds in showing is that by far the greater part of this development contradicts its assertions and that if it communism did once exist, then the very fact that it existed in the past refutes its claim to essential being Wesen. Hegel insists that there is no need for spirit to be afraid of such objectification: Neither has the I to cling to itself in the form of 13 self-consciousness as against the form of substantiality and objectivity, as if it were afraid of alienating itself; the power of spirit lies rather in remaining the self-same spirit in its alienation Entausserung and … in making its being-for-itself no less merely a moment than its in-itself Marx points out the following consequences: All estrangement of human nature is therefore nothing but estrangement of self-consciousness ….

This is the crucial difference between Marx and. Feuerbach concludes that: The identity of thinking and being expresses, therefore, only the identity of thought with itself. At best this 16 allows for an equally abstract criticism of the perversities of theology and philosophy.

The natural basis of human being which lies at the ongm as a given condition becomes more and more the object of human practice with the consequence as Marx 17 formulates it in Capital that in acting on external nature man changes himself Dirk Struik in the introduction to his edition of the Mss. Gesammelte Werke Band 9, p.