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Marx and Morality

  • Allen W. Wood
Part of the The Hastings Center Series in Ethics book series (HCSE)

Abstract

Karl Marx wrote a great deal in support of his conviction that capitalism is an irrational, inhuman, and obsolete social system that should be overthrown. His entire social theory and practical endeavors, in fact, are focused on this conviction: on supporting it theoretically and acting on it effectively. Yet it is a striking fact that Marx said very little about the values in terms of which he denounced capitalism. Perhaps Marx exhibited an acceptance of certain values in the course of his attacks on bourgeois society, but he almost never said anything about what these values were or how they might be justified philosophically. The task of expounding Marx’s “ethical views” is a treacherous one, partly because Marx had so little to say on the subject but also partly because he said too much. The little he did say suffices to refute most common interpretations of the “ethical foundations” of Marxism. While some of Marx’s statements indicate his acceptance of recognizable, even conventional ideas, others clearly show that he held some novel, interesting, and extremely unconventional views about the nature of moral values and their place in social criticism.

Keywords

Productive Power Moral Norm Historical Materialism Moral Good Human Good 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Copyright information

© The Hastings Center 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen W. Wood

There are no affiliations available

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