Marx's Critique of Politics 1842–1847
Published: December 1984© 1984
322 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
The prevailing view of Marx's early writings suggests that they comprise a set of disconnected works which share only the same author, that Marx was philosophically an idealist or Hegelian and politically a 'liberal' or 'democrat' throughout much of this period, and that he possessed no particular method of inquiry. Professor Teeple challenges these ideas in his exposition of the development of Marx's critique of politics from the earliest published writings in 1842 to the end of this period in 1847.
Eschewing the search for Marx's intellectual sources, and a narrow focus on any one of these early works, the author traces Marx's intellectual development through a careful analysis of the texts,. He demonstrates an unmistakable continuity throughout the period, arguing that Marx consciously worked out his critique of politics from a well-defined starting point in his doctoral dissertation and the Rheinische Zeitung articles to a logical conclusion in The German Ideology. Each stop in this development, it is argued, not only formed an integral link but also remained in Marx’s eyes valid in itself.
The basis of this continuity is seen to lie in the method Marx employed. The author contends that Marx did possess and apply a method in a conscious and consistent manner and that the method evolved concomitantly with his ever-deepening grasp of the nature of politics and its premises. Indeed, to discover the nature of this method and how it develops is to discover the implicit unity or rationality underlying Marx's early writings and to grasp fully their substance.
In a word, Dr. Teeple argues that from a critique of politics at the level of politics to a critique of the premises of politics, Marx pursued in these early works what he considered to be a scientific understanding of the nature of human development. The thrust of the author's argument goes against the grain of accepted opinion, and for this reason alone the book will shed new light on Marx's widely discussed early writings and should generate considerable controversy.