Moral objectivity in history

Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836

2.1 The Means to an End In the instance of the American Civil War it isn’t particularly difficult to take Marx and Engels as being on the ‘right side’ by their own analysis of the world-historical situation. The pre-conditions for socialism are generated by the capitalist system, in its creation of a material surplus, as well as the development of democratic institutions and civil liberties. Capitalism would develop to such an extent that it would further its own demise, its crises would become more and more destructive each time. Yet the destructive capacities of capitalism are what lead to the … Continue reading

Progress under capitalism

Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_The_Arcadian_or_Pastoral_State_1836

1.1 Materialisation of ‘History as Progress’ The writings of Karl Marx can be understood in a historic-philosophical context that is specifically post-Enlightenment in a number of ways. One of the ways is that Marx seems to still adhere to a kind of historical progressivism. The idea of progress was around long before the Enlightenment, but it gained greater momentum during that time. As a concept progress became bound up with the emancipation of mankind from subservience and superstition. It was a matter of the expansion of scientific knowledge for many. Condorcet and Kant proclaimed progress as a trajectory of increasing … Continue reading

The bourgeoisie creates a world in its image

Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_The_Savage_State_1836

In what I hoped would be the positive culmination of my BA Philosophy degree I wrote my dissertation on the Marxist theory of history in its relevance to international relations. It’s the extent to which the historicism in Marx holds a normative element given that the Marxist tradition actually lacks a theory of international relations, just as it traditionally lacked a theory of government. In both instances there is a need, in international relations it is an evaluative criterion which is necessary. Below I have reproduced the introduction and linked the following chapters. Over the last decade or more the question of … Continue reading