The Philosophy of Engels Vindicated


  • Donald D. Weiss



Marxism, Philosophy


We have, in recent times, come more clearly to understand that Marxian analysis is cultural analysis. The importance of this formulation is that once Marxism is explicitly conceived as a theory concerning the production and distribution of culture, it becomes quite impossible to treat the ideational aspect of human history as it was treated by the older "economistic" orthodoxy: as if it were some merely passive dimension riding piggy-back upon an essentially non-ideational "base" of society, the latter "material foundation" being something over which human conscious activity can have no truly decisive influence. We have thus been enabled also to understand that Marx's interest in the economic metabolism of society was rooted in his conviction that this is the way in which the interchange of the products of human creativity is to be most adequately studied. It has, in short, become clear to many of us that Marxism is essentially hostile to any reductionistic attempt to dispense with the categories peculiarly appropriate to those beings that consciously create the conditions of their own existence.