chapter  8
22 Pages

An Introduction to Marxism

The second section of this chapter examines two important Marxist concepts, two contradictory ideas that exist side by side: alienation, the notion that Man is impotent to act, and praxis, the notion that Man's world is his activity. The evolution and meaning of these terms is traced from their Hegelian background, the themes being discussed in more detail in later sections of this book. The concern with alienation, then, leads to questions of practical emancipation. I argue that attempts to solve problems such as alienation theoretically inevitably fail because the problem and its solution involve social practice. After a brief exposition of Marx's theory of social change, the chapter concludes with an account of how, after Marx's death, orthodox Marxism became increasingly scientistic and positivist and it is suggested that such 'vulgar', deterministic Marxism denies the scope and significance of human action, of praxis, to transform the world.