chapter  1
Aims and Subject-matters
Pages 10

A philosopher's thought can adequately be understood in complete independence of his subjective intentions, or the purposes that he had in mind in writing what he did. At the very least, the philosopher's own conception of his ultimate aims is certain to influence his choice of the subject-matters to which he devotes attention, and the ways in which he approaches them. Marx began his career at a time when a climate of idealism was still dominant in his native Germany, laying the greatest stress on the inescapable role of objective, socio-economic realities in moulding the ideas in individuals' heads. One salient characteristic of it by contrast with present-day society, in Marx's view, would be that in it what we call economic factors would play a considerably smaller role in people's lives than they do today. The exclusive determination of history and thought by economic factors does not obtain at least in Marx's vision of a possible future, post-capitalist society.