Marxism appeals to power before truth, prioritising the passion of OUGHT over the nuance of IS. So should truth be framed in terms of power?

4 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago

    Uh, what? I've read a lot of Marx and he never says this. He says the direct opposite. Where did you get this? Marx never makes "ought" claims and criticises those who do. He wrote extensive criticisms on what he referred to as "idealists", those who focus too much on human ideas and morality, and their importance in shaping human history, when he instead argued human history is largely shaped by objective economic conditions, independent of anyone's personal opinion or morality, and in fact prevailing morality and opinion is instead determined by the material economic base of society.

    You don't have to read Marx's tens of thousands of pages of theory to understand this. He gives an example of this in the first couple pages of the Manifesto. He explains the transition of human society from feudal times to capitalism purely based on the changes in economic conditions brought about by the industrial revolutions around the world.

    Marx argued that it doesn't matter what your personal morals or opinions are, human society is ultimately built around their objective material conditions. To understand human societal development, why it has developed the way it has, and to predict what it is developing into, you need an objective analysis of material conditions, a scientific analysis, that can be tested and verified.

    This is a concept known today as "historical materialism". "Historical" as in the study of the development of human societies, and "materialism" as in philosophical materialism, which rejects philosophical idealism, and holds that all observable phenomena have their roots in an objective material world that can be studied scientifically and understood.

    The simplest society possible is one with only two people, let's call them Robin and Friday. Let's say they establish a feudal economy. Well, one person needs to be the king, one needs to be the serf. Or, let's say a slave-based economy. One needs to be the slave, one needs to be the master. Or, let's say a capitalist economy, one needs to be the employee, one needs to be the employer.

    In any case, one person is underneath another. Let's say Robin is the one on top, and Friday is the one underneath. How did Robin subject Friday? Well, we know how modern economies do this: force. If you break property law, there are police with guns to stop you. So let's assume Robin has a gun, and with that gun, he subjects Friday.

    But that brings up another question. How did Robin even get that gun? Why does Robin have it and not Friday? For Robin to have a gun, two things must coexist first: (1) an economy capable of creating guns, and (2) Robin has greater control over the appropriation of products created from that economy than Friday.

    We see then from this little thought experiment that political force is not the dominant factor of human society, but economics is. What force people can use, and how they can use it, is largely dependent on the current economic conditions, what that economy can produce, and who controls the appropriation of that wealth. 

    This is why "ought" claims are rejected by Marx. Because if we "ought" to do something, that implies we should bring that into politics, and then in politics, take government power, and then with that government power, use political force to impose it.

    But political force is NOT the most fundamental character of human society. Economics is. If our political force does not correspond to economic conditions, it will inevitably fail. Just because something SOUNDS good, doesn't mean it's actually compatible with REALITY. The material world reigns supreme over any of our personal opinions.

    Economics is simply how human societies interact with that material world, which is summed up nicely in this quote from Marx:

    "Industry is the actual, historical relationship of nature, and therefore of natural science, to man. If, therefore, industry is conceived as the exoteric revelation of man’s essential powers, we also gain an understanding of the human essence of nature or the natural essence of man." 

  • P
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Appeals to power before truth isn't the exclusive perogative of Marxism (although this interpretation is open to question). However, there are lessons to be learned from history which are self evident to rational constituents when considering their current options

  • j153e
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    "Why?"  "Because I said so."

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Marxism is a tested and failed ideal (multiple times), so the answer is a firm NO. Truth should be framed by objective reality

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