Marx's Theory of Ideas

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Wesleyan University/John C. Wiley & Sons, Inc.


In the German Ideology (1845-1846), Marx developed what he called his "materialist view of the world." Engels later called it historical materialism. This view involves many problems, and a great deal of disagreement exists over what follows from it concerning the relationship of ideas to material conditions. I would like to try to explain Marx's theory of ideas as well as the methodology connected with it, and to show that these matters can be clarified by examining important differences between the views held in the German Ideology and those held, on the one hand, earlier in the 1844 Manuscripts, and, on the other hand, later in the Griindrisse, the Critique of Political Economy, and Capital.