This book aims to reinvigorate the Marxist project and the role it might play in illuminating the way beyond capitalism. Though political economy and scientific investigation are needed for pure Marxism, Martin’s argument is that the extent to which these elements are needed cannot be determined within the conversations of political economy and other investigations into causal mechanisms. What has not been done, and what this book does, is to argue for the possibility of a rethought Marxism that takes ethics as its core, displacing political economy and "scientific" investigation.
Ethical Marxism and its Radical Critics argues that Marx's conception of human essence is the foundation for an ethic of liberation which permeates his social theory. It testifies to his significant debt to Greek philosophy and culture. Wilde examines how his humanistic ethic was developed by Marcuse and Fromm, and how it has been rejected by Habermas and Gorz. He also explores reservations expressed from feminist and ecological standpoints. The book has been revised in the light of these criticisms, and offers insights into how progress may be made towards a socialist ethical community.
In Marxism's uneasy relationship with ethics a small number of prominent theorists considered it imperative to highlight the moral principles implicit in Marx's social theory and to develop these ethics in the light of changing conditions. They developed a humanistic Marxism in stark contrast to the crude 'end justifies the means' approach of Stalinism. This collection brings together analyses by leading scholars on those thinkers who made significant contributions to ethical thinking within the Marxist tradition - Kautsky, Bloch, Fromm, Marcuse, Lefebvre, Macpherson and Heller.
A survey of the intellectual history of Marxism through its several phases and various national adaptations suggests, for any of at least three reasons, that the attempt to provide a widely acceptable summary of 'Marxist ethics' must be an enterprise with little prospect of success. First, a number of prominent Marxists have insisted that Marxism can have no ethics because its status as a science precludes bias toward, or the assumption of, any particular ethical standpoint. On this view it would be no more reasonable to expect an ethics of Marxism than of any other form of social science. Second, basing themselves on the opposite assumption, an equally prominent assortment of Marxist intellectuals have lamented the absence of a coherently developed Maryist ethics as a deficiency which must be remedied. ! Third, less com monly, Marxism is sometimes alleged to possess no developed ethical theory because it is exclusively committed to advocacy of class egoism on behalf 2 of the proletariat, and is thus rooted in a prudential, not a moral standpoint. The advocacy of proletarian class egoism - or 'revolutionary morality- may, strictly speaking, constitute an ethical standpoint, but it might be regarded as a peculiar waste of time for a convinced and consistent class egoist to develop precise formulations of his ethical views for the sake of convincing an abstract audience of classless and impartial rational observers which does not happen to exist at present.
In The Concept of Justice, Patrick Burke explores and argues for a return to traditional ideas of ordinary justice in opposition to conceptions of 'social justice' that came to dominate political thought in the 20th Century. Arguing that our notions of justice have been made incoherent by the radical incompatibility between instinctive notions of ordinary justice and theoretical conceptions of social justice, the book goes on to explore the historical roots of these ideas of social justice. Finding the roots of these ideas in religious circles in Italy and England in the 19th century, Burke explores the ongoing religious influence in the development of the concept in the works of Marx, Mill and Hobhouse. In opposition to this legacy of liberal thought, the book presents a new theory of ordinary justice drawing on the thought of Immanuel Kant. In this light, Burke finds that all genuine ethical evaluation must presuppose free will and individual responsibility and that all true injustice is fundamentally coercive.
The Ethical Foundations of Marxism, first published in 1962 and corrected and revised for a 1972 edition, examines carefully and critically the origin, precise nature and subsequent role of Marx’s ethical beliefs. Drawing freely on Marx’s still largely untranslated philosophical works and drafts the author elicits the ethical presuppositions with which Marx began. He then examines the intellectual development that made Marx a Communist and seeks to clarify the place of Marx’s ethic in his mature, ‘materialist’ work. Professor Kamenka distinguishes sharply between the critical, ethical views of Marx and the inept, conventional applications of his doctrine by Engels. He appraises the ‘ethics’ of the Communist Party and traces the development of the moral and legal theory in the Soviet Union. He concludes by subjecting Marxism as a whole to a radical, ethical and philosophical criticism for which Marx himself laid some of the foundations.
This work highlights key areas of common ground between the ethical, aesthetic and political content of works from Sartre's early period and classic Marxist philosophy. Taking account of both the specifity of early Sartrean thought and the hetero- geneity of Marxist theories, it affirms their lasting importance to the radical left critique.