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Marx and the Individual

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robbo203
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Joined: 06/11/2011
Marx and the Individual

An interesting piece I came across which throws some light on some of the discussion recently on this forum

 

In particular. this:

 

While Marx acknowledged the relative autonomy of many humanly created social institutions and relations from the persons entering into and reproducing them, he simultaneously used the "individualistic" premises of his materialism to protest such fixed social relations. By placing social production under the control of the associated producers, communism would facilitate the return of social institutions and relations to the command of the individuals who in fact comprised them. In this sense, the real individual as a theoretical premise helped demystify the social order, Marx's theory then yielded an historical account of the genesis of social relations and institutions, and bore within itself a mandate for the conscious production of history and society by those individuals who had hitherto produced themselves, their society, and their history largely unconsciously.

 

and this:

 

Long after he had abandoned Feuerbach's nominalist methodology, Marx therefore retained the "real individual" as the critical premise—and ultimate promise—of social theory.

 

http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft2489n82k&chunk.id...

 

This would make Marx a proponent of Emergence theory as opposed to Holistic  theory, on the one hand (where the "whole" - e.g. society - determines the parts - individuals)  or Individualistic Theory , on the other  (where the parts determine the whole i.e. reductionism).   Hence statements by Marx such as “the free development of each is the condition of the free development of all" in The Communist Manifesto.  Ths is a repudiaton of holistic theory and an endorsement of Emergentism

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

 

There is also another  good article I came across," Socialism and the Individual in Marx's Work"  by Paresh Chattopadhyay which demolishes the silly argument that socialism will amount to a sort of beehive colony in which any notion of individual autonomy , freedom or self actualisation will disappear.  On the contrary, socialism will provide the conditons in which these very things will come to fruition - not in oppostion to a sense of collective or social  identity but paradoxically precisely through such an identity and by recognising our mutual interdependence as human beings 

 

 https://libcom.org/library/socialism-individual-marxs-work

robbo203
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Joined: 06/11/2011

So it looks like Marx was a bit of an "individualust" at heart, after all.  Lol to LBird

 

http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/6515/1/PhD.Kandiyali.pdf

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