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Karl Marx

"Thus, for instance, once the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must itself be annihilated [vernichtet] theoretically and practically."  (Karl Marx, Feuerbach Thesis #4, Translated: by Cyril Smith 2002, based on work done jointly with Don Cuckson)

"The essence of man is not an abstraction inherent in each particular individual."  "The real nature of man is the totality of social relations." Karl Marx Thesis on Feuerbach # 6

"It is not individualism that fulfills the individual, on the contrary it destroys him. Society is the necessary framework through which freedom and individuality are made realities." Karl Marx

"Only within a social context individual man is able to realize his own potential as a rational being." (Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right)

"The individual is emancipated in the social group." "Freud commented that only through the solidarity of all the participants could the sense of guilt be assuaged." Norman O. Brown  Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History 

"Only within a social context individual man is able to realize his own potential as a rational being." Joseph O'Malley in Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right' 

"It is not the will or desire of any one person which establish order but the moving spirit of the whole group. Control is social." John Dewey Experience and Education 1931

"One of the most fascinating aspects of group therapy is that everyone is born again, born together in the group." Irvin D. Yalom Theory and Practice and Group Psychotherapy 

"The individual accepts the new system of values and beliefs by accepting belongingness to the group." Kurt Lewin in Kenneth Benne Human Relations in Curriculum Change 

"Small groups are the most effective way of closing the back door of your church."  Rick Warren

"The community needs, therefore, to be explored and, if necessary, purged from undesirable cultural conserves .... The community must be 'deconserved' from the pathological excesses of its own culture, or at least, they must be put under control." J. L. Moreno  Who Shall Survive

"Philosophy is not outside the world; it simply has a different kind of presence in the world. The world is its ground; it is the spiritual quintessence of its age. The world is the object of its enquiry and concern.; it is the wisdom of the world." "The philosopher appeals to reason not faith...."   (Comments by Joseph O'Malley Ed. of Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right' )  

"In short, philosophy as theory finds the ‘ought' implied within the ‘is', and as praxis seeks to make the two coincide."  (Comments by Joseph O'Malley Ed. of Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right'

"... philosophy ... establishes the basis of reality as praxis; it serves to distinguish it from religion, the wisdom of the other world."  (Comments by Joseph O'Malley Ed. of Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right' )

"The critique of religion ends with the categorical imperative to overthrow all conditions in which man is a debased, enslaved, neglected, contemptible [wicked] being." (Karl Marx Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right

"Sense experience [sensuousness, i.e. "feelings," emotions become the basis of science when it involves "human nature"] must be the basis of all science." Karl Marx MEGA I/3

"Science is only genuine science when it proceeds from sense experience, in the two forms of sense perception and sensuous need, that is, only when it proceeds from Nature." Karl Marx MEGA I/3

"For one class to stand for the whole of society, another must be the class of universal offense and the embodiment of universal limits.  A particular social sphere must stand for the notorious crime of the whole society, so that liberation from this sphere appears to be universal liberation. For one class to be the class par excellence of liberation, another class must, on the other hand, be openly the subjugating class." Karl Marx  Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right."

"The immediate task is to unmask human alienation in its secular form, now that it has been unmasked in the sacred form."  (Karl Marx MEGA I/1/1)

"Every class lacks the breadth of soul which identifies it with the soul of the people [the human relationship factor], that revolutionary boldness which flings at its adversary the defiant phrase; I am nothing and I should be everything."  (Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right')

"The only practically possible emancipation is the unique theory which holds that man is the supreme being for man."  (Karl Marx Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right')

"Estrangement is a phase of the dialectical process, and that by experiencing and overcoming it man creates his own self and then fulfills himself as a man." (John Lewis, The life and Teaching of Karl Marx;  International Pub.; NY, 65)

"Concerning the changing of circumstances by men, the educator must himself be educated." (Karl Marx Thesis on Feuerbach # 3)

"The unspeculative Christian also recognizes sensuality as long as it does not assert itself at the expense of true reason, i.e., of faith, of true love, i.e., of love of God, of true will-power, i.e., of will in Christ. Not for the sake of sensual love, not for the lust of the flesh, but because the Lord said: Increase and multiply." (Karl Marx The Holy Family)

"The philosophers have come up with many different views of the world, the objective however, is change."  (Karl Marx  Feuerbach Thesis #11)

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." (Karl Marx Selected writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy)

"The abolition of religion, as the illusory happiness of men, is a demand for their real happiness.  The call to abandon their illusions about their condition is a call to abandon a condition which requires illusions." Karl Marx, MEGA I/1/1

"... willing to view events through the interrogator's eyes.  ... to accept half truths as being true ..."  "He is then willing to 'confess' ..."  Carl Rogers, On becoming a person

"The struggle against religion is therefore indirectly a struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. [Obedience based patriarchal paradigm]" Karl Marx MEGA I/1/1

"The life which he has given to the object sets itself against him as an alien and hostile force."  Karl Marx MEGA I/3

"Alienation will continue so long as the subject engages in an externalization (Entausserung) of his or her subjectivity."  Bronner Critical Theorists and their Theory

"Hegel and Marx have laid the foundations for the understanding of the problem of alienation."  Erich Fromm Escape from Freedom

"Alienation has a long history.  Its most radical sense already appears in the biblical expulsion from Eden."  God is thus the anthropological source of alienation . . ."  Bronner Critical Theorists and their Theory

"All social life is essentially practical.  All the mysteries which lead theory toward mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice."  Karl Marx, Thesis on Feuerbach #8

"The philosopher appeals to reason not faith, teaches rather than dogmatizes, demands and welcomes the test of being doubted, promises truth, and aims at the achievement of a world ‘becoming philosophical.'"  Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right'

"The justice of state constitutions is to be decided not on the basis of Christianity, not from the nature of Christian society but from the nature of human society."  Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right'

"The state arises out of the exigencies of man's nature." Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right'

"Laws must not fetter human life; but yield to it; they must change as the needs and capacities of the people change." Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right'

"To enjoy the present reconciles us to the actual . . ."  Karl Marx's Critique of Hegel's 'Philosophy of Right'


"Auch nachdem z.B. die irdische Familie als das Geheimnis der heiligen Familie entdeckt ist, muß nun erstere selbst theoretisch und praktisch vernichtet werden."

"Thus, for instance, once the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must itself be annihilated [vernichtet] theoretically and practically."  (Translated: by Cyril Smith 2002, based on work done jointly with Don Cuckson)

"Thus, for instance, once the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be destroyed in theory and in practice."  (the English translation was first published in the Lawrence and Wishart edition of The German Ideology in 1938)

"Thus, for instance, once the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be criticized in theory and revolutionized in practice." (" . . . a translation . . . of the text of the German edition of 1888. . . ."  Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo; January 1998)


Seitenzahlen verweisen auf: Marx-Engels Werke, Band 3, Seite 5ff. Dietz Verlag Berlin, 1969


Thesen über Feuerbach

Dies ist der ursprüngliche 1845 von Marx geschriebene Text
Hier findet sich die von Engels 1888 als Anhang zu "Ludwig Feuerbach und der Ausgang der deutschen Philosophie" publizierte Fassung

 


  1. Der Hauptmangel alles bisherigen Materialismus (den Feuerbachschen mit eingerechnet)  ist, daß der Gegenstand, die Wirklichkeit, Sinnlichkeit, nur unter der Form des Objekts oder der Anschauung gefaßt wird; nicht aber als sinnlich menschliche Tätigkeit, Praxis; nicht subjektiv. Daher die tätige Seite abstrakt im Gegensatz zu dem Materialismus vom dem Idealismus - der natürlich die wirkliche, sinnliche Tätigkeit als solche nicht kennt - entwickelt. Feuerbach will sinnliche -  von den Gedankenobjekten wirklich unterschiedne Objekte: aber er faßt die menschliche Tätigkeit selbst nicht als gegenständliche Tätigkeit. Er betrachtet daher im "Wesen des Christenthums" nur das theoretische Verhalten als das echt menschliche, während die Praxis nur in ihrer schmutzig-jüdischen Erscheinungsform gefaßt und fixiert wird. Er begreift daher nicht die Bedeutung der "revolutionären", der "praktisch-kritischen" Tätigkeit.
  2. Die Frage, ob dem menschlichen Denken gegenständliche Wahrheit zukomme - ist keine Frage der Theorie, sondern eine praktische Frage. In der Praxis muß der Mensch die Wahrheit, i.e. die Wirklichkeit und Macht, Diesseitigkeit seines Denkens beweisen. Der Streit über die Wirklichkeit oder Nichtwirklichkeit des Denkens -  das von der Praxis isoliert ist - ist eine rein scholastische Frage.
  3. Die materialistische Lehre von der Veränderung der Umstände und der Erziehung vergißt, daß die Umstände von den Menschen verändert und der Erzieher selbst erzogen werden muß. Sie muß daher die Gesellschaft in zwei Teile - von denen der eine über ihr erhaben ist - sondieren. Das Zusammenfallen des Ändern[s] der Umstände und der menschlichen Tätigkeit oder Selbstveränderung kann nur als revolutionäre Praxis gefaßt und rationell verstanden werden.
  4. Feuerbach geht aus von dem Faktum der religiösen Selbstentfremdung, der Verdopplung der Welt in eine religiöse und eine weltliche Welt. Seine Arbeit besteht darin, die religiöse Welt in ihre weltliche Grundlage aufzulösen. Aber daß die weltliche Grundlage sich von sich selbst abhebt und sich ein selbständiges Reich in den Wolken fixiert, ist nur aus der Selbstzerrissenheit und Sichselbstwidersprechen dieser weltlichen Grundlage zu erklären. Diese selbst muß also in isch selbst sowohl in ihrem Widerspruch verstanden als praktisch revolutioniert werden. Also nachdem z.B. die irdische Familie als das Geheimnis der heiligen Familie entdeckt ist, muß nun erstere selbst theoretisch und praktisch vernichtet werden.
  5. Feuerbach, mit dem abstrakten Denken nicht zufrieden, will die Anschauung; aber er faßt die Sinnlichkeit nicht als praktische menschlich-sinnliche Tätigkeit.
  6. Feuerbach löst das religiöse Wesen in das menschliche Wesen auf. Aber das menschliche Wesen ist kein dem einzelnen Individuum inwohnendes Abstraktum. In seiner Wirklichkeit ist es das ensemble der gesellschaftlichen Verhältnisse.  Feuerbach, der auf die Kritik dieses wirklichen Wesens nicht eingeht, ist daher gezwungen:  1. von dem geschichtlichen Verlauf zu abstrahieren und das religiöse Gemüt für sich zu fixieren, und ein abstrakt - isoliert - menschliches Individuum vorauszusetzen;  2. Das Wesen kann daher nur als "Gattung", als innere, stumme, die vielen Individuen natürlich verbindende Allgemeinheit gefaßt werden.
  7. Feuerbach sieht daher nicht, daß das "religiöse Gemüt" selbst ein gesellschaftliches Produkt ist und daß das abstrakte Individuum, das er analysiert, in Wirklichkeit einer bestimmten Gesellschaftsform angehört.
  8. Alles gesellschaftliche Leben ist wesentlich praktisch. Alle Mysterien, welche die Theorie zum Mystizism[us] veranlassen, finden ihre rationelle Lösung in der menschlichen Praxis und im Begreifen dieser Praxis.
  9. Das Höchste, wozu der anschauende Materialismus kommt, d.h. der Materialismus, der die Sinnlichkeit nicht als praktische Tätigkeit begreift, ist die Anschauung der einzelnen Individuen und der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft.
  10. Der Standpunkt des alten Materialismus ist die bürgerliche Gesellschaft; der Standpunkt des neuen die menschliche Gesellschaft, oder die gesellschaftliche Menschheit.
  11. Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretiert; es kömmt drauf an, sie zu verändern.

Geschrieben im Frühjahr 1845.
Nach der Veröffentlichung des
Marx-Engels-Lenin-Instituts,
Moskau, 1932. 


KARL MARX THESES ON FEUERBACH

http://www.marx2mao.com/M&E/TF45.html

From Frederick Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy

FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS, PEKING 1976 

First Edition 1976  pp. 61-65.

" . . . a translation . . . of the text of the German edition of 1888. . . ."

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@cruzio.com (January 1998)  page 61

KARL MARX:  THESES ON FEUERBACH

I

The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism -- that of Feuerbach included -- is that the thing [Gegenstand ], reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object [Objekt ] or of intuition [Anschauung ],* but not as human sensuous activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence it happened that the active side, in contradistinction to materialism, was developed by idealism -- but only abstractly, since, of course, idealism does not know real, sensuous activity as such. Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from the objects of thought, but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective [gegenständliche ] activity. Hence, in the Essence of Christianity, he regards the theoreti-

* Anschauung -- in Kant and Hegel means awareness, or direct knowledge, through the senses, and is translated as intuition in English versions of Kant and Hegel. It is in this sense that Marx uses Anschauung and not in the sense of contemplation, which is how it has usually and incorrectly been translated. --Ed.

page 62

cal attitude as the only genuinely human attitude, while practice is conceived and fixed only in its dirty Jewish manifestation. Hence he does not grasp the significance of "revolutionary," of "practical-critical," activity.  Marx, Theses on Feuerbach (1845), p.2 of 3 2

II

The question whether objective [gegenständliche ] truth can be attained by human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. It is in practice that man must prove the truth, that is, the reality and power, the this-sidedness [Diesseitigkeit ] of his thinking. The dispute over the reality or unreality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.

III

The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that men themselves change circumstances and that the educator himself must be educated. Hence, this doctrine necessarily arrives at dividing society into two parts, of which one is superior to society (in Robert Owen, for example).  The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionizing practice.

IV

Feuerbach starts out from the fact of religious self-alienation, the duplication of the world into a religious, imagined

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world and a real one. His work consists in the dissolution of the religious world into its secular basis. He overlooks the fact that after completing this work, the chief thing still remains to be done. For the fact that the secular foundation detaches itself from itself and establishes itself in the clouds as an independent realm is precisely only to be explained by the very self-dismemberment and self-contradictoriness of this secular basis. The latter itself must, therefore, first be understood in its contradiction and then revolutionized in practice by the elimination of the contradiction. Thus, for instance, once the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be criticized in theory and revolutionized in practice.

V

Feuerbach, not satished with abstract thinking, appeals to sensuous intuition ; but he does not conceive sensuousness as practical, human-sensuous activity.

VI

Feuerbach dissolves the religious essence into the human essence. But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of social relations.  Feuerbach, who does not enter on a critique of this real essence, is consequently compelled: Marx, Theses on Feuerbach (1845), p.3 of 3 3

1. To abstract from the historical process and to fix the religious sentiment [Gemüt ] as something for itself and to presuppose an abstract -- isolated -- human individual.

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2. Therefore, with him the human essence can be comprehended only as "genus," as an internal, dumb generality which links the many individuals merely naturally.

VII

Consequently, Feuerbach does not see that the "religious sentiment" is itself a social product, and that the abstract individual he analyses belongs in reality to a deterrninate form of society.

VIII

Social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory astray into mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.

IX

The highest point attained by intuiting materialism, that is, materialism which does not understand sensuousness as practical activity, is the outlook of single individuals in "civil society."

X

The standpoint of the old materialism is "civil " society, the standpoint of the new is human society, or socialized humanity.

page 65

XI

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.


Karl Marx 1845

Theses On Feuerbach


Written: by Marx in Brussels in the spring of 1845, under the title "1) ad Feuerbach";
Marx's original text was first published in 1924, in German and in Russian translation, by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in Marx-Engels Archives, Book I, Moscow. The English translation was first published in the Lawrence and Wishart edition of The German Ideology in 1938. The most widely known version of the "Theses" is that based on Engels' edited version, published as an appendix to his Ludwig Feuerbach in 1888, where he gave it the title Theses on Feuerbach;
Translated: by Cyril Smith 2002, based on work done jointly with Don Cuckson.


1

The main defect of all hitherto-existing materialism — that of Feuerbach included — is that the Object [der Gegenstand], actuality, sensuousness, are conceived only in the form of the object [Objekts], or of contemplation [Anschauung], but not as human sensuous activity, practice [Praxis], not subjectively. Hence it happened that the active side, in opposition to materialism, was developed by idealism — but only abstractly, since, of course, idealism does not know real, sensuous activity as such. Feuerbach wants sensuous objects [Objekte], differentiated from thought-objects, but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective [gegenständliche] activity. In The Essence of Christianity [Das Wesen des Christenthums], he therefore regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude, while practice is conceived and defined only in its dirty-Jewish form of appearance [Erscheinungsform][1]. Hence he does not grasp the significance of ‘revolutionary', of ‘practical-critical', activity.

2

The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Man must prove the truth, i.e., the reality and power, the this-sidedness [Diesseitigkeit] of his thinking, in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.

3

The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of changed circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that the educator must himself be educated. Hence this doctrine is bound to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change [Selbstveränderung] can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.

4

Feuerbach starts off from the fact of religious self-estrangement [Selbstentfremdung], of the duplication of the world into a religious, imaginary world, and a secular [weltliche] one. His work consists in resolving the religious world into its secular basis. He overlooks the fact that after completing this work, the chief thing still remains to be done. For the fact that the secular basis lifts off from itself and establishes itself in the clouds as an independent realm can only be explained by the inner strife and intrinsic contradictoriness of this secular basis. The latter must itself be understood in its contradiction and then, by the removal of the contradiction, revolutionised. Thus, for instance, once the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must itself be annihilated [vernichtet] theoretically and practically.

5

Feuerbach, not satisfied with abstract thinking, wants sensuous contemplation [Anschauung]; but he does not conceive sensuousness as practical, human-sensuous activity.

6

Feuerbach resolves the essence of religion into the essence of man [menschliche Wesen = ‘human nature']. But the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations. Feuerbach, who does not enter upon a criticism of this real essence is hence obliged:

1. To abstract from the historical process and to define the religious sentiment regarded by itself, and to presuppose an abstract — isolated - human individual.

2. The essence therefore can by him only be regarded as ‘species', as an inner ‘dumb' generality which unites many individuals only in a natural way.

7

Feuerbach consequently does not see that the ‘religious sentiment' is itself a social product, and that the abstract individual that he analyses belongs in reality to a particular social form.

 

8

All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.

9

The highest point reached by contemplative [anschauende] materialism, that is, materialism which does not comprehend sensuousness as practical activity, is the contemplation of single individuals and of civil society [bürgerlichen Gesellschaft].

10

The standpoint of the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society or social humanity.

11

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.


Theses On Feuerbach

Source: MECW Volume 5, p. 3;
Written: by Marx in Brussels in the spring of 1845, under the title "1) ad Feuerbach";
This version was first published in 1924 — in German and in Russian — by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in Marx-Engels Archives, Book I, Moscow.
First Published: the English translation was first published in the Lawrence and Wishart edition of The German Ideology in 1938.

1

The chief defect of all previous materialism (that of Feuerbach included) is that things [Gegenstand], reality, sensuousness are conceived only in the form of the object, or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence, in contradistinction to materialism, the active side was set forth abstractly by idealism — which, of course, does not know real, sensuous activity as such. Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from conceptual objects, but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective activity. In Das Wesen des Christenthums, he therefore regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude, while practice is conceived and defined only in its dirty-Jewish form of appearance. Hence he does not grasp the significance of "revolutionary", of "practical-critical", activity.

2

The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Man must prove the truth, i.e., the reality and power, the this-worldliness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.

3

The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that the educator must himself be educated. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society.

The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.

4

Feuerbach starts out from the fact of religious self-estrangement, of the duplication of the world into a religious world and a secular one. His work consists in resolving the religious world into its secular basis. But that the secular basis lifts off from itself and establishes itself as an independent realm in the clouds can only be explained by the inner strife and intrinsic contradictoriness of this secular basis. The latter must, therefore, itself be both understood in its contradiction and revolutionised in practice. Thus, for instance, once the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be destroyed in theory and in practice.

5

Feuerbach, not satisfied with abstract thinking, wants [sensuous] contemplation; but he does not conceive sensuousness as practical, human-sensuous activity.

6

Feuerbach resolves the essence of religion into the essence of man. But the essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations.

Feuerbach, who does not enter upon a criticism of this real essence, is hence obliged:

1. To abstract from the historical process and to define the religious sentiment [Gemüt] by itself, and to presuppose an abstract — isolated — human individual.

2.  Essence, therefore, can be regarded only as "species", as an inner, mute, general character which unites the many individuals in a natural way.

7

Feuerbach, consequently, does not see that the "religious sentiment" is itself a social product, and that the abstract individual which he analyses belongs to a particular form of society.

8

All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.

9

The highest point reached by contemplative materialism, that is, materialism which does not comprehend sensuousness as practical activity, is the contemplation of single individuals and of civil society.

10

The standpoint of the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or social humanity.

11

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.


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