Historical Materialism, Ideological Illusion, and the Aristotelian Heart of Marx’s Condemnation of Capitalism

Andrew N. Carpenter

Strony: 243 - 285



In the paper author advocates rejecting a prominent criticism of Marx, which holds that his condemnation of capitalism fails because it is based on incoherent, inconsistent moral reasoning. To rebut this criticism he investigates Marxs conception of ideological illusion, arguing that some moral judgments could be true even if people always possess moral beliefs because of ideological illusion. To support this thesis he provides epistemological argument about the nature of epistemic justification, proving that on any reasonable interpretation of knowledge, justification of moral beliefs is possible under even the extreme conditions of ideological illusion. He then introduces the final theme of the essay, namely that strikingly Aristotelian themes lie at the heart of Marxs ethical condemnation of capitalism. By discussing the similarity of Marxs account of alienation to Aristotles account of selfactualization he shows that both thinkers explicitly connect their accounts of development and actualization of human potential and freedom within a society with a sharp critique of economic forms that block or retard that development and actualization.