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10 - Engels’ Criticism of Feuerbach and Classical German Philosophy

from Part III - The Second Generation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 October 2021

Jon Stewart
Affiliation:
Slovak Academy of Sciences
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Summary

Chapter 10 is dedicated to Friedrich Engels, who studied in Berlin at the beginning of the 1840s. The chapter explores Engels’ short monograph entitled Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy. In this work he gives a critical evaluation of German philosophy and speaks with nostalgia of the important role of Hegel and Feuerbach for the development of his thought and that of his collaborator Karl Marx. Engels claims that the radical nature of Hegel’s philosophy lies in its dialectical methodology. While it might at first glance look like Hegel is attempting to glorify the actual, in fact his theory shows that everything that arises in history appears at a specific place and under specific circumstances, and in time everything grows old and decays, at which point it is replaced by something new that is better suited to the new situation. This is a recipe for criticism and revolution. It is argued that Marx and Engels also further develop Hegel’s idea of self-conscious and alienation into a theory of class consciousness.

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Hegel's Century
Alienation and Recognition in a Time of Revolution
, pp. 258 - 281
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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