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Ethical Theory of Karl Marx - Term Paper Example

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Ethical Theory of Karl Marx “Once we recognize that "good" is not a quality [but a relation], there is not necessarily a contradiction between your calling X good and my calling it not good. If this view is sound, there can be no genuine study of the ethical contribution of Marx's thought…
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Ethical Theory of Karl Marx
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Ethical Theory of Karl Marx

A significant portion of the great ethical theories developed by Karl Marx, were the reflection of the social environment, and were directly related to the manner in which the society functioned during those times (Truitt, 2005). The views of Marx with regard to ethics and morality have been an issue of debate among researchers and scholars alike, since a considerable period of time. Various researchers have debated Marx's preference for ethics, and have rejected the claims suggesting that he had no ethics or morality. In fact, he is known to have developed a scientific approach, which seeks to achieve the desired objectives in a morally neutral manner. However according to some others, he pioneered and conceived the idea of ethics based on his observations in the society. The same can be documented with the help of the following: "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas: i.e., the class, which is the ruling material force of society, is, at the same time, its ruling intellectual force. The class that has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production so that, thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of material production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas". (Truitt, 2005, Pp. 42) According to some authors, Marxism is starkly different as compared to other socialist systems, which is highly synonymous with its anti-ethical approach. They believe that there is no mention or presence of ethics in his ideologies, and hence no form of ethical judgment (Tucker, 1971). The ethical ideology as proposed by Karl Marx has become obsolete today, due to the application of historical materialism in a socialist society. The laws governed by morality and ethics were introduced to resolve issues related to social antagonism, but at the same time retaining the basic objectives through moral intimidation. The demands related to ethical doctrines, symbolizes the acknowledgment that the said perspectives do not lead to / encourage social antagonisms. Marx’s revolutionary ideologies with regard to philosophy overtly rejected the conventional normative philosophical ethics and at the same time, asserted the legacy of a constructive science (Hodges, 1962). Thus on the basis of the facts presented by several authors, it was claimed by many that Marx did not endorse ethics in his theories, as the basic element of ethics was missing in most of his works. Moreover, according to them the theories put forward by Marx, hardly reflected his preference to and attitude towards ethics and morality. This perspective was also challenged by several authors. They believed that the instances quoted by other authors to reject Marx’s attitude towards ethics and morality, and dismiss the same on those grounds, reflected a highly empiricist notion of science. However, it is highly doubtful to assume that Marx indeed in fact, endorse such a notion of science. In order to better understand the claims made by Marx, they could be studied in the light of those made by Hegel, with regard to science, since his views were largely influenced by those of the latter. Also, it was argued that Marx was not a scientist but a philosopher, and hence expecting him to be impartial and unflustered in his writings and observations would be a far-fetched idea. This claim could be ... Read More
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