Marx at study

Study Guide for

Theses on Feuerbach


Questions for discussion:
1. Surely the whole point of materialism is that the thing exists independently of consciousness, or practice for that matter? Isn’t this statement by Marx idealist?
2. How can Marx praise the idealists for developing the active side? Isn’t it the materialists that are trying to change the world rather than relying on “ideas”?
3. What is the significance of “revolutionary”, of “practical-critical”, activity?


Questions for discussion:
4. If “the question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question”, what is the place for theory?


Questions for discussion:
5. Is the “materialist doctrine” referred to a valid one? Why does Marx say that it divides society into two parts? Can you give examples from present-day politics of this kind of thinking and how it must “divide society into two parts”?
6. What exactly does Marx means, then, by “revolutionary practice”?


Questions for discussion:
7. Can you give an example of “resolving the religious world into its secular basis”?
8. What does this Thesis tell us about how the hold of bourgeois ideology on the working class can be broken, other than by waiting for the revolution to abolish capital?


Questions for discussion:
9. Can you justify the assertion that “Sensuousness is practical, human-sensuous activity”?


Questions for discussion:
10. What is meant by “the human essence is ... the ensemble of the social relations”?
11. How does Feuerbach’s position “presuppose an abstract - isolated - human individual”?


Questions for discussion:
12. Why does Marx say a “particular form of society”?


Questions for discussion:
13. “All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice” But surely if we want to understand Nature we must study Nature, not human practice. Isn’t this a positivist or idealist position?


Questions for discussion:
14. Why does “contemplative materialism” lead to “contemplation of single individuals and of civil society”?
15. What is the specific thing that the idealists, who as Marx said, have “developed the active side”, have been able to bring out, which gets away from “contemplation of single individuals and of civil society”?


Questions for discussion:
16. What can be meant by “the standpoint of social humanity”?


Questions for discussion:
17. Either Thesis XI is a declaration of the uselessness of philosophy, and interpreting the world in general, or it is saying something more. In the light of the previous ten theses, what do you think it means?

Works of Feuerbach

Commentaries on Theses on Feuerbach

Marxism and Philosophy, Karl Korsch, 1923
Hegel, Dialectics as Logic, Evald Ilyenkov, 1974
Feuerbach, Idealism or Materialism?, Evald Ilyenkov, 1974
The Standpoint of Socialised Humanity, Cyril Smith, 1998
Preface from Progress Publishers

Andy Blunden, 2002