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Historical Materialism by Karl Marx - Essay Example

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In the essay “Historical Materialism by Karl Marx,” the author analyzes the purpose of the theory, which is to look for the causes of historical developments and changes in human society. An emphasis is given to the way in which humans provide a means of living for themselves collectively…
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Historical Materialism by Karl Marx
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Download file to see previous pages ” Marx meant that merely being conscious could not determine to the extent that a person existed within the world. There was a context that existed within the world that exists before people come into the world, and this context will shape the person. Without this context, there would be no boundaries in which people would be able to create their existence; they could decide to whatever they wished, such as king, a general, or a venture capitalist. Obviously, people must deal with circumstances outside of their control, and this is the context in which their social existence exists that will ultimately shape their consciousness. It is because of this social existence, this context in which we live, that people are inevitably able to become a person that has an identity based on what is actually possible. Obviously, a person living in the U.S. today would not be able to become a king. This particular facet of social classes is not in existence in modern day America. One would be able to become a venture capitalist, but one could not become a venture capitalist during the times of feudal systems when kings the single power in the land. In this way, people are limited in the ways in which they can determine their consciousness, and therefore it is their social existence and that context that determines a personal consciousness.
As far as the term itself, while Marx didn’t actually refer to it as this himself, there are two aspects to the word, historical and materialism. It was called this because Marx was ultimately attempting to determine why history has taken the path that it has. If he could determine the reasons for why certain historical trends took place, then he would be able to make predictions as far as future historical trends.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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