Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 375: Philosophy of Marxism

PHIL 375: Philosophy of Marxism

The Generic Catalog Description

A study of the philosophical dimensions of the thought of Karl Marx, his 19th century precursors and 20th century interpreters.  Outcome: Students will be able to understand and articulate philosophical problems and answers to questions regarding the thought of Karl Marx and Marxism.

 PHIL 375: The Philosophy of Marxism

David Schweickart

No Philosopher in the world has had more direct impact on the historical developments of the past centuries than Karl Marx. For much of the twentieth century there was scarcely a country in the world that did have a Marxist political party either in power or contending for power. There was scarcely a poor country not already governed by a Marxist party that did not have a Marxist guerilla movement aiming at revolution. The “specter of Communism” struck terror in the hearts of many, while inspiring hope in the hearts of many.

What was it that Marx said that had such an impact? To what extent did later Marxists deviate from Marx’s own thought? Were there subsequent thinkers who developed Marx’s analysis in new and fruitful directions? Does Marx have anything to offer us today, or might his thought be justly consigned to the “dustbin of history”? These are the questions the course will address.

To do so, we will spend the first half of the course reading Marx. During the second half we will examine four relatively short books by thinkers deeply influenced by Marx, two critical theorists, the key figure who has developed world-systems theory, and myself.