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Am I an Envious Marxist? V: Marxism

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Image Credit I promise this is the last in the series. As noted in previous essays, critics of capitalism are often accused of being Marxists and this attack is used to fallaciously justify rejecting their claims. The accusation of Marxism is also used as a signal with certain audiences; it is a way of saying that the target is a bad person and should be disliked. In most cases the target is not a Marxist—they are rather rare in the United Sates, even in higher education. While some might suspect that philosophy departments would be infested with Marxists, this does not match my own professional experience. Large philosophy departments, such as those at Ohio State or Florida State, do sometimes have one seemingly token Marxist. Most professional philosophers do not embrace Marxism and a common view was best put forth my advisor when I told him I was taking a class on Analytical Marxism: “Analytical Marxism…that would be doubly vacuous.” While I do think that Marx and those who influenced have offered some useful insights into political philosophy, I was not won over by Marxism. Since Marxism is now a vast philosophy with uncounted variants I cannot go through all the points of disagreement I have with Marxism. Instead, I will focus on the main philosophical disagreements I have with classic Marxism. While not focused on metaphysics, Marxism endorses metaphysical materialism and economic determinism. Materialism, in this context, is the view that reality is entirely composed of physical entities. This is usually contrasted with dualism, which is the view there are two basic types of entities: physical and immaterial. Descartes is a paradigm example of a dualist, since he argues for the distinction between mind and body. Marx’s materialism involves the obvious rejection of God. I’m a Cartesian dualist, so I most certainly part company with Marx here. I also am more of a skeptic regarding religion than an atheist, so I also part company with Marx. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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