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European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche$
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Frank M Turner and Richard A. Lofthouse

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300207293

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300207293.001.0001

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Marx and the Transcendent Working Class

Marx and the Transcendent Working Class

(p.121) Chapter 8 Marx and the Transcendent Working Class
European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche

Frank M. Turner

, Richard A. Lofthouse
Yale University Press

This chapter examines the nineteenth-century story of Karl Marx and the emergence of his thought as one among many versions of social criticism and social utopianism in the 1840s. Some scholars have seen in Marx one more voice calling for a vast social transformation. Another widely influential interpretation of his intentions is that he used the categories of earlier religious thought (which he rejected) to create a secular messianic vision. A final interpretation is that for Marx the proletariat functions as a kind of collective Hegelian hero. This interpretation is appealing because it reminds us that Marx's thought was first and foremost rooted in that of Hegel. It also has the added attraction of a materialist Marx seeking for transcendent utopian change in history through the vehicle of the avenging hero of the proletariat.

Keywords:   Karl Marx, social criticism, social utopianism, social transformation, proletariat, messianic vision, Hegel

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