Marx’s work, for the unfamiliar, has been usually reduced to The Communist Manifesto and/or to some abridged versions of Capital. This, of course, makes impossible a serious analysis of his work. A great deal of Marx’s contribution is not only outside his most popular books, but in the evolution of his though, in his intellectual path, in the dialog between his ideas. In paying attention to that, we are giving Marx his real importance.
In this sense, it is crucial to describe and understand the context and the process which led to the development of Marx’s ideas, both in his earlier texts and in the later ones. In discussing and comparing the critique of philosophy given in texts like ‘Towards a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction’ (1844) and the critique of political economy showed in Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1 (1867), we will see the continuity of Marx’s thought in some aspects and the breaks and evolution in others. And using the very notion of critique and the implication that it has in both stages of his work, we will be able to understand how compatible those stages are.
2. The notion of critique as a first comparison point
2.1 Early Texts
The idea of critique is something that is present very strongly throughout Marx’s works; however, the way his critique changes its form and direction will give us the main comparison point to contrast his early and later texts.
In the works around 1843-1844 we can clearly identify criticism as the main weapon of Marx’s discourse. In ‘Towards a Critique’, a ruthless criticism is proposed as what according to Marx should be the principal task of philosophy, a criticism which, given the social circumstances, should deeply touch the fi...
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...ossibility of social change was to be found in the analysis of the modes of production, and to do that he had to build an entire new system, away from the formulas and the mechanism of bourgeois way of thinking.
Although the notion of critique in Marx in this essay has been an excuse to make a reflection on how compatibles the two main stages of his thought are, it serves as a very efficient point of comparison; and the best way to summarize that comparison is by using Osborne’s idea of critique as what heals the gap between philosophy and the real world in the early Marx, and his following thought about later Marx: “In this respect, strictly speaking, for Marx, there was no science of economics, but only critique”. This summarizes all the implications that both critiques have in Marx and, in many ways, justifies our argument about the differences between them.
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