What is the meaning of Marx's statement—"Philosophers have so far interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it"—regarding literature?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Marx's point is that philosophy has not been used to practical ends. Though philosophers produce abstract ideas about the world, people do not adapt these abstractions into making practical changes in the world. In other words, philosophy is entirely abstract—with little connection to one's everyday life.

If this statement were applied to literature, it would mean that writers take on the abstract elements of life rather than address the practicalities of life. The question is whether writers, rather than basing their works on abstractions or larger themes, should instead turn to addressing ways people can change reality. Good literature, it could be argued, accomplishes both these ends. It deals with the larger conditions of human existence through examining the ways people live and poses ideas about how people can change.

Marx's brief essay "Theses on Feuerbach" ends with the words:

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.

Marx's point...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 630 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team