What values did Marx share with Enlightment thinkers? what values did he critize? Please give quatations and page numbers.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous answer is as good as you're going to get. I'll just briefly talk about Marx's philosophy or science of history which is called 'dialectical materialism' or 'historical materialism.' This theory supposes that even if there is a God, God is uninvolved. Human history is created by humanity and the laws of nature: materialism. Marx took Hegel's idealist philosophy and made it material - no metaphysics, just science.

His historical materialism was based on the dialectical formula of thesis, antithesis, synthesis, where all things contain contradictions and eventually, synthesis. This science of history showed how society develops not via consciousness but via the means of production. In other words, history is determined by humans producing the means of their own subsistence (food, clothes, goods of all kinds).  So, it is through our production of things, that we reproduce ourselves. And in the events when class becomes an issue, when in capitalism, the owning class oppresses the workers, the workers lose all ownership of the means of production, and thereby, the means of producing themselves. So, they have no say in the development of personal or world history.  After years of quantitative class/political struggle this will, mathematically and scientifically, give rise to a qualitative change, possible a revolution (American, French and Hatian occur during the Enlightenment). Think of a rising wave, gaining momentum bit by bit and finally crashing when the inequality between the top and the bottom becomes too great. This would be bringing the top down, giving the control of the means of production to those who do the actual producing: the workers. Marx saw this as an evolutionary thing, moving towards a realistic utopia. So, society would progress, get better. This is the whole idea behind the Enlightenment: that through scientific examination, we can create a better world.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The exact wording can be found in the document, as it is relatively brief writing sample.  The emphasis on rational thought in terms of economic dialecticalism might be where there is some similarity between Marx and the Enlightenment Thinkers.  Marx goes out of his way to argue that the progression to a classless society and the imminent critique of capitalism are not romantic and "wild eyed" notions, but rather statements made out of strict calculation and historical analysis.  This stress on data based assertion is another Enlightenment notion.  In terms of Enlightenment values criticized, Marx sees liberalism and capitalism as willing collaborators to deny the masses their rightful shares.  In Marx's mind, the liberal governments of the West have created the system where terms like "privacy" and "self interest"- Enlightenment terms- have become decoys for the wealthy classes to own the means of production.  Marx's calling for abolition of these elements help to drive home the fact that capitalism is a system of the past and one that will not be able to survive.

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The Communist Manifesto

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