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How does Marx understand human history and the future of human societies

How does Marx understand human history and the future of human societies

Answer these questions, super easy for political thought class please read the directions carefully though

1. Watch this documentary:

There are very many documentaries on Marx. It’s hard to find one that sticks with Marx and is free of critique or ideological praise. This one seems to strike a middle road, at least more than the rest.)

2. Read the rest of the material from Karl Marx in your book, i.e., 169-180. (You should have the whole section, pages 158-180, by Thursday.)

3. Address the following questions in one (full) to two, single-spaced pages of clear, focused prose:

– How does Marx understand human history and the future of human societies?

– What is “Utopian socialism” and how does Marx’s theory differ?

4. Address in one single-spaced page one of the following?

– Is Marx’s political philosophy “scientific”?

Or

– What is helpful in Marx’s analysis and of western society in an industrial age and capitalist “system”? Dangerous?

This week we will look at a contemporary of Karl Marx, Alexander Herzen. He was neither a conservative preserver of traditional order (such as Burke perhaps) or a revolutionary thinker like Marx or Engels. You can read a bit about him on pages 182-183. Those of you with more chutzpah will want more, however. There is plenty about him on the interwebs, but if you want a quasi-Oxford lecture experience, you should listen to Isaiah Berlin’s lecture on this most interesting man: https://youtu.be/wOj3V21g4ng. Vladimir Lenin erroneously called him the father of Russian socialism, but I’d say he’s more in the tradition of Aleksandar Solzhenitsyn. (Because socialists live in the world of abstraction divorced from reality and hence aren’t so concerned with facts, accuracy, and truth, they like to co-opt thinkers and ideas generated in other traditions and claim them as their own.) In any case, after acquainting yourself with his context, you should then read the excerpt from From the Far Shore. It’s found on pages 204-214. Then, address the following questions: What makes Herzen such a distinct political thinker? What are the first principles of his political philosophy? What do you make of his advice at the very end of the excerpt on page 214 in the context of the mid-nineteenth century (where political revolutions were not uncommon)?

Your second assignment is to read an excerpt from what is universally regarded as a classic description of the early American republic and handbook (a very large one) for thinking about life in a free society—Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Here is a very brief, animated overview of the book: https://youtu.be/Rzr3AOtFA8o. The excerpt in your book deals with two topics—the inevitability of democracy and the nature of it in America. Your assignment is to read pages 214-222 and answer the following questions: What does de Tocqueville mean when he describes democracy as something that “cannot be stopped” and “cannot be guided”? What is his assessment of American democracy? What does he think is its “main evil”? Why does he think there is no “barrier” to tyranny in America? (This may help on the last question: https://youtu.be/7fTk7by9Wug.)

 

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How does Marx understand human history and the future of human societies

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