Marx - From Hegel and Feuerbach to Adam Smith : a New Sysnthesis

Rahim, Eric (2017) Marx - From Hegel and Feuerbach to Adam Smith : a New Sysnthesis. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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    In The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (completed in August 1844) Marx takes two crucial steps in the formation of his worldview. The first relates to his rejection of all 'old' materialism, including Feuerbach's, and the adoption of his own version, which he called 'communist', 'practical'. This view was later presented definitively in the first Thesis on Feuerbach (spring of 1845), and elaborated in The German Ideology (1845-46). The second step relates to Marx's synthesising of the philosophical standpoint that he had developed up to this point (around the spring of 1844) with political economy. Up to this point he had spoken of alienation in largely philosophical terms; now it is rooted in the process of production. On both counts Adam Smith was an important influence. This claim provides the focus of this paper. To make this point successfully I have found it necessary to briefly trace the development of Marx's philosophical standpoint up to the writing of the Manuscripts, and to distinguish between the two methodologically distinct aspects of Adam Smith's thought, the one that Marx accepted and the other that he rejected.