Feedback loop conditions as manmade
The question arises, how to get out of this deterministic loop?  Is it an eternal chicken and egg problem?  No, when we consider revolutionary practice we have an opportunity to breakout.

The German Ideology (146-200) [From SSR Notes]

Written by Marx and Engels in 1845-46, this is essentially an elaboration of the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, with particular emphasis on the "materialist conception of history."

Covers three topics

materialist conception of history -- social/material connection among men from start, history is history of changes in it
materialist conception of consciousness -- from the outset social and "burdened with matter" (later we will encounter idea of consciousness as always already embodied)
dominant ideology thesis


Again, the by now somewhat familiar picture of the stages of development of the division of labor:
    1. tribal: elementary division of labor; extension of natural d of l existing in family
    2. ancient communal: urban system of masters and slaves; communal private property
    3. feudal state: rural system of lords and serfs; little d of l; feudal organization of trades into guilds 
Marx emphasizes the need to look at different societies and see how the social and political structure of each is connected to production


Never pure.  From the start material and social.
Marx offers some of "state of nature" ideas here.  Beginnings of consciousness of sociality.
(52a.9)But important step is when division of mental from material labor happens.  Permits "pure" conceptualization.  Thinking that is not thinking about reality.  Thinking that can think that it is thinking something real without actually thinking about actual practice.  Reification?  Idealization?  And treating ideals as if things.
Possibility of false consciousness foreshadowed here?

Private Property and Communism

Family as first property.
Division of labor and private property identical.
I take this paragraph (RST 53a.4) to be saying that division of labor is based on a sort of "each man (family) for himself" ethic and that it destroys or at least sets up a tension with the "general welfare" which is a real thing rooted in interdependence.  Div of labor gives everyone a job and you simply have to do it to survive regardless of what you want to do.  By contrast, in a communist society
"...possible for me to do one thing today adn another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd, or critic (53b.2)"

Dominant Ideology Thesis

"The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time the ruling intellectual force" (53b.4)
Marx here introduces an idea which continues to have a lot of traction : "the means of mental production." 

An added provocative point : "The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships...."

  1. Concerning the Production of Consciousness: The ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas (p. 172).
  2. The Real Basis of Ideology:The greatest division of material and mental labor is the separation of town and country. This is the separation of capital and landed property and the beginning of property having its basis only in labor and exchange (p. 176).
  3. Big industry universalized competition and thus produced "world history" for the first time (i.e., people were not dependent on the whole world to satisfy their wants).
  4. Relation of State and Law to Property: Through the emancipation of private property from the community, the State has become a separate entity, outside civil society. The State is the form in which the individuals of a ruling class assert their common interests.
  1. Communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse (p. 193). Only in the community is personal freedom possible (p. 197).

Leading Questions

  1. Recall that this "lecture" is called "Marx, Knowledge, and Ideology" -- what tools for the analysis of knowledge and ideology can we take away from it?