7th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Eichler

Martin Eichler

A Condition of True Politics – Marx’ Critique of Social Illusions

The paper examines the relation between the phenomenon of social illusions and a normative notion of politics using the example of the early Karl Marx. Marx’ analysis of the social sphere is not understandable without his thesis, that political acting – and I mean acting in the most general sense – is possible which would be free from social illusions. This freedom is not within reach through pure acts of thinking, of gaining consciousness of this illusion, but only when it’s possible to change the forms of actions that create such illusions. An ultimate answer to the question of which social forms are suffering from illusions is not in every case possible. This is shown by the question of Gods existence. But every social phenomenon is to be challenged in this way. The paper analyzes two writings by Marx. With reference to his “Doctoral Thesis”, it distinguishes three kinds of illusions: subjective, collective and universal. On the basis of Marx’ “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” it develops the difference between true and real politics and examines the underlying practices of social illusions with its four elements: practical abstraction, objectification, veiling the process of objectification and gaining independence.