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Denis Mäder, Fortschritt bei Marx (Progress in Marx). Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2010, pp. 367

ISBN 978-3-05-004916-8

In the 20th century, both Marxists and their opponents took it for granted that Marx’s work contains an elaborate theory of history rooted in a decidedly optimistic mindset. This theory was usually considered to be essentially a sketch of an ideal future society – a theory of salvation merely dressed up as science. It is all the more surprising, therefore, that Marx’s thoughts on progress have so far not been the subject of a thorough investigation.

Denis Mäder’s study analyses the modern idea of progress and the way in which it is being discussed today. This analysis serves as the background to a reconstruction of the original concept of progress that emerges as a result of Marx’s critical confrontation with his own philosophical milieu (especially with Hegel, the Hegelians, and Proudhon).

Progress is the historical movement of goodness. Yet, for the dialectician Marx there can be no progress without opposition. He sees in progress the possibility of positive development without, however, obliterating alternative or contradictory forms of development.

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