SOCY 151: Foundations of Modern Social Theory

Lecture 11

 - Marx's Theory of Historical Materialism (cont.)


Today we cover the transition from the young Marx, with his emphasis on change and action, to the mature Marx who turns toward positivist science and determinism, arguing that capitalism will have to fail. Through a closer look at Marx’s “Theses on Feuerbach,” we discuss different theories of truth with attention to the questions of where truth resides (in the subject, in the object, or some combination), how we know it, and how we know when we know it. Arguing for his conception of materialism, Marx argues that truth is not simply the reflection of the object in the mind of the subject; we must access truth through our senses and through activity. And we discuss two of Marx’s historical materialist claims: life determines consciousness and the ruling class always determines the ruling ideas of a people.

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Foundations of Modern Social Theory

SOCY 151 - Lecture 11 - Marx's Theory of Historical Materialism (cont.)

Chapter 1. Dialectics [00:00:00]

Professor Iván Szelényi: So today we will be talking about The German Ideology, and Marx becoming a historical materialist. I just wanted to make a couple of more comments about “The Theses on Feuerbach,” where Marx is on the edge, moving away from naturalism to historical materialism. But the emphasis in “The Theses on Feuerbach” is not so much on materialism, but it is much more on praxis, action, change, the lack of determination. Marx, as a materialist, is usually seen as a determinist. And if you took other courses where much was–Marx was touched upon, you were probably told Marx is a determinist, economic determinist. And there’s a lot of truth to it, but half-truths, and he is struggling in “The Theses on Feuerbach”–as I said, he’s on his way from naturalism to materialism, and the central idea is, as I said, praxis, human practices.

And that’s why I put down on the slides that it is a kind of dialectical, what Marx represents in “The Theses on Feuerbach”. Now Marx himself very rarely used the term ‘dialectical’. He had a clear enough mind to be suspicious about the word ‘dialectics’. Once, at an old age, he wrote a letter to Engels and he said, “You know Friedrich what? When I don’t know what something, then I say it is dialectical.” Right? And so dialectical means when you couldn’t really find out what the relationship between two phenomena is, when you say, “Well this is dialectical.” Well it’s a bit too simplistic.

The term ‘dialectical’, as I am sure you all know, go back to Greek philosophy. But even in Greek philosophy, the idea of dialectics was emphasizing change and the process. A famous Greek philosopher once said–and that tries to capture the essence of dialectics–“You cannot step in the same river twice. Because if you step in the river, five minutes later it is not quite the same river because the water is gone; this is a different water.” Right? So that dialectics means that the world is in flux, is in change. That’s, I think, one important idea of dialectics. And in “The Theses on Feuerbach”, Marx emphasizes–right?–that we are changing the world, rather just taking it. Right? In this sense he’s dialectical, and this is why he still resists materialism and determinism.

There is another, more contemporary adaptation of the word dialectics, which comes from Georg Hegel. And Marx again was shying away to use it very often. But his friend Friedrich Engels used it. He even said there is a dialectical materialism. Engels made a distinction between historical and dialectical materialism.

Now what was dialectics in Hegel? Hegel was trying to capturing the process of change. Right? Already in Greek philosophy the dialecticians emphasized that if you are looking at the world, this is not a picture, it is a movie–right?–and every minute you see something different. Now Hegel tried to come to terms with what is the essence of this change? In this essence of this change, he was looking at contradictions. Contradictions drive the change. So Hegel made a big distinction between thesis, antithesis and synthesis. So the change, what dialectics captures normally in social life, it starts with a thesis, and actual conditions, an antithesis, which is the negation of the situation, and then it leads to a synthesis, which is the negation of the negation. Right? In some ways the original condition is reconstituted, but in a different way; as Hegel put it, “preserving it by abolishing it.” Right? That’s the Hegelian insight what actually was–this kind of logic was attractive to Marx and the Marxists. Anyway, so this is dialectical.

And Marx, from dialectical, from the philosophy of praxis where praxis is crucial, eventually moves towards a more clearly deterministic, positivistic social science in which you have a very clearer idea what is the key cause and the consequences. Right? Doing very much what positivist social science is doing today; identifying the dependent variable and independent variable, to come up with a hypothesis how the dependent variable will cause variation, and the independent variable will cause variation in the dependent variable, and then to describe it. That is very much the mature Marx.

And because Marx was moving into, today we will call it normal science, he becomes a real scientist. He was becoming so much of a scientist that at one point he began to doubt there is much sense to make a distinction between social sciences and sciences. He himself began to see himself as the Darwin of social sciences. He was so much attracted with scientific reasoning–the late Marx, the second Marx we will start talking about–that he actually for awhile considered to dedicate the book, Kapital, to Charles Darwin, because he saw himself as doing for human history what Marx [correction: he meant Darwin, did to the evolution of the species. He wanted to do an evolution of human societies. Now luckily for Marx he did not do that. Right? He did not become a social Darwinist. Right? He resisted the temptation. But he was tempted.

Chapter 2. Revisiting Two Key Theses on Feuerbach [00:08:12]

Okay, I just want to go back very briefly to two “Theses on Feuerbach,” because they are very important. Right? And this is the idea. Right? He is now criticizing–right?–Feuerbach. And the problem with Feuerbach, he said, that Feuerbach, and other people who were materialists before him, they thought that there are things outside there, objective things, which are outside of the subject, which creates a knowledge about these objects–he called that Gegenstand, object–and the knowledge is nothing else but a reflection in human mind of the object outside there. This is a very typical theory of truth. Right? Very widely shared today, and probably a theory of truth what many of you in this room share. Right? When is your knowledge accurate? You think about your mind as a mirror. If the image of the object, or the objective world outside, is accurately reflected in the mirror of your mind, then you got it. Right? So what we try to do is to have the most perfect mirror in our mind, and capture the objective reality as precisely and as much in detail as possible.

Well Marx says this is simply, you know, reflection, and we should go beyond that. Right? He said, “What is good about what Feuerbach did, what is good what”–for instance, what Montesquieu did. These were the two people we discussed so far who were clearly, you know, materialist; though I mean Hobbes was pretty much a materialist as well, believing that this is sort of biological conditions which drive us and makes us what we are. So they all started from sensuousness. Right? That the reality is something what we can get at through our senses. Right? We smell it, we touch it, we see it, and unless we touch it, we see it, we smell it, we doubt whether it exists. Right? That’s the difference–right?–between materialist and idealist. Ideas you don’t get through your senses. Right? You get it through your mind.

But he said this is–this materialism is sensuous only in the sense of contemplation. The object is outside of the subject and you get a grasp of it through your senses. And he said, “Well, but what I am suggesting in my new approach is sensuous–all right?–but a sensuous human activity–an activity, as such.” I mentioned very briefly that this, in the last lecture–let me just make–come back to this point again. This is what Jürgen Habermas, arguably the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century–well he’s still alive but he may–you know? The twenty-first century has a long way to go to decide who will be the greatest philosopher. But many thinks that Jürgen Habermas was the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century. He said, “Well yes, Marx in “The Theses on Feuerbach” is right” at one point. I mean, Habermas had his ‘culture’ turn, moved away from materialism. But in most of his life he said, “I am a materialist because I also believe that the ultimate reality has to come through sensuous experiences, through the senses.” Right? But he said, “Marx later on, the mature Marx became reductionist, because the sensuous activity he identified with the economy, with production, with economic activities.” And he said, “In “The Theses on Feuerbach” he got it right. All sensuous activity are material.” “So therefore,” he says, “let’s not simply limit our analysis to production, but let’s look at human interaction.” When we interact with each other, this is also a sensuous activity. Right?

So he creates peace between Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx. Many people try to do that. Right? That this is not an opposition, that it is either production or your sexual drives. You know, your sexual drives–your sexual interaction with others–is very much sensuous. Right? It’s actually more sensuous than doing a job–right?– than, you know, being in McDonald’s and serving hamburgers. That’s sensuous activity. But all right, you know, sexual interaction is very much sensuous. That’s Habermas’s point. And Marx, in “The Theses on Feuerbach”, opens this possibility up. It’s a very open argument. Okay?

This is actually one of the reasons why he does not publish it. It’s too vague. He wanted to be more precise, and then he wanted to go–he was reading Adam Smith and Ricardo, and spent all of his time in the British Library reading these economists, and he wanted to bring it back down to earth, to the economy and economic interest. And now let me start to this, because I think that’s very important the theory of truth. And I want you to think about it. I think this is very interesting.

So what is truth? And to be very simplistic–right?–you have two competing theories of truth. One theory of truth, what I think most of you have in your mind, is the kind of reflection theory of truth–that our mind is a mirror. More accurately it reflects the objective reality out there more true, the knowledge what we have in our mind is. And Marx, in “The Theses on Feuerbach”, says, “Not so. The truth is a practical question. The problem with the reflection theory of truth is that it is positivist and it is alienated.” I’ll throw in another word coined by a major Marxist philosopher of the twentieth century, Georg Lukács. He called it this is reified consciousness. Reified–you know, Lukács was writing in German, and in German he used the term Verdinglichung. Ding means a thing. I think reification is a very good translation. Only those of us who speak English but do not speak Latin don’t necessarily quite get it. Right? Rei in Latin means the thing. Reification is the process in which we turn stuff, what is not a thing, into an objective thing.

It’s a kind of–right?–Lukácsian reinterpretation of Marx’s notion of alienation. Marx’s term, in German, for reification was Entfremdung; fremd means alien. Right? So alienation is a good translation. Right? You are alienated if you feel alien, if you feel homeless in this world. Now I think but Lukács has an interesting idea–right?–that the essence of alienation is when we’re beginning to see the world, what actually we created–the world is our creation and this objective world will rule us. We do not see ourselves as the masters of the world, but we see ourselves as ruled by the world. Right? And this is reified consciousness, when we’re beginning to see the objective reality, we cannot do anything about it. Right? And the essence is the philosophy of praxis of the young Marx, ending–right?–with “The Theses on Feuerbach”, the point is to change it; the point is to change the world.

So in contemporary discourse we usually call this positivism. Right? Positivists are those social scientists who think there are objective facts out there, and the purpose of social investigation is to establish most objectively and most concretely what those objective social facts are. You are an economist, you describe the objective facts. Right? You say, “Well you have to maximize profit, because if you do not maximize profit, then you will be wiped out of business.” Right? This is almost like a force of nature.

Again, if I can recall Georg Lukács, he coined this wonderful term second nature. Right? That we’re beginning to think about social life as if it were natural, as if it would have the power of nature; the economic laws look like lightening. You know? Like, you know, this force– like earthquakes. Right? You can’t do virtually nothing about an earthquake. If we can’t predict what we can’t predict, we can just get into our car and get out of it. Right? But even we cannot really predict earthquakes. That’s one of the problems. Right? Well now we can predict when a hurricane is coming. What can we do? You get in the car and get out of there, where the hurricane will come. Now, you know, the point is that positivism does posits social phenomena as if they had the force of nature. And that’s what Lukács called we create the social world as if it were second nature, as if it had the force of nature. He said this is all wrong because this is the world what we created. We should rule it. Right? That’s the idea, to overcome alienation; to become the master of your fate. Right? To be able–right?–to change the objective conditions.

And we will–you know, in The German Ideology, Marx puts it very powerfully. I would say it’s almost the last word what in this debate he said– was said. I don’t think anybody really improved on it. He said, “Well, humans change the conditions. But we were born under certain conditions, and we can only change the conditions we were born into.” Right? So it’s an interesting interaction between yes, I mean we can’t do anything–right?–because we were born into conditions, but within some limits we can change those conditions. By the way, it’s not all that different from Hobbes–right?–and voluntary action, the theory of voluntary action. There is a similarity here.

Now I’ll finish this and get onto The German Ideology. But there is one thing what I cannot leave out, too–I think too insightful and important to leave it out. So let me come back to this subject and object issue. Right? What I’ve suggested, it is so extremely important, not only for Marx but for the whole critical theory, and, in fact, for anti-positivism of all sorts in the twentieth and twenty-first century. I mentioned, for instance, cultural theory, which is very strongly anti-positivist–right?–and rejects social science as normal science.

So what we have is subject. And that is you–right?–the person who has a consciousness and is a cognitive subject–is involved in cognitive activity, creating knowledge. And then there are objects about which we create knowledge. Reflection theory of truth said that this is a mirror and if the objects are accurately described in the mirror of our mind, that is truth. This is the whole test of having verification of hypotheses. Right? I develop a hypothesis. Then I go there and test it on the social reality, and if it is matches, then it is verified, I got truth. Right?

Now the philosophy of praxis says that truth is not simply a reflection, it’s an interaction between subject and object; that’s where truth is. And there is this wonderful philosopher– not a very easy read, but still I think a wonderful mind. His name is Adorno. Adorno belonged to the Frankfurt School and was active mainly in the 1940s and ’60s–’30s and ’60s. And well he formulated this so powerfully. He said, “What is truth?” He said, “The truth is the force-field between subject and object.” Right? “Not simply a reflection of the object, but it is between the tension of subject and object.” Right? I think this is beautifully done. Right? It is in the force-field of subject and object.

So let me also add one more point, and then we can move away the theory of truth. But I want you guys to think about what is truth? Right? When can you say an idea is true? In fact, Adorno at one point said about Nazism. You know? He said–experiencing, he was Jewish and many of his family were killed–right?–by the Nazis. And he said, “The reality, Nazi reality, is so miserable that it does not deserve to be called true.” You see the point? You also say that occasionally, when you see something horrible and you can say, “No, that cannot be true.” Right? This is exactly Adorno’s point. This can be so miserable that you say it cannot be true. And the idea is that they are so miserable that you are completely powerlessness about these nature-like forces though it is unacceptable–right? You should be able to do something about it. Right? We should have been able to do something about Auschwitz, and they could not do anything about it. And that’s what Adorno said. This reality was such that it should not be called true; it cannot be truth. You see what it is getting at?

A very final point about this theory of truth, and this is through another guy, Karl Mannheim. This is very much along this line. He was very much not a Marxist. He was a conservative philosopher. His major work was done in England. Mannheim once said, “The truth is not being. The truth is becoming.” Bingo. Right? Wonderfully put. Right? The truth is not simply that you describe how things are. You really know what the truth is when you know what it can be, and what you can do about it. The real purpose of cognition is not simply to describe the world but to change it–right?–to make it a better world. That’s when you have real truth, when you know how to make the world better. Right? So the truth is not being but becoming. And that’s the philosophy of praxis. But I think that’s where Marx is in writing “The Theses on Feuerbach”, and that’s what he is moving away from when he’s beginning to write The German Ideology.

But he is writing together with Friedrich Engels. And now you see he has to abandon–he cannot publish the book– “The Theses on Feuerbach” because it is too voluntaristic. Right? He abandoned The Paris Manuscript because it was fluffy. Right? “Nobody will believe me that the revolution will come because the proletariat is alienated.” And then when he finished–I think this–I mean, not all eleven sentences are great, but some of those sentences are really great sentences. He wrote it down and he never published it because he said, “Well, this is too voluntaristic.” Right? “I have to come up with a more- with a theory which will prove to people that the revolution will come. Capitalism has to fall. It is not only a question whether we decide to change it or we don’t have to change it.” Right? “I have to come up with a theory which will prove that capitalism will have to fall.” Right? That’s what puts him into the deterministic mode.

He actually becomes never really deterministic. It’s a very simplistic reading of Marx. You know, after all this guy is a theorist of the revolution. He thought that revolutionary ideas should be put into people’s head. This idea did not think that ideas do not matter. If he would have believed ideas do not matter, he would not have spent, you know, all of his time, eight in the morning, nine– until nine p.m. in the British library, and writing books. Right? If ideas do not matter, why do you write down ideas? Because he believed that ideas will change the world. Right? So he was never completely a deterministic. But in the nature of the work he’s moving towards economic determinism.

And the reason is that now he wants to prove that capitalism–yes, it had great achievement. During the time of capitalism society developed more than ever before capitalism. But nevertheless it will have to come an end. Capitalism will not last forever. And now he has to prove that thesis, that it must come to an end. So that puts him on a deterministic trajectory. That’s what makes him–he has to become–he has to accept materialism; that material conditions determine human action and consciousness. So that’s what he–they are beginning to develop in The German Ideology.

Chapter 3. The German Ideology: Major Themes [00:31:32]

And this is the structure of the book. The first chapter is a critique on Feuerbach; takes on from “The Theses on Feuerbach” but tightens the argument and becomes strictly materialist, and gets out of this voluntaristic element. He has some introductory remarks about critique of idealism and the premises of the new materialism he is proposing now, what he’s beginning to call now historical materialism–stays away from the word ‘dialectical’. And then he develops–right?–a materialist conception of history and historical development. He replaces Adam Smith’s categorization of societies as hunting, gathering, grazing, agricultural or commercial with a new typology. This new typology will be the typology of the modes of production. Not–in fact, in The German Ideology he stays pretty close to Adam Smith. I will point this out. And this is one of his problems. This is one of the reasons why The German Ideology was also left unfinished and unpublished. Right? As I indicated, it was first published–and not the complete text–only in 1903, well after the deaths of Marx and Engels.

Then he writes about the origins of idealist conception of history, where it is coming from. He’s writing about the development of productive forces, and eventually this covers the notion of relations of production. I will make a big deal out of this, because I think that’s one of the reasons that The German Ideology fails, that until the very end he does not know the term of relations of production, and he runs into some very big problems.

And then he writes on Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner. These are Young Hegelians. People usually don’t read these chapters. And Volume II, I mean you must be a Marx expert to read this. This is really basically irrelevant, not very interesting.

Okay, what are the major themes in The German Ideology? First, he offers a materialist view of history. Then he offers a theory of modes of production. Then he’s beginning to develop forces of production and initially division of labor; and this is a problem. This is very much Adam Smith. He’s still very strongly under Adam Smith and understands the evolution of society as the evolution of division of labor. And then he describes– tries to describe the forces of production and division of labor–modes of production and describes a subsection and modes of production and give a very about human history. And then he develops what I would call–he’s the first who creates a sociology of knowledge–how to study sociologically, socially how you can understand conscience, human consciousness.

Chapter 4. The Materialist View of History [00:35:06]

Okay, so the materialist view of history. And now here you can see Marx the positivist social scientist speaking. And Marx is the first of positivist social scientists–rigorous positivist scientist. And what he describes here will be subscribed and accepted most of the positivist types in your political science or sociology or economics or psychology departments. Right? He said, “The premises from which we begin with are not arbitrary ones; not dogmas but real premises, from which abstractions can only be made in the imagination.” So you start from the objective conditions and then you speculate from this. So what we start are real individuals, and the activities of these individual; actual activities of these individuals. And then he moves a little further. Their conditions of life, both what they find already existing and those what they produce by their activities. Right? So, he said, “German philosophers descended from the heaven to earth. Now we are ascending from earth to heaven.” Right? “We do not deduction, we do induction. This is the inductive method what we use.” And if you are a positivist, you will love it. You see, this is real serious science–right?–looking at facts.

And then he said, “Well ideas have no history, no development. Man developing the material conditions, and then material intercourse, altered their thinking. So it is really our material existence which has a history, and ideas reflect those material conditions.”

Chapter 5. Theory of Modes of Production [00:37:18]

And then he’s beginning to develop the theory of modes of production. He said, “Well, man can distinguish from animals in different ways. But most important is that we produce, that we change the environment in a purposeful manner. Right? That we have an image how to change the physical environment for us. “And what actually matters is not simply what we produce–and this is a very important idea–“but the mode of production, how we produce, how we engage each other. Because this will change in history,not simply what we produce.” Well this is a revolutionary idea. Again, this is completely new in Marx.

Before Marx, you went into a museum and the museum was about great people. Right? These were kings and queens and generals and popes whose pictures were presented there, and this was the way how history was described. Now you go into a history, and now you can see this is a living room, how people lived in Roman times, and this is the way how they ate, this is the way how they cooked, and these are the instruments by which they produced the stuff what they cooked in their kitchen. Right? This is how a modern historical museum looks like, and this comes–this is really a revolution from Marx. History is not the history of great ideas and great men, or great women. History is the idea of the actual way how people lived and produced and reproduced their ideas.

Chapter 6. Forces/Relations of Production and Division of Labor [00:39:08]

Well he said, “Well, we can distinguish therefore differences between nature, how the productive forces”–he means by technology–“is developing and how”–he uses initially the term the inter–“the intercourse, internal intercourse is changing.” And by this he refers to division of labor. A very Smithsian idea, Adam Smith’s idea. Right? That history evolves a greater division of labor–we will see in Emile Durkheim also this central idea–you can see the evolution of society by increasing division of labor.

Chapter 7. Human History: Subsequent Modes of Production [00:39:49]

And then he tries to come up with subsequent modes of production. Now he said, “Now I actually can describe the history as different types of mode of production, moving from elementary forms. The most elementary form is tribal society. In tribal society where the technology is very simple and there is very little division of labor”–he is sexist enough to say–“there is a natural division of labor between men and women. Men go hunting and women go collecting woods in the forest.” And that he calls natural. This is, of course, a sexist proposition. But, you know, he was writing it in 1845–was not the only man who was sexist.

“Well the second form is,” he said, “ancient communal or state property; antiquity.” Now you have development of forces of production, and in fact you have a separation of ownership and greater division of labor, where now people can produce more than necessary for their survival. Therefore there will be slaves who will be working day and night, and there will be philosophers who sit in Athens and Rome and have great ideas. Right? Because the slaves produce the stuff, what they can eat and they can enjoy. So the division of labor evolves.

And then the third, now we have the evolution of feudalism. Well slaves were great, producing cheap, but the problems with slaves were that they did not have much incentive to use very complicated technology. You had to supervise them very closely because they really hated your guts and if they could they did break–right?–the instruments if t. So you did want to give them complex technologies. So you invent serfdom.

You say, “You know, why don’t you become a serf rather than a slave? You can have your house and I’ll give you a piece of land. And if you behave yourself, two days you work on my estate and you produce stuff for me, and I’ll let you to spend the rest of the week producing for yourself.” But the big problem is that with the evolution of feudalism, the fall of Rome and Greece and, you know, rise of Charlemagne and, you know, the Dark Middle Ages, the division of labor did not develop. There was less division of labor in the eleventh and twelfth century than it was in the first and second century. So the methodology breaks down. Marx is in deep trouble.

And as you can see, you can read the text, he leaves after this the page blank. He said, <>, “I’m in trouble.” Right? “I have to start this all over again.” And he starts all over again and tries to come up with something better.

Chapter 8. Sociology of Knowledge [00:43:07]

Well sociology of knowledge, a very important contribution. This is unfortunately completely wrong, what he’s saying, but the methodology is extremely important, and informed people who were studying cognition and knowledge ever since. And he makes this very important suggestion. “Well life determines consciousness” rather than the other way around. And the other argument, which I think is desperately wrong, but very insightful: “Ruling class always determines the ruling ideas of each people.”

Now life determines consciousness. And this is kind of the essence–right?–of materialism. Right? “Definite individuals, who are productively active in a definite way, enter into definite social and political relationships. The production of ideas is at first directly interwoven with material activity and the material intercourse of man.” Tell me, you know, how much money you have in your pocket and I will tell you what your ideas are, to put it very simplistically. Right? Tell me which class you belong to and I will be able to tell you what your ideas are. Right? Well indeed, you know, there is a strong class component, for instance, in voting behavior; not so much in the United States, because in the United States if you are poor, you usually do not vote. Right? And therefore, you know, the Democratic Party is kind of scrambling to get a little working class vote; more than that, without scaring the middle class away for voting them. Right? That’s the big traditional trouble of the Democratic Party. But if you look at Europe or you look at Australia–the Australian Labor Party was getting a solid, you know, working class vote. So tell me what your class position is and I will tell you how you will vote in the next elections. As I said, in the U.S. it doesn’t work. But it does work in Sweden. It did work in England for a long time. It, by and large, worked in Australia. Right? If you are–to some extent it even works in the United States. Well there are some very rich people who are Democrats. But typically those guys who are very rich, don’t they tend to be Republican? Right? I think they probably do. Right? So, I mean, there is–this is what Marxists are getting at. Right? “Tell me, you know, what your materialist interests are and then I’ll tell you what is on your mind.”

Reductionist. Again we will read Sigmund Freud. He said, “Well true.” But this is not only economic interest. “Tell me the history of your sex life and I’ll tell you what is on your mind.” Right? You know, it’s an analogous argument. Right? It is existence which determines consciousness. Right? Both of them said, “Well, it’s not necessarily true, that what is in your mind true. But I know where it is coming from.” Right? “You were in love with your mother–right?–if you were a man–“and you suppressed all your desire for your mother, and that’s why you have your–these false ideas in your mind.” Right? “Or you were a–you are a girl and you were loving father. You could not fulfill this love. Suppress your desire and you have all these strange ideas there. That’s why you are neurotic. Right? And I can tell you.” Right? That’s the way how Marx [correction: he meant Freud, will argue it.

Sort of, you know–this is also reductionist, by the way. But there is a common interesting idea: who we are biologically, class-wise, race-wise, gender-wise, that makes a difference. I see in the discussion sections. Very often–right?–if we have a real hot topic–you know, do you want to have universal healthcare, for instance, well there is usually a gender division in the class. Right? Sort of, you know, gender has an impact. Right? Well speaking about it, I get into affirmative action. Right? Well of course we are in a liberal university. Few people dare to speak up against affirmative action. But, you know, among white males well there is usually less articulation–right?–to defend the idea of affirmative action. Woman and minorities are more likely to defend it. Okay? So I know who you are, I know what your ideas will be. Right? Your interests form your ideas. That’s the idea. I think this is a very important idea. Right? Put in a simplistic way. And that comes to the idea that the ruling class is really producing the ruling ideas. Well not quite true, but there is an element of truth to it. Right? There is an ideological hegemony in the world. Okay, that’s about it for today. Thank you.

[end of transcript]

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