Description:

Students are asked to give a critical explanation and interpretation of a given passage, aimed at a fellow undergraduate who is not in the course. This involves at least 1) providing some biographical (intellectual and personal) information about the author; 2) situating the given passage within that author’s corpus (both in the particular text, and in general); 3) defining key terms and concepts, in the sense used by the author; 4) summarizing the author’s argument in the given passage and its immediate context; and 5) evaluating said argument.

Requirements:

  • Correct grammar and spelling, of course
  • Minimum length: 1200 words, excluding bibliography, footnotes, and header.
  • Minimum references: 5 cited quotations from at least 2 sources. I expect you to favor sources provided on Blackboard, and Wikipedia or a dictionary do not count as sources for this minimum. Hint: If you feel compelled to consult Wikipedia, go to the References and External Links sections at the end of the article to find primary or secondary sources. Required citation style is CMS Notes & Bibliography: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citation…
  • Please explain/interpret The passage
  • Marx, The German Ideology Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook; B. The Illusion of the Epoch; [7. Summary of the Materialist Conception of History]“This sum of productive forces, capital funds and social forms of intercourse, which every individual and generation finds in existence as something given, is the real basis of what the philosophers have conceived as “substance” and “essence of man,” and what they have deified and attacked; a real basis which is not in the least disturbed, in its effect and influence on the development of men, by the fact that these philosophers revolt against it as “self-consciousness” and the “Unique.” These conditions of life, which different generations find in existence, decide also whether or not the periodically recurring revolutionary convulsion will be strong enough to overthrow the basis of the entire existing system. And if these material elements of a complete revolution are not present (namely, on the one hand the existing productive forces, on the other the formation of a revolutionary mass, which revolts not only against separate conditions of society up till then, but against the very “production of life” till then, the “total activity” on which it was based), then, as far as practical development is concerned, it is absolutely immaterial whether the idea of this revolution has been expressed a hundred times already, as the history of communism proves.”
 
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