Cogniton and Marxism

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 1995

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Practical Cognition

Theories of Knowledge (Karl Marx)

In his early years of writing, Karl Marx's ideas were similar to American Pragmatism, especially his ideas about epistemology. He defines truth in a pragmatic fashion and explains cognition in terms of practical needs of the human being. While some of his ideas were not followed to their logical conclusion, nor made sense, the fundamentals of his epistemology contain

valuable ideas which can be viewed as furthering pragmatism as a respectable philosophy. His theory of cognition states that cognition is a biological function of the human which is used as a tool for his survival.

Marx defines truth in a pragmatic way. The truth value of a judgement is due to the usefulness of accepting or rejecting the judgement. A statement is true if accepting it makes a positive difference or has a helpful influence and it is false if accepting it causes difficulty or

dissatisfaction. The meaning of a statement is the practical result of accepting the statement. In general, then, the truth or falsity of a statement is relative, not only to the individual accepting or rejecting the statement, but also to the circumstances in which that person finds

himself. Truth is relative, but Marx is not an extreme relativist (no one to be taken seriously is) because there is a constraint to how relative the truth can be; Humans are making the truth judgements, and humans have a common element, viz . their needs, which do not vary greatly between people.

Humans are in contact with nature at a fundamental level. The human understanding of nature is a consequence of the fact that nature confronts humans when they try to fulfill their needs. This is the case with any organism, and each species reacts according to the tools of...