Past Meetup

Discussion: Karl Marx's "Idealism and Materialism"

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Portland Roasting Coffee

815 SE Oak Street · Portland, OR

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Discussion Facilitator: Richard Pope
Teacher bio:


During this discussion, we’ll analyze an excerpt of Karl Marx'x writing titled “Idealism and Materialism.”

The text can be found here:

In this excerpt, Marx discusses some of his foundational ideas, including the material course of history, how idealism / religion deludes humankind, and how human beings are the product of their material world, which is to say, the world created by their economy, technology, and possessions. A note on the reading: the wording in this essay can be abstract, and there are times when Marx is responding to the ideas of his time, which may seem irrelevant to our concerns today. For these two reasons, don’t feel bad if you don’t understand what Marx is writing about, or if you have to skim certain sections of skip them entirely. Just do your best to read through the selection, if only to get a sense of how Marx constructs his ideas.

The first part of our discussion will focus on unpacking this essay and bringing forth relevant philosophical reflections; the second part will focus on exploring the question: “To what extent is Marx correct when he asserts that our material conditions create who we are as individuals?”

Theory, Criticism, and Society: 10/2018 – 3/2019 During this semester, we’ll explore ideas from theory and criticism focusing on art, literature, music, and culture, with the further intention of applying such ideas to the creation and organization of society. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of theory and criticism, and to broaden our perspective of the world we live in—and the possibilities open to us.