The Three Spirits of Marx:
A Discussion on Divergent Legacies
The conflicting ideas present in the writings of Marx as both philosopher and social revolutionary have supplied over the last 150 years the rivers and tributaries of discussion around the contradictory elements present in his work and where we might take them. He has served as a starting point from which much of the tradition of critical philosophy springs from. Above all in developing a critical philosophy he stressed that “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it”
Moving forward with this imperative, I aim to elaborate the divergent legacies of Marx with the goal of answering which legacies of Marx are useful in building a pragmatic understanding of the world as well as libratory praxis towards radical social transformation (social revolution). I have identified three spirits of Marx, though perhaps there can be found more, which I will describe as the Determinist, Reformist and Subjective or Humanist spirits present within his writing. I also hope to speak to the role of subsequent figures who have contributed to these conceptions after Marx’s death.