Marx’s Discourse with Hegel

The product of eight years of research, Levine’s study divides Marx’s relation to Hegel into two provinces; areas of discontinuity and continuity.

Marx’s discontinuity from Hegel arose from his negation of the Hegelian System, the belief that Spirit was the predicative force in the universe. Marx’s continuity with Hegel concerns Hegelian methodology, or the structural procedures of reason itself described in The Science of Logic. Marx incorporated the organic image of Hegel and applied it to political economy and Marx interpreted economic systems, Das Capital, as organic system. Completion of this study required that Levine not only master the bibliography of Marx, but that of Hegel as well, and he discovered that a large trove of manuscripts of the young Hegel were not available to Marx and were only published in the 20th century.

In short, George Lukács and Herbert Marcuse knew more of Hegel than Marx did. Thus, the outcome of Marx’s ignorance of early Hegel texts led to his misunderstanding of Hegel, although he still incorporated Hegelian methodology.

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