From ProleWiki, the proletarian encyclopedia

Philosophy is a broad range of exercises in thought with the ultimate goal of to unmasking parts of the world. According to Marx, "It is the immediate task of philosophy, which is in the service of history, to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked".[1]

Hegel described philosophy as the science that "is the unity of art and religion" and as "cognition of the necessity in the content of the absolute picture-idea".[2][3]

Ancient philosophy

Greek philosophy

Ionian school

Thales founded Ionian materialism and believed that water was the basis of all things in nature. His follower Anaximander predicted the existence of evolution based on the fossil record. Another materialist, Anaximenes, proposed that air was the primary building block of the universe.[4]


Heraclitus was one of the first dialectical philosophers in history. He created the aphorism that "you cannot step into the same river twice" and rejected the existence of the gods.[4]


Democritus and Epicurus proposed that all things were made of atoms. Democritus's view was more deterministic, whereas Epicurus believed atoms would "swerve" randomly. Epicurus believed that this attraction and repulsion created the world. Marx wrote his dissertation in 1841 on the differences between Democritean and Epicurean philosophy.[5]



Chinese philosophy


Classical bourgeois philosophy


The rationalists, led by René Descartes, criticized feudalism and the Catholic Church. He coined the phrase "I think therefore I am" and believed everything, including religion, should follow human reason. His ideas were progressive even though they relied on deductive reasoning instead of objective reality.[6]


David Hume and the empiricists believed experience from the senses was the only source of knowledge. They thought knowledge was merely a collection of facts that could not be generalized or processed.[6]

German idealism

Immanuel Kant tried to unify rationalism and empiricism by claiming that the material and ideal worlds exist separately and independently. He said the material world exists outside of human consciousness.

Hegel overcame Kant's dualism and proposed that ideas and material conditions are part of the same world. He believed that an absolute idea developed dialectically and influenced the material world. His philosophy was a major step forward but was flawed because it prioritized ideas over material reality.[6]

Proletarian philosophy

Marx and Engels

Marx once stated that "As philosophy finds its material weapon in the proletariat, so the proletariat finds its spiritual weapon in philosophy."[1] It was Marx who first brought philosophy from the bourgeois world into the proletarian side, and fashioned it into a weapon for the proletariat.

Of philosophy Marx states that "You cannot abolish philosophy without making it a reality"[1], and perhaps more famously that "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it",[7] marking the distinction between proletarian and bourgeois philosophy.



Contemporary bourgeois philosophy





See main article: Postmodernism


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Karl Marx (1843). A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: 'Introduction'.
  2. G.W.F. Hegel (1971). Hegel's encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences translated by William Wallace: 'Absolute Mind; Philosophy' (p. 302).
  3. Hamid Alizadeh (2020-08-27). "In Defence of Hegel" Socialist Appeal. Archived from the original on 2022-12-01.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sean Ledwith (2023-08-27). "The birth of dialectics in Ancient Greece" Counterfire. Archived from the original on 2023-08-28.
  5. "On Marx and Epicurus" (2018-02-17). International Communist Current. Archived from the original on 2023-07-06.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Hamid Alizadeh (2020-08-27). "In Defence of Hegel" Socialist Appeal. Archived from the original on 2022-12-01.
  7. Karl Marx (1845). Theses On Feuerbach.