Theses on Feuerbach  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The "Theses on Feuerbach" are eleven short philosophical notes written by Karl Marx in 1845. They outline a critique of the ideas of Marx's fellow Young Hegelian philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach. But the text is often seen as more ambitious than this, criticizing both the contemplative materialism of the Young Hegelians and all forms of philosophical idealism.

The "Theses" identify political action as the only truth of philosophy, famously concluding: "Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it" ("Die Philosophen haben die Welt nur verschieden interpretiert; es kommt aber darauf an, sie zu verändern"). While the text wishes to retain the critical stance of German critical idealism, it transposes that criticism into practical, material, political terms.

Marx did not publish the "Theses on Feuerbach" during his lifetime; they were later edited by Friedrich Engels and published in 1888, with the original text emerging in 1924. They seem to have been intended as a note on principles which Marx wished to write out once. They may have functioned as a reminder to himself, and the text may actually have been hung above his writing-desk.

Uses of the text

The Eleventh Thesis was used by Sergey Prokofiev in his Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution, Op. 74.

The Eleventh Thesis is engraved in the entryway of Humboldt University on Unter den Linden in Berlin.

The Eleventh Thesis is also Marx's epitaph, engraved on his tombstone in Highgate Cemetery in London, along with the final line of the Communist Manifesto, "WORKERS OF ALL LANDS UNITE".

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Theses on Feuerbach" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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