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Philosophers Perspectives Term Paper

Philosophers Perspectives Term Paper

Summarize the main perspectives and different views of Karl Marx, Friedrick Nietzsche and Max Weber especially between the literature on Materials, Morals and Power, Institutions and Society

The Term Paper should cover their views on Sociology, Politics, Economic and Morals and answer the following three questions.
1. Why do we have different pattern of development of civilizations?
2. Why did Modernisation and dominance of the world develop in Western Europe
3. What can be, from a perspective of civilizations, the reason for underdevelopment?

Some of the literature to be used are the Grundrisse and the Genealogy of Morals. There should be subheadings based on Karl Marx, Friedrick Nietzsche and Max Weber.

Philosophers Perspectives Term Paper Example

Classical Sociology: Karl Marx, Friedrick Nietzsche and Max Weber

 Introduction            

Classical sociology can be defined as a methodical study of human society and social life during the earliest period, which led to its formation as a scientific discipline. The word “sociology” was first used during the 19th century by the French researcher Auguste Comte (1798–1857) in 1838 as a novel science of society aimed at explaining the historical, social development of humanity and shaping its future course (Cockerham et al., 2014). Since the institutional foundation of Sociology in the late 19th century, it has been subjected to insightful changes in perspectives and paradigms. Since the institutional foundation of Sociology in the late 19th century, it has been subjected to insightful changes in perspectives and paradigms. The majority of the conceptual revolutions have, over the years, challenged the critical assumptions of the discipline. Even though the historical accounts of all academic disciplines could be written with regard to violent paradigmatic shift, sociology seems more susceptible than the majority of subjects to mystifying shifts in the intellectual terrain (Turner, 1999). Sociological theory strives to comprehend what we know as the contemporary world through the understanding of the evolution from traditional societies pre-modern into modern societies. The theorists, also known as fathers or founders of sociological theory, are key figures in the comprehension of the current transition, its consequences, and what will eventually result in the future. This paper presents a detailed summary of the significant perspectives and different views of Karl Marx, Friedrick Nietzsche, and Max Weber. The main emphasis is on reviewing their literature on materials, morals and power, institutions, and society.

Karl Marx (1818 –1883)

Karl Marx is best renowned not as legendary philosopher in classical sociology but as revolutionary historian, sociologist, and economist whose literary works were an inspiration of the basis of most communist regimes during the 20th century. Karl Marx is also regarded as one of the main figures in the development of the sociology discipline due to his momentous contributions to social thoughts and Marxism beliefs that had a profound influence in the conception of the modern world. His theories on society, politics, and economics are collectively assumed as Marxism whereby human societies are developed through class struggles.

Society Perspectives

Karl Marx’s primary emphasis was on revolution and social change resultant in the formation of the classless society. Marx’s ideas were fundamental in the formulation of the early concepts of social class, conflicts, and social change. His works were central to the advancement of conflict theoretical framework in sociology. Marx’s society’s perspectives and constructions were founded on the notion of superstructure and base. Here, the economic character of a society is formed by the base of the social and cultural institutions (superstructure). According to Karl Marx, the base (an economy) is a determinant of the society (Adler, 2010). Furthermore, Marx detected a conflict in society as the principal ways of change. From an economic perspective, Marx identified the existence of conflict between owners of production means (bourgeoisie) and their laborers (proletariat). He maintained that the conflicts occurred consistently in history during the eras of social revolutions. The revolutions or class antagonisms were the effects of the dominance of one social class over another class. Recently, the culmination of feudalism, a novel revolutionary class (bourgeoisie), dominated the proletariat class hence, representing radical changes in the society’s structure. In summary, society as an entirety is increasingly subdividing into two hostile camps and two great classes that face each other directly-Bourgeoisie and Proletariats. Karl Marx labeled modern society regarding alienation, where one is isolated and separated from society, work, or self. He identified four kinds of alienation: others, self, and product and process of labor. Collectively, the alienation in society implies that one has no control over their life, which was the eventual outcome and failure of capitalism.

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Political Views

As an intellectual, Karl Marx developed significant political dogmas and was the philosopher to merge the different elements of socialist thoughts with the logical world view and emotional struggle principle. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel are considered as the originators of Modern-day Communism. The communism theory holds that the sole practical element is obtaining mastery over the society’s governing laws. In his approach, Marx inherited and merged three legacies: German philosophy, English economics, and French political thoughts (Avineri, 1968). Marx attempted to prove that the socialist program should be based on the systematic interpretations of social assessments and critical review of existing systems of exchange and production. He defined socialism as a scientific and proposed that a socialist community can be grounded on capitalist foundations. Also, he added that communism as a society whereby the proletariat is brought into existence through revolutionary struggles. In the Communist theory, communists have zero interests distinct and apart from the proletariat’s interests as a whole. In political terms, communism was the first state in the history of humankind to offer political powers for universal interests instead of partisans’ interests.

Economic and Materials Views 

The historical materialism can be defined as the utilization of dialectical materialism principles to the progression of society. Karl Marx employed dialectical materialism to a social world constituting economic exchange and production. The theory of historical materialism maintains that the eventual cause that determines the development of history is the economic development of society. Marx’s historical materialism model held that the society’s economic structure constitutes the relationship of production as society’s real foundation that advances into political and legal superstructures that correspond to certain types of social consciousness (Langman & Smith, 2019). Furthermore, society’s relationship of production corresponds to the definite development state of forces of material production. Hence, the production modes of material life is a vital determinant of the social and political life processes.

The surplus-value theory was conferred by Karl Marx and is entrenched in the labor theory of value. It states that labor expended by laborers in the production of a commodity is the exclusive criterion for the determination of its value. He acknowledges that labor cannot produce value alone through the provision of a two-phase argument. Marx offered two perspectives that are a constructive corrective to the elements of conventional economic theory (Kivisto, P. (2013). He refused to consent that capitalism involved a concord of interests between workers and capitalists. Instead, he offered a replacement with the class-oriented review of the workers’ struggles for improved wages and working conditions, against the ever superior profits earned by capitalists. Second, he denied that the long-run equilibrium in the markets through the description of underlying mechanisms of the trade-cycle of bust and booms. Marx presented communism as a positive elimination of private property, classes, and division of labor to form a society of related producers.

Moral Perspectives

As a materialist, Karl Marx excluded the notion that moral rules tend to have divine sources and are enforced on humans from the outside. He developed the false consciousness concept as the condition where a person’s beliefs, morals, or ideology are not in their best interests (Langman & Smith, 2019). As a matter of fact, the dominant class ideology (bourgeoisie capitalists) is imposed on the proletariat. Besides, the ideas like focus on competition over the cooperation, or rewards if hard work is evident benefits of the industry owners. Consequently, workers have a low likelihood of questioning their place in society and assume individual responsibility for existing conditions. Hence, for the society to eradicate the false consciousness, he proposed that the substitution with class consciousness, an awareness of an individual’s rank within the society. Rather than the existence of the social class in itself, proletariats should be a social class for itself to generate social changes. This implies that the class can be promoters for social improvements, not an inert division of society. Once the society has entered the state of political consciousness, then it is equipped for a social revolution.

Friedrick Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

Friedrick Nietzsche was a philosopher, novelist, and cultural critic whose writings on morality, languages, aesthetics, truth, cultural theory, nihilism, consciousness, history, and existence had a profound influence on philosophy and academic history.

Society Perspectives

Friedrick Nietzsche’s literary works on individuality and morality in modern civilization influenced the majority of philosophers and writers in the 20th century. Friedrich Nietzsche’s work that has particular interests to contemporary sociologists is the idea of reality as a social construction that is related to values and beliefs, interests, and power of the actors (Solms-Laubach, 2012). His discussions of power presented the view that every human action is motivated by an innate desire to increase their feeling of power. The view makes Nietzsche’s intuitions concerning moral psychology is analogous to psychological egoism. Nietzsche developed the core points of his idea that God is dead. This was a declaration of his denial of Christianity as a significant force in modern life. Thus, Christianity no longer commanded the society-wide cultural commitment as a structure grounding ethical commitments. Hence, a joint center for collective experience, which was thought to have been unchallengeable and indestructible, turned out to be less stable than assumed, but inexplicably mortal and lost. Furthermore, Nietzsche adds individuality and free spirit independence from restricting conventions of society. But, salient as his praise of individuality is equally clear that he resists thoughts that every human has value on the strengths of individuality only. The other ideas were the validation of self-perfection through the will to power and creative drive, as well as the super-man concept (Ăśbermensch) where one struggles to exist beyond conformist groupings of good and evil versus masters and slaves. He argued that society should cultivate and encourage the elevated and imaginative types—artistic genius.

Political Views

Though Nietzsche’s illiberal outlooks on human equality were obvious, there are no clear grounds for crediting to him any political philosophy as he has no systematic perspectives on the nature of society and state. However, his distinctions between overman and last man could have some political ramifications. The hopes for the appearance of the overman figure seem as permissible for an individual or even social ideals, dependent on the culture in which it arises. In Nietzsche’s views, modernity is in a state of dissipation that would be prosperous to see the advent, given the contemporary sociopolitical arrangements are conducive for the creation of the democratic “last man” who strives for rank and greatness (Law, 2015). According to Nietzsche, the last men are most harmful to human species since they reserve their actuality at the expense of the truth and the future. His political sympathies are certainly not democratic, not are they Marxist and socialist. They are labeled as aristocratic with reference to the Greek term “aristos that defines a good man with power.

Moral Perspectives

As an abstruse moralist, Friedrick Nietzsche sought to free higher humans from false consciousness on morality, which is the mistaken belief that morality is good, not in the society’s transformation. His moral philosophy is mainly important in orientation as he attacks the morality views for the commitment to indefensible descriptive claims on the human agency, along with the harmful effects of the distinctive values and norms on the thriving of the highest kinds of humans (Froese, 2001).  Nietzsche’s positive ethical interpretations are best understood as a combination of consequentialist perfectionism as an implied theory of the good and human perfect concept that involves both formal and functional elements. His morality perspectives are anti-realist in terms of value, as he excludes his positive vision and dependent critiques in his special epistemic status.

Max Weber (1864-1920)

Max Weber was a German political economist and sociologist who is renowned for the Protestant ethic and Spirit of Capitalism along with bureaucracy ideas. As one of the forefathers of modern sociology, Max Weber’s deep influence on sociological theory originates from his objectivity demand in scholarship and examination of the motives of humans’ actions.

Society Perspectives

Max Weber emerged as one of the leading intellectuals of his time became a great master of classical sociology. Even though he lived through the start of the 20th century, Weber predicted most of the social development would come much later in the century. Social class is an important notion and phenomenon in sociology. Weber’s primary emphasis on society’s structure was based on three core elements: Power, class, and status. Like Karl Marx, Max Weber viewed social class as being economically determined since he believed that society was subdivided between the owners and their laborers (Weber et al., 2015). On the other hand, status was based on noneconomic elements like religion, education, and kinship. An individual’s class and status were determined by one’s influence over ideas, power, that established the base of the society as a whole. Weber stated that prestige related to occupation and education, along with political group affiliations and wealth merge to form a hierarchy of persons in society. His views on social stratification and power led to the complex constructions of social class and socioeconomic status.

Max Weber’s analysis of contemporary society was aligned with the rationalization concept. Weber stated that a rational society is built around efficiency and logic instead of morality or traditions. Unlike his precursors, Weber was deeply interested in how the individuals faced the societal divisions than distinct divisions. One of the most recognized sociology theories, the symbolic interactionism theory, is based on Max Weber’s ideas that emphasized individuals’ views and how these individuals relate to society (Young, 2018). According to Weber, the zenith of rationalization, industrialization, and similar results is the iron cage, where one trapped by bureaucracy and institutions. This results in a logic of the world’s disenchantment, which describes the last form of humanity and a massive deterrent to freedom.

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Political Perspectives

The perspectives presented in Max Weber’s paper, Politics as Vocation, are applicable to politicians seeking governmental positions and political activists and journalists. In the essay, Weber identifies the primary characteristics of politics and their relationship to politicians and the state. The state is the human community that effectively professes the monopoly over the legitimate usage of physical force in a particular territory and is the sole institutional structure that either claims or are given the authority of using violence as the means to an end (Weber, 2013). Weber relates the state concept to politics by striving to share power or influence its distribution, either amongst states or groups in a state. Weber presents three kinds of legitimate authority as the foundation of understanding the influence and relationship between the state and political leadership (Ritzer & Murphy, 2020). The politicians act in a manner that implicates themselves with the power distribution across political structures. But, he cautioned about the human weakness of vanity that is faced by politicians. But, they should overcome the flaw, or else they accede to deadly sins in politics: irresponsibility and lack of objectivity. Vanity makes politicians excessively concerned with their impression and image, instead of their actual work. Weber highlights that the vain politicians who pursue power, referred to as power politicians, might receive support and façade of power, however in actuality, their work is futile and achieves nothing – utterly empty gesture. In summary, politics is tangled in pursuit and dissemination of power; hence vanity can lead to politicians losing either the objectivity or being irresponsible with their power.

Economic and Materials Views  

Max Weber did not formulate a general social theory; instead, he analyzed an extensive range of topics relevant to the historical and present development of the society. In Weber’s Economy and Society paper, he explained how the contemporary bureaucracies execute rigid guidelines and regulations –iron cage – on people to achieve efficiency.  The iron cage concept is more relevant now than in 1905. Also, the Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism offered a detailed review of how the entrepreneurship, investments, hard work, and hard work are linked to the Protestant ethic in the 16th century that resulted in the development of modern-day capitalism (Cahnman et al., 2017). The two studies are his main contributions that merged economic and religion sociology and theorized the interaction between the cultural beliefs, and economic system. Capitalism developed into an advanced stage since Protestantism encouraged and embraced hard work as God’s calling. Consequently, the dedication to work allowed individuals to earn vast sums of money. The money merged with value asceticism expanded into an economic acquisition system.​​

According to Weber, capitalism is completely rational. Though capitalism leads to higher efficiency as well as merit-based outcomes, it can also have adverse effects in extreme situations. In some contemporary societies, this can be viewed as rigid routines, and stringent design leads to a mechanized working environment and focuses on the production of identical products in all locations. In other words, Weber suggested that the economic and technological relationships that originated and organized in capitalist production became important forces in society.

Moral Perspectives

Despite Max Weber’s contempt for organicism and holism, he devised an ideal kind of morality encompassing a role for the society as a representation of consensus. The focus is on the complex morality idea in Weber’s work was function at the sociological, biological, and psychological levels to encourage individuals to believe in the cohesive moral world. Weber’s morality idea has been reconstructed as an ideal kind of morality from the proposal, speeches, and sociological writing in Economy and Society. The reconstruction discloses three themes of biological, social, and psychological functions in the morality approach (Stone, 2010). He also distinguished two interpretations of morality: ethics of ultimate ends, and ethics of responsibility that can be combined. For instance, government officials perpetrate harm if they implement the ethics of ultimate ends like wealth equalization. But, the best serve society with ethics of responsibility, based on their actions and likely consequences.

Development of Civilizations

According to Karl Marx, the civilization of humans has been manifested in a sequence of organizational structures. Each is determined by the primary production mode, mainly because the division of labor is dominant in every stage (Ollman & Anderson, 2012). The first stage is the tribal form, where the tribal society does not have any social classes as it is structured based on the kinship relationships, with hunting and domestic chores as the province of men and women, respectively. In this stage, there was the establishment of a slave culture that marked the onset of the class society. The population surge resulted in the growth of wants and more relationships with outside civilizations in the form of war or barter trade. The second stage is the primitive communism where the ancient collective and state ownership proceeds from the unification of tribes into cities through conquest or agreement. Here, the modern private property concepts began to develop on a more extensive scale and transformed small working-class peasants into proletariats. The third stage is the feudal or estate property that is based again on the community. In cities, the feudal structure was manifested in trade guilds, and the constrained production conditions determined the organization of city and country. The primitive small-scale land cultivation and craft industry denoted a minimal division of labor in feudalism. The exploitation functioned differently since every feudal peasant was aware of the proportion of labor assigned to aristocrats and churches; the remainder was for personal use. Finally, capitalism arose due to the ultimate growth of commerce and populations. The feudal society started to accumulate capital, and the aristocracy acquired an increase in debt. Ultimately there was the 1640 English Revolution and 1789 French Revolution that paved the way for the formation of capitalism as the society was structured around the commodities and profits. In a capitalist society, proletariats were fooled into trusting that one is free since the labor was paid. The labor transformation into abstract quantity sold and bought on the market was an abuse of the working class. Still, it benefitted only a small fraction of the population that controlled capital.

Modernization and Dominance in Western Europe

The theoretical modernization framework is used in explaining the process of modernization in societies through the reformist transition from the pre-modern into a modern society. Max Weber developed the modernization theory as the foundation for the modernization model that was later improved by Talcott Parsons (Lassman, 2006). The philosophy examines the internal factors of a nation while at the same time assuming that with support, the traditional nations can become developed as the advanced nations. Max weber’s perspectives regarding the roles of rationality and irrationality were pivotal in transitioning from a conventional rural and agrarian society into a modern urban and industrial society. The Western Europe industrialization experience was applied as the model for global industrialization. To be modern was viewed as becoming like the Western European industrial society. The non-western societies did not have much choice in becoming modernized. As either informal clients or formal colonies of the Western powers, these nations found themselves as being developed in the Western direction prior to being permitted to assume the political control of their destinies. But, where there was an element of choice, the consensus was the sole viable kind of society in the modern world was the industrial society. Hence, these societies were the exclusive active agents in the global system, while others remained as their clients and dependents.

Reasons for Underdevelopment

In the early 19th century, the European imperial powers ended the sovereign development in the African continent by mapping, exploring, estimating, and dividing Africa between the European powers with no acquaintance of the peoples’ welfare. Colonial capitalism had dominated the world as everything was defined from the perspectives of the colonizing European nations. Today, whatever can be defined as underdevelopment are the outcomes of the colonial legacies. Africa was created from World War II in Europe, the formation of new elites, ethnic rivalries, the Cold War, military, and counter-coups, the Berlin Wall collapse, and the conquest of capitalism (Olutayo, et al., 2008). The integration of the World Capitalist System via colonialism marked the onset of the process of underdevelopment where the old civilizations had been subordinated into the new civilizations. Now, development is defined for previous colonial territories by their aptitude to copy the former colonizers. The economic delegation of Africa, like Asia and American counterparts, started with the advent of profit-making entities since the 17th century Europe coupled with the imperial backing in the format of colonial corporations. The colonial entities had private armies and financed the colonial expansions to preserve the control of resources, trade, and territories. The capitalist system conditions the global economies of the underdeveloped nations as they are subservient and reliant on the system. Therefore, the effects of colonialism brought forth under development.

Conclusion

The basic foundation of the classical sociological theories is that the contemporary world is an outcome of the transition from “conventional” to “modern” societies.  The classical sociological canon is a detailed explanation on how Karl Marx, Friedrick Nietzsche, and Max Weber describe the transition, the consequences of the transition on societies, and their perspectives on the future of modernity. The main emphasis was reviewing their literature on materials, morals and power, institutions, and society.  First, Karl Marx is definitely one of most significant social thinkers in history since his works are still influential and widely respected. Marx relied on the understanding of historic materialism and history laws. The paper examined Marx’s, society’s constructions that were based on the ideas of superstructure and base. His society’s perspectives with reference to the conflict theory and alienation. Marxism is defined as a social, economic, and political theory that emphases on the conflicts and power relationships between capitalists and working class. But, Marx’s morality views poses a conundrum due to his distaste toward bourgeois capitalist society, substitution of false with class consciousness, and certain validation of communist society in the future. Next, Friedrich Nietzsche perspectives focus on good and evil, culmination of religion in the modern society and the super-man concept. Lastly, Max Weber perspectives contend that the material conditions prerequisite in fueling capitalism are not sufficient and capitalism necessitates ideological formulations to support the creation of conditions required in the full transition from feudalism into capitalism. Max Weber’s writings aided in the formation of the basis of the modern sociology. The paper reviewed Weber’s literary works and perspectives to gain an understanding of his influence across realms of sociology (Economy and Society), politics (Politics as a Vocation), religion (Protestant Ethic) and economics (Spirit of Capitalism).

References

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