Ideology and Creation in Marx´s Historical Materialism: A Problem of Justification

  • Abstract:

    Marx´s historical materialism, understood as the claim that historical change of the economic structure, the superstructure or ideology occurs only if the forces of production develop sufficiently so as to come into contradiction with the present economic structure, implies that neither philosophical meditation nor divine providence can be the sources of historical change. In this paper I claim that, while Marx´s theory of history accurately justifies its rejection of ideology by proving the historical dependence of consciousness on material conditions, it fails to provide an adequate answer to the origin of humanity that makes material conditions historically independent of a Creator. I consider three interpretations of Marx´s claim that the materialist answer to the question of Creation will be clear under communism, but argue that all fail because Marx does not give any independent reasons for believing that people´s beliefs under communism enjoy any epistemic superiority to the ones that are held now. I finally conclude, in line with Daniel Brudney, that Marx´s failure to provide such a justification could be indicative of Marx´s general incapacity to provide abstract justification due to his rejection of philosophy.