Visions Of Reforms And Reformation

Better Essays
Aidan Garfield
Professor Lee
POLS 1002
26 March 2017
Visions of Reforms and Reformation
Compare and contrast Wollstonecraft’s and Marx’s thoughts on the following questions.
(a) What does progress consist in? (b) How does progress occur? (c) Where is progress headed?

Mary Wollstonecraft and Karl Marx both viewed progress as overcoming an reclaiming a true sense of humanity, but defined that humanity, the means of achieving that humanity, and their general worldview in different ways. Wollstonecraft sought progress by reforming private life virtues through voluntary education and action. She wanted to change the hearts and minds of the people, while Marx sought progress through direct means -- political upheaval and reformation of
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Wollstonecraft also praised the concept of reason over passions. This is an instance in which political or philosophical timing is important. Wollstonecraft (1999, chap. 1) described reason as a chief component of women’s improvement in direct opposition to the then-popular temperance movement and claimed that the popular adherents of temperance and their “use of soft phrases, susceptibility of heart, delicacy of sentiment, and refinement of taste” were contributing to their own oppression, similar to the Marx worker contributing to his own alienation. Karl Marx wrote on the systemic issues facing workers and the proletariat in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts 1844. Marx (1993, chap. 9) described the unjust exploitation of workers in almost biblical terms, comparing alienation to the work of the Devil and said it would cause a variety of ailments not limited to deformity, denial, misery, unhappiness, a lack of free mental and physical energy, and would mortify the worker’s flesh and ruin his mind. Wollstonecraft and Marx agree on the concept that progress consisted in equality, reason, and some sort of action, but differed on the ways of facilitating progress and differed on who would enjoy said progress. Wollstonecraft thought that all individuals should enjoy the benefits of true moral equality and enlightenment, while Marx wished to punish the ruling class for
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