Here is the first book to present Karl Marx as one of the great systematic philosophers, a man who went beyond the traditional bounds of the discipline to work out a philosophical system in terms of a concrete social theory and politico-economic critique. Basing her work on the Grundrisse (probably Marx's most systematic work and only translated into English for the first time in 1973), Gould argues that Marx was engaged in a single enterprise throughout his works, specifically the construction of a systematic and philosophical theory of society.
Gould examines five basic themes of Marx's social ontology: society, labor, causality, freedom, and justice, in five separate chapters, preceded by an introductory chapter explicating thesis and methods. The book shows how Marx's ontology, or theory of social reality, may be reconstructed from concrete details of his account of the historical stages of social development and from his analyses and critiques of capitalist economy. It clarifies further the value theory underlying Marx's critique of modern society and explores the question of how philosophy can play a major role in understanding and resolving social issues.
This book will be of interest to all students of society, since it raises issues of the relationship of technologies to society and of the forms and prospects for socialism as a possible future society. It has deliberately been written in a style that makes the difficult, technical issues accessible to undergraduates just beginning to read Marx, as well as, of course, graduate students of social theory and specialized scholars. The lay reader will also be drawn to the particular content of this book and will enjoy the lucid, straightforward presentation.
Marx's Social Ontology proposes a solution to a long-standing problem in interpretations of Marx: the apparent dilemma of his insistence on the ideal of full self-realization of the individual and his equal insistence on the ideal of full self-realization of the community. This is a book of major significance dealing with topics of enduring and current interest.