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A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research -

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Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14

What you'll learn in this philosophy class:

Complete Course Title: A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing: an Introduction to Marx

In the mid-nineteenth century, a young Karl Marx wrote, in the form of a published open letter to Arnold Ruge: “But if the designing of the future and the proclamation of ready-made solutions for all time is not our affair, then we realize all the more clearly what we have to accomplish in the present—I am speaking of a ruthless criticism of everything existing, ruthless in two senses: The criticism must not be afraid of its own conclusions, nor of conflict with the powers that be.” In this course, we will explore how Marx developed this “ruthless criticism” over the course of his life as a scholar, journalist, and activist. 

Over four extended sessions, students will be introduced to key texts in Marx’s philosophical, economic, historical, and political works. We will pay special attention to the various moments in these texts that later became influential in both Marxian and other theoretical and social movements, from feminists to anti-colonialists, romantics to futurists, critical theorists to accelerationists.  

Readings will include selections from The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, Capital (Vol.1), Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, The Communist Manifesto, Theses on Feuerbach, The German Ideology, Critique of the Gotha Program and the 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. 

We will also read short excerpts of relevant secondary literature that will illuminate the extraordinary variety of interpretations and understandings of Marx. 

No previous knowledge of Marx, philosophy, or political economy is required.

There *is* no physical Brooklyn Institute. We hold our classes all over (thus far) Brooklyn and Manhattan, in alternative spaces ranging from the back rooms of bars to bookstores to spaces in cultural centers, including the Center for Jewish History, the Goethe-Institut, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. We can (and do) turn any space into a classroom. You will be notified of the exact location when you register for a class.

Instructors will contact students approximately one week prior to the first class with reading assignments and details about the course location.

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Refund Policy
Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.

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Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (19)

(19 Reviews)
A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing
Reviewed by Jinie C. on 11/21/2015
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School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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