About Marx on consciousness, ideology, and alienation.
Social and Political Philosophy
University of Toronto at Mississauga
Third Response Paper Questions
Please write a paper of TWO TO THREE PAGES that answers ONE of the following questions clearly and
concisely. Only so much can go into three pages. Be selective about what you include.
In the paper, you will be arguing for a particular claim. Be clear about what that claim is. Be clear about what the
In preparing the paper, take special care in writing and organization. Be careful in formulating your sentences. Be
careful in your use of terminology. Avoid lengthy sentences. Avoid long paragraphs. Make sure that the paper is
structurally transparent. Indicate in the opening what claim you will be arguing for and and how you will proceed in
the paper. Follow out the plan you describe. Make sure to make clear references to the different texts where
appropriate. Before submitting, check whether you did these things. Reproduce this list with checkmarks at the
end of the paper.
Papers must be submitted online to turnitin.com (information to follow) AND to the Blackboard Assignments
section. The paper will not be considered submitted unless it is submitted both to turnitin.com and to Blackboard.
Submit as a .doc, .docx or .rtf, in 12-point Times Roman font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, and numbered
The paper is due on Monday, March 9th, 2015, at 5pm. However, you may submit the paper by Monday March
16th without penalty. Late papers submitted after 5pm on Monday the 16th and within a week of the 16th will receive a
maximum score of 50%. No papers will be accepted after the 23rd.
1. About Marx and the philosophy of history (I). What role does history play in Marx’s political philosophy?
Compare Marx’s use of history with the use of the state of nature and the social contract in Hobbes and Locke.
What does an appeal to history do for Marx that an appeal to the state of nature cannot? What does an appeal to
the state of nature do for Hobbes and Locke that an appeal to history cannot? Discuss specific relevant passages.
2. About Marx and the philosophy of history (II). Explain the metaphysics of Marx’s philosophy of history.
What is the role of material relations? What is the role of ideas? What is the role of consciousness? Discuss
specific relevant passages.
3. About Marx on consciousness, ideology, and alienation. What is the role of consciousness in Marx’s political
philosophy? Why is it important that the proletariat develop a certain consciousness? What does ideology do to
consciousness? What does alienated labour do to consciousness? Discuss specific relevant passages.
4. About Marx on alienated labour. Explain in detail one kind of alienation Marx thinks wage labour produces.
What is alienation? Be sure to explain the ontology of alienation – what or who is alienated from what or who.
Why is there alienation? Be sure to explain the mechanism of alienation – how and why it comes about. What is
it about wage labour that alienates? Discuss specific relevant passages; a comparison with Locke may also be
5. About Kleingeld on Kant on the state of states. If individuals ought to exit the state of nature of nature, should
the same not be true for states? Should there be a state of states? Kleingeld argues on Kant’s behalf that although
it may be permissible for individuals to be coerced into the state, states should not be coerced into a state of
states. Why not? Discuss critically with reference to specific passages.
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