n the Preface to Ecce Homo, Nietzsche writes, "The last thing I should promise would be to "improve" mankind." Although it was not Nietzsche's aim to improve life for the majority, it was the main focus of many of the writings of his predecessors and contemporaries. Nietzsche's writings focused mainly on the contributions of great individuals to society and culture. On the other hand, philosophers like Kant and Marx focused on improving the conditions of life for the majority of citizens.
[...] the modern state itself leaves the real man out of account or only satisfies the whole man in an illusory This plight of “real that Marx discusses has primarily to do with working conditions and the effect they have on people, both emotionally and physically. He writes that the capitalist system is fundamentally exploitative. Capitalism demands cheap labor in order to make products inexpensive, and so the wages of the workers must remain low. At the same time, capitalism also demands an unemployed labor force so competition will be constant and there will be no inflation. [...]
[...] But the right to make remarks on errors in the military service and to lay them before the public for judgement cannot equitably be refused him as a scholar. These are the kind of freedoms that make society not only functional, but move it towards respecting the autonomy of all the individuals within it. For Kant, freedom is the highest good, and it is absolutely necessary for the progress of mankind. Kant focuses less on improving the day to day working conditions of individuals, and instead focuses on improving the actual infrastructure of government and the rights and freedoms of individuals. [...]
[...] Instead, he wrote that the universal civic society will come about through the passing on of enlightenment (freedom through reason,) from generation to generation, and the general respect of individual autonomy. Although Marx wrote that revolution will be incremental, he believed that it will be necessary for a complete reorganization of society once capitalism meets its inevitable end. Like Kant, Marx had a vision of a society in which conditions were fundamentally better for the majority, not just a certain portion of society. [...]
[...] In contrast, although Marx writes very little on the specifics of government, he does support full empowerment of the lowest classes and complete equality between the bourgeois and the proletariat. It may be safe to say that Marx would fundamentally oppose hierarchy in government, since he so vehemently opposes it with respect to labor. Kant writes that although the creation of the universal civic society is the “most difficult and last (problem) to be solved by mankind,” that we have to believe it is possible. [...]
[...] Marx writes of the alienation that workers experience, from the products that they create and from their fellow workers. Under capitalism, the worker has no control over the product that he makes. The worker also has no personal connection to the product, it is completely separate from him and it is not made for his own use. In addition to this, workers also experience alienation from each other. They start to see each other as competition, not as fellow human beings who share a common burden. [...]
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