Karl Marx on Greek Atomism

Classical Quarterly 22 (3-4):205- (1928)
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Abstract

The first volume of the collected works of Karl Marx, which is being issued by the Marx-Engels Institute of Moscow, opens with a dissertation entitled ‘Über die Differenz der demokritischen und epikureischen Naturphilosophie’, which he presented for his doctorate at the University of Jena in 1841. It is interesting to find one who was afterwards to win fame in very different fields starting his career with an enthusiastic tract on Greekphilosophy, which he evidently intended to make his work for years to come; for not only does he tell us in his introduction that this thesis is a prelude to a comprehensive study of Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Scepticism, ‘the philosophical basis of Roman life and character’, but appended to the dissertation are some seventy pages of preliminary notes for the larger work, which range over such varied subjects as ‘The Immanent Dialectic of the Epicurean Philosophy’, ‘The Idea of the “Wise Man” in Greek Philosophy,’, and ‘Parallels between the Epicureans, and the Pietists and Supernaturalists.’

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