Introduction to Marxist philosophy

Course Dates: 06/06/24 - 11/07/24
Time: 19:00 - 20:30
Location: Online
This course is intended as an introduction to the philosophy of Karl Marx and later Marxists such as Vladimir Lenin, Eduard Bernstein, and Rosa Luxemburg.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00

Introduction to Marxist philosophy
  • Course Code: HP214
  • Dates: 06/06/24 - 11/07/24
  • Time: 19:00 - 20:30
  • Taught: Thu, Evening
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Oliver Josiah

Course Code: HP214

Thu, eve, 06 Jun - 11 Jul '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

What is “scientific socialism”? What do Marxists mean by ‘alienation’ and ‘exploitation’? What is dialectical materialism? Why do Marxists think that the socialist revolution is inevitable? In what way did later Marxists such as Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg deviate from Marxist orthodoxy?

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- Marx’s distinction between ‘scientific’ and ‘utopian’ socialism.

- Marx’s critique of capitalism, including his theory of alienation.

- Marx’s theory of history (also known as dialectical materialism).

- Marx’s theory of socialist revolution.

- Is socialism best achieved through reform or revolution? (The Luxemburg-Bernstein debate).

- What is the role of a socialist movement? (The Luxemburg-Lenin debate).

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Explain some of the central tenets of Marx’s political philosophy.

- Identify how later Marxists attempted to reinforce or deviate from Marx’s original ideas.

- Evaluate the claims made by Marx and later Marxists on the nature of capitalism and the road to socialism.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is the ideal follow-up to the 5 hour ‘A First Introduction to Marx and Marxism’ for students who want to begin to explore the ideas of Marx in more detail. However, the ‘First Introduction’ course is not a prerequisite. This is a completely introductory course designed for students who have never formally studied the work of Marx before. An open mind, a willingness to engage critically with the material and listen to and think about views you may not always agree with are all that is required.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

One session will be devoted to each of the six topics. At the start of each session, I will briefly present the core material and then the remainder of the session will be dedicated to a group discussion. There is no essential work outside the class, but I would recommend Terry Eagleton’s Why Marx Was Right as a useful companion to the course. Students who wish to stretch themselves further and are looking for a more academic work may wish to purchase Alan Wood’s Karl Marx.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Just a notepad and pen for jotting down ideas.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please check for up-to-date details of forthcoming philosophy courses.

Oliver Josiah

Oliver holds a postgraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Since graduating, he has taught a wide variety of courses to a broad range of students, from adults and children exploring the subject for the first time through to advanced undergraduates. His main areas of interest are the Philosophy of Mathematics, Metaphysics, the Philosophy of Language, and Logic. Recently, his research has focussed on developing medieval approaches to semantic paradoxes using modern mathematical methods. When Oliver’s not teaching or writing up papers, he’s either lost in a good book or somewhere deep in the English countryside.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.