XL

[XL.2.]
of the Hegelian dialectic which he still finds lacking in the criticism of that dialectic (which have not yet been critically tried to bring such elements into their proper relation or having been capable of doing so, asserting, say, the category of mediating proof against the category of positive, self-originating truth, in a way peculiar to Hegelian dialectic. For to the theological critic it seems quite natural that everything has to be done by philosophy, so that he can chatter away about purity, resoluteness, and quite critical criticism; and he fancies himself the true conqueror of philosophy whenever he happens to feel some element in Hegel to be lacking in Feuerbach--for however much he practises the spiritual idolatry of 'self-consciousness' and 'mind' the theological critic does not get beyond feeling to consciousness.>

On close inspection theological criticism--genuinely progressive though it was at the inception of the movement--is seen in the final analysis to be nothing but the culmination and consequence of the old philosophical, and especially the Hegelian, transcendentalism, twisted into a theological caricature. This interesting example of historical justice, which now assigns to theology, ever philosophy's spot of infection, the further role of portraying in itself the negative dissolution of philosophy, i.e., the process of its decay--this historical nemesis I shall demonstrate on another occasion.

--How far, on the other hand, Feuerbach's discoveries about the nature of philosophy still, for their proof at least, called for a critical discussion of philosophical dialectic will be seen from my exposition itself.>
[XLI.2.]

[XL.1.]
a task not yet performed. This lack of thoroughness is not accidental, since even the critical theologian remains a theologian. Hence, either he has to start from certain presuppositions of philosophy accepted as authoritative, or, if in the process of criticism and as a result of other people's discoveries doubts about these philosophical presuppositions have arisen in him, he abandons them in a cowardly and unwarrantable fashion, abstracts from them, thus showing his servile dependence on these presuppositions and his resentment at this servility merely in a negative, unconscious and sophistical manner.

<He does this either by constantly repeating assurances concerning the purity of his own criticism, or by trying to make it seem as though all that was left for criticism to deal with now was some other limited form of criticism outside itself--say eighteenth-century criticism--and also the limitations of the masses, in order to divert the observer's attention as well as his own from the necessary task of settling accounts between criticism and its point of origin--Hegelian dialectic and German philosophy as a whole--that is, from this necessary raising of modern criticism above its own limitation and crudity. Eventually, however, whenever discoveries (such as Feuerbach's) are made regarding the nature of his own philosophic presuppositions, the critical theologian party makes it appear as if he were the one who had accomplished this, producing that appearance by taking the results of these discoveries and, without being able to develop them, hurling them in the form of catch-phrases at writers still caught in the confines of philosophy. He partly even manages to acquire a sense of his own superiority to such discoveries by asserting in a mysterious way and in a veiled, malicious and sceptical fashion elements
[XLI.1.]



Send comments to: Lemmaesthetics@freeuk.com, The Hypertext Manuscripts of Karl Marx, Paris 1844, Copyright Gary Tedman 2001-3