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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > Karl Marx Quotes

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Karl Marx
(5 May 1818 - 14 Mar 1883)

German philosopher, economist and revolutionary who originated the idea of Communism. His writings focus on socio-political problems, such as his Communist Manifesto (1848). After he was expelled from Prussia in 1849, he moved to London. He was a European correspondent for New York Tribune (1851-62) and was influential in founding the International Workingmen's Association. in London (1864).

Science Quotes by Karl Marx (17 quotes)

Die Religion ist der Seufzer der bedrängten Kreatur, das Gemüt einer herzlosen Welt, wie sie der Geist geistloser Zustände ist. Sie ist das Opium des Volks. Die Aufhebung der Religion als des illusorischen Glücks des Volks ist die Forderung seines wirklichen Glücks.
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people. To abolish religion as the illusory happiness of the people is to demand their real happiness.
— Karl Marx
'Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie. Einleitung' (1844), Karl Marx Fredrich Engels (1964), 378-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Abolish (11)  |  Happiness (82)  |  Heart (110)  |  Opium (5)  |  Oppression (3)  |  People (269)  |  Religion (210)  |  Spirit (113)  |  World (667)

A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.
— Karl Marx
Introductory sentence, The Communist Manifesto (1848). Collected in The Library of Original Sources (1907), Vol. 10, 11.
Science quotes on:  |  Alliance (3)  |  Communism (8)  |  Europe (32)  |  France (21)  |  French (12)  |  Germany (9)  |  Haunt (3)  |  Police (2)  |  Pope (4)  |  Power (273)  |  Radical (17)  |  Sociology (31)  |  Spy (4)

Darwin has interested us in the history of nature’s technology.
— Karl Marx
Capital, 1867
Science quotes on:  |  Darwin (12)  |  History (302)  |  Interest (170)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Technology (199)

Darwin’s book is very important and serves me as a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history. One has to put up with the crude English method of development, of course. Despite all deficiencies not only is the death-blow dealt here for the first time to “teleology” in the natural sciences, but their rational meaning is empirically explained.
— Karl Marx
Marx to Lasalle, 16 Jan 1861. In Marx-Engels Selected Correspondence, 1846-95, trans. Donna Torr (1934), 125.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (181)  |  Crude (14)  |  Charles Darwin (284)  |  Deficiency (8)  |  Development (228)  |  Empiricism (16)  |  England (31)  |  Explanation (161)  |  Importance (183)  |  Meaning (87)  |  Natural Science (62)  |  Origin Of Species (39)  |  Rational (42)  |  Teleology (2)

In our days everything seems pregnant with its contrary. Machinery, gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labor, we behold starving and overworking it… . At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to other men or his own infamy. Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance.
— Karl Marx
In Speech (14 Apr 1856) on the 4th Anniversary of the People’s Paper, collected in David McLellan (ed.), Karl Marx: Selected Writings (2000), 368.
Science quotes on:  |  Background (24)  |  Dark (49)  |  Human (445)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Infamy (2)  |  Labor (53)  |  Machinery (25)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Master (55)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Overwork (2)  |  Power (273)  |  Science (1699)  |  Shine (22)  |  Starve (2)  |  Unable (12)

In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society - the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life determines the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of their development, the material productive forces in society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or - what is but a legal expression for the same thing - with the property relations within which they have been at work before. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into fetters. Then begins an epoch of social revolution. With the change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic - in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as our opinion of an individual is not based on what he thinks of himself, so we can not judge of such a period of transformation by its own consciousness; on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained rather from the contradictions of material life, from the existing conflict between the social productive forces and the relations of production. No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed; and new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself. Therefore, mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the task itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation. In broad outlines we can designate the Asiatic, the ancient, the feudal, and the modern bourgeois modes of production as so many progressive epochs in the economic formation of society. The bourgeois relations of production are the last antagonistic form of the social process of production - antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism, but of one arising from the social conditions of life of the individuals; at the same time the productive forces developing in the womb of bourgeois society create the material conditions for the solution of that antagonism. This social formation constitutes, therefore, the closing chapter of the prehistoric stage of human society.
— Karl Marx
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Aesthetic (26)  |  Already (16)  |  Ancient (68)  |  Antagonism (5)  |  Antagonistic (2)  |  Appear (55)  |  Arise (32)  |  Base (43)  |  Become (100)  |  Begin (52)  |  Bourgeois (2)  |  Broad (18)  |  Certain (84)  |  Change (291)  |  Chapter (7)  |  Close (40)  |  Closely (8)  |  Condition (119)  |  Conflict (49)  |  Conscious (25)  |  Consciousness (71)  |  Consider (45)  |  Constitute (19)  |  Contradiction (44)  |  Contrary (22)  |  Correspond (5)  |  Create (98)  |  Definite (27)  |  Designation (10)  |  Determine (45)  |  Develop (55)  |  Development (228)  |  Disappear (22)  |  Distinction (37)  |  Economic (21)  |  Enter (20)  |  Entire (29)  |  Epoch (12)  |  Exist (89)  |  Existence (254)  |  Explain (61)  |  Expression (82)  |  Fetter (3)  |  Fight (37)  |  Find (248)  |  Force (194)  |  Form (210)  |  Formation (54)  |  Foundation (75)  |  General (92)  |  High (78)  |  Human Society (6)  |  Ideological (3)  |  Immense (28)  |  Independent (41)  |  Indispensable (8)  |  Individual (177)  |  Intellectual (79)  |  Judge (43)  |  Least (43)  |  Legal (6)  |  Life (917)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Material (124)  |  Matter (270)  |  Mature (7)  |  Mode (29)  |  Modern (104)  |  More Or Less (4)  |  Natural Science (62)  |  Necessary (89)  |  New (340)  |  Old (104)  |  Opinion (146)  |  Outline (6)  |  Period (49)  |  Philosophic (3)  |  Political (31)  |  Precision (38)  |  Prehistoric (5)  |  Process (201)  |  Production (105)  |  Productive (10)  |  Progressive (13)  |  Property (96)  |  Rapidly (10)  |  Real (95)  |  Relation (96)  |  Religious (44)  |  Revolution (56)  |  Rise (51)  |  Room (29)  |  Same (92)  |  Sense (240)  |  Set (56)  |  Short (31)  |  Social (93)  |  Social Order (7)  |  Society (188)  |  Solution (168)  |  Solve (41)  |  Stage (39)  |  Structure (191)  |  Sum (30)  |  Task (68)  |  Think (205)  |  Time (439)  |  Total (29)  |  Transform (20)  |  Transformation (47)  |  Turn (72)  |  Womb (13)  |  Work (457)

Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.
[co-author with German socialist Friedrich Engels, (1820-95)]
— Karl Marx
The German Ideology, written 1845-1846. Edited by R. Pascal (1938), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Consciousness (71)  |  Determine (45)  |  Life (917)

Medicines heals doubts as well as diseases.
— Karl Marx
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (257)  |  Doubt (121)  |  Heal (4)  |  Medicine (322)

Men make their own history, but not just as they please. They do not choose the circumstances for themselves, but have to work upon circumstances as they find them, have to fashion the material handed down by the past. The legacy of the dead generations weighs like an alp upon the brains of the living.
— Karl Marx
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852).
Science quotes on:  |  Alp (2)  |  Brain (181)  |  Circumstance (48)  |  Death (270)  |  Generation (111)  |  History (302)  |  Legacy (6)  |  Life (917)

Natural science will in time incorporate into itself the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself natural science: there will be one science.
— Karl Marx
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (1975),304. In Terence Ball and James Farr, After Marx (1984), 229.
Science quotes on:  |  Natural Science (62)

So far no chemist has ever discovered exchange-value either in a pearl or a diamond.
— Karl Marx
Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (1867), trans. Ben Fowkes (1976), Vol. 1, 177.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemist (79)  |  Diamond (15)  |  Pear (3)

The development of civilization and industry in general has always shown itself so active in the destruction of forests that everything that has been done for their conservation and production is completely insignificant in comparison.
— Karl Marx
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Active (17)  |  Civilization (155)  |  Comparison (53)  |  Completely (19)  |  Conservation (139)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Development (228)  |  Everything (120)  |  Forest (88)  |  General (92)  |  Industry (91)  |  Insignificant (11)  |  Production (105)  |  Show (55)

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.
Epitaph on Marx's tombstone in Highgate Cemetery.
— Karl Marx
Theses on Feuerbach (1845), 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (291)  |  Interpretation (61)  |  Philosopher (132)  |  World (667)

The product of mental labor—science—always stands far below its value, because the labor-time necessary to reproduce it has no relation at all to the labor-time required for its original production.
— Karl Marx
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Below (11)  |  Far (77)  |  Labor (53)  |  Mental (57)  |  Necessary (89)  |  Original (36)  |  Product (72)  |  Production (105)  |  Relation (96)  |  Reproduce (5)  |  Require (33)  |  Science (1699)  |  Stand (60)  |  Value (180)

There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.
— Karl Marx
Preface to the French Edition, Das Capital (1872). In Karl Marx, Capital: The Process of Capitalist Production, translated from the 3rd German edition by S. Moore and E. Aveling (1967), 21.
Science quotes on:  |  Chance (122)  |  Climb (14)  |  Dread (10)  |  Gaining (2)  |  Luminous (9)  |  Path (59)  |  Road (47)  |  Royal (10)  |  Science (1699)  |  Steep (4)  |  Summit (7)

We know only a single science, the science of history. History can be contemplated from two sides, it can be divided into the history of nature and the history of mankind. However, the two sides are not to be divided off; as long as men exist the history of nature and the history of men are mutually conditioned.
— Karl Marx
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The German Ideology (1845-6), Vol. 1, 28. English translation 1965.
Science quotes on:  |  History (302)  |  Mankind (196)  |  Nature (1029)  |  Science (1699)

Where speculation ends—in real life—there real, positive science begins: the representation of the practical activity, of the practical process of development of men. Empty talk about consciousness ceases, and real knowledge has to take its place.
— Karl Marx
In David McLellan (ed.), 'The Premisses of the Material Method', Karl Marx: Selected Writings (2000), 181.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (97)  |  Cease (23)  |  Consciousness (71)  |  Development (228)  |  Empty (26)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Practical (93)  |  Process (201)  |  Representation (27)  |  Science And Society (21)  |  Speculation (77)  |  Talk (61)



Quotes by others about Karl Marx (4)

As Karl Marx once noted: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes trial was a tragedy. The creationists and intelligent design theorists are a farce.
In '75 Years and Still No Peace'. Humanist (Sep 2000)
Science quotes on:  |  William Jennings Bryan (20)  |  Creationist (15)  |  Fact (609)  |  Farce (4)  |  History (302)  |  Intelligent Design (4)  |  John T. Scopes (5)  |  Tragedy (19)  |  Trial (23)

Pavlov’s data on the two fundamental antagonistic nervous processes—stimulation and inhibition—and his profound generalizations regarding them, in particular, that these processes are parts of a united whole, that they are in a state of constant conflict and constant transition of the one to the other, and his views on the dominant role they play in the formation of the higher nervous activity—all those belong to the most established natural—scientific validation of the Marxist dialectal method. They are in complete accord with the Leninist concepts on the role of the struggle between opposites in the evolution, the motion of matter.
In E. A. Asratyan, I. P. Pavlov: His Life and Work (1953), 153.
Science quotes on:  |  Accord (21)  |  Activity (97)  |  Belonging (12)  |  Concept (102)  |  Conflict (49)  |  Constancy (4)  |  Data (100)  |  Dominance (5)  |  Establishment (29)  |  Evolution (482)  |  Formation (54)  |  Fundamental (122)  |  Generalization (26)  |  Higher (28)  |  Inhibition (10)  |  Lenin_Vladimir (3)  |  Matter (270)  |  Motion (127)  |  Natural (128)  |  Nerve (66)  |  Opposite (39)  |  Part (146)  |  Particular (54)  |  Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (18)  |  Play (60)  |  Process (201)  |  Profoundness (2)  |  Regard (58)  |  Role (35)  |  Stimulation (12)  |  Struggle (60)  |  Transition (15)  |  Union (16)  |  Whole (122)

I’m one of those people that think Thomas Edison and the light bulb changed the world more than Karl Marx ever did.
Expressing his reason for having no interest in a public sector role in politics. Interview with Rolling Stone writer, Steven Levy (late Nov 1983). As quoted in Nick Bilton, 'The 30-Year-Old Macintosh and a Lost Conversation With Steve Jobs' (24 Jan 2014), on New York Times blog web page. Levy appended a transcript of the interview to an updated Kindle version of his book, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer that Changed Everything.
Science quotes on:  |  Change (291)  |  Thomas Edison (74)  |  Light Bulb (4)  |  World (667)

Marx founded a new science: the science of history. … The sciences we are familiar with have been installed in a number of great “continents”. Before Marx, two such continents had been opened up to scientific knowledge: the continent of Mathematics and the continent of Physics. The first by the Greeks (Thales), the second by Galileo. Marx opened up a third continent to scientific knowledge: the continent of History.
In Lenin and Philosophy, and Other Writings (1971), 4.
Science quotes on:  |  Galileo Galilei (101)  |  Greek (46)  |  History (302)  |  Lenin_Vladimir (3)  |  Mathematics (587)  |  Physics (301)  |  Science (1699)  |  Thales (7)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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- 90 -
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