This book traces the development of Marx's ethics as they underwent various shifts and changes during different periods of his thought. In his early writings, his ethics were based on a concept of essence much like Aristotle's, which Marx tried to link to a principle of universalization similar to Kant's "categorical imperative." In the period 1845-46, Marx abandoned this view, holding morality to be incompatible with his historical materialism. In the later work he was less of a determinist. Though he no longer wished to reject morality, he did want to transcend a morality of burdensome obligation and constraint in order to realize a community built upon spontaneous bonds of solidarity.
`Marx and Ethics is an important and timely work which, besides offering a novel and plausible account of the development of Marx's ethical thinking, should furnish Marx's followers with at least some of the materials necessary for constructing a theory of justice of a more philosophically coherent and morally compelling kind than they have offered in the past.'
Journal of Applied Philosophy
`Marx and Ethics is a distinguished contribution ... Kain has provided a thoughtful and focused treatment of his subject.' Times Literary Supplement
'This book is a noteworthy and sometimes stimulating contribution to our understanding of Marx's ethical thought ... solid and schoarly study.'
A.M. Shandro, International Studies in Philosophy
'In recent years a number of different kinds of books have been published on Marx and ethics, and Kain's text is an invaluable addition to this particular genre.'
Robert B. Louden, University of Southern Maine, Studies in Soviet Thought, 44, 1992
`This is a clear and scholarly account of Marx's position on ethics, based on a careful reading of the texts.
Margaret A. Majumdar, University of Westminster, The Journal of Communist Studies