• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is our consciousness determined by existence or by the social economic aspects of our life?

Extracts from this document...


50026494 Critical Thought BSc Social Studies Is our consciousness determined by existence or by the social economic aspects of our life? Within this paper an attempt will be made to argue that existence is determined by social-economic aspects rather than by existence. This essay will begin by examining and defining what consciousness is and will briefly look at the theories that have been used to examine consciousness. The next part of the essay will give a brief introduction to what Marxism is as it will be a major influence in the arguments that supports the position. For the next part of this paper it will focus on the arguments and theories that support the position that social-economic aspects of life determine existence. It will explain these theories in general and will focus on the elements that refer to consciousness being determined by social-economic aspects. In the next section of this essay it will examine the strengths of the arguments of the proponents of the position that social-economic aspects determine consciousness and will try to justify this position. Finally this essay will conclude will a brief evaluation of the information in the essay that shows that consciousness is determined by social-economic aspects, rather than by existence. The term consciousness is difficult to define as it is a complex term with different definitions given by different individuals. There are various general definitions for the broad concept of consciousness, with medical definitions given for what consciousness is and from philosophical positions of what the concept of consciousness is. ...read more.


Marx and Marxists in general are strong supporters of this and believe that wealth is a key factor when examining society. Marxists believe that there is a base and superstructure in society and that the base consists of the economics and the superstructure being the ideas beliefs values and ideologies of the dominant class which is the owners of the means of production. Marx also comes up with the term Historical Materialism which can be used to explain consciousness in a social and economic manor. For Marx, the idea of materialism is the study of the real economic and social life of humans and of the influence of man?s actual way of life on this thinking and feeling. He states that humans in history are real and creative, who enter into definite necessary relations which are independent of their will Historical materialism is not the way that human beings gain money and have more material comfort neither the material desires to gain satisfaction. It is the way that human beings produce that determines their thinking and desires. He goes into more depth when discussing materialism stating that materialism is the material base of human activities it is the way humans live their lives; it includes thinking and ideology, politics, law, art etc. This can be used to explain Marx?s famous quote ?that life is not determined by consciousness but rather consciousness by life?. Marx also states that a social element is required by humans and human beings cannot live without interaction and cannot be isolated from society as they will not reach these potentials isolated from society. ...read more.


Indeed, Althusser goes so far as to adopt Pascal's formula for belief: Pascal says more or less: Kneel down, move your lips in prayer, and you will believe (Lenin 114). It is our performance of our relation to others and to social institutions that continually instantiates us as subjects. Judith Butler's understanding of performativity could be said to be strongly influenced by this way of thinking about ideology. There is also a concept that Althusser uses in which he state that all individuals are always-already subjects. In this statement it?s clear that Althusser believes that an individual is already a subject even before birth. He uses this explanation to justify his statement ?even before the child is born, it is certain in advance that it will bear its Father's Name, and will therefore have an identity and be irreplaceable. Before its birth, the child is therefore always-already a subject, appointed as a subject in and by the specific familial ideological configuration in which it is 'expected' once it has been conceived? (Lenin 119) As can been seen from the above paragraphs Marxist theory argues that consciousness is determined by more socio-economics aspects rather than by existence. This essay has shown that Marx and Marxism in general have a very complete argument when arguing that consciousness is more than just the concept of existence. It has to take into account other elements such as the social, economic as well as other elements. So to conclude the title of this essay was is our consciousness determined by existence or by that or socio-economic aspects of our life this essay has shown that it is the socio-economic aspects that determine our existence. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Anthropology essays


    do not make a lot of sense in the context of a collectivist culture. However, my own culture promotes doing things for oneself and quite often by oneself and so is almost the complete opposite. It is important for me to realise that although I would be seeking to empower

  2. Culture is concerned with aspects of the human society, which are learned rather than ...

    Marx's idea of recognizing ideology as a false consciousness. The main criticism against Marx's theory may be of Gramsci. He thought that false consciousness could said to be 2'presented and expounded as an immediate expression of structure and must be contested as primitive infantilism'.

  1. A History of Body Piercing throughout Society

    Christy Turlinton came out at a London Fashion show, and in the middle of her navel was a ring! The next day Naomi Campbell showed the world that anything Christy could do, so could she. A gold ring with a small pearl pierced her navel.

  2. Durkheim on religion. In his text Elementary Forms of Religious Life Durkheim begins his ...

    However this moral support is largely dependent on the social group that you belong to and according to Durkheim totemism is of the most basic[DP26], as it only relies on the clan as being whole. For this reason totemism is seen as a religion that exists not because it has

  1. Extended Essay on Mimicry in Humans

    Mimicry can take various forms like the replication of facial expressions, behavioral mimicry and verbal mimicry. The replication of facial expressions is quite common and often leads to propagation of "mood" where the emotions of one person are propagated to the other (van Baaren et al., 2006).

  2. Economic activities were an important component of life in prehistoric Greece. Discuss how Minoan ...

    (Castleden, 1990: 105). The Minoan palaces supported trade by providing workshops for the creative artists and artisans to work in, where they would expertly work and rework items for trade (Fleming, Gorin, 2005: 238). The palaces also provided valuable storage space for these items, ensuring the security and quality of

  1. A Child Called It

    And this was only the beginning. David's mother's behavior began to worsen especially when David's father started to work 24-hour shifts. She broke bones, stabbed him, starved him, with no apparent reason, and he knew if he ever told, it would only get worse. David went through so much living with his mother.

  2. To what extent can human cooperative and social behaviour be explain by the selfish ...

    Another challenge to the kin selection theory is the questionable ability of the actor to be able to distinguish someone with whom they are related from someone with whom they are not. Dawkins (1976) explains a person?s capacity to discriminate outside of direct kin through a phenomenon known as the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work