Marx’s Justice? Tracing the “Ethical” in Marx’s Thought


This paper sets out to inquire into the ethical character of Marx’s objections to capitalism
by revisiting the North American debate during the 1970s. Toward this end, it probes the theoretical
implications of the recent ethical turn in political theory as well as the transition from Marxism
to post-Marxism. In a broader sense, the question is the possibility, necessity, and boundaries of
deriving an ethical theory from Marx’s thought. I argue that there is an implicit ethical dimension
in his philosophical system, one that he deliberately does not make explicit. Nonetheless, this dimension
can be better articulated after the recent ethical turn. However, insofar as Marx opposes
any moralizing discourse and struggle vis-à-vis capitalism due to his materialist commitments, it
is essential for him that the struggle remains on the ground, material, and political.


Marxist Ethics Fair Distribution Functionalist Justice Moral Realism Radical Historicism Ethical Turn