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The riddle of history: Marx's concept of socialism in the context of his epistemology and theory of history

Kelly, Ray (1991) The riddle of history: Marx's concept of socialism in the context of his epistemology and theory of history. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86275) (KAR id:86275)


Within the organisation of all societies, there are basic contradictions which historically have given rise to certain undesirable structural features. These same contradictions also lie at the root of alienated, ideological forms of consciousness which act as a barrier to the solution of these problems. In chapter one, I will deal with each of these issues in turn, thus introducing Marx's problematic, i. e. the so-called "riddle of history". Chapters two and three contain a discussion of Marx's methodology, which was intended to avoid the pitfalls of ideological forms of consciousness and provide a theoretical framework for coming to terms with the problem. Chapter three in particular provides a syntax and a logical explanation for the terms and forms of argument employed in the rest of the thesis. Marx believes that historical development itself determines the possibility of solving the problems referred to. Chapters four and five, therefore, are an analysis of the processes which govern the development of social structures, i. e. so-called "Historical Materialism". Chapter six is an investigation of the relationship between historical change and forms of consciousness. This sets the stage for an analysis in chapter seven of the nature of capitalism itself and how it gives rise in the consciousness of the working class to a solution, in principle, to the problems identified in chapter one. Finally, chapter eight reviews the factors within the development of capitalism which might make possible the transition to socialism and the implementation of the solution in practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86275
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Marx; Socialism; Historical materialism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:47 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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