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The Marxist View of Morality: A Metaethics Perspective

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China Social Science Review

No.4, 2021


The Marxist View of Morality: A Metaethics Perspective



Fan Zhijun


When discussing Marxist moral issues, the limitations of the normative ethical perspective frequently trap us in the antinomic dilemmas of scientism and humanitarianism and of moralism and amoralism. A metaethics perspective that goes beyond normative ethics may help us free ourselves from this dilemma. In a sense, this metaethics perspective is inherent in Marx’s turn to the realization of a philosophy of life, expressed in the fundamental thesis that “morality is ideology.” We should not understand this conclusion from the viewpoint of normative ethics but from the viewpoint of metaethics. In this way, we can see that this judgment not only explicitly expresses Marxism’s rejection of all forms of realist morality and substantive normative ethics, but also implies the Marxist redefinition of morality, that is, morality is a constructive expression of life.