Social Justice in the Intellectual Resources of Marxism

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.3, 2014


Social Justice in the Intellectual Resources of Marxism



Li Dianlai, Chenlin and Zhang wenxi


Academic discussion of the social justice issue began in the 1990s and has continued up to the present. This issue, which reflects the immediate problems facing China in a theoretical and conceptual way, constitutes one of the knottiest problems in academic research. In this epoch of comprehensively deepening the reform, we face important theoretical and practical issues. Starting from the interests of the people, to explore the issue of social justice from the intellectual resources of Marxism and to highlight the Marxist spirit of the times and the Marxist Dasein is of great theoretical and practical significance. To this end, Social Sciences in China, Philosophical Researches, Marxism and Reality and the Journal of Renmin University of China have jointly held an academic forum entitled “Social Justice in the Intellectual Resources of Marxism.” This issue has selected three representative papers in order to encourage academic research on related issues of great importance. Professor Li Dianlai from the School of Philosophy of Wuhan University points out that on the basis of the total field of vision of revolution, Marx elucidated his thinking on justice by criticizing the private property system and capitalist relations of production. His thinking on justice is an incremental three-dimensional top-down structure that includes individual ownership, distributive justice and self-realization. Chen Lin, Research Fellow at the Institute of Marxist Political Philosophy at Sanya University, argues that Marxist thinking on justice can only be understood scientifically in a holistic perspective. Critical discourse on the one hand and constructive discourse together constitute the whole of Marxist thinking on justice, to wit, denunciation of capitalist private property system and exploitation and of capitalism’s historically provisional nature as against the construction of justice under the communist system. Professor Zhang Wenxi from the School of Philosophy of Renmin University of China stresses that we should understand the Marxist view of justice in a supra-ethical sense. The fundamental failing of scholars both abroad and at home who ethicize the Marxist view of justice lies in the fact that they interpret Marx through formalist Kantism. In essence, Marxist justice did not originate from moral commandments but from mankind’s perceptual activities. It is a view of justice based on historical practice in the sense of the ontological significance of human activities and points forward to communism.