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Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Friedrich Engels

Book Overview: 

The main idea of "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific" was distinguishing scientific socialism and utopian socialism. Engels begins by chronicling the thought of utopian socialists, starting with Saint-Simon. He then proceeds to Fourier and Robert Owen. In chapter two, he summarizes dialectics, and then chronicles the thought from the ancient Greeks to Hegel. Chapter three summarizes dialectics in relation to economic and social struggles, essentially echoing the words of Marx.

(Introduction by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .But one after another these ungraspable things have been grasped, analyzed, and, what is more, reproduced by the giant progress of science; and what we can produce, we certainly cannot consider as unknowable. To the chemistry of the first half of this century organic substances were such mysterious objects; now, we learn to build them up one after another from their chemical elements without the aid of organic processes. Modern chemists declare that as soon as the chemical constitution of no matter what body is known, it can be built up from its elements. We are still far from knowing the [22]constitution of the highest organic substances, the albuminous bodies; but there is no reason why we should not, if only after centuries, arrive at that knowledge and, armed with it, produce artificial albumen. But if we arrive at that, we shall at the same time have produced organic life, for life, from its lowest to its highest forms, is but the normal mode of existence of albumino. . . Read More

Community Reviews

In my opinion, this is a better introduction to Marxism than the Communist Manifesto. The first chapter focuses on utopian socialist who tried to make reforms but ran up against roadblocks of the bourgeoisie, and since it was based on an unscientific view, it lead to a "mish-mash of critical stateme

I recently started a personal project of reading Marxist theory (something I hope to delve deeply into in 2021, despite it being a busy year for me) and Socialism : Utopian and Scientific is one of the necessary preliminary texts. Now, I didn't want to jump directly into Capital, Vol. 1: A Critical

Turns out that, between the two, Engels is the better explainer of Marx’s ideas. I’ll be recommending this little piece to newcomers to Marx going forward. Engels manages to distill the key points of both Historical Materialism and Dialectical thinking in a concise and straightforward way whereas Ma

This work is very much "Marxism 101", and, like the Manifesto, it seems like it would make for a good entry point.

Engels lays out his and Marx's intellectual predecessors from the early French materialists to Saint Simon, Fourier, and Owen. He explains their "utopian" socialisms quite well, and con

A brilliant introduction to the basics of Marxist philosophy and economics. Just read it for the first time in probably 15 years. Will resolve to go back to it at least every couple of years - the explanations are so clear and the writing so powerful, it's a joy to read. Unfortunately doesn't come w

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific is one of the most important works for understanding Marxism. In this work Engels establishes what scientific socialism really is in three main parts.

He explains the role of utopian socialism and in particular specifies that utopian socialism was only an emotional a

The most accessible and riveting of the original Marxist works I’ve read so far…

The Brilliant:
--“Marxism” just points to “go read Marx”; “scientific socialism” is more descriptive. Unpacking its key insights in “historical materialism” and “surplus value” provided invaluable context, particularly:

you should read this.
everyone should read this.
dialectics for the cool kids.
historical materialism for the pals.

I've not read a more concrete explanation of D & HM particularly, but the whole piece is a wonderful exploration of where the lads were at the end of the 19th century and to a lesser e

أسلوب إنجلس سلس جدًا وواضح ومتسلسل بطريقة منطقية، الكتاب سهل جدًا إذا كان عندك معلومات عامة سطحية عن الفلسفة والماركسية
يبدو أنه أن تقرأ عن الماركسية شيء وأن تقرأ للماركسيين شيء آخر
ويبدو أيضًا أن الاتحاد السوفيتي لم يكن ماركسيًا

Don't start learning about socialism by reading the Communist Manifesto, start with this. It's a small piece, covering the utopian socialist movements, the development of Hegelian dialectics, and historical materialism. The first part is a description of the utopian socialist movements, what motivat

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