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Word Count: 947
In these formulations Marx is trying to make the point that consciousness is an aspect of human life activity Thus the well-known Marxist statement that social being determines consciousness is making the uncontroversial claim that social being as a whole determines one of its own aspects Of course we often want for methodological reasons to focus on consciousness and need to remember as we do so that our current social being easily leads us into the mistake of regarding consciousness in isolation What has not been adequately dealt with is the status of ideas It is very easy to identify consciousness with clear and distinct ideas But given the Marxist perspective consciousness involves more than such ideas and may even exist apart from them as in the case of conscious instinct Let us consider an example of a white worker who makes racist remarks while managing to work and even socialize with black workers fairly harmoniously In talking about this workers consciousness we would clearly be leaving something out if we merely took into account his or her stated ideas We discover consciousness by looking at the totality of social practice of which verbal behavior is one part Focusing on consciousness means that we must look for a conceptual paradigm which can account for the totality of social practice This conceptual paradigm is very rarely going to be stated by the human being whose consciousness can be understood in terms of it but this lack of articulation cannot be used as evidence that a paradigm does not exist In fact the situation is somewhat comparable to a persons using language without being able to articulate the overall structure of the language in question Marx himself does not always make this terminological distinction between consciousness and ideas but making it avoids many difficulties Given Marxs description of consciousness we would expect that
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