Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor and Department Chair, Philosophy, Creighton University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2003
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Philosophy, Pennsylvania State University
Karl Marx and the Significance of Machines in Late Philosophical Modernity

In the 1850s and early 1860s, Marx wrote prolifically about the effects of the Industrial Revolution on political and social life: especially the effects of machine labor and industrial technologies such as the steam engine. Two volumes of these meditations were published in German in the 1980s, and Marx draws upon them in the "Machinery and Modern Industry" chapter of Capital. Most of the material remains unexplored and is not in publication in either German or English. The primary texts are at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam and the sparse secondary studies at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. My research explores the connections between scientific, political, and epistemological changes. Limiting my historical scope to the 19th century, I investigate technologically mediated labor and the rise of democratic movements such as labor and feminism. I argue that status as a worker is implied in the notion of democratic citizenship and that labor with machines becomes a qualification for this status in the 19th century. I also suggest that 19th century materialists employ a technologically mediated concept of matter.