1970:15). Marx’s notebooks are mainly related to his study of the natural science and technology of his time(Krinitskii 1948).The unpublished natural-science and technology notebooks of Marx are related to the second half of hislife (1850–83) and are not merely confined to the period of ill health (1870–76) referred to by Engels in his preface to
.Marx was time and again drawn to the study of various fields of science and technology, while trying tounravel the structure and dynamics of the forces and relations of production under early industrialcapitalism. But as in the case of his studies in mathematics and ethnology, here, too, the immediaterequirements of his study of political economy of capitalism alone do not fully explain why and how hedelved so deeply into the veritable oceans of science and technology. The separately published
(1972) of Marx have demonstrated thecorrectness of Engels’s assertion in his speech at the graveside of Marx on 17 March 1883 that[I]n every single field which Marx investigated – and he investigated very many fields, none of themsuperficially – in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.(
24:468).The fields investigated in the hitherto unpublished manuscripts and notes of Marx are: agriculture,agricultural chemistry, biology, chemistry, geology, climatology, pathology, physiology, mining,mechanics, mechanical engineering, history of science and technology, and philosophy of science.Marx’s interests in these fields did not grow overnight. Nor did he study these disciplines merely in periods of ill health, as some sort of distraction. The emergence and development of these interests havedefinite and serious motivations behind them. They have a long history, spanning almost the entire first half of Marx’s life.In the present account we shall try to map the entire trajectory of Marx’s journey through the scienceand technology of his time. We shall begin at the beginning.Karl Marx’s study of science and the technology of his time and the related philosophical and theoreticalquestions matured through the following stages (stages 1 to 3 consitute the prehistory of stage 4):1.the gymnasium years (1830–35);2.the years in the universities (1836–41);3.the period of emergence of the general world outlook of scientific communism (1842–48);4.the years devoted to the study of specific fields of contemporary science and technology(1850–83).
1. Study of science in the Trier gymnasium
As a student of Trier gymnasium, Karl Heinrich Marx studied natural science from the compendia prepared by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1790–1811; 1814). In Marx’s day the gymnasium students of Trier were given a larger and thicker dose of natural science in comparison to the fare provided to suchstudents elsewhere in Prussia (Monz 1973b: 154–9; and Simon 1825: 20–2). In Marx’s gymnasium theclassroom hours per week for the subjects taught were: mathematics and physics, 6; Latin, 2; Hebrew andFrench, 4; and German, 3. some additional hours were devoted to unspecified subjects. The weeklyclassroom hours for St. Paul’s School of Trier were: mathematics and natural science, 9; Latin, 6; religiousinstruction, 2; and German, 4. The courses on natural science included elementary mechanics, optics,chemistry, botany, zoology, geography, and geology. Those on mathematics included elementary arithmetic,geometry, trigonometry, and algebra; these last two included the theory of logarithms and infinitesimals. Inthe lower classes natural science was taught in conjunction with practical crafts and fine arts. (These mattersare discussed in Reiprich 1983).Marx’s mathematics teacher, Nicolas Druckenmüller, conducted independent investigations in his owndiscipline (1835; 1837). So did his teacher of mathematics and natural science, Johann Steininger (Simon1857). Steininger also conducted investigations in the history of philosophy (Steininger 1841). The rector of 2