Paradigm Lost: A Cultural and Systems Theoretical Critique of Political Economy

Paradigm Lost: A Cultural and Systems Theoretical Critique of Political Economy

Paradigm Lost: A Cultural and Systems Theoretical Critique of Political Economy

Paradigm Lost: A Cultural and Systems Theoretical Critique of Political Economy

Synopsis

This sequel to "Man and the Biosphere" is an account of the origins and development of a cultural, social energetic and systems theoretical contribution to critical Marxism. It examines: the intellectual contributions of the Russian philosophers, A.A. Bogdanov and A.I. Bukharin; Bogdanov's and Bukharin's contributions as a search for a unity of scientific knowledge; and a paradigmatic change from a closed mechanical system to an open systems paradigm.

Excerpt

In the historic development of political economy it is possible to identify the waxing and waning of three broad themes, or Weltanschauung. the first theme corresponds to a holistic appreciation of a hierarchy of finalities, which attaches to Platonic and Aristotelian praxis theory. the second theme corresponds to an abandonment of praxiological holism, formerly the hard core of economic thought. This abandonment was complemented by the development, during the Age of Reason, of the mechanical materialist paradigm. Finally, the furtive reemergence from its peripheral existence of praxiological holism in its dialectical materialist guise and nascent critical systems theory is recounted.

Whereas the second theme progressed along lines contingent with what may be termed Galilean or scientific rationality, the third followed the heritage of Aristotelian praxis and ensued from criticisms of the second theme. the general contention is that, while Galilean rationality abandoned the praxiology of "becoming" in pursuit of "being," and moreover suppressed the Aristotelian problem of "wholes," reconstructed Aristotelian holism pursued "being." However, the ghost of the Aristotelian systems problem haunted science. From the resulting philosophical confusion over being and becoming, there emerged, in the nineteenth century, a rekindled and romantic interest in Platonic idealism, vitalism, and finalism. Moreover, it was from this state of confusion that a general interest in evolution theory developed and a particular interest in dialectical materialism emerged. Today, both a rekindled interest in the systems problem and praxiological dialectical materialism are progressively penetrating economic thought, revising and overthrowing its long-accepted mechanical paradigm.

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