Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: A Defense of Vulgar Marxism

By Richard Hudelson | Go to book overview

Preface

In 1982 I began work on this book. At that time, the universe of Marxist philosophy seemed to be exhaustively divided by two antagonistic claimants to the heritage of Marx: Marxist-Leninism and humanistic Marxism. In the ensuing years, this bipolar scheme of things has substantially given way. In part this is due to the inroads of analytical Marxism and the opening of both Marxist traditions to the tools and ideas of "bourgeois" social science. This loosening of the dominant traditions, and in particular of Marxist-Leninism, is in keeping with the theme of philosophical "convergence" considered in Part III.

But in recent months, these philosophical developments have been overshadowed by the dramatic political changes in Eastern Europe and the USSR. At first glance, it might appear that these developments are themselves consequences of the developments in philosophy. It is clear, for example, that independent intellectuals have played a significant role in the political ferment of these times. While I do not in the least wish to disparage the work of these intellectuals, if the analysis developed in this book is correct, there is no direct connection between the philosophical outlook of these intellectuals and their political orientations. From my point of view of the "independence of politics," it is also not surprising that the developing political movements have encompassed widely differing philosophical orientations. The passage from philosophy to policy depends upon a host of empirical assumptions that end up playing the primary part in the formation of policy prescriptions.

-ix-

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Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century: A Defense of Vulgar Marxism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I Historical Background 1
  • 1: The Marxisms of the Second International 24
  • 2: The Critique of Vulgar Marxism 29
  • Part II Analysis 57
  • 3: The Theory of Capitalism 80
  • 4: Historical Materialism 108
  • 5: Epistemology 113
  • 6: Metaphysics 163
  • 7: Ethics 188
  • 8: Politics 206
  • Part III Conclusions 209
  • 9: Analytical Marxism and the History of Marxist Philosophy 211
  • Bibliography 239
  • Index 247
  • About the Author 253
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