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

By Richard Hudelson | Go to book overview

ideal is, in a sense, the representation of moral overdetermination within the theory of the good. My second point here is that though there is a potential for conflict between these elements of the good, this potential conflict is not important in making the case for socialism precisely because of the moral overdetermination of the case for socialism. 54

Finally, moral overdetermination is important because is clarifies an important sense in which the Marxist case for socialism can be said to be a scientific case. Given moral overdetermination, the judgment in favor of socialism is "objective" in the sense that it does not rest on controversial moral principles. But it does rest heavily on the scientific theory of capitalism. From this point of view, the issue between capitalism and socialism is a scientific question, and the Marxist socialist alternative is scientifically based. In saying this, I do not mean to deny that the normative case for socialism rests on moral premises which are external to descriptive science. It is just that these moral premises are uncontroversial. The case for socialism is no less scientific than the case for inoculation against smallpox.


NOTES
1.
William Riker, Theory of Political Coalitions ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), p. 5.
2.
Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy ( New York: International, 1973), p. 49; Marx Engels Werke ( Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1968), vol. 4, p. 81 (hereafter MEW) and Capital ( New York: International, 1973), vol. 1, pp. 84-85 n. 2; MEW, vol. 23, pp. 99-100 n. 38.
3.
On the Ricardian Socialists, see Maurice Dobb, Theories of Value and Distribution Since Adam Smith ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 137-141.
4.
This is one of his central points in the Critique of the Gotha Program. For some of Marx's comments on the Ricardian Socialists, see The Poverty of Philosophy, p. 69 ( MEW, vol. 4, p. 98) and pp. 78-79 ( MEW, vol. 4, p. 105).
5.
As was seen in Chapter 5, the economist Storch both acknowledged this exploitation and considered it moral.
6.
To be sure, Marx does allow that there is a moral factor present in determining the amount of value necessary to maintain the worker ( Capital, vol. 1, p. 232; MEW, vol. 23, pp. 246-247). But this enters the determination of the rate of exploitation only as a matter of descriptive ethics.
7.
I ignore here the possibility of ties between incompatible moral codes.
8.
I am indebted to Tom Moody for pointing out to me that moral criticism could play a significant role under such conditions even under the theory that morality is relative to the mode of production. Since on the view in question such conditions are historically decisive, this is no minor concession concerning the historical role of moral criticism.
9.
Allen Wood, "The Marxian Critique of Justice," Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 ( 1972), pp. 244-282. See also his Karl Marx ( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981), pp. 123-140. In his book, Wood denies that on his view ` Marxis a moral relativist (p. 131). His point is that on his view, moral judgments are objectively true or false

-188-

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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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