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

By Richard Hudelson | Go to book overview

times, since it suggests grounds for thinking that revolutionary change in the relations of production is necessary for human security, peace, dignity, and prosperity. What also makes attempts to argue from philosophy of science to politics misguided is the distinction between science and philosophy of science. One cannot pass from philosophy of science to judgments about the content of science. And, since social science is relevant to public policy, this provides another reason for thinking that attempts to link philosophical views with political policies are doomed to failure. I believe that much of twentieth-century Marxism is misguided in this way. There is no methodological key to politics or science.


NOTES
1.
"The professors treated Hegel as a 'dead dog', and while themselves preaching idealism, only an idealism a thousand times more petty and banal than Hegel's, contemptuously shrugged their shoulders at dialectics--and the revisionists floundered after them into the swamp of philosophical vulgarization of science, replacing 'artful' (and revolutionary) dialectics by 'simple' (and tranquil) evolution." Lenin, Marxism and Revisionism ( 1908), quoted in Lenin, Against Revisionism, edited by F. V. Konstantinov and G. D. Obichikin ( Moscow: Progress, 1976), p. 112.
2.
Ibid., pp. 239, 244.
3.
E. g., Matthäus Klein et al., eds., Zur Geschichte der Marxistisch-Leninistischen Philosophie in Deutschland, vol. 1. 2 ( Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1969), pp. 324, 340-341.
4.
Lenin, "Left Wing" Communism--An Infantile Disorder ( Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishers, 1961).
5.
Recall here Engels' allowance of the possibility of "evolutionary leaps" ( Anti- Dühring [ Peking: Foreign Language Press, 1976], p. 83). Rilki, Der Revisionismus ( Zurich: Girsberger, 1936), p. 43 n. 3, goes so far as to suggest that for Marx, all dialectical leaps involve intervening evolutionary processes.
6.
Popper, The Poverty of Historicism, ( New York: Harper, 1964), p. 70.
7.
Ibid., p. 69.
8.
Alec Nove, The Economics of Feasible Socialism ( London: George Allen and Unwin, 1983), p. 232, makes this sort of point as a criticism of Popper.
9.
Popper, Poverty of Historicism, p. 69.
10.
Richard Miller, Analyzing Marx ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 305.
11.
Ibid., pp. 114-126.
12.
Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, The Dialectic of the Enlightenment ( New York: Continuum, 1972).
13.
Such a view runs through much of the work of the Frankfurt School critical theorists. More recently, in The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971), Schlomo Avineri has tried to trace the "cruelty and harshness of Bolshevism" (p. 65) back to Engels' positivistic misunderstanding of Marx. For a particularly clear formulation of this view, see Terence Ball, "Marxian Science and Positivist Politics," in After Marx, edited by Terence Ball and James Farr ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
14.
Russell Jacoby, Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 7.

-206-

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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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