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

By Richard Hudelson | Go to book overview

9
Analytical Marxism and the History of Marxist Philosophy

In Part I of this study, I argued that the shared core of the various Marxisms of the Second International was the conception that what was valuable in Marxism was social science largely independent of philosophy. Theoreticians of the time sought to rescue Marxism from the attacks of Neo-Kantians and positivists by separating the social scientific content of the theory of capitalism and the theory of historical materialism from confusion with the philosophical ontology of materialism, and by freeing this social scientific content from its apparent reliance upon Hegelian dialectics. While Bernsteinian revisionists might differ with their "orthodox" opponents as to the extent to which this Marxist social science remained tenable, this difference did not flow from any deep philosophical differences as to the nature of social science but, rather, from conflicting view- points concerning the adequacy of this science. If Eduard Bernstein appealed to Kant against what he saw as no longer tenable dogma within Marxist thought, other Neo-Kantian Marxists, such as Max Adler and Karl Liebknecht, defended this Marxist "dogma" as good social science. Karl Kautsky's judgment concerning the compatibility of Marxist social science with materialism, positivism, or Neo-Kantianism reflected this shared ground of the theoretical debates of his time.

By the middle of the twentieth century, this understanding of Marxism as "scientific socialism" was defended only by Marxist-Leninists, and only on the basis of a radical change in the understanding of the nature of science and its relationship to philosophy. Outside the socialist world, within "Western Marx-

-211-

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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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