Scholarship

Stephen Grossman SGROSSMAN at umassd.edu
Fri Aug 19 09:20:49 MDT 1994


Philosophy of Scholarship

If it wasn't for Nietzche's observation about scholarship being like
catching a worm, I could easily say that the following remarks constitute the
beginning of the philosophy of scholarship.

Some scholars merely compare documents for mere coherence. But the objective
procedure is to compare evidence to an absolute standard. Some scholarship on
Marxism is merely for coherence rather than for correspondence to reality.
They say that a document was written recently, so it's true, like progressive
science. But a standard is needed to identify purpose, lest it degenerate into
academic posturing. Eg, "The CPSU and the International Party System: A Change
of Paradigms in Moscow" (Heinz Timmermann, _Studies in Comparative Communism_,
Summer 1989, 265). Timmermann used the latest policy documents to judge
earlier ones. Comparison, however, is contextual. He should have used classic
works of Marxist political strategy by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao as applications
of Marx. He would have had a hierarchically logical context for judging
applications of the contextual absolute, Marx. The essentials of Marxist
revolutionary theory can be used to understand policy applications in concrete
situations. Timmermann's concern with out-of-context contradictions is trivial.
He evades a concern with purpose and essentials.

Thus spake I with wisdom for the masses.
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