Marxism as science -Reply

Bernard J. Goitein bjg at bradley.bradley.edu
Tue Apr 18 11:00:14 MDT 1995


Rahul-
I, too, welcome the "scientific" attitude of the list- did you see the
list's discussion of Analytical Marxism- per
Erik Olin Wright?  That approach that looks
to Marxism as a (social) scientific endeavor- a research
based Marxism- where one formulates Marxist
hypotheses that are not articles of faith (and/or heresies), but rather
are testable expectations about empirical phenomena.

Personally I have found such research to be at its most rewarding not
when my faith (hypothesis) is confirmed, but rather when it's not, or at least
doesn't work out exactly as I had originally thought- I learn most from the
surprises in the data!  (Does this happen to anyone else, or is it
just me?)

 Learning from one's data (experiences), of course, is not a foreign
notion to those engaged in political movement.  I submit that the
activist approach, of learning what works and what does not in the
context of an actual struggle, is comparable to the
scientist's approach.

While Marx states his impatience with the philosophers who try to understand
the world, when the point is to change it (10th thesis on Fuerbach), he too
put a lot of effort into " understanding" the world.
Bernie
On Mon, 17 Apr 1995, Rahul Mahajan wrote:

> Lisa, thanks for the kind words. I'm really gratified to find some
> discussion of science on this list, since most of the leftists I meet are
> the violently anti-science types. I hope there is more discussion of the
> matter on this list because in fact science and its concomitants are the
> crucial differentia between a sensible socialist view of the world which
> could create viable modern states and the increasingly common reactionary
> tribal leftism, which none of its proponents seem to realize is totally
> unviable in a world of 6 billion people.  Science is also one of the ways
> (other than connection with actual movements) for Marxism to be rescued
> from the dry rot of academia.
> Rahul
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