Marxism as science -Reply

Pete Bratsis aki at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Wed Apr 19 12:56:07 MDT 1995




I don't find Althusser's notion of science compelling either.  I was just
trying to bring the discussion from one of 'science' to a more specific
notion of what we mean by sciecne.  And that, of course, AM is not
necessarily more scientific of any other Marxism.

I am also generalising from the AM people that I have read, Elster, E.O.
Wright, and Przowarski, in general -  rational choice/methodological
individualism types.

Perhaps we should narrow the discussion to a question of objectivity.
Does Marxism (or, a partcular form of it) produce objective knowdedge?
Does scientificity mean objectivity?

On this issue I think there would be agreement between Althusser and, say,
the Elster of - Explaining Technical Change -.  While for racidacly different
diffent reasons.  (By the way, I think Althusser notion of rdicalgur refers to

keeping the concepts of a problematic pure, free or contamination from


other problematic and being consistent and explicit in their use).

I would argue that it does not produce objective knowledge since this is
an impossibility.  For Althusser because it would mean a discourse that
is subjectless.  A discourse is scientific when it is a subjectless
discourse.  A discourse that is impossible.  For Elster because it would
mean a complete knowledge of cause.  I position which he has recently
moved away from (cf.  Nuts and Bolts) in favor of causeal mechanisms.
He recognizes the role indeterminancy place in causal explanation and
the impossibility of positivly stating cause.

(the reference to Gunnell was on the relationship of empericism to
political theory, not politcs.)


Peter Bratsis


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