foundationalism

Richard Wolff rwolff at minerva.cis.yale.edu
Sat Jan 14 15:12:40 MST 1995


	Reply to Marshall Feldman:

		It is precisely the nature of our use of the term
	"overdetermination" - as in the usages made of this and
	closely allied terms by many of the others grouped around
	the journal RETHGINKING MARXISM - that it does NOT take
	itself as foundational. That is, overdeterminationist
	perspectives admit and indeed proclaim themselves to be just
	that - perspectives related to overdetermination. Other
	perspectives are not "wrong" or "without foundation" because
	they do not share "our foundation."
		However, to argue that we have some concepts that
	serve as means and bases for other concepts, while certainly
	the case, does not thereby make us "foundationalist."
 	Unless you have a very atypical definition of that term.
	As Rorty and others attack it, foundationalism is above all
	the claim that you have a foundation which is and must be THE
	foundation for everyone. That is precisely what overdetermination
	rejects - hance its apposition to foundationalism.

		Excuse the plug, but the Resnick and Wolff books,
	Knowledge and Class and Economics: Marxian vs Neoclassical try
	to systematically develop this point partly at the level
	the philosophy and methodology of the social sciences and partly
	in terms of economic theories and the contemporary battles
	among them.

	R. Wolff

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