Individualism in Marx

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Aug 31 07:52:57 MDT 1999

>>> Chris Matthew Sciabarra <cms10 at> 08/30/99 07:05PM >>>
At 03:52 PM 8/30/99 -0400, you wrote:
>>>> Chris Matthew Sciabarra <cms10 at> 08/30/99 03:08PM
>Overall, I think there is
>an interesting parallel here:  the libertarians don't give enough credit to
>the individualism in Marx, and the Marxists don't give enough credit to the
>organic dialecticism in the works of certain libertarians.>
>Charles: Why do you think Marxists need anymore individualsim than we
>already have ? Is your reason entirely the history of actual socialisms, or
>something Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc. said ?

I was speaking strictly in terms of "methodological individualism" which is
not the same as ethical individualism.  On the topic of ethical
individualism, I would say that, yes, actual socialisms have not had a good
history of protecting or augmenting the autonomy of the individual.


Charles: But isn't there a connection between methodological and ethical individualism
? I mean in a dialectical attitude toward method and ethics.  It is not a coincidence
that bourgeois ideology is filled with both. Dialectics is not rare in bourgeois
scholarship for nothin'.


>I don't know of any practical fruits of AR's ideas that would make me look
>to her theory for "help". In fact, on the contrary.
>Charles Brown

Again, in this context, my comments were of an entirely "methodological"
nature.  There are many instances in the history of thought of practicing
methodological individualists who are not ethical individualists.


Charles: The test of Rand's method is the practice of it, like any other theory. What
are the fruits of her method , whether ethical individualism or otherwise ? I don't
think a dialectical approach can make this separation between method and ethics. The
unity of theory and practice ( method and ethics) is important to Hegel and Marx.

Charles Brown

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