Fw: [marxistphilosophy] POZNAN SAGA

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at SPAMjuno.com
Tue Feb 27 02:41:45 MST 2001

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From: Ralph Dumain <rdumain at igc.org>
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Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 01:49:56 -0500
Subject: [marxistphilosophy] POZNAN SAGA
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There is a school of Marxist philosophy that doesn't seem to get much
attention in the USA, the Polish Poznan School, which is heavily oriented

towards philosophy of science and hence analytical philosophy.  Until I
learned of this school, I thought I was the only one who saw a linkage
between Marx's conception of science and the more traditional notion of
scientific idealization.  But idealization is the stock in trade of the
Poznan School, which makes a connection between Galileo and Marx.  The
leader of this school seems to be Leszek Nowak, who has one book out in
Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science.  This material is hard to
by outside of research libraries, and the cost is usually prohibitive.
seems the the major publisher of works in English by this school is the
Dutch publisher Rodopi.  Many papers produced by this school can now be
found on the web.

Now I want to call your attention to an interesting article I recently

Witt-Hansen, J.  "Marx's Method in Social Science, and Its Relationship
Classical and Modern Physics and Mathematics", _Poznan Studies in the
Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities_  [Amsterdam: B. Gruner],
vol. 3, nos. 1-4, 1977, pp. 1-41.

I only had time to give this article a quick glance, and so I cannot
describe or evaluate it, but it is very interesting nonetheless.  While
denying Marx's investment in the dialectic, the author asserts that
method has more in common with the method of idealizaton in the natural
sciences than with Hegel, and furthermore, that Marx learned this through

absorption of the writings of the Scottish Historical School and his
acquaintance with Newtonian physics and mathematics as well as with
Copernicus.  He also suggests that German socialists of his time did not
really understand this, and took Engels' questionable advice to stick to
Hegel to understand Marx's notion of science.  (What an irony in this
claim, given the usual accusations leveled against Engels.)  The article
goes into some detail regarding Marx's scientific method in CAPITAL and

Those who cut their teeth on Western/Hegelian Marxism are going to find
many of their presuppositions challenged here.  This is not the
conventional sort of anti-dialectical, anti-Hegelian position; rather it
suggests the complexities involved in turning Hegel on his head as well
of Marx's working methods and the results of his scientific labors;
perhaps one should be wary of facile stereotypes regarding Marx's
method.  However, I am by no means endorsing this article carte
blanche.  It should be studied by those who have the time to so, which I
not at this time.

Check out Ralph Dumain's "The Autodidact Project":
Regular visitors can see what's new on the site at:

"Nature has no outline but imagination has."
                           -- William Blake

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