[Marxism] If Marxism is a Science then its Predictions ShouldMatter...

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Thu Dec 1 08:01:32 MST 2005




As long as we are discussing the British SWP's theses
concerning Cuba and 'Russian questions," I was
wondering what people think of Alex Callinocos'
views concerning Marxism, Trotskyism and science,
and the way that he invokes the ideas of Karl
Popper and Imre Lakatos in defending SWP
theses concerning state capitalism and other
matters.

As I noted to somebody offlist the other day, I
wrote:
-----
I mentioned Callinicos on Popper the other day. To
see how he has used Popper (and Lakatos) in his
work take a look at this book, *Trotskyism* which
can be found online at:  
(http://www.marxists.de/trotism/callinicos/)
especially the second chapter where he makes
explicit use of Popper and Lakatos in formulating
his critique of what calls "orthodox" Trotskyism
which he regards as a degenerating research
program. 
(http://www.marxists.de/trotism/callinicos/2-2_crisis.htm).

Notice the parallels between Callinicos' critique of
"orthodox" Trotskyism and Popper's critique of
Marxism.  Just as Popper argued that Marxism
had originally been a scientific theory but
had lost its scientific character when later
generations of Marxists responded to the
disconfirmation of specific Marxists predictions
by introducing ad hoc hypothesis which
saved the theory from refutation at the
expense of denuding Marxism of its
scientific character, so Callinocos
makes a very similar charge against
"orthodox" Trotskyism, arguing that
Trotsky's theories and analyses had
been originally scientific in character
but that later Trotskyists responded
to the disconfirmation of Trotsky's
predictions concerning the Soviet
Union and western capitalism by
bringing in all sorts of ad hoc hypotheses
that saved the theory from refutation 
at the cost of losing its scientific status.





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