[Marxism] What is wrong with positivism?

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Fri Aug 3 11:45:50 MDT 2007


On 8/3/07, Jeff Rubard <jeffrubard at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2) In terms of Marxism, the element of positivism that is most
> threatening is its skepticism about the reality of social facts
> beyond the views, interests, and plans of the individual.
> The *Positvismusstreit* in (early) '60s German sociology,
> although it was to a certain extent only so-called (the
> "positivist" was supposed by Adorno to be Karl Popper, who
> no philosopher of science would recognize as anything but
> post-positivist) in large part hinged on the acceptability of
> entities like classes as means of sociological explanation:
> and I think we can all agree it would be a pretty poor
> Marxism that was reconstructed in line with the dictates
> of "methodological individualism", leaving out the character
> and dynamics of larger social groups.

Very interesting. So, would something like, say, game theory be
considered "positivist" (in Adorno's usage of the term, i.e. in the
"so-called" sense)?

I'm asking because while payoffs in game theory are based on
"methodological individualism", I suppose,  game theory does also
admit of conceptualizing  the behavior of groups or ensembles (which
we might think of "classes") and (emergent) relations between such
ensembles.




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