[Marxism] Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena Sheehan

dave x dave.xx at gmail.com
Sat Dec 15 12:13:09 MST 2012

Excellent interview with Marxist philosopher of science Helena Sheehan
over at North Star: http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=3783%3F23

Ben Campbell is the interviewer and has a lot of interesting things to
say, it is worth quoting is introduction to the interview:
"While today’s left has frayed into many strands, there was a time
when the left presented, or at least aspired to present, a coherent
Weltanschauung. This was Marxism, founded on Karl Marx’s brilliant
synthesis of materialism and the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel, which led
him and his collaborator Friedrich Engels to an unprecedented
coalescence of existing human knowledge.

Today’s crisis of capitalism has, unsurprisingly, led to a renewed
interest in Marxism. Yet any “return to Marx” will not be found in an
exegesis of ancient texts but in grounding Marx’s materialist
dialectic in the present. Just as Marx critiqued 19th-century advances
by incorporating them into his thought, so too must the most promising
developments of the last century be synthesized into a radical
understanding for the present. Unfortunately, today’s left has for too
long has been relegated to social and cultural studies, ceding the
“hard” discourse in economics and science to a new generation of
vulgar scientistic “quants”. The resulting left has far too often
neglected a dialectical critique, in favor of dichotomous relations to

It was not always so. In an attempt to recover some of the lost spirit
of the scientific left, I will be interviewing subjects at the
interface of science and the left. I begin today with Helena Sheehan,
Professor Emerita at Dublin City University. Her research interests
include science studies and the history of Marxism, and she is the
author of Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical Overview
(available on her website)."

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