Re: [OPE-L] Karl Korsch

From: Dogan Goecmen (dogangoecmen@AOL.COM)
Date: Mon Apr 16 2007 - 07:10:49 EDT

Hi Howard,
sorry for the delay and thank you very much for your thoughts. I agree with what you say. It is the old question of whether philosophy can be founded from within as, say, idealist philosophers assume. The question that arises then is this: what functions does philosophy has in the critique of political economy? Why do we need philosophy to provide a solid critique of political economy at all?
-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung----- 
Von: howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM
Verschickt: Mi., 11. Apr. 2007, 22:17
Thema: Re: [OPE-L] Karl Korsch

Hi Dogan,
Would we say "critique of ideologies like chemistry"?  The word 'ideology' gets used and abused, but I assume Korsch's use here would differentiate ideology from science.  Yet I think because of developments in philosophical naturalism we can say today that philosophy is or can be thought of as "continuous with science."  That means it can appeal to no special methods or tools available a priori, no special foundations taken as established independent of the methods and results of science -- philosophy does what it does as a part of enterprise of science.    I think Marx thought of and used philosophy in this sense, as continuous with the enterprise of science, and he foreshadowed much much in contemporary philosophy as a result.  Think of the Method of Political Economy.  This is certainly philosophy, but it is philosophy in the service of social theory.   Philosophy limits itself insofar as it ignores his contributions.  It is a measure of the poverty of mainstream social science that contemporary debates over ethical naturalism take place without any measurable contribution from social theory.  The caption under the cartoon might read, "This is your brain when Marxless."  
I think these comments are responsive to your more specific question -- Marx's sense of himself as a scientist certainly matured -- recall his letter to Lasalle, 2/22/58, "The presentation, that is, the manner of treatment, is wholly scientific . . . . "  The doctoral dissertation, for example, is a study of philosophy in the traditional sense.  But the Method of Political Economy, or Capital and its drafts, reflect philosophy in the service of and continuous with science.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Dogan Goecmen 
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 2:22 PM
Subject: [OPE-L] Karl Korsch

In *Marxism and Philosophy* Karl Korsch says Marxian critique of political economy is at the same time a deeper critique of philosophy than was in early Marxian writings. How can we make a sense of this?
Thanks for replies
"A radical critique of bourgeois society can no longer start from ‘any’ form of theoretical or practical consciousness whatever, as Marx thought as late as 1843. It must start from the particular forms of consciousness which have found their scientific expression in the political economy of bourgeois society. Consequently the critique of political economy is theoretically and practically the first priority. Yet even this deeper and more radical version of Marx’s revolutionary critique of society never ceases to be a critique of the whole of bourgeois society and so of all its forms of consciousness. It may seem as if Marx and Engels were later to criticise philosophy only in an occasional and haphazard manner. In fact, far from neglecting the subject, they actually developed their critique of it in a more profound and radical direction. For proof, it is only necessary to re-establish the full revolutionary meaning of Marx’s critique of political economy, as against certain mistaken ideas about it which are common today. This may also serve to clarify both its place in the whole system of Marx’s critique of society, and its relation to his critique of ideologies like philosophy."

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