[OPE-L:522] Ric's BTW on philosophy and political economy

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Mon, 20 Nov 1995 17:59:13 -0800

[ show plain text ]

Riccardo wrote in #512:

> BTW, Jerry is right in reminding us that Marx arrived at the critique of
> political economy starting from a critique of (Feuerbach's, and Hegel's)
> philosophy. But I do not understand very well the weight he accords to
> this point. As one who has 'extensively' 8-) written on method, I agree on
> the relevance of philosophy and method in economics. Still, I'm convinced
> that from the Marxian point of view method and content cannot be divorced.
> That is, Jerry: the critique of political economy has feedbacks on the
> earlier, philosophical, critique, or not? I would answer in the
> affirmative. I find in Capital echoes of arguments earlier put forward in
> the 1844 Manuscripts relative to the 'essence' of the human being (the
> Gattungswesen); but the different context changes almost completely the
> meaning - and again, the difference cannot be appreciated without a
> careful reading of the Grundrisse. If that is true, one cannot take as
> definitive - i.e. representing his 'final word' on the topic - what Marx
> wrote in the earlier writings on philosophy. The more Marx went one, the
> more he was interested in the critique of capital(ism) *alone*, leaving
> aside any 'general', transhistorical, discourse.
I am in agreement with all that Riccardo has written above.

Riccardo, however, missed the point I was trying to raise in my last
post. My main point, implied, had to do with how *we* can begin to think
about "extending Marx."

Do we need to have a thorough critique of all economic thought (I choose
not to use Alan's designation: "modern political economy") *and* all
philosophical thought since Marx prior to attempting to identify and
logically sequence "unanswered questions" related to understanding
capitalism? While critique is an integral part of any research project, I
would not answer the above question "yes." We have to try to remember
what is most important, both theoretically and politically.

In OPE-L Solidarity,