[OPE-L:706] Re: skip Part 1?

JERRY LEVY (jlevy@sescva.esc.edu)
Sun, 10 Dec 1995 14:52:30 -0800

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Response to Paul Z. [704]:

I evidently didn't make my point clearly enough. Unfortunately, the Net
system I am working on has so many limitations that I am not going to
respond at length now. I, will, however suggest the following:

There is in social thought and in history itself quantitative and
qualitative change -- evolution and revolution. The problem with the
Althusserian perspective on the epistemological break is that it only
emphasizes the radical departures -- the revolutions -- in thought and
fails to comprehend the ways in which new philosophies emerge and
incorporate prior philosophical understandings. In attempting to
describe Marx's alleged break from "Hegelianism" and "Feuerbachianism",
Althusser dismissed the, especially Hegelian, mode of thought as being
an essential component and grounding of Marx's philosophy. By attempting
to create such a sharp dichotomy in Marx's work, I believe that
Althusser failed to appreciate the *evolution* of Marx's own thought.
Consequently, the point of my previous post on Althusser was not to
evaluate Marx's thought per se, but rather to suggest that the concept
of the epistemological break led Althusser to the extreme conclusion
that only two short works by Marx could be said to be entirely

So many of the theoretical debates in the history of Marxism, I would
suggest, are based on different mathodological and/or political
understandings. This, of course, make such discussions all the more
difficult in practice. Perhaps others on the list who believe that
the influence of Hegel is essential for understanding _Capital_ could
elaborate further (Tony: are you out there listening?).

In OPE-L Solidarity,