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Well, merci du compliment, I don’t think! 

Gramsci died in the 30s. Poulantzas died in 1979 (even Sartre managed to outlive him by a whisker!)... 10 years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, way before the advent of the information technology stuff that’s made so much so different. And I’m afraid I simply don’t think that anything written about globalisation before somewhere around 2000 can begin to deal with the massive shifts it has created in its fullest flowering. 

Obviously not everything written in the early 20th century or the 19th is outdated, but it needs so much to be built on rather than preserved in amber and fought over by its reverent evangelicals. 

 

 

From: Science for the People Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Thomas Smith
Sent: 08 January 2013 01:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena Sheehan

 

Mandi I think that’s a bunch of trendy nonsense. As Sartre wrote, capitalism still is the “horizon” against which we must work, and the basic contours of capitalist society: exploitation, the workers vs. the capitalist class,  the separation of civil society and state, the formation and function of the state as ably analyzed by Poulantzas (updated by him for the contemporary period of globalization), the need to be precise with our politics, and not form permanent alliances with petit-bourgeois and outright bourgeois parties and groups, the need, despite the silly communist voice crap (I think I actually know those guys—they think they can reinvent the wheel), for permanent revolution, etc. ,etc. Marxism is STILL relevant as updated by people like Lenin, Trotsky, Poulantzas, Sartre, Gramsci. 

 

From: Science for the People Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mandi Smallhorne
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2013 2:08 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena Sheehan

 

Indeed and indeed. I have just been reading a whole slew of history books around the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and marvelling at how very different circumstances where then – hugely so in the case of Russia, but almost as much in the rest of the world (imagine a world where the Speaker could give up his political career as a matter of conscience, because the USA had decided to engage in imperialist behaviour... !) The working class in the North was so different, class was so set in stone – today I am sure Marx would’ve written a different theory. Where is our Marx for today? Why do so many lefties (here I think specifically of an online forum I’m involved with here in South Africa) waste so much time and energy quarrelling  about terminology a century old?

Mandi

From: Science for the People Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of herb fox
Sent: 07 January 2013 11:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena Sheehan

 

Oh my, what century are we in?
A revisionist is one who revises an existing belief system.  Marx famously said "Don't call me a Marxist."  He never constructed a belief system.  He did do a superb job defining ideology, explaining capitalism, offering a historiography based on class relations, transforming Hegel's dialectics into a materialist based dialectics, and some other wonderful analyses and conjectures.  It follows that those who use the concept of revisionism are asserting that there is a dogma.  Indeed Lenin himself used the expression dogma in referring to "Marxism."  Capitalism will be replaced, because it is demonstrating its failure to improve and enrich the lives of humans on this planet and it is destroying the ability of the planet to support the species.  Marx, were he alive today, would surely be a "revisionist," desperately trying to overcome those who for lack of imagination have constructed dogmas with names like Maxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Etc.  There are so many developments since his time, in culture, class structure, etc, around which he would put his wonderful analytical ability to help us understand and develop program.  It is highly unlikely that he would join any of the existing groups; and it is likely he would be in the library, not in the street, just as he did in writing Das Kapital.

Assuming that subscribers to this list recognize that science has been very much integrated into the current socio-economic structure and ideology of capitalism, and want science to serve the 99% of the population, it seems appropriate that we put ourselves to two tasks: (1) find ways to use our science and technology to aid and be responsive to the 99% in the daily struggles against injustice, and (2) use our imagination to contribute to envisioning an alternate organization of society that will be meaningful enough to a majority to grasp its imagination and motivate it to struggle for it.  What form that struggle will take we will only know when it happens; but it is highly unlikely it will be like any previous struggle.  Take note that the Bolsheviks operated in a country which was still culturally feudal and in which there was a revolutionary movement to which it gave leadership.  There has not to this day been any taking of power by an organization that mobilized the majority of the population in a conscious struggle against a massively hegemonic capitalist superstructure.

The ahistoric application of language and experiences to the real situation in this country at this time, especially in light of the massive mindfuck that penetrates the majority, will go nowhere.  What is needed is a change in popular consciousness and sectarians with their private language are not likely to accomplish that.

herb

On 1/7/2013 7:46 AM, Sam Friedman wrote:

What this interchange has taught me is:
1. There is no agreement about what Marxism is on this list.
2.  Some on this list have very strong opinions on this and related issues.

Similarly, one or more of the people contributing to this discussion have used the term revolution.  It is not at all clear to me that there is widespread agreement on the list about what a revolution is; which of the many changes of governments and other aspects of nations the various people would consider to be "revolutions;" or what people see as the desirable outcome of "revolution."

Nor do I get any sense of the practical activities that these differences lead to in various people's cases.

If people want to get serious about these discussions, these seem like worthwhile starting points--for brief postings, not for huge ones no one will read.

best
sam

 

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Thomas Smith  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]>
To: SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Mon, Jan 7, 2013 6:35 am
Subject: Re: Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena Sheehan

Just glanced at this. I do not believe that Trotsky was in any way shape or
form a "revisionist" along the lines of Bernstein, Kautsky, Stalin, or Mao.
Of course, I am open to evidence to the contrary. But what I belive has
happened however is that many people who call themselves Trotskyists are in
fact revisionist followers of Michel Pablo, who believed in liquidating into
the Stalinist movement. The Pabloite USFI sections in many other ways became
Trotskyist in name only. For example, adaptation to black nationalism in the
United States, uncritical hero worship of Third World Stalinists (and even
of bourgeois Third World Bonapartists like Chavez or Hussein), Sovietophobic
affinity for openly fascist anti-Soviet groups (like the Forest Brothers),
or its opposite, Sovietophilia (as in the case of the Spartacist League's
Jim Robertson, with his love affair of the East German bureaucrats);
abandonment of the transitional program, liquidation into a social
democratic, Shachmanite swamp like Solidarity in the U.S., which both the
FIT and the Trotskyist League have done, etc.
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Science for the People Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> ] On Behalf Of David Westman
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2013 1:11 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena Sheehan
 
Larry, neither Marx nor Engels used the term revisionism because the
non-scientific socialists they dealt with were of a pre-Marxian sort
(although Lasalle adopted some of Marx's theoretical work in a distorted
form similar to 20th century revisionism, and sought to reach an agreement
with Bismark in a way similar to the political tactics of 20th 
century revisionists as well).    The term "revisionism" first came up 
at the turn of the 20th century in reference to Eduard Bernstein, who was
once Engels secretary and in 1900 published a book with the theme that "the
movement is everything and the final goal is nothing", and Francois
Millerand, who shocked socialists by agreeing to join a bourgeois
government. For a more thorough explanation of this issue, see 
Lenin's essay "Marxism and Revisionism"  which explains it very well.    
I will go into Lars Lih at another time.
 
David Westman
 
On 1/6/2013 9:08 PM, Romsted, Laurence wrote:
> Ok. This exchange between David and Carrol is for me an example of the 
> problem of thinking and talking (and shouting) about revisionism.
> 
> 1. What is revisionism re Marx?  (I have some idea, but I am not sure 
> what you two mean).
> 
> 2. Certainly to call someone a revisionist at any type of meeting I 
> attend would make sense to almost no one.
> 
> 3. Who is Lars Lith and why do you two disagree about the significance 
> of his writing?  His being an "academic petty-fogger" has a nice ring, 
> but it helps me not at all understand his weaknesses.
> 
> Larry
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On 1/6/13 11:10 PM, "David Westman" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> On the contrary, revisionism is an ever-present danger during the
>> struggle for socialist revolution.   And it is especially true today
>> when we are faced with the monumental task of clearing up a century's 
>> worth of confusion due to the influence of 
>> Stalinist/Trotskyist/Maoist revisionism which caused tremendous damage to
the working class
>> struggle.   And as for Lars Lih, he is just another "armchair
>> socialist", an academic petty-fogger who has never considered what 
>> the real tasks of the revolution require.
>> 
>> David Westman
>> 
>> On 1/6/2013 7:51 PM, Carrol Cox wrote:
>>> As (if) a new mass left resistance grows, the kind of issue 
>>> represented, a century ago, by "Revisionism" may, probably will, arise.
>>> But to shout "revisionist" at the present time is as futile as an 
>>> argument over Royalism. Debates around Marx, Marxism, Socialism, 
>>> Revolution have left that ancient quarrel far behind and pointless. 
>>> As a start, David might read Lars Lih's wonderful book on Lenin & WITBD.
>>> These ancient scholastic quarrels among socialists are as depressing 
>>> as the massing of liberals around Austerity and Repression (as long 
>>> as Obama can be the Enforcer).
>>> 
>>> Carrol
>>> 
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Science for the People Discussion List 
>>>> [mailto:SCIENCE-FOR-THE- <mailto:SCIENCE-FOR-THE-?>  [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of S. E. 
>>>> Anderson
>>>> Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2013 4:01 PM
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Subject: Re: Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena 
>>>> Sheehan
>>>> 
>>>> David,
>>>> 
>>>> Within the article, I posted a foto of Ms Sheehan at a pro Syriza 
>>>> rally. I think this indicates that she has an "activist strain in 
>>>> her thought." As for the revisionism you have mentioned, that may 
>>>> not have been her intent to raise within this interview on a 
>>>> subject rarely every mentioned within mainstream/corporate academia 
>>>> and media.
>>>> 
>>>> I think it is a small and useful breakthru- especially for 
>>>> circulation and discussion with the US science and academic circles 
>>>> because here it is so deeply anticommunist and anti-intellectual.
>>>> 
>>>> It will be interesting to hear from others on this listserv about 
>>>> the value of this interview and our struggle to develop a Science 
>>>> for the People Movement.
>>>> 
>>>> Happy New Year of Struggle,
>>>> 
>>>> Sam Anderson
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>     -----Original Message-----
>>>>     From: David Westman
>>>>     Sent: Jan 4, 2013 4:54 PM
>>>>     To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>     Subject: Re: Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena 
>>>> Sheehan
>>>> 
>>>>     This is a provocative posting, thank you Sam!   But the problem that
>>>> she does not consider is the existence of revisionist deviations 
>>>> from Marxism, particularly the Bernstein-Kautsky revisionism of the 
>>>> early 20th Century and the later Stalin-Trotsky-Mao revisionism of 
>>>> the mid 20th Century.
>>>> These two
>>>>     revisionist trends which created mockeries of Marxism were 
>>>> responsible for confusing people about the real revolutionary 
>>>> content of
>>>> Marx, Engels, and Lenin.    And she does not seem to have an activist
>>>> strain in
>>>> her thought - for her, there is no need to consider anew the tasks 
>>>> for organization of the proletariat, and to found a modern 
>>>> anti-revisionist party which commits itself to a renewed effort to 
>>>> organize for revolution.
>>>> Marx's
>>>> Theses on Feuerbach provide us with a very clear justification why 
>>>> Marx favored such an activist role, not just a contemplative one:
>>>> 
>>>>     First Thesis on Feuerbach:
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>     The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism ­ that of 
>>>> Feuerbach included ­ is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is 
>>>> conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but 
>>>> not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence, 
>>>> in contradistinction to materialism, the active side was developed 
>>>> abstractly by idealism ­ which, of course, does not know real, 
>>>> sensuous activity as such.
>>>> 
>>>>     Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from the thought 
>>>> objects, but he does not conceive human activity itself as 
>>>> objective activity.
>>>> Hence, in The Essence of Christianity 
>>>> <http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/feuerbach/works/essence/
>>>> ind ex.htm> , he regards the theoretical attitude as the only 
>>>> genuinely human attitude, while practice is conceived and fixed 
>>>> only in its dirty-judaical manifestation. Hence he does not grasp 
>>>> the significance of ³revolutionary², of ³practical-critical², 
>>>> activity.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>     David Westman
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>     On 1/4/2013 11:22 AM, S E ANDERSON wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>             Dialectics in Science: An Interview with Helena Sheehan
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>             by Ben Campbell on December 15, 2012
>>>> 
>>>>             in featured <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?cat=868> ,
interview 
>>>> <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?cat=269>
>>>> 
>>>>             While today¹s left has frayed into many strands, there was a
time 
>>>> when the left presented, or at least aspired to present, a coherent 
>>>> Weltanschauung <http://www.merriam- 
>>>> webster.com/dictionary/weltanschauung> . This was Marxism, founded 
>>>> on Karl Marx¹s 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.
>>>> 
>>>>             Today¹s crisis of capitalism has, unsurprisingly, led to a 
>>>> renewed interest in Marxism. Yet any ³return to Marx² will not be 
>>>> found in an exegesis of ancient texts but in grounding Marx¹s 
>>>> 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, today¹s left has for too long been relegated to 
>>>> social and cultural studies, ceding the ³hard² discourse in 
>>>> economics and science to a new generation of vulgar scientistic 
>>>> ³quants². The resulting left has too often neglected a dialectical 
>>>> critique, in favor of a dichotomous relation to science.
>>>> 
>>>>             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 History (available on her website 
>>>> <http://webpages.dcu.ie/%7Esheehanh/mxphsc.htm> ).
>>>> 
>>>>             Ben Campbell: The advances of 19th-century science were 
>>>> inseparable from the rise of ³materialist² philosophy. While Marx 
>>>> certainly belongs to this tradition, he was also strongly 
>>>> influenced by German idealism, specifically the dialectical system 
>>>> of G.W.F. Hegel. What did a ³dialectical² materialism mean for 
>>>> Marx, and how did he see it as an advance over the materialism of 
>>>> his day?
>>>> 
>>>>             Helena Sheehan: The materialist philosophy of the 19th
century 
>>>> was tending in a positivist direction. It was inclined to stress 
>>>> induction and to get stuck in a play of particulars. Marxism pulled 
>>>> this in the direction of a more historicist and more holistic 
>>>> materialism. It was an approach that overcame myopia, one that 
>>>> looked to the whole and didn¹t get lost in the parts.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: You¹ve written, ³It is no accident that Marxism made its
 
>>>> entry onto the historical stage at the same historical moment as 
>>>> Darwinism.² What do you mean by this, and what do you see as the 
>>>> connection between these two monumental figures?
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: The idea of evolution was an idea whose time had come.
>>>> It was in the air. Historical conditions ripen and set the 
>>>> intellectual agenda.
>>>> Great thinkers are those who are awake to the historical process, 
>>>> those who gather up what is struggling for expression. Marx and 
>>>> Darwin were both great thinkers in this sense, although others were 
>>>> also coming to the same conclusions. Marx and Engels were far 
>>>> bolder than Darwin, carrying forward the realization of a 
>>>> naturalistic and developmental process beyond the origin of 
>>>> biological species into the realm of socio-historical institutions 
>>>> and human thought.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: Engels also wrote extensively on science, particularly
in his 
>>>> manuscript Dialectics of Nature 
>>>> <http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1883/don/index.htm> , 
>>>> unfinished and unpublished during his lifetime. What is it about 
>>>> this document, and Engels more generally, that has been so 
>>>> controversial in the history of Marxism¹s relation to science?
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: There is a tension in Marxist philosophy between its
roots in 
>>>> the history of philosophy and its commitment to empirical 
>>>> knowledge. For the best Marxist thinkers, certainly for Marx and 
>>>> Engels themselves, it has been a creative interaction. However, 
>>>> some of those pulling toward German idealist philosophy, 
>>>> particularly that of Kant and Hegel, have brought into Marxism a 
>>>> hostility to the natural sciences, influenced by the Methodenstreit 
>>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodenstreit> , an antagonistic 
>>>> conceptualization of the humanities versus the sciences, which has 
>>>> played out in various forms over the decades.
>>>> 
>>>>             The critique of positivism has been bloated to an
anti-science 
>>>> stance. The tendency of some to counterpose a humanistic Marx to a 
>>>> positivist Engels is not supported by historical evidence, as I 
>>>> have demonstrated at some length in my book.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: It seems to me that this synthesis of dialectical
philosophy 
>>>> with materialism has always been contentious. On one hand, as you 
>>>> say, there is the danger of reducing an anti-positivist stance to 
>>>> an anti- scientific stance. On the other hand, there is the threat 
>>>> of ³the dialectic² being reduced to a mere rhetorical flourish for 
>>>> an otherwise bare scientism.
>>>> Other writers, like John Bellamy Foster, have argued that Marxism 
>>>> after Marx and Engels split along these lines. Do you agree with 
>>>> this assessment?
>>>> After
>>>> Marx and Engels, what or who best demonstrated the potential of a 
>>>> ³dialectical² science to transcend this divide?
>>>> 
>>>>              <http://www.thenorthstar.info/wp- 
>>>> content/uploads/2012/12/bernal.jpg>
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: No, I don¹t agree with it. There have always been those
who 
>>>> synthesized these two streams. Most familiar to me is the 1930s 
>>>> British Marxism of Bernal 
>>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Desmond_Bernal> , Haldane 
>>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._B._S._Haldane> , Caudwell 
>>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Caudwell> , and others, 
>>>> and
>>>> post-
>>>> war Eastern European Marxism. Regarding the latter, it suffered 
>>>> from the orthodoxy of parties in power, but it wasn¹t all 
>>>> catechetical dogmatism. In the United States, Richard Levins 
>>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Levins>
>>>> and Richard Lewontin <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lewontin> .
>>>> This would still characterize my own position today.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: Yet despite the ability of some to transcend it, there
does 
>>>> seem to have historically been much ambiguity concerning what a 
>>>> ³materialist dialectic² would really entail. Some, like philosopher 
>>>> David Bakhurst, have traced 
>>>> <http://books.google.com/books/about/Consciousness_and_Revolution_i
>>>> n_ Soviet_P.html?id=ZY_r3yYCmsAC>  some of this ambiguity back to 
>>>> the philosophical writings of Lenin. Bakhurst argues that while 
>>>> Lenin appeared at times to advocate a ³radical Hegelian realism², 
>>>> at other times his philosophy failed to transcend a rather vulgar 
>>>> materialism. How did any such ambiguities in Lenin¹s own writings 
>>>> contribute to subsequent debates in Soviet science?
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: Yes, I would agree with that. Lenin could be very 
>>>> philosophically and politically sophisticated, but I never thought 
>>>> his philosophical position quite gelled. Some of his texts on 
>>>> reflection theory were epistemologically crude. As to the effect on 
>>>> Soviet debates, these were beset by the tendency to deal with 
>>>> writings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin as sacred texts. This 
>>>> rigidified further after the Bolshevization of all academic 
>>>> discipline, when there had to be one and only one legitimate 
>>>> Marxist position on every question. A quote from Lenin stopped any 
>>>> further debate.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: Such talk about the rigidity of Soviet science
inevitably 
>>>> leads to the specter of T.D. Lysenko. For readers who may not be 
>>>> familiar, could you briefly describe Lysenko¹s work? How would you 
>>>> respond to those who use Lysenko as a cautionary tale about the 
>>>> danger posed by Marxism or dialectical thinking to biology?
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: T.D. Lysenko (1898­1976) was a Ukrainian agronomist who
came 
>>>> to prominence in the U.S.S.R. in 1927 when his experiments in 
>>>> winter planting of peas were sensationalized by Pravda. He became 
>>>> lionized as a scientist close to his peasant roots who could serve 
>>>> the needs of Soviet agriculture in the spirit of the first 
>>>> Five-Year Plan. He then advanced the technique of vernalization to 
>>>> a theory of the phasic development of plants and then to a whole 
>>>> alternative approach to biology. This was in the context of wider 
>>>> debates in international science about genetics and evolution, 
>>>> about heredity and environment, about inheritance of acquired 
>>>> characteristics. It was also in the context of the Bolshevization 
>>>> of academic disciplines and the search for a proletarian biology 
>>>> and the purges of academic institutions.
>>>> 
>>>>             The issues were many and complex. There has been a tendency
to 
>>>> flatten them all out into Lysenkoism as a cautionary tale against 
>>>> philosophical or political ³interference² in science. However, I 
>>>> believe that philosophy and politics are relevant to the theory and 
>>>> practice of science.
>>>> Lysenkoism is a cautionary tale in the perils and pitfalls of 
>>>> certain approaches to that.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: If we turn from the Soviet philosophy of science to that
of 
>>>> the non-Marxist West, you see a greater reluctance to mix 
>>>> philosophy with the content of science. Instead, a lot of canonical  
>>>> ³philosophy of science² (e.g., Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend) 
>>>> has more to do with scientific method. What does Marxism, with its 
>>>> emphasis on contradiction, have to say about the scientific method? 
>>>> I wonder specifically about Lakatos¹ background 
>>>> <https://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=5986 <https://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=5986&> &
>>>> v iewby=subject&categoryid=542&sort=newest>  in Hegelian Marxism 
>>>> and whether there are affinities there.
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: One big difference between these two traditions in
philosophy 
>>>> of science is that Marxism pursued questions of worldview, 
>>>> exploring the philosophical implications of the empirical sciences, 
>>>> setting it apart from the narrow methodologism of the other 
>>>> tradition.
>>>> 
>>>>             However, Marxism also addressed questions of scientific
method. 
>>>> There is an elaborate literature dealing with epistemological 
>>>> questions from a Marxist point of view. There have been many 
>>>> debates, but the mainstream position would be critical realism. 
>>>> What is distinctive about Marxism in this sphere is how it cuts 
>>>> through the dualism of realism versus social constructivism. 
>>>> Marxism has made the strongest claims of any intellectual tradition 
>>>> before or since about the socio-historical character of science, 
>>>> yet always affirmed its cognitive achievements.
>>>> 
>>>>             The fact that Lakatos had a background in Marxism made him 
>>>> inclined to take a wider view than his later colleagues, but I find 
>>>> that he left a lot to be desired in that respect. Nevertheless, 
>>>> contra Feyerabend, I think that the project of specifying 
>>>> demarcation criteria, so central to the neo-positivist project, is 
>>>> a crucially important task.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: Karl Popper famously invoked a ³falsifiability²
criterion as 
>>>> a means of solving the demarcation problem, which refers to the 
>>>> question of how to distinguish science from non-science (or if that 
>>>> is even possible).
>>>> Popper¹s solution has influenced many scientists but has been 
>>>> strongly critiqued in philosophical circles. How does a Marxist 
>>>> approach inform this demarcation problem?
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: There is a need for criteria to distinguish between 
>>>> legitimate and illegitimate claims to knowledge. The positivist and
>>>> neo-
>>>> positivist traditions contributed much to the formulation of such 
>>>> criteria.
>>>> They did so, however, from a base that was too narrow, employing 
>>>> criteria that were too restricted, leaving out of the picture too 
>>>> much that was all too real, excluding historical, psychological, 
>>>> sociological, metaphysical dimensions as irrelevant. Marxism agrees 
>>>> with the emphasis on empirical evidence and logical coherence, but 
>>>> brings the broader context to bear. It synthesizes the best of 
>>>> other epistemological positions: logical empiricism, rationalism, 
>>>> social constructivism.
>>>> 
>>>>             BC: Today, Marxism stands at its weakest historically, right
as 
>>>> the global economic crash seems to have most vindicated it. 
>>>> Similarly, Marxism has almost no direct influence on 21st-century 
>>>> science, yet discoveries and perspectives seem increasingly 
>>>> ³dialectical² (e.g., biological emphases on complex systems, 
>>>> emergence, and circular causality). What do you make of the 
>>>> situation at present? Would it be possible to develop a 
>>>> ³dialectical² or even ³Marxist² science without Marxism as a 
>>>> political force?
>>>> Or will science always be fragmented and one-sided so long as there 
>>>> remains no significant political challenge to capital?
>>>> 
>>>>              <http://www.thenorthstar.info/wp- 
>>>> content/uploads/2012/12/sheehansyriza.jpg>
>>>> 
>>>>             Helena Sheehan at SYRIZA solidarity rally
>>>> 
>>>>             HS: Yes, Marxism is at a low ebb as far as overt influence
is 
>>>> concerned, precisely at a time when its analysis is most relevant 
>>>> and even most vindicated.
>>>> 
>>>>             I think that people can come to many of the same
realizations and 
>>>> conclusions as Marxists without calling themselves Marxists.
>>>> However, I don¹t think there can be any fully meaningful analysis 
>>>> of science that does not analyze it in relation to the dominant 
>>>> mode of production.
>>>> Such an analysis shows how the capitalist mode of production brings 
>>>> about intellectual fragmentation as well as economic exploitation 
>>>> and social disintegration.
>>>> 
>>>>             I don¹t think that left parties having any chance of taking
power 
>>>> in the future will be Marxist parties in the old sense, although 
>>>> Marxism will likely be a force within them. I am thinking 
>>>> particularly of SYRIZA, with whom I¹ve been intensively engaged 
>>>> lately. One of the leading thinkers in SYRIZA is Aristides Baltas, 
>>>> a Marxist and a philosopher of science.
>>>> 
>>>>             Thank you, Helena.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>              <http://www.thenorthstar.info/wp- 
>>>> content/uploads/2012/12/heinrichhoerle_monumentunknownprothesis.jpg
>>>>             Monument to the Unknown Prothesis, by Heinrich Hoerle
>>>> (1930)
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> author- "The Black Holocaust for Beginners"
>>>> http://blackeducator.blogspot.com




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