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Critique And Method

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Chapter Summary

Many commentators acknowledge that Marx offered many "critiques", though usually in terms of his criticism of traditional political economy, of exploitation, of capital, of modern society, and so on. Sometimes Marx's negative critique relates to general scientific practice. In an 1846 letter to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov, he warns against "dogmatic" or "doctrinaire" approaches. In seeing all of history as unfolding through laws that are timeless self-organizing categories of causation and existence, metaphysical propositions tend toward the ahistorical. The problem with ahistoricism is more than simply carving one's abstractions too broadly. Marx's critique of poorly formulated dialectic as well as problems in political economy informed his approach to political theory and action. Self-critique assists in improving one's work and heading-off predictable objections. Like negative critique, several principles in Marx's positive critique - i.e., what one should do in research - have to do with the practice of science in general.

Keywords: ahistoricism; Marx; modern society; political economy



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