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Inquiry And Abstraction

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Chapter Summary

Marx thought metaphysical, ahistorical, a priori, and speculative approaches to science mystified their subject matter and played an ideological role in support of dominant class-state relations. These proscriptions remain at a broad level of abstraction, i.e., meta-principles of social science as science. Marx translated these assumptions into a framework of inquiry that, presumably, would offer new knowledge about modern society as well as a negative critique of its ruling relations and a positive plan of action. This chapter explores how Marx's approach to thinking about the world shaped his investigation of that world. The flexibility built into Marx's ideas provides a way to get an intellectual handle on the present and its relation to both past and the potential futures it contains. His work offers a set of guidelines for navigating the difficult terrain of the modern world and researching the central relations of wealth, power, and exploitation.

Keywords: Marx; metaphysical approaches; ahistorical



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