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The Two Marxisms

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9 Nov , 2018  

To summarize some of the differences between Critical and Scientific Marxism: Critical Marxism leans toward a perspective in which human decisions can make an important difference, toward a voluntarism in which human courage and determination count, while Scientific Marxism stresses the lawful regularities that inhere in things and set limits on human will, counterposing determinism to voluntarism. Critical Marxism pursues a policy of active interventionism, organizing instruments such as the Party “vanguard” or military forces that facilitate intervention; Scientific Marxism leans toward an evolutionism in which the requisites of change have their own rates of maturation and, believing history to be on “their side,” is prepared to wait until things come their way. The cognitive focus of Critical Marxism is therefore “critique,” while that of Scientific Marxism is “science.” Critique goes beyond science toward “epistemology” and philosophy which serve as an effort to probe the limits of science, to find a basis in which science itself might be appraised as an intellectual enterprise and cultural product. Scientific Marxism, however, tends to view science as self-justifying and regards philosophy as suspect and demode; like Marx, it sometimes speaks of “abolishing” philosophy.

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