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~44 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 29; 1 JANUARY ~99~ Patrick Murray. Marx's Theory of Scientific Knowledge. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, Inc., 1988. Pp. xx + 279. Cloth, $49.95. The title of Murray's book might suggest that it falls within the "analytic" genre of Marx studies ~ la G. A. Cohen. However, in his very first endnote Murray indicates that he takes the term "scientific knowledge" in the sense of the German Wissenschaft, which in comparison to the natural sciences has the less technical meaning of "reflective , methodically disciplined knowledge." Indeed, in his introduction the author claims Marx worked out a view of science that rejected positivism in incorporating reflection on the relationship between theory and practice, in recognizing a dialectic of concept and fact, and in thematizing the historicity of theory. Moreover, Marx's science and his humanism are not external to each other, but rather are interrelated as they must be if this science is to have practical revolutionary significance. Another feature of the book not suggested in the title is the author's construction of an ongoing dialogue between Marx and Hegel. Hegel is viewed as important both for his methodological influence upon Marx, especially with the idea of immanent criticism , and as a foil by which Marx, in opposition to Hegel's idealist logic, develops his own non-aprioristic critique of philosophy and political economy. Murray meticulously organizes his text into two parts, each containing several divisions with further subdivisions that comprise a total of nineteen very concise and tightly argued chapters. The first part, entitled "Marx's Critique of Philosophy," treats Hegel's influence on Marx's doctoral dissertation, the break with Hegel that occurs in Marx's writings in 1843-44, Marx's critique of the Young Hegelians, the development of Marx's materialist perspective in opposition to idealism, and Marx's critique of Proudhon's confused Hegelianism. The main theme running through these discussions is that despite Marx's learning from Hegel of the "immanent approach" and the need for a rational mediation of form and content, 'is' and 'ought', and subject and object, nonetheless there are vicious dualisms in Hegel that vitiate the system of reconciliations worked out in his speculative philosophy and applied to politics and political economy. In particular, there is the gap between logic and reality due to the apriorism and abstractness of Hegel's logic, as witnessed in the inversion of subject and predicate and in the speculative syllogism. Hegel's "prefabricated logic" leads to failed mediations between unreconcilable opposites and thus, in simply fitting empirical facts into a logical schema, to uncritical social and political accomodations. Moreover, the appropriation of Hegel's speculative idealism by the Young Hegelians leads to an anthropology based on abstraction and uncritical acceptance of the egoistic individualism of civil society. Marx's historical materialism provides an alternative to the speculative philosophy of self-constituting Spirit by rethinking the relation of consciousness to being, and in particular by attending to the "logics of practical material life" and reconnecting the "co-constituting relation of nature and history" (69-75). Finally, with Marx's critique of Proudhon we have an important intersection between Marx's critique of philosophy and his critique of political economy. In both critiques, the theological and dualistic character of speculative reason is exposed. In Part Two, "Marx's Critique of Political Economy," Murray examines Marx's BOOK REVIEWS 145 methodological writings, especially in the Grundrisse, and his scientific practice as it is displayed in the first four chapters of Capital. Here we find that, despite his debt to Hegel regarding the method of immanent dialectical critique, Marx moves well beyond Hegel with an "empiricism of second intension," i.e., a dialectical approach that develops the logical categories of political economy a posteriori out of the subject matter at hand. Moreover, we discover that in contrast to Hegel's attempt to make the science of knowledge presuppositionless, which results in a formalism that reduces concrete categories to abstract ones, Marx "returns to epistemology" in taking the distinction between subject and object of knowledge seriously, and thereby gets back to the logic of the things themselves. Also, in contrast...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 144-145
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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