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Marx and Whitehead

Process, Dialectics, and the Critique of Capitalism

Anne Fairchild Pomeroy

Publication Year: 2004

Marx and Whitehead boldly asks us to reconsider capitalism, not merely as an “economic system” but as a fundamentally self-destructive mode that, by its very nature and operation, undermines the cohesive fabric of human existence. Author Anne Fairchild Pomeroy asserts that it is impossible to appreciate fully the impact of Marx’s critique of capitalism without understanding the philosophical system that underlies it. Alfred North Whitehead’s work is used to forge a systematic link between process philosophy and dialectical materialism via the category of production. Whitehead’s process thought brings Marx’s philosophical vision into sharper focus. This union provides the grounds for Pomeroy’s claim that the heart of Marx’s critique of capitalism is fundamentally ontological, and that therefore the necessary condition for genuine human flourishing lies in overcoming the capitalist form of social relations.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix

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pp. xi

This is an attempt to read Marx through a very specific lens—that of process thought. In some ways, this book would serve as an excellent introduction to Marx’s critique of capitalism although, to be quite honest, it should serve as more of a reintroduction. I intend to return to what I consider to be the basics of Marx’s position and to enhance the understanding of those basics ...

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pp. xiii

Two persons must, without a doubt, head the list of those to whom I am indebted. Friends, role models, authentic human persons, impassioned intellectuals: Jude Jones gave me Whitehead and Jim Marsh gave me Marx. In doing this they gave me the aims of my philosophical eros; in doing this, they gave me to myself. There is no possible way to ever thank ...


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Chapter 1. Introduction: Marx and Whitehead

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pp. 3-22

There is no doubt that, at the outset, this appears a most curious undertaking. What would motivate anyone to venture a union as unlikely as that between Marx and Whitehead? What can possibly be gained by linking a process metaphysics to a critique of capitalism? Providing at least some preliminary answers to these questions will be the task of this ...

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Chapter 2. The Dialectics of Process

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pp. 23-42

Marx and Whitehead share a common method, one that begins with human experience and analyzes the adequate explanatory grounds of that experience. The subject of our thinking is human experience but this is certainly not meant in any precritical empiricist sense as the examination of a distinct external, objective world by the subject. Such separation ...

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Chapter 3. The Process of Production

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pp. 43-62

Process philosophy is based on the conception of the constitution of each actual entity by its unique perspective on and integration of the data provided for it by its settled actual world. Thus, each occasion inherits a settled past that provides the datum for the physical and conceptual feelings that are its nontemporal self-actualization. Each actual entity is its self-creative ...


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pp. 62-64

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Chapter 4. Being and Beings

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pp. 65-84

The analysis thus far has operated at a very high level of generality, concentrating on the broadest categorial similarities between process and production and the congruence of their conceptualization and articulation through dialectic. But given that Marx’s analysis, and his analysis of capitalism in particular, operates on the level of human social productivity, ...

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Chapter 5. The Labor Theory of Value

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pp. 85-106

We now begin the move inward toward the historically specific form of processive production called capitalism. Processive activity involves the becoming of each individual as a determinate social relatedness: appropriating and integrating an already given form of social relations, engaging such data as its own self-determined relational activity, objectifying ...

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Chapter 6. Time and Labor

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pp. 107-126

The critique of capitalism has thus far received an articulation emphasizing the quality of human labor as creative/self-creative activity. This essential productive-processive capacity is usurped without return of equivalent; indeed, further, such an exchange equivalent for activated labor power cannot be found as the activity itself is essentially inalienable ...


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Chapter 7. Alienation

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pp. 129-146

There is no radical or even partial break between Marx’s early and later writings. The existing continuity between dialectics and process metaphysics based on the actual entity as a dialectical unity in difference links the categories of process and production along methodological and functional lines. A metaphysics of process and the ontology that it supports ...

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Chapter 8. Misplaced Concreteness

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pp. 147-170

There is a certain uncanny quality to the processive being/becoming of the human person. The dominant organization of our experience according to the conceptual entertainment of alternative formal possibilities presented within our given actuality allows for a high degree of plasticity in our becoming. It even, as indicated in the previous chapter, makes ...

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Chapter 9. Solidarity

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pp. 171-194

The preceding chapters have painted a bleak picture of the contemporary reality that is the productive process of capitalism.1 The metaphysical and ontological structure provided by process philosophy as the philosophy of internal relations most appropriate to an articulation of Marx’s analysis renders the labor theory of value as a statement regarding the ...


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pp. 195-214


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pp. 215-222


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pp. 223-227

E-ISBN-13: 9780791485613
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791459836
Print-ISBN-10: 0791459837

Page Count: 228
Publication Year: 2004

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Subject Headings

  • Whitehead, Alfred North, 1861-1947.
  • Marxian economics.
  • Capitalism.
  • Dialectical materialism.
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