Marxism and the philosophy of internal relations; or, How to replace the mysterious ‘paradox’ with ‘contradictions’ that can be studied and resolved

Bertell Ollman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The problems most people have in understanding Marx come not only from the complexity of his theories, but also from the frequent changes in the meanings of his concepts. The present article attributes this unusual practice to Marx’s ‘philosophy of internal relations’, which serves as the foundation for his dialectical method, and his use of the process of abstraction (breaking up our internally related world into the ‘parts’ best suited to study it). The ‘flexibility’ found in Marx’s use of language is the linguistic counterpart of the different abstractions he believes necessary in order to capture the complex workings of capitalism. Marx’s dialectical categories, especially ‘contradiction’, are good examples of this process at work.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)7-23
    Number of pages17
    JournalCapital and Class
    Volume39
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 13 2015

    Keywords

    • Philosophy of internal relations
    • abstraction of extension
    • abstraction of level of generality
    • abstraction of vantage point
    • paradox vs. contradiction
    • philosophy of external relations
    • process of abstraction
    • published Marx vs. unpublished Marx

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics and Econometrics

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