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Abstract During the last years Anglosaxon discussion about Marx and Marxism has been characterized by an intensified interest in historical materialism as a general theory of history. The most extensive, careful and analytically rigorous among several new treatments is the one by G.A. Cohen,...
Abstract How is it possible, at the same time, to claim that there is a causal primacy of the productive forces over the relations of production and to recognize that the development of the productive forces causally depends on the nature of the relations of production? This irritating puzzle,...
Abstract This paper criticises the view that, according to Marx, “productive forces” determine “relations of production” and that the growth of the former basically determines the course of history. The particular version of this account discussed is that to be found in G.A. Cohen’s Karl Marx's...
Abstract G.A. Cohen interprets Marx as a technological materialist: the productive forces are “primary” in history. There are several mistakes here. First, for Marx technology is neither always nor predominantly the direct stimulus - either causal or functional - of the social relations of...
Abstract This article considers Cohen’s claim that the economic structure or base can be conceived independently of the superstructure by adressing his attempt to identify “a rechtsfrei (moralitätsfrei, etc.) economic structure to explain law (morals, etc.)”. It examines his programme of...
Abstract Richard Rorty’s assessment of the American philosophical scene is unduly cynical. Part of the reason for this seems to lie in his recognition (in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature) of the incoherence of “grounding” a linguistic or conceptual scheme on a “given”, but proceeding,...
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