Inquiry 29 (1-4):65 – 77 (1986)
|Abstract||The main theme in most of the contributions to the symposium on Making Sense of Marx is methodological individualism. In the first part of my reply I consider the objections raised to this, in my opinion, trivially true doctrine. Against Taylor I argue that social relations, seen in abstraction from their relata, have no causal efficacy. Against Wood I argue that my defence of methodological individualism and my criticism of functional explanation are less closely related than he makes them out to be. Against Slaughter I argue that he holds two inconsistent views on the importance of individual desires and beliefs in social explanation. Against Meikle I argue that his view that entities are ?real natures? with a normal path of development needs to be restated in terms of dynamically stable processes. In the second part of the reply I deal with the individual contributions one by one. The replies to the ?fundamentalist Marxists? Slaughter and Meikle are relatively brief, because of the dismissive, unscholarly nature of their comments. Similarly I do not have much to say to North and Taylor, whose brief comments do not contain much with which to disagree. I reply at greater length to Wood, conceding the point he makes in the last section of his comment but rejecting his argument concerning functional explanation|
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