Historical materialism and supervenience

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (4):420-446 (2005)
Abstract
In this article I put forth a new interpretation of historical materialism titled the supervenient interpretation . Drawing on the insights of analytical Marxism and utilizing the concept of supervenience, I advance two central claims. First, that Marx's synchronic materialism maintains that the superstructure supervenes naturally on the economic structure. Second, that diachronic materialism maintains that the relations of production supervene naturally on the forces of production. Taken together, these two theses help bring to the fore the central tenets of historical materialism. Furthermore, they help resolve what I call the problem of reductionism and the problem of verification . Key Words: Marx • historical materialism • supervenience • synchronic materialism • diachronic materialism.
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