Neopositivism, marxism, and idealization: Some comments on professor Nowak's paper

Studies in East European Thought 30 (3):219-235 (1985)
Abstract
The paper is a discussion of the idealizational interpretation of the dialectical Marxist methodology of science which has been worked out and applied in a diversity of ways by L. Nowak and the other members of the so-called Pozna school. I examine the sense in which, and the extent to which, this methodology is or can be said to be dialectical. Subsequently, I discuss and criticize Nowak's claim that this methodology can function at the same time as a meta-methodology; I do this in connection with a corresponding and equally questionable claim put forward by I. Lakatos, and with one of Nowak's concrete examples, which is meant to show that certain developments in neopositivist methodology of science followed his (meta-)methodology. Lastly, I comment on the normative-descriptive character of Nowak's methodology, examine its adequacy as a comprehensive account of science, compare it with alternative accounts of the place and role of idealizations in science, and raise the question of whether Nowak's idealizational theory of socio-economic formation is a refutation or a dialectical negation of Marx's historical materialism.
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