A Pragmatist Spin on Analytical Marxism and Methodological Individualism

Philosophical Papers 37 (2):185-211 (2008)
The debates of the 1980s and 1990s on methodological individualism versus methodological holism have not been adequately resolved. Within analytical Marxism, G.A. Cohen, John Roemer, Jon Elster and others have come down in favour of methodological individualism as part of the effort to make analytical Marxism more 'scientific' and 'rigorous' than earlier versions of Marxism. In doing so they have presented methodological individualism as a necessary ingredient in ridding Marxism of obscurantism. This view is here challenged from a pragmatist philosophical perspective. It is argued that, from such a perspective, the debates between the individualists and holists should have been dissolved rather than resolved in favour of the individualists. It is suggested that such dissolution would even strengthen analytical Marxism by redirecting analytical energies towards real social and political problems in the contemporary world and away from endless methodological debate
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DOI 10.1080/05568640809485219
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References found in this work BETA
Jon Elster (2003). Marxism, Functionalism, and Game Theory: A Case for Methodological Individualism. In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Theory and Society. Routledge, in Association with the Open University 453.
Jon Elster (1986). Making Sense of Marx. Journal of Philosophy 83 (12):721-728.

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