Making sense of Elster

Elster contends that much of Marx's most important work was characterized by methodological individualism. I argue that this is untrue, and that to assert it results, at least in part, from a misunderstanding of Marx's writings on the individual's relation to his society. Central to Marx's writings is the rejection of an abstract ?society?. Instead we find analysis of a particular social formation, with a historically specific relation between individual and society, and between ends and means. This is demonstrated from Capital and from earlier writings by Marx. In Elster's critique of Marx's political economy, the same essentially historical content of Marx's categories is not seen. The natural (or general) and the historical are confused in Elster's argument on the theory of value. Elster's reconstruction of Marx's concepts of class and class struggle is critically examined, from the standpoint that class is a relation of exploitation, resting on property in the means of production. In supposing that Marx was in some sense a functionalist, Elster must once again be ignoring the historical core of Marx's thinking
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00201748608602079
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 31,786
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Philosophical Foundations of Analytical Marxism.Graeme Kirkpatrick - 1994 - Science and Society 58 (1):34 - 52.
Functional Explanation, Consequence Explanation, and Marxism.G. A. Cohen - 1982 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):27 – 56.
Class - a Simple View.Keith Graham - 1989 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (4):419 – 436.
Is It Worth Making Sense of Marx?Douglass C. North - 1986 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):57 – 63.
Historical Materialism and Functional Explanation.Allen W. Wood - 1986 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):11 – 27.
Making Nonsense of Marx.Scott Meikle - 1986 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):29 – 43.
Elster's Marx.Michael Taylor - 1986 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):3 – 10.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
12 ( #427,350 of 2,231,530 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #264,176 of 2,231,530 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature