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Its a bit too uncritical of Marxist Philosophy - It can feel as though you are being drawn into a little cult. Mar 03, Daniel O'Gorman rated it really liked it.

The point is to change it.

John Molyneux's career has taken him to different places, doing different things - whereby writing has not occupied his life - and I would propose that we should be grateful for his contribution in writing this introduction to Marxist philosophy, due mainly to the fact that it generally serves its purpose as an introduction. The problem with Marxism is that so few understand Marxism.

Marxism is too easily reduced by many in society and the majority of the time that Marxism is spoken of, the p John Molyneux's career has taken him to different places, doing different things - whereby writing has not occupied his life - and I would propose that we should be grateful for his contribution in writing this introduction to Marxist philosophy, due mainly to the fact that it generally serves its purpose as an introduction.

Marxism is too easily reduced by many in society and the majority of the time that Marxism is spoken of, the person using the term reveals that they do not actually understand the ideology. What Molyneux does here is talk of Marxism for what it is; a philosophy. Marxism is not just 'communism' or 'anti-capitalist' or 'taking from the rich to distribute amongst the poor'. Marxism is a comprehensive philosophical, economical, political and sociological ideology which was amazingly crafted within three years by two very thoughtful people.

This introduction does credit to that and I would invite any reducer of Marx or his ideas to even skim through these pages and dare to speak so dismissively of Marxism again.

In this sense of regaining a conceivable summary of Marxism, Molyneux has succeeded and thus done socialist discourse a favour. Written for the activist and largely avoiding academic dryness, this book is accessible. Molyneux acknowledges that content and discussion become more dense throughout the book, but perhaps at times he could have simplified things further, especially as the book develops and various themes and terminologies come into intellectual interaction with each other. Having said that, the book is largely accessible and I can now say I have a decent understanding of Marxist philosophy on a basic to intermediate level.

I should note that I would consider this a kind of technical handbook rather than one to motivate either an idle person or an aspiring activist. This is not a drawback, since it is meant to be a scientific book to inform the activist, rather than a truly inspiring book to activate the activist! At times Molyneux is considerably defensive of Marxism which results in a kind of negative tone but there is still room for each reader to agree or disagree with the argument Moyneux puts up on Marx's behalf.

I am pleased, after reading, to know I have a book into which I can delve at any later time in order to look up certain terms or areas of debate, just to refresh that knowledge. Other concerns It seems to be a durable paperback and the artwork is very cool, whilst the socialist, bright red, title in capital far from capitalist letters on the spine is an upbeat aesthetic addition to my bookshelf! All in all: A great read for anyone who wishes to understand Marxism for what it really is instead of all too easily dismissing and reducing it. Approachable, accessible and generally informative, this is a great alternative to jumping into the jungle of Marx's own dense texts, or those of any other Marxist writer, who, although furthering the discourse, does not accommodate those unable or unwilling to engage in such enigmatic works.

Read it and share it with any mistaker of the philosophy or even better, anyone who may themselves adopt the doctrine for a socialist cause. Apr 03, Titus Hjelm rated it liked it. Solid intro to Marxism from an SWP perspective. As far as modern philosophy is concerned this is quite understandable. The fiddling and fussing about meaning and semantics strikingly resembles the rarefied atmosphere and convoluted debates of the medieval Schoolmen who argued endlessly over the sex of angels and how many angels could dance on the head of the needle.

For the past one-and-a-half centuries, the realm of philosophy has resembled an arid desert with only the occasional trace of life. One will search in vain in this wasteland for any source of illumination. It is hard to say what is worse: the intolerable pretensions of so-called postmodernism, or the obvious emptiness of its content. The treasure trove of the past, with its ancient glories and flashes of illumination seems utterly extinguished. With the latest craze for so-called postmodernism, bourgeois philosophy has reached its nadir.

The meager content of this trend has not prevented its adherents from assuming the most absurd airs and graces, accompanied by an arrogant contempt for the great philosophers of the past. The contempt for philosophy, or rather, the complete indifference that most people display towards it is richly deserved. But it is unfortunate that in turning aside from the present-day philosophical swamp, people neglect the great thinkers of the past who, in contrast to the modern charlatans, were giants of human thought.

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One can learn a great deal from the Greeks, Spinoza, and Hegel, who were pioneers, who prepared the way for the brilliant achievements of Marxist philosophy and can rightly be considered as an important part of our revolutionary heritage. The Anglo-Saxon world in general has proved remarkably impervious to philosophy. Insofar as they possess any philosophy, the Americans and their English cousins have limited the scope of their thought to the narrow boundaries of empiricism and its soulmate, pragmatism.

Broad generalizations of a more theoretical character have always been regarded with something akin to suspicion. Philosophy is abstract thought, but philosophical generalizations are alien to the Anglo-Saxon tradition. The empiricist tradition is impatient with generalizations. It constantly demands the concrete, the facts, but in confining itself to this narrow approach, it constantly misses the forest for the trees. In its day, empiricism played a most progressive, and even revolutionary role in the development of human thought and science. However, empiricism is helpful only within certain limits.

In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the empirical school of thought associated with the name of Sir Francis Bacon exercised a contradictory influence upon subsequent developments. On the one hand, by stressing the need for observation and experiment, it gave a stimulus to scientific investigation. On the other hand, it gave rise to the narrow empiricist outlook that has had a negative effect on the development of philosophical thought, above all, in Britain and the United States.

For the empirical thinker, nothing exists except in its outward manifestation. This thought always examines things in their singleness, stillness, and isolation, and ends up examining the idea of a thing, and not the thing itself. Sense perception is thought on a very low and basic level.

For everyday purposes, such forms of thought may suffice, but for more complex processes, the narrowness of empiricism immediately becomes an obstacle to a mind that aspires to attain the truth. By the truth we mean human knowledge that correctly reflects the objective world, its laws, and properties.

In this sense it does not depend on a subject, as imagined by Bishop Berkeley, Hume, and the other early representatives of English empiricism, who inevitably fell into the swamp of subjective idealism. Many people only feel secure when they can refer to the facts. Such supposed objectivity has never existed and will never exist. In approaching the facts, we bring our own conceptions and categories with us. These can either be conscious or unconscious, but they are always present. It is therefore indispensable that scientists, and thinking people in general, should strive to work out a consistent way of looking at the world, a coherent philosophy which can serve as an adequate tool for analyzing things and processes.

The conclusions drawn from sense perception are hypothetical, demanding further proof. Over a long period of observation, combined with practical activity which enables us to test the correctness or otherwise of our ideas, we discover a series of essential connections between phenomena, which show that they possess common features, and belong to a particular genus or species. The process of human cognition proceeds from the particular to the universal, but also from the universal to the particular. It is therefore incorrect and one-sided to counterpose one to the other.

Dialectical materialism does not regard induction and deduction as mutually incompatible, but as different aspects of the dialectical process of cognition, which are inseparably connected, and condition one another. Inductive reasoning, in the last analysis, is the basis of all knowledge, since all we know is ultimately derived from observation of the objective world and experience. However, on closer examination, the limitations of a strictly inductive method become clear.

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No matter how many facts are examined, it only takes a single exception to undermine whatever general conclusion we have drawn from them. If we have seen a thousand white swans and draw the conclusion that all swans are white, and then see a black swan, our conclusion no longer holds good. In The Dialectics of Nature , Engels pointed out the paradox of the empirical school, which imagined that it had disposed of metaphysics once and for all, but actually ended up accepting all kinds of mystical ideas.

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We must proceed historically—empirically. Among other precautions we must take care not to be misled by professed historians who.

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We might then announce it as the first condition to be observed, that we should faithfully adopt all that is historical. He brings his categories with him, and sees the phenomena presented to his mental vision, exclusively through these media. And, especially in all that pretends to the name of science, it is indispensable that Reason should not sleep—that reflection should be in full play. To him who looks upon the world rationally, the world in its turn presents a rational aspect. The relation is mutual. But the various exercises of reflection—the different points of view—the modes of deciding the simple question of the relative importance of events the first category that occupies the attention of the historian , do not belong to this place. As a rule, the framing of hypotheses is the most difficult part of scientific work, and the part where great ability is indispensable. So far, no method has been found which would make it possible to invent hypotheses by rule. Usually some hypothesis is a necessary preliminary to the collection of facts, since the selection of facts demands some way of determining relevance. Without something of this kind, the mere multiplicity of facts is baffling The History of Western Philosophy.

Originally, it signified the art of discussion, which may be seen in its highest form in the Socratic dialogues of Plato. Setting out from a particular idea or opinion, usually derived from the concrete experiences and problems of life of the person involved, Socrates would, step by step, by a rigorous process of argument, bring to light the inner contradictions contained in the original proposition, show its limitations, and take the discussion to a higher level, involving an entirely different proposition. An initial argument—thesis—is advanced. This is answered by a contrary argument—antithesis.

Finally, after examining the question thoroughly, dissecting it to reveal its inner contradictions, we arrive at a conclusion on a higher level—synthesis. This may or may not mean that the two sides reach agreement, but in the very process of developing the discussion itself, the understanding of both sides is deepened, and the discussion proceeds from a lower to a higher level.

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This is the dialectic of discussion in its classical form. Dialectics is a dynamic view of nature that frees human thought from the rigor mortis of formal logic. The first real exponent of dialectics was a remarkable man, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus c. His work survives today as a series of brief but profound aphorisms, such as the following:.