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(Click on the jacket cover image for more information about the Table of Contents and Introduction)
(Click on the jacket cover image for more information about the Table of Contents and Introduction)
Classical Horizons won the Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award in 2003
Hardbound Cover 2018
by Devin S. McCarthy
Greek goddess of Justice
balancing and integrating the Ancients and the Moderns --
Athenian justice and beauty with modern labor and industry --
as the classical inspiration and imaginative vision of Karl Marx's
(Longing for Ancient Greece)
(Fusion of Horizons and Traditions).
with the purpose of creating a classical
vision of workers' associations, economic
democracy, and self-government
"of the people, by the people"
The Paris Commune
150th anniversary of Marx's Capital (2017) and
200th anniversary of Marx's birth (2018)
NEW PAPERBACK REPRINT EDITION
Paperback Jacket Cover
by Devin S. McCarthy
Historical Materialism Series #147
Following closely Aristotle's definition of social justice based on universal and particular justice,
human needs and economic reciprocity, and a critique of the structures and contradictions
of a trade economy (chrematistike), Marx's theories of abstract labor, surplus value,
exchange value, economic crisis theory, overproduction of capital, tendential fall
in the rate of profit, and high unemployment in the Grundrisse and Capital
are an essential part of his modern theory of ethics and social justice.
Marx rewrites and reconfigures Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
(morality and virtue) and Politics (political economy and democracy)
into the language of German Idealism of Kant and Hegel, classical
political economy of Smith and Ricardo, and French socialism of
Fourier, Saint-Simon, and Proudhon. Both Aristotle and Marx
argue for the beauty and dignity of a rational and virtuous
life -- moral and intellectual virtue -- within a democratic
polity and moral economy based upon creative self-
determination, human need, reciprocal fairness,
equality, and the common good.
Social justice refers to the total restructuring of
society and political economy that allows for
the full development of human potentiality,
economic democracy, and individual freedom.
This new book on Marx's theory of social justice
attempts to show how he applies and makes
relevant Aristotle's ethics and politics
to an understanding and transformation
of the class institutions and structures
of modern industrial capitalism --
Marx portrays how the heights and
majesty of Ancient Greece provided
Modern Society with its Classical
Humanism -- that is, with
its lost ideals, political
vision, and inspiration
for social justice.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS
Marx and the Ancients:
Classical Ethics, Social Justice, and
Nineteenth-Century Political Economy
Ma ke si yu gu ren:
Gu dian lun li xue, She hui zheng yi he
19 shi ji zheng zhi jing ji xue
The Origins of Sociology
in Ancient Greece
Kodai girishia to shakaigaku:
marukusu veba dyurukemu
Marx and Aristotle:
Nineteenth-Century German Social Theory
and Classical Antiquity
Ma ke si yu ya li shi duo de:
Shi jiu shi ji de guo she hui li lun yu gu dian de gu dai
4513 Manhattan College Parkway
Riverdale, New York 10471
B.A. in Philosophy, honors
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467
M.A. in Philosophy, August 1969
Ph.D. in Philosophy, June 1972
The Social Anthropology of Hegel and Marx
U. S. Department of Justice
United States District Court
Southern District of New York
Foley Square, Manhattan, NY 10007
Indictment, Arrest Warrant, and Federal Trial
for Moral Resistance to Vietnam War and Draft Refusal
Felony Indictment: Failure to Report for Armed Services Induction
Goethe Institute in Language Study
Blaubeuren, Baden-Württemberg, near Ulm
Brannenburg-Degerndorf, Bavaria, near Munich
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
German Academic Exchange Service
Four-Month Language Fellowship (DAAD)
Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität
Universität Frankfurt am Main
Institut für Sozialforschung
(The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory)
Bockenheim, Frankfurt am Main, West Germany
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst
German Academic Exchange Service
Two-Year Research Fellowship (DAAD)
in Philosophy and Sociology
1971-1973 and 1975-1979
Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science
The New School for Social Research
66 West 12th Street
New York, New York 10011
M.A. in Sociology, June 1973
Ph.D. in Sociology, June 1979
Systems Theory and the Engineering of Utopia:
Urban Technology and Planning in the Post-Industrial City
Marx' Critique of Science and Positivism:
The Methodological Foundations of Political Economy
"Sovietica Series," vol. 53
Institute of East-European Studies
University of Fribourg, Switzerland
edited by T. J. Blakeley, Guido Küng, and Nikolaus Lobkowicz
(Dordrecht, Netherlands; Boston, Massachusetts; and
London, England: Kluwer Academic Publications, 1988)
Marx' Critique of Science and Positivism:
The Methodological Foundations of Political Economy
"Sovietica Series," vol. 53
edited by T. J. Blakeley, Guido Küng, and Nikolaus Lobkowicz
new publisher and reprint paperback edition
(Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Publishing, 2012)
Marx and the Ancients:
Classical Ethics, Social Justice, and Nineteenth-Century Political Economy
(Savage, Maryland; London, England: Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers, 1990)
Marx and the Ancients
Ma ke si yu gu ren:
Gu dian lun li xue, She hui zheng yi he 19 shi ji zheng zhi jing ji xue
translated by Wennan Wang
"Western Tradition: Classics and Interpretation -
Marx and the Western Tradition Series"
edited by Liu Forest
(Shanghai, China: East China Normal University Press, 2011)
Eclipse of Justice:
Ethics, Economics, and the Lost Traditions of American Catholicism
with Royal W. Rhodes
(Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1992)
Eclipse of Justice:
Ethics, Economics, and the Lost Traditions of American Catholicism
with Royal W. Rhodes
new publisher & reprint paperback edition
(Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009)
Marx and Aristotle:
Nineteenth-Century German Social Theory and Classical Antiquity
collection of essays
edited by George E. McCarthy
"Perspectives on Classical Political and Social Thought Series"
(Savage, Maryland; London, England: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1992)
Marx and Aristotle
Ma ke si yu ya li shi duo de:
Shi jiu shi ji de guo she hui li lun yu gu dian de gu dai
translated by Hao Yichun, Deng Xianzhen, and Wen Guiquan
"Western Tradition: Classics and Interpretation -
Marx and the Western Tradition Series"
edited by Liu Senlin
commentary by Chen Kaihua
(Shanghai, China: East China Normal University Press, 2015)
Dialectics and Decadence:
Echoes of Antiquity in Marx and Nietzsche
(Lanham, Maryland; London, England: Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers, 1994)
German Critique of the Enlightenment from Weber to Habermas
(Lanham, Maryland; Oxford, England: Rowman &
Littlefield Publishers, 1997)
Objectivity and the Silence of Reason:
Weber, Habermas, and the Methodological Disputes in German Sociology
(New Brunswick, New Jersey; London, England: Transaction
The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece
Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award, January 2004
(Albany, New York: State University of New York Press,
The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece
Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic
(Princeton, NJ: Audiobook on Compact Disk, 2003)
The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece
Kodai girishia to shakaigaku:
marukusu veba dyurukemu
Ancient Greece and Sociology:
Marx, Weber, and Durkheim
translated by Tatsuo Higuchi & Daisuke Tagami
(Tokyo, Japan: Shogakusya Publishers, 2017)
Dreams in Exile:
Rediscovering Science and Ethics in Nineteenth-Century Social Theory
(Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2009)
Marx and Social Justice:
Ethics and Natural Law in the Critique of Political Economy
"The Historical Materialism Book Series," vol. 147
(Leiden, The Netherlands; Boston, Massachusetts:
Brill Publishers, 2018)
Marx and Social Justice:
Ethics and Natural Law in the Critique of Political Economy
"The Historical Materialism Book Series," vol. 147
new publisher & reprint paperback edition
Haymarket Books at the
Center for Economic Research and Social Change
(Chicago, Illinois: Haymarket Books, 2019)
Shadows of the Enlightenment:
Critical Theory of Science, Technology, and Nature
(New York, New York: Monthly Review Press,
Justice Beyond Heaven:
Natural Law and Economic Democracy in
U.S., German, and Irish Catholic Social Thought
co-authored with Royal W. Rhodes
(Amherst, New York: Humanity Books,
forthcoming: the first three chapters on German
Catholic social thought have been completed)
Classical Antiquity and Social Theory:
The Greek Inspiration for Marx, Weber, and Durkheim
edited collection of essays
Existentialism and Classical Social Theory:
The Foundations of Sociology in the European Crisis of Meaning
COURSES AT KENYON COLLEGE
(LISTEN TO AUDIO LECTURES OF COURSES)
(Click on the blue course number in the left-hand column for more information about
the syllabus, course description, required readings, and digital audio recordings for each course)
Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud
(Introductory Sociology Course)
|| State and Political Economy:
Profits and Poverty in the
|| Communitarianism and Social
Science, Society, and
Integrating Ecological and
(Environmental Studies Program)
|| Social Justice:
The Ancient and Modern
(Legal Studies Program)
|| Modernity and the Ancients
|| Natural Law and Natural Rights
|| Kant, Hegel, and
Modern Social Theory
|| Classical Social Theory:
Marx, Weber, and Durkheim
|| Contemporary Social Theory
German Social Theory:
From Freud to Habermas
|| Western Marxism:
Critical Theory of the
Endowment for the Humanities Project
|| Democracy and Social Justice:
Ancient and Modern
MANY OF THE COURSES LISTED ABOVE ARE ON DIGITAL
AUDIO AND VIDEO EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES
ACADEMIC AND INTELLECTUAL
PROF. GEORGE E. MCCARTHY
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
DISTINGUISHED TEACHING PROFESSOR
Professor George E. McCarthy is an American and Irish philosopher/sociologist who teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century European philosophy, classical and contemporary social theory, ethics and social justice, philosophy and sociology of science, and critical political economy at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Manhattan College (1968), an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston College (1972), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research (1979). He also studied progressive and Marxian economics at the New School with Professors David Gordon and Stephen Hymer. At a particular early stage in his academic career, there was a time (1971-1972) when he was enrolled simultaneously in two different universities, in two different graduate programs, in two different academic disciplines -- Philosophy and Sociology -- in two different cities, in two different states, while he was also under federal indictment, prosecution, and trial at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York City for military draft refusal and moral resistance to the Vietnam War. And, in between these two American graduate school experiences, he spent two years studying the critical social and political theory of the Frankfurt School at the University of Frankfurt and the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt/Main, Germany (1973-1975). Marx and Social Justice:
Earlier at Manhattan College in the mid-sixties he received an unusual classical education in the Great Books Liberal Arts Program whose readings went from the ancient to the modern classics. During the first year of study he took the four required courses each semester in the Literature, Art, Philosophy, and History of Classical Greece and Rome and during the second year repeated these same area subjects for Medieval Europe. His third and fourth years continued this same approach and course listing for Modern and Contemporary European society. After his formal education, McCarthy would then spend a good portion of his academic career searching the classical foundations and horizons of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European Social Theory and Continental Philosophy and raising the crucial question of why the modern authors of these theories would return to the Ancients for their creative inspiration, insight, and direction. From this perspective, his educational goal is to reunite these lost humanistic traditions by rediscovering the Ancient Classics and integrating them with Political Economy and Critical Sociology. This is the true foundation of Classical and Contemporary European Social Theory.
Academic Experience, Study, and Research in Germany: McCarthy has been a DAAD Research Fellow (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität (University of Frankfurt) and the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main. He has also been a guest research professor at the Geschwister-Scholl-Institut für Politikwissenschaft at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the Katholische Sozialwissenschaftliche Zentralstelle in Mönchengladbach, and the department of Philosophie und Erziehungswissenschaft-Humanwissenschaften at the Gesamthochschule, Universität Kassel, Germany. In 1994-1995, he was a Senior Fulbright Research Fellow in Germany. In the spring of 2000 he received
the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professorship in Sociology at Kenyon College. More recently, he has been the recipient of a twelve-month National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship (2006-2007) for his project, "Aristotle and Kant in Classical Social Theory," which examined the relationship between nineteenth-century European social theory and Greek and German philosophy.
His main educational goals are: (1) to investigate the philosophical foundations of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European social theory with a special focus on the integration of the Ancients (Ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, and Hellenists) and the Moderns (German Romantics, Idealists, Historians, and Critical Materialists); (2) to help rediscover the nature of sociology as an empirical/historical and practical/ethical science; (3) to reintegrate Philosophy, History, and Political Economy back into a Critical Social Theory; (4) to expand the nature of 'social science' beyond traditional quantitative and qualitative methods to include the full range of critical social science, including interpretive and hermeneutical science ( Hermeneutische Wissenschaft or verstehende Soziologie), cultural science (Kulturwissenschaft), historical science (Geschichtswissenschaft or sociology of social institutions and structures), human or moral science (Geisteswissenschaft), historical materialism (political economy), dialectical or critical science (Kritische Wissenschaft: immanent critic of the values, logic, and dialectic of capital), and depth hermeneutics (Tiefenhermeneutik: neo-Freudian analysis), while rejecting the methodology of the natural sciences: positivism, empiricism, critical rationalism, naturalism, and nominalism; (5) to develop a critical social theory that incorporates classical and contemporary European social theory -- philosophy, history, and political economy -- into a comprehensive theory of social justice; (6) to integrate the vision and ideals of philosophy with the structures and historical reality of economic and social theory; (7) to expand quantitative and qualitative methods while liberating them from the narrowness of analytic philosophy and positivism (scientism and naturalism); and (8) to interpret Marx's labor theory of value, abstract labor, surplus value, and exchange value, as well as his theory of the structural contradictions (Widersprüche) and economic crises of capitalism in his later writings, not as part of a theory predicting the inevitable breakdown of the economic system, but as a critical theory of ethics and social justice. The main goal of these eight points in education and scholarship is to revive the spirit of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European social theory and their classical horizons at a time when we are witnessing the decline and "eclipse of reason" in the American academy. Higher education has been turned into a technical and specialized education business and corporate structure with a corresponding split between the humanities and the social and natural sciences. The result has been a narrowing and shallowing of disciplines without theoretical imagination, creativity, and critical insight. Important ethical, historical, and theoretical questions are no longer capable of being considered due to the limited range of issues under discussion within the various disciplines themselves. Theory within sociology, along with epistemology, methodology, and metatheory, is being reduced to a peripheral and unnecessary afterthought of literature review.
More specifically, Marx's goal is to draw the connections between Ancient philosophy and the Greek polis and Modern social theory and political economy in order to reconfigure and reinterpret Aristotle's major works Nicomachean Ethics (Philosophy: human excellence, happiness (Eudaimonia), and the good life of moral and intellectual virtue (Arete) from courage, moderation, and wisdom to friendship and citizenship) and The Politics (Sociology: institutions and structures of political economy, moral economy, and political democracy) for the modern age. This rewrite will take the form of joining together Ethics, Social Theory, and Social Justice. The main academic goal behind this effort is to fuse the intellectual horizons (Horizontverschmelzung) of Philosophy and Sociology, Ethics and Social Theory, Virtue & Natural Law and Political & Economic Democracy, and Social Justice and Social Science, thereby creating a critical and dialectical discipline or Science with Heart (Herz: ethics, virtue, and moral/social principles) and Spirit (Geist: politics, reason, social institutions, and empirical/historical research). The future of a democratic, egalitarian, and just society within a moral economy is open to those who can dream with critical insight and practical vision, while also looking back to the Ancients for inspiration, compassion, and hope (Griechensehnsucht).
Technically, unlike Aristotle, Marx did not write an initial or early work devoted entirely to ethics, but his early writings joined Ancient Ethics and Modern Political Economy in his focus on the centrality of human excellence, virtue (moral and dignified life and social justice), practical human activity, and creative moral and political action/work (Praxis). Marx took the idea of a virtuous life and the essential happiness of moral existence from Aristotle and combined it with the world of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century "Creative Subjectivity" found in epistemology, moral philosophy, art, and economics. That is, he borrowed from the Romantic poetry of art, beauty, and creativity and the Kantian and Hegelian idealism of the constitution theory of truth (transcendental and phenomenological subjectivity) and morality (categorical imperative and social ethics). To these central themes he added the importance of modern economics and the virtue and value of human labor, industrial and agricultural production, political rights and democratic polity, and economic cooperatives of equality, freedom, and collective sharing of material wealth (French socialism). To Aristotle's ethics and politics, Marx added the crucial importance of the social, practical, and moral value & virtue of human labor in modern industrial society. Human physical, mental, and spiritual labor helped to provide the moral, political, and material foundations for human excellence, happiness, and the good life. And where Aristotle began his Nicomachean Ethics with the moral virtues of love, compassion, and friendship among family, friends, and citizens to establish the foundations and integrity of the Athenian polis and democracy, Marx focused instead in his Early Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 on the nineteenth-century values and virtues of artisans, co-workers, and co-creators and their collective moral responsibilities of economic cooperation and mutual sharing within both the workplace and the polity. In the end, however, they both completed their works with the ethical dreams of Ancient and Modern democracy and the possibilities for the historical realization of humanity's essence as moral and social beings -- the realization of virtue, excellence, and happiness in political economy.
Ethics and the Natural Law of Freedom, Creativity,
and Self-Determination in the Critique of Political Economy
Analytical Marxism and The Tucker-Wood Thesis: There have been a number of social and political theorists within the Analytical Marxist and Anglo-American traditions between 1970 and 1990 who have argued that Marx did not have an ethical or moral philosophy or a theory of social justice, at least comparable to John Rawls and Robert Nozick. There are three distinct groups of thought within this broad theoretical and philosophical tradition that evolved over time. They argued that (1) Marx clearly did not have a theory of justice because of his critical theory of liberalism, labor theory of value, wage labor, historical materialism, and his epistemology and theory of science -- concepts of justice and morality are "outdated verbal trivia" and pure ideology (Tucker and Wood); (2) although he did not have a theory of justice, he did have an ethical philosophy based on clearly articulated moral principles of freedom, equality, fairness, alienation, and economic distribution; and (3) contrary to 1 and 2, Marx did have a limited theory of justice but it was based on a liberal understanding of civil law, individual rights, and distributive justice. This famous thesis, that Marx rejected social justice and moral thought, was originally developed in the writings of Robert Tucker and Allen Wood and continued by D. Allen, A. Collier, A. Buchanan, and A. Skillen. Some of the main arguments in the broader analytical tradition critical of any theory of social justice in Marx are as follows:
(1) There is no need for the liberal ideals of justice in socialism since justice is an ideological concept of the capitalist economy and, thus, Marx did not use the term of "justice" in his writings
(2) Justice is simply a juridical category and civic principle applicable only within liberalism and capitalism and refers mainly to issues of the state's legal system. This approach represents an ahistorical, deterministic, and mechanical interpretation of Marx's theory of historical materialism
(3) Marx's goal was to leave behind the old ideals of liberalism and, by rejecting natural rights and medieval natural law, he also was rejecting the use of the idea of justice -- in the process, they separated ethics and politics or civic morality from the moral economy and democratic polity
(4) Moral philosophy was viewed as limited and historical and therefore reflective of the principles of relativism and historicism as defined by a certain interpretation of historical materialism
(5) Liberal justice does not refer to issues of worker's self-determination, creative freedom, moral community, the laws of beauty, and human need
(6) The Analytical Marxists reduce justice, rights, and liberties to legal and civil rights of the natural rights tradition
(7) Justice is a form of religious or false consciousness, moral ideology, or useless moralizing that ultimately ends in justifying capitalism
(8) Following the path of neo-classical economics and rational choice theory, they thought that the market was ultimately fair and rational; wage labor was not exploitative or unjust; and that surplus value was necessary for further economic development and expansion (Ricardo) -- in the process they missed the ethical importance of the distinctions among labor, labor power, and surplus labor in Marx's theory of value by maintaining that profits came from the exchange process and not from production and labor exploitation of the social relations of production
(9) By rejecting justice, Marx was simply reduced by some Analytical Marxists to demanding fair wages and fair employment contracts in commodity production, and, thus, fair economic distribution -- others argued that, because of his criticisms of Proudhon and Lassalle, he also rejected the idea of distributive justice
(10) Marx in his later writings left behind his early and less mature philosophical writings of his post-graduate days and focused more on developing a positivistic and naturalistic science of economics with its prediction of economic crises and inevitable structural breakdown and collapse of capitalism in his voluminous work on Capital. This was his science of historical and dialectical materialism. They also maintained that science in the form of naturalism and nominalism is contradictory to ethics and moral critique, thus separating ethics from science, morality from political economy, Moralität from Sittlichkeit, and his early from later writings
(11) they denuded Marx of his critical and dialectical theory of capital, his labor theory of value, secular and historical natural law, theory of work, human potentiality, creativity, and self-determination (epistemological and practical constructivism), and human need, historical materialism, theory of exploitation, alienation, and surplus value, and his theory of economic and communal democracy
(12) the Analytical Marxists replaced German Idealism (which they saw as a speculative, superficial, and a false metaphysics), German and British Romanticism, French Socialism, and Classical Economics with neoclassical economics and critical rationalism (Popper). Some even rejected Hegel's dialectic and returned to Rawls and Nozick for insight; according to the methodology of historical materialism, others rejected morals and ethics as pure ideology since they were an historical and social production of modern society. They reduced Marxism to a form of neoliberalism, positivism, and the belief that justice only represents fair wages and payment for labor power and proper distribution -- they, too, reduce justice to abstract moralizing
(13) They thought Marx's ideal was "beyond justice," since in a socialist society there would be no need for justice. Analytical Marxism is Marxism without Marx and without his return to the classical traditions as the former reduced justice to simple legal categories, rights, and liberties, as well as a narrow interpretations of economic distribution based on market exchange and rational self-interest. In the end, justice is not necessary for a social critique, since it was ultimately a moral ideology justifying capitalism and liberalism. They failed to see that Marx integrated the Ancients and the Moderns into a comprehensive critical theory of social justice. The Analytical Marxists fused the method of modern science with neo-classical economics eliminating any need for discussing issues of social justice. The latter group thought Marx was "beyond justice." The Analytical Marxists began to redefined the areas of Ethics, Economics, Politics, Science, and Justice in new ways.
(14) There is another group within this Marxist tradition that, although rejecting a theory of Justice in Marx, argued that he did have a moral philosophy grounded in the ethical principles of equality and freedom. These modern theorists incorporated and retranslated Marx to fit the contemporary ideas in epistemology, politics, science, and the academy. This failure or unwillingness to see that Marx had a broader and more comprehensive theory of social justice is also based on a number of false premises and misunderstandings of the nature of justice itself. The Analytical Marxists defined the concept of justice in the very narrow terms of liberalism, civil rights, and economic distribution thereby limiting its application only to liberal politics and economics. They interpreted the concept mainly through the writings of John Rawls (A Theory of Justice, 1971) and not those of Aristotle. They also saw justice as a form of false consciousness and political ideology that ran counter to modern rationality and science, neo-classical economics, critical rationalism, and the principles of socialism itself. In order to fully appreciate Marx's theory of social justice one must first view his ideas in the context of his appreciation and integration of the history of Western thought and the classical traditions.
(15) Summary: The early Analytical Marxists and Neo-Positivists of the 1980s (Elster, Roemer, Cohen, Olin Wright, and Przeworski) rejected much of Marxian economics including his labor theory of value as the basis for surplus production, surplus value, and economic exploitation, his classical humanism, ethics, and theory of social justice, and his reliance on Hegel's logic and dialectic. Hegel's idealism, logic, and method were rejected as forms of speculative metaphysics and theoretical obscurantism. Marx, in turn, was criticized for not emphasizing the social world of empirical facts, causal laws, and scientific verification and truths, but making the distinctions between (1) the empirical appearances and underlying social reality; (2) the empirical world of market exchange and capitalist production and the hidden reality of worker alienation and exploitation; (3) the empirical world and its claims to individual rights, political freedoms, and market fairness and the hidden realm of false consciousness and political ideology; (4) historical and economic crises and the logical contradictions of capitalist production; and between (5) the laws of a market and industrial economy and the non-empirical ethical principles of classical humanism and social justice. Issues of alienation, exploitation, false consciousness, ideology, and the structural contradictions of capital, along with the moral principles of species being and social justice, are not scientifically and empirically measurable or testable aspects of society. Nor are they capable of experimentation or reduction to universal and explanatory laws, nor reducible to intentional and individualistic decisions. They are humanistic borrowings from the Ancient Greeks, Modern Socialists, and German Idealists, and could thus be classified, and then ignored, as Marx's "early immature and philosophical writings" as opposed to his later more developed economic works.
(16) Exploitation Occurs within the Market and not Production: The Analytical Marxists replaced the classical and modern traditions of social justice by the logic of natural science, analytic philosophy, methodological individualism, rational choice theory and game theory, neoclassical economics, and a crude materialism of technological and economic determinism. Marx's theories of exploitation and alienation are removed from the arena of industrial production and placed in the market, that is, removed from the social relations of production and the labor theory of value, and placed in an analysis of unfair market exchange and individualistic intentionality. Finally, some of these themes within Analytical Marxism were rejected, adjusted, and modified by later members of this school of thought.
Summary of the Tucker-Wood Thesis: Iron Cage of Liberalism and Positivism: Marx from his early to his later writings did not have a theory of ethics or social justice because of the following scientific, epistemological, methodological, and historical reasons:
(a) Scientism and Naturalism: belief that Marx's methodology as an empirical scientific researcher made it impossible for him to undertake a moral or ethical critique of capitalism
(b) Nominalism and Relativism: the epistemological separation of facts from values, empirical research from ethical judgements also made an ethical critique of the industrial and class system of wage slavery impossible
(c) Positivism and Economism: interpreted Marx's view of science as focusing on the explanations, causes, and predictions of the structural contradictions, economic crises, and inevitable historical breakdown of capitalism
(d) Materialism and Historicism: argued that ideas, concepts, and theories are historically grounded and thus the direct product of a particular political economy and society that gave birth to them and cannot be used beyond that concrete historical moment as the basis for future social criticisms or the foundations for future social institutions
(e) Liberalism and Capitalism: argued that issues of legal rights, liberties, and justice in civil society and the state were exclusively products of modern liberal society and are not applicable to a future form of workers' control and democratic socialism.
The problem with the interpretation found in the Tucker-Wood Thesis is that they imprisoned Marx in various theories and traditions of science, knowledge, and history that he did not rely upon. His views of science and history were grounded in different intellectual traditions, both Ancient and Modern, that emphasized historical science, immanent critique, ethics, secular and historical natural law (practical humanism in art, literature, poetry, and philosophy, not religion or metaphysics), and dialectical science. In their analysis of Marx, Tucker and Wood emphasized modern positivism and not German idealism and constructivism; deterministic and mechanical materialism and not historical materialism; and Comtean and analytical philosophy of science and not the philosophy of Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. They were caught in the logic of Liberalism and Positivism and, thus, were unable to imagine the emancipatory possibilities of social justice that lay within Marx's own critical social theory.
Marx concluded his famous work Capital not with an analysis of the historical and economic inevitability of the breakdown of capitalism as is generally believed, but with the recognition of the structural, logical, and ethical contradictions (Widersprüche) of the capitalist system that cannot be negated or overcome. His writings ended where they began in the mid-1840s with an emphasis on Aristotle and Hegel and an ethical critique of the moral and political failures of modern society -- the economic system is alienating and exploitative, irrational and immoral. In the final analysis, the analytical tradition of Marxist thought in the 1970s mistook his rejection of isolated and ahistorical moral philosophy and their separation of Ethics and Politics for a critique of social justice. They eliminated any theory of justice in Marx by misreading and misinterpreting his critique of ideology and moralism and his theories of science, dialectics of ideals and economic structures, the logic of history, historical materialism, and political economy. Finally, and perhaps their most serious error, was to forget the Ancient and Modern traditions upon which Marx developed his theory of modern industrial society. And in so doing, they lost the soul (Ancient Hebrews and Early Christians), the heart (Ancient Greeks), and the spirit (Modern French and Germans) of his social theory, ideals, and vision -- they lost his ability to imagine and dream. As an alternative to this analytical perspective, Professor McCarthy recently published a book outlining Marx's six-point theory of social justice (see below in Part I: Ethics and Part II: Politics), while integrating the latter's early and later writings into an ethical and political whole. But first review the introductory summary of Marx's theory of social justice listed below.
Ethics, Politics, and Social Justice in Aristotle and Marx: Marx's theory of social justice was not limited to civil law or issues of worker's wages, fairness, or economic redistribution. It was much broader, comprehensive, and more profound than that. It delved into the question of the emancipation and self-realization of the historical essence of humanity in ethics, culture, law, politics, production, work, and its species being as a 'political and productive animal.' It focused on issues of happiness, moral and intellectual virtue, friendship, moral economy, political and economic democracy, human and natural rights, self-realization and self-determination of species being in political economy, individual freedom, dignity, beauty, and human creativity in material, cultural, spiritual, and political work, and economic distribution based on reciprocity and the satisfaction of fundamental human needs. Marx's true goal was the realization of the ethical values and political ideals of classical humanism in modern society in order to create a moral economy and self-government "of the people, by the people" for the common good. At one point in his addresses on the Paris Commune, he attempted to integrate the classical ideals Aristotle and Lincoln. The goal of justice was to affirm the existential meaning, purpose, beauty, and dignity of human life in its various social forms; it was to elevate humanity to a higher level of existence and value than a commodity of production, exchange, and consumption. Following the development in Aristotle's thought between the Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics, Marx, too, emphasized in his theory of justice the distinctions among morality, ethics, and virtue, social institutions and social structures, and social ethics. He incorporated Aristotle's Ethics and Politics into his general social theory by expanding the nature of virtue, goodness, and happiness into a critical theory of political economy and the nature of a moral economy, physical, intellectual and moral labor, and economic democracy.
Ethics is an area of study that reflects the highest moral values, principles, and ideals of the good and virtuous life, while Politics examines the social institutions of political economy which nurture, protect, and ensure that existence of that moral life of humanity; these very institutions make virtue, happiness, and communal existence possible. The overall Structure, Logic, and Substance of Marx's theory of justice mirrors very closely that of Aristotle's theory: the latter begins with the classical humanism of ethics, moral virtue, happiness, and friendship in his Ethics and then evolves into a concrete historical and institutional examination of the Athenian polity and assembly, household and moral economy, and critique of unnatural wealth acquisition in a commercial market economy in his Politics. Marx, in turn, begins in his early philosophical writings with his examination of the political rights of the citizen and ethical humanism of species being and aesthetic human labor and then develops into a study of political and economic democracy, moral economy, and a critique of the irrationality and immorality of unnatural capitalist production, consumption, and market exchange in his later writings on Capital. Although Marx, for all practical purposes, does not have or use the terms "justice" or "social justice" in his writings, the overall Formal, Logical, and Substantive Structure of both authors' works and evolution of their theories are very similar and parallel each other closely. The totality of Marx's writings are thus part of a comprehensive theory of social justice reflecting Aristotle's influence that may be divided into the following general areas:
Summary of the Substantive, Structural, and Formal Correspondence between Aristotle :::: Marx: Between Aristotle's
Ethics and Politics :::: Marx's Early Philosophical/Ethical and Later Economic/Political Writings
The Foundations of the Ancient and Modern Theories of Social Justice
Part I: Humanistic Ethics, Moral Excellence, and Moral/Intellectual Virtues: Classical Virtues of happiness,
love, compassion, friendship, citizenship, Praxis, good moral life (moral/political activity), and
household or family economy (Oikonomia), intellectual virtues of philosophical wisdom (Episteme),
artistic or technical knowledge (Techne), and ethical and political wisdom (Phronesis) and the
moral virtues of courage, moderation, and justice :::: modern virtues of creativity, beauty,
human dignity, Praxis (ethical and aesthetic Work), human emancipation, economic and political democracy,
brotherhood of man, friendship, citizenship, equality, freedom, cooperative sharing based on human need,
self-determination of non-alienated human nature or species being (Gattungswesen), social justice,
and ethical humanism. For both Aristotle and Marx, these humanistic and ethical values express the highest
forms of human need, moral virtue and human
excellence, as well as the highest forms of individual freedom,
human rights, and self-realization of human potentiality.
Part II: Expanding the Relationship Between Ancient and Modern ETHICS and POLITICS: Marx builds
upon Aristotle's Ethics and Politics by adding another key dimension pertaining to human labor
in an industrial society whereby ETHICS--POLITICS becomes ETHICS--WORK--POLITICS.
In the process Marx integrates Ancient ethics, virtue, political wisdom, and the democratic polity with
the Modern emphasis on human labor, production, art, creativity, human dignity and communal sharing
and cooperation. Many of the characteristics of Ancient ethics and politics thereby become fused with and
expressions of human labor, especially the technical, moral, aesthetic, and political dimensions of labor.
With Marx, human labor becomes a central economic (artisanship and production), political (democracy),
aesthetic (art and beauty), and moral (dignity, creativity, and self-determination) category.
Part III: Political and Economic Theory of the Best Constitutions: the Democratic Polity of Athens based on
direct democracy (demokratia), political equality (isonomia), public accountability (eisangelia), and
political wisdom (phronesis) :::: the Democratic Commune of Paris based on class equality, public
participation, worker self-determination, and the collective ownership of the means of production and the
political rights of the citizen found in the French Revolution and French Constitutions from 1789-1795
and the Critique of the Gotha Program. Both forms of ancient and modern democracy were built on
a Moral Economy.
Part IV: Prerequisites for a Moral Economy: Household or Family Economy (Oikonomia) and Distribution
based on Reciprocity, Love, Friendship, Need, and Grace :::: Socialist or Workers/Cooperative Economy
based on Fairness, Need, and the Democratic and Collective Ownership of Production as the
Foundations of Democracy.
Part V: Critique of Unnatural Wealth Acquisition: Compare Ancient Commercial Trade (Kapelike) :::: Modern
Capitalist Production -- Compare the Structural Contradictions (Widersprüche) and Loss of Virtue and
Reason found in the Ancient Exchange Market and Money/Profit/Property Accumulation of Chrematistike
using the Socratic Method and Immanent Critique of Dialogue and Dialectic :::: the Logical and Structural
Contradictions of Capital using Hegelian Logic and the Dialectic of Capital that destroy the moral
economy, democratic polity, and the future possibilities of humanity as a community of virtuous and
rational human beings. For both Aristotle and Marx, unnatural wealth acquisition and property
accumulation of commercial trade and industrial capitalism undermine the moral foundations of society
and the possibility of human virtue, equality, freedom, and happiness, that is, a justice society.
Part VI: Forms of Social Justice: Ancient Universal or Political Justice (moral excellence, virtue, and happiness
through politics) and Particular Justice (Rectificatory, Reciprocal, and Distributive Justice) :::: "Political
Rights of the Citizen," Distributive or Economic, and Political or Communal Justice. These various forms
of ancient and modern justice are the structural and social means of insuring, nurturing and protecting
the underlying ethical values and virtues of modern humanism and communalism through emphasis on
proportionate equality, freedom, dignity, and reciprocal fairness in a moral economy, concern for the
common good and human needs in economic distribution, and the implementing of these economic
and political ideals in democratic socialism: reciprocal exchange, need distribution, worker ownership
and control, and political and economic democracy.
Part VII: Rejection of the Values and Ideals of the Ancient and Modern Forms of Capitalism: Both Aristotle and
Marx accepted the ideal of a moral economy that rejected the values of utilitarianism and possessive individualism,
commercial trade, profit and capital accumulation, and the belief in the ideals of equality, freedom, happiness,
and justice built upon a commercial, market, and class economy. These ideals were antithetical to the ethics
and politics of classical and modern democracy.
Part VIII: Transition from Ethics to Politics: The Critical Research of Applied Philosophy and Ethical Sociology:
Transition from Classical Ethics and Virtue to the Social Institutions of Political Economy -- Household
Economy, Polity, and Athenian Democracy :::: transition from the Ethics of Marx's early moral and
humanistic writings to the Institutions of Political Economy and Democratic Socialism in his later works on
Capital and the Paris Commune. Both Aristotle and Marx created a new and integrated discipline of applied
philosophy, critical sociology, and historical political economy. By turning to Aristotle's critical social theory,
Marx would reject the idea of a mechanical, deterministic, and positivistic dialectical materialism. Both
theorists were interested in grounding their ideals of a moral economy and virtuous life in the actual
institutions of Ancient Athens and Modern Industrial and Cooperative Society. Social Justice is
ultimately about the ethical ideals and moral values that make us human and the political and
economic institutions which give them concrete life, purpose, and social meaning.
Part IX: Organic and Holistic Environment: Compare their Non-Exploitative View of Nature and the Environment
Part X: Summary: Classical Ethics and Politics of Aristotle Expanded by Marx's Critique of Political Economy:
Just as Marx expands Aristotle's understanding of "Ethics" (virtue, love, friendship, political wisdom, and
justice) to include the beauty, dignity, and creativity of art and human labor (German Idealism and British
and German Romanticism), he also expands Aristotle's notion of "Politics" on the Pnyx (Athenian democracy
and household economy) to include communal democracy, value of human labor, workers' control, producer
associations, dismantling of the class system, economic and moral contradictions and crises of capitalist
production, and distributive justice based on grace, reciprocity, and human need (British Political Economy,
German Idealism, and French Socialism). The end result is that both Aristotle and Marx integrate their
ethics and politics, philosophy and sociology, virtue and political economy into their comprehensive and
critical theories of civil/legal, economic, and political justice. Marx introduces and broadens our
understanding of the Athenian moral economy and democratic polity and assembly for the modern age.
Commercial trade (kapelike), industrial capitalism, and class structure are all viewed as incompatible
with the ideals of Ancient and Modern democracy, equality, and freedom.
Summary Overview of Aristotle's Ethics and Politics: Nicomachean Ethics (Modern Library), The Politics (Penguin Books), and The Athenian Constitution (Penguin Books)
Ethical Theory of the Virtuous Life and Happiness
Nicomachean Ethics, Books 1-4, 6, and 8-10
(1) Classical Humanism, Social Ethics, and "the Function of Man": NE Book 1, chapters 1-13
(2) Moral Virtues, Happiness, and Human Excellence: NE Books 2-4; Book 3, chapter 6; Book 4, chapter 2 on Courage, Temperance, Honor, and Truthfulness; Friendship, Civic Friendship, Love, Community, and Human Need: Books 8-9; and Happiness, Book 10
(3) Intellectual Virtue and Forms of Knowledge: Technical and Practical or Political Wisdom (Episteme, Techne, and Phronesis): NE Book 6, chapters 1-13
Political Theory of the Best Constitutions: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democratic Polity
The Politics, Books 3 and 4
(4) Initial Discussion of the Best Constitutions applying the Socratic Method: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democratic Polity (The Politics, Book 4)
(5) The Actual Best Constitution and the Principles and Structures of Democracy: democracy is the real best form of political constitution because its encourages noble actions and virtue (Politics, Book 3, p. 198), virtue, collective judgement, wisdom, and character (202-203), social stability (203), collective judgement and deliberation (205), citizenship and participation (205), contribution (210), and the common good (211). The Principles and Structures of democracy include equality, freedom, and sharing in participation (Book 6, chapters 1-5)
Moral Economy as the Foundation of Moral Virtue and the Athenian Constitution within a Democratic Polity
The Politics, Book 1 and Nicomachean Ethics, Books 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9
(6) Economic and Property Foundations of Athenian Democracy: the citizens in a democratic polity must have property to live a noble and virtuous life (NE Book 4, chapter 11, pp. 264-269 and Book 7, chapters 1-10, pp. pp. 389-420; on issues of property, fair distribution, and human need, see NE pages 114-115, 126-132, 258, 268, 375, and 419); and distribution based on reciprocity, friendship, need, and grace (NE Book 5, chapter 5, pp. 407-411 and Book 8, chapter 12, pp. 492-495, Book 9, chapters 1-2, pp. 495-499, and Book 9, chapters 4-12, pp. 501-518). In Book 1 of The Politics, Aristotle distinguishes between a moral economy and a trade economy. It is here that he makes an important distinction between the moral values of household management (Oikonomia) and natural exchange for goods or money in the market (C-M-C) to satisfy human and household needs, on one side, and unnatural wealth acquisition (Chrematistike) and trade for the accumulation of property and profits (Kapelike: M-C-M'), on the other (Politics, Book 1, chapter 8-Book 1, chapter 13, pp. 75-97). Natural exchange provides the necessary material foundations for a moral economy and virtuous life in a democratic polity, whereas the unnatural wealth of profit and property acquisition undermine community and virtue. Virtue, justice, and the democratic polity are the crucial human needs and the ultimate purpose of human existence and excellence. Also see Aristotle's The Athenian Constitution for an analysis of fairness and just price in the market (chapter 51, p. 96), as well as the inner workings of the structural components and political institutions of a democratic polity in Athens -- the Council (Boule, chapters 43-49, pp. 89-95), Assembly (Ekklesia, chapters 43-45, pp. 89-92), and the Jury Courts (Dikasteria, chapters 63-69, pp. 108-114)
Various Forms of Social Justice: Civil/Legal, Economic, and Political Justice
Nicomachean Ethics, Book 5
(7) Rectificatory or Legal Justice: Civil Liberties and Rights
NE Book 5, chapter 4
(8) Particular or Economic Justice: Grace, Reciprocity, Friendship, Distribution, and Moral Economy
NE Book 5, chapter 2, chapter 5
(9) Universal or Political Justice: Political Wisdom, Public Assembly, and the Democratic Polity
NE Book 5, chapter 6-9
By joining together Ethics and Politics, both Aristotle and Marx agreed that the life of true moral excellence and the happiness of a good life could only be achieved within a community characterized by a moral economy grounded in human need and a democratic polity and based on freedom and equality. Over the course of his early and later writings, Marx reinterpreted and integrated the values of Classical Humanism and the Athenian polity with the ethical and political ideals of the French Revolutions, Modern Political Economy, Romanticism, Idealism, and Socialism. For Aristotle, the foundation of ethics and politics lies in the love, respect, and compassion within the family and extended to the polity and fellow citizens of Athens, whereas, for Marx, the foundation lies in the respect and dignity of cooperative workers and fellow citizens. Praxis was a rational and free activity or Ethics in the form of Politics (political economy). Marx even used the same terms such as Chreia (Need) and Praxis in order to show that human labor and distributive justice were essential issues of rational and moral virtue of free individuals. He viewed labor, creativity, and beauty as fundamentally ethical actions which defined humanity as moral and rational beings: Ethics, Work, Praxis, and Politics were all intimately interconnected for him as they provided the basis for the meaning and purpose of his life's work and underlying critique of capitalist society. Thus, both Aristotle and Marx connected ethics, politics, and economics with the concept of Praxis since they were various forms of moral activity for the good of humanity. Marx defined justice in terms of the following ethical principles and political/economic institutions:
Institutions and Principles, Politics and Ethics: The Breadth and Depth of Marx's Theory of Social Justice
(1) Civil Law, Political Emancipation, and Natural Rights of the Citizen: French Constitutions
of 1789, 1793, and 1795 in "On the Jewish Question"
(2) Politics, Communal Self=Government, and Democratic Socialism: The Athenian Constitution
of the 4th century BC for an analysis of fairness and just price in the market, as well as the inner workings of the structural
components and political institutions of the Athenian democratic polity in the Council (Boule), Assembly (Ekklesia),
and the Jury Courts (Dikasteria), the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations and the Iroquois Constitution (Great Law of
Peace) of 1451, Abraham Lincoln's the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 and the Gettysburg Address of 1863,
and the Declaration to the French People of the Paris Commune of 1871 by Charles Delescluze, Jules Valles, and Pierre Denis.
(3) Industrial Production, Workers' Control, and Economic Democracy: Paris Manuscripts of 1844
(4) Economic Distribution, Reciprocity, and Human Needs: "Critique of the Gotha Program"
(5) Classical Humanism, Human Rights, Species-Being, Natural Law, Artisanship, Freedom, and Human Creativity
(6) Irrationality and Immorality of the Internal Dialectic and Structure of Capitalism:
Integrating Ethics and Economics in the Later Writings from the Grundrisse (1857, published 1939)
and A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859) to Capital (1867)
(7) Nature and the Environment: Paris Manuscripts of 1844.
By framing justice in this manner, Marx integrated the following traditions in Western society:
(1) Liberalism: highest political ideals of liberalism found in individual rights and political freedoms
(2) Classical Democracy and Public Virtue: ideals of Athenian democracy, wisdom, and political participation in the polity expanded into both political institutions and the industrial workplace
(3) Socialism and Political Wisdom: French utopian socialism, the Paris Commune of 1871, and the American democracy of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations of 1451
(4) Ethics, Need, and Economic Distribution: Greek and French theories of the moral economy and just distribution of productive social wealth
(5) Classical Humanism and Constructive Idealism and Praxis: Athenian moral and intellectual virtues and the values of self-determination and self-creativity in the moral philosophy and epistemology of German Idealism are reconfigured to form Marx's understanding of species-being and natural law. Constructivism of German Idealism evolves from the perception and understanding of empirical reality. The idealist constitution theory of truth and morality is transformed into the historical materialism of human labor and political activity.
(6) Romanticism and Creative Beauty in Species-Being and Work: the creativity, imagination, beauty, and art of German and British Romantic poetry applied to praxis, production, and aesthetic labor. Physical, economic, intellectual, and political work are art forms that fully express moral and social virtue (neo-Aristotelianism), human creativity (idealism), beauty (romanticism), work (classical artisanship), and human essence as species being (psychology). Humans constitute and define their worlds of politics and economics through creative work and aesthetic labor according to the "laws of beauty" that are destroyed in the mechanical alienation and mindlessness of industrial capitalism. Marx's later theory of political economy, which examines the internal structural logic, historical contradictions, and economic crises of industrial society, represents a continuation of his early ethical critique of capitalism.
(7) German Idealism and the Social Construction of Capital: The central idea in German Idealism is that empirical reality is a human construct in Kant's theory of experience, knowledge, and science and Hegel's theory of history, self-consciousness, culture, and society. This tradition is then transformed into Marx's theory of historical materialism in which ideas, consciousness, experience and knowledge are viewed as reflections of deeper economic substructures, the social relations of production, productive forces, and the economic system as a whole. Thus, Kant's pure and practical reason, Hegel's historical, and phenomenal reason, and Marx's theory of work, praxis, self-determination, and human creativity become the foundation for Marx's theory of historical materialism, class exploitation, and the ecological crisis. Nature and the environment are also viewed as productions of an historical and materialist society, thus making a clear connection between the ecological crisis and industrial capitalism.
Reframing Aristotle for a Critique of Liberalism and Capitalism: These main traditions and others were melded into his theory of praxis, work, workers' control, democracy, and the self-realization of workers in production. Marx's understanding of the nature and breadth of social justice includes the Politics of political and economic democracy, human rights of the citizen, and a moral economy and the communal good based on the Ethics of human needs and intellectual and moral virtue, reciprocal fairness in production and income distribution (fairness in the production and distribution of the proceeds of labor), and the realization of individual equality and freedom, creative artisanship and productive beauty, and self-determination and human dignity in work and politics, as well as the elimination of the Structures of class oppression, social alienation, economic exploitation, and the structural contradictions of unnatural wealth acquisition in capitalism. Most secondary scholars distinguish between Marx's early academic and philosophical writings and his later, more mature, economic and scientific works as a way of appreciating his intellectual and theoretical evolution over time. However, it would be more helpful to recognize that Marx was simply following Aristotle's model of beginning with his Ethics and then developing his applied moral philosophy, political economy, and theory of democracy in his later, more concrete and institutional, Politics. Both theorists focused on the application of ethics and social justice to a democratic polity and moral economy. Marx was updating the ethical ideals of Athenian and Aristotelian democracy for modern industrial society; he was creating an entirely new idea of justice defined by the vision of Aristötle with an Umlaut, thereby making Aristotle's legal (rectificatory), political (wisdom, participation, and democracy), and economic (reciprocal and distributive) theory of justice relevant for a new and oppressed audience seeking emancipation and freedom of self-expression. Liberalism views justice, rights, and law as means of ensuring and protecting the personal accomplishments, merits, and property of a market economy and individual success based on class, privilege, and power.
Marx, on the other hand, sees social justice as a means to critically examine and transform those deep structures of power and privilege in Social Production, Wage Slavery, Market Exchange, Economic Distribution, Civil Law and the Rights of Man, Property, and the State, Possessive Individualism (crude materialism, mind-numbing consumerism, destructive individuality, and distorted class freedoms and chrematistic rights), Race and Colonialism, and the Environment leading to an immoral, irrational, and contradictory society. These Structural and Historical Conditions of Capital in Marx's later writings are always being judged by his earlier theory of Ethics -- secular or humanistic natural law (Aristotle, Aquinas, Rousseau, Kant, R. Hooker, Hegel, and E. Kamenka) based on the historical development of species-being, virtue (community, love, friendship, citizenship, and political wisdom), freedom, and human needs (Aristotle's "function of man), human potentiality and excellence, worker productivity and creativity, the rights of the citizen, and justice in (1) Law, (2) Politics, (3) Production, and (4) Distribution. Justice is a freedom from the industrial and capitalist Alienation of the Process and organization of capitalist production, of the Product of Production as class wealth and private property, of the Community of fellow Species-Beings, and of the Self and personal identity and individuality (freedom, rights, etc.).
There has been a tendency among another group of scholars who, although they accept elements of justice in Marx's writings, limit the concept to a narrow and specific form of justice usually connected to fairness in economic distribution of surplus labor. Marx, on the other hand, expanded the concept to include the full range of classical and modern social justice, including natural and political rights, civil and legal justice, ethical virtue of love, happiness, and friendship, individuality and self-identity of dignity, work, and creativity, workers' control and economic justice, political justice of assembly, free speech, and self-determination, distributive justice and economic fairness based on human needs, ecological justice, and structural justice based on overcoming the internal logic and structure of capital production, individual consumption, and surplus exchange of labor value. These institutions and principles of the modern polity are part of his general and all-encompassing social theory. A more systematic outline of the various Forms of Justice in Marx's writings includes the following:
PART I: Marx's Theory of Social Justice Based on Aristotle's Classical Humanism:
Ethics and Theory of Happiness, Practical Wisdom, and Moral and Intellectual Virtue
(1) Civil and Legal Justice and Political and Human Rights: Critique of Political Alienation: human emancipation and the political "rights of the citizen" of free speech, assembly, public participation, and political democracy as articulated in the French Constitution and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which was originally drafted by Abbé Sieyès and the Marquis de Lafayette in consultation with Thomas Jefferson in 1789 and then expanded in 1791, 1793, and 1795. At the same time that Marx accepts these political freedoms and human "rights of the citizen," he rejects the corresponding economic and bourgeois "rights of man" found in these same French documents which included the narrow and egoistic rights of property, liberty, equality, and security of civil society and a market economy (On the Jewish Question, 1843). Some of the political ideals and human rights of socialism arise from within liberalism itself in dialectical fashion as these very principles push beyond the contradictions and limits of the old social system to call for greater freedom and human emancipation. The "rights of man" and the "rights of the citizen" -- the economic and political rights of the French Revolution -- are incompatible with each other leading Marx to move beyond them to a greater understanding of the political potential of humanity. The economic "rights of man" are chrematistic rights of a market economy, whereas the "rights of the citizen" provide us with the beginnings of the foundation for the political institutions of a household or moral economy (oikonomike). This critical social theory at the early stage of his philosophical development represents a dialectic of culture and ideas as Marx rejects central elements of the French Declaration of Rights in order to reveal the internal ethical contradictions between market rights and democratic rights. Later he will apply this same method to the empirical and historical study of industrial and class production to reveal the internal, structural contradictions of capitalism leading to the irrationalities of economic exploitation, overproduction of capital, unemployment, and economic crises in an expanding economy. Marx's focus is on the ethical and rational conditions of economic development.
(2) Ethical Humanism, Moral Virtues, and Human Rights of Species Being, Workplace Justice, and Workers' Control: Ethical Praxis, Aesthetic Labor, and the Critique of Economic Alienation: Marx expands the political rights of the citizen of the French Revolution to include a broader range of human rights that he grounds in his theory of philosophical anthropology, ethical and classical humanism, and his expansion of the notion of species being. These expanded human rights include issues of both the ancient polity and modern political economy, such as worker ownership of private property and the means of production along with revised and inclusive economic rights, equality and freedom, and the civic and moral/intellectual virtues of a species-being (Gattungswesen) which include concern for the common good, general welfare, individual human dignity, self-determination, and worker creativity and beauty in a moral community of artisanship and industrial production. These ethical and moral principles and values of classical and modern humanism, along with their political ideals, were derived from the traditions of Aristotle, Kant, Schiller, and Hegel in his early writings (listen to the audio or video 5-H lecture from the course "Social Justice"). The epistemological constructivism and the primacy of subjectivity of German Idealism, the British labor theory of value, German/British Romanticism, and Aristotle's classical humanism with its theory of virtue, happiness, and excellence are integrated into Marx's theory of human labor within a moral economy and communal democracy. Marx also applied the Left Hegelian critique of Hegel to Aristotle as he transformed and revised their "applied philosophy" of the Athenian polity and the German state, respectively. He focused on the integration of philosophy and sociology, idealism and materialism in his analysis of modern industrial society in his early philosophical writings. He began his early writings where Hegel's Objective Spirit in the Phenomenology of Spirit left off -- with the French Revolution and Kantian philosophy but within a new and expansive interpretation of historical materialism and a new theory of legal and workplace justice (Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844). The ethical humanism and moral virtues at the foundation of a good life and workplace justice lies in Marx's recognition that each human being, as a species- or communal-being, has an inherent right to the dignity of a meaningful and purposeful life, beauty and creativity, goodness and community, respect and recognition, material life and health, individual freedom and political self-determination, and collective responsibility, fairness to others, and democracy. Society is not to be grounded in economic principles that treat individuals as (1) alienated objects, exploited things, or "means to an end"; (2) as commodities to be bought and sold in the marketplace; (3) as consumers to maximize market rationality, exchange value, and material wealth; (4) as accumulated objects from which to extract surplus value, profits, and property; and (5) as isolated, lonely, and possessive individuals lost in a meaningless, empty, and de-spiritualized world of materialism and economism. Marx views classical economics and liberalism as perversions of the best of the ethical humanism and moral virtues of the Ancients and the Moderns.
(3) Ecological Justice and Nature: Critique of the Alienation of Nature: non-exploitative, non-alienated, organic, and ethical view of nature based on Aristotle's Physics and Metaphysics. Marx views the physical environment as a reflection of the deeper problems of capitalist production and class oppression requiring a radical transformation of society to overcome the alienation of nature and its corresponding ecological crisis.
PART II: Marx's Theory of Social Justice Based on Aristotle's Politics, Economics, and Theory of Democracy and Political Wisdom
(4) Distributive Justice and Human Needs: from the Paris Manuscripts of 1844 to the Critique of the Gotha Program of 1875, Marx responds to the French socialists' call for distributive justice with his own theory of wealth distribution, economic reciprocity, fairness, and redistribution based on human needs within a moral economy. This view of justice based on human need is also found in Greek philosophy and the New Testament (Aristotle's The Politics and Luke, Acts 4: 32-37).
(5) Political and Economic Justice and Democracy: decentralized politics, federal government, workers' communes, producer cooperatives, economic democracy, and self-government "of the people, by the people" expressed in the following historical forms of participatory democracy:
(a) Classical Athenian Polity and Constitution of the 4th Century BC
(b) Iroquois Confederacy of Nations and the Iroquois Constitution or the Great Law of Peace of 1451 (Ethnological Notebooks of 1879--1882)
(c) French Revolution, Constitution, and the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, 1791, 1793, and 1795 (On the Jewish Question)
(d) Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 and Gettysburg Address of 1863 (Civil War in France, 1871)
(e) The Paris Commune of 1871 (Civil War in France, 1871).
(6) Economic Justice and the Ethics of Capital: Dialectics and the Irrationality and Immorality of Unnatural Wealth Acquisition and Capitalist Production: critique of the structures of political economy, the logic of capital, and the political incoherence, ethical immorality, and economic contradictions of the alienation, class exploitation, and human misery of a market economy and capitalist production in his later writings of the Grundrisse (1857-1858), A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859), and Capital (1867, 1885, and 1894). Traditionally, these later economic writings have been misinterpreted through the positivist prism of naturalism and scientism that predict economic crises and the historically inevitable breakdown of the capitalist system. However, on closer investigation, these writings reveal that, when viewed from within the framework of the German Idealism of Hegel and Schelling and the political and economic theory of Aristotle, they expose the structural irrationality, social immorality, and dialectical contradictions of capitalism. For Marx, the logic, structures, and contradictions of capital or unnatural wealth acquisition, as with Aristotle, are incompatible with a society based on virtue, practical wisdom, freedom, equality, self-determination, and democracy, that is, they are morally incompatible with Ethics and Politics.
Liberalism and capitalism are incompatible and inconsistent with the ethical values and political ideals of the Ancients and the Moderns. With its materialism, consumerism, market morality, class oppression, workplace alienation and exploitation, political authoritarianism, global colonization and militarism, and racism, modern industrial society offends the heart, soul, spirit, and reason of humanity and democracy. Marx used his early and later ethical, political, and economic theories, along with his historical and empirical research, in a manner similar to Aristotle -- they were to provide the foundations for his theory of social justice, and not the foundations for a positivistic, Enlightenment, and economic science. Note: Corresponding to each chapter and aspect of social justice, there is a different understanding of the nature of social science and social research methods -- historical science, hermeneutical or interpretive science, human or moral science (critical humanism), phenomenological science (historical materialism and the history of Western consciousness and ideas), critical science (immanent critique), dialectical science (contradictions in the structures, logic, and ethics of political economy), etc. -- that goes beyond the boundaries, questions, and methods of modern positivism and contemporary American sociology and that integrates Science and Social Justice.
Marx's theory of justice follows closely Aristotle's broad theory of social justice found in his Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics:
PART I: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics: Happiness, Familial and Political Love, Practical Wisdom, and the Virtuous Life
(Nicomachean Ethics, Books 1 vii, 2 i and vi, 5, 6, and 8)
(1) Rectificatory Justice: Civil Law and Politics
(2) Social Ethics and Natural Law: Virtue, Happiness, Love, Friendship, and Practical Wisdom
(3) Environmental Justice: Physics and Metaphysics of Organic Nature
PART II: Aristotle's The Politics and On the Athenian Constitution: Moral Economy, Political Deliberation, and the Democratic Polity
(Nicomachean Ethics, Book 5 and The Politics, Books 1, 3, 4 and 6 ii)
(4) Particular Justice: Economic or Corrective Justice, Distributive Justice, and Reciprocal Justice based on
Grace, Need, Love, and Fair Distribution in a Household/Moral Economy (Oikonomike) grounded
within the Family and Community of Citizens
(5) Universal Justice: Political Justice of the Best Constitution in a Democratic Polity
(6) Critique of a Market Economy: Critique of Destructive, Unnatural Wealth Acquisition (Chrematistike)
Summary of Marx's Theory of Social Justice: Ethical and Classical Humanism and Natural Law in a Democratic Polity: Marx was a nineteenth-century critical social theorist who redefined and retranslated Aristotle's theory of virtue, natural law, moral economy, democracy, and social justice for the modern age. Comparing Marx and Aristotle using a hermeneutical mapping system from a distance (compare to archaeological mapping and terrestrial laser scanning using LiDAR) provides the analyst with a broad survey and outline of the general landscape and depth structures of their views of social justice that are not immediately visible on the surface -- Outline of the Various Forms of Justice. The historical and social content of Marx's theory of social justice comes from a critical understanding of the history of the Western intellectual traditions from the Ancients to the Moderns. By this means the broader outlines of the various Forms of Justice are integrated into the historical and political economic Content and Substance of Justice. However, with the alienation, disenchantment, repression, and eclipse of reason, these traditions and connections (Horizontverschmelzung) have been lost and must be imaginatively and systematically reconstructed for the modern audience. In order to accomplish this task, Marx integrates and expands Aristotle's classical humanism and ancient theory of ethics (happiness, wisdom, and virtue), and politics (rectificatory, particular, and universal justice) into his modern theory of socialism and social justice. A number of secondary interpreters of Marx's ideas in the past, including Friedrich Engels, Lenin, and Analytical Marxists have focused their attention on issues of mechanical, deterministic, and 'dialectical materialism' which represents a misreading of his theory of "historical materialism"; one-dimensional economism which is a misreading of his integrative, holistic, and critical political economy and historical consciousness; and positivism, naturalism, and scientism of natural science which is, in turn, a misreading of his Hegelian dialectic of science and Aristotelian ethics. These views only distort a true understanding of his 'critical method of applied philosophy' which was grounded in German Idealism, Classical Humanism, and the ancient and medieval theories of natural law and social justice. (See Norman Levine's works, especially The Tragic Deception: Marx contra Engels and Marx's Resurrection of Aristotle and Alvin Gouldner, The Two Marxisms.) According to Marx, socialism is an economic and political democracy characterized by the following: a democratic and egalitarian society grounded in the ethical principles of a moral economy and secular and historical natural law that was to be based on universal human and political rights; productive worker creativity and spirituality, individual freedom and self-determination, respect for the dignity and productive contributions of each person as a species-being, and individual fulfillment of sovereign artisanship and the aesthetic laws of beauty in the workplace; political and economic democracy grounded in workers' associations, and the self-government "of the people, by the people," political decentralization, and general participation in public, rational discourse; fair economic redistribution, reciprocity, equality, and the realization and satisfaction of fundamental human needs and the common good; and, finally, respect for the integrity and being of the natural environment.
Socialism represented a critique and rejection of the isolated, lonely, and lost individualism of liberal society; the existential crisis of a disenchanted and meaningless world based on alienated, powerless, and exploited labor, and the free choice of consumer goods and personal utility in a market economy; limited market legal rights protecting class and corporate power and privilege; possessive individualism based on a distorted notion of meritocracy, legal ownership, and individual effort and freedom of choice, work, and accomplishment; false liberal democracy which only hides, represses, and protects the irrationality, waste, dehumanization, and poverty of capitalism; the logical (dialectical) and structural contradictions and continuous crises of capitalist production; consumer economy based on false consciousness, distorted human needs, and corporate advertisement; centralized and authoritarian state that undermines true democracy; state militarism, war, and colonialism; and the further abuse and exploitation of nature, class and racial differences, foreign populations, and the human potential for true political and economic freedom and self-realization. The rights of life and liberty in a moral economy are reduced to the market rights of property, wealth, self-interested competition, mindless consumption, and the limitless acquisition of political and economic power (Bellum omnium contra omnes). True democracy is fundamentally contradictory to the principles, values, ideals, and institutions of modern liberalism; natural law and natural rights are incompatible ethical and political doctrines, just as a moral economy and market economy are incompatible social systems; and individual freedom within a market economy is impossible and ultimately destructive of the potentialities of human life. According to the ethics of socialism, human life should mean more than price, profits, property, power, or consumption.
Praxis as Aesthetic and Poetic Creativity, Freedom, and Self-Determination in ETHICS---WORK---POLITICS: Human Rights of the Citizen Protecting Workers' Control, Communal Democracy and a Moral Economy: The traditional view of Marx's writings in the secondary literature is that he evolved over time from his philosophical and humanistic writings to his more dialectical, economic, and scientific works. On the other hand, there are those who have argued that, if Marx did have a theory of justice, it focused on the economy and the proper and fair distribution of property and social wealth for the benefit of all members of society. That latter position, however, is only one aspect of his broader and more comprehensive theory of social justice. His ultimate goal was to restructure the political economy in such a fashion as to realize the secular and historical natural law or distinctive essence and historical potentiality of humanity as a free, creative, and social being -- make ethics and social philosophy applicable, practical, and real. Marx revealed how the essence of humanity was distorted and undermined in an alien and exploitative political economy; this provided the basis for his Ethical Humanism because it permitted him the opportunity to show the distinction between the real and the ideal (ethics). The above interpretation was intended to show that, rather than a one-dimensional linear evolution of his works from his early to his later period, he was developing his own social theory based on the ideals of classical antiquity. Between Aristotle's ETHICS and POLITICS, between Aristotle's theory of moral philosophy, virtue, and happiness and his theory of moral economy and democratic polity, Marx inserted his understanding of WORK as the primacy and value of human labor, modern industrial society, alienated labor, factory organization, labor theory of value, and political economy. In the process of his rethinking the importance of Aristotle for modern society, he blended elements of ethics, phronesis, and praxis into his theory of work since work now refers to technical and mechanical skills, artistic sensibilities and impressions, ethical aspects of self-realization and human freedom, and an essential and creative imperative toward wisdom, politics, and democracy. Work integrates ethics and politics, virtue and communal responsibility, technical knowledge and aesthetics, economics and politics, production and kindness through the creativity of the subject in history; work is primarily an ethical activity because it provides for the material common good of the polity and is a way of constructing the institutions which manifest the essence of humanity as creators of their own world. This is the essence of work and humanity for Marx. (Note: If one looks at the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis, does one see an accomplishment of technical knowledge and skills, aesthetic sensibilities and remarkable beauty, or the unifying spiritual and communal ideal of the Greek polity -- or all of the above?) For Aristotle, there are elements of both technical knowledge and art in his concept of Techne which Marx then incorporates into his theory of Praxis as physical, moral, and political labor. According to Marx, labor is a form of a moral, aesthetic, and technical work -- it is an artform and human virtue. For both Aristotle and Marx, virtue is moral excellence -- they each used different characteristics to describe ethics and virtue of their distinctive historical times and philosophical horizons. Aristotle described the virtuous life in terms of practical reason, political wisdom, and the democratic polity, whereas Marx referred to it more in terms of human labor, social creativity, equality, freedom, and democratic socialism. Thus, Marx was explicating and expanding upon the various themes and components in Aristotle's theory of social justice and applying them to the modern industrial world, thereby fusing the Ancients and the Moderns into a comprehensive critical theory of liberalism and capitalism. (Note: Praxis also plays an important role in framing Marx's critique and transcendence of Hegel and the creation of his theory of historical materialism -- integration of idealism and materialism, consciousness and nature, consciousness and society, and science and modern industry.) Marx, like Aristotle, moved from his early Ethics and humanistic writings on social ideals, happiness, and self-determination and creativity to his later Economics and political economy, that is, from his abstract humanistic philosophy to a concrete institutional sociology.
However, between Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, Marx added the primacy of Work which includes issues of Aesthetics, Art, Beauty, Creativity, and both Poiesis (making and using technical/artistic knowledge or Techne) and Praxis (doing). According to Aristotle, Praxis is an ethical form of moral activity and intellectual virtue. This very concept lies at the center of Marx's theory of Work of the aesthetic artisan, creative worker, and moral and deliberative citizen within a democratic polity and moral community. Marx understood that the Aristotelian concept of Praxis included both practical/political knowledge (prudence and political wisdom of Phronesis) and creative, economic and artistic making (Poiesis); he expanded the concept into the ethical dimension of human labor in economics, politics, and culture, thereby making the concept relevant to modern industrial society. Work is practical in that it refers to both "technical" and "moral" labor; it also connotates a "technical" and "artistic" dimension that exists in Aristotle's notion of "making" (Poiesis). In his early writings, it is clear that Marx emphasized the moral and aesthetic aspects of human labor in the workplace as the foundations of his Ethical Humanism and critique of capitalism. As Marx used the concept he also incorporated it into the concepts of Subjectivity and Objectivity from the German Idealism of Kant and Hegel since human consciousness and reason create not only a realm of ideas of consciousness and self-consciousness (Phenomenology of Spirit), but empirical, scientific, moral, and historical reality (materialism). Aristotle connected ethics and politics by joining together his analysis of the good life of moral virtue (courage, moderation, nobility, honor, love, compassion, goodness, friendship, and justice) and intellectual virtue (episteme, phronesis, and techne) in the Nicomachean Ethics with the best political constitution of the democratic polity in The Politics. In this way, the virtuous life of happiness would be made concrete and real within the economic and political community. Marx took this analysis and added his understanding of the creative and constitutive potential of human labor which constructed the social, cultural, economic, and political institutions that made the integration of ethics and politics possible -- it is physical, spiritual, and political work which creates the good life and makes the dreams of Aristotle relevant and possible for the modern age. This creative fusion of the Ancients and the Moderns thru "WORK" helped create a new critical and dialectical theory of society and political economy. That is, to Aristotle's "ETHICS," Marx added German moral, epistemological, historical, and phenomenological constructivism, French philosophy of art, creativity, harmony, and beauty, and the British theory of labor and value and, to Aristotle's "POLITICS," Marx added French and German political theory and the ideals and institutions of the Paris Commune of 1871. It is communal work which creates the existential meaning and social purpose in life, as well as providing the foundation for natural law, secular and classical humanism, and the social critique of political economy. Marx expanded the classical views of a democratic polity to include the economic democracy of workers' associations and workers' control over the process and means of production. He also expanded Aristotle's ideals of moral and intellectual virtue, the good and happy life of political deliberation and citizenship, practical wisdom, and moral economy to incorporate the social values of species-being, human creativity, beauty, harmony, friendship, and self-determination in work, communal democracy, and socialism.
The Critical Method of Applied Philosophy and Ethics from the Ancients to the Moderns: Distortion of these ideals led to Chrematistike -- the unnatural wealth acquisition of a trading or commercial market that destroyed the moral economy and democratic polity -- and Entfremdung -- workers' alienation and loss of control over production, politics, and the possibilities of humanity's future. Both Marx and Aristotle grounded their views of ethics and democracy in the highest moral ideals of virtue and happiness. In opposition to liberalism, Marx defined freedom, not in limited economic and materialistic terms of free market choices, wealth acquisition, and individual liberty to do what each wanted with their person and property (Locke). Rather, freedom is an expression of each individual's humanity as a moral- and species-being -- as a universal creator of the social community. In this way, he blended Aristotle with German and French idealism, romanticism, and political and economic socialism, along with Left-Hegelian materialism and British economic theory of labor and structural crises, thereby dialectically and synthetically re-configuring and re-conceptualizing the various elements of the classical traditions into a modern theory of justice. In the end, Marx recognized the inner structural and cultural Dialectic of Capitalism -- the possibilities of species-being and democratic socialism were incompatible and irreconcilable with the class irrationalities and oppression of material production; a virtuous life incompatible with incoherent commercialism and unrestrained consumerism; social ethics and collective morality with crude materialism and indifferent market self-interest; species-being with possessive individualism and economic competition; communal democracy with class, inequality, poverty, and human misery; and industrial and market rationality with the social irrationality, structural contradictions (Wiedersprüche) of capital, and the constant material waste and economic and ecological crises of industrial society. Finally, capitalism is incompatible with the whole of Western ethical, political, and classical ideals and values from the Ancient Greeks and Hebrews to the Moderns. This is the unfortunate irony of intellectual and social history since modern liberalism and capitalism are not pro-life, or pro-ethical community, or pro-moral economy, or pro-democracy; instead, they are pro-private property, militarism, economic and racial colonialism, and destructive class power. Marx's early writings used the Dialectic in the form of immanent, humanistic, and political critiques of capitalism, whereas his later writings relied on a dialectical critique of the Structures and Contradictions of political economy. Marx combined the following traditions into his critique of modern society and formulation of social justice:
(1) Aristotle's theory of Ethics with his Politics, virtue and happiness with political wisdom and the democratic polity, and friendship and compassion with a moral economy
(2) Kant's theory of morality and human dignity with Hegel's theory of social ethics and the political community
(3) Kant's notions of epistemological constructivism of pure reason, moral creativity of practical reason, and the self-definition and self-realization of the categorical imperative with European art, poetry, and beauty
(4) British and German Romantic poetry, literature, and their creative artistry and dreams of the Ancients with the French ideals of Socialism, equality, and freedom.
(5) Hegel's dialectical theory of reason, freedom, and the modern state with a materialist critique of religion and conservative right-wing politics by the Left Hegelians Bruno Bauer, Arnold Ruge, Max Stirner, Ludwig Feuerbach, and Moses Hess and with the German Idealist critique of art, dialectics, and Hegel's abstract idealism by Friedrich Schelling
(6) British political economy with French theory of distributive and social justice, British labor theory of value with Hegel's theory of praxis, and Marx's political economy with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
On Praxis as the Aesthetic Art and Practical Education of Humanity: The Reformulation of Classical Humanism into Modern Natural Law: By pulling together these different traditions into a coherent theory of justice, Marx concludes that the essence of humanity lies in its ability to aesthetically and ethically create through praxis -- work and communal democracy -- the material and political worlds according to the laws of beauty and human dignity. The moral imperative and drive of the artistic imagination toward beauty inspires social justice, just as justice moves us to a world without contradictions and conflicts as it nurtures balance, harmony, and elegance of the mind and the body, the senses and reason, along with the integration of the real and the ideal, and the communal integrity and ethical wholeness of the individual and the collective spirit. Modern political and ethical issues of freedom, liberty, equality, and natural rights are now interpreted through the prism of Romantic and Classical dreams. These political and ethical categories are viewed by Marx in terms of praxis as poetry and art -- they are re-translated in terms of human creativity, self-determination, compassion, love, friendship, and beauty in the workplace, moral economy, and communal democracy. Humanity is now viewed through the primacy of the ethical and political community in which humans define and create their own worlds for the purpose of individual meaning and wisdom, self-fulfillment of human potentiality, and the expansion of the ethical community of familial love and communal identity for public wisdom and democracy. Marx's theory of aesthetic or poetic labor becomes the key to his understanding of social justice, communal democracy, individual freedom and fulfillment, and his critique of alienation, exploitation, and the structural contradictions of class labor and surplus value; The Early Philosophical Manuscripts remain the heart of his later Critique of Political Economy. AESTHETICS AND POLITICS OF BEAUTY: This integration of labor (J. Locke and D. Ricardo) and the law of beauty (F. Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man) -- harmony, symmetry, moderation, balance, and humane -- is only part of Marx's theory of beauty, self-determination, and human creativity (I. Kant and G. Hegel) that is to be reflected in sensual perception, modern poetry, industrial production, democratic politics, and environmental concerns. PRINCIPLE OF HUMAN NEED: The products of human creativity and beauty in the economy and polity are to be socially distributed according to the ancient Greek and Hebrew ethical principles of social justice and human needs. And these issues of aesthetics, beauty, human need, and the environment are to be considered a modern and expanded part of Aristotle's ethics and politics, that is moral economy and political democracy.
Marx on Virtue and Moral Excellence: Praxis as Aesthetic and Ethical Labor, Poetry, and Politics: The Integration of Nature, Art, Beauty, Democracy, and Social Justice: Praxis is thus a form of ethics (phronesis) and art (poiesis), critical poetry, and imaginative dreams through which the world is formed. Poetry can be an expression of the rhythm and intuition of the heart or a critical social theory of the mind as both use a new vocabulary to reach beyond the immediate to the truth of human existence and its potentialities. Labor is a form of artisanship, that is, it is a form of art and poetry, not a form of alienation, humiliation, and dehumanization. Labor is a poetic experience and vision because it builds the social, economic, and political world around us through imagination, freedom, self-determination, and human creativity, not through capital, property, profits, exploitation, and class. Poetry expresses elegance, integration, grace, beauty, motion, and harmony in Art, Nature, Work, and Politics, not the antagonism, conflict, isolation, loneliness, poverty, and human misery in liberalism and capitalism. The beauty and harmony of nature are also reflected in the moral economy and democracy -- in the beauty of society. Praxis is Poiesis. For Marx, labor represents the fulfillment and integration of Reason and Society -- of Kant's pure and practical reason (knowledge and morality) and Hegel's theory of phenomenology of Spirit and the self-consciousness of humanity and reason in the economy and state -- an integration of Consciousness, Self-Consciousness, and the Philosophy of Right. At its highest form, modern art and poetry form the basis for Marx's theory of social justice as it is made real in the workplace and politics, history and society, consciousness and social institutions; it is the heart and sinews of political economy and human existence. At its height, poetry is Art, Labor, Nature, Democratic Socialism, and Social Justice. Some Romantic poets wanted to return to the hopes and ideals of Classical Greece, while Marx wanted to use those ideals to create a new type of moral society. By integrating Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Schiller, the foundations are set for a new vision of humanity as Marx looks upon the darkness and despair of the capitalist factories in Manchester, Leeds, and London from the heights of the classical beauty and spiritual vision of the Acropolis.
What is distinctively and disruptively ironic in all this analysis is that Marx's theory of social justice is inherently and organically part of the history of Western thought, whereas the values and institutions of liberalism and capitalism are antithetical to these ancient and medieval traditions. Perhaps even more surprisingly, Marx's theory of social justice is broader and more comprehensive than the Ancient Greeks with his emphasis on political, ethical, and communal themes, more Christian and moral than modern Christianity with his emphasis on collective beneficence, social responsibility, and civic virtue; these ancient and medieval traditions eventually lost their social and religious ideals -- moral community and social sin -- as they were incorporated into the prevailing social systems of their times. By using a variety of methods, including philosophical anthropology, hermeneutics, historical analysis, Hegelian phenomenology, British economic theory, historical materialism, immanent critique of political and ethical ideals, and dialectics of economic structures, Marx was able to show that modern industrial society was inherently contradictory to the modern and ancient ideals of species-being, human potentiality, and human excellence. Corresponding to each dimension of social justice, there is a specific social and historical method of scientific inquiry which runs counter to the epistemology and methodology of the natural sciences. For more on these issues, see McCarthy, Marx and the Ancients, note 2, pp. 303-304 (1990), Marx and Aristotle, ed. (1992), and Marx and Social Justice (2018). Also see the works of G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, R. Sannwald, P. Kondylis, H. von Staden, C. Castoriadis, Scott Meikle, N. Levine, P. Springborg, H. Mewes, D. Depew, S. Smith, M. DeGolyer, L. Baronovitch, M. Nussbaum, P. Kain, W. J. Booth, R. Miller, A. Gilbert, J. Margolis, T. Rockmore, J. Pike, D. Leopold, J. Pocock, I. Hont, N. Geras, C. Katz, Rockmore, L. Wilde, R. G. Peffer, and others.
Marx's Expansion of his Theory of Social Justice in his Later Writings to Include Racial Justice: While acting as the European foreign correspondent in exile for Horace Greeley's New York Daily Tribune between 1852-1862, Marx broadened his understanding of justice by writing news dispatches on issues of racial justice with his various articles and expanding positions on race, ethnicity, colonialism, imperialism. labor exploitation, inequality, and slavery in India, Indonesia, China, Algeria, Middle East, Poland, Ireland, and America during the Civil War. He continued to write about these subjects in his even lesser known Ethnological Notebooks from 1879-1882. See, McCarthy, Marx and Social Justice, note 57, pp. 307-308, Shlomo Avineri, Karl Marx on Colonialism and Modernization, and Kevin Anderson, Marx at the Margins. For more secondary sources, see the works of R. Fox, E. Said, S. Avineri, D. Hiro, C. Robinson, W. Kennedy, J. Rodden, K. Linder, S. Lee, Blackburn, Schraffenberger, E. Foner, et. al. mentioned in Marx and Social Justice, pp. 307-308.
A new and expanded work on the theme of social justice would involve moving beyond Marx's nineteenth-century theory to incorporate the fundamental structural, institutional, and cultural changes in contemporary society that would closely examine the nature of twenty-first century American monopoly capitalism, neo-liberalism, class inequality, poverty, fiscal policy, taxation, militarism, racism, sexism, and prejudice against the LGBTQ community in light of his ethical and political theory of virtue, human dignity, freedom, moral economy, and democratic socialism. Today, these issues of class, inequality, and oppressive wealth and power distribution are difficult to examine directly and publicly because they are hidden behind the phenomena of "cultural issues" and public policies of anti-abortion and birth control; pro-life, gun rights, and critique of welfare queens and the welfare system; race, Southern strategy, gerrymandering, and voter suppression; and global warming, climate change, and the ecological crisis. But, the underlying structural and institutional foundations of Western capitalism -- and thus the basis for any critical theory of social justice -- continue to be ignored and unexplored. Finally, it should be noted that Marx's ideas and writings did not evolve in the same manner as those of many modern scholars: He never developed a systematic or comprehensive theory of social class, the modern liberal state, historical materialism, social praxis, human need, or social justice. In spite of this, these ideas were instead integrated into the overall heart of his writings and formed the very foundation of the soul of his social theory and critique of modern political economy.
Summary: Indifference and Incoherence of Liberalism and the Incompatibility of Democracy and Capitalism among the Ancients and the Moderns: In the end, both Marx and Aristotle reached similar conclusions in their works -- Ancient and Modern Democracy, and its corresponding moral economy, is incompatible with the ideals and reality of a capitalist social system since the latter results in a structure of profits, property, poverty, inequality, class divisions, distorted power relations, exploitation, and alienation. All these aspects of capitalism are logically and ethically contradictory to the compassion, friendship, freedom, political and economic equality, collective self-determination, and political wisdom necessary for a true democracy and human happiness. In an interesting and non-intuitive manner, Locke indirectly and unintentionally confirms this thesis in the second half of chapter V of his The Second Treatise of Government (para. 50). In this chapter he moves from a Moral Economy in the state of nature based on natural reason, natural law, and property limits founded upon the law and ethical principles of spoilage, labor, and sufficiency (paras. 31-34) to a Market Economy of a social contract, natural rights, and the modern state or Leviathan (paras. 28, 37, 46-48, 50, and 85) grounded in money accumulation, private property, inequality, class, and possessive individualism (see McCarthy, Marx and Social Justice, chapter 1). Marx's insightful, penetrating, and dialectical critique of liberalism and capitalism may now be understood as part of a broader and more comprehensive rejection of these Enlightenment political and economic values and market institutions found throughout the history of the Classical Traditions of Western thought from the Ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, Hellenists to the Modern French, German, and British artists, poets, philosophers, and economic theorists. Through his dialectical reasoning, romantic poetic imagery, philosophical imagination, and critique of modern political economy, Marx became the modern Aristötle with an umlaut. Viewed through this insightful and creative lens, it is clear that Liberalism and Capitalism are incompatible with the whole of the Western traditions based on the belief and necessity of a Moral Economy, Ethical Community, and Democratic Socialism.
Conclusion: The Nature of the Ethical, Political, and Structural Contradictions within Capitalist Society: The contradictions of capitalism reflect the underlying barbarism and brutality of bourgeois society and its political economy that is irrational and immoral at its very inner core. These contradictions exist within Politics between liberal rights and democratic rights; within Labor between ethical and human labor and alienated labor; within Industry between the technical productive forces and the social organization of production; within Production between exchange value and surplus value; within Capitalism between material production and capital/profit/property accumulation and crises; and within Nature between the material of production and the ecological crisis.
Marx and the Classics:
Social Justice and the Politics of the Ancient Hebrews,
Hellenes, Hellenists, Medieval Scholastics, and the Moderns
The invaluable hermeneutical insight of Hans-Georg Gadamer in his Truth and Method is that in order to examine and understand an important text, whether that is an historical or theoretical/philosophical text, requires that we appreciate the dialectic or dialogue of interpretation between the subject and object of inquiry and the past and present of the event. Toward that end, to fully understand Marx's critical social theory requires an appreciation of the cultural, religious, philosophical, and economic writings within the various classical traditions that influenced the development of his ideas as they evolved from the Ancients to the Moderns. Marx used the method of applied philosophy that he borrowed from Aristotle who had applied his Politics to his Ethics or his critical political economy and social theory to his moral philosophy -- his sociology to his philosophy.
Karl Marx creates a theory of social justice grounded in an historical and secular natural law that evolves over time by reconstructing a materialist theory of the phenomenology of spirit in which the Ancient Hebrews (Old and New Testaments), Hellenes, and Hellenists, Medieval Scholastics, and Modern German Romantics and Idealists, along with the Classical French and British political economists and socialists, are integrated into a critical theory of history, society, and the spirit. To this list of classical traditions should be added Marx's interest in the classical literature of Shakespeare, Dickens, Fielding, Goethe, Heine, Cervantes, Balzac, Dante, Chernyshevsky, and Dobrolyubov (S. S. Prawer, Karl Marx and World Literature). The goal of this social ethics and phenomenology is a dialectical understanding, moral critique, and political emancipation of human work, political economy, and economic democracy. Thus, Marx's theories of Natural Law and Ethics are framed within the history of Western consciousness and reason and integrated into a search for the moral principles of social justice and the social institutions of the good life and ideal community (Objective Spirit). Further developing his theory of ethics and politics, Marx received inspiration for his concrete and historical ideas about political economy and democracy from a variety of sources including elements of participatory democracy, primitive communism, and a moral economy found in the Hebrew Torah and New Testament, Ancient Greek polis, French Revolution, the Paris Commune of 1871, and the Iroquois Indian Confederacy and Constitution in New York State.
(1) Ancient Hebrews, Moses, and the Prophets of the Old Testament: The Covenant, Tzedakah, and Mishpat in the Torah, Jubilee, and the Sabbath of the Mosaic Code (Deuteronomic and Leviticus Codes) express the ideals of love, kindness, and compassion for the poor and weak espoused by Moses and the Hebrew prophets in the Old Testament or TaNaKh which is an anagram for the Masoretic Text's three traditional divisions of Torah (Law), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). Their principal ethical goal was to maintain the integrity and institutions of an egalitarian and moral community based on the economic and social principles of helping the poor and the stranger, mercy and loving kindness (hesed), equality and primacy of the community, care of people and stewardship of nature, righteousness, compassion for the weak and needy, adherence to fair price and fallow land, the call for the timely redistribution of wealth and property, the right of release, redemption, and return of property to the original owner, freeing of slaves, and the forgiveness of debts [Genesis 1:26-27, Exodus: 22: 19-27 and 23: 10-11 (Sabbath Year); The Holiness Code: Leviticus 25: 8-13 (Jubilee Year) and 25: 25, 27, and 28 (Jubilee Year and Priestly Code); Deuteronomic Code: Deuteronomy, 12-26, 15: 1-4 (release of debts), 24: 14-15 (fair wages and against oppression of workers); Proverbs 22: 22-23 and 27-29 (rights of the poor); Amos 2: 6-8 and 5: 21-24; Jeremiah 7: 4-7 and 22: 15-16; and Genesis 18-19 and Ezekiel 16: 48 (sin of Sodom -- lack of compassion for the stranger, the poor, and the needy -- lack of social justice). The Sabbatical Year (very seventh year) was a form of Poor Legislation found in Exodus 23: 10-11 and Deuteronomy 15: 1-6, 12-18 that required (1) all land lie fallow; (2) all debts remitted; and (3) all slaves released. The Jubilee Year is another form of poor legislation found in the Holiness Code of Leviticus 25: 10ff. The Jubilee, in a fashion similar to the Deuteronomic Code, required that every 49th year land lies fallow, slaves freed, and debts remitted, but also added a new radical addition to the Hebrew Law Code which required that ancestral land and possessions be returned to their original family owner since all land ultimately belongs to God. The main intention behind these Biblical passages was an attempt to restore a balance and harmony within the Hebrew community that had been disturbed by growing class inequality, unequal wealth distribution, and rising economic debt. In the 11th century, the traditional interpretation of sodomy as a lack of friendship, compassion and kindness for strangers and the weak found in Genesis and Ezekiel is transformed into a clerical sin of masturbation, anal sex, and homosexuality by a number of Catholic theologians, the most prominent of whom was Peter Damian. In Genesis 1: 26 and 2: 1-15, Leviticus 23, and Job 41:11, there is the statement that humans as made in the "image and likeness of God" who have been given stewardship and responsibility (dominion) over nature. All humans have an innate dignity who are responsible for and must take care of nature; humans are also co-creators of nature because they have the power to use names; and humans are the guardians of nature. [Note: Very early after the Latin (Jerome of Stridon, 4th Century), English (John Wycliffe, 14th Century), and German (Martin Luther, 16th Century) translations of the Old Testament, these sections became the focus of intense political conflicts and debates involving the correct translation and meaning of the phrase "dominion over nature." Did the word "Dominion" refer to the domination, control, and rulership over nature or did it refer to a stewardship, care, and responsibility toward nature? It was a debate between royalty and kingship on one side and biblical communitarianism on the other.]
Marx took a final course at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin in the summer of 1839 on the Old Testament prophet Isaiah from Bruno Bauer, a radical New Testament and synoptic Gospels scholar and Young Hegelian whose only work on the Hebrew Bible, Critique of the History of Revelation: The Religion of the Old Testament, was published in 1838; he also answered one question on Biblical interpretations on his final qualifying examination for his doctoral certificate. The book of Isaiah stresses the ethical ideals of ethical monotheism, social justice, the Covenant, and the Law of Moses found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus with a focus on the Sabbath and Jubilee, love and kindness, and the critique of idolatry, oppression of the poor, and unjust and exploitative economic practices. It was through the Bible that ethical and political issues in Germany were discussed. See John Doherty, "Karl Marx: Seed of the Prophets," Philippine Studies, vol. 9, no. 4 (October 1961), pp. 611-626; Andrew Kirk, "Marx and the Bible," Sojourners (January 1977); Zvi Rose, Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx (The Hague, NL: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977); and George McCarthy, "Storming Heaven and Liberating History: Marx and the Hebrew Prophets," pp. 125-154 and a summary of the secondary literature on Marx and Jewish emancipation, chapter 3, note 3, pp. 337-338 in Dialectics and Decadence: Echoes of Antiquity in Marx and Nietzsche (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1994). It is interesting to note that in On the Jewish Question (1843), Marx distinguishes between the economic "Rights of Man" and the political "Rights of the Citizen. The former represent the natural rights to private property, class oppression, and worker exploitation, whereas the latter are the human rights to political participation, public assembly, and self-determination; the former are forms of wage slavery, whereas the latter represent the ideals of human emancipation and political freedom which Marx wanted to provide to the Jewish population living in Germany who were not allowed citizenship under the prevailing Prussian law. In this manner, Marx is able to integrate the political ideals of the French Revolution and Constitutions of the eighteenth century with the ethical ideals of the Mosaic law and covenant of the Ancient Hebrews.
[Extraneous Note: The "issue of homosexuality," which apparently seems to be mentioned only 3 times in the Old Testament and 3 times in the New Testament, and actually refers not to sexual issues but to issues of cultic prostitution, wasting male semen and procreative possibilities, maintaining the army, violence to slaves, idolatry, lack of hospitality, kindness, and compassion to others, oppression, gang rape, and abuse; the issue of homosexuality is reinvented for political reasons in the 1960s and 1970s with Evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics. See the writings of Randall Balmer, Peter Gomes, and Robin Scroggs. On the other hand, questions of social justice -- concern for the poor, poverty, and the oppressed -- occur over 2000 times in the Bible. See Jim Wallis, founder of the Sojourners, who likens the "theology of evil" of poverty and human misery in the Bible to its modern forms in political totalitarianism and multinational corporations in God's Politics (Harper San Francisco, 2005), pp. xxii and 5. This critical position is also shared in Catholicism by Popes John Paul II in Laborem Exercens, ("On Human Labor," 1981) and Francis in Fratelli Tutti, ("All Brothers", 2020). See also Erich Fromm, You Shall Be As Gods: A Radical Interpretation of the Old Testament and Its Tradition (1966).]
(2) Ancient Hellenes and the Classical Athenian Ideals of Democracy (Polis), Virtue, Happiness, Need, and a Household/Moral Economy (Oikonomike): Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, The Politics, and The Constitution of Athens (discovered 1879 and published 1891) -- his moral philosophy, political economy, and social theory -- outline the heart of Athenian justice of virtue, love, wisdom, happiness, the household economy, grace, reciprocity, and democratic polity. Also examine the beginnings of democratic reform in Solon's debt relief laws which cancelled all debts and mortgages and banned loans based on the security of land or person. This was a response to growing agrarian discontent, class inequalities in Athens, and fear that peasants would fall into debt slavery; it also had the function of stabilizing the population base, undermining the old aristocracy, and securing the foundation for the creation of the hoplite army. See also Pericles' Funeral Oration in Thucydides', The Peloponnesian War (Book 2.34-46) and his summary of Athenian democracy, personal freedom, autarkeia (self-sufficiency and independence), and citizenship. Whereas the Hebrew tradition, through its debt, stabilization, and redistribution laws, supported an egalitarian and moral community in the Torah, these ideas were expanded by the Ancient Greeks to include a moral economy, egalitarian politics, and participatory democracy in classical Athens. To some extent these ideas continued into the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages and the social philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and his theories of natural law, property, community, ethics, and the value of human labor. Also see George Grote's enlightened and transformative interpretation of Athenian democracy in "On the Athenian Government" (1821) and A History of Greece (1846), which influenced such a diverse field of authors such as F. Nietzsche, J. S. Mill, and K. Marx.
List of Secondary Sources on Various Themes of Marx, Aristotle, and Classical Greece:
I. Marx and Classical Greek Antiquity: For an introduction to an analysis of Marx and Classical Greece, see George McCarthy, "German Social Ethics and the Return to Greek Philosophy: Marx and Aristotle," in Karl Marx's Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments, vol. 1: Marx's Life and Theoretical Development, ed. Bob Jessop with Charlie Malcolm-Brown (New York; London, England: Routledge, 1990), chapter 23, pp. 347-369; "Karl Marx and Classical Antiquity: A Bibliographic Introduction," Helios, on Marx and Antiquity, ed. Neville Morley, vol. 26, no. 2 (September 1999), pp. 165-173; Classical Horizons: The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece (2003), chapter 1, pp. pp. 15-63 and note 1, pp. 170-171; "In Praise of Classical Democracy: The Funeral Orations of Pericles and Marx," in Expression in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century German Philosophy, ed. Rocio Zambrana, Special Issue, Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, vol. 27, no. 2 (November 2006), pp. 205-227 (New School for Social Research); and "Last of the Schoolmen: Natural Law and Social Justice in Karl Marx," in Constructing Marxist Ethics: Critique, Normativity, Praxis, ed. by Michael Thompson (Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2015), pp. 192-232.
II. Aristotle and the Best Government as a Democratic Polity: Drawing upon the rich and extensive literature of nineteenth-century British, French, and German historians such as George Grote, Theodore Mommsen, Georg Schömann, Carl Hermann, A Böckh, Fustel de Coulanges, and Adolph de la Malle, Marx rejected the neo-Platonic reading of Aristotle's politics with its emphasis on "the ideal state" of monarchy and aristocracy and began to appreciate Aristotle's true ideal of Athenian democracy and a democratic polity. For a philosophical and historical overview of the major secondary writings on the central theme of Aristotle and Athenian democracy, see George McCarthy, Marx and the Ancients (Savage, MD: Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 1990), chapter 2, note 2, pp.303-304; Dialectics and Decadence (1994), chapter 2, note 8, pp. 329-330; and Dreams in Exile (2009), chapter 1, notes 82-85, pp. 282-284.
III. Marx and Aristotle: G. McCarthy, Marx and the Ancients (1990), chapter 2, note 2, pp. 303-304; G. McCarthy, ed., Marx and Aristotle (1992); G. McCarthy, Dreams in Exile, chapter 2, note 3, p. 288 and note 37, p. 291; and London Metropolitan University, "Marxism and Aristotelianism," (2010), online list of secondary sources.
(3) Ancient Hellenists and the Early Disciples of Jesus Called "Followers of the Way" and "Hearers of the Word" (Jesus as the Fulfilment of Torah) and the Ethics of Primitive Communism in the New Testament: The Hebrew tradition was followed by the Early Christians of the Hellenistic period in the New Testament. These first century "Followers of the Way" (also called the Galileans or Nazarenes) of the Synoptic Gospels (Jewish community for Matthew and James and Gentile community for Luke) continued the Jewish ethical ideals of the Old Testament in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who taught "the good news to the poor" found in the Torah, Jubilee, and Sabbatical Year. Jesus was self-consciously continuing the tradition of the Mosaic Code and Jewish principles of social justice: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5: 17-18). This ethical directive became the central moral and social doctrine of early Christianity that maintained that the ultimate and most important criterion for the Final Judgment and salvation rested in good works within a form of primitive communism based on "feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and protecting the most vulnerable" (Matt. 25: 31-46) that is accomplished by providing for common property and economic redistribution based on basic human needs for the universal good and the general welfare of the community (Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4: 32-37) along with the condemnation of the accumulation of personal wealth (Matt. 6: 19-20; Luke 6: 24-25; and James 5:1-6. They focused their attention on the following issues of political economy: giving up wealth, providing for the poor, fair distribution of wealth and power, wealth distribution based on human needs, the rejection of foreign oppression and military occupation by the legions of the Roman Empire, and the return to the ethical principles of the Torah and the Jubilee and Sabbath Year as they were reinterpreted in early Christian socialism and "the kingdom of God on earth" with its denunciation of idolatry and the worship of the god of money: Luke 2: 1-20 and Matt. 2: 1-2; Luke 6: 17-26 and Matt. 5: 1-10; Luke 8: 26 and Matt. 8: 28; Luke 6: 26 and Matt. 8: 28; Luke 12-16 and Matt. 10: 1-4; Acts 4; Luke 11: 2-4 and Matt. 6: 7-15; Luke 12: 49-53, 22: 35-38, and 47-51 and Matt. 10: 34 and 27: 27-31; Luke 16: 19-31, 18: 18-27, and 20: 19-26 and Matt. 22: 15 and 19: 16; Matt. 25: 31-46; Luke 19: 28-38, 22: 35-38 and Matt. 21: 1-16 and 10: 34-39; and The Letter of James 2: 14-26 and 5: 1-6). In both the Old and New Testament, the central focus of social justice is on Love for the Dispossessed and Poor. Love within the family and community is the foundation for the classical traditions of the Old and New Testaments and Greek philosophy. For more, see the writings of K. Kautsky, The Foundations of Christianity (1908) and Rosa Luxemburg.
Later around 50 AD, Greek-speaking Gentiles in Antioch began to call the disciples of Jesus "Christians," and by 110 AD we can see the formal emergence of the Catholic Church with its distinctive religious and metaphysical dogma and Church hierarchy under the leadership of bishops like Ignatius of Antioch. Also in the second century, there emerged the teachings of Marcion of Sinope, an early Christian theologian and Gnostic philosopher, and the Marcionites who sought to remove any traces of Judaism from the history and development of Christianity by rejecting the Old Testament. Judaism was viewed by them as a religion of law, righteousness, and punishment, and thus incompatible with Christianity, which was seen as the religion of kindness, mercy, and love. The early church communities, without a central authority, and the Church Fathers, especially Tertullian, condemned these teachings of Marcion and his followers as a heresy that rejected the God and values of the Old Testament. He was excommunicated by the church of Rome around 144 AD. In the New Testament, when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees what is the greatest commandment, he responded "You shall love the Lord your God..." and "love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and prophets" (Matt. 22: 37-40). This reaffirms the unity of the Old and New Testament which would continue through the writings of Augustine, Abelard, and Aquinas. The formal break between Judaism and Christianity can be seen vividly in the Theodosian Code of the fourth century and later which established Christianity as the official religion of the Byzantium Empire and limited the civil rights of Jews by excluding them from most areas in public and professional life, including civilian, military, and government positions. The ghost of the Marcion heresy never really disappeared, but emerged again within the popular consciousness of the early Modern European culture.
(Note: An argument may even be made that there is a thesis in the New Testament articulating "original or ordained natural rights" based on a metaphysical natural law principle found in Matt. 25: 31-41 - humans have a natural right to food, drink, clothing, health care, etc. based on being members of a moral economy and ethical community.) By the end of the fourth century under the influence of Platonism, the Constantinian Revolution, and the creation of an Imperial Church, Christianity had changed from its early emphasis on social justice, political economy, and helping the weak, poor, and dispossessed into an institutional religion with a focus on spiritual and ritual sin, metaphysics, salvation, and a heavenly kingdom of God. In the process, it lost its earlier focus on justice, wealth redistribution, and the kingdom of God within us on earth (story of Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 17:21). These ideas of "primitive communism" of the "Followers of the Way" from the New Testament are picked up by the Radical Protestant Reformers of the 17th century. [See Richard Schlatter, Private Property: The History of an Idea (New York, NY: Russell & Russell, 1951), pp. 124-150) and George Huntston Williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: Penn State University Press, 1962).] In his understanding of these ancient traditions, Marx separates Biblical social ethics from Christian metaphysics, whereas in the modern era Christianity has separated social ethics from metaphysics. In fact, with notable exceptions, Christianity has lost the classical spirit of the primacy of the community, the common good, and moral economy by replacing social sin with the values of modern liberalism and its reliance on prayer, rituals, sacraments, salvation, and metaphysics. A market morality of radical individualism, individual choice, and personal sin (abortion, birth control, premarital sex, masturbation, etc.) has replaced the emphasis on biblical social sin and social justice, that is, a concern for the poor, dispossessed, and strangers. Christianity is no longer a pro-life religion which stresses social well-being -- the economic security of the family, health care, education, employment, fair and living wages, housing, etc.
For a comprehensive overview of these issues, see the works of Georg F. Hegel, Early Theological Writings, Friedrich Schleiermacher, David Strauss, The Life of Jesus (1835), Bruno Bauer, and Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity (1841) who integrated Hegel, Bauer, and Strauss. In turn, Liberation Theologians also make the connection between Marx and the New Testament, including Jose Miranda, Marx and the Bible (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1974), "The Gospel Roots of Marx's Thought" and "Marx's Thought as a Conscious Continuation of Early Christianity" in Marx Against the Marxists (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1980), and Communism in the Bible (1981). See also J. Emmette, Weir, "The Bible and Marx," Scottish Journal of Theology, volume 35 , issue 4 (August 1982), pp. 337-350; Brian McCarthy, "The Biblical Tradition, The Church, and Marx's Critique of Religion," Cross Currents, vol. 34, no. 1 (Spring 1984), pp. 43-64; Alasdair MacIntyre, Marxism and Christianity (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984); David McLellan, Marxism and Religion: A Description and Assessment of the Marxist Critique of Christianity (New York: Harper & Row, 1987); Shlomo Avineri, Moses Hess: Prophet of Communism and Zionism (New York: NYU Press, 1987; H. Mark Roelofs. "Liberation Theology: The Recovery of Biblical Radicalism," The American Political Science Review, vol. 82, no. 2 (June 1988), pp. 549-566; Michael Lowy, ""Friedrich Engels on Religion and Class Struggle," Science and Society, vol. 62, no. 1 (Spring 1998), pp. 79-87; John Raines, Marx on Religion (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002); James Luchte, "Marx and the Sacred," Journal of Church and State, volume 51, issue 3 (Summer 2009), pp. 413-437; and Roland Boer, "Western Marxism and the Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (1998), pp. 3-21, "Marxism and Eschatology Reconsideration," Meditations (2007), "The Full Story: On Marxism and Religion," International Socialism (June 2009); "Marx's Revolutionary Reading of the Bible," Culture Matters (May 2016), Marx, Engels and Theology: Roland Boer," Historical Materialism (bibliography of Marx's writings on religion), and Boer ed., Marxist Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (London, ENG: T&T Clark, Bloomsbury Collection, 2015). For primary sources, see Karl Marx, On Religion (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2002); Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, On Religion (Garden City, NY: Dover Publications, 2008); and Friedrich Engels, "On the History of Early Christianity" Die Neue Zeit (1894-1895).
(4) Medieval Scholasticism, Thomas Aquinas, and the Rediscovery of Aristotle in the 13th Century: Another chapter in this volume on the classics would be centered around Aristotle, Medieval Scholasticism, and Thomas Aquinas. The works by Aristotle in the original Greek language were mainly lost to the Western world in the early middle ages before the eleventh century. They were then rediscovered and transmitted to the West by Muslim scholars. This chapter would examine the Arabic influence from Egypt, Syria, North Africa, and the Middle East with their translations of and commentaries on Aristotle's works starting in the twelfth. However, it is in the thirteenth century when Greek texts were eventually translated into Latin, especially by William of Moerbeke at the request of Thomas Aquinas. This would transform forever Western Europe's understanding of ancient Greek philosophy and the importance of Aristotle's concrete theories of physics, perception, state, natural law, virtue, moral economy, moral philosophy, ethics, justice, practical (ethics, economics, and politics) and theoretical (mathematics and physics) science, and his break with Plato's spiritualism, metaphysics, and rationalism. In the seventeenth century the Catholic Franciscans held to the belief that labor was a means of caring for the earth and its creatures; they believed in the simple life, human dignity, Christian stewardship of nature, rejected class inequality and exploitation, and preached for a form of primitive communism. Later in the same century, Aquinas in his major work Summa Theologica, expanded upon Aristotle's ethics and politics by incorporating the importance of human labor into his scholastic social and political theory. Work, its collective social relations, and material product were to be considered aspects of justice. He saw humans as co-creators of the world with God since labor was a full expression of human dignity and the essence of humanity. In his theory of labor he integrated Aristotle's ideas about intellectual virtue and technical knowledge, ethics and spirituality, and the centrality of land for the common good. These ideas were incorporated into the Christian Communitarian movements of the seventeen century by the Non-Conformists, Levellers, and the Diggers and nineteenth century writings of the Christian Socialism of William Morris, Scott Holland, and Stewart Headlam. Later they were also developed in the papal encyclicals by Popes Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum) and John Paul II (Laborem Exercens).
In the dozen commentaries on Aristotle, Aquinas continued to expand our understanding of the Ancient Hellenes. Aquinas himself was a product of and influence upon a long list of medieval scholars and theologians that included Boethius, Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, and William of Ockham, while Duns Scotus and Peter Abelard took a different turn toward neo-Platonism. If Aquinas "baptized Aristotle" with Christian doctrine, then Marx will dialectically rethink Aristotle with a German Umlaut and historical materialism. Richard Tawney once referred to Marx as "the last of the Schoolmen" because he saw Marx as continuing in the tradition of Aquinas' theory of natural law, condemnation of economic materialism, usury, and unlimited wealth accumulation, and his ethical views on the common good, labor theory of value, economic and distributive justice, and fair wages (Richard Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, pp. 39-55 and McCarthy, "Last of the Schoolmen," pp. 192-232, especially footnotes 1-3, 11-15, and 25). Also see Fernand van Steenberghen, Thomas Aquinas and Radical Aristotelianism and Aristotle in the West: The Origins of Latin Aristotelianism. Aquinas provided new insights into the area of social justice that would be important for Marx in the nineteenth century. Natural law theory continued to evolve in the seventeenth century with the major works of John Locke, Samuel Pufendorf, Richard Cumberland, and Benedict Spinoza. For readings on Marx and natural law, see Ernst Block, Natural Law and Human Dignity (MIT Press, 1986), pp. 63, 177-178, and 187-188; C. B. MacPherson, "The Maximization of Democracy" in Democratic Theory (Clarendon Press, 1973), pp. 3-23; and Philip Kain, Marx and Ethics (Clarendon Press, 1988), pp. 29-33.
(5) The German Idealism of Kant and Hegel, German Romanticism of Goethe, Schiller, Hölderlin, and Heine, British Romanticism of Byron, Keats, Shelley, and Wordsworth, and the German Existentialism of Kant and Schopenhauer: They create a new Copernican Revolution and transform our understanding of knowledge and the physical universe as subjectivity -- subjectivity (consciousness) creates the objectivity of the external world in perception and experience for Kant and self-consciousness and reason create the social world as the Objective and Absolute Spirit for Hegel. Just as in epistemology, moral philosophy is defined by the subjectivity of the categorical imperative for Kant, whereas, for Hegel, the social ethics of the System der Sittlichkeit is defined by the ethical community and public virtue of the family, civil society, and the state.
German Idealism stressed the importance of consciousness and human creativity in knowledge, ethics, and society which Marx then joins together with the art, poetry, and literature and poetry of German Romanticism in the writings of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Hölderlin, and Heinrich Heine and British Romanticism of Lord Byron, John Keats, Percy Shelley, and William Wordsworth to form his ideas of the centrality of aesthetic beauty, harmony, self-determination, and ethical dignity in the creativity of human labor. Aesthetic Labor or labor according to "the laws of beauty" (Schiller) creates art and poetry, laws and constitutions, and industrial products and material well-being; it creates political citizenship, a community of friends, and a moral economy. These are all aspects of art and the aesthetic experience that are a product of human creativity, self-determination, social vision, and individual freedom. Art provides the energy and drive to see beyond the restraints and limits of the present to an imaginative and creative future. The Romantics saw a world of harmony, order, and beauty expressed through Classical Greece which some then applied to a critique of the soulless utility and mechanical technicality of modern society (Gesellschaft) which was without imagination, spirit, or imagination in a world of "melancholy madness" (Dickens). To this list of philosophers and poets should be added Marx's love for classical and European literature, especially the works of Aeschylus, Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Goethe, and Balzac. It is said that he read Shakespeare every day. (See, S. S. Prawer, Karl Marx and World Literature and Heinrich von Staden, "Greek Art and Literature in Marx's Aesthetics," Marxism and the Classics, Spring 1975: vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 119-144).)
Further building upon German Idealism, Marx creates his own theory of consciousness. ideology, historical materialism, dialectics and critical science, and the structural and logical contradictions of industry, private property, and capitalism. Marx borrows Hegel's method of dialectics and immanent critique from his early philosophical writings in the Paris Manuscripts to his developed economic theory in Capital when he juxtaposes the contradictory elements in ethics, politics, and economics throughout his writings. These contradictions (Widersprüche) are expressed within capitalism and liberalism between natural and human rights, economic and political rights, alienation/exploitation and human creativity/self-determination in the workplace, market economy and moral economy, labor power and labor, value and surplus value in production, and industrial expansion and economic crisis and system breakdown. Methodologically, history gives us access to the class origins and industrial Past of capitalism; dialectical reasoning lets us see the ethical and structural contradictions and irrationalities of the Present; and poetry and art gives us the imagination and vision to see the application of Aristotelian philosophy and French socialism to the Future. Each temporal approach requires a different epistemology and methodology in a critical social theory which is not reducible to scientific positivism. The central insight of both German Idealism of Kant, Schelling, and Hegel and the German Materialism of Marx is that the Object is created by the Subject in perception and experience, work and politics. Whether it is in the understanding, knowledge, and science of the world that humans construct the objective empirical reality that we experience everyday or in physical labor, production, building, and political/economic democracy that the social world is created, there is an intimate connection between idealism and materialism. This is the key to Marx's theory of critical social theory of historical materialism.
Also part of these modern traditions is the German Existentialism of Kant (subjective, transcendental consciousness and epistemological constructivism of pure and practical reason), Feuerbach and Schelling (emphasis on concrete existence, sensuous life, and the creation of meaning), and Schopenhauer (moral illusions, dreams, and the nothingness of reality) that strongly influenced Marx with his theory of false consciousness, political ideology, and loss of ethics and moral philosophy (alienation). Existentialism unintentionally begins with Kant's Critiques of Pure and Practical Reason as he rejects the external objectivity of both knowledge and science and morality and ethics. He undermines the notion of objective truth in both epistemology and moral philosophy as he introduces the central importance of human subjectivity in the categorical imperative of morality and transcendental subjectivity of experience and knowing. Some German philosophers have argued that this represents the beginning of modern nihilism and the existential crisis. [Note: Existentialism and nihilism will also play an important role in the formation of classical social theory with its ideas about the rise of moral relativism and the loss of substantive meaning and purpose in human life (disenchantment) and the loss of collective moral consciousness, religion, and critical cultural traditions (anomie) that resulted in moral disorder, chaos, and madness (dereglement). Existentialism is the product of meaningless work, economic exploitation, and the replacement of aesthetic labor by wage labor (Marx), the rise of the Enlightenment, formal reason, and technical science (Weber), and the loss of a moral community and collective values (Durkheim).]
(6) Modern French Utopian Socialism of Rousseau, Fourier, Saint-Simon, Lassalle, and Proudhon: This was a working class movement which rejected the abuse, exploitation, inequality, and poverty of human labor and workers under capitalism. Its representatives called for a more egalitarian society based on the ethical principles of communalism, fairness, the common good, and the economic redistribution of wealth, power, and production based on workers contribution, workers control over production, and the end to private property. The fundamental values of equality, community, fairness, and economic justice are found throughout the Ancient and Modern worlds in the shared principles of economic distribution based on human caring, dignity and need embedded in the Old Testament: Genesis 1:26-27 (imago Dei), Exodus, and Deuteronomy (Jubilee) and the New Testament: Luke 18 and Acts 2 and 4.
(7) Modern British Classical Economic Theory of Smith, Ricardo, and Malthus in the 18th and 19th Century: The nineteenth-century French socialists provide an important counterbalance to the classical British economics of Adam Smith and David Ricardo with the latter's understanding of the Industrial Revolution and capitalism articulated in the relationship between production and distribution; the rational balance among industrial production, individual consumer choice, and market price; the new mechanization of factory production and the technical division of labor; and the labor theory of value which some have argued has its origins in Aquinas' Summa Theologica. Marx will integrate these two modern economic traditions with the Ancients and German Idealism to develop a critical and ethical analysis of the inherent possibilities and social and economic contradictions (Widersprüche) contained within the labor theory of value and capitalist production itself -- alienation, exploitation, dehumanization, and the existential meaningless of human life all framed within the structural, ideological, and logical incoherence of capitalism itself. It is here that Marx is using Hegel's dialectic, adjusted in view of Friedrich Schelling's criticisms, and applying it to reveal the moral bankruptcy of capitalism (Aristotle's Ethics) and the structural and historical limits along with the internal and logical barriers of capitalist production to stability, expansion, and rationality itself (Aristotle's theory of household and moral economy [Oikonomike] and the rejection of immoral, irrational, and unnatural wealth acquisition [ Chrematistike]).
(8) Marx, Critical Social Theory, and the Phenomenology of the Social Spirit: The Ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, Hellenists, and Medieval Scholastics (Aquinas: Summa Theologica, especially in Second Part and Prologue to Pt. II) all played a central role in the development of Marx's critical social theory from his early Paris Manuscripts of 1844 to his later Grundrisse, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, and Capital. Both Hegel and Marx reject the alienation of modern liberalism, utilitarianism, and the Enlightenment, but it is only Marx who creatively blends together classical ethics, political economy, and critical science in his moral critique of modern capitalism to create a new theory of social justice for modern society. In order to accomplish this Herculean task, he supplies the missing elements in Hegel's alienation of the Objective Spirit -- Ethics, Social Consciousness, and Politics -- by replacing his false idealism and second unhappy consciousness of the Absolute Spirit of philosophy, religion, and art with Aristotle's objective materialism and social theory of classical ethics and politics. Marx retranslates and restructures Greek political and moral philosophy into German critical social theory, thereby creating the modern Germanic form of Aristötle with an Umlaut. In the process, metaphysics and idealism are replaced by historical materialism and critical science. The end product of this imaginative synthesis of historical and intellectual movements is a theory of social justice which integrates the classical ideals of the Ancient and Modern traditions by fusing together ethics, politics, and political economy in order to help the poor, weak, and dispossessed within a communal economy. This is accomplished by building the institutional framework for a moral economy and political democracy, workers control and economic democracy, the working conditions that respect the dignity, creativity, and beauty of human labor, a balanced social and natural ecology of production and nature, and a critical and ethical science. In the final analysis, liberalism, as a modern political and economic ideology, is fundamentally at odds with the central themes, principles, and traditions of social justice in the whole of Western thought. Finally, to this list of profound and influential authors of the classical traditions, who had such an important impact on the development of Marx's ideas, may be added the nineteenth-century historians of classical Greece representative of the Altertumswissenschaft (George Grote, Theodor Mommsen, Barthold Georg Niebuhr, Johann Jakob Bachofen, August Böckh, Georg Schömann, Carl Hermann, Fustel de Coulanges, and Connop Thirlwall) and anthropologists (Henry Lewis Morgan, John Budd Phear, Henry Summer Maine, and John Lubbock).
It is only after his sociology is integrated with his philosophy, his Politics is integrated with his Ethics, that Aristotle truly comes alive; it is only when his Phenomenology of the Spirit is integrated with his Philosophy of Right that Hegel also takes on a new life. The theoretical and methodological fragmentation of the great minds of the past by the American academy makes understanding critical social theory more and more difficult in today's world. In the same way, it is only after all these classical traditions have been re-integrated into Marx's social and economic theory that his historical and dialectical method, as well as his critical theory of capitalism and political economy, begins to be seen anew. In each of these historical cases, the social ideals of virtue, happiness, and the good life in Aristotle, political freedom and natural rights of the state in Hegel, and human dignity, aesthetic beauty, and self-determination within the workplace in Marx are integrated into the institutional and structural foundations of the ancient Athenian polis, modern German state, and ideal communal democracy, respectively. These connections are lost with the rise of positivism, the specialization of science, and the fragmentation of reason in the social sciences.
(9) Marx and the Modern Evolution of Participatory Democracy with the French Revolution, Paris Commune, and the Iroquois Nation: For more on Marx's theory of a moral economy and participatory democracy beyond the Paris Commune of 1871, see his Ethnological Notebooks (1880-1882) and especially his reading of Lewis Henry Morgan's Ancient Society (1877) about the Iroquois Nations and the League of Peace. This includes an analysis of participatory democracy and primitive communism. Marx died before the completion of the book in 1883 and we are left only with his notebooks. However, Engels continued to examine the subject in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884). For more on the influence of the Iroquois Confederacy on European social and political thought, see Charles Mann, "The Founding Sachems," NY Times OP (July 4, 2005) and 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Vintage: October 2006); Franklin Rosemont, "Marx and the Iroquois" (July 8, 2007); Terri Hansen, "How the Iroquois Great Law of Peace Shaped US Democracy" (December 17, 2018); Bruce Johansen, Forgotten Founders: How the American Indian Helped Shape Democracy (Beverly, MA: Harvard Common Press, November 1982); Kickingbird and Lynn Kickingbird, Indians and the United States Constitution: A Forgotten Legacy (Washington, DC: Institute for the Development of Indian Law, 1987); and Donald A. Grinde Jr. and Bruce E. Johansen, Exemplar of Liberty: Native America and the Evolution of Democracy (Native American Politics Series), no. 3, January 1991. With the emphasis on individual liberty and equality, democratic self-government, the consent of the governed, decentralized and limited government, local autonomy, and individual responsibility by the Iroquois Nation in their Great Law of Peace, they were influential on the framers of the US Constitution -- Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin -- as they were on Locke, Hume, Rousseau, and Thomas Paine. Marx was able to integrate the democratic principles, rights, and ideals of the French Constitution and The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1793 with the Paris Commune of 1871, and the Great Law of Peace (1451) of the Iroquois Confederacy of Six Nations, which included the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.
Fusion of the Classical Horizons of the Ancients and the Moderns: Aristotle Expanded by German Idealism, German/British Romanticism, British Political Economy, and French Socialism: When viewed from a distance, it becomes all the more clear that the emphasis of the Ancient and Modern traditions mentioned above focused on the deep structures of community, social responsibility, the common good, political economy, and social justice: (1) the Ancient Hebrews in the Deuteronomic and Leviticus Legal Codes stressed the primacy of the family, human dignity, relative equality, and helping the poor and dispossessed since humans are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1: 27); (2) the Ancient Greeks placed their emphasis on freedom, equality, communal solidarity, human needs, moral economy, political democracy, and social justice; (3) the early "Followers of the Way" outlined a form of primitive communism, common ownership of property, and original natural rights that provided all members of the community with the satisfaction of the basic needs and physical necessities of human life -- food, drink, clothing, health care, and property (Matthew 25: 31-46 and Acts 3: 43- 47 and 4: 32-37); and (4) the Modern German and British Romantics, Idealists, and Socialists concentrated their attention on issues of equality, freedom, moral dignity, self-determination, creativity, beauty, fair distributive of wealth, and communal democracy as human beings construct their own social worlds based on the principles of social justice.
It is crucial to notice that all these traditions are antithetical to the values, institutions, and ideals of modern capitalism and liberalism which degrade humanity into market commodities and consumer products as they re-define the traditional ethical and cultural values in terms of market rights, crude materialism, possessive individualism, self-interest, business success, unnatural accumulation of wealth and property, and the physical and spiritual degradations that accompany class, inequality, racism, and poverty. The social ideals of community, democracy, equality, freedom, and human dignity are historically and logically incompatible with the economic structures and moral principles of a market economy, capitalist industry, and modern class society. The true, yet unspoken and thus hidden, irony of Western intellectual history is that Marx's theory of moral economy. democratic socialism, and social justice comes closest to the ethical ideals and moral principles of the ancient Hebrews (Deuteronomic and Leviticus Codes), Greeks (Aristotle's ethics and politics), and early Christians (Matthew, Luke, and James) -- love of family, community, and others -- than do contemporary religious, ethical, economic, and political theories and their corresponding schools of thought. To the average American scholar, Marx's views are considered quite intellectually radical and politically disruptive. However, given the above summary of philosophical, religious, literary, and political traditions from the ancient Hebrews, Hellenes, Hellenists, and Medieval neo-Aristotelians to the modern Idealists, Romantics, and Socialists, it is clear that Marx is "radical" in the sense of returning to the deep and profound "intellectual roots" -- to the heart and soul -- of Western ethical and political thought. When Marx investigates an historical event, political consciousness (ideology), an idea, theory, economic structure, etc., he does so by viewing the past in dialogue with the present, subject in dialogue with the object, idea with a tradition, and social institutions with their history. Hermeneutics and exegesis are always part of a dialogue between the subject and object -- a dialogue and dialectic (immanent, logical, and historical critique) with their origins and roots (Gadamer in Truth and Method fuses and integrates the political dialogue within the Athenian polis of Aristotle with the dialectical method of evolving self-consciousness and reason of Hegel). In summary, Marx's theory of democratic socialism contains elements of Old Testament agrarian communalism, New Testament primitive communism, Athenian moral economy and political democracy, French and German economic socialism, British political economy, Parisian worker democracy, and the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations communal democracy and federalism.
Silence of Reason, Loss of the Classics, and the
Eclipse of Social Theory in the Academy:
Transition from Social Theory to the Primacy
of Positivism, Research Methods, and Technical Reason
By the end of the twentieth century, classical and contemporary social theory in the American academy had been replaced by the scientific methods of natural science (Naturwissenschaft) and formal rationality (Zweckrationalität) as theory became a convenient and conventional afterthought and a utilitarian research tool. It now serves the process of rationalization as a technical utility and validation for the questions and problems to be resolved in research designs and techniques, controlled experiments and hypothesis creation, deductive and causal analysis, and the formation of intervening variables and predictive inferences in empirical research as it supports a particular naturalistic logic, theory, and methodology of science, its narrow and specialized questions, and its limited conclusions. This is the method of Quantitative Research and experiments, measurement, standardized observation, and deductive logic which specializes in mathematics, data collection, social surveys, questionnaires, statistics, and formal patterns of behavior for the creation or confirmation of predictive, explanatory, and universal laws of human behavior. The second method utilized by the social sciences applies Qualitative or Interpretive Methods and inductive logic to undertake research designs which focus on issues of participatory observation, interviews, field research, focus groups, content analysis, ethnography, history, etc. Although qualitative sociology appears to be quite different from quantitative analysis, it contains many of the same epistemological and methodological assumptions as the latter. Qualitative analysis, like quantitative, can reduce its truth claims to positivist, objective, observable, and explanatory features. Both traditions, in different ways, have fallen under the spell of Anglo-American positivism.
It was the classical social theory of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim that argued against this narrow and positivist approach to social science and its attempt to universalize its epistemology and methodology to the exclusion of other intellectual and philosophical traditions. Knowledge and theory are reduced to empirical evidence and verification, objectivity, distance, and detachment, nominalism and neutrality, and reflection based on observation and social facts, mathematical and logical proofs, causal hypotheses and explanations, and the creation of general laws of human behavior. This has been referred to by members of the Frankfurt School as the "eclipse of reason," the "silence of reason," "contempt of theory," "poverty of philosophy," and the "death of philosophy" in that it undermines the critical German, French, and Italian social theories in favor of the method of the natural sciences -- loss of critical idealism and materialism, dialectical and historical reflection, integration of ethics with politics and morality with political economy, critical political economy, the study of the historical origins, institutions, and structures of Western capitalism, and the ideals of social justice. Historical sociology has turned to critical realism, rational choice theory, social explanations, and a search for unobservable mechanical and causal laws of historical development; positivist ethnography has dropped naturalism, but turned to nominalism and realism. As a result of this "new barbarism," theory of the classical horizons has been lost in American sociology, along with the integration of Philosophy, History, and Political Economy into a Critical Sociology, and has been replaced by unreflective, uncritical, and cursory empirical observations and research. Theory has been replaced by a formal and mechanical sociology based on an ahistorical and an atheoretical history of ideas, literature review, content analysis, and summary of the findings of empirical research; theory has become part of a culture industry for academic consumption and methods justification. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods are central to the formation of critical social theory. However, when connected with specific and narrow positivist methodologies and epistemologies, they are very limited in their particular research questions, methods, and conclusions. In American sociology, there are three primary social theories or paradigms: structural functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory. Unfortunately, they simply do not capture the enormous complexity of Continental sociology as the latter is usually made to conform or fit into the three paradigms of the American tradition. In the process, the Classical traditions of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Freud are distorted and lost since they do not fit into these particular designations or paradigms.
In the American tradition, theory has been used to frame a particular problem or issue under scientific investigation; it can confirm and legitimate the problem; it can provide an overview of similar investigations within the history of sociological thought; it can expand the variables and our understanding of the constructed hypothesis; it can actually help create, articulate, and validate the objects of investigation; and it can make the history of social concepts and traditions operational and functional in order to explain contemporary issues and problems. Theory is used to justify and validate a particular research question or problem. But this is deceptive because, in the final analysis, the central questions and issues in utilitarian sociology and research design are ultimately framed by the applied technical method. According to Jürgen Habermas and C. Wright Mills, methods define theory in contemporary American sociology; theory has become reflexive rather than reflective in both quantitative and qualitative research. Methods, in both forms of positivism -- abstract or theoryless empiricism of qualitative methods (critiques of Peter Berger, C. Wright Mills, Alvin Gouldner, and Joel Best) and critical rationalism of quantitative methods (critiques of Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, and Habermas) -- define the nature of objectivity, research design, logic of inquiry, verification, truth, and science. By so defining the methodology of inquiry, it also defines the issues, problems, objects, and ultimately the theory of inquiry. A key result of this approach is that quantitative and qualitative methods in American sociology define out of existence questions of history, political economy, structure, functions, ethics, and critique (immanent and dialectical); it defines out of existence classical and contemporary European social theory as it never challenges the underlying assumptions of scientific positivism, political liberalism, or economic capitalism.
An unanswered question remains -- from where does theory itself originally come if the research design and research methods cannot produce broad historical or critical social theory itself? The classical social theories of Marx, Weber, Freud, and Durkheim were not generated from positivism or technical, formal scientistic methods but are now used to justify this alternative approach to science. Classical theory was based on a holistic, critical (Kantian or Hegelian tradition), historical, and structural analysis of the modern Social System and Cultural Lifeworld. However, in the end, theory disappears as the traditional and classical European methods and views of science are not reducible to a naturalistic and positivistic perspective. The end result of this type of empirical sociological research is knowledge arranged for conformity, adaptation, and adjustment (Mill, The Sociological Imagination, p. 90). Science has undeniably resulted in the enormous productive development and industrial expansion of our modern world, but it has also resulted in the commodification and alienation of our senses, sensibilities (Herrschaftswissen), and physical universe in terms of consumption, appreciation of environmental beauty, and the aesthetic imagination and education of our senses (Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia). And if we can't see the true beauty in the physical world of our senses, how will we see the true beauty in the world of the spirit, ethics, and politics? Marx sees a correlation between our inability to understand Aristotle and our inability to see the corruption and crisis of nature and the environment (Marx, Paris Manuscripts). If we cannot see the beauty in one, how can we see it in the others?
The focus now is on the present and not the past. The central and crucial point here is that social theory helps justify the history and objects of inquiry, but is itself not the object or focus of inquiry. Rather, Methods define Objectivity -- an objectivity of both neutral methods (epistemology and methodology) and an objectivity of empirical reality (ontology) for scientific research. Methods define the Object of research and the range of useful questions that may be raised within that framework. Epistemological and methodological traditions, such as Continental philosophy and sociology, are outside the framework of legitimate scientific inquiry; this is the modern rationalization of science itself. The goal of social theory is not historical, exegetical, hermeneutical, or interpretive, but rather, its goal is the illumination and application of social traditions to the explanation and clarification of contemporary problems. Social theory is no longer based on Understanding, Hermeneutics, and Critique, but now rests upon Explanation, Utility, and Application. It is no longer part of the neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian philosophical traditions, but the Anglo-American tradition of naturalistic science. The emphasis is not on the understanding of ideas or events of the past or their explication, but on its technical and utilitarian application to contemporary social problems and issues. It is not Theory, but Methods, which create social objects and questions within the paradigms of positivism. That is, positivism doesn't expand theory or our understanding of social theory. It only uses theory for the purposes of creating or articulating a problem or the variable of an hypothesis. Its ultimate goal is the justification of positivism; theory has limited value in itself because its true worth lies in aiding the scientistic and naturalistic method. Theory is only an introduction or prelude to the Scientific Method. It is a way of stating a problem in order to construct an hypothesis based on a universal law and particular circumstances that can empirically test the problem in order to confirm or falsify the original thesis and universal law. Theory has lost its broad and comprehensive critique of modern society; it has lost its dreams, imagination, and critical traditions to initiate a movement toward social justice.
What is rarely done is to investigate the historical and hermeneutical context of the theory itself as a way of understanding and broadening it. Words and ideas have meaning only as they appear on a page or in a paragraph and as they are read through the prism of the present in the reconstruction of a mechanical and formal summary of its content. Although much of social theory lies beneath the surface and takes an enormous amount of time and energy to reconstruct its archaeological foundations in the intellectual history of Western thought, this is rarely undertaken. It is a forgotten art form since the traditions of the classics, that feed into the theory, are unknown and lost. European social theory, in particular, has a complex integrated web of different theories, methods, epistemologies, traditions, and approaches that are not recognized or viewed as legitimate from the naturalistic perspective. In reality, theory has little value in itself since its real contribution is to validate and aid the positivist method of inquiry. Since theory is only used as a mechanism of justification for particular methods and research tools, the history of theory, the content of theory, and its application for social critique and social justice are lost. Even when taught, European social theory is reduced to a formal, mechanical, and uninspiring history of isolated and particular ideas, literature review, or simple content analysis which act only as a prelude or introduction to the perceived legitimate questions and methods of an explanatory and deductive science. Ideas and issues are cherry picked from traditional theories for those concepts helpful in expanding research problems and technical methods; the alternative and critical substance and methods of the theories themselves are ignored and forgotten. In the process, the history of social theory's varied and distinctive methods, different approaches to epistemology and science, connections to ethics and philosophy, and its comprehensive critique of the values, culture, and institutions of modern society are lost and forgotten. And, in the end, there is only silence. We live in a post-theoretical, voiceless universe unable and unwilling to conceptualize or understand the grand traditions from the Ancients to the Moderns. And without theory, there are no dreams; without dreams, there is no justice; and without justice, there is no future -- no way to think about or act against injustice in the world or to reflect upon the possibilities of alternative forms of political economy and social systems -- no way to integrate Ethics and Politics. Unfortunately, theory is rarely taught and understood in the American university system today because philosophy has been replaced by observation, theory by methods, reflective thought by science, and ideas by the accumulation of empirical data. And because sociology is so tied to observation, data collection, prediction, and natural science, it cannot generate the social theory that is holistic, integrative, historical, and critical that could generate ideas for social change and social justice.
Now into the third decade of the twenty-first century, theory is no longer a serious consideration or intellectual focus in the lecture halls of our academic institutions resulting in the loss of reason, collective consciousness, and the ancient ideals of Western society. One can only sadly recall Max Horkheimer's fears in his lecturers at Columbia University in the spring of 1944 about the eclipse of reason, the fragmentation of the academy, the decline of the critical traditions, the rise of fascism in the United States, and the inability to recognize or resist these dramatic changes. Due to its acceptance of this positivism, scientific naturalism, and cultural nominalism resulting in the disenchantment of reason and moral nihilism, sociology as a discipline is in a precariously existential crisis and visionless state -- a concern anticipated by the classical social theorists of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. And even more problematically, it is only the latest of the disciplines to go down this self-destructive, dark, and perilous path of a "contempt for theory." This is the contemporary social variant of Dante's and Camus' Inferno -- silence in the face of unspeakable political and economic oppression with its corresponding abuse, degradation, and exploitation of humanity -- silence in the face of an infinite and impenetrable void of moral, spiritual, and theoretical emptiness creating an unimaginable intellectual wasteland with no focus or future. These are the academic conditions that provided the fertile ground for Horkheimer's reasonable and terrifying fears years ago that have only intensified and become more real and more dangerous today with fascism on the horizon.
Aristotle was the first true social theorist who combined the study of virtue, happiness, wisdom, moral philosophy, and ethics in the Nicomachean Ethics with the historical and empirical analysis of the structures of a moral economy, forms of the best and worst governments, and political democracy in The Politics and On the Athenian Constitution. Following closely centuries later, Marx combined his early inquiry into philosophical anthropology, social ethics, and human need in The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 with the critical examination of industrial production, labor theory of value, economic exploitation, and political economy in his later economic writings in the Grundrisse, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and Capital. In the twenty-first century this integration of the humanities and social sciences must continue to combine the moral and social values which give meaning and purpose to human life with the social institutions which make them concrete, real, and possible. A failure to integrate classical Greek Politics with Ethics or integrate modern Sociology with Ethics creates real problems for the development of a critical social theory: Sociology without Ethics makes Sociology blind, irrelevant, and meaningless since it is unable to understand or challenge the given reality of the times, whereas Ethics and Philosophy without Sociology are metaphysically speculative, theoretically abstract, and politically empty. In both cases a critical theory of social justice becomes impossible since one has ideals without an historical and economic context to make them alive and relevant or has a detailed empirical and historical understanding of social reality without ethical and political ideals to serve as the basis for an incisive social critique and a call for comprehensive, structural social change. This idea of integrating ethics and justice with politics, political economy, and social institutions is expressed in various ways throughout the history of Western thought: Ethics grounded in Politics or moral economy grounded in the Athenian democratic polity (Aristotle); personal moral transgressions grounded in social sin (Early Christianity, Thomas Aquinas, Liberation Theology, Papal Encyclicals, Jim Wallis, and the Evangelical Sojourners); natural rights grounded in natural law (Locke); Moralität grounded in Sittlichkeit or the practical reason of Kant grounded in the classical Greek polity of Aristotle (Hegel); ethics and social justice grounded in a moral economy and democratic socialism (Marx); and philosophy grounded in sociology (McCarthy). With the rise of the Enlightenment and liberalism with their emphasis on individualism, narcissism, and scientism, issues of morality, religion, economics, and politics are reduced to possessive individualism, property ownership, and market consumerism -- personal rights, liberty, freedom, and responsibilities.
With the narrow fragmentation and scientization (naturalism, nominalism, and positivism) of the American academy, this integration seems unlikely and difficult in the near future. The academy has truly become an iron cage of thought and imagination; this situation of the closed and abandoned mind is a result of the dark shadows of the Enlightenment. It is not simply a question of interesting and competing theories and ideals of social reality that can be articulated and publicly debated within the academy. Rather, the very ability to articulate and discuss differences are made impossible since many of the concepts, methods, and orientations of classical and contemporary European social theory have been repressed into a social unconsciousness or state of collective amnesia. Those intellectual traditions spanning the ancient and modern thinkers within sociology that are grounded in different epistemologies, philosophies of science, methodologies, and social theories are lost and forgotten because they do not conform to the accepted standards and textbook definitions of social science and research methods today. And if these social traditions cannot be reassembled and incorporated into a naturalistic and positivistic science, they are left behind and forgotten resulting in the loss of a number of critical schools of thought that could help us better understand and explain the world we live in. This specialized and scientific paralysis keeps us publicly and academically speechless as we are unable to ask substantive and informative questions about the history, structures, and morality of contemporary political economy. Sociology originally evolved in the nineteenth century as a holistic, integrative, and critical social theory grounded in Philosophy, Political Economy, Literature and Poetry, and History -- along with their excitingly different theories, methods, epistemologies, traditions, and history. But, with the contemporary eclipse, reification, and repression of reason, Sociology has become a more positivistic and naturalistic discipline that has lost its broader intellectual frameworks and thus, in turn, has lost its ability to develop a more comprehensive and expansive social theory. It should be noted that what, at first, appears to be a very esoteric, academic, and possibly irrelevant debate about the nature of knowledge and science in Sociology is, in reality, a discussion about the history, meaning, and purpose of human life (Ethics) and the concrete and historical institutions that will realize these goals (Work and Politics) -- Sociology is applied Philosophy that integrates the classical and modern ethical values and social principles with a knowledge of the history and social institutions that make social justice possible. But with the contemporary rationalization, disenchantment, and disciplinary fragmentation of science, Sociology is following the path already forged by Economics and Psychology. It is going through the ideological process of limiting its empirical method to a naive positivism and naturalism which unfortunately results in the negative transformation of American sociology and decline of the liberal arts tradition in the United States.
Liberal Arts have been transformed into a defense of the given institutions and values of liberalism, resulting in an unfortunate and unavoidable continuation of classical disenchantment, moral nihilism, alienation, and the eclipse of reason, logic, and science. Without these critical traditions, ideas, and concepts and without our moral, ethical, social, and political values, reason is silenced, thought is lost, and reflection remains mechanically and causally reflexive. Horkheimer has insightfully written that the rise of positivism and the displacement of the humanities has resulted in a situation within the academy and the public sphere where "reason has liquidated itself as an agency of ethical, moral, and religious insight." And it is clear from history that the liquidation of reason precedes the liquidation of human beings. Heinrich Heine presciently wrote in 1820-21: "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" -- "Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people." This is true today even when the idea of "burning of books" becomes more subtle, complex, and metatheoretical as it is transformed into the repression of ideas and the exile of thoughts, theories, and traditions from consciousness. And, with the loss of these principles and ideals, we lose our heart, spirit, and intellect, along with our ability to change history and society for the better. This liquidation of reason has produced both the iron cage and the holocaust of the mind and the body; and today it has produced a proclivity in the United States toward the end of democracy and the rise of fascism. In the end, silence is an ethical and political betrayal of humanity, our inherent dignity, our ultimate purpose and meaning in life, and, finally, our dreams and future. There is only existential nothingness and the end of our hopes for true enlightenment, justice, and democracy as we descend deeper and deeper into the morass and confusion of authoritarianism and plutocracy. Sociology must begin to redefine itself and recover its lost past intellectual traditions and future possibilities. This includes reconstructing neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian classical social theory, critical theory (Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse), interpretive theory (Weber), dialectical and immanent critique and ethnological anthropology (L. H. Morgan and Marx), phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Schutz, Berger, and Luckmann), ethnomethodology (Garfinkel), existentialism (Schopenhauer and Nietzsche), hermeneutics (Dilthey and Gadamer), history (Weber and Polanyi), critical epistemology and pragmatism (Hume, Scheler, Kuhn, Burtt, and Rorty), ethnology, social psychology (Freud and Mead), intersectional social theory (Crenshaw and Collins), queer theory, and feminist theory.
The Metaphysics, Politics, and Ideology of Western Science: Critique of Foundationalism and the Revival of Historical Materialism: More recently, Professor McCarthy has turned his attention to the interaction among science, nature, and society as he attempts to integrate issues of ecological justice with social justice. To date, he has published ten books mainly in the area of 19th- and 20th-century German social theory. Three of these books have been translated into foreign languages -- Chinese and Japanese. His next book, Shadows of the Enlightenment, looks at the darker side of the Enlightenment. Beginning with an epistemological and methodological analysis of modern science focusing on the writings of Willard van Quine, Thomas Kuhn, and Richard Rorty, he raises the question about the true nature of formal reason and modern science. Once the traditional epistemological foundations of science in Rationalism (Descartes), Empiricism (Locke and Hume), and Neo-Positivism (Popper) have been called into question; once the traditional emphasis on science, Being, and reality have been critically examined and rejected, then the issues of the historical, economic, and sociological origins of modern science and theoretical paradigms become the central point of investigation. It was Hume's own critical skepticism that undermined his initial defense of empiricism in his work An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.
Rise of Positivism and Critique of Empiricism:
David Hume "The Father of Modern Positivism" in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) in The Empiricists (1961):
(1) Structure and Operations of the Mind: Mental Geography and the Foundations of Knowledge:
Section 1: Theory of the Mind: Sensations (pp. 316-320), Reason (pp.320-322), and the Imagination (pp. 334-346).
Section 2-4: Theory of Impressions and Cause and Effect -- Foundations of Positivism (Horkheimer and Kolakowski).
Section 12: Theory of Substance: theory of double affection, representations, primary and secondary qualities, and perception of representations.
Sections 5-7: Skepticism: Theory of the Imagination, Habit, and Custom.
(2) Foundations of Experience: Sensations and Perception, pp. 316-320.
(3) Origins of Ideas lie in Experience, Impressions, and Perceptions.
(4) Associations of Ideas: Resemblance, contiguity, and cause and effect.
(5) Foundations of Science: justification of science, cause and effects, and empiricism, pp. 330-333
(6) Realism, Empiricism, and Theory of Substance and Accidents: analysis of knowledge and objectivity, knowledge of substance and objective reality, pp. 330-333.
(7) Copy Theory of Impressions and Knowledge.
(8) Relations between Subject (knower) and Object (external world).
(9) Foundations of Science: Causality, Induction, and Reason, pp. 322-334.
(10) Foundations of Knowledge: Connections of the discontinuous world and relations of matters of fact and relations of perception, pp. 322-327.
(11) Critique of Rationalism and Apriori Reason, pp. 324-327.
David Hume's Skepticism and Critique of Empiricism and Positivism:
(1) Section 4: Critique of Empiricism and Induction, pp. 322-326 and 330-333 (for a useful summary of Hume's argument, see F. Copleston, A History of Philosophy, vol. 5 (1959), pp. 68-101.
(2) Section 5: Critique of Rationalism and Causality, pp. 335-336.
(3) Section 5, Part II: Analysis of the imagination, resemblance, contiguity, and substance, pp. 340-341.
(4) Section 12: Critique of Realism, Objectivism, physical objects, and substances; skeptical arguments concerning the existence of an external and independent world of objects and substances, pp. 419-420.
(5) Knowledge of perceptions, representations, and cause and effect, pp. 420-421.
(6) Critique of Physical Objects, Substances, and Theory of Double Affection: We have knowledge of our perceptions, not knowledge of the objects in themselves. We cannot know the impressions and original objects of perception at the same time. We can never get back to original objects, cause, or perception. We only have access to our copies or representations of the original objects in the external world. We know only images and perceptions, not objectivity or reality. We are the cause of both primary and secondary qualities in the act of knowing, pp. 422-423. This makes it impossible to base knowledge and science on empiricism because it is impossible to experience, know, and compare physical objects to their mental impressions or sensations. Reality is a psychological construct of the interaction between subjectivity and objectivity. Hume's skepticism is a forerunner to Kant's critique of pure reason. However, history and philosophy have emphasized Sections 1-5 and have dropped the more critical and skeptical Section 12:
Section 12: Critique of Impressions and Senses, Physical Objects and Substances, pp. 419-420.
Section 12: Critique of Cause and Effects, pp. 420-421.
Section 12: Critique of Primary and Secondary Qualities, pp. 421-422. We know only perceptions and representations, not the objects themselves (theory of double affection).
Section 12: Summary: Beginning of a Knowledge Construction: Neither the senses/perception or reason can justify the objects of perception through induction -- "The sun will rise tomorrow" or the causes/effects of action through deduction (billiard ball thesis).
Cannot reason or justify causality through induction or through inference based on experience. Cannot see objects or substances, can only see impressions or representations of objects and their subjective qualities, pp. 330-331.
Cannot reason or justify causality throught deduction, pp. 325-326.
Cannot see causes in effects, or see effects in causes (Empiricism), p. 324t and
cannot reason from past to future, pp. 330-331 (Induction).
Section 12: theory of representations, pp. 419-420.
theory of cause and effect, pp. 420-421.
theory of primary and secondary qualities, pp. 421-422. They are appearances constructed by the mind -- perception, not the object itself.
Summary: there is no perception of objects, no perception of causes, and no perception of the idea of substances. Cannot compare impressions to objective reality itself. Cannot get outside of perceptions. Asking the question: What is this -- a pen (McCarthy), a table (B. Russell), or a classroom (Horkheimer)? Cannot see a pen, table, or classroom, only the sensuous impressions of a object. We see only our impressions and representations of an object, but not the object itself. This is the dilemma of double affection. Experience and observation cannot be the basis for knowledge.
Cannot see the future based on the past. Cannot use induction as the basis for the proving of induction: "The sun will rise tomorrow" is true because inductive logic is true. Assuming the very thing one is attempting to prove (Empiricism). See both Hume and K. Popper. Cannot inductively prove future events and occurrences.
Cannot see effects in knowledge of the cause (billiard ball of Hume). Conclusion: Cannot justify through the senses or reason either the objects of perception or the causes/effects of action.
This is a "dangerous dilemma" -- billiard ball thesis, p. 328.
Section 5: Answer to the dilemma is through the imagination, habit, and psychological predisposition, pp. 335-336 and Copleston, pp. 74 and 98.
Summary of Sections 5 and 12: The foundations of science lies in experience/observation of physical objects and reason and knowledge of causal relationships. However, Hume's skeptical conclusion is that science itself is not able to justify or prove through induction (empiricism) or deduction (rationalism) these forms of knowledge of matters of fact or relations of ideas. Science cannot through experience or reason of the human mind justify the existence of substance, objects, or causality. Knowledge of these areas are obtained through psychological habit and the productive capacity of the human imagination. It is the result of a psychological predisposition or orientation, not the result of science itself. The foundations of modern science grounded in experience and reason, induction and deduction, and empiricism and rationalism cannot justify science itself or its forms of knowledge based on objectivity and causality. Hume is viewed by many as the "father of modern positivism," but a close reading of his major epistemological work shows that he is also the "father of post-modernism" or a constructionist theory of knowledge.
(7) Hume's Epistemological Problem and Skepticism about Empiricism will be revived in Karl Popper's work The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1968 edition) as the latter begins to build the argument for his defense of Positivism in the form of Critical Rationalism, pp. 27-30. The major criticisms of Empiricism may be found in the writings of Hume himself, Horkheimer, C. Wright Mills, Popper, Kuhn, and Rorty.
Max Weber and Max Horkheimer: Substantive and Formal Reason:
Max Weber and the History of Western Consciousness
1. Greek Philosophy of Socrates and Plato
2. Renaissance Art: Leonardo da Vinci
3. Early Science of Bacon and Galileo
4. Reformation of Swammerdam
Without Spirit and Heart
Positivism (technical and formal reason)
Herrschaftswissen (domination of nature)
Horkheimer: The Eclipse of Reason
1. Greek Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle
2. Medieval Scholasticism: Augustine and Aquinas
3. French Philosophy: Montaigne, Bodin, and Michel de L'Hospital
4. English and French Enlightenment
5. Nature Rights Theory: Locke and Rousseau
6. German Idealism: Kant
Subjective Reason and the Rise of Fascism
1. Positivism, Liberalism, and Nazism
2. Nominalism: Berkeley
3. Empiricism: Hume
4. Relativism and Nihilism: Nietzsche
5. Relativism and Perspectivism: Weber
6. Fascism and Nazism
7. Eclipse and Dialectic of Reason in the Social Sciences --
Sociology and the Domination of Humanity
8. Liberalism and False Tolerance
9. Science and Nominalism: Neutrality and False Objectivity
10. Loss of Meaning and Critique in a World of Pragmatism and
Positivism and the Rising Dangers of Nazism: Pierce and Dewey
Max Horkheimer's Critique of Positivism, its Contempt for Theory and Objective Reason, and its Connection to Fascism and the Holocaust: Lectures at Columbia University in 1944 in the Critique of Reason:
(1) Protestant Reformation, Calvinism, and the rejection of Catholic metaphysics, p. 17.
(2) "Father of modern positivism" (Hume), rise of Empiricism, neutralization of religion, and the disenchantment of the world, p. 17 and 30-31.
(3) Transformation of the Deep Structures of political economy, culture, psychology, and consciousness, and the loss of objective meaning.
(4) Rise of technical science and positivist research, pp. 23-25.
(5) Loss of community and communal values (historical materialism).
(6) Mimetic impulse of self-preservation by a copying and adjustment to the environment of authoritarianism and the creation of an unconscious authoritarian personality.
(7) Loss of Democracy by its reduction to tolerance with no higher objective values or ideals of social justice or democracy, pp. 19-2.
(8) Economic concern for market rationality of efficiency, productivity, competition, and self-interest.
(9) Political transformation toward a war of all against all in fascism and the Leviathan, rise of nihilism and relativism, and individual anxiety.
(10) Reason becomes a political fetishism, dogma, and ideology protecting the social system.
(11) Transformation of science into the domination of nature and humanity.
(12) Enlightenment, Positivism, and the Holocaust: "Contempt for theory and the eclipse of reason," loss of critical thinking, adaptation to reality, and the "liquidation of reason" which ties positivism and empiricism into the Holocaust because of its inability to raise ethical, moral, and theoretical objections to the extermination of human beings, pp. 16, 21, 30, 57, 75, 82-83, and 118. In the American academy there is a clear correlation between the rise of positivism in the social sciences, the eclipse of reason, and the decline and loss of social theory.
C. Wright Mills' Critique of Abstracted Empiricism and Positivism in The Sociological Imagination (1976):
Quantitative and Qualitative Research of Surveys, Opinion Polls, Interviews, Statistics, and Participatory Observation
(1) Critique of "arbitrary epistemology," "methodological inhibition," and the "substantive thinness" of sociological research, pp. 54-55.
(2) Loss of substantive social theory, p. 55.
(3) Concern for academic status and recognition by using the philosophies and methods of the natural sciences, p. 56.
(4) Concern with Methods and not Theory, since "methodology, in short, determines the problems" to be investigated, p. 57.
(5) Use of experimentation, mathematics, statistical regularities of behavior, psychologism, and quantitative methods, p. 58.
(6) Theory becomes the collection of empirical data determined by methods, pp. 63-66.
(7) Psychologism or statistical individual behavior, reactions, and ideas vs. Structuralism and the analysis of social structures and functions, history, and political economy, and causality, pp. 67 and 86; loss of questions about power, authority, and social structures, p. 80.
(8) Abstracted Empiricism eliminates "the great social problems and human issues of our times from inquiry," p. 73
(9) Critique of positivism and nominalism since values are involved in the creation of research areas and social problems, p. 78.
(10) Rationalization and dehumanization of science as science becomes a political ideology, propaganda, and justification for liberalism and capitalism, pp. 80-96.
Rise of Positivism and Critique of Rationalism:
Karl Popper and Critical Rationalism in The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959, 1968 edition)
(1) Hume and the Critique of Empiricism and Problem of Induction: Truth cannot be grounded in experience only. Experience alone cannot justify the correctness of a particular theory. The epistemology of empiricism argues that knowledge is based on the systematic accumulation of sense experience and observation through induction, while rationalism contends that knowledge is grounded in reason and the application of the scientific method through deduction.
(2) Differences between the Logic of Inquiry and the Logic of Justification.
(3) From Empiricism to Conventionalism as the Turn to Deduction and Causation -- From the Priority of Experience to the Priority of Method: After rejecting the empiricist tradition, Popper turns to the scientific method of predictions, deduction from theory, testing, and 'verification' of the experiment. In the end, theories are accepted through some form of conventionalism and rational agreement about the rules of the logic and method of modern science, p. 49.
(4) Contradiction between Verification and Falsification of Theory: Experience and experimental testing never verify or justify a particular theory. The latter can only be provisionally be accepted until a new theory replaces it or falsifies it, pp. 40-41
(5) Critique of Foundationalism and Deductive Reason: Objectivity of science can only be defined by Inter-subjective Testability and not by experience, p. 47.
(6) Methodology of Science and Causal Explanation: Science begins with (1) an accepted universal law or scientific hypothesis; (2) singular statements or initial conditions of the experiment; (3) comparing the universal law to the singular conditions or physical event; and (4) deduction of occurrences predicted by the law. Popper offers the example of the tensile strength of a piece of thread. (1) The holding or lifting weight of the thread is 1 lbs.; (2) the object on the thread is 2 lbs.; (3) the thread will not be able to hold the weight and will break. Causality is defined by the universal law, initial conditions, prediction, and explanation of results, pp. 59-62. Popper recognizes the apriori technological, predictive, and explanatory interests in his definition of the logic of scientific discovery.
(7) Method Defines and Creates Both Theory and Truth: Popper concludes that it is the scientific method based on causality, experimentation, testing, and prediction that defines the provisional and utilitarian validity of a theory, but never examines how particular theories are initially developed. His concern is for the technical utility of a theory for temporary explanations and predictions. He seems less concerned with the logic of scientific discovery and more concerned with the logic of scientific application. Popper begins his analysis with an already accepted Universal Theory and develops from it the logic of scientific discovery; however, he does not develop the logic of theory construction other than the historical and empirical accumulation of vast amounts of deductive experiments.
(8) The Logic of Discovery vs. the Logic of Creation of Theory: In the case of Sociology as a Science, it would have to be explained how an original Theory develops and evolves, not just how it is used to confirm or falsify initial conditions or a particular prediction. That is, Method is used to explain an issue, anomaly, or social problem by initially placing them within a broader social theory through literature review and content analysis. But the creation or forming of a Theory remains a mystery. When Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Freud created Classical Social Theory, they did so without the epistemology and methodology of Positivism, Empiricism, or Critical Rationalism. In most Sociology textbooks on Methods, the theoretical basis for the application of the Scientific Method is already accepted and in-place. Classical and Continental social theories are used to apply the logic and method of science, but there is never an attempt to explain the actual origins of Theory itself. Is it that Method and Theory have entirely different philosophical, logical, historical, and social origins? What happens when the logic of scientific discovery in Sociology is different from the logic of creation -- difference between the logic of theory construction and the logic of its theory application and validation? Popper seems more interested in the logic and predictions of Theory, but not in the original foundations of the logic of Theory construction (see the different schools of social theory listed below). Is it possible that with the actual creation of social theory there is a fundamental contradiction between Theory and Method as described by Popper and Anglo-American neo-positivism? Theory in Sociology, Political Economy, and History is different as a Critical, Social, and Historical product from Theory as a technical utility and formal science in the natural sciences. Popper's work is more focused on the formal, logical, and technical application of established scientific theories than on the actual logic of their discovery and creation. The Logic of Creation of Continental Social Theory from classical social theory to historical science, critical science, phenomenology, hermeneutics and depth hermeneutics was quite different from the Logic of Discovery in Popper and modern positivism. The Positivist Method cannot create Theory, it can only invalidate or falsify particular elements or anomalies within already established theories. C. Wright Mills will argue below that Positivism cannot create a Structuralist Theory, while Theodor Adorno argues that Positivism cannot create Holistic Theory of the total social system of politics, economics, culture, and psychology. Both maintain that the fragmented approach of positivism produces only a distorted picture of society that is incapable of challenging its underlying structures, assumptions, and values, and, thus, only leads to ideology.
Karl Popper's Critical Rationalism and Critique of Empiricism and Induction in The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology (1976):
(1) Critique of Misguided Naturalism, Scientism, Realism, and Scientific Objectivity: Critique of the scientific method that begins with the observations and measurements of statistical data and then proceeds to induction, generalizations, and theory formation, pp. 90-91.
(2) Rejection of value freedom, p. 91.
(3) Scientific Objectivity is not the result of access to the in-itself or empirical reality, but to the creative and positive cooperation, disputes, and criticisms within a pluralistic scientific community. "Objectivity rests sole upon pertinent mutual criticism" within the scientific community and broader political democracy, p. 96.
(4) Critique of Realism and Nominalism: Science entails value judgments, pp. 96-97.
(5) Rejection of Induction in favor of Deduction: Solving scientific problems through deduction from a theory and causal explanations.
(6) Theories or universal conclusions can never be justified rationally or probably due to epistemological existentialism and nihilism. They can, however, be temporarily accepted as true due to scientific method and criticism, pp. 103-104.
(7) Critical Rationalism: Popper rejects classical positivism and, instead, turns to Critical Rationalism. Truth claims are not based on empirical verification or justification grounded in empirical facts or truths "in themselves," but on community consensus, temporary acceptance, and rational falsification. This produces logical answers and fallible theories that are only probable guesses based on reason (universals) and observation (particulars). Rationalism begins with problem solving, tentative or probable theory creation or universal conjectures to solve specific problems, and public observation and criticism of the claims of the particular theory. The proposition that "all swans are white" cannot be empirically verified, but it can be easily falsified by the existence of one black swan. Scientific knowledge can never be empirically justified (induction); it can only be provisionally accepted as true until it is logically falsified by reason and deductive inferences and negated by a counter observation. Theories are not verifiable, only falsifiable. Thus, scientific knowledge and explanations consist of conjectures and assumptions.
(8) Critique of Realism (Empirical Objectivity), Induction, and Foundationalism: Both Popper and Kuhn reject epistemological foundationalism and ontology in favor of scientific consensus and utilitarian functionalism, respectively.
Theodor Adorno's Critique of Rationalism and Positivism in
The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology (1976):
(1) Loss of the concepts of Social Objectivity and Social Totality -- that is, the concept of the whole nature, structure, and mechanism of society with its institutions, culture, traditions, and ideals; loss pp. 69 and 112.
(2) Critique of Realism: No ability to contrast the ideal and possible (concept) to the real and actual (material), p. 69. The organization of experience around hypotheses, predictions, and explanations is incapable of this type of reasoning, p. 69.
(3) Loss of the Totality and Indifference to the Integrated Social System: Origins of psychologism as a theory of empty abstractions with its emphasis on subjective opinions lie in the subjectivity within market research for "administrative purposes." The empirical methods of positivism, which include interviews and questionnaires, results in the loss of societal objectivity."
(4) Return to Critical Theory as Social Objectivity, Totality, and Structuralism: social objectivity or the total social system is a product of "all the conditions, institutions, and forces within which human beings act..." Methodological objectivity hides the social objectivity or structuralism, p. 71. The social objectivity or totality includes issues of the Social Whole of its Structures, Functions, and History of the interface among the State (law, constitution, bureaucracy, and military), Economy (capitalism, workplace, and monopoly capital), Culture (religion, culture, science, technology, and the Enlightenment), and Psychology (personality, family, and social institutions).
(5) Primacy of Method over Objectivity (social reality) as a reflection of the culture industry: The concepts of positivism are instrumental, technical, and ideological. The philosophical debates and traditions, which could throw more light on these issues, are lost, as the methods of positivism define the problems, objects of inquiry. method of approach, concept, theories, and verification of the truth claims. This is the reification, fetishization, and dehumanization of humanity into a culture of subjective meaning imposed by capitalist consumerism and advertisement. Humans are reduced to objects and things to be control by science -- this is the contemporary form of the fetishism of the commodity, p. 115. Consciousness becomes an epiphenomenon and expression of the culture industry, pp. 72-76.
(6) Loss of the Dialectic and Contradictions between the Real and Appearances, Concepts and Objects or Reality, Objectivity (system) and Subjectivity (consciousness), and subjective opinions and objective structures, pp. 111-115. Empirical reality should be measured against the conceptual possibilities, ideals, and contradictions of the empirical and historical, pp. 115-116.
(7) Replacement of Methodological Objectivity (Popper) by Social Objectivity (Adorno) -- replacement of positivism by an analysis of the total social system (Parsons and Habermas), contradictions, structures, and history of the capitalist political economy. By not examining the social totality, sociology simply leaves unquestioned the ideology of the existing social system. Empirical facts and methodological objectivity become forms of ideology, pp. 74-77 and 85-86.
(8) Adorno spends most of his time in this Positivism Debate emphasizing the political, social, and theoretical implications of the application of the epistemology and methodology of critical rationalism to the study of society and its institutions. His focus is on the loss of critical and dialectical reason in Classical and Contemporary Continental Social Theory.
(9) Methods without Theory: Methodology of Positivism and the Eclipse of Theory: None of the classical and contemporary schools of Continental Social Theory with their distinctive epistemologies and methodologies can be created using positivism whether in the form of empiricism, rationalism, or critical rationalism. This is why positivism focuses on methodological individualism or psychologism. (particular opinions, ideas, institutions, or events) and never on questions of the social whole. What is lost to memory, forgotten and repressed into the academic unconscious is classical and contemporary Social Theory based on the knowledge of the holistic, integrative, interactive, and critical totality of the Social System or Structuralism.
Jürgen Habermas' Theory of Dialectics and Critique of Critical Rationalism and Neo-Positivism in The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology (1976)
(1) Analytical and Dialectical Social Science: Habermas begins his contribution to this debate with the distinction between analytical or positivist science and dialectical or critical science. Following Adorno's analysis and rejection of positivism, Habermas makes an explicit return to Hegel's philosophy as the basis for an alternative social science built upon the latter's philosophy and logic as the distinguishing characteristic of a critical social theory. By returning to Hegel, Habermas is able to focus on the internal logic and methods of both traditions. Hegel's theory of knowledge and self-consciousness begins with an analysis of Kant's theory of transcendental subjectivity or critical epistemology and then proceeds to broaden the discussion to move beyond consciousness' relation to the immediate empirical and scientific environment based on the concepts (substance and causality) and categories (time and space) of the mind to include its own social, political, and ethical self-consciousness and culture from the Ancient Greeks to the French Revolution. This movement from transcendental epistemology to historical phenomenology provides the basis for Habermas to incorporate Talcott Parsons' theory of the social system (AGIL) into his own analysis of the functional and social integration of the Economy, State, Culture, and Social Institutions. This, in turn, provides him with the basis for his theory of communicative interaction and cognitive and moral consensus. Dialectics thus has a twofold meaning -- free and open discourse based on a view of society that is grounded in an immanent, phenomenological and critical social theory, that is, based on an analysis of the internal logical contradictions of society (Hegel and Marx), community discourse (Socrates and Mills), and critique of positivist science (Hume and Popper). A Dialectical Science would include the following:
(a) Critique of Foundationalism: critique of empiricism, inductive logic, and the correspondence theory of truth and critique of rationalism, deductive reasoning, and theory of technical predictions and verifying observations by relying on German idealism, epistemological constructivism, and a consensus theory of truth.
(b) Replacing Epistemology with History and Phenomenology: an historical and phenomenological theory of the evolution of human consciousness and social and political ethics.
(c) Structuralism and Totality: a critical theory of the total System of political economy (functional integration) and cultural and institutional Lifeworld (social integration) based on a materialist reevaluation of Marx's political economy and Parson's social theory (AGIL) in his theory of communicative action.
(d) Dialectical and immanent critique of positivism and its logic and method of scientific discovery, political concepts and ideals, and social structures.
(e) Dialectic of Concept and Empirical Reality: Immanent critique of the epistemology and methodology of natural science and its method of scientific discovery. Analytical Method creates its own Objects, Logic, Facts, and Science. In the process, it confirms and verifies its own logic and ontology of scientific discovery in analytical science. In the application of its Method, it creates the Objectivity of science, facts, and reality, but is incapable of creating its own form of holistic and total Social Theory. Analytical science cannot see Objects beyond its own Method and Logic -- this is the vicious "hermeneutical circle" -- Method and Logic create a social reality that is then used to justify and validate Science itself. However, the Analytical Method is incapable of justifying and validating itself beyond the success of technical rationality, hypothesis construction, and causal predictions. Science does not reflect reality, but the conceptual, ontological, and theoretical imperatives of its own Logic of Scientific Discovery. Science creates its own social reality because of the narrowness and formal logic of its own systematic categories. Finally, Method cannot establish the conditions for Practice or social criticism based on political ideals and social justice or social change based on History and Structures of alternative societies. The Analytical Method does not capture the present (Structuralism), the past (History, Objective Meaning, and Critical Hermeneutics), nor the future (Practice and Social Justice).
(f) Logic of capital and the structures of industrial society. In the positivism debate Habermas will focus on the last element of his critical theory -- the phenomenology of science as technical, functional reason and the immanent critique of Popper's empirical-analytical science.
(g) Dialectical Science based on a holistic social theory and the dialectic and logical contradictions between Subjective (Parsons) and Objective Meaning (Habermas), Structure (Adorno) and Function (Parson), consciousness and ideology, cultural hermeneutics, history, and depth hermeneutics (Freud). Dialectical Science examines the objects, concepts, theory, logic of capital, history, and social structures based the limited use and contradictions of these categories in analytical science. In analytical science one cannot move beyond the Object or Method to practice and social change (nominalism, existentialism, and disenchantment).
(h) Metaphysics of Method in Social Science: Method does not discover or uncover the complexity and totality of social reality, but creates and molds its own Objects, Facts, Verification Process, Truth Claims, and Science. Method constructs its own limited naturalistic reality as an analytical abstraction. It cannot produce a holistic and critical or normative Social Theory nor reflect external reality -- rejection of realism and a correspondence theory of truth; it reproduces only a conceptual and logical framework grounded not in reality, but in a particular cognitive interest -- science is not a "reproduction of reality" (pp. xvii and 44-46) or correspondence to reality, but is made of "logical constructs that realize a certain cognitive purpose" (Rickert, The Limits of Concept Formation in Natural Science, 1986, p. xix). This is the strange irony of the analytical method which results in the eclipse and silencing of substantive and objective reason beyond technical and subjective rationality. Method and Reason are relative to the conditions established by Method, not those established by the structural and functional complexity of the Object or social reality. A conclusion may be drawn that Analytical Science is ultimately grounded in a Metaphysics of Science and Method that only reinforces ideology in the academic and social world. Physical reality and the natural sciences are viewed as logical abstractions and conceptual images -- they are not empirical perceptions or representations of reality but "artificially created concepts formed from the infinite manifold of reality" (pp. 78 and 100). "Science cannot reproduce empirical reality," (pp. 207 and 216-220). They are abstract concepts and theoretical inventions the give the phenomenal appearance of reality, justified by apparent observation, perception, and logical and causal reasoning. But, they remain constructs of human consciousness (phenomenology). With this recognition of the nature of science, it becomes easier to distinguish between Analytical and Dialectical Reason and the corresponding study of nature and history as two entirely different ways to form concepts of the world. According to Rickert, historical science is based on value relevance in the creation of its objects of inquiry, pp. 88-106. The objects, facts, observations, causality, and methods of Analytical Science are all artificial and consciously constructed conceptual and theoretical abstractions. Science creates its own Objects and Metaphysics according to whether it is studying nature (general concepts and universal causal laws) or history (spirit or cultural and mental life individual actions and intentions, pp. 106, 117, and 145). its own reality for technical control over nature and history.
(i) Logic and Dialectic of Capital Replaced by the Logic and Dialectic of Positivist Science: Where Marx in his Dialectical Science studied the logical and ethical contradictions within Capital and capitalist industrial production in a class society based on his labor theory of value, exchange value, and surplus value, Habermas redirected his dialectics to examine the internal logical contradictions within Analytical Science and Critical Rationalism. There is a contradiction between the underlying epistemology and methodology of Analytical Science: As opposed to its theory of knowledge of realism, nominalism, naturalism, controlled observation, analytical predictivism, and causal truth claims, Analytical Science constructs its own formal and functional reality, metaphysics, and method that imposes a particular and limited view of social science on the external world. Science turns into a political ideology because it does not capture the complexity and range of historical and social reality, nor the ability to change that reality based on the principles and ideals of ethics and social justice. The social totality of modern capitalism and its social problems is reduced to testable hypotheses and operational causality. The scientific method doesn't discover empirical reality through formal and experimental observation, but creates both the objects of experience and the formal method of verification. Habermas thus recognizes the dialectical contradictions between Epistemology and Methodology, Scientific Method and Social Theory (structures, functions, and the totality of System [political economy] and Lifeworld [culture and social institutions), Method and History (Critical Hermeneutics and Objective Meaning), Method and Culture, Constructed Objectivity and Critical Objectivity, Nature and Culture (Meaning and Value), and Method and Practice (technical method, classical humanism, social ideals, and social change). Both Marx and Habermas begin with German idealism and Kant's theory of transcendental subjectivity. Marx expands Kant's idealism into his theory of historical materialism, while Habermas expands Kant into a theory of dialectical science. Idealism starts with a universal and scientific construction and functional organization of physical reality through the categories of the human mind and their expansion into an historical and social phenomenology or social construction of phenomena in Hegel's history of Western self-consciousness and culture. Surprisingly, Habermas' dialectical critique of positivism and analytical science follows in the tradition of Wilhelm Windelband, "History and Natural Science" (1894), Heinrich Rickert, The Limits of Concept Formation in Natural Science (1902), and Max Weber's theory of dialectical science and cultural hermeneutics in The Methodology of the Social Sciences (1903-1917), pp. 68-88.
(2) Dialectical Science and Empirical Objectivism: Continental Social Theory is grounded not in the method of the natural sciences, but in an alternative tradition that focuses on Social Theory and its relationship to history and Objective Meaning, totality and structures, culture and values, consciousness and ideology, and practice and ethics. That is, the focus of dialectical science is on the contradictions within the objectively stated Concept or social ideals and values, meaning of social action, formation of perception and consciousness within the social totality and interconnected institutions and structures of modern society. This view of sociology as beginning with the interactive and holistic social totality of the Economy, Polity, Culture, and Psychology (consciousness and self-consciousness) prepares the sociologist to see the internal logic and contradictions of a society's own ideals, institutions, history, and psychological consciousness measured by its own standards and ethics. It is then able to evaluate and criticized society by its own institutions, history, and accomplishments comparing them to its own internal ideals and concepts. By studying society in this manner, he is able to view the internal dynamic and logic of modern society measured against its theories, history, and ideal hopes which reveal its own historical, logical, and structural contradictions. Analytical science, on the other hand, "silences any binding reflection beyond the boundaries of the empirical-analytical (and formal) sciences" -- beyond its own theories, objects, social facts, and logic of discovery, pp. 198-199. This form of science creates its own facts, experience, and theories. Habermas refers to this as the silencing of reason through "objectivistic illusion" and fetishized concepts, p. 199. See also his analysis of objectivism in Knowledge and Human Interests (1971), pp. 69 and 89 and Leszek Kolakowski, The Alienation of Reason: A History of Positivist Thought (1968).
(3) Critique of Popper's Objectivism, Realism, and Nominalism as Forms of Constructivism: Viewing Critical Rationalism through the prism of Idealism and Materialism: Habermas' main critique of Popper's scientific method is that it creates is own Objects and Theory, and, thus, cannot truly validate its own claims to knowledge and truth. Rather than viewing society as an object constructed by the subject as occurs in critical science, Habermas rejects Popper's theory of facts based on observation within a particular deductive scientific method. For him, observation, facts, and validation are predetermined by the distinctive method of analytical science. It is the Concept of Culture and Consciousness within a Dialectical Science that is the foundation and Object of scientific enquiry. He rejects Popper's notion that society is just a plain object of analysis within an accepted view of positivist science.
(4) Society is a product of the dialectic and totality of structures, history, contradictions, and false consciousness that construct the actual object of inquiry and the formation of individual consciousness, meaning, and action. There is no pure object of discovery existing independent of the social totality. Thus Popper's references to universal and natural laws of the social system, empirical facts, hypothesis construction, empirical and causal regularities and uniformities, law-like hypothesis testing, and verification create the very facts and objects of the analytical method; this approach of analytical science leads to the justification of objectivism and empirical evidence and social facts, rather than the justification of the method itself. Scientific conclusions, observations, and facts are the constructs and products of Method; they do not present the validation and verification of the Method itself. Thus, There are no initial and relevant objective facts, empirical observations, and scientific verifications independent and external to Dialectical Theory itself -- critique of Objectivism. In turn, there is no position of value freedom independent of the logic of discovery because of Habermas' critical (subject creates the object) and dialectical (contradictions of structures and ideals) view of the social totality -- critique of Nominalism, pp. 144-149 and 156-160. Habermas is critical of both Popper's rationalism or scientific method and his hidden Empiricism and Realism (pp. 203-204).
(5) Logic of Empirical Science, Cognitive Interests of Science, and the Domination of Humanity and Nature: Objectivity is created by the Social Totality or by Analytical Science itself: Habermas contends that Analytical Science seeks technical control over objects, laws, observation, and justifications in a similar manner to our control over nature, p. 133 and our control over the workplace and social labor (pp. 148, 154-155, and 207-209). Traditional science produces technical knowledge of controlled observation, but is incapable of asking the critical question about the meaning, purpose, and historical origins of culture and scientific knowledge, p. 221. As in the case with Adorno, Habermas contends that this view of science leaves the totality of society unquestioned; science becomes an ideology as it constructs the controlled objects, facts and evidence, rather than examining how the totality actually constructs the empirical and objective world that is observed. The Concept (or theory) has to reflect the complexity of the Object and experience in its Totality; it should not reflect the metaphysics and ontological assumptions of Science or the pragmatic and technical manner in which it is scientifically, artificially, and ideologically measured and quantified, pp. 134-137. This approach ultimately leaves unexamined and unquestioned the complexity and distortions of the relation between modern society and the objects and methods of knowledge. According to Habermas, this is a form of objectivism, fetishism, reification, and ideology because the very dialectic and concept of society is repressed. For more on Habermas' theory of cognitive interests and technical reason, see Knowledge and Human Interests, pp. 67-139.
(6) Habermas' Historical and Cultural Materialism and the Problem and Contradictions of Critical Rationalism: According to Popper, science is grounded in both observation (empiricism) and in formal reason and its rationalist scientific method of inquiry (analytical science). The issue at stake is that the very concepts and method at the heart of "critical rationalism" are internally divisive and contradictory. The two key components of Popper's theory of science are grounded in contradictory epistemological assumptions about the nature of knowledge, truth, and science. Analytical rationalism implies a certain approach to science discussed above, whereas a critical science implies key elements of German idealism which focus on the dialectical and interactive relationship between subject/consciousness and object/external physical and social world. As examined above, rationalism argues for an epistemology of experience, observation, and knowledge embedded in hypothesis testing of causal relations and natural laws to achieve scientific truths. The notion of "critical," on the other hand, involves the central creative role of the subject in the process of knowing through experience and reason in the process of scientific discovery (constructivism). According to Habermas, the attempted integration of these two different philosophies of science of rationalism and idealism with their different understandings of "objectivity" and "subjectivity" create real problems for Popper's defense of critical rationalism and analytical science. The very basis for his logic of science and the provisional acceptance of its truth claims lies on inconsistent foundations leading to conclusions which undermine his arguments for objectivism, realism, and objective truth. Popper seems to argue that the two traditions can be integrated because he rejects the possibility of empirical verification of scientific truths and replaces it with a theory of temporary validity in the face of possible falsification. Thus, there is a "provisional consensus" within the scientific community about the validity of an analytical argument that is not based on traditional empirical realism, but on the inability to falsify the conclusions of scientific inquiry. However, as seen in the arguments above, this undermines the very epistemological foundations and justification for Popper's theory of science itself because his underlying theory of knowledge, observation, facts, causation and science (Objectivity) are ultimately defined and constructed by the Method of Science itself (Subjectivity); observed and rational facts do not exist externally or independently from the method of inquiry and scientific discovery.
(7) The Hermeneutical Circle of Critical Rationalism: Habermas focus is upon the "hermeneutical circle" which represents an examination of the logical and epistemological inconsistencies and contradictions within the method of analytical science. The Analytical Method defines and creates a reality which is then used to justify the Method of scientific inquiry and the logic of discovery. The Method of science defines observation, social facts, and reality and then uses the results of experimental hypotheses and confirmation of the law to justify the Method in the first place. Objectivity is not independent of Subjectivity (consciousness) in this logical rejection of the correspondence theory of truth. Theory and Method construct the objects of experience and the latter cannot then be used to justify the validity of the former by comparing the theory to an external reality that it, in fact, has constructed, pp. 149-150 and 202-204 --"theoretical statements cannot be directly tested by means of experience," p. 149. Habermas argues that the Method and Theory of Science construct Objectivity which then are used to justify the Method; it is the Method which ultimately justifies analytical science, not observation, experience, or empirical testing. But, for Habermas, this results in a continuous, if not unending, "hermeneutical circle" in the attempt to justify basic and initial facts, observations, and Science by a Method which originally had already created these very empirical facts and procedures of scientific verification. There is a continuous logical and dialectical interaction between empirical reality and the scientific Method by which the latter creates the former, but then utilizes its own creations to verify and validate its own Method. The Method of Analytical Science creates its own facts and validation. The manner in which constructivism and idealism are used by Popper creates a never ending false and confusing logical and methodological dependency. The Method creates is own facts and reality, but then is justified by it through the formal application and technical success of Science. The correspondence between Science and Method, consciousness and reality, and knowledge and truth is a closed circle by which the Method justifies itself, p. 152. This vicious circle undermines a correspondence theory of truth because there is nothing external to the method applied. Both Method and Objectivity participate in the construction of each component of science itself. Empirical objects and accumulated facts of scientific observation are not known through experience and reason as independent truths, but are preconstructed by the scientific method. They do not exist independently of the method of inquiry which creates the empirical world under investigation according to the logical imperatives of control over nature similar to the logic of industrial capitalism and forced labor. In the end, it is the technical and formal interest of science that justifies its logic and theory. This criticism is an interesting variation of Hume's skepticism of inductive reason and empirical verification of universal truth claims, Weber's theory of rationalization and technical science (pp. 158-160), and Marx's theory of historical materialism. The latter argues that it is the material world of political economy, social labor, and workplace control which creates human consciousness, cultural values, knowledge, and science, pp. 153-155. This latter position is one developed by Herbert Marcuse in One Dimensional Man.
(8) Replacing Analytical Science with Dialectical Science: Objective Concept and Subjective Meaning in History: The Integration of the Dialectics of Marx and the Hermeneutics of Weber: This is a more nuanced expansion of the distinction mentioned above between Structuralism and Psychologism. The goal of critical theory is not only to understand and interpret the meaning of human intentions and actions in history, but also to place them in the wider perspective of the Social Totality, pp. 139-142. According to Habermas, observations and empirical facts are created by a formal, technical reason; experiences are defined in terms of universal laws, causal hypotheses, and explanatory theories and not in terms of a hermeneutical understanding of human action and intentional meaning within the social totality -- the relationship among science, technology, and social control. Habermas calls for a critical hermeneutics that gets to the complexity of the objective world before science turns it into a manipulable, technical, and exchangeable reality. A key result of empirical-analytical science is that "whole problem areas would have to be excluded from discussion and relinquished to irrational attitudes," p. 199. Understanding and interpretation of social reality are lost and silenced.
(9) Social Totality of Dialectical Science and the Social System of Empirical-Analytical Science: Habermas views the totality of society in terms of the complex and interrelated social institutions, structures, and cultural values and customs that frame the context and broader meaning and purpose of our understanding of human behavior and social action. Habermas contends that Analytical Science also has a holistic and integrative view of society but that is framed by the scientific method and formal logic of discovery articulated by Popper, pp. 131-136, which misses the actual content and concept of society. The result is that Dialectical Science produces historical regularities and dialectical laws of logic and history as it attempts to understand historically related objects and actions.
(10) Critique of Dialectical Science of the Frankfurt School: The weakness of Adorno's and Habermas' response to neo-positivism is that their view of dialectics is too influenced by German Idealism and cultural critique, as it loses much of Marx's dialectical critique of political economy, historical materialism, and neo-Aristotelian social ethics. It was Marx who transformed German idealism into a critical materialism of political economy: Subjectivity creates Objectivity (idealism) and Objectivity transforms Subjectivity (materialism); Subjectivity creates the social world of political economy which then informs and frames our understanding of that world. With Critical Rationalism, science creates its own experimental objects and facts that only silence reason by making it unscientific and inappropriate to raise a different kind of scientific inquiry. "Empirical data are interpretations within the framework of previous theories," which also make the empirical objects and data of science hypothetical. As in the case of Hume's skepticism about inductive reasoning, the attempt to justify this approach through observation and experimentation could lead to an infinite regression. Observations may be scientifically examined and tested, but there is no analysis of their origins and critical traditions. Habermas in his critique of positivist foundationalism rejects Popper's thesis since the latter sees facts, objects, and systematic observation independent of the analytical method (positivist prejudice of objectivism and realism), while Habermas views them as constructed by the method itself, pp. 203-204. All the scientific experiments and verifications are relative to the initial questions raised by naturalistic science, p. 209.
Methods Without Theory: The Eclipse and Silence of American Sociology as a Critical Science:
Summary: Anglo-American Methods cannot produce Continental Theory; only Theory can produce its own appropriate Methods. Theory is not derived from Methods; Methods should be derived from the particular questions, issues, and problems initially raised by Theory itself. American sociology and philosophy create Methods (epistemology and methodology) that are grounded in the natural sciences and are antithetical to the philosophy, values, and ideals of the Continental traditions making it impossible for sociology to view society as an integrated whole or making substantive criticisms (ethics and social justice) of its ideals and social reality. However, the primacy of Methods over Theory is the defining characteristics of American sociology in its attempt to control, predict, and explain various fragmented pieces of society. Positivist and neo-positivist Methods can use Theory to undertake content analysis, justify a particular social problem, construct new hypotheses, or produce a summary of empirical research, but cannot itself create a Structuralist Theory of holism, organic functionalism, and the total social institutions. There is an unbridgeable divide between Positivist Methods and Continental Theory (Mills and Adorno). One cannot get from the former to the latter, while the latter turns more into a static and formal history of ideas. Continental Theory relies on entirely different paradigms, epistemologies, and methodologies, which positivism cannot reproduce. The distinctions between the empirical reality of the Past (history and hermeneutics), Present (structuralism, holism, functionalism, historical materialism, philosophical anthropology -- humans as species beings, and classical humanism), and the Future (ethics, social ideals, and democratic socialism) are lost in contemporary naturalism, realism, and positivist science. The various schools of thought in Continental Social Theory are not reducible to sense perception, empirical facts, and causality (empiricism) or hypothesis construction, logical deduction, causal explanatory laws, and mechanical predictions (critical rationalism). Although relying on empirical evidence, they move beyond sense experience and immediate observation and are also based on unobservable theoretical, logical, ethical, philosophical, and historical entities, concepts, and reason from Classical to German Idealism. As a result of these differences, Theory disappears as a central focus in the curricula of the social sciences and the humanities. Combining numbers 5 and 9 in Adorno's analysis: Methods without Theory cannot challenge the underlying values, institutions, and structures of modern society resulting in a discipline that is a pure ideology; it can only be critical at the edges. Because of this, Adorno argued that Methods without Theory is Ideology. (Note: Is it possible to salvage American qualitative and quantitative research from this 'Eclipse of Theory' without accepting the underlying epistemology of positivism? Is it possible to integrate American and Continental sociology?) In the second half of the twentieth century there arose a number of different and competing schools of thought in social epistemology and the philosophy of science including constructivism (Kuhn), postmodernism (Baudrillard, Derrida, Foucault, Rorty, and Zizek), and critical realism (Bhaskar). However, the central focus in sociology remains that between the positivism and neo-positivism of the Anglo-American school of thought and Continental Social Theory.
Here are the main areas within critical social theory (neo-Kantian and neo-Hegelian theory) that are lost and forgotten due to the growing positivism, naturalism, and realism of the social sciences in the American academy.
Beyond Positivism: Rediscovering the Lost Theories and Methods
in the Continental and Critical Traditions
(1) Political Economy and Structuralism (British economics,
French socialism, Marx, Weber, Bowles, Gordon,
Weisskopf, Harrington, and Bluestone)
(2) Dialectics (Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and Marx)
(3) Historical Sociology (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Polanyi, Moore,
Bendix, Collins, Tilly, Wallerstein)
(4) Hermeneutics and Interpretive Sociology: Verstehende Soziologie
(Schleiermacher, Weber, Dilthey, and Gadamer)
(5) German Idealism (Kant, Hegel, Schelling, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim)
(6) Phenomenology (Weber, Husserl, Schütz, and Dilthey)
(7) Sociology of Knowledge, Culture, Science, and Ideology
(Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Scheler, Mannheim, and Berger and Luckmann)
(8) Philosophy (Greek classics and French and German moderns)
(9) Existentialism and Moral Nihilism (Kant, Schopenhauer,
Nietzsche, Weber, Durkheim, Camus, Sartre, and Fromm)
(10) Psychoanalysis (Freud, neo-Freudianism, Lasch, and neo-Marxism)
(11) Critical Theory (Lukacs, Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse, and Habermas).
(12) French Social Theory (Foucault, Derrida, Bourdieu, Lefebvre
Baudrillard, and Balibar)
(13) Symbolic Interactionism and Pragmatism (Mead, Dewey, Jane
Addams, and Hans Joas)
(14) Structuralism and Systems Theory: Erklärende Soziologie
(Derrida, Foucault, Althusser, Habermas, and the later Weber)
The American academy is part of the larger culture industry as scholars collect and consume social facts, measurements, and empirical data, but never are able to see the bigger picture. This process is a Violence of the Mind and is a major reason why we have never really been able to deal with the social problems of inequality, poverty, class power, worker alienation and exploitation, militarism, neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism, racism, sexism, consumerism, and the general structural, historical, and ethical contradictions of capitalism. That is, we have never been able to adequately deal with the classical issues of alienation and exploitation, rationalization and disenchantment, anomie and dereglement (collective madness), or the social unconscious and repression. Because all the component parts of the Social System are interrelated, to change one aspect of society requires that we also look at the totality of society and change the system as a whole. Adorno's main thesis and his problem regarding the application of the positivist method of scientific objectivity of naturalism, scientism, and psychologism is that, in the end, you can never attain the holistic, structural, and historical theory development by Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Freud or the modern schools of Critical and Continental Sociology. The Positivist Method cannot reach the level attained by Continental Theory resulting in a sociology that can never question the underlying structures, values, and assumptions of modern society -- sociology becomes just another form of academic ideology that is incapable of understanding and questioning the total social system of modern capitalism. For Adorno, Anglo-American Methods cannot produce Continental Theory. No matter how many problems, hypotheses, testing, observations, data collection, and conclusions one may draw from scientific experiments, the classical and contemporary theories of Continental Sociology and Philosophy cannot be reproduced or expanded. For the latter group, theory is developed by a variety of other epistemologies, social methods, and philosophical traditions that are never even mentioned within the positivist tradition -- this is what Horkheimer refers to as the "eclipse of reason."
It would be the German Idealists (Kant, Hegel, and Schelling) in the 18th- and 19th-century who developed the position that what we see and know are mere appearances of the phenomenal world formed by the categories of perception (time and space) and the concepts of the understanding (substance and causality) -- that is, what we perceive and know about the world are a construct of our mind and consciousness (transcendental, historical, and materialist Subjectivity). The idea that Objectivity (empirical reality) is a construct of Subjectivity (human consciousness) will later evolve into a deeper and more profound appreciation that Objectivity, as the physical and theoretical world around us, is a construct of the mind, but within an historical, social, and economic context (historical materialism). From this perspective, science may be viewed as a reflection of the human mind and the structures and values of modern society, rather than a reflection of objective reality and truth. By rejecting idealism and materialism, the Anglo-American tradition has turned Science into a form of Metaphysics of Nature and Ideology of Politics that conceal the actual construction of science and its results from us. If science is no longer capable of accessing objective reality, ontology, noumena, or ultimate truth -- the myth of objectivity, neutral observation, physical objects, objective reality, and the given -- but instead only provides us with the technical and utilitarian forms of formal, explanatory, and predictive knowledge useful for the mastery of nature, control over utilities, and the domination of production and workers, then what really are the natural sciences and what form of knowledge do they ultimately provide humanity? Science is not a neutral, objective, unbiased, and value-free form of knowledge. It is much more complex than that. Science is grounded in different forms of hidden values or Shadows of the Enlightenment that affect the manner in which it perceives, understands, and explains nature. The critique of positivism will continue and expand in the twentieth century in the writings of the members of the Frankfurt School and their analysis and rejection of the evolution of positivism into modern rationalism and neo-positivism. For an overview and summary of these issues of the underlying assumptions and unarticulated and hidden values, ideologies, and shadows in the metaphysics, epistemology, and methodology of science and their relationship to a critical social theory and its study of history, politics, and the economy, see the following:
SHADOWS AND IDEOLOGY OF ENLIGHTENMENT SCIENCE AND MODERN TECHNOLOGY
I. Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Methodology as Forms of Political Ideology
(1) Metaphysics of Science and Philosophy of Nature: based on Enlightenment Science as viewing a mathematical, formal, mechanical, and predictive universe -- "a dead machine" (Descartes, Bacon, Koyre, Heisenberg, E. A. Burtt, and C. Merchant)
(2) Ideology of Enlightenment Epistemology: science claims to justify itself through theories of knowledge based on empiricism (Locke and Hume) and rationalism (Descartes) with their claims to objective reality, objective method, and empirical truths that are being called into question (Hume, Kuhn, and Rorty)
(3) Ideology of the Scientific Method and Positivism: universal method of science based on hypotheses, explanation, prediction, and verification producing an Eclipse or Loss of Reason (Popper, Adorno, and Horkheimer)
II. Science as the Domination of Nature and Humanity
(4) Natural Science as Utility, Formal Reason, and the Domination of Nature: Formal and Technological Rationality of Herrschaftswissen. Science based on usefulness and technical knowledge to manipulate and control nature, but no longer based in ontology, being, or the knowledge of objective reality and objective truth (Nietzsche, Weber, Scheler, Husserl, Heidegger, and Capra)
(5) Natural Science as the Technical Domination, Alienation, and Disenchantment of Humanity in Political Economy and Industrial Production: Technological Rationality of Herrschaftswissen and technical control by management and owners of production as applied to the efficiency, productivity, and control over the economy and workplace (Taylorism, Human Relations Technology, and the Positivism Dispute: Marx, Berman, Bernal, Borkenau. Baudrillard, Sohn-Rethel, Koyre, Avineri, Tomberg, and Braverman)
III. Historical Origins of Science and Historical Materialism
(6) Historical Materialism and the Historical Origins of Science in the Institutions and Values of Capitalism: historical origins of the basic concepts, theories, and methods of science grounded in the history, ideology, and social institutions of modern capitalist society, commerce, production, and class system (Suchting, Balbus, Ollman, Sohn-Rethel, and Borkenau)
IV. Science as Ideology and Politics
(7) Social Science and Politics: resulting from the historical and social values of the Enlightenment and Capital and its implications for the social sciences (Popper, Adorno, and Habermas)
(8) Apriori Political and Ideology Assumptions of Science in the form of the Domination of Society causes a debate within Critical Theory over whether science is neutral or reflective of the institutions and values of capitalism. In order to create a free and democratic society must science also be changed because it reflects the fundamental institutions of modern capitalist society (Critical Theory of Marcuse and Habermas). Habermas has contended that in German sociology research issues are raised for empirical and historical study based on initial theoretical concerns, whereas in American sociology research questions are raised by their compatibility to the accepted method of positivistic science. That is, whereas German sociology begins with Theory, American sociology begins with Methods to ensure scientific validation. If the issues and questions could not conform to the naturalistic method, they were not legitimate questions and should not be raised resulting in an eclipse of reason.
V. Nature, Environment, and Modern Science
(9) Ideology of Science and its Implications for the Environmental Crisis: In order to reestablish a living and organic relationship between the environment and humanity, it will be necessary to change both science and society (Kolakowski, Schmidt, Ruben, Schroyer, Meszaros, Schmied-Kowarzik, Kain, Wilde, Burkett, Foster, Magdoff, Hughes, Holt, and Moore).
We see only the historical phenomena and appearances of things, not the thing-in-itself. (See Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1971: pp. 113, 120, 126, 129, and 206). By reconnecting Philosophy with Sociology and Political Economy, McCarthy is able to raise new questions that Kuhn and Rorty could only approach or hint at. In order to deal with these historical and sociological questions of why science is a distinctly Western phenomenon, he turns to Marx's theory of historical materialism to reconnect the lost relationships between natural science and the rise of modern capitalism and industrial production. What is the connection between Science and Political Economy? This book will examine the transition from an epistemological theory of Subjectivity as Consciousness in Perception and Understanding in philosophy to a theory of Subjectivity as Consciousness mediated and filtered through the institutions and values of modern political economy and capitalist society. The book begins with an analysis of the critique of foundationalism in empiricism, rationalism, and positivism and leads to a critique of Western science and modern capitalism. Toward the end of the book the implications of the connections for a deeper understanding of the natural sciences, social sciences, and the environmental crisis will be examined.
The goal of education is to help students
recall the emancipatory ideals of the
past as they critically think and
imaginatively dream beyond to a new life
of equality, freedom, and human dignity,
not to adapt to an old one of
capitalism, militarism, and racism.
To dream is to join together the beauty
and wisdom of classical horizons
with the critical and historical
visions of modern social theory.
To act morally in history is to
make real the principles and
institutions -- the ethics and
politics -- of social justice.
And to do both should be
the desire and destiny of
The serious problem today is that contemporary
society is being torn apart by the evils of
capitalism and plutocracy, at the same
time we no longer have the critical
concepts, language, and traditions
in the academy or politics to see
and understand it -- this is the
real danger of the eclipse of
reason and social justice.
And, as a result, we are
silent in the face of
"What's Going On?
Oh, what's going on?
There's too many of you crying,
brother, brother, brother
There's too many of you dying..."
(M. Gaye., 1971)
Prose Poem Meditations
Dreams of Reason
Sociology as the Wings of Philosophy
Dreams of Ithaca and Social Justice
Sociology, when at its best, is philosophy with wings in search of Ithaka,
theory with praxis, ideas with application, values with facts,
ethics with politics, virtue with political economy, and justice with social science;
that is, it makes ideas and ethics historically and empirically concrete and relevant
to understanding and resolving today's complex social and environmental problems.
Philosophy without Sociology is theoretically speculative, meaningless, and empty --
without Content and Spirit,
whereas Sociology without Philosophy is overwhelmingly factual, visionless, and blind --
without Concepts and Heart.
However, together they offer unlimited horizons, creative visions, and hopeful futures.
(Durkheim regarded both Plato and Aristotle as the first sociologists
in his essay, "Sociology in France in the Nineteenth Century," 1900)
Social Theory, when integrating sociology and philosophy, is the poetry of the mind and
soulful yearning for human dignity, beauty, and justice
articulated in the political, economic and cultural institutions of society
that, unfortunately today, is lost in a positivist world of
disciplinary fragmentation, surface phenomena, and alienated consciousness.
Philosophy helps give sociology ethical and social purpose, meaning, and ideals --
it encourages sociologists to dream and hope for a better future,
whereas Sociology helps make philosophy historically and socially
real, alive, and practical --
it encourages philosophers to implement and actualize their thoughts in the modern world.
A clear vision and broad range of classical ideals also help make empirical research possible.
They provide the horizons and focus, the breadth and depth for research and science.
Without the integration of sociology and philosophy into a comprehensive and critical
social theory, one only produces a disenchantment and eclipse of reason -- that is,
an endless spinning of metaphysical ideas and mindless accumulation of
empirical facts accompanied by the loss of ethical reason and the
ideals of social justice. This is then followed by a crippling
inability and political unwillingness to resist the distortions
of public and private language and the rise of fascism.
(G. E. M., April 2019)
"Thoughts without Content are Empty,
Intuitions without Concepts are Blind."
(Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, p. 93)
For of the last man in the iron cage, it may truly be said:
"Specialists without Spirit, sensualists without Heart."
(Weber, The Protestant Ethic, p. 182)
Without Content and Spirit -- Without Science: empirical, interpretive, and historical research
Without Objective Spirit or Justice: reason, beauty, and self-determination expressed
in objective social, economic, and political institutions
(Hegel, Marx, and Durkheim)
Without Concepts and Heart -- Without Ideas: substantive reason and social ideals
Without Morality: virtue, sentiment, compassion, and the common good
(Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Weber)
The true power and grace of nineteenth-century Classical Social Theory
lies in its integration of Social Science with Social Justice --
Political Economy and History with Moral Economy and Ethics
Economic Structures, Contradictions, and Crises
with Virtue, Politics, and Democracy
European Sociology with German Philosophy
Classical Social Theory with Classical Greece
English Factory with the Parthenon and Greek Beauty
Moderns with the Ancients
Marx, Weber, and Durkheim with
Epicurus & Aristotle and
Goethe & Schiller
"As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon -- don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body...
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for..."
(Constantine Cavafy, Ithaka, trans. by
Edmund Keeley, October 1911)
Dramatic reading of Cavafy's full poem "Ithaka"
(poem recited by Sean Connery with music by Vangelis)
Searching for Ithaca--
Learning to Dream with
Aesthetic Creativity and Political Ideals
Classical Beauty and Social Justice
Descent into Darkness
Crossing the Acheron
into the Silence And Shades
of Modern Liberalism
(Integrating Horkheimer, Dante, and Camus)
American Positivism and Analytic Philosophy
have sadly misunderstood and forgotten the
classical and contemporary dreams of European social theory.
They have fragmented and scientized the disciplines just as
they have repressed the social ideals and classical traditions of the academy
to the point where liberal arts is a lonely and isolated political ideology
incapable of reason, dreams, or theoretical visions of the future.
The academy was once an exalted place of hope and purpose, of dedication and
enlightenment, of intellectual and spiritual exploration, of rebellion and ideals,
and of individual growth and communal moral responsibility.
Now all that remains is a marketplace of ideas, soulless empiricism and
mechanical rationalism, formal and disenchanted science, and a
narcissistic and never-ending search for academic recognition
and power accompanied by the desire for metaphysical
solace and material comfort.
We live in an authoritarian world that still yearns for the
classical ideals and dreams of democracy, equality, and freedom,
but has no understanding of what that means or entails.
We see concentration camps and family separation cages for very young
immigrants on our Southern border, watch Nazis and Nationalists march in
the streets with impunity and arrogance, and are astounded by the kidnapping
and arrest of peaceful anti-racist protesters by paramilitary secret police
as we vaguely remember a time past that echoes throughout the present.
We also see a general imprisonment of Americans in camps of
concentrated inequality, poverty, homelessness, shipping container
housing, debilitating debt, poor education, inadequate health care,
and despondent human misery all over the country, even for
those who believe that hard work will set them free or that
compassionate liberalism and the welfare state will provide
for their economic well-being and personal quality of life.
There is a frightening hollowing out of any remaining ethical
and political values in society in favor of corporate power
by the right-wing judiciary and fawning politicians.
It is another form of economic slavery under
the guise of market freedom and natural rights.
It represents just another form of chattel and
wage slavery in the modern ghettos and iron
cages of monopoly capital and the rule of
the political elite and top 1%. And
beyond that, there is no recognition
of their abuse or even need for
immediate social change.
There is predatory and oppressive capitalism, looting and tax evasion,
corporate lobbying, white nationalism, apartheid racism, militarism,
maintenance of a global economic empire, along with homophobia,
misogyny. redlining, dark money, super PACs, gerrymandering,
resegregation, vigilantism, and new Jim Crow laws, voter
intimidation and suppression, legislative election subversion,
and Citizens United publicly revealing the rise of American
fascism; union busting, dehumanizing and mindless work,
massive and pervasive class inequality and worker
oppression, and disruptive and distorting income,
wealth, and power distribution expressed in the
crushing violence and poverty of the mind, body,
and spirit; misplaced personal identities,
paralyzed potentialities, and lost futures;
a market economy of rapacious materialism
and consoling consumerism replacing the
emptiness of our souls and the loss of
our ethical, spiritual, and human needs;
brutish narcissism and nasty egoism
replacing a moral economy of love,
kindness and friendship; false
imprisonment due to race, ethnicity,
and class; and air pollution, global warming,
industrialized farming, ecological crisis
which call into question the sustainability
of the human race. This social system
also leads to a gross incoherence and
amnesic indifference among the adults
accompanied by pervasive anxiety,
growing psychological fear, clinical
depression, self-loathing, and
intense, inner isolation and
loneliness among the young
and vulnerable. There are no
ideals, no hope, no future in
a radically individualistic,
materialistic, and hedonistic
society that has lost all
existential and ethical
direction, purpose, and
meaning in human life.
and life in general.
From Point Comfort, Richmond, Colfax, Tulsa
and Birmingham to Selma and Montgomery,
from Wounded Knee, Manzanar, and
Topaz to Charlottesville,
from Haymarket to Kent State,
from Columbine and Sandy Hook,
Ferguson and Parkland
to Buffalo and Uvalde,
from Hamburg and Dresden
to Tokyo and Nagasaki,
from Korea and Vietnam
to Iran, Iraq, and
from Chile and Panama
to El Salvador and Nicaragua,
from firebombings, saturation and
carpet bombings in free-fire zones
against civilians and children
to search and destroy missions,
from social violence, war crimes,
crimes against humanity, and slavery,
there has been mass intolerance,
oppression, and genocide by the
United States unnoticed and hidden
behind a deceptive and deflective
ideology of expanding international
peace, prosperity, and personal
freedom in the early free markets to
neoliberalism. This is not a country
that protects innocent children, families,
and human life. But no one recognizes
these blatant and soul-crushing,
moral outrages, just as sorrowful
and reflective tears fall upon a
desert floor unheard and
unnoticed by anyone.
And they still call this system a democracy?
Have they not lost their sense of
honor, shame, or decency
or for that matter even their sense of irony?
Or are these social pathologies simply economic
and ethical externalities and inconveniences
out of sight and out of mind as we descend
deeper and deeper down the darkened and
perilous path to the same soulless and
tragic end as the shadows of Weimar --
the rise of fascism, nationalism,
militarism, and the capitalist elite.
And all that remains among these frozen and
treacherous shades in the ninth circle is a
tormenting and unreasonable silence
unrelenting without love, trust, or tears.
Today, in our own distinctive world of
tortured and homeless shadows, there
is a sickness and silence unto death
in our concepts, theories, and
actions that are a direct betrayal
of reason, democracy, and
humanity -- Silence is a
betrayal of the dreams
of romantic Ithaka and
This void of silence and social justice in the academy is a
product of the "decadence," "disenchantment," "anomie,"
"liquidation" of objective reason, and the "alienation"
and loss of the classical horizons of critical social
theory and its European traditions.
Theory has been displaced and forgotten in the academy by
positivism and its critical questions suppressed by
methodological and scientistic narrowness and purity.
A will to methods and power has replaced ethics and
justice along with our ability to imagine and
speak with strength, depth, and vision.
The end product is a naturalization and
abdication of the critical, public voice
of reason and hope resulting in an
existential and spiritual emptiness,
a nihilistic void of meaning and
purpose in human life, and a
continuing and deepening despair
among the morally uncommitted and
despised souls along the shores
of the Acheron. These wretched souls
are lost in the horrid and blinding
darkness, squalor, and hypocrisy of
Western liberal democracy grounded
in the structures of the --
military industrial complex
and caste hatred.
This is a vacuous world of indistinct,
vague shadows among the forgotten
and angry souls of Hades --
people who never stood and
fought at a Thermopylae --
without meaning and values,
without concepts and ideas,
without hopes and dreams,
without compassion and love.
For them, freedom, liberty,
and individual rights meant
property ownership and
and consumer choices,
along with a strong distrust
and fear of others.
The essence of humanity's
potential was measured by
the actualities of the market
and not by the ideals and
institutions of the human
spirit and social justice.
Democracy was calculated as
a free market choice of
political consumption and
not viewed as an expression
of humanity's highest ethical
principles of political virtue,
human dignity, and
the common good.
This is an empty, corrupt
world of the morally displaced
and abandoned shades who
cannot remember the past,
cannot change the present,
have no hope for the future.
The material and class poverty
of liberalism is matched only by the
degrading and dehumanizing poverty
of its spirit, soul, and ideas.
It is a place in which people can't breathe
because this form of democracy
itself is lifeless --
We all can't breathe.
It is here in the deepest and darkest caverns of mindless anger
and promoted aggression that democracy is eternally confused
and conflated with an oppressive corporate oligarchy
engaged in a monopoly control of the economy and
state. How can it be that so few people in politics
or the academy notice the logical inconsistencies,
contradictions, and incoherence of this position?
How can it be that so few people speak out?
And how have we lost our broad cultural
horizons, collective consciousness, and
creative voice to counter this
The notions of liberal democracy and freedom
with their economic rights and liberties are
ideals and realities of false consciousness
and distorted political economy that
could only have been sustained by
the numbing cries and languishing
screams of those forsaken and
who undermined the ideals of
classical Athens and modern
socialism, and whose
terrifying and distant
sounds can still be heard
coming from the inner
circle of deceitful
And then came Trump who only
crystalized these class forms
of economic decay and social
decadence, making worse and
public that which previously had
been hidden and unexamined.
This is part of the unintentional
process of unmasking the ideology,
illusions, and blindness of
modern society as the decline
in ethics, politics, and
ecology only intensifies.
Final Note: Silence After the First Alien
Encounter from Planet B
Presently, we are patiently searching the distant
heavens, stars, and planetary systems for alien
beings with whom we might share our collective
knowledge. experience, and wisdom of
social justice. Unfortunately, we can only
offer them the ethical principles and political
ideals of 'American liberal democracy' that are
based on "militarism, racism, and capitalism."
After the initial encounter with
extraterrestrial sapient life forms,
what can our adventurous and intrepid
star trekkers truly offer these
advanced and knowledgeable beings
when we have nothing to offer ourselves?
Where once there were better angels
and strong, ethical visionaries,
now there are only the "short,
brutish, and nasty." Where once
there were dreams, inspiration,
and light, now there is only
darkness, despair, and silence.
And, where once there was hope
of democratic freedoms, rights,
and institutions, now there is
only exploitative and alienating
pleasures and perversions,
and advertising perniciousness,
class production and property,
privilege and power,
pollution and poverty,
populism and polarization,
politics and plutocracy.
Is this the only true Gift
we have to present to
a remote exoplanet
civilization? It may now
be truly said that the
Beacon on the Hill has
finally gone out due to ---
The Silence of Nihilism and Positivism,
Eclipse of Reason and Justice,
Betrayal of Democracy and
However, this is not a time for loneliness,
isolation, fear, resignation, or retreat,
but a time to resist, to imagine, and
to build --
(G. E. M., July 2020)
"Keep Ithaka always in your mind..."
"Honor to those who in the life they lead
define and guard a Thermopylae.
Never betraying what is right,
consistent and just in all they do
but showing pity also, and compassion..."
(Constantine Cavafy, Thermopylae,
Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard)
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that
good men should do nothing."
(attributed to Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill)
"Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind."
(James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk,
June 17, 1974)
"Silence = Death"
Silence = Death Project
(New York City, 1987)
Due to rise of radical Protestantism, nominalism, and positivism (Hume) --
"Reason has liquidated itself as an agency of
ethical, moral, and religious insight,"
(Max Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason,
"Silence is Betrayal,"
(Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam,
Speech on Vietnam War, 1967)
"[W]e are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.
There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America
must move toward a democratic socialism."
(MLK, Speech to his Staff, 1966)
"The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism
and evils of racism."
(MLK, Speech to Southern Christian
Leadership Conference, March 30, 1967)
"We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation
and militarism are all tied together...you can't really get rid of one
without getting rid of the others...the whole structure of American life
must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our]
own house in order."
(MLK, Report to Southern Christian Leadership
Conference Staff, May 1967)
"Black capitalism won't save us
You can't end racial inequality with consumerism...or opportunity zones."
(Aaron Ross Coleman, The Nation, May 2018)
"'I can't breathe' is a kind of shorthand for all of the ways that policy
violence is suffocating the life out of people & democracy itself" --
including death and strangulation by police violence, poverty,
class and low wealth, poor health insurance, voter suppression, etc.
(Rev. Dr. William Barber, Twitter, June 12, 2020 and his
sermon "America, Accepting Death Is Not an Option Anymore!,"
June 14, 2020 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SioVKIPltq0)
"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me."
(Martin Niemöller, Post-War Confession of a
German Lutheran Pastor,
Elie Wiesel, noted Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, said he was often asked
the question: "Where was God at Auschwitz?"
His response was, "Where was Man at Auschwitz?"
(Elie Wiesel, Speech at Kenyon College,
February 23, 1983)
"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering
and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,
never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
(Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Speech, 1986)
"Christ led me to Marx...For me, the four gospels are all equally communist."
(Father Ernesto Cardenal, Catholic poet and revolutionary,
1984 interview mentioned in The New York Times Obituary,
March 2, 2020)
"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.
Your Christian are so unlike your Christ."
Honor to the memory of the German students of the White Rose at the University
of Munich in the early 1940s who did not remain silent but
resisted Hitler and Nazism.
(Richard Hanser, A Noble Treason)
Watch the movies Die Weisse Rose and Sophie Scholl
See the tribute to the members of the White Rose
by Stephan Beneking at
and also see the short award winning 2012 documentary
"The Legacy of the White Rose" at
NEVER AGAIN --
GENOCIDE, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE, OR
ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, AND CLASS OPPRESSION
NEVER AGAIN AGAINST ANY RELIGIOUS, ETHNIC,
RACIAL, GENDER, WORKING-CLASS, POOR,
OR POLITICAL GROUP
NEVER AGAIN AGAINST ANYONE
HERBERT MARCUSE OFFICIAL WEBSITE
DIGITAL KENYON GALLERY
THE ONLINE COMPUTER LIBRARY CENTER (OCLC)
WORLDCAT IDENTITIES: BOOKS
SOCIOLOGY AT A DISTANCE
Sociology is a discipline created in the 19th and early 20th century in Continental Europe to explore the nature of modern industrial society. It is distinctive in that it focuses on the totality of society with special emphasis on its economic and political structures and institutions and how they affect the development of other social institutions, individual psychology and identity, social class and consciousness, culture, values, ideals, and modern science (Parsons and Habermas). It is a holistic discipline that comprehends the complex and interconnected parts of the total social system, thus requiring multiple methods and theories to understand the enormous breadth and depth of modern society. That is, its goal is to examine the interaction of all social institutions in creating the comprehensive system of capitalism and liberalism and making critical evaluations of its political economy, social institutions, and culture based on the ethical ideals from Classical Greece to Modern Philosophy. From this perspective, sociology is applied philosophy that joins together the ideals and ethics of philosophy with the historical and critical science of sociology. In this way sociology moves from ethics to politics, philosophy to political economy, moral philosophy to moral economy, epistemology to sociology of knowledge and science, and political philosophy to social theory. It makes philosophy -- its hopes, ideals, imagination, and horizons -- real, concrete, historical, and relevant.
With the growing specialization, scientization (nominalism and positivism), and fragmentation of both the humanities and social sciences in the American academy, the Classical and Continental approach to the study of society is becoming more and more important, while it becomes a more and more difficult, if not impossible, task today. In this context, it is relevant to remember that Durkheim argued in one of his earliest writings, "Sociology in France in the Nineteenth Century," 1900, that Plato and Aristotle were the first sociologists, while Horkheimer maintained in his lectures at Columbia University in February and March of 1944, as mentioned above, that the critical sociologists might be the last with the growing dialectic and eclipse of reason, theory, and the classical traditions in the American academy. Horkheimer's concerns about the broader implications of the technical rationalization and formal disenchantment of society only intensified his growing fears of the rise of fascism in the United States. "Reason has been liquidated" as a form of objective and substantive concepts, ideas, and theories; we are lost without a sense of the past or a vision of the future. The implications of this Holocaust of Ideas is that we have no poetic language, no aesthetic imagination, and no concrete historical hope for a just society. Without reason and the ability to form ethical and political concepts, without the ability to see beyond the present, without the ability of reason to move beyond one simple scientific and naturalistic method in the social sciences, and without the ability to form a comprehensive and holistic theory and critical vision of the future, we are losing the capacity to frame the ideals, institutions, and historical images of a democratic and socialist society. Social theory and social justice are being replaced today by the narrowing hypothesis construction, social explanations, and empirical predictions of technical social science -- the dark side or shadows of the Enlightenment. According to Horkheimer, the signs of rising fascism are expressed in the loss of objective and critical reason; rise of technical, pragmatic, and positivistic science; loss of community and communal values; reduction of democracy to self-interest, consumerism, market rationality, efficiency, and tolerance; transformation of the state into an aggressive, oppressive, and authoritarian Leviathan; and, finally, reduction of formal reason into moral and political nihilism and relativism. Even the theoretical and philosophical ability to resist fascism in the academy is being seriously undermined (Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason, pp. 18-31).
Horkheimer's fears of fascism and the loss of social theory -- Sociology as a Science without Social Theory -- are now in the second decade of the twenty-first century becoming more evident, real, and magnified than ever before. With the death of theory, who can resist fascism; where are the voices for fairness, democracy, equality, and freedom; and what has become of the liberal arts in the American academy other than as a vehicle for the functional and ideological rationalization of these dramatic changes to society and education? On the other hand, turning sociology into a form of aesthetic labor and poetic imagination would broaden the range of theories and methods in critical, historical social theory and create the conditions for the integration of History, Political Economy, and Philosophy. Under these conditions, sociology would be inspired by the past, enlightened by the present, and beckoned by the future, thereby integrating romantic ideals, empirical reality, and the longing for social justice.
PHILOSOPHY AND HISTORY
Sociology seeks to answer questions such as: How do economic and political institutions in American society influence its culture, values, and ideals? How do these ideals, in turn, act back upon and influence these institutions? How do American social and political ideals justify and legitimate modern society? How does the transformation of American political economy in the past half-century toward monopoly capitalism and the military-industrial complex affect the class structure, distribution of income and wealth, chances for social mobility, patterns of racism and sexism, medicine and health care, ecological crisis, and opportunities for true democracy and social justice? And what is a good and just society? What are the different schools of social and political thought which discuss these issues of ethics and social justice? The answers to these questions require that we see sociology as both an historical and philosophical discipline. Philosophy and history are related disciplines, as they form the heart and soul of sociology.
The classical sociologists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were all trained in philosophy: Karl Marx in the writings of Epicurus, Democritus, Aristotle, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Rousseau, Smith, Spinoza, Schiller, Heine, and the Left Hegelians: Strauss, Bauer, Feuerbach, Ruge, and Stirner; Max Weber in the works of Kant, Hegel, Rickert, and Nietzsche; Emile Durkheim in Plato, Kant, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Schopenhauer (he also taught philosophy at various lycees or state secondary schools of Sens, Saint-Quentin, and Troyes between 1882 and 1887 and social philosophy and social science at the University of Bordeaux between 1887-1902); Freud in Plato, Schopenhauer, Feuerbach, Nietzsche and Brentano (Freud took five philosophy courses with Franz Brentano at the University of Vienna between 1874 and 1876); and George Herbert Mead in Kant, James, Dewey, Hegel, and Dilthey. Adjusting Kant's famous phrase about intuitions and concepts from the Critique of Pure Reason, it may truly be said that Sociology without Philosophy is directionless, aimless, and Blind, while Philosophy without Sociology is abstract, meaningless, and Empty. Philosophy gives Sociology vision and life to Dream, while Sociology gives Philosophy empirical substance and historical content to Act and to Create. Separating them into distinct and disparate disciplines -- just as separating Aristotle's Ethics from his Politics or Marx's Philosophy from his Political Economy -- makes both irrelevant to the creation of an enlightened, free, and democratic community -- whether that is the academy or polis. This is the "eclipse of reason" within the American academy that replaces political enlightenment and moral courage with frozen tranquility and social blindness. And even when there is awareness of particular social problems, they are usually isolated and disconnected from any comprehensive, cohesive, and critical theory of political economy capable of offering concrete and structural solutions necessary for radical social change. The isolation and specialization within the academy lead to social moralizing and ineffective and abstract criticism, but not to a recognition of the real historical and economic foundations of present-day social and cultural issues. This is why it is so easy to deflect and displace serious structural concerns about class, corporate power, inequality, poverty, racism, militarism, multinational corporations, neo-colonialism, gerrymandering, voter suppression, etc. onto cultural and "woke issues."
Philosophy can shed important light on the history of Western principles that have been used to justify and critique modern capitalist society (natural rights theory, utilitarianism, theories of market efficiency and productivity, historicism, socialism, phenomenology, existentialism, etc.). Not to evaluate and judge the institutions and values of modern industrial society is academically dishonest, socially irresponsible, and personally immoral. Philosophy provides us with the tools to help in this direction. It helps us clarify the debates within sociology, epistemology, methodology, philosophy of science, and ethics over the nature of social science, values, and objectivity. It shows us the rich intellectual traditions and competing views of science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and how they affected the different views of sociology as a science -- interpretive science, historical science, moral science, hermeneutical science, and humane science, which attempt to understand social reality (Weber and Gadamer), ethical, critical, and dialectical science, which reveals the inner contradictions between social principles and economic structures within history (Marx and Habermas), and positivistic science, which attempts to explain social reality by relying on empirical data and universal laws (early Durkheim, Comte, and Popper).
These discussions about knowledge and truth, ethics and justice, vision and hope guide the sociologist in a return to classical antiquity and the world of ancient Greek art, philosophy, and literature. This is where the true intellectual origins of sociology lie -- where its vision, imagination, creativity, and social critique were born.
History is the other half of the discipline which attempts to locate our study of society within a broader temporal context. Sociological investigation into issues of wealth and power, class and stratification, inequality and poverty, racism, misogyny, and homophobia, identity development and personality formation, and democracy and freedom require that we understand the historical origins of how the present society came to be constructed. This means that we must look for the origins of modern capitalism in the transformation of medieval economic, political, religious, and scientific institutions and values. The structures of our contemporary society rest in the formation of the modern nation-state (fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), Protestant Reformation (sixteenth century), scientific revolutions (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), Enlightenment (seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), industrial revolution and factory system (nineteenth century), welfare state (twentieth century), and so forth. Without history, we repress our past, forget our origins, and fail to see our true human possibilities. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who recognized in a 1967 speech that the very foundations of modern American liberal democracy must be understood as resting on the institutions of capitalism, racism, and militarism. Much of this goes unnoticed today because of the narrow focus and evolution of contemporary disciplines in the academy. However, sociology is the discipline grounded in the horizons of the classical world of Ancient Greece, but looking forward to a better world based on the ideals of community, the common good, human rights, personal freedom, and social justice. Restricting sociology to the narrow, specialized collection of quantitative and qualitative data and the creation of universal laws of explanatory and naturalistic science only reenforces the unquestioning ideology of the present social system without developing a framework for social critique or social change.
************************ ************************ ************************
Ancient Corinth and Athens
Die Weisse Rose
"Liebe, Freundschaft, und Mut zum Widerstand"
Social Dreams and Classical Ideals
"Beauty will save the world," Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Expanding the Classical Horizons of the
Ancients and the Moderns"
Acropolis and Parthenon
Ho ti kalon philon aei
(A thing of beauty is a joy forever)
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
Ye know on earth and all ye need to know."
John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn
And the ultimate Beauty of the World is
Expressed in the form of Art, Ethics,
Economics, Politics, and Ecology --
Human Dignity and Human Excellence,
Creative Self-Determination, and
Social and Economic Democracy
"Dancing Star" & Friend
"Classical Dreams of Justice and Beauty"
Parthenon from the Pnyx
Home of the Athenian Assembly
The True Beauty of Classical Greece lies in the
Grace, Elegance, and Harmony of the
Athenian Polity and Social Justice
"Modern Impression of Classical Beauty"
WHAT THE PROPHETS SAW
We shun them, living exiles, labeled mad,
who see the world turned upside down we shrink
by private ownership of all each hand
imprints, and in our iron cage we think
we're free. The mad behold this human treason
and scream against the death of nature's reason.
But dreams reveal to what were blinded eyes
the truth that Justice holds that never dies.
The Commune, like far Ithaka, contains
ideals we journey towards before we die,
when like gods we break our final chains
to boldly face our own Thermopylae.
Life itself is found in simple joy,
in beauty, love, and art the spinning earth
in all the random grace that hearts employ
will see a new creation at its birth.
In dreams an ancient wisdom whispers: Heal
our modern madness, help the heavens move,
seek a newer world and make it real,
with hearts the sun and stars unite in love.
--- Royal Rhodes
Endpiece in Marx and Social Justice
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