Social Scientist. v 6, no. 69 (April 1978) p. 55.

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On Marx^s Conception of a Positive Science

THE EXCUSE for writing yet another essay on the nature of Marxian theory, is that despite the tremendous revival of interest in theoretical Marxism in recent decades and the pace at which the literature on the subject has burgeoned., the basic issues remain unsolved. Was Marx a scientist or revolutionist, an analyst or a prophet, historian or merely a philosopher of history or was he in fact each one of these things? Did he preach a cold blooded historical determinism or was his an overpowering passion to get the workers of the world to unite and to change it? And finally to the central question of this work on which all the rest converge, did Marx see societal development as a result of the unintended consequences of individuals or for that matter, classes, pursuing their own interests, or as moulded by conscious and active agents of change? And here it will be relevant to ask whether there was (in this matter) a younger and an older Marx or just one Marx. There are answers to these questions but no final ones.

Voluntarism, the thesis that men make society according to the values that they hold, that is, in accordance with their will and in the light of their perceptions and goals, must at the outset be distinguished from the principle that the study of societies involves in an essential manner the process of evaluation or the making of value judgements.

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