By Jon Elster
A concise and finished advent to Marx's social, political and monetary notion for the start pupil. Jon Elster surveys in flip all the major topics of marxist concept: technique, alienation, economics, exploitation, old materialism, sessions, politics, and beliefs; in a last bankruptcy he assesses 'what resides and what's useless within the philosophy of Marx'. The emphasis all through is at the analytical constitution of Marx's arguments and the technique is instantly sympathetic, undogmatic, and rigorous.
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Additional info for An Introduction to Karl Marx
Does alienation playa role in the explanation of the breakdown of capitalism? It is not clear that it does, or that it can do. Alienation can be described, very broadly, as the lack of a sense of meaning. As such, it does not imply the sense of a lack of meaning. Only the latter, however, could provide a motivation for action. Consider the lack of self-realization, one of the main forms of alienation. If it takes the form of an unsatisfied desire for self-realization, it could motivate people to create a society in which the desire could be satisfied, assuming that they believe such a society to be feasi41 Alienation ble.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Methodological individualism. A clear statement of this principle is in George Homans, The Nature of Social Science (Harcourt, Brace and World, 1967). A classic statement of methodological holism is Emile Durkheim, The Rules of Sociological Method; a more recent exposition is Charles Taylor, "Interpretation and the sciences of man," Review of Metaphysics 25 (1971): 3-51. ), Readings in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (Macmillan, 1968). The need for microfoundations in Marxist economic theory is argued in John Roemer, Analytical Foundations of Marxian Economics (Cambridge University Press, 39 Marxist Methodology 1981).
Quite independently of the issues just discussed, one may profess individualism in an ethical or normative sense. This doctrine, though not in itself a substantive ethical view, imposes constraints on any such view by stipulating that in the final analysis only individuals are morally relevant. Some implications of this view are the following. The advancement of knowledge, the creation of great works of art, or the protection of nature are not independent sources of value - they have value only to the extent that they are valued by individuals.