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Andrew Levine and Elliott Sober and Erik Olin Wright
Marxism and Methodological Individualism
It is often held that Marxism embodies distinctive methodological doctrines which distinguish it from ‘bourgeois’ social science.  The difference has been characterized in various ways: Marxism is scientific and materialist, bourgeois theory ideological and idealist; Marxism is holistic, bourgeois theory is individualistic; Marxism is dialectical and historical, bourgeois theory is linear and static; Marxism is anti-empiricist and anti-positivist, bourgeois theory empiricist and positivist. These claims have differed considerably in substance, but the near consensus view has been that an irreconcilable methodological fissure divides Marxism from its rivals.  Recently this unanimity has been broken by a current of Marxist theory, sometimes labeled ‘analytical Marxism’, which categorically rejects claims for Marxism’s methodological distinctiveness.  In contrast to what has generally been maintained, authors such as Jon Elster, John Roemer, Adam Przeworski and G.A. Cohen have argued that what is distinctive in Marxism is its substantive claims about the world, not its methodology, and that the methodological principles widely held to distinguish Marxism from its rivals are indefensible, if not incoherent.
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