File spoon-archives/marxism-thaxis.archive/marxism-thaxis_1996/96-10-29.043, message 65


Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 20:03:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: M-TH: marxian, marxist


On Sat, 26 Oct 1996, j laari wrote:

> How many of you people have ever heard of someone being "platonian"?
> Or "aristotelist"? We can continue this kind of list up to
> "derridist"... I don't know linguistic reasons (grammatic, syntactic
> whatever rules) behind this phenomenon but obviously it's right to say
> "kantian" but not "kantist". But I've seen both forms in use when it's
> a question of Marx: "marxist" and "marxian" both seem to be relevant.
> 
> Now what I'm interested in is whether anyone really believes that this
> linguistic accident counts as real philosophical or political
> distinction. If so, what's the nature of this distinction or
> difference?

	A tradition book of linguistic history, or something like the
Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy would probably say that one who is
"Marxian" somehow uses only some of Marx's language and philosophy in
their work, and does not neccessarily subscribe to what might be called
the traditional Marxist view; the full Canon. While a Marxist I suppose
fits the traditional definition (Cambridge) of Marxism much more closely
than one who is Marxian. Therefore I suppose Ernest Mandel is a Marxist
economist (ex. supportive of planned economics, labor theory of value)
while John Roemer would be a Marxian economist. Of course that sort of
fuzzy definition leaves room for Chris Sciaburra to be a Marxian
philosopher, and Jack London to be a Marxian activist (and a dead one
too). 
	
	Thus I think the distinction is rather suspect unless its
qualified with a full description of why a Marxian deviates from the
Canonical Marxist. For one too explain what a Marxian economist, history,
et cetera is; one must first try and figure out what exactly a Marxist is,
or whether there can even be said to be such a thing as a Marxist canon.
If Marxism to simply taken to be a social science by itself, the science
of dialectical materialism as Marx would say, then its even questionable
to me whether anyone could adequetly be labeled a MARXIST in the same way
that an individual could be labeled a POSITIVIST or OBJECTIVIST. 

Kevin
Cols, Oh





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