Phenomenology, Scientific Method and the Transformation Problem

In: Historical Materialism
Jesse Lopes Sometime Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, Boston University Boston, Massachusetts United States of America

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Chris Byron Lecturer, Snead State Community College Boaz, Alabama United States of America

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We argue in this article that Marx’s scientific method coupled with his analysis of the phenomenological consciousness of agents trapped within the capitalist mode of production provides a sufficient solution to the transformation problem. That is, Marx needs no amending – mathematical, philosophical, or otherwise – and the tools he uses to demonstrate and resolve the problem – science and phenomenology – were already clearly spelled out in his texts. Critics of Marx either fail to understand his scientific method, or are themselves trapped within a non-scientific capitalist phenomenology. Similarly, Marxists that mathematically resolve the transformation problem fail to realise that Marx’s scientific analysis alone demonstrates that a mathematical solution to the transformation problem is a misapprehension of the relation between Marx’s abstract theory and concrete phenomena. Consequently, we also criticise the monetary theorists who try to dismiss the problem as pointless by claiming that Marx was not a pre-monetary theorist.

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