Marx on Capitalism

The Interaction-Recognition-Antinomy Thesis


In Marx on Capitalism, James Furner offers a new answer to the fundamental question of Marxism: can a thesis connecting capital, the state and classes with the desirability of socialism be developed from an analysis of the commodity? The Interaction-Recognition-Antinomy Thesis is anchored in a systematic retranslation of Marx’s writings. It provides an antinomy-based strategy for grounding the value of social humanity in working-class agency, facilitates a dialectical derivation of political representation, and condemns capitalism as unjust without appeal to rights.
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Biographical Note

James Furner, Ph.D., is the author of several articles on Marx and Kant.

Review Quotes

‘This path-breaking work comes at the right moment. Since the world financial crisis of 2008 Marx is more actual than ever before. With a methodologically unique combination of phenomenological sociology, analytical Marxism and commodity form philosophy, Furner gives new life to the basic concepts of Marx. Interaction and exploitation, class struggle and recognition, system and real abstraction, self-organization and dialectical contradiction are at once analytical and normative instruments to understand and change modern capitalist society. Everybody who wants to understand the present crisis of capitalism, and to give it a turn to the better before it is too late, must read this fascinating book.’
- Hauke Brunkhorst, Professor of Sociology, University of Flensburg

‘An excellent account of the relevance of dialectical contradiction and antinomy to Marx’s project.’
- Jürgen Ritsert, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Goethe University Frankfurt

‘The presuppositions and contradictions of Analytical Marxism resulted in a movement away from Marxism and towards liberal political philosophy. But what if its originators understood the German idealist tradition and what if their philological skills were as good as their analytic ones? With its careful reconstruction of Marx’s concept of exploitation and with its detailed explanation of the relation of class to capitalism, Furner’s book marvelously answers this question: what one gets when one finds a philosopher of such talents is a compelling elaboration of central Marxian concepts, one that stakes out a tenable Marxian position within the landscape of contemporary political philosophy.’
- William S. Lewis, Professor of Philosophy, Skidmore College

‘An important contribution to the vexed debate about Marx and justice.’
- Jan Kandiyali, Assistant Professor in Philosophy, Istanbul Technical University

‘In this comprehensive, novel interpretation of Marx’s work, James Furner offers a timely reconstruction of Marx’s critique of capitalism.’
- Lawrence Hamilton, NRF/British Academy Research Professor in Political Theory, Witwatersrand and Cambridge

Table of contents

Acknowledgements References and Abbreviations
1 The Interaction-Recognition-Antinomy Thesis  1  The Interaction Component  2  The Recognition Component  3  The First Antinomy  4  The Second Antinomy  5  An Outline of the ArgumentAppendix: A Note on Translation
2 Analytical Marxism  1  The Project of Analytical Marxism  2  Dialectical Contradiction  3  Intrastructuration  4  Conclusion
3 Commodity Form Philosophy  1  Use-Value  2  Value  3  Commodities and Goods  4  Use-Values, Goods and Duties to the Whole  5  The Commodity, Dialectical Contradiction and Real Abstraction  6  Antinomies of the Commodity Form
4 Action  1  Capital’s Description of Human Labour  2  In-Order-To Motives and Because Motives  3  Orientation to an In-Order-To Motive  4  The Form of an In-Order-To Motive  5  Action and Abstraction
5 Social Relations  1  Marx’s General Remarks on Social Relations  2  Schütz’s Typology of Social Action  3  Interaction as a Relation of Mutual Affecting  4  The Problem of Normativity  5  An Interactional Conception of a Social Relation of Production  6  Some Objections  7  The Objection from Structure  8  The Objection from Consciousness  9  The Problem of Legality
6 System and Bearer  1  A Generalised Interactions Conception of Social Structure  2  Sociological Thought and the Concept of Social Role  3  The Features of a System  4  The Capitalist Structure as a System  5  The Capitalist Structure as a System (Continued)  6  Actors as Bearers
7 Purchase and Sale  1  Exchange  2  Independent Exchange of Products  3  Possession: Savigny and Marx  4  Commodities and Money
8 Exploitation  1  The Quantitative Marxist View of Exploitation  2  A Non-Normative Concept of Exploitation  3  Bazard, Marx and the Five Conditions for Exploitation  4  The Benefit Condition  5  The Harm Condition  6  The Causal Condition  7  The Consequence Condition  8  The Means-to-Ends Condition  9  The System Universalisability Conception of Exploitation  10  Capitalist Labour-Exploitation  11  The Exploitation and Need Problem  12  The Agency Problem  13  The Capitalism, Rights and Injustice Problem  14  Summary
9 Recognition and Self-Ownership  1  A Pragmatic Conception of Recognition  2  Possession, Private Property Ownership and Recognition  3  As-If Mutual Recognition in Purchase and Sale  4  Marx’s Concept of a Person  5  Security and Self-Ownership
10 Recognition and Bureaucratic Domination  1  Marx’s General Conception of Domination  2  Domination and the Will  3  Domination and Alien Will  4  Domination and Recognition  5  Marx’s Conception of Domination Restated  6  Formal and Real Subsumption  7  Domination and Formal Subsumption  8  Domination and Real Subsumption  9  The Recognition Condition and Occupational Identity  10  Summary
11 Antinomy and State Form  1  A Derivation of the Juridical Logic of Freedom of Choice  2  Individual Human Rights  3  The System of Capitalist Production and Popular Sovereignty  4  The Antinomy of Natural Rights and Popular Authorisation  5  Parliamentary Representation  6  The Separation of Powers
12 The Rights-Antinomy and Class Struggle  1  An Antagonistic Interdependency Conception of Classes  2  Class Antagonism at the Macro-Level  3  The Self-Consciousness of the Commodity  4  Capital’s Antinomy Passage: A Reconstruction  5  The Rights-Antinomy and the Capitalist Class Interest Claim  6  Interest Privilege and Possible Practical Awareness  7  The Rights-Antinomy, Recognition and Union Organisation  8  Working-Class Movements  9  A Resolution of Both Antinomies
Conclusion  1  Exploitation and Injustice  2  The Disappearance of Analytical Marxism  3  The State of Capitalist Society  4  Revolutionary Awareness
Bibliography Index


Anyone interested in Marx and Marxism, critical theory, post-Kantian political philosophy, phenomenological sociology, and theories of capitalism.


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