JCA co-editor Richard Westra has a new paper available with the Review of Radical Political Economics. Available for free download, “Roy Bhaskar’s Critical Realism and the Social Science of Marxian Economics,” comes with an abstract that states:
This article supports claims that critical realism philosophy of science, as refounded in the hands of Roy Bhaskar, offers valuable knowledge enhancing insight into the advancement of Marx’s research program. However, it maintains that key principles set out by Bhaskar have not been adequately assimilated by those working with critical realism in the field of Marxist studies. When they are properly considered, they point to the necessity of reconstructing Marx’s corpus on a divergent basis from the conventional form it has assumed since the codification of “Marxism” by Karl Kautsky in the late nineteenth century as an overarching theory of history or historical materialism, wherein Marx’s economic studies in Capital are portrayed as but a sub-theory. The article summarily breaks down three cardinal scientific principles elaborated by Bhaskar, which carry the most vital implications for Marxism. These are the bringing of ontology “back in” to theory construction, the robust case made for social science as a capital-S science, and the specification of retroduction as strategy for scientific discovery. It then explores the principles with regard to three abiding and interrelated questions of the Marxist research program: first is the very condition of intelligibility of economic theory; second is the question of the raison d’être for the dialectical architecture of Capital; third is the social scientific implications of the cognitive sequence in Marxism. In this endeavor the article introduces work in the Uno-Sekine tradition of Japanese Marxism. It shows how Uno’s reconstruction of Marxism is closely supported by Bhaskar’s fundamental criteria for science in a way that serves to strengthen Marx’s own scientific claims for his work.