Marxism and methodologies of history.
In what follows, I try to develop and clarify the relationship
between marxism, philosophy, and historiography. I discuss some
key issues in historical materialism; the nature of historians'
methodological presuppositions; and some historical debates wbich
highlight theoretical problems. I argue that reflection of a
philosophical kind is indispensible in history and social theory.
However, it !s always difficult to strike the proper balance
between general pronouncements and specific analysis. The difficulty
enters historical research in questions about teleology 'ind
reductionism, which I illustrate.
Historical materialism is the tradition which most seriously
confronts, and attempts to resolve, these problems. I support the
contention that marxism can establish an integrated and synthetic
account of the socio-historical world. While philosophy plays a
central role here, I point out the problematical status of philosophy
in marxism too. If marxist theory displays and requires premisses
of an epistemologically 'realist' sort, it i~ also true t~lt marxism
cannot carry a unique or elaborate philosophy. The elusive aspiration
to provide an all-embracing world-view has resulted in a complicated
combination of generalization and research within marxist historiography.
I attempt to elucidate these issues, and show the respects
in which marxist as well as other historians could be more self-critical
about their assumptions in substantive debate.
The thesis is approximately 104,000 words long.