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Title: Critical realism, value and capital
Author: Brown, Andrew Nicholas
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2002
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'Critical realism' is a philosophy and method first systematised by Roy Bhaskar in the 1970s and now finding broad appeal across the social sciences. The striking claim of critical realism to remedy the perceived malaise within the contemporary social sciences and Marxism, and thus to provide the philosophical and methodological basis for comprehending the global economy, coupled with the growing popularity of critical realism, demands that critical realism be examined thoroughly from its philosophical essence to the implications it has for the theory of the global economy. Such an examination is carried out in this thesis. Despite the many appealing aspects of critical realism the thesis puts forward a negative critique of critical realism that is unique in its breadth and depth. The critical realist philosophy is argued to collapse to Humean scepticism; the critical realist method is argued to be incongruent with the critical realist transformational social ontology. Alongside the negative critique, the thesis contributes a positive statement of a Marxist alternative to critical realism. Regarding philosophy, the 'materialist dialectics' detailed by the little known Russian philosopher, E.V. Ilyenkov, is argued to offer the basis for Marxist philosophy. As regards method, the Hegel inspired 'systematic dialectics', once recast on the materialist basis provided by Ilyenkov, is argued to transcend the critical realist method. These positive alternatives to critical realism are developed and brought together through a novel interpretation of Marx' s theory of value and exploitation. Contrary to traditional interpretations, Marx's theory of surplus value does not rest upon Marx's labour theory of value. Rather the opposite is closer to the truth: the theory of surplus value is a key step in substantiating the labour theory of value. This interpretation is a contribution to the critique of various idealist theories of value, including those under the umbrella of 'value form theory'. The interpretation is argued to be a philosophical, methodological and theoretical 'deepening' of certain existing interpretations of Marx's Capital that stress the importance of distinguishing between the 'organic composition of capital' and the 'value composition of capital'. This deepening, enabled by materialist dialectics, is argued to remove some of the philosophical, methodological and theoretical obstacles that stand in the way of the collective development of a Marxist theory of contemporary global capital.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available