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Karl Marx's Theory of History


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NOTE ON REFERENCES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS xvi INTRODUCTION TO THE 2000 EDITION: REFLECTIONS ON ANALYTICAL MARXISM xvii I. IMAGES OF HISTORY IN HEGEL AND MARX 1 II. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PRODUCTIVE FORCES 28 (1) Economic Structure and Productive Forces 28 (2) Some Terminological Points 37 (3) Labour Power 40 (4) Science 45 (5) More Candidates for the Catalogue 47 (6) The Development of the Productive Forces 55 III. THE ECONOMIC STRUCTURE 63 (1) Ownership Rights in Productive Forces 63 (2) Possible and Impossible Ownership Positions of Producers 66 (3) Subordination 69 (4) Redefining the Proletarian 70 (5) The Structural Definition of Class 73 (6) The Individuation of Social Forms 77 (7) Modes of Production 79 (8) Varieties of Economic Change 85 IV. MATERIAL AND SOCIAL PROPERTIES OF SOCIETY 88 (1) Introducing the Distinction 88 (2) Matter and Form in the Labour Process 98 (3) Use-value and Political Economy 103 (4) Revolutionary Value of the Distinction toy (5) Against Marx on Mill 108 (6) Work Relations III V. FETISHISM 115 (i) Fetishism in Religion and in Economics 115 (2) What is True and What is False in Fetishism 116 (3) Diagnosis of Commodity Fetishism 119 (4) Diagnosis of Capital Fetishism 122 (5) Commodity Fetishism and Money 124 (6) Commodity Fetishism, Religion, and Politics 125 (7) Communism as the Liberation of the Content 129 VI. THE PRIMACY OF THE PRODUCTIVE FORCES 134 (1) Introduction 134 (2) Assertions of Primacy by Marx: The Preface 136 (3) Assertions of Primacy by Marx: Outside the Preface 142 (4) The Case for Primacy 150 (5) The Nature of the Primacy of the Forces 16o (6) Productive Forces, Material Relations, Social Relations 166 (7) 'All earlier modes of production were essentially conservative' 169 (8) Addmdwn 172 VII. THE PRODUCTIVE FORCES AND CAPITALISM 175 (1) The Emergence of Capitalism 175 (2) The Capitalist Economic Structure and the Capitalist Mode of Production 180 (3) Capitalism and the Development of the Productive Forces 193 (4) Four Epochs 197 (5) Capitalism's Mission, and its Fate 201 (6) The Presuppositions of Socialism 204 (7) Why are Classes Necessary? 207 VIII. BASE AND SUPERSTRUCTURE, POWERS AND RIGHTS 216 (1) Identifying the Superstructure 216 (2) The Problem of Legality 217 (3) Explanation of Property Relations and Law by Production Relations 225 (4) Bases Need Superstructures 231 (5) Is the Economic Structure Independently Observable? 234 (6) More on Rights and Powers 236 (7) Rights and Powers of the Proletariat 240 (8) Addenda 245 IX. FUNCTIONAL EXPLANATION: IN GENERAL 249 (1) Introduction 249 (2) Explanation 251 . (3) Function-statements and Functional Explanations 253 (4) The Structure of Functional Explanation 258 (5) Confirmation 265 (6) Are any Functional Explanations True? 266 (7) Consequence Explanation and the Deductive-nomological Model 272 X. FUNCTIONAL EXPLANATION: IN MARXISM 278 (1) Introduction 278 (2) Conceptual Criticisms of Functional Explanation 280 (3) Functionalism, Functional Explanation, and Marxism 283 (4) Elaborations 285 (5) Marxian Illustrations 289 XI. USE-VALUE, EXCHANGE-VALUE, AND CONTEMPORARY CAPITALISM 297 (1) Introduction 297 (2) The Subjugation of Use-value by Exchange-value 298 (3) A Distinctive Contradiction of Advanced Capitalism 302 (4) Mishan and Galbraith 307 (5) The Argument Reviewed 309 (6) Is Capitalism a Necessary Condition of the Distinctive Contradiction? 313 (7) An Objection 317 (8) The Bias of Capitalism and Max Weber 320 (9) Obiter Dicta 322 XII. FETTERING 326 XIII. RECONSIDERING HISTORICAL MATERIALISM 341 XIV. RESTRICTED AND INCLUSIVE HISTORICAL MATERIALISM 364 XV. MARXISM AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION 389 APPENDIX I. Karl Marx and the Withering Away of Social Science 396 APPENDIX II. Some Definitions 415 LIST OF WORKS CITED 425 NAME INDEX 433 SUBJECT INDEX 437

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An admirable and formidable book. -- E. J. Hobsbawm Every sentence has the feel of having been deeply thought through over a long period of time. -- Gareth Stedman Jones

About the Author

G. A. Cohen was emeritus fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford.


Winner of the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize "Cohen's blend of sound scholarship and acute philosophical reasoning has produced a work with which anyone seriously interested in understanding Marx must come to terms."--Peter Singer, New York Review of Books "A clear, definite, and well-reasoned interpretation of what the theory really is... Admirably argued and generally exhilarating."--Anthony Quinton, The Times Literary Supplement "[Karl Marx's Theory of History] is an ambitious and impressive work... Cohen writes with limpidity, verve, and honesty."--William H. Shaw, American Historical Review

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