The recent post by Justin -- who is busy and thus not participating, just
as I should be -- suggests a question: what _is_ the difference between
"analytical Marxism" and reductionist Marxism?
The "holy trinity" of Roemer, Elster, and Cohen seem quite reductionist
(back when they were doing Marxist stuff). The first two got into
methodological individualism, reducing all social phenomena to individual
decisions, while Cohen embraced another kind of reductionism, the reduction
of superstructural phenomena to being mere epiphenomena of the "base,"
which itself basically reflects the "progress" of the forces of production.
(Brenner never went so far, since the discipline of being an historian
and/or involvement in political action keeps one away from that kind of
My impression is that the main methodological objection to AM was to its
reductionism (a result, it seems, of its willingness to submit to the
methodological strictures of mainstream social science). But it wasn't all
bad. If you allow me to be formulaic (not to mention digmatic), maybe we
can say that "Analytical Marxism" minus reductionism = clear thinking.
Of course, all of this depends on one's meaning of the phrase "Analytical
Marxism." Sometimes I get the impression that its adherents simply _define_
it as clear thinking combined with Marxism. But since almost everyone's in
favor of clear thinking (at least on paper), we're all Analytical Marxists
now (as we've always been, all the back to Marx & Engels, not to mention
Jim Devine [EMAIL PROTECTED] & http://bellarmine.lmu.edu/~jdevine