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epistemology and cognition
31. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Elena O. Trufanova Елена Олеговна Труфанова
On Hegemony, Acceptance of the Differences and Social Construction of Knowledge
О гегемонии, признании различий и социальном конструировании знания

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The paper analyzes current situation in epistemology that is characterized by the appearance of the so called alternative epistemologies opposing the classical epistemology. The ties between alternative epistemologies and Karl Marx’ class consciousness concept and its development in the neo- and postmarxist works (by A.Gramsci, E.Laclau, Ch.Mouffe) is demonstrated. The research is focused on the concept of “false consciousness” that serves as a basis of the concepts of ideology and hegemony. The concept of hegemony in neo- and postmarxism is analyzed, it is shown how its application is reflected in the research of scientific knowledge: some authors claim that science is an agent of hegemony and it helps to maintain the illusion of the objectivity of the existence of certain phenomena. The proponents of this position – social constructionists, feminist philosophers et. al. – suggest to accept the equal value of the positions of different social groups each of which holds its own special discourse that helps to express the “knowledge” specific to this certain group. It is shown that such position sees “knowledge” as no longer universal, the knowledge is equaled to local understanding of the world. The conclusion is drawn that the position of K. Marx that gives basis to many claims of postmarxists and social constructionist is more favorable in comparison to them, because Marx whilst speaking of class consciousness assigns an important role to the individual subject. It allows to combine both universalistic understanding of knowledge and account not only for group differences, but for each individuality.
language and mind
32. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Karim Zahidi Карим Захиди
How to Leave Descartes Behind: On the Relevance of Marxism for Post-Cartesian Philosophy of Mind
Преодолевая Декарта

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Both mainstream cognitive science and analytic philosophy of mind remain wedded to the Cartesian picture of the mind as an isolated, self-sufficient, and constitutively individual phenomenon. However, recently approaches to the mind (e.g. extended mind thesis, enactivism) that depart from the standard view have emerged. Aunifying thread that runs through these approaches can be summed up in the slogan: “to understand mental phenomena one cannot do away with the environment”. Differences between these related views pertain to the strength of the modal operator “cannot”. On the strongest reading the slogan implies that the mind is constituted by the environment. While this interpretation is akin to Marx view on the constitution of consciousness, this link is overlooked in the literature. In this paper, I will argue that Marxists philosophical thinking about the mind, as exemplified by the activity approach, offers a sound philosophical basis for the further development of post-Cartesian views in cognitive science and philosophy of mind. Furthermore, I will argue that the materialistic method proposed by these thinkers is the most promising approach to the problem of naturalizing the mind.
33. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Chris Drain Крис Дрэйн
Cognition, Activity, and Content: A.N. Leontiev and the Enactive Origin of “Ideal Reflective Content”
Познание, деятельность и содержание

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According to Leontiev’s “activity approach,” the external world is not something available to be “worked over” according to a subject’s inner or “ideal” representations; at stake instead is the emergence of an “idealized” objective world that relates to a subject’s activity both internally and externally construed. In keeping with a Marxian account of anthropogenesis, Leontiev links the emergence of “ideality” with social activity itself, incorporating it within the general movement between the poles of ‘inner’ cognition and ‘external’ action. In this manner, Leontiev both parallels and goes beyond Hutto and Myin’s recent “enactivist” account of “content-involving” cognition, where representational thought depends on socio-cultural scaffolding and, as such, is uniquely human. What traditionally comes to be called representational content is for Leontiev the result of the transition from a primitive cognitive apparatus of “image-consciousness” to a one which is mediated by social activity. For the being endowed with “activity-consciousness,” mental content is something apprehended by assimilating “the objective world in its ideal form” [Leontiev, 1977, p. 189]. And the precondition for such assimilation is the apprehension of meanings from their origin in the social-material system of activity. The genesis of content-involving cognition is thus coeval with the development of socializing activity systems, replete with the external representations of values and norms as described in enactivist literature as publicly scaffolded symbol systems. Leontiev thus offers an anti-internalist account of cognition commensurate with Hutto and Myin but with the added dimension of a developmental scale of analysis with which to explain the origin of human-specific cognition.
34. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Juraj Halas Юрай Галас
Marxian “Abstraction” and Contemporary Philosophy of Science
Марксова «абстракция» и современная философия науки

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The method of “abstraction” had been the centerpiece of earlier attempts at founding a Marxist philosophy of science – from Engels to Soviet Marxism. This paper confronts Marx’s writings on abstraction with contemporary views of the method, stemming mostly from the analytic and (post-)empiricist traditions. In Section 2, I reconstruct the roles that abstraction was to play, according to Marx, in the construction of a scientific theory, focusing exclusively on his own writings. The analysis reveals certain rules, left mostly implicit in Marx, for the correct application of the method of abstraction. These are discussed in Section 3. The first rule states that concepts of the historically specific aspects of target systems (e.g., the capitalist economy) cannot be defined simply by means of transhistorical concepts. The second rule prohibits abstraction from the explanatorily relevant aspects which pertain, in Marx’s vocabulary, to the “essence” of the target system. In Section 3, I confront Marx’s notion of “abstraction” with contemporary statements on the method. It is shown that it covers both abstraction and idealization as understood in some modern accounts (notably, that of M. R. Jones). Under this approach, abstraction involves the tacit omission of properties, which are simply left unspecified. In contrast, idealization consists in the explicit counterfactual ascription of properties (and values of magnitudes). Finally, the representational goals pertaining to Marx’s “abstraction” are discussed, using distinctions due to M. Weisberg. It is shown that Marx was a proponent of “minimalist idealization”, focusing on the identification of causally relevant mechanisms that characterize all capitalist societies. I conclude with a suggestion for further research.
35. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Valentin A. Bazhanov Валентин Александрович Бажанов
Post-Soviet Marxism in the Soviet Era: Activity Approach to the Analysis of Science
Постсоветский марксизм в советскую эпоху

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Author discusses the specifics of the orthodox Marxist-Leninist philosophical principles in the context of ideological pressure in 1970–1980 s. He analyzes the concepts and approaches that have given rise to some new Post-Marxist ideas. He shows that the revision of the orthodox Marxism was possible exclusively due do the delicate usage of Marxist-Leninist conceptual background. He claims that it was necessary to in order to avoid accusations in revisionism and popularization of ideologically alien views. The author pays special attention to activity approach, which was represented in the works by I.S. Alexeev and M.A. Rozov. He argues that the development of this approach was one of the most significant achievements of non-orthodox Marxism in the Soviet era.
case-studies – science studies
36. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Gennady E. Gorelik Геннадий Ефимович Горелик
Hessen’s Explanation and the Needham Question, or How Marxism Helped to Put an Important Question but Hindered Answering It
Объяснение Гессена и вопрос Нидэма, или Как марксизм помог задать важный вопрос и помешал ответить на него

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Boris Hessen’s Marxist attempt to explain the origin of modern science helped Joseph Needham to come to his Grand Question. To make this heuristic question historically answerable it is extended in cultural space and time: What hindered Greco-Roman and Medieval science from making the next major step after Archimedes, and hindered Easterners from contributing to modern physics after Galileo up to the 20th century? Tо answer this question the key distinction between modern physics and pre-Galilean science is suggested: the right to invent “illogical” fundamental concepts, verifiable by experiment. The epistemological context of the Needham question and my “biblical” answer to it is discussed.
37. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Constantine D. Skordoulis Константин Скордулис
How Marxist History of Science Can Inform a Pedagogy of Science for Social Justice
Что марксистская философия науки может сказать о социальной справедливости в преподавании науки

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The scope of this paper is to examine the perspectives for a pedagogy of science for social justice situated in the framework of Marxism by proceeding to an analysis and a contemporary evaluation of the work of the scholars who are considered as the initiators of the Marxist history of science. In this paper therefore, I review N. Bukharin’s and B. Hessen’s seminal papers as presented in the 2nd International Congress of History of Science and Technology in 1931 in London. This Congress was marked by the appearance of the Soviet delegation influencing a generation of radical scientists in Britain with the most prominent figure being J. Bernal. I present J. Bernal’s views as developed in his most important work “The Social Function of Science” with an emphasis on his writings on science education and the role of science teachers for the emancipation of society. Finally, I present the work of the Austromarxist and member of the Left Vienna Circle E. Zilsel on “The Social Origin of Modern Science” contemplating on his work as an adult educator in the period that Vienna was governed by the Austrian Social Democratic Workers Party. Emphasis is placed on the role of science and education as a vehicle for raising proletarian self-awareness. The analysis of the legacies and works of these scholars of the Marxist tradition in the history of science shows that it can form the basis for a Marxist pedagogy of science that can change society and its practices in our epoch when education in science and pedagogy of science are considered one of the most important pillars of contemporary science policy.
interdisciplinary studies
38. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Álvaro Martins Siqueira Альваро Мартинc Секьера
Critical Realism and the Ontological Critique of Economics Methodology
Критический реализм и онтологическая критика методологии экономики

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The objective of this paper is to defend the importance of ontological critique of the mainstream economics. To do so, we examine the methodological arguments of Tony Lawson who, inspired by the critical realism philosophy, advocates in favor of realistic, non-deductive and ontology-aware economics to solve problems of contemporary economic theory. This article proposes that, although correct in the logic of its argument, Lawson’s critique of the mainstream is not able to explain the social reasons for its existence and reproduction. And if so, Lawson’s critique is not ontological. It can be stated that a project of generally reorienting economics methodology is impossible in case the social reason for its orthodox existence is maintained. Some substantial insights can be found in the Marx’s ontological critique of capitalism and also in the Critical Realism philosophy. Therefore, we propose an explanation for the enduring deductivism and empirical realism in economics from a Marxist perspective.
39. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Sergei N. Korsakov Сергей Николаевич Корсаков
The Floor is Given to Mr. Hessen
Слово товарищу Гессену

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The author presents the previously unknown text of the outstanding Soviet philosopher and historian of science Boris Mikhailovich Hessen. The author analyzes the report of Boris M. Hessen at the Second international Congress on the history of science and technology in London (1931). He considers as well some published works of B.M. Hessen, mainly his book on the philosophical interpretation of the theory of relativity. He argues that it is time to start introducing unpublished texts by B.M. Hessen into scientific circulation. This will make the study of his work more thorough and increase the reliability of conclusions made by specialists in Hessen’s legacy. This publication offers the reader the text of B.M. Hessen, extracted from the archive: the report of B.M. Hessen at a meeting of the Presidium of the Communist Academy about the trip to the London Congress.
40. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science: Volume > 55 > Issue: 3
Boris M. Hessen Борис Михайлович Гессен
Speech at the Presidium Session of the Communist Academies. August 1, 1931
Выступление на заседании Президиума Коммунистической академии. 1 августа 1931 г

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B.M. Hessen’s speech at the meeting of the Presidium of the Communist Academy on August 1, 1931 is a report of his trip to London for the Second International Congress on the history of science and technology. During this meeting several presentations were made by the members of the Soviet delegation. In this report Boris M. Hessen tells in detail about his contacts with the socialist intelligentsia of Great Britain, about the situation in which the Congress was held, about his visit to scientific institutions in Great Britain and about the meeting with Petr L. Kapitsa.