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      The Power of Marx-Engels Scientific Research Program and its Fulfilled Predictions: A Note on Heterodox Epistemology



            Knowledge is an indicator of human development, and to contribute further knowledge to the interpretation of the legacy of Marx and Engels is the objective of this article. The relevant question in this theme is: Is the Marxian message alive in the twenty-first century? This article in the fields of the history of economic thought and methodology outlines the vision of Marx-Engels in its economic, sociological and philosophical elements—chiefly the first of these. For that purpose, a description of their Scientific Research Program (SRP), a Lakatosian concept is outlined in the first section as a test of their theoretical soundness. Specifically the hard core of Marx and Engels' SRP is outlined in the second section along with a brief literature review of conceptions about the legacy of Marx and Engels' work. Marx's theory is thus systematically organized in terms of scientific research programs. In addition, both the positive heuristic and protective belt of Marx and Engels' SRP are outlined in the third section. Since a research program is an indicator of progress in science based on the empirical success of the theory in question, some fulfilled (and previously discredited) predictions of Marx and Engels' SRP are briefly mentioned in the fourth section. These interrelated methodological tasks test the argument of the qualitative aliveness of the interdisciplinary message of Marx and Engels for all time, since the identification of theoretical soundness is the first step to test scientific progressiveness in a SRP. During the process some key concepts of Marx and Engels' SRP such as exploitation, alienation and surplus are reinterpreted under this perspective, proving their relevance in modern life. It is concluded from this exercise in the fifth section that Marx and Engels' SRP is sound and progressive in qualitative terms, although it was previously rejected on the basis of ideological, theoretical and practical misinterpretations. Finally, the complex system of Marx is discussed in the Appendix to undertake a further test of the former arguments. References and further reading are listed at the end of the article.


            Author and article information

            World Review of Political Economy
            Pluto Journals
            Spring 2013
            : 4
            : 1
            : 63-85
            Copyright 2013 World Association for Political Economy

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            Political economics
            Lakatos,methodology,epistemology,history of economic thought,complex systems,Scientific Research Programs,Engels,Marx


            1. Marx-Engels vision may also be labeled as one of the main Kuhnian revolutions of all time.

            2. This insight is referred to as the Owl of Minerva .

            3. Laws are universal and eternal in physics.

            4. A definition firstly proposed by Engels, and supported by Lenin.

            5. Mainly in Schelling and in Hegel.

            6. Popper criticizes this point of view in both The Poverty of Historicism (1957) and The Open Society and its Enemies (1945).

            7. The basic Hegelian idea of thesis, synthesis and antithesis is followed, although forces are economic.

            8. This insight is also found in Hegel or in Schopenhauer. But it is envisaged by Marx in a concrete form, as opposed to an idealistic (either abstract or pessimistic) form.

            9. Rather than into passion which supports the path to the Absolute Spirit or Idea in Hegel. Man is a passive sensuous subject in Feuerbach and an object in Capitalism.

            10. The State is the reincarnation of Absolute Spirit or Absolute Idea in Hegel.

            11. The flexible idea that advanced nations must start revolutions is a part of the protective belt.

            12. This prediction is considered as erroneous by many authors.

            13. This can be a debatable point.

            14. This issue requires a detailed comparative study.

            15. History detained at the consolidation of the Prussian State during the nineteenth century, according to Hegel.


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