Canadian Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):335-356 (1980)

Henry Laycock
Queen's University
Mills writes: G. A. Cohen's influential ‘technological determinist’ reading of Marx's theory of history rests in part on an interpretation of Marx's use of ‘material’ whose idiosyncrasy has been insufficiently noticed. Cohen takes historical materialism to be asserting the determination of the social by the material/asocial, viz. ‘socio‐neutral’ facts about human nature and human rationality which manifest themselves in a historical tendency for the forces of production to develop. This paper reviews Marx's writings to demonstrate the extensive textual evidence in favour of the traditional interpretation ‐ that for Marx, the ‘material’ includes the economic, and is thus ineluctably social in character. Thus those critics of Cohen who have urged the inclusion of the relations of production in historical materialism's explanans do seem to have Marx's terminological and conceptual backing.
Keywords Marx  Marxism  Historical Materialism  Gerry Cohen  Forces of Production
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ISBN(s) 0045-5091
DOI 10.1080/00455091.1980.10715729
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Is It Immaterial That There's a 'Material' in 'Historical Materialism'?Charles W. Mills - 1989 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):323 – 342.
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