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41 Reviews


Young Hegels
H.S. Harris, Hegel’s Development, Volume 11: Night Thoughts
(Jena 1.801-6), Oxford University Press, 1983, £35 hb, lxx +
Robert C. Solomon, In the Spirit of Hegel, Oxford University
Press, New York, 1983, £25 hb, xxiv + 646pp
M.J. Inwood, Hegel, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983, £24 hb,
xv + 582pp

In the first days of the nineteenth century, an obscure
thirty-year-old provincial intellectual moved to the city of
Jena, hoping to worm his way into a private lectureship in
the Philosophy Faculty of what was then the most vigorous
and prestigious university in Germany. His chances did not
look good. It is true that Kant’s presumptive heir, Fichte,
had departed in 1799, after being accused of atheism. But,
as one of the newcomer’s antagonists pointed out, there
were already nearly as many teachers as students in the
Philosophy Faculty (between twenty and thirty). And the
wonderboy Friedrich Schelllng, not yet twenty-six, had already been a full professor there for three years, publlshing
five books and establlshing an enviable reputation for himself; so there was hardly an intellectual vacuum.

The hopeful newcomer was G. W.F. Hegel. Some years
later, he would be able to jeer at Schelling for ‘conducting
his education in public’. But for the time being, he was in
no position to criticise, and Schelllng was admirably generous to him, lobbying on his behalf with the Faculty, and
cajoling him into writing his first book. This was The Difference between the Fichtean and Schellingian Systems (1801),
in which, predictably perhaps, but unaffectedly, Hegel came
down on Schelling’s side. Hegel obtained permission to lecture, and the following year he and Schelllng started the
Critical Journal of Phllosophy. The problem for Hegel was
that he needed to shelter under Schelling’s patronage, without being overshadowed. Providentially, Schelllng himself
had to leave Jena ~ 1803, because of a scandal with the
wonderful, but not unmarried, Caroline Schlegel.

Schelllng’s departure led to the collapse of the Critical
Journal after its sixth issue, but it also cleared some of the
congestion threatening Hegel’s future. He revived an old
idea of writing a textbook for his lectures. But – what with
a chaotic personal life, disputation-classes and lecturecourses on logic and metaphysics, mathematics, natural
science, and ethics, not to mention his constantly changing
ideas about philosophy – Hegel kept letting his publlshers
down. At last, in the summer of 1806, he was able to give

his students a printed text for their lectures: the proofsheets of the first half of the Phenomenology of Spirit; but
he was still working on the second half, and trying to meet
an October deadline. He accomplished this with a few days
to spare; but immediately afterwards Napoleon captured the
city, causing havoc in the University and leaving Hegel’s
carefully nurtured plans in ruins.

He spent the next eighteen months working as a journalist, and did not return to University teaching untll he got
a professorship at Heidelberg ten years later, at the age of
forty-six. Stlll, he had at least published an impressive book
– a work which could not be ignored. Som.e people consider
the Phenomenology to be a carbuncle on the’ face of phllosophy; others Oncluding me) think that it is one of the most
beautiful and enjoyable books in the world. Nineteenthcentury Hegelians (including Hegel himself, some say) mostly
regarded it as a rather unsuccessful trial run for his mor.e.

systematic later works, which were frequently seen – by
their advocates as well as their enemies – as a monumental
remake of Plato, and the theoretical arm of conservatism
and authoritarianism in religion and politics.

Those who, more recently, have tried to enlist Hegel
into the tradition of progressive or revolutionary thought notably Kojeve in 1933, Marcuse in 1941, Hyppolite in 1946,
and Lukacs in 1948 – have naturally attempted to promote
the Phenomenology to at least equal rank with the later
works. The benefits of this revaluation for leftist readings
of Hegel are mixed, however. Marx himself definitely preferred Hegel’s Science of Logic; and anyway the Phenomenology is open to Platonising and reactionary interpretations as well as to Vlarxist ones. Indeed there used to be a
weight of scholarly opinion in favour of the view that the
work is split down the middle because Hegel changed his
mind about the key issues when the first half was already
printed and the second not yet written. Inevitably, with so
much depending on the status of the Phenomenology, a massive search began for a person called ‘the young Hegel’.

The process had started with Wllhelm Dilthey’s Die
Jugendgeschichte Hegels in 1905. Drawing on amass ()f
Hegel’s manuscripts preserved in Berlin, Dilthey enthusiastically evoked the idea of ‘folk-religion’ which had preoccupied
Hegel between 1793 and 1800, and which Dilthey regarded as
an anticipation of his own philosophy of history. Two years
later, a portion of these manuscripts was published under
the title of Hegel’s Early Theological Writings . The term
‘theological’ was to prove controversial, however: though
Hegel was clearly calling for a revival of religion, he did
not see himself as a friend to theology. In his book, The
Young Hegel (1948), Lukacs went so far as to denounce the
‘theological’ label as ‘a reactionary legend’.


But Lukacs’ young Hegel – who bears an uncanny resemblance both to ‘the young ‘vlarx’ and to the recently
hailed ‘young Lukacs’ – was to be overtaken by events. A
thoroughly retooled Hegel-industry went into production 1n
Germany in the 1960s, producing new dates, new attributions, and even new manuscripts. Since that time, the best
of Hegellan scholarship seems to have been devoted to such
matters as the evolution of his handwriting, making those
who are more interested in the power of his dialectic feel
rather left out: awestruck, nervous, and perhaps a bit


Thanks mainly to H.S. Harris, English readers have convenient access to the esoteric world of young-Hegel studies.

Some years ago, he brought out Hegel’s Development, Volume
I: Towards the Sunlight, 1770-1801 (Oxford University Press,
1972). After dealing quickly with Hegel’s childhood and
youth, this volume gave a painstaking account of Hegel’s
intellectual life as a seminary student at TUbingen and as a
private tutor in Berne and then Frankfurt. Harris’s meticulous; less is prodigious, and his enthusiasm for his subject has
char,n, even if it is not unerringly infectious. His main
acrdcvement is to demonstrate Hegel’s abiding passion for
the idea of a ‘folk-religion’ – a popular culture which should
satisfy the emotional needs of the masses, as well as the
intellectual requirements of the philosophers.

In the
‘TUbingen Fragment’ of 1793 (of which Harris provides a
complete translation) Hegel wrote of the need for a rellgion
which would be ‘grounded on universal reason’ but which
would also ensure that ‘fancy, heart and sensibility’ would
‘not be sent ernpty away’. Three years later, he was lamenting that ‘we are without any religious imagery which is
hornegrown or llnked with our history, and we are without
any political imagery whatever; all we have is the remains
of an imagery of our own, lurking amid the common people
under the name of superstition’ (Knox and Kroner, 216).

Philosophy, as Hegel put it in the ‘Earliest System Programme’ (1796 – also translated in Harris), must llnk itself to
mythology: ‘mythology must become philosophical in order to
make the people rational, and philosophy must become mythological in order to make the philosophers sensible.’ It was
with this exciting mixture of ideas about myth, rellgion,
philosophy, and the 0 P ople, topped off. with references in
letters from .)Cnelling to ‘the revolution that wl11 be made
by philosophy’, that, on Harris’s persuasive interpretation,
Hegel moved to Jena in January 1801. .



. The second volume of Harris’s biOgraphy 1S now avallable – eleven years after the first, and a t seven times the
price. It deals with Hegel’s years at Jena, and especially
with his frequently renewed attempts to get his own ‘system’, as he called it, into publishable shape. Harris traces
these uncertain developments with the same scrupulousness
which distinguished his first volume. He shows how the urgent activism of Hegel’s earller thought was at first pacified
under Schelllng’s influence, but then slowly revived as Hegel
planned, partially composed, and then abandoned two successive textbooks, before completing what was intended as an
introduction to the ‘system’ – the PhenomenOlogy of Spirit.

The overall direction of the story is provided by
Hegel’s growing conviction that Christianity is an advance
on ancient Greek religion, and that the individual, rather
than the community, must be the starting point for a renewal of philosophical culture. The details of the development,
however, are appallingly complicated, especially given continued uncertainties about the dating of certain manuscripts.

And whilst our Hegelian Maigret is always pleasant company,
he does spend a lot of time speculating about the content of
manuscripts (like the ‘triangle manuscript’) whose loss can
hardly be considered a serious deprivation for phllosophy. He
perhaps also devotes longer than he need to summarising
material which – thanks largely to his own efforts – is now
available in very satisfactory English translation, though,

thanks to the vagaries of academic publishing, it is almost
unobtainable in British shops and libraries .

. .

But the real problem with Harris’s new volume is that
it confines itself to the foothills. ‘My real aim,’ Harris says
in a mildly self-mocking conclusion, ‘is to elucidate the
Phenomenology of Spirit’; but though it completely dominates the landscape of his book, he stops short before he gets
there. Extrapolating from past experience, we can expect a
superb volume on the Phenomenology 1n 1994, at a cost of


Harris’s closing words – ‘there is never any need to be impatient’ – will not satisfy all his readers, so it is natural to
look for a modern guidebook to the Phenomenology itself.

And readers who fear suffocation in the archive-dust of
. Harris’s investigations wl11 be invigorated by the prairie
breezes of Robert Solomon’S In the Spirit of Hegel. The Preface sets the evangelising tone by telling us that, although
‘Hegel was a horrible writer’, nevertheless ‘we can save him
from his own language.’ A very good introduction maps out
the debates by which Solomon wl11 orient his project, which,
he says, is ‘quite literally to re-do Hegel’. The idea of Hegel
as a reactionary, Platonistic ontologist (which he attributes
to Stace, Findlay, Taylor and Stanley Rosen) will be avoided. Solomon’s Hegel wlll be ‘a strict humanist’, whose opposition to metaphysics is so vehement that he is ‘in tune with
the spirit of the logical positivists.’ We will be disappointed,
says Solomon, if we hope to find ‘the Absolute’ in Hegel:

‘Hegel began looking for the Absolute, but what he discovered was the richness of conceptual history •.•• (He was) a
conceptual anthropologist rather than an ontologist.’

The next 300 pages are a readable guide to ‘the
younger Hegel’ and his relations to German romanticism.

According to Solomon, Hegel’s move to Jena in 1801 was a
fall: his free spirit was henceforth trammelled by academic
career ism. (‘Unfortunately, to be a philosopher· with professional ambitions, then as now, meant that one had to be
profound, i.e. obscure and serious, i.e. humorless and extremely tedious.’) Solomon’s mission is to show that – even if
Hegel would have denied it – a free and youthful Hegel survived behind the increasingly forbidding and respectable
public facade; and that in the Phenomenology Hegel ‘almost
discovered that philosophy, and human nature too, were
nothing but their history, without a terminus, without a
Truth, without an essence.’

For Solomon, the main issue in Hegel-criticism is the
question of method, and specifically of how Hegel conceived
the progress of phllosophical thought from one stage to the
next. According to Solomon, ‘five generations of British
commentators’ have assumed that the relation is one of logical deduction; and they have all been mistaken. The Hegelian transitions, he argues, are not ‘logical’, nor yet ‘loose’:’

they are accornpllshed not by pursuing an abstract ‘method’,
but by following ‘the path we expect to be taken to a particular result’; they are a matter of growth, not of logic, and
as Solomon points out, ‘growth is not the acorn’s method of
finding an oak tree.’

The second half of Solomon’s book is more specific.

Under the title of ‘Hitching the Highway of Despair’, he
leads us, more or less sequentially, through almost every
paragraph of the Phenomenology. Even when he is persistently unconvincing (as in his often repeated but always elusive repUdiation of the idea that the contradictions Hegel
writes about are logical contradictions), what he provides is
never less than enjoyable, and often more, as when he pursues some disagreements with Heidegger, Charles Taylor, and
Alasdair MacIntyre.

One of the freshest portions of the commentary is the
discussion of the master-slave dialectic. Like many other
recent critics, Solomon finds that the significance of this
‘parable’ within Hegel’s plot has been vastly exaggerated,
ever since Kojeve’s interpretation of it fifty years ago. He
drives the point home by firmly refuting the supposition that

the slave eventually trIumphs over the master. (The truth IS
that the master-slave relatIonshIp survIves as a whole, to
become the origIn of subsequent developments.) Solomon’s
revision does not go far enough, though, for he still refers
to master and slave as ‘two principal persons’, desplte the
fact that Hegel does not Introduce the category of ‘person’

till a much later stage of his argument. Solomon also perpetuates the legend that Marx was decisIvely Influenced by
the master-slave discussion in Hegel .

After 100 pages dIscussing Hegel’s ethics Solomon
comes round to a culmInatIng chapter called ‘The Secret of
Hegel’. Here he argues, with some excltement, that since
rellgion is ‘superseded’ by philosophy in the argument of the
Phenomenology, the book contains a coded but unmIstakable
atheIstic message, or at least an antI-ChrIstIan one. ThIs
squIb IS a lIttle damp, though: all that we can prove from
the text of the Phenomenology is that, havIng contemplated
the variegated hIstory of ChristIanIty, and the achIevements
of anCIent PaganIsm, the certaIntIes of unconsldered ChrIstIan faIth were no longer avallable to Hegel – and no ChristIan Hegellan would ever have supposed otherwise.

The dlfflculty IS that Solomon can pIn his cheerfully
humanIstic and relatIvIstic and ‘young Hegellan’ conclusIons
onto Hegel only by resortIng to the Idea that Hegel, at least
In hIs maturity, dId not know what he really meant. It can
hardly be denied that the Phenomenology culminates In a
descriptIon of ‘Absolute Knowledge’ as the comprehensIve
last word on everythIng. Solomon asserts, however, that
Hegel’s philosophy IS ‘an absolute relativIsm’, which implles,
he claIms, ‘the utter impossibllity of denYIng an Irreducible
plurallty of possIble human experiences and, consequently,
possIble human worlds. But’ – he goes on – ‘Hegel hImself
couldn’t even consIder this conclusIon, and though he establlshed It more brllllantly than anyone ever has In hIs Phenomenology, he felt compelled to deny It with hIs unproven
appeal to the Absolute…. After Dorothy’s dIscovery, the
Wizard stlll had a career to carry on.’

Solomon’s llghtness of touch wlll certaInly endear him
to the worried novices for whom his book is intended; even
if they find his 600 large pages too much, they will welcome
the 15-page glossary of Hegel’s main terms at the middle of
the book – a sectIon whkh seems likely to lead to an active
Independent Ilfe In the form of lIlegal photocopies. For
apart from this, those seeking a cheap and easy guide to
Hegel in general, may well be satIsfied with Peter Singer’s
Hegel (Oxford University Press, 1983); while those who want
a philosophical Introduction to the Phenomenology may confidently stay with Richard Norman’s short but excellent
Hegel’s Phenomenology (Sussex University Press/Harvester,

After Harris’s leisurely scholarship, and Solomon’s breeziness, M.J. Inwood’s Hegel may come as rather a jolt. It belongs to a series whose aim is to provide brief ‘analytical’

commentaries on ‘the arguments of the philosophers’; and it
is dedicated to the idea of philosophy as uncompromising
hard work. The only point he shares with Harris, Solomon,
and most other Hegel-scholars, is that he seems to have got
infected with Hegellan gigantism – as if, with utter disregard for trees, budgets, or eyes, the purpose of wr lting on
Hegel were not so much to present a few new ideas about
him, as to write it all out again, like some obsessive character in a :-ltory by Borges.


Inwood’s book is fastidiously thoughtful, and, in its
scrupulous deafness to the contingencies of fashion and the
marketplace, quite brilllant. Implicltly, it is a rebuff to all
partisans of ‘the young Hegel’. Inwood does Hegel the honour
of taking him at his word – as the creator of a ‘phllosophical system’, with three parts, deallng respectively with logk,
nature and mind, the greatest of these being logic. For
Inwood, as for Hegel, the Phenomenology is a kind of portico
leading in to the great edifke of ‘the system’ itself.

In his first half, Inwood giv(;s a sympathetic description
of the ‘problems’ which Hegel’s system was designed to solve
– how to overcome the fragmentation of experience; how to
avoid making assumptions; how to construct a system which
could represent not only the world but also its own emergence in it; how to prove the existence and qualities of God;
and how to explain that proofs produce new concepts, rather
than merely (as in standard logic) recycling existing ones.

In the second half of his book, Inwood patiently weighs
up Hegel’s performance wIth each of the problems he
tackles: even the notoriously unattractive doctrines that
natural reality contains logical contradictions, and that it
has the structure of syllogisms, are portrayed wlth great
care and effectiveness. In the end, by Inwood’s tests, almost
none of Hegel’s doctrines deserve to be bell~ved; but, by his
example, Inwood demonstrates that they are well worth

Inwood leaves us, therefore, with the paradoxical idea
of a philosophy whkh is false but indispensable. His book is
a reminder that, if we take Hegel llterally, he is indeed an
absolutist and a theist. The possibility remains, though, that
it might be better not to take Hegel literally – to read his
books as if they were some kind of fiction, perhaps. For
then the project of progressive ‘young Hegellanism’ comes
back to life. Kant, after all, had argued that there were
fictions – about the unity of nature, or the kingdom of ends,
or hIstorical progress – whkh we must trust in not because
they are objectively true, but because otRerwise they would
be impossible, and because their possibility is a condition of
wisdom and virtue. In the same way, Hegel’s system can be
read as a philosophical Utopia – an absolute fktion about
what things would look like if it were possible to grasp them
as a perspective less whole, once and for all. But Hegel himself, It would have to be conceded, was not exactly a playful Utopian novelist. As Inwood says, ‘it is not modest to
claim to be a mere mouthpiece for one’s subject-matter,
particularly if one’s subject-matter is God’; and multltudes
of postulated ‘young Hegels’ cannot alter that fact.

Jonathan Ree

Nohl, Hege Is Theologische Jugendschr if ten, Tlibingen, 1907;
as Early Theological Writings, by T.M. Knox, with an introduction by Richard Kroner, Chica!-;o, 1948. Some political writings of
the ‘.dITlC period are av<:tilable in Hegel's Political Writings, trans. T.M.

Knox, with an introduction by Z.A. PelczYllski, Oxford University Press,

Another main source fur the study of the young Hegel is J.K.F.

Rosellkranz, G.W.F. Hegels Leben, 1844, and ‘Hegels ursprlingliche
Sys t(‘III 1798-1806’ ([ 844), which made use of manuscripts since lost.

2 The Difference between Fichte’s and Schelling’s System of Philosophy
(1801), trans. H.S. Harris and WaIter Cerf, Albany, SUNY Press, 1977;
Faith and Knowledge (1802), trans. WaIter Cerf and H.S. Harris, Albany,
SUNY- Press, 1977; Natural Law (1802-3), trans. T.M. Knox, ed. H.B.

ACtOIl, Philadelphia, University of Pennsy Jvania Press, 1975; System of
Ethied Life (1802-3) &: First Philosophy of Spirit (1803-4), trans. H.S.

Harri’i and T.vL Knox, Albany, SUNY Press, 1979.

See Chris Arthur, ‘Objectification and Alienation in Marx and Hegel’,
Radicll Philosophy 30, Spring 1982, pp. 14-24; and ‘Hegel’s MasterSlave Dialectic and a Myth of Marxology’, New Left Review 142,
November-December 1983, pp. 67-75.


Radicalism and reaction in the
work of Max Weber
Susan J. Hekman, Max Weber and Contemporary SocIal
Theory, MartIn Robertson, 1983, f:.16.50 hb, 213pp
Glanfranco Poggl, CalvInIsm and the Capltallst SpIrit: Max
Weber’s ‘Protestant Ethlc’, Macmlllan, 1983, E 12 hb, f:.5.95
pb, 121pp
Stephen P. Turner and RegIs A. Factor, Max Weber and the
DIspute Over Reason and Value, Routledge and Kegan Paul,
19’84, f:.14.96 hb, 274pp
The work of Max Weber occupIes an ambIguous posItlOn In
relation to the dIverse projects of avowedly ‘radlcal’ socIal
theory. VIewed in a certaIn llght, Weber Is one of the enemy. At the level of general methodology he Is responsIble
for forgIng neo-Kantlanlsm Into ‘the prlnclpal alternative to
the post-Hegellanlsm of Marx’s dlalectlcal materlallsm’

(Turner, 1981, p.3). HIs substantive theory of capitallsm Is
the most influential of bourgeoIs rearguard actions agaInst
MarxIsm, revertIng to an Idealist conception of history and a
polItIcal-economic theory of class. Weber’s polltlcal theory
Is even more suspect. A commItment to German imperlallsm
underpIns a celebration of power-polltlcs, and opens dIrect
lInes Into fasclsm.

Were thIs an adequate placIng of Weber’s corpus, radlcal
theory could shudder and qulckly pass on. In fact, Weberlan
themes enter Into radlcal socIal theory at each of the
‘levels’ noted above. t1ethodologlcal debates withIn sociology durlng the ’60s and ’70s led to an equatIon of radlcalism with opposition to the hydra of ‘positIvIsm’. WithIn such
a radlcalism, Weber’s development of an ‘action’ methodology can occupy an honourable place.

The ‘rationallsation’ theme in Weber’s theory of capitalism became a major focus for Frankfurt School theorists,
who took it up ‘ … in ways connected to the dlalectlc of living and dead labour, of ethlcal and systemlc relatIons’

(Habermas, 1984, p. 343). For Habermas, the theme must
remaIn at the core of a radlcal socIal theory (ibId., p. 399).

Attempts to reformulate Varxlst c1ass-theory-have also
drawn on Weber, if less overtly, so that, as Parkin remarks,
‘InsIde every neo-Marxlst there seems to be a Weberlan
struggling to get out’ (Parkin, 1979, p. 25). Commentators on
Weber’s political theory have come to stress his Nietzschean
pedigree. This has led, in turn, to the recognition of thematic continuities between Weber and Foucault’s recently
fashionable explorations of ‘power/knowledge’ .

The three volumes under review can each be related to
at least one of these ‘levels’ on whlch the radical potential
of Weber’s work can be problematised. They thus provide a
useful occasion for a brief assessment of that potential.

Hekman’s concern is with Weber’s methodology and its relevance to contemporary foundational debates. Poggi elucidates the argument-form of the ‘Protestant ethlc thesis’ and
its place in his account of Occldental rationalisation. Turner
and Factor examine Weber’s value-theory, which informs
both the rationallsation theme and his conception of polltics,
and review the debates to whlch it has given rise.

Hekman seeks to defend and deploy Weber’s methodologlcal concepts (Most notably that of the ‘ideal type’) in
order to solve the potentially fatal foundational problems of
social science. ‘In et ohilosophlcal sense, the social sciences
are floundering. fhey have discarded the positivist foundations of their discipline; nevertheless, they fall to agree a
viable replacement’ (Hekman, p. 193). Drawing on Gidcle r ,s
for support, Hekman urges that any ‘viable replacement’

iDUSt consist in a foundational synthesis of post-positIvIst
schools of general methodology, a synthesis of ‘subject and
structure’. She goes on to advance the thesis that ‘ … in his
theory of the ideal type, Weber effected a synthesis between the analysis of subjectIve meaning and the assessment
of structural forms’ (Hekman, p. 14). Thus, after some flnetuning, Weber’s general methodology can serve as a new
foundatIon for the socIal sclences.

It wIll be clear from the above that Hekman accepts
wIthout question a version of the ‘foundatlonallst’ thesIs,
according to whlch only the formulae of phllosophy, or general methodology, can valldate, ground, legitimate or justIfy
the practlces of social science inquiry. But to read Weber
through such a foundationalist grId is to obscure the posslbillty that he Is of interest to radical theory precisely as a
critlc of phllosophlcal foundatlonalism. Two examples wlll
illustrate the manner in whlch Hekman begs this question.

First, she advances the common view that Weber’s general methodology dert “es from Rlckert’s version of neoKantianism: despite hI” denial that generallsation is pecullar
to the ‘sclences of nature’, ‘Weber was in general agreement
with most of Rlckert’s theory’ (Hekman, p. 22). This allgnment supports the image of Weber as the author of a verstehende sociology, founded on a methodologlcal approprIation of neo-Kantlan value-theory. But it is just thIs Image
whlch Is contested by those who see Weber’s concern with
values as prlmarlly polltlcal and Nletzschean.

Mommsen (who allows that Weber ‘borrows’ from
Rlckert) InsIsts that ‘Weber did not share the belIef of the
neo-Kantlans In the exIstence of any “objectIve” cultural
values’ (Mommsen, 1974, p. 7). Turner and Factor argue that
Weber’s entIre socIology Is ‘… motIvated by a speciflc
(Nletzschean, SC) philosophy of values and Is unlntelllglble
apart from It’ (Turner and Factor, p. 39). On the same basIs,
Fleischmann scorns the ‘ … futility of Rlckert’s efforts to
place Weber (after his death) in the Pantheon of neo-Kantianlsm’ (Fleischmann, 1964, p. 197). It may well be that a
‘Nletzschean’ denial of the rationalIty of values can co-exist
with elements of a ‘neo-Kantian’ methodology . But
Hekman simply does not allow this crucial question to be

Second, Hekman devotes an entire chapter to Weber’s
conceptIon of ‘objectivity’ and Its pertInence to postWlnchean debates about ‘rationallty’. Yet at no point rloes
she refer to what many would see as Weber’s most sIgnIficant contrlbutlon to this area; the substantIve conceptIon of
‘rationalIsatIon’ as a soclo-historlcal process. The possibility
whlch Hekman excludes by default Is nlcely caught by
Bauman. ‘Max Weber saw the chance of an objectIve understanding In the very changes already brought about by the
advent of Capltallsm: in the central role capitallsm assIgns,
to an ever growIng degree, to ratIonal-instrumental actIon’

(Bauman, 1978, p. 69).

ConsIdered in Its own terms, Hekman’s general argument
flows well enough. The’ ideal-type’ concept is elucIdated,
and defended agaInst both subjectivlst and structuralist crItIques. She has useful poInts to make about Weber’s relation
to themes in recent general methodology (on the whole she
prefers the Wittgensteln-Winch tradItion). But the entIre
text has the flavour of a somewhat formal exercise. It Is
never quite clear what the purpose of a refounded social
scIence is to be, or how ‘refoundatlon’ wIll alter research
practIces. It may well be that Weber’s Importance fo these
questIons lles precisely In the anti-foundationallst straIn
whlch Hekman effaces from his work.


The ‘Protestant ethic thesis’ forms a useful case-study
in the llmits of a foundationalist reading of Weber. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitallsm is often treated
as a battlefield in the foundational war between ‘ideallsm’

and ‘materiallsm’. As Mann notes in his ‘foreword’ to Poggi,
generations of soclology students have been requlred to contrast ‘ … Weber’s stress on the content of rellglous bellefs
with 1arx’s stress on materlal factors as explanatlons of the
rise of capltallsm’ (Poggl, p. vll). The outcome of such comparisons wlll normally be taken to be an endorsement of the
foundatlonal power of elther verstehende sociology or hlstorical materlallsm. Alternatlvely, some mlghty synthesls between the two general methodologles mlght be proposed.

The thrust Of not all the detall) of Poggl’s persuaslve
re-readlng of the argument is resolutely antl-foundatlonallst.

Poggl Inslsts that Weber dld Intend The Protestant Ethic as
a refutatlon of what (unfalrly, no doubt) he took to be the
clalms of ‘Hlstorical Materiallsm’ about the relatlon of
‘base’ to ‘superstructure’.

But thls refutatlon proceeds
through ‘ .. ; the sustalned examlnatlon of a slgnlficant contrary Instance’ (Poggl, p. 84), rather than through general
foundational argument .

The value of Poggl’s Interpretation lles flrst In hls careful reconstructlon of the phases of Weber’s argument and
second, In hls strlklng account of the pertlnence of the
argument to the hlstory of capitalist development. It is a
common vulgarlsation of Weber to portray Calvlnlst doctrlne
as an Immedlate motive for engagement in, and the ‘ratlonal’

conduct of, business. Agalnst thls vlew, Poggi makes clear
that Calvlnlst doctrlne, the ethic of ‘lnner-worldly ascetlcIsm’, and the occupatlonal ethlc whlch Weber terms ‘the
splrit of capltalism’ are conceptually dlstlnct and On hlstorlcal terms) only contlngently related elements. ‘ … The
whole story shows how a certaln body of rellglous Ideas
(Calvlnlst doctrine In partlcular) typically leads the bellever
to adopt a certaln ethical posture Onner-worldly ascetlclsm).

Thls posture In turn – wlthln certaln groups already Involved
In the practlce of buslness – engenders a certain occupatlonal ethlc (the splrlt of capitalism)’ (Poggi, p. 56).

Poggi’s account of the historical slgnficance of The Protestant Ethic begins with the claim, in evidence above, that
the ‘protestant ethic’ develops among groups of Calvinists
who have been involved in business for some generations.

The ‘ethic’ is neither the immediate motive for business activity, nor the original catalyst for the formation of a group
identity. The significance of Weber’s thesis relates to what
Poggl construes as the third stage in the development of
‘the western BUrgertum’. In the first two phases the
BUrger”tum has constituted itself as a powerful ‘estate’,
establlshed in the economic, legal and political structures of
the late-medieval city. The historical role of the ‘protestant
ethic’ is to have promoted, wlthin elements of that estate,
the emergence of the rationallsing ‘spirit of capitalism’. This
led to the transformation of the social relations involved in
the conduct of business, and set in motion the processes
which transformed the BUrgertum from an estate into a
cl’:lss. In the formula which Pog~i elucidates at some length,

Weber’s argument is ‘partial, cotnplex and momentous’

(Poggi, p. 79).

Poggi’s argument does not evade foundational entanglements entirely. It Is open to doubt whether he reconciles his
Insistence on the contingent, hlstorlcal character of Weber’s
thesis wlth allusions to ‘elective affinities’ or ‘meaningful
congruences’ between the relevant formations . But what
emerges clearly from Poggl is a view of the place of ‘ideas’

in history In which ‘ … the bearing of the original intentlons
upon the later outcomes often becomes positively bizarre
and perverse’ (Poggi, p. 87). It may be posslble to assimilate
certain of Marx’s remarks to thls view, and the ironic ‘dlalectic of enllghtenment’ Is famillar from Adorno’s work. By
and large, however, radical theory has been reluctant to
reflect on the impllcatlons of Weber’s sense of the ‘evil
ambience’ of routinisation and the ‘underlying malevolence’

of social reallty (Turner, 1981, p. 10). It is more comfortable
to repeat vade mecum critiques of ‘ldealism’, ‘teleology’ and
‘pesslmlsm’ .

These issues lead back to the question of the approprlate general interpretation of Weber. It Is possible to
Identify three major frameworks in whlch unity mlght be
sought for Weber’s apparently diverse concerns. The flrst
seeks to remake Weber in the image of American soclology.

In this veln Parsons portrays the conception of a ‘valuefree’ but ‘value-relevant’ soclal sclence as one whlch transcended its orlglns and ‘ … heralded the “end of Ideology'”
(Parsons, 1971, p. 48). More recently, Alexander has acknowledged the exlstence of contradlctory tendencies In
Weber’s work, while maintalning that the ‘llberal’ elements
celebrated by Parsons and Bendlx ‘ … are the most valuable
kernels of Weber’s analysis of contemporary soclety’

(Alexander, 1983, p. 100).

The second general framework is that advanced by
Hekman, among others: Weber the founder of a neo-Kantian
verstehende sociology. Turner and Factor set themselves the
task of shattering both of these images, par.ticularly the former. The story about Weber the’ … herolc defenderof reason
and sclence against Ideological attack’ Is, they al1ege, ‘a
falry tale’ (Turner and Factor, p. 1). In Its place Turner and
Factor seek to install a third, less prepossessing, Image of
Weber as a reactionary Nletzschean nihilist.

The claim that Weber is an lrrationalist is not new, of
course. Lukacs, for example, argues that the doctrlne of
‘value-neuturality’ ‘ … banished irrationalism from (Weber’s)
methodology … only In order to introduce it as the phllosophical basis of his world-plcture •.. ‘ (Lukacs, 1980, p. 619).

From a very different perspective, Strauss’s celebrated
paper clalms that Weber’s doctrine of the subjective, nonrational, character of value-choice ‘ … necessarlly leads to
nihllism, or to the view that every preference, however evll,
base (X msane, has to be judged before the tribunal of reason to be as legitimate as any other preference’ (Strauss,
1953, p. 42). In a more strictly ‘sociological’ mould, Flelschmann (1964), Aron (1971) and ‘vlommsen (1974) have all
stressed the Nletzschean turn in Weber’s theories of value
and politlcs.

One of the maln achlevements of Turner and Factor Is
to have charted the manner in whlch these, and other, interpretations of Weber’s value doctrlne emerged, and to map
the complex debates wlthin whch they are placed. Their
book Is essential reading for anyone interested in the Influence of debates in pre-war Germany on the development
of post-war social science. Turner and Factor have rnore
than documentary ambitlons, however. They also develop
thelr own analysis and evaluation of Weber’s positlon.

Weber’s value-doctrlne (and defences of It from contemporary Weberlans such as Roth and Schluchter) turns on
a serles of illegitlmate reductions and elislons. Flrst, Weber
treats ethlcal judgements as ‘values’, and concludes that al1
values involve choice. Second, he elides the ‘choice’ between alternative courses of action with the ‘choice’ between ethlcal theories. Third, he reduces ‘rationality’ to a
deductivlst conception ‘… that identlfles reasoning with

deductive reasoning from principles’ (Turner and Factor, p.

36). On this basis Weber can ‘prove’ that values are nonrational, and that (subjective) value-choice is inescapable.

He can then argue that only one of a range of possIble
choices Is ‘realistic’.

The most general form of thIs argument is found in
Weber’s ‘PolitIcs as a Vocation’, where he distinguishes the
‘ethics of ultimate ends’ (concerned only wIth intentions)
from the ‘ethics of responsibility’ (concerned with consequences). Only the latter is a ‘realistic’ response to the
challenge of the times. More specific versions of the same
argument dispose of alternatives to extreme nationalism in
politics, and ‘value-neutrality’ in social science. Weber contrives to pass off highly specific (and generally reactionary)
value-judgements as the necessary consequence of a ‘realistic’ sociology of values. Turner and Factor follow the
vicissitudes of these doctrines over the course of half a
century, to conclude that ‘Weber believed that he had discovered the limits of reason: perhaps it would be better to
say that he had discovered the limits of a particular philosophical tradition’ (Turner and Factor, p. 233).

The distaste which Turner and Factor display for the
reactionary content and hectoring tone of Weber’s valuedoctrine is no doubt to their credit. But the suspicion remains that the doctrine embodies in sights which a radical
social theory would ignore at its peril. First among these
must be the claims that the question of ‘values’ is central to
social and political theory, and that the question must be
placed in an historical context. The argument that values
have been ‘subjectivised’ by the process of rationalisation
cannot simply be ignored.

Attempts in radical social theory to think away this
problem have their own fates. Thus, Lukacs’s early attempts
to evade subjectivism and relativism pitch him into an hIstoricism which replaces Weber with Hegel. On the other
hand, the ‘discourse-theoretic’ neo-Marxism advanced by
Hindess, Hirst and others in the late ’70s seems to fall prey
to precisely that ‘irrationalism’ which Lukacs condemned in
Weber: ‘values’ are rigorously excluded from theoretical discourse, which becomes a matter of ‘calculation’, but the
choice of one discourse as against another cannot be rendered rationally accountable. If radical social theory tries to
evade the Weberian problem of the ‘fate’ of values, it must
fall victim to that fate.

The fate of values is one aspect of the’ ironic’ conception of history exemplified by the ‘Protestant ethic thesis’

and discussed above, and it is perhaps appropriate to end
with a paradox. The apparently ‘progressive’ elements in
Weber’s work, as interpreted by Hekman, seek to embroil
radical socIal theory in a foundationalist metaphysics. The
more overtly ‘reactionary’ themes in Weber seek to relate
the collapse of traditional foundationalism to the ‘fate’ of
modernity, and are therefore of more interest and importance to radical theory. As Fleischmann notes, for Weber
‘The task of the true scholar Is to give value to the values
themselves … ‘ (Fleischmann, 1964, p. 238). The would-be
radical scholar cannot evade this task.

Steve Crooks

0” these rel’-ltions ~(‘e, for cXLimplc, Turneer 1982 and Dews 19113.

The example of Silllrnel, whose own influence on Weber was considerable, sugge”ts that this is ~o. Rickert’s recognition of the existence of
ddkrent ‘sphere~’ of culture clearly feeds into Weber’s Nietzschean
dtticrentiation between conflicting ‘spheres of value’.

Wcber’s text ‘Stammler’s “refutation” of the Materialist Conception of
History’ (Critique of Stalllmler) mdicates his scepticism about the value
01 ;uch argulTlcllt.

S(‘e, for exampk, PoggJ’S c1iscus~ion of the ‘disaffmities’ between
C.,tholicislll and the capitalist spirit on pp. 56-60.

Bibliography of texts not under review
Alexander, J. (19&3) Theoretical Logic in Sociology Volume 3, Routledge
alld Kegan Paul
Aron, R. (197 I) ‘Max Weber and Power-Politics’ in Stammer, O. (ed.), 1971
(1978) Hermeneutics and Social Science, Hutchinson
Dews, P. (1983) ‘Power and Subjectivity in Foucault’, New Left Review 144
Fleiscilmann, E. (1964) ‘De Weber
Nietzsche’, Archives europeenes de
sociologie, tome V
Habermas, J. (1984) The Theory of Communicative Action Vol 1, Heinemann
Lukac~, G. (1980) The Destruction of Reason, Merlin
\omlJlsen, W. (1974) The Age of Bureaucracy, Blackwell
Parsons, T. (1971) ‘Value-Freedom and Objectivity’ in Stammer, O. (ed.)



Stammer, O. (ed.) (1971) Max Weber and Sociology Today, Blackwell
Strau~s, L. (1953) Natural Right and History, University of Chicago Press
Turm>r, B. (1981) For Weber, Routledge and Kegan Paul
Turner, B. (1982) ‘Nietzsche, Weber and the Devaluation of Politics’,
Sociological Review Vol 30

Dangers of Deterrence
Nlgel Blake and Kay Pole, eds., Dangers of Deterrence: philosophers on nuclear strategy, Routledge and Kegan Paul,
1983, 1:.5.95 pb, 184pp
Nlgel Blake and Kay Pole, eds., ObjectIons to Nuclear Defence: philosophers on deterrence, Routledge and Kegan Paul,
1984, 1:.5.95 pb, 186pp
Karl Jaspers, The A tom Bomb and the Future of Man,
Chicago University Press, 1984, 1:.8.45 pb, 342pp
Philosophers have written some of the most dreadful prose
known to mankind, so it is a rellef to find that many of the
contributors to the two volumes edited by Blake and Pole
are not phllosophers at all, and that some of those who are
have managed to turn out some engaging and readable
essays. In fact, there is not much phllosophy in the two volumes. Objections is mostly moral argument (on which philosophers, of course, have no monopoly) and Dangers operates
primarily in the areas of strategic and polltical debate.

There is not too much here to put off the non-specialist

In terms of style and tone the contributions vary greatly. Michael Dummett’s magnificent essay ‘Nuclear Warfare’

in Objections is a passionate, crusading denunciation of the
monstrous wickedness and insanity of nuclear deterrence. In
Dangers Mary Mldgley and W.B. Gallle adopt a more detached and cautious style in pickIng their way carefully
through the arguments for and against deterrence and dIsarmament. The question of style is at the heart of the essay
which I found the most original and exciting in the two
books (and one of the few which really is phllosophical),
‘Morallty and Survival in the Nuclear Age’ by Susan Whin
Zaw. She tries to understand what reason and imagInatIon
can each contribute to the process of developing fundamentally new moral perspectives appropriate to the drastically
new situation. The conditIons of life are so changed, she
argues, that ‘the values with which one is already equipped
are slmpl y inadequate for dealing with the world’.

ObjectIons explores some of the moral argume~ts which
have been at the centre of the debate about nuclear weapons within the ChristIan Churches. If engagIng in nuclear
warfare is immoral, does it follow that threatening to engage In it (which Is what deterrence Is based on) is also
immoral? Does threatening nuclear warfare necessarily Involve intendIng to engage In it under certaIn conditIons? Is
this intention immoral absolutely, under all conditions, or
only conditionally, depending on the circumstances? Do the


moral distlnctlons wrltten into Internatlonal laws, treatles
and conventlons of warfare have any possible applicatlon in
nuclear war? The essays on these toplcs by Antony Kenny,
11chael Dummett, Roger Ruston and Bernard Wllllams are
very useful.

Mlchael Dummett takes the vlew that nuclear deterrence
Is uncondltlonally wlcked. Bernard Wllllams dlsagrees. He
argues that moral judgement must take Into account the clrcumstances and llkely consequences of actlon and pollcy.

The case for nuclear dlsarmament, then, must be based not
on moral absolutes but on the klnds of reasoning that are at
the heart of pollcy formation, international relatlons and
strateglc thinking, that Is practical and prudentlal reasoning.

When crltics claim that CND lacks realism, their charge usually amounts to just this, that unllaterallsm Is based on
moral absolutes and ignores practlcal conslderations.

It is not necessarlly as a consequence of cynicism or
wickedness (though these are certainly not in short supply In
rullng drcles In both blocs) that decisions on defence policy
and internatlonal relatlons always subordinate moral values
to prudential calculatlon. For example, political leaders may
be convinced by Roger Ruston’s concluslon that ‘the use of
nuclear weapons and the threat to use them flagrantly violate (internatlonal laws and conventlons) and the moral
framework within which they stand’. But, they will answer,
with the sad shrug of the worldly-wise, there are o¥erriding
consideratlons. The peace movement has no hope of success
unless it can convince people that nuclear disarmament is
not only morally proper but also that It makes practical
sense as a ‘realistic’ defence policy.

There has been an enormous wealth of argument supporting such a case produced in the last year or two, and
Dangers of Deterrence makes a modest contribution to this
effort. The most substantial essay in the book is ‘Unllaterallsm: A Clausewitzian Reform?’ by Ken Booth, a strategic
studies and foreign pollcy expert, who argues· that nonnuclear defence makes optimum strategic sense for Brltaln.

But Booth’s argument also shows clearly the limitations of
this kind of strategic studies analysis. His argument is based
on the idea that global ‘stabillty’ must contlnue to be based
on the world-order of the post-war settlement – the dlvision
of Europe into spheres of influence, the military occupatlon
of Europe by foreign powers, the confrontatlon of the two
superpowers. But It Is just this International order which has
produced the arms race, whlch continues to escalate the
arms race to unimaginable proportions and which creates the
risk that the whole sys tem will tip into the termlnal insta~lllty of nuclear conflict.

In other words, it is not a stable system at all. When it does
produce local Islands of ‘stabillty’ this takes the form, as in
Poland and Turkey, of the milltary boot starnping on the
face of all aspiratlons to democracy and freedom. Booth
argues that ‘Europe has to contlnue to llve wlth the implicatlons of the Cold War and the shadows of two determlned
superpowers’. But this Is to ignore all those grave and
ever-multipylng risks of war which Booth has himself documented at length at the beginning of his essay. Britlsh nuclear disarmament would not by itself diminish by any significant degree the risks of nuclear war except wlthln the context of some broader European polltlcs of dlsengagement,
some internatlonal political dynamic that would help to shift
International relatlons away from the confrontation of
nuclear-armed blocs. We can only avoid the frozen was tes of
the nuclear winter If Britlsh nuclear dlsarmament helps to
thaw the icy stasis of the Cold War.

Karl Jaspers’s book was originally publlshed In German
in 1958. The Engllsh translation is now republlshed as a
paperback. It contains a mixture which I find impossible to
stomach – Cold War polltics, German existentlallsm and rellgious faith. His style of phllosophical argument is not now as
fashionable as it once was. In this tradition of thinking,
phllosophy has a world-historic mission. The philosopher
:;tands above and surveys all departments of human thought
and activity. The whole panorama of human history lles ben34

eath him. From this height he can diagnose the human conditlon and point the way forward.

What Jaspers can see from his eminence is that the
world faces two possible forms of utter disaster: elther destruction by the bomb or world conquest by totalitarlanism.

In either event, history would come to an end. In the latter
case it would end because history Is freedom, whereas totalitarianism Is absolute unfreedom. This klnd of phllosophical
argument is based on the notlon that you can sum up the
essential truth of complex socleties or historical epochs in
one slmple concept. That one thing is the essence. It tells us
everything there is to know about the future possibilities for
society. It is a style of thinking that wants to reduce all the
multiple complexities, contradictions and potentiallties of
the present to just one essentlal concept (‘freedom’j’unfreedom’). For all its apparent sophisticatlon, this kind of philosophy Is In the end very simple-mlnded.

What happens If a cholce has to be made between these
two ways of bringlng history to an end? Does the philosopher recommend pushlng the nuclear button In the event of a
. threatened Soviet offenslve? Yes, he does. Rather everyone
dead than everyone totally unfree. By falllng to face up to
this greatest risk ‘man would be falllng in hls task’. But
what Is thls talk of ‘man’s task’? Is human hlstory the workIng through of some preconcelved asslgnment? It emerges In
the flnal chapter of the book that Jaspers does rest hls case
on a rellglous faith In the ultlmateneanlngfulness of human
hlstory In the Ilght of some transcendent purpose. When hlstory ends, as some rellglously motlvated great statesman
unleashes the final war, we can be confldent, Jaspers argues, that it wlll not have been In vain. ‘It could be necessary only as a sacrifice made for the sake of eternlty.’ We
should contemplate nuclear war wlth Job’s words in ‘TIind:

‘The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be
the name of the Lord.’ Personally, I do not find thls vlew of
hlstory reassurlng. I hope Chrlstlan frlends In CND can forgive me saying that, In thls nuclear age, wheri I hear talk of
eternlty or the trials of Job I would, if I had one, run for
my bunker. Slnce I do not have one I wlll book my place on
the coach to Barrow and put my faith, inasmuch as I have
any, In polltlcs.

John Mepham
(Thls review orlglnally appeared in Sanity)

Adolf GrUnbaum, The Foundations of Psychoanalysls: a phllosophlcal crltlque, Unlverslty of Californla Press, 1984. E15.60
hb, 310pp
When It is asked, ‘Is psychoanalysis a science?’, two dlstinct
questlons can be Intended. One concerns the posslble sa tisfaction by Freud’s theory of those criterla which distlngulsh
a sclentiflc from a non-sclentiflc doctrlne; another asks
about the relationshlp between psychoanalysls and the ‘natural’ sclences. Thus, with respect to the first, most are famlliar wlth Popper’s characterlsation of Freud’s theory as a
pseudo-science unfalslflable by any conceivable experlence:

as for the second, there Is the clalm that psychoanalysls Is a
human sclence whose theoretlcal domaln is not reducible to
that of such natural sclences as blology for Instance. Adolf
GrUnbaum’s Is, on the whole, a welcome addition to thls debate on the purported sclentiflcity of psychoanalysls. The
author Is generally syrnpa thetic to Freud, and hls concern
accurately and falrly to represent Freud’s views Is shown by
his painstaking textual ci t tion. His arguments are carefully

and precisely outlined, meticuhusly defended and their
import extensively detailed. Indeed, if anythIng, the style is
over ponderous and the lan~uage unnecessarily prolix: there
is much that could be, and deserves to be, stated with more
concision and bite. There is rather too much wielding of
argumentative sledge hammers to crack minor nuts, and the
telllng quotation is redeployed once too often.

ThIs is a pity. In essence, GrUnbaum’s case is a simple
one: psychoanalysis is not unfalsifiable, but it is not confirmed by experIence since clinical data (‘from the couch’)
can only v~lida te the key Freudian claims – for example,
concernIng repression – on condition that a certain argument
succeeds. This, which GrUnbaum gives the sobriquet ‘The
Tally Argument’, maintains that, crudely, in psychoanalysis
if it works it’s right; that is that a hypothesis’s correctness
is ultimately guaranteed by its therapeutic efficacy. GrUnbaum seeks to show how Freud was himself aware of the
problems surrounding the confirmabllity of his major claims,
how he outlined and defended the ‘Tally Argument’, only
later to abandon it without realising the full implications.

For his part, GrUnbaum finds the argument wanting and concludes that psychoanalysis, whilst it might yet receive confirmation from extra-clinical sources, is, on its own ground,
unproven. PsychoanalysIs is, GrUnbaum believes, alive (just)
but certainly not well.

GrUnbaum’s critique is an interesting and challenging
one, and he is right to berate Freud’s defenders with having
failed to appreciate just how vulnerable psychoanalytic
theory is to certain elementary charges. The problem Is that
insofar as GrUnbaum’s book essentially turns on his appreciation of this single argument, it lacks the comprehensiveness
of a general phIlosophical critique of Freud. Moreover, hIs
approach is curiously lopsided. He opts for a lengthy ‘introductory’ critique of the hermeneutic misconception of
Freudianlsm. Now he may well be right to attack Ricoeur
and Habermas for ‘saving’ Freud from ‘scientism’ only at the
expense of rendering hIm incomprehensible, but what justifies devotIng a thIrd of the book to these particular commentators? GrUnbaum’s claim that the hermeneutic rendition
of Freud is ‘widely accepted’ if not de rigeur seems overblown, if not patently false. Moreover concentrating on
these wr i ters means that GrUnbaum misses the opportunity to
broaden the discussion and tackle a crucial and interesting
debate – namely understanding Freud in terms of meanIngs,
symbols and language as possibly opposed to understanding
him in terms of causes and mechanisms. Thus, Lacan, who
could be treated in this context and who is surely far more
‘de rigeur’ In many circles, is mentioned only once and then
at second hand. Again, when lookIng at the debate about
‘motives as reasons or causes’ which has been very influential in Anglo-American readings of Freud, GrUnbaum quotes
at some length from a Toulmin artIcle which is now almost
forty years old, and ignores the rnore recent, relevant writings of Donald Davidson.

The introductory critique i3 unsatisfactory for a further,
and perhaps more crucial, reason. In defending the scient iflcity of Freud’s work against the hermeneuticists, GrUnbaum
makes the claim that ‘Freud forsook hIs Initial ontologically
reductive notion of scientific status in favour of a rnethodological, episternic one’ (p. 3). This claim is repeated but
nowhere defended in detail or at length. The only ‘evidence’

cited for the claim is Freud’s laying aside of his 1895 ‘Project for a Scientific Psychology’. But clearly the fallure to
achieve an actual reduction need not entail the abandonment
of reductionisrn; nor does the latter represent a simple alternative to ‘episternic’ models of scientificity. Moreover, the
influence and importance of the ‘Project’ in Freud’s conception of psychoanalysis is too contentious to deserve GrUnbaum’s single paragraph treatment, just as his mere two references to Sulloway’s inf luential study of Freud in terms of
biologIcal theory is grossly inadequate.

Of course, the move GrUnbaum makes in those early
pages is crucial since, if the scientificity of Freud’s theory
Is methodological, thenperhaps the crucial argument is the

one attacked (and further consideratIon of the relationshIp
between psychoanalysis and the natural sciences is necessary). But then again GrUnbaum shows himself surprisingly
unaware (on the page at least) of debates in the phIlosophy
and history of science. He spends a great deal of tima criticisIng Popper for culpable misuse of the supposed ‘case of
psychoanalysis’ to exemplify the merits of falsifIcation. Yet
he himself seems simply to assume that there are standard
methodological protocols whereby any theory’s scientificity
is appraised. Were thIs to be a genuinely comprehensive
philosophical appraisal of Freud’s ‘science’ much more would
have to be said about various accounts of scientificity.

–One senses that GrUnbaum’s book emerges from articles
which first isolated and examined the ‘Tally Argument’, with
the ‘Introduction’ appended as a polemical flourish. This is
not to gainsay the value of GrUnbaum’s critique. Not least
this is because, as GrUnbaum shows, Freud’s own appreciation of the need and the way to defend his theory as
science is sadly absent from most of his defenders. There
are however severe limitations to GrUnbaum’s approach and
these only serve to sIgnal the kind of ‘philosophical critique’

of Freudianism which might have been produced.

David Archard

Hutchlnson, 1984. l4.95 pb, 136pp



Hutchinson’s new ‘Problems of Modern European Thought’

series is intended to bridge the divide between continental
and English-speaking philosophers by providing a range of
studies of continental themes by authors fa.millar with ‘the
procedures of analytic philosophy’. In the first volume of the
series to be published, Archard concentrates upon the concept of the unconscious, as presented in recent European
thought. After a general exposition of Freud, he turns to a
lucid discussion of Sartre’s objections to psychoanalysis and
then to Lacan. Finally, discussion is extended to take in
Tlmpanaro’s The Freudian Slip, a text which the author
rightly regards as having been shamefully neglected in contemporary British accounts of psychoanalysis.

The discussion and critique of Sartre’s criticisms of
Freud are particularly welcome in that they do much to
bring to light the influence of Politzer, whose work has
been ignored or forgotten for far too long. There is, however, a certain irony at work here. Whilst it is certainly
true that Sartre owes a great deal to Politzer, Politzer was
also a major influence on Lacan’s early work, but that issue
is never raised here. The relationship between – Lacan,
Sartre’s existential psychoanalysis and Politzer’s ‘concrete
psychology’ is much more complex and tortuous than Archard
would have us believe.

When it comes to Freud and Lacan, matters are rather
less satisfactory. Whilst it is definitely refreshing to read an
account of Lacan that rejects the usual pieties about his
supposed reliance on linguistics and brings out certain of his
mlsapproprlations and distortions of the work of Saussure
and others, the comment that Lacan’s very style of writing
precludes any objective critical appraisal is uncomfortably
close to the strictures of Anglo-Saxon ‘cornmon sense’.

Although some of the ambiguities of Lacan’s relations with
philosophy are touched upon, it is disconcerting to find no
reference to his debts to Heidegger who, in terms of theory
of language, may well be more relevant to Lacan than
Saussure hImself. As in many philosophical accounts of
psychoanalysis, the unconscious itself is viewed with a certain suspicion. Archard presents the unconscious as a philosophical proposition rather than a clinical reality and tends
to asepticlse it by paying relatively little attention to its
sexual components af.1d connotations. If anything, he lends


credence to the psychoanalytic (and eminently Lacanian)
claim that phllosophy cannot tolerate the foregrounding of
sexuality and therefore insists upon subsuming the unconscious within debates about philosophy of mind.

David Macey

ally. In fact, these articles are most interesting when they
focus on purely technical issues of psychoanalysis. A good
piece by Stephen Roblnson, for example, covers some of the
main phllosophical problems in Kleinian theory.

All in all, this is an interesting and useful collection of
papers which wel1 indicates both the range of the psychoanalytic contribution to social thought, and its weaknesses
and strengths. It is also the first product of a new press
which is an offshoot of Radical Science Journal and a welcome addition to left-wing publishing in this country.

Se an Sayers

Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, Creativity …. ;)d Perversion (foreword by Otto Kernberg), Free Association Books, 1985,
l11.95 hb, l5.95 pb, 172pp

Barry Richards (ed.), Capitalism and Infancy: Essays on
Psychoanalysis and Politics, Free Association Books, 1984,
l14.95 hb, l5.95 pb, 232pp
This is a collection of papers devoted to the theme that
psychoanalysis can illuminate social processes where Marxism fails. Many of the authors share a background in the
‘British school’ of analysis which has developed out of the
work of Melanie Klein and object-relations theory. They
demonstrate a detailed knowledge of psychoanalytic theory.

The articles are clearly written, without any of the flamboyant posturing of post-structuralism. Partly for this reason, however, one is continually aware of how difficult it is
to integrate psychoanalysis and social thought.

Psychoanalysis is primarlly a form of individual psychology. Its theory is based upon a method of observation and
investigation which· focuses on the minutiae of individual
feelings and personal relationships. It is like a microscope
for the mind.

Thus equipped, the analyst is uniquely able to observe
the effects upon individuals of current social conditions and
to reveal the psychological damage that results. There is an
excellent piece here by Sue and Ray Holland which uses
case studies in this way, to give a powerful and moving
account of the effects of racial barriers in mixed marriages.

One is reminded of Fanon. The Rustins also use some case
material to good effect in their contribution.

However, many of the other articles use psychoanalysis
merely as an idiom for social and cultural criticism. Such
psychoanalytically-based social theory has been enjoying a
vogue recently, but it is not new. On the contrary, there is
a long tradition of it, going back to Freud himself, and including Reich, Marcuse, Fromm and Lasch (who contributes
some stray fragments to this collection).

Suggestive and fertile as this tradition has sometimes
been, it also has its pitfalls. Freud’s efforts in this area
(e.g. Totem and Taboo, Moses and Monotheism, etc.) should
be a sufficient warning. As Marx says, the ideological conceptions of scientists become evident once they ‘venture
beyond the bounds of their own speciality’ (Capital, I, p.


The authors here are all too prone to ‘psychoanalyse’

social phenomena in sweeping and speculative terms which
~Ire neither illuminating as social theory nor helpful politic-


Our perception of French psychoanalysis is so dominated by
the monstrous figure of Lacan that it is all too easy to forget that his name is not in fact synonymous with France’s
share of the Freudian heritage. Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel,
for instance, speaks from another scene within the analytic
community. She is a training analyst with the Societe Psychanalytique de Paris, the oldest of the French associations
from which Lacan made such a memorable exit in 1953. The
essays collected here are based upon lectures and seminars
given while she held the Freud Chair of Psychoanalysis at
University College London in 1982-83.

Using a wealth of clinical material and literary references ranging from Sade to Wilde and Wel1s’s Island of
Doctor Moreau, Chasseguet-Smirgel undertakes a thorough
exploration of Freud’s theories of perversion, arguing that
perversion is rooted in an attempt to deny differences of
gender and generation and in a desire to create an alternative world of hubris which goes against all universal laws.

At the same time, derivatives of the perverse anal instincts
are held to be at the origin of the matrix that gives rise to
creative idealisation and aestheticism.

Two theoretical issues stand out in these studies. Firstly, the ego is accorded a positive value that would be anathema to any Lacanian. More significantly, ChasseguetSmirgel begins to challenge the infantile theory of phallic
monism (which is of course endorsed by Freud) by suggesting
that there may be a pre-phallic stage at which the girl-child
has an intuitive knowledge of her own sexual organs as
opposed to a belief that she, too, should or will have a
penis. Unfortunately, the implications of this claim for feminism are not thought through. While it has the advantage of
questioning certain of the assumptions surrounding the
notorious question of penis envy, it could also lead to the
assertion that there is an innate, eternal and inescapable
essence of femininity. In short, it could lead back to the
naturalist theories of femininity against which Freud was
arguing in the thirties.

Chasseguet-Smirgel’s essays are marred by a certain
amount of repetition and by a disturbing tendency to equate
radical political action with forms of perversion. As so
often, psychoanalysis reduces the political to the pathological. They are, however, also characterised by a theoretical openness which makes a welcome change from the
Lacanian dogmatism that sometimes appears to typify all
analytic work undertaken on the far side of the Channel.

David I1acey

A. Sayer, Method in Social Science: a realIst approach,
Hutchinson, 1984-. U 2 hc, l6.9 5 pb, 271 pp
In this book, Sayer aims to present the methodological implications for social research which follow from a reallst
philosophy of science. He acknowledges that several chapters owe much to the work of Roy Bhaskar and Rom Harre.

The first two chapters deal with the context in which
knowledge develops and how it relates to practice and its
objects. Sayer rejects the possibillty of absolute truth and
argues that knowledge is assessable by reference to its
‘practical adequacy’. He also adopts the view that observation is ‘theory laden’, but I am not convinced that he adequately demonstrates how this fits with practical adequacy.

My reading leads me to the opinion that his exposition results in an epistemological tension between ideallsm and
pragmatism, a position whIch is not resolved due to the
theoretical isolation of these chapters from the remainder of
the book. The isolation arises because in developing the impllcations for the method of social science from the ontology of the reallst view, Sayer neglects the relationship of
this method to his aforementioned theory of knowledge. Due
to this, the ontology, and therefore the implications for
research, are only given support in loose terms, even though
the ontology is argued to be necessary for the possibillty of
knowledge and socIety. This ontological position entalls the
idea that social reality is stratified and embodies emergent
properties involving necessary and contingent social relations; necessity and contingency being regarded as essential
for the posslbllity of knowledge for the researcher and
society’s members.

Taking account of these problems, it must still be said
that in using this ontology the text does give a concise and
clear presentation of the broader parameters for research
into the social world. This involves the idea that in the
realist approach events are causally explained by reintroducing and confirming the existence of mechanisms, and in turn
the existence of mechanisms is explained by reference to
the structure and constitution of the ‘objects’ which possess
them. From this position Sayer presents a penetrating critique of various research methods.

Because of this, although the work could have been
framed by tighter argument (particularly in the realm of
epistemology), I think that the book is well worth reading
for an appreciation of social research informed by a reallst
perspective. Sayer’s major consideration in writing the book
was to make it accessible to students and researchers with
little or no previous experience of the phllosophy of social
science, as well as to make it interesting for those who are
already familiar with this field. He has essentially succeeded
in this objective.

Paul A. Fox-Strangways

A. Cottrell, Social Classes in Marxist Theory, Routledge and
Kegan Paul, 1984-. l25 hb, 373 pp
The author begins by discussing Marx’s theory of class as it
is found in the Manifesto and the Eighteenth Brumaire, and
the neo-Marxist approaches of Poulantzas, Carchedi and
Wrlght. He goes on to present his own analysis of economic
class relations in contemporary Britain. Finally there is an
investigation of political forces in post-war Britain. The
arguments are solidly grounded in the post-Althusserian
1arxism of Hindess, Hirst et al., and so absurdities and contradictions abound throughout the-text.

For example, on page 1 we are told ‘ … I wish to “test”
the conclusions derived from this theoretical reflection
against the task of analysing some aspects of the development of class relations in … Britain over the post-war

years … ‘, but when we get to page 18 we find ‘ … one can
reject all social-historical theories which appeal to an
essential explanatory principle … “the facts” … or whatever.” Cottrell goes on to interpret all the ‘facts’ of
Britain’s post-war experience as supporting hIs theories.

His class theory is deceptively simple. Capitallst Britain
has a dichotomous class structure based on possession of/separation from the means of production. Cottrell argues
that as the joint-stock company is the major form of capital
in Britain so that no one individual person owns the means
of production in these companies, then capitallsts as individuals have ceased to exist and ~ of the company’s employees are working class. There 1s a yawn1ng theoretical gap
between these econom1c class relations and Cottrell’s analys1s of what he calls ‘socIal collect1v1t1es’ (basically any
arbitrarlly defined group of people) and polltical forces. He
tells us that there can be no determiriate relationship between economic classes and politics, except that Marxist
theory identifies class relations merely to’ point to what
needs changing by a sociallst revolution. Any attempt at a
social scientific analysis goes out of the window, all that
remains of Marxism is an unsubstantiated moral commitment.

Theoretically and philosophically naive in the extreme,
Cottrell’s concrete analyses are no better. Even the supposed advantages of post-Althusserean MarxIsm (i.e. to provide analyses of race and gender for example) are lost in his
concrete analyses. These focus almost entirely on trade
union struggle and electoral politics as described in the dry
statistical studies of political ‘scientists’.

It’s difficult to find anything good to say about thIs
book other than it presents with startllng clarity the absurdities of post-Althusserianism.

Paul Bagguley

Albert Weale, Political Theory and Social PollCy, Macmillan,
1984-. l15 hb, l5.95 pb, 227pp
Weale proceeds from the assumption that a central problem
in the theory of social policy is the degree to which the
state should assume responsibillty for the welfare of its citizens, and sets out to assess the principles from which to
consider this question. Both liberalism and socialism are
assumed to seek the development of human autonomy, and
Weale analyses those arguments in which the welfare state
is seen as contributing to or detracting from the goals of
autonomy, though without considering any practical examples. After defending this goal as a form of the good, he
cla1ms that the welfare state does prov1de a minimum adequate level of autonomy, but that separate principles are
required to discuss those welfare measures which seek to go
beyond this minimum. A conception of rights is presented to
support such principles, and a more detailed discussion then
fol !ch’/S ~)f the mechanisms by which resources are divided in
the welfare state. A conclusion considers how the process of
welfare decision-making can become more democratic.

Insofar as welfare systems are too llttle confronted by
political theorists (who often do not go beyond abstract discussions of the redistributive problem) this is a very welcome book. Intellectual defenses of the welfare state have
been very battered of late and remain weak, and this book
is a very useful basic introduction to the whole topic which,
without confronting particular theorists or pollticians, serves
to clarify the theories and principles at issue. To the degree
that a preference is made, the author relies largely on a
‘ltilitarian and contractarian conception of social choice
(though other principles are considered as complementary
arguments) in which the principle of autonomy is given central emphasis, and in which many forms of government intervention are seen as a means of increasing liberty and autonomy rather than, as in neo-liberalism, threatening it.

Gregory Claeys

T. Ball and J. Farr (eds.), After Marx, Cambr1dge Un1vers1ty
Press, 197!.J.. l22.50 hb, l6.95 pb, 287pp
Th1s collect1on of papers on aspects of Marx’s work 1s
essent1ally a somet1mes competent exerc1se 1n academ1c
Marx1sm and as such perhaps could most judic10usly be
placed 1n the context of the on-go1ng ‘Marx 1ndustry’.

The themes d1scussed 1nclude the poss1bll1ty of ‘rescuing’

a human1st1c Marx from the total Marx-Engels oeuvre;
whether, methodolog1cally speak1ng, Marx was eclectic or
monothetic (the dlfferent levels of methodology rema1n und1stingu1shed here); Marx’s use of not1ons of causallty; and
the 1nfluence of Engels on the way we read Marx’s

Engels seems to play the role of demon k1ng in this collect1on, f1rstly, and perhaps rightly, because of the impact
The Dialectics of Nature had on the way ‘dialectics’ has
commonly been appropriated by fr1ends and foes. Secondly,
and more questionably, he appears as arch-poslt1v1st (a term
wh1ch undergoes a good deal of sUpping and sliding and is
never distinguished from reallsm). Lastly, Engels also gets
the blame for the Soviet brand of ‘soc1allsm’. The influence
of Engels’ ‘poslt1v1stic’ I’ instrumental1st’ I’manipulative’ concept10n of Histor1cal Materiallsm paved the way for Len1n1sm’s degenerat10n into Stalln1sm, It seems.

Another theme 1s the 1ssue of whether it 1s rational for
workers to struggle for social1sm. Unfortunately, th1s is
posed as an unmediated means-ends dualism, disregarding
whether benefits might accrue along the way which valldate
such a struggle. Rather we have a kind of abstract costbenefit approach w1th workers trying to calculate whether
they ga1n or lose by making an 1nput into ‘the revolut1on’.

G.A. Cohen’s views on base-superstructure relations and the
poss1bility of technolog1cal determ1n1sm surface 1n a couple
of the papers. Finally, there 1s an interesting discuss10n of
Marx’s views on how 1ndividual subjects are inserted (as citizens) into the social relations of the capital 1st state. This
suggests how, for example, the Falklands War was capable
of rescusitating the state as an internal relat10n of the subject, via national chauvinism.

These papers have, on the whole, the air of the seminar
room; an academic recuperation of Marx as a platonic figure
above the polltical hurly-burly and collaboration wlth
Engels; a figure from whom endless debates can be spun
wh1ch do not engage with the soc1al reallty about which
lv1arx wrote. The publlsher’s blurb suggests that one sense in
which the contributors are ‘after Marx’ is that they wrlte in
the ‘critical spirit of Marx’, but as one turns the pages of
After Marx, it 1s ‘after’ 1n the sense of M1nervian critical
dusk that encroaches.

H. Feather

Margaret Jacob and James Jacob (eds.), The Orig1ns of
Anglo-Amer1can Radicallsm, George Allen & Unwin, 1984.

l16 hc, x + 333pp
Potential readers m1ght be puzzled by the title of this book.

‘Anglo-American radicallsm’ is not a common phrase, even
among those with an 1nterest 1n the history of the radical
tradition; butlt could well come to be heard more frequently if this book is given the attention it deserves. The
twenty-one authors whose work is represented here are concerned with the parallels between English radicalism, as it
developed after the English Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century, and the transatlantic movement which culm1nated in the Amer1can Revolution more than a century
later. The contribut1ons, from a distinguished group of Br1tish and American h1storians, are of a high standard and provocatively diverse in their approaches and conclus1ons. The
reader 1s helped to perceive the 1ssues at stake by an extensive 1ntroduction, and by the provision of commentar1es on
some (though not all) of the papers.

One of the exc1t1ng features of the work, from the point
of view of the historian, is the d1verslty of methodological
approaches which 1t exempl1fies. On the one hand, we have
the analyses of 1deological format1ons, undertaken for
example 1n Lo1s G. Schwoerer’s discuss10n of tbe 1nfluence
of the 1689 Declaration of R1ghts, or on a rather larger
scale in J.G.A. Pocock’s masterful survey of radical opposition to the Wh1g hegemony. On the other hand, preciselyfocused social history is exempUfied by the work of Gary B.

Nash and Steven Rosswurm on radical movements in e1ghteenth-century Philadelph1a. Somewhere between the analyses
of 1deology and of social structure, and perhaps offer1ng the
prospect of reconclllng the two, lles the study of rad1cal1sm
as a cultural phenomenon, us1ng the tools of the anthropologist. Th1s approach 1s emphasised 1n a number of ways:

Nicholas Rogers and Alfred F. Young expllcate the r1tuals of
popular protest in (respect1vely) England aod America, while
the cultural aspects of what would later be called ‘lndustr1al’ disputes are h1ghllghted by Robert W. Malcolmson. The
work of E.P. Thompson and John Brewer (ne1ther of whom 1s
represented in this volume) has clearly been an important
stimulus in the development of the cultural approach, which
although fertile and suggestive remains unrationalised
methodologically. The one attempt which 1s made here to
grapple with the methodological problems of the reconciliation of cultural, social and ideological approaches, by Rhys
Isaac, is rather quickly and high-handedly squashed by a
commentator, who refTIarks that it ‘collapses in the face of
social complexity’.

The publlsher’s blurb for this volume claims that ‘many
of these radical ideas will sound famil1ar; they are also
timely’. I doubt that this 1s true to the authors’ 1ntent1ons.

They are without exception scrupulously concerned to avoid
anachron1sm in ascr1bIng v1ews to the rad1cals they portray,
even when the radIcals then appear far from ‘progress1ve’ to
twentIeth-century eyes. For example, Po cock and Rogers
po1nt out how rad1cal oppos1tion pol1t1cs in early e1ghteenth-century England, reacting to developments 1n commercial capitalism at the t1me, could f1nd express10n in popular
Tory1sm. Those who seek a teleolog1cal or hagiograph1cal
h1story of rad1calism w1ll f1nd 11ttle to comfort them here.

But those who are genuinely 1nterested 1n developIng the
h1storiography of radicalism In Anglo-Amerlcan culture w1ll
find this book 1ndispensable.

Jan Gollnskl


Richard Kearney, Dialogues with Contemporary Continental
Thinkers, Manchester University Press, 1984. l17.50 hb,
Richard Kearney has collected together in one volume a series of interviews he has conducted with £lve leading thinkers
of recent times: Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Levinas, Herbert
Marcuse, Stanislas Breton, and Jacques Derr ida. I suspect
that maybe Levinas and certainly Breton wl11 be largely unknown to an English-speaking readership. All the interviews
are conducted by Kearney in an accessible and lucid manner,
and he has the abl1ity to consistently pose the ‘right’ questions and elicit generous answers. Of course a book like this
is no substitute for the task of reading the real thing, but it
does serve the highly useful purpose of allowing these notable theorists to clarify their ideas in response to criticisms
and misunderstandings that have arisen over their work; a
practice that wiH prove to be, I believe, of utmost bene£lt
to readers of recent continental philosophy.

The interview with Derrida illustrates the usefulness of
the task. Derrida is responsive to the charges that Kearney
raises concerning the deconstructive project – that it is
nihilistic and apolitical, and he adamantly proclaims: ‘I totally refuse the label of nihilism which has been ascribed to
‘ne. Deconstruction is not an enclosure in nothingness, but
an openness towards the Other.’ Derrida is also given the
opportunity to clarify the notion of the ‘end of phllosophy’

which he has developed from Heidegger into the idea of the
‘closure of metaphysics’. A great deal of confusion has been
generated over Derrida’s meaning, mainly by hasty commentators and critics, and he responds accordingly and without
conceding anything in the way of forsaking the essential
ambiguous nature of the term, recognising that his thought
has been seriously misinterpreted and misunderstood. The
book should also serve to introduce to a wider readership
Levinas, a fascinating thinker who is concerned with ‘the
primacy of the ethical’ (in heteronomous not autonomous
terms) and who represents an interesting development in
contemporary continental thinking. The 1976 interview with
Marcuse catches him, I think, at his most uninspired. The
interview is conducted around the issue of the relation between art and politics, and it is evident that at the end of a
long and bril1lant intellectual career,!1arcuse has finally
colluded with the German tradition of aestheticism (Kant,
Schiller) that he had so brl11iantly criticised some four decades earlier. All five thinkers share a common background
and heritage in phenomenology, and beyond that, one might
suppose, there is little that unites them. However, they are
all practitioners in the art of philosophy, and therein perhaps lies unity in diversity.

ly characterised as the ‘underside’ of the traditional rhetorical genres. Its origins are to be found iD the Menippean
Satire, the Socratic dialogue and the diatribe of Greek antiquity, and it stretches through the Renaissance (Rabelais
and Cervantes) to culminate in Dostoevsky’s modernist version. What gives these different modes their unity, according
to Bakhtin” is their ‘carnavaleque’ nature – the discourse of
the public square, of the threshold or frontier between self
and other, of ‘crowning and decrowning’, of parody and utopia – the turning of the world ‘inside out’. As such, they are
dialogical and open, contrary to the predominantly monological and closed discourses of most llterary modes – although all are vulnerable to it. They are addressed to others
and contain others within their utterances. Not only is dialogical discourse referential, but more importantly, it is
related to other discourses (llterary, philosophical, etc.). It
is double-voiced, and its words are ‘cringing’ words, or
words with a ‘side-ways glance’.

Dostoevsky is seen by Bakhtin to have developed this
tradition to the point of having created a new llterary
genre: the polyphonic, as opposed to the homeophonic, novel.

In Dostoevsky’s later novels dialogue is extended so as to
include a plurality of ‘consciousness centres’, the voices of
many personallties – each of equal validity and subordinated
to that of neither author nor narrator. There is no dominant
voice or idea. This being so, far from being a, decadent
romantic (Lukacs), Dostoevsky, for Bakhtin, both artistically
reflects reallty in its dialogic truthfulness, and projects a
carnavallstic utopia of equallty.

Despite what could be seen as merely gestural appeals
to the power of the word in class societies, and a certain
lack of awareness of instances of incommunication, these
historical and sociallsed conceptions of polyphony, dialogical
discourse and carnavallsation – especially in their utopian
inflections – have recently, quite rightly, been taken up by
some Vlarxist llterary theory and criticism, displacing the
influence of structuralism’s mono logic ‘parole’. Bakhtin’s
work is recog!)ised as part of a buried but recoverable popular tradition, and it is gratifying that it is at last accessible to the Engllsh reader.

John Kraniauskas

Keitl; Pearson
Vladimir Propp, Theory and History of Folklore (trans. A.

and R. Martin, ed. Anatoly Llberman), Manchester University
Press, 1984. l11.50 pb, 251pp
Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (trans.

and edited by Caryl Emerson, with an introduction by Wayn p
C. Booth), Manchester University Press, 1984. ll1.50 pb, xllli.

+ 333pp
Co-founder of the ‘Bakhtin Circle’ alongside P.N. Medvedev
and V.N. Voloshinov in the USSR in the late 1920s, Bakhtin
originally published this work with the title Problems of
Dostoevsky’s Creative Practice in 1929. Not long afterwards
he was arrested and sent into internal exile. Rehabl1itated
in the 1950s, Bakhtin revised the text and saw it republlshed’

in 1963, to be followed in 1965 by the publication of what is
perhaps his most famous work, Rabelais and his World. This
is a new translation of the revised and retitled second

The central problem tacked in this book is that of the
unique contribution made by Dostoevsky to the history of
the ‘menippea’ as a literary genre. ‘Menippea’ may be brief-

‘The study of Russian folklore shows that it is indeed
saturated with historical self-awareness. This is evident in heroic poetry and in historical songs, later in
the songs of the Civll and Great Patriotic Wars. A
people with such intensity of historical consciousness
and with such an understanding of its historical tasks
can never be defeated.’

(p. 15)
So wrote Vladimir Propp in a 1946 essay on folklore,
confirming – horribile dictu – the claim of the editorial
introduction that Propp found no difficulty in adapting his
famous work on folklore to the ideological demands of
Stallnism. Untl1 this volume, Propp was by and large known
to non-speciallsts only as the author of the classic Morphology of the Folktale, originally publlshed in 1928.

That was, and is, a book I love and use. Its deveJopm~nt
of simple, reproducible techniques for revealing lilp fortllulaic bases of a range of ‘wondertales’ (Propp’s o ….:n title for

hIs book, In fact) laId the basIs for a great deal of subsequent, but markedly InferIor, structural analysIs of narratIve. Here was a revolutIonary method for the empIrical analysIs of narratIve IdeologIes. Then to fInd Propp so happlly
taIntIng hIs work wIth ‘patrIotIc hIstorIcal tasks’ was a real

After the very long introduction, which partly addresses
specIalist folklorists but which also makes their discipllne
avallable to non-speciallsts, perhaps the most interesting
part of the book is the clash it reproduces between Propp
and Levi-Strauss. Levi-Strauss ‘discovered’ Propp’s 1928 work
when it was finally translated in the West in the 1950s. He
wrote a glowing review of it, but within that he critIcised It
from hIs ‘mythological’ standpoint as ‘formallst’. Propp reacted furIously, counterposlng hIs own empIrically-based
study to Levl-Strauss’s ‘a priorI’ method. ThIs he dId a trIfle
abusIvely. Levl-Strauss responded wIth a curt but sad regret
at Propp’s tone – and there the discussion ended. Propp, who
died In 1970, Is now generally seen as just the formalist that
Levl-Strauss depicted hIm.

If nothIng else, thIs volume ought to restart that dis~~s­
sion. For always glowIng lIke hot embers under the Stalmlst
schemata and the self-Imposed caution, is a different Propp:

one who loves wondertales, humour, ancient ballads, and
loves them for their empIrical richness. One who finds
traces of hIstory in all the complexIty of the tales he
treats. The spIrit of the Morphology and its methods is one
that would live wIth that richness and seek withIn It clues
to the social sources from which it grew. Who are the formalists now? When so many of our sol-dlsant structurallsts
produce hIstory less histories, myths that think ~he~s~l~es
through us, and ideologies that structure our subJect1Vlt1eS,
I’ll stick wIth Propp. And if I ever get tempted to feel harsh
about the Stalinlst bleaknesses, I’ll reread Victor Serge’s
The Case of Comrade Tulayev, and wonder how brave I
would have been.

‘Martin Barker

Marcelln Pleynet, Painting and System (trans. Sima N.

Godfrey), Chicago UnIversity Press, 1985. l15.95 hb, 167pp
Pleynet was for many years the managIng editor of Tel Quel
and is now on the editorial board of Its successor, L’Inflnl.

The four essays collected ‘here deal wIth Matisse, The
Bauhaus, Mondrian and the RussIan constructivlsts. In other
words, they typify Tel Quel’s long-standing concern wIth the
modernIsm produced by moments of rupture (a term designed
to sIgnal a parallel wIth Bachelard’s epistemological break)
In the late nIneteenth and early twentieth centuries. MercIfully, we are, however, spared the political terrorism that
infected so much of Tel Quel’s writing, especIally during its
Cultural Revolution phase.

Pleynet’s criticIsm is remarkable for the way in whIch
he attempts to reconstruct the ideological ground against
which the rupture takes place and for the sophistication of
his interdisciplinarity. This Is most pronounced in the essay
on Matisse (by far the longest in the collection), which combines biography, the artist’s own state’nents, theory of
colour and a general survey of the ideologIes of the period
,to impressive effect. The application of psychoanalysis is
less happy. By relating the late paper cut-outs to castration
reactions Pleynet comes disastrously close to vulgar Freudlanism. It would have been more fruitful to extend the brIef
comments on the old line-colour debate in French painting.

The avant garde whose history Pleynet traces here is,
predictably, somewhat restricted, as was the literary avant
garde which Tel Quel celebrated. In many ways Cezanne is
the central figure, though no one essay is devoted to hIm.

The line of descent from Cezanne is through post-impressionism to cubism and constructivism; Dada and surrealism are

conspicuous only by theIr absence from the pantheon.

The sophistication of these essays is undenIable, but
there Is an anachronIstic feel to them in 1985, when the
galleries of both London and ParIs are domInated by figure
painting and varieties of reallsm, when the logical heir to
Matisse appears to be Hockney rather than anyone else (the
debt is especially obvIous in some of Hockney’s portraits of
Celia). Three of the essays were written In 1969 and the
fourth (on Matisse) in 1970-71: in many ways they say more
about the concerns of the Parisian intelligentsia of that
period than about the subjects under discussion.

The translation Is on the whole accurate, if at times
over-literal, but Godfrey is woefully at sea with the initIals
of RussIan revolutionary organisations and with the title of
a pamphlet by Lenin. Sadly, the illustrations are, as in the
French origInal, limited to three Matisse drawings.

David Macey

Bertrand Russell, The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell
Volume 7: Theory of Knowledge: The 1913 ManuscrIpt, (ed.

Elizabeth Ramsden Eames in collaboration wIth Kenneth
Blackwell, George AlIen &. Unwin, 1984, l.35 hb. 314pp
When all 28 volumes of The Collected Papers of Bertrand
Russell are published (in the year 2000) they will look very
pretty arrayed on a llbrary shelf, bound in navy-blue cloth
with gold lettering. They may not be consulted every day,
but that is hardly the point of an enterprise such as this. It
will save much scurrying over the Atlantic to the Bertrand
Russell Archives at McMaster UnIversity, OntarIo. The world
of pure scholarship Is lastingly enriched. And perhaps eventually – early In the next century? – a ‘Shorter Collected
Papers’ mIght come out In paperback so that Russell’s more
important occasional pieces wlll at last be brought back to a
wider publIc at a price it can afford.

Meanwhlle, however, we have this volume. It Is not an
occasional piece, but a nearly completed book Intended as
R.ussell’s major contribution to what he then saw as the
most important problem: ‘Can human beIngs know anything,
and if so ‘what and how?’ Its composition was an extraordinary feat of intense application, writing ten pages a day in
his pellucid prose. But, alas, his young student – ‘my German
engineer’ – Ludwig Wittgenstein told Russell It was ‘all
wrong’; the 350-page manuscript was set aside and semingly
blotted from Russell’s memory until disinterred from amongst
his papers by the eager beavers of the Bertrand Russell

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ThIs Is an Important transitIonal text for those Interested In the development of Russell's thought from the dualism of the stIll popular Problems of PhIlosophy (1912) to the
logical ato:-nlsm Russell publlcly espoused from 1918 onwards. But readers who are not hIstorians of phHosophy
might do better by hanging on and savIng up for later and
more IntriguIng volumes: the tItle essay of volume 19 Is 'The
1an who stuck PIns in his WHet (logical pointilll.<;il1,

John Fauvel

Oavid Selbourne, Against Socialist Illusion: a radical argument, Macrnillan, 1985. 1:.25 hb, t,8.95 pb, 327pp
David Selbourne attacks the ‘socialist illusion’ that either
communIsm or social democracy is possible or desirable.

Instead ‘the left’, whose deflnition In the context is obscure,
should struggle with the erosion of Individual liberty in the
modern state-corporatist world.

Selbourne’s argument
centres on the propositIon, repeated on every page, that the
workIng class not only acquiesces in the private capitalist
market but takes its very identity and values from it. Hence
‘the welfare state’ can never be the basis for advance to
socialism but remains a vulnerable and clumsy way of coping
with a resented residuum of the poor and the disabled, whlle
offering all sorts of perks to middle-class users. Contemporary ‘middle class socialist’ notions of ‘participatory democracy’, directed against capitalism and state soclallsm, faH
to recognIse the essentially privateaspirations of a labour
force content to allow others to run the show.

Selbourne’s book is long-wInded and repetitIve, the brilliance of its sentences palling through a lack of development
in the argument. It is thoroughly referenced, but must have
been written before the important works of Nove and

Focusing almost entirely on Britain, it Is locked as a
consequence withIn an Insular, static and backward-looking
perspective, making few efforts to assess relevant developments in world capitalism, especially as regards the future
of work and of economic nationalism. For all that, and for
all the failure to provide a ‘materialist base’ to his appeals’

for a libertarIan market ‘leftism’, Selbourne’s book adds to
the growing list of awkward bed-time reading for sociallsts.

But if, lying there, you think you’re reading the same thing
over and over again, it’s not so much an effect as a possible
cause of drowsiness.

The child has a welfare right (of guidance and protection) vis-a-vis his elders to be prevented from
flouting conventions which he may not fully understand, to the extent of attracting ridicule or hostllity, particularly on the part of those in a position
substantially to affect his material interests…. If it
is thought … that the outlandish appearance of children reflects badly on their parents and damages the
latter’s interests, it would seem to follow that children do not normally have the right to dress outlandishly …

(p. 153)
Do not allow your children near large parts of this book
but there are good grounds for reading small parts to them,
these grounds being classifiable as (a) educational and (b)

Tony Skillen

Karl R. Popper and John C. Eccles, The Self and its Brain,
Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984. 1:.7.95 pb, xvi + 597pp
John C. Eccles, The Human Mystery: The Gifford Lectures
University of Edinburgh 1977-1978, Routledge &: Kegan Paul,
1984. 1:.5.95 pb, xvi + 255pp
These related books, first appearing in 1977 and 1979 respectively, are now publlshed in paperback. Popper and
Eccles’s central concern is ‘the argument for interactionism’: that brain. and mind constitute distinct states of being
and that logic and science require us to accept their causal
interaction. Eccles’s starting point, in the last four of ten
Gifford Lectures and in a substantial middle s~ction of the
book with Popper, is the current state of neurophysiology:

observed ‘selectional and integrational functions’ require
eXDlanation by the causal intervention of mind. Behind this
is ·the tradition of natural theology (which in the nineteenth
century learnt the danger of making arguments for spiritual
purpose in the world depend on contingent states of knowledge), expressed here in a recounting of evolution from cosmos to altruism. Popper’s starting point is a cri~ical review
of mind-body theories, leading to his well-known argument
for Worlds 1, 2 and 3 (which Eccles deploys in his lectures).

In the third section of their joint book, Pooper and Eccles
stroll in the grounds of the Villa Serbelloni above Lago di
Como, recording a patrician dialogue for the rest of us.

Roger Smith

Tony Sklllen

C.A. Vringem Children’s Rights: A phllosophical
R0utledge and Kegan Paul, 1981, U 2.50


Although this book opens wIth a well-researched list of demands and movernents for children’s rights, its main argument involves a fairly uncritical application of a general
inquiry into the nature of rights to ‘the case’ of chHdren.

This conservative-liberal formalism, a regrettable feature of
the Peters-Hirst school of educational thought, makes for a
dull, though bibliographically useful, book. Any serious discussion of chHdren’s rights W’ould surely need centrally to
examine what childhood is, psycho-biologically, and socioculturally. This would of course entail an historical perspective and one sensitive to the ‘value’ dimension of the
‘category’ ‘child’.

An lllustration of Wringe’s way of thinking: liberally, he
questions school uniform regulations; yet he writes:

W.F. Whi tehouse, A Realistic Conception of History, Aqulla
Publications (64 Lissimore House, Maria Street, West
Bromwich, B70 6DR), 70p pb including p&::p, 12pp

Readers of Radical Phllosophy will find the title of this
pamphlet misleading. Realistic is used as a term of approbation for an idealistic speculative philosophy of history
which, curiously enough, combines Hegellan with Popperian
ideas. What ‘makes history go’ is something that Whitehouse
calls ‘general mentality’ which is an ‘aggregate of unique
individual … minds’, which contribute to a complex of intend~d events and unintended consequences. I wasn’t impressed, either, by his claim to have ‘knock-down’ arguments
against MarxIsm to counter its nefarIous influence.

Cynthla Hay

M. Adereth, The French Communist Party: A Critical
History (1920-1984). From Comintern to ‘The Colours of
France’, Manchester University Press, 1984. 1:..27.50 hb, 326pp
Wisely, Adereth does not claim to have written a fully
scientific study of the French Communist Party (PCF), but
he does provide a clear narrative account of the major
phases in its history and of its pollcies. It is based primarlly
upon source material that will be famillar to any student of
the Party. Adereth’s history wlll not, and is presumably not
intended to, replace any of the standard works, but should
serve as a concise and readable introduction to one of the
West’s more interesting Communist Parties. Perhaps inevitably in a work of thIs length, there are some omIssions and
some oversimpllfications. The PCF’s stance on the colonial
question, and particularly on Algerian independence, was,
for Instance, rather more ambIvalent and less honourable
than is suggested here. Discussion of the Party’s cultural
poEtics is brief to the point of inadequacy; it would surely
have been preferable either to have devoted a chapter to
the subject or simply to have omitted it. “vore surprisingly,
there is no discussion of the PCF’s views on feminIsm other
than a quotation from a woman PoEtburo member who tells
us that she feels ‘quite at home’ in the Party. No doubt she
does, but her remark is hardly illuminating. Such reservations aside, this is a useful introductory survey. Regrettably,
the inflated cover price means that those most likely to
need an introduction will probably be unable to buy it.

Someone once described the peF as a proletarian restaurant
serving cuisIne bOl,.lrgeols. Manchester University Press obviously believes that its history is a cordon bleu delicacy
and prices it as such.



Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone (ed.), Communism in Eastern
“‘=.urope, Manchester University Press, 1984 (first edition
1979), 1:..25 hb, c8.50 pb, 391 pp
This is not a book for those wanting a MarxIst analysis of
Eastern Europe. Its purpose, methodology and values are
very different. It is basically a textbook guide to the political, social and economic systems of the region, which also
includes a number of general chapters on Eastern Europe as
a whole and its relationships wIth the outside world. The
predominant explicit theoretical debt is to the American
Polltical Science tradition of Huntington, Almond, etc., offset to an extent by fairly sound historical writing. Most of

the contributors appear to be non- or anti-soclallst and work
with an idealIsed model of llberal democracy wIth which to
judge the errant socialist republics and peoples’ democracIes.

Vincent Geoghegan
John Gray, Hayek on Uberty, Basil Blackwell, 1984. f..19.50
hb, 230pp
Partly through the successes of his British and American
disciples during the last decade, Hayek has become perhaps
the most important post-war neo-classlcal liberal devotee of
laissez-faIre and opponent of ‘the road to serfdom’ – the
emergence of economic planning in Western countries. Gray,
the author of a recent defence of Mill’s On Uberty, here
continues the trend of interest revealed by more general
works llke Norman Barry’s Hayek’s Social and Economic
PhIlosophy, and also alerts us to at least two otl:~r f·xthcoming studies and biographies of his subject. Pan o~ ~he
.;;trength of his own work for those who seek with short llnes
to plumb the minds of modern conservatives is the 70-page
bibllography, half as long as the text itself.

In his analysIs, Gray’s sense of the grandeur of Hayek
seems to have been fortified by his Mlll studies, since Hayek
is essentially portrayed as the saviour of llberalism from the
errors of ‘abstract individualism’ and ‘uncritical rationallslTl’

(p. vIii), as well as the initiator of a new paradigm shift in
liberalism, whereby social systems are held to be more fruitfully judged by the degree to which they make impossible
denands upon our capacity for knowledge (with reference to
needs: this is the planning issue) rather than their essential
mor al tendency.

Unhappily much of this book Is a blythly unhistorical
paean which seems to ignore the great faIlures of two centuries of economic liberalism, omitting in particular any
examination of the relations between moral, political and
economic liberalism, and the problem of the inabllity of the
latter to uphold the goals of the former in many cases. This
is at least scholarly revivalism, but it Is too Vlanichean and
uncritical to furnIsh the unconvinced with materials for a
much-needed, and hitherto almost non-exIstent, debate between economic liberals and advocates of planning. In these
circumstances Gray’s success In makIng Hayek appear a more
coherent thinker Is only another stage in the canonIsation

Gregory Claeys

Edited by Roy Edgiey and Richard Osbome

LuClCi, mdependent and polerrucaJ. thJs coJJocoon of ~ys by contnbulors 10 ltIIIIAl~, demons([ales a conJ!llJunent to
questIOns of ethIcs. uuth and scIentlfJcIty Subjects covered Include the work of IndIVlduaJ phI1=phers such as Kan( Hegel and
AJthusser, the realIst posIuon In the phI1=phy ofscIence, morahty and pohUcs, and the reiaoons between phI1=phy and gender
A group ofsparkling ~ dIssects fasloonable ([ends In dIsaJUIse theory, post-suuctuIahsm and neo-conservalIS/ll


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