30 December 2011

Briefly on Epistomology (answer to a student's email)

The dialectic was not invented by Hegel but he did a lot to develop the idea. 

The Historical Materialism of Marx was based upon Hegel's dialectics (things influence each other). 
Overdetermination as used by Resnik and Wolff is a step further than Marx's historical materialism. 
Overdetermination is a complete rejection of rationalism and empiricism.  Under overdetermination there is no absolute truth.  Everything is relative and constituted by everything else.  Entry points can be picked to allow analysis and theories fall into order, but there is no standard of truth external to the knower. 

Overdetermination is not so much a way to discredit classical epistemology, but rather intended  to destroy it.
Overdetermination is a form of post-modern, aka, post-structuralist, aka, anti-determinist way of thinking about things.  There is a lot of examples of post-modern thought out there if you care to look. 

As it relates to our purposes, this kind of epistemology has the implication that the economy and class are entry points but not causes.  Traditional Marxism states that if you take away the private property and free markets of capitalism, it will cause other aspects of the society to become socialist/communist.  Under a post modern perspective society is far more complex, as is the road to communism. 

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