chapter  five
20 Pages

Objectivity and Revolution: The Unity of Observation and Outrage in Marxist Theory

WithNancy C.M. Hartsock

The importance of totality and process, the role of history, and a dialectical understanding of mediation lead to a redefinition of knowledge as self-knowledge, a redefinition of knowledge as the appropriation of life itself. All of these are important to understanding the nature of science and objectivity in Marxist theory and to constituting the internal relation between objectivity and human liberation. In the context of Marx’s understanding of human activity as the foundation of social life, and of his analysis of the perversion of that life, objectivity takes on several meanings. Clearly, a Marxist worldview contains an understanding of objectivity that directly opposes the empiricist understanding that to be objective is to be detached and/or indifferent. The recognition that knowledge takes the form of appropriation in Marxist theory means that social science must become the articulation of what human practical activity has already appropriated in reality.