chapter  2
20 Pages

Five ways in which critical realism can help Marxism

WithJonathan Joseph

Critical realism can provide some fresh hope for those who wish to retain the essence of Marxism while remaining critical of some Marxist approaches. This chapter outlines the critical realist approach alongside an exploration of the weakness of Marxist theory. By distancing itself from Marxism critical realism is better placed to provide a genuinely critical appraisal. The importance of critical realism and its superiority over the various attempts at 'Marxist philosophy' lies in the fact that it is necessarily 'outside' Marxism. Critical realism, conceived of as a philosophy, therefore plays this underlabouring role. Critical realism takes an unashamedly ontological standpoint that focuses on the independently existing reality that knowledge and action try to comprehend or change. Critical realism argues that the intelligibility of knowledge of society presupposes that society itself has some kind of structure that is relatively enduring and consistent and which is therefore open to investigation.