intro_marxism_philosophy_of_science_HS1993.doc - The Fate of Marxism Introduction to 2nd edition of Marxism the Philosophy of Science A Critical History

intro_marxism_philosophy_of_science_HS1993.doc - The Fate...

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The Fate of Marxism Introduction to 2nd edition of Marxism & the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History by Helena Sheehan Humanities Press International (1993) 456pages This is the introduction to the 2 nd edition (1993). The 1st edition was published in 1985. About the book About the author So much water has flowed under the bridge, so many tides have come in and gone out again, since the story set out here ended. Days of spectacular advance, days of stark defeat, still lay ahead. After 1945, partisans came down from the mountains and up from the underground and became professors in the academies of the new order, which came after the devastation of war and the defeat of fascism. In Eastern Europe, and soon after in Asia, followed by areas of Latin America and Africa, the institutions of marxism in power multiplied dramatically. Marxism was in the ascendancy in the universities, research institutes, and journals of the new socialist states. For some, adherence to marxism was a matter of deepest conviction. For others, it was brazen compulsion or abject conformity. It was the difference between living fire and stagnant water. It was the dissonance between the elation of discovering a pattern in history and the shock of finding show trials to be part of the pattern. It was the distance from the long march through "let a thousand flowers bloom" to the ravages of the red guards. It was the gulf between Paris in May and Prague in August of 1968.
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The contradiction between the two forces played itself out over and over in a continuing drama, one that could only end in tragedy. The codes and procedures of the one party state could never be the dynamism of a vibrant intellectual force. In the end, socialism could only be built upon consent. Such consent could not be enforced by constitutional provision or policed by a state security apparatus. In fact, it proved altogether antithetical to such measures. However, through all the purges of institutes and editorial boards, through all the politburo decrees and dogmatic denunciations, there was still something vital there struggling for life. There was more even to zhdanovism than the policing of intellectual life. 1 It was an assertion of the ideological character of all knowledge, all art, all science. It was a belief that philosophy was a fundamental force in the social order. It often had farcical consequences, to be sure: lysenkoite falsification of experimental results, preparation of delegations to international philosophical congresses as if for Warsaw Pact maneuvers, barbarous editing that made every text sound exactly the same, equally dead and equally deadening . 2 So many stories, so many intricate biographies, shaped in such complex ways by this turbulent history, come rushing through me, as I try to convey something of my sense of this period and to break the hold of the cliches of the prevailing view of it. The philosophers and scientists, whom I came to know, were troubled true believers, as well as cynics, cowards, careerists, and conformists.
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