[lbo-talk] John ONeill, " In partial praise of a positivist The work of Otto N eurath"

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Sat Mar 10 07:09:46 PST 2018

There is a tradition in socialist writing of rediscovering neglected socialist thinkers and showing how the recovery of their memory can contribute to the solution of contemporary problems in socialist theory and practice. This paper belongs to this genre of rediscovery.

The theorist with whom I am concerned was an Austrian Marxist. He played an active part in the German revolution that followed the First World War: some of his best work on socialist planning was written as addresses to the workers’ councils of Germany, and he acted as director of the agency responsible for socialization during the soviet phase of the Bavarian revolution. Following the defeat of the Bavarian revolution he was brought to trial, during which Max Weber testified in his defence. His work on socialist economics formed one of the starting points of the socialist calculation debate, being an object of criticism in the arguments against socialism developed by Mises and Weber, and later Hayek. In the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s he continued to develop a defence of socialism which examined problems of socialist planning in a way that took seriously the ecological dimension of socialist thought, and recognized the problems of reconciling individual freedom and economic planning. He was also a major philosopher of science whose work in that area has continued to be influential. However, in the history of socialist thought he rarely gets a mention, and no standard survey of Western Marxism discusses his socialist ideas. Indeed, he tends to be known by two quotations, which might give the impression that his main concerns were boat-building at sea and the role of coffee drinking in the development of sociological thought. I The reason for the neglect is that my socialist philosopher, Otto Neurath, was a positivist and a leading member of the Vienna Circle.

More at: https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/article/in-partial-praise-of-a-positivist

Jim Farmelant http://independent.academia.edu/JimFarmelant http://www.foxymath.com Learn or Review Basic Math

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