Issue 3 – Method in Social Sciences

Editor: Ebru Deniz Ozan

Ebru Deniz Ozan

In this article, the main premises of critical realism and the philosophy
of internal relation are examined in terms of their advantageous position against the positivist and relativist approaches. The main argument of the article is that realist-relational approach which can be developed by thinking critical realism and the philosophy of internal relation together provides us a relational, historical and total understanding of reality, whose grounds can be found in Marxism. It is argued that realist-relational approach has a political dimension; emphasising the historicity of the social relations and phenomena, it demonstrates the possibility of social change and also it puts emphasis on the necessity of change in all aspects of life.

Keywords: Critical Realism, Philosophy of Internal relation, Marxism, Social Sciences, Historicity.

Sinan Kadir Çelik

Under the sky of contemporary- so called ‘post-modern’- literature, where natural sciences do not have absolute authority anymore, social
sciences are in a ‘legitimization crisis’ and philosophy dances with its
‘end’s, we are forced to walk through the endless rain of the fertile clouds. This fertility comes from the discourse of ends, which ranges from the history to Western metaphysics. In such a legitimated mood, there is one question: are the end-rain-droplets the shine of the philosophy or the shade of the sun? Do they prevent us from the dangerous radiant of Western metaphysics or invent a new type of cynicism?
Whether this or that, at a first look, the climate of Homo Metaphysicus’s habitat has changed. It has changed because -at least- nowadays most philosophies like Heidegger’s, Gadamer’s, Derrida’s and Rorty’s are put into hot burning agenda of the theoretical practice for achieving the task of overcoming or preserving a critical distance to Western metaphysics. However, the present paper is not satisfied with such a first look and invites us for a closer and deeper look to scenario above.
Under this heading, the present article consists of two major lines of arguments. At the end of the first line, we are confronting with the conclusion that overcoming Western metaphysics is an impossible task
within the boundaries of bourgeois thought. According to Rorty, both Derrida and Heidegger are within the limits of Western metaphysics. If
we look by the eyes of Heidegger, both Derrida and Rorty continue to play the same metaphysical game and so on.

The second line of argument is dedicated to support the following three interrelated thesis: 1) There is nothing new in overcoming or criticizing Cartesian rooted dichotomies or metaphysics in general. From Hegel to Marx, Engels, Lukacs, Gramsci and so on, Marxism has already radically criticized and showed the alternative to metaphysics. 2) Without building an internal relationship with historical materialism in theoretical and practical sense, ali of these approaches- like hermeneutics, pragmatism and deconstruction- continue to share and carry the destiny of Western metaphysics or antinomies of bourgeois thought; 3) Overcoming metaphysics in real, practical, material life is only possible through overcoming its historical-social preconditions: capitalist social relations of production.

Keywords: Bourgeois’ Philosophy, Antinomies, Hermeneutics, Heidegger, Lukacs.

Mustafa Bayram Mısır

In this essay, it is claimed that a Marxist philosophy assumes the thesis on presedence of existence on thought in the relationship between these two. The essay is mainly based on the explanation of the nature of knowledge process and puts forward that the category of substance used by materialist approach is the category of philosophical substance. When philosophical materialism turns into an a priori one, the basic problem area of philosophy would be the epistemological one, ie. the relations between knowledge, the object and the process of knowledge. From this point of view, the theses below are brought forward.
1. Knowledge is about the object of knowledge. 2. Knowledge is the unique form that could be acquired by the human intellect on the object of knowledge. Human intellect decomposes the objects of knowledge by knowledge. 3. The object of knowledge is not only the objective and human nature or social relations but kn ow led g e itself could also be the object of knowledge. Again, the only form that human intellect could acquire knowledge as an object of knowledge is also knowledge.

Keywords: Knowledge, Knowledge Process, Object of Knowledge, Human Intellect, Materialism.

Emre Arslan-Beycan Mura

Dialectical thinking seems quite archaic and unworkable for mainstream academic circles which are manipulated by the hegemony of post-modern, hermeneutic, and positivist agenda. However, the contribution of scholars like Bertell Ollman to Marxist dialectic prove that this approach can not be obsolete since it always accumulates and advances itself by its nature. Therefore, dialectical method, and in particular its Marxist form, is the most capacious one for evaluating the changing and interacting phenomena in both social and natural world. Hence, this essay is on the contribution of Ollman in explaining Mar x’ s method, that is dialectic. After stressing on various aspects and nature of dialectical thinking that differs from commonsensical views, we signify two special points, which qualify Ollman’s interpretation of Marx. The first point is ‘the philosophy of internal relations’, which is considered as the core aspect of dialectical approach by Ollman. The second is the distinctive process of abstraction in Marx’ s method outlined by Ollman. Within this process of abstraction, Ollman pronounces three modes of abstraction, (extension, level of generalities and vantage point) which give its distinctive character to Marx’ s approach. In the final part of the article, we attempt to exemplify some implications of the ‘the philosophy of internal relations’ and the distinctive process of abstraction in Marx’s method by focusing on three issue (the concept power, class and base/superstructure).

Keywords: Bertell Ollman, Marxism, Dialectics, The Philosophy of Internal Relations, Abstraction.

Ben Fine

It is now increasingly being recognised that mainstream economics is aggressively colonising the other social sciences with mixed success. But relatively little attention is being devoted both to the broader implications of this development and to the reasons for it. Mainstream economists themselves tends to emphasise what they take to be the scientific status of economics relative to other social Sciences in view of axiomatics and falsifiability. But, such notions of Science are questionable and have long been rejected by other social scientists as well as those working on the methodology of economics itself. In addition, such an explanation is incapable of explaining the timing and uneven scale and scope of economics imperialism. An alternative view is posited, emphasising internal developments within economics (the new microfoundations), and the dual and uneven retreat across the social sciences from the extremes of postmodernism and the influence of neo-liberalism. As an analytical sounding board, these developments are assessed in the light of the debate that has taken place over Kuhn’s understanding of scientific revolutions.

Keywords: Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions, Mainstream Economics, Economic Imperialism, Social Sciences.

E. Attila Aytekin

After the fail of Eastern European socialist regimes, it has been commonplace to argue that labour history is in a’crisis. This article deals with one of the aspects of that crisis, the challenge that stems from attempts at integrating the conceptual category of gender into working class histories. Taking critical realist methodology as its starting point, it tries to solve the problem of the relation between class and gender in labour historiography. After reviewing certain attempts at solving the problem, it is argued that most of the failures of such attempts originates from actualism, i.e. the methodological tendency of failing to analyse the causal powers and liabilities of things, structures and relations, and confining scientific investigation to what happens when these powers and liabilities are activated in the realm of the actual. Although in concrete situations the relations of class and gender co -exist, in order to go beyond the empirical and actual outcomes of these relations and identify and analyse them in the realm of the real, it is both useful and necessary to abstract the relations of class and gender from these concrete situations and establish a causal hierarchy between them. The study ends with discussing possible contributions of the category of gender conceived as such to a historical materialist labour historiography.

Keywords: Class, Gender, Labour History, Critical Realism, Actualism.

Emrah Göker

The article aims to explore the political implications of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological paradigm for the particular purpose of searching for the theoretical and practical common grounds between his approach and Marxism. Bourdieu, as an influential contemporary intellectual, is politically located inside the antiestablishment Left, and his relationship with socialist politics is an important question. The article argues that tackling with this question is both relevant for understanding contemporary European politics and for analyzing today’s Turkish society.
In investigating Bourdieu’s politics via his sociology, firstly his neo-Durkheimian vision of intellectuals and of the tasks they are burdened
with is investigated. Next, the second part of the article casts light on
Bourdieu’s explicit engagement with the threat of neoliberalism, tackles with the nature of his opposition, connecting the argument with his understanding of the role of intellectuals. In the third and final part of the article, the theoretical roots of his political positioning are investigated and possible implications for rethinking Marxist class analysis are addressed. By focusing on the key concepts of his ‘political economy of symbolic structures”, like class, Capital and habitus, it is argued that despite certain problems, his approach might be useful, politically and theoretically, in expanding the Marxist critique of political economy.

Keywords: Pierre Bourdieu, Marxism, Neo-Durkheimianism, Habitus, Political Economy.