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Critical Realism by Alan Norrie, Tony Lawson, Andrew Collier, Roy Bhaskar, Margaret Archer

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5

ABSTRACTION

A realist interpretation

Andrew Sayer

The relations between the theoretical and the empirical, the abstract and the concrete, have always been problematic in marxism. Marx’s disdain for knowledge based upon mere appearances has meant that few marxists have accepted the empiricist doctrine of the theory-neutrality of observation. But while, in a negative way, there is a consensus about the rejection of this doctrine among marxists, and while we often quite readily talk of ‘essence and appearance’ and ‘underlying’ structures and causes, there is little agreement about an alternative view of the status of marxist concepts and of the relations between the theoretical and the empirical. The radical undermining of empiricist views on ...

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