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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 16, Issue 2, Spring 2012

Matthew J. Smetona
Pages 351-372

Marx’s Inferential Commitment to Hegel’s Idealism in the Grundrisse

Recent studies have made the familiar observation that the economic categories in Marx’s works are presented in the dialectical form of the logical categories in Hegel’s works. The purpose of this article is to move beyond this observation by demonstrating that Marx’s appropriation of Hegel’s dialectical method articulated in the Science of Logic implicates, in opposition to his own explicit statements, the philosophical argument of his Grundrisse in an inferential commitment to Hegel’s idealism. Marx, it is argued, cannot appropriate Hegel’s conception of rational cognition as a dialectical movement from universality to particularity to individuality while at the same time dispensing with the absolute idealism from which that conception derives its coherence.