Marxism and Falsifiability

Falsifiability is a philosophy of science that attempts to define science and separate it from what it calls “pseudoscience”. Developed by anti-Marxist philosopher Karl Popper, one can see why it was turned against Marxism. Based on Popper, historical materialism is a pseudoscience, an accusation that I try to disprove in this article by providing some points that I believe they stand.

  1. Everything that is true in itself is unfalsifiable (logic, mathematics, etc.)
  2. Derrida tells us in his lecture “Structure, Sign and Play”: “[Lévi-Strauss] will always remain faithful to this double intention: to preserve as an instrument something whose truth value it criticizes”. One is led to point that question to falsifiability: how can science use the instruments which has labeled as unscientific?
  3. A common critique of falsifiability is that it is unfalsifiable itself. But that doesn’t stand, in my opinion. Popper never claimed his theory to be a science. He is a philosopher of science and not a scientist, after all. However, that is problematic. If something on the outside of science can determine what science is, then this could be done by any philosophy, not only Popper’s. That is to say that Marxism can proclaim historical materialism a science.
  4. If falsifiability applies only to natural sciences and not on social ones, as many claim, then how one can call Historical Materialism a “pseudoscience”? Wasn’t Popper’s claim provocative and targeted especially to Marxism, for obvious reasons?

Thus, it is to my belief that is clearly shown why the “Historical Materialism is a pseudoscience” accusation is extremely fallacious. Not to talk about falsifiability in general, which doesn’t even hide that it is an attack to the social sciences.



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