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Theses Bachelor's

Ideology, Fetish, and Social Scientific Method in Karl Marx's Capital

Urbina Lazardi, Virgilio

In this thesis, I endeavor to selectively reconstruct the argument of the first six chapters of Volume 1 of Capital, which cover Marx’s analysis of the commodity as the “elementary form” of capitalist society all the way to his unveiling of the origin of capitalist profit in the exploitation of labor-power, in order to (i) highlight specific and important instances in which his theory of socially objective illusions comes into play, (ii) examine the social scientific method that Marx employs over the course of these sections, and (iii) draw out the connection between the method and the excavation of the “fetishisms” that, as I contend, are deeply interrelated. My claim, as such, is not just that Marx himself held this sophisticated theory of ideology as objective illusion to be true, but that the methodology of Capital is what permitted him to detect and, to borrow Kant’s phrase, “not be deceived” by the ideological mantle that is constituted by the necessary illusory “appearances” of social and economic phenomena under the regime of capital. Moreover, I discuss whether such a method is suitable only to investigate capitalist social formations, or whether Marx’s approach is applicable to all historic economic structures. (Is there something specific to the capitalist mode of production that renders the task of the analyst more difficult than, say, the “feudal” mode of production?)


More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Neuhouser, Frederick
B.A., Columbia University
Published Here
June 5, 2015