Science & Education

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 559–571 | Cite as

Science and worldviews in the marxist tradition

  • C. D. Skordoulis


This paper is about the relationship between Marxism, Science and Worldviews. In Section I, the paper gives a descriptive definition of the scientific viewpoint based on a materialist ontology, a realist epistemology, and the recognition that science is a social activity. The paper shows in Section II that there are currents in contemporary Marxism which relate favourably to science. In Section III, the paper examines Marx's encounter with Natural Philosophy and Materialism by analysing the influence of Epicurus on Marx. Section IV examines Marx's positive attitude towards natural science. Section V discusses the relation between science and ideology and proposes a scheme to defend the thesis that science establishes a conceptual autonomy from the forms of social consciousness existing in the social formation. Finally Section VI examines the historical infusion of Marxism into the Western scientific community in the 1930s, and the positions adopted by Marxists when they have considered science education.


Classical Tradition Teleological Explanation German Ideology Dialectical Treatment Realist Epistemology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anderson P (1976) Considerations on Western Marxism. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Aschcar G (1999) Ernest Mandel: An Intellectual Portrait. In: Aschcar G (ed) The Legacy of Ernest Mandel. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Bensaid D (2002) Marx for our Times. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernal JD (1939) The Social Function of Science, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London; (2nd Edition M.I.T. Press, 1967)Google Scholar
  5. Bernal JD (1949) The Freedom of Necessity. Routledge and Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Bernal JD (1954) Science in History, Watts and Co., London (2nd edn., 1957; 3rd edn., 1965; also Penguin, 4 vols. 1969)Google Scholar
  7. Bernal JD (1964) After twenty-five years. In: Goldsmith M, Mackay A (eds) The Science of Science. Penguin, Harmondsworth, pp 285–309Google Scholar
  8. Bukharin NI (1935) Marxism and Modern Thought. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Bunge M (1981) Scientific Materialism. Reidel, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  10. Callinicos A (1989) Against Postmodernism: A Marxist Critique. Polity Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  11. Callinicos A (1983) The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx. Bookmarks, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen R (1955) On the Marxist Philosophy of Education. In: Henry NB (ed) Modern Philosophies and Education. The Fifth-fourth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  13. Collier A (2004) Marx. Oneworld Publications, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Cross RT, Price RF (1988) J. D. Bernal and Science Education: A Tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the Publication of “The Social Function of Science”. Research In Science Education 18:152–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Crowther JG (1941) The Social Relations of Science. Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Della Volpe G (1980) Logic as a Positive Science. New Left Books - NLB, London Google Scholar
  17. Eagleton T (1996) The Illusions of Postmodernism. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  18. Foster JB (2000) Marx’s Ecology. Monthly Review Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Foster JB (2002) Marx’s Ecology in Historical Perspective. International Socialism Journal 96 Winter 2002Google Scholar
  20. Gasper P (1998) Marxism and Science. International Socialism Journal 79, July 1998Google Scholar
  21. Graham LR (1973) Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union. Alfred A. Knopf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Gross P, Levitt N (1994) Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science. John Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  23. Haldane JBS (1932) The Inequality of Man and other Essays. Harmondsworth, Penguin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Haldane JBS (1938) The Marxist Philosophy and the Sciences. George Allen and Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  25. Harvey D (1990) The Condition of Postmodernity. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  26. Hogben L (1938) Science for the Citizen: A Self Educator Based on the Social Backqround of Scientific Discovery. George Allen and Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Jameson F (1998) Persistencies of the Dialectic. Science & Society 62(3):358–371Google Scholar
  28. Levins R, Lewontin R (1985) The Dialectical Biologist. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  29. Kitcher P (1998) A Plea for Science Studies. In: Koertge N (ed) A House Built on Sand. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 34–36Google Scholar
  30. Kitching G (1994) Marxism and Science: Analysis of an Obsession. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PennsylvaniaGoogle Scholar
  31. Koertge N (1998) Scrutinizing Science Studies. In: Koertge N (ed) A House Built on Sand. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 3–6Google Scholar
  32. Levy H (1938) A Philosophy for a Modern Man. Left Book Club, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Little D (1986) The Scientific Marx. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  34. Lukács G (1923/1971) History and Class Consciousness. trans. Rodney Livingstone, Merlin Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  35. Mahner M, Bunge M (1996) Is Religious Education Compatible with Science Education? Science & Education 5:101–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mandel E (1986) The Place of Marxism in History. International Institute of Research & Education – IIRE, Notebooks Series No.1, Amsterdam, (2nd Edition, 1994, Humanities Press, New Jersey)Google Scholar
  37. Mandel E (1977) The Formation of the Economic Thought of Karl Marx. New Left Books - NLB, LondonGoogle Scholar
  38. Marx K (1859/1967) Capital. Vols. 1-3, International Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Marx K (1844/1977) Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. In: McLellan D (ed) Karl Marx: Selected Writings (2nd Edition, 2000). Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  40. Marx K (1845/1970) Theses on Feuerbach. In: Arthur CJ (ed) Marx & Engels: The German Ideology. Lawrence & Wishart Ltd, London, p. 121Google Scholar
  41. Marx K, Engels F (1845–46/1970) The German Ideology- Part I: Feuerbach. In: Arthur CJ (ed) Marx & Engels: The German Ideology. Lawrence & Wishart Ltd, London, p 63Google Scholar
  42. Marx K, Engels F (1975) Collected Works. International Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. McCarthy G (1988) Marx’s Critique of Science and Positivism. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  44. Meiksins-Wood E, Foster JB (1997) In Defense of History: Marxism and the Postmodern Agenda. Monthly Review Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. Murray P (1988) Marx’s Theory of Scientific Knowledge. Humanities Press International, Atlantic Highlands, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  46. Needham J (1973) Autobiography. In: Teich M, Young R (eds) Changing Perspectives in the History of Science: Essays in Honour of Joseph Needham. Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  47. Needham J (1943) Time: The Refreshing River. George Allen and Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  48. Needham J (1945) History is on Our Side. George Allen and Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  49. Needham J (1954) Science and Civilization in China. 7 vols, Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  50. Paul DB (1979) Marxism, Darwinism and the Theory of Two Sciences. Marxist Perspectives 5:116–143Google Scholar
  51. Ruben D-H (1979) Marxism and Materialism: A Study in Marxist Theory of Knowledge. 2nd edn. Harvester Press, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  52. Soyfer VN (1994) Lysenko and the Tragedy of Soviet Science. trans. L. Gruliow & R. Gruliow, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJGoogle Scholar
  53. Suchting W (1984) Marx and Philosophy. McMillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  54. Suchting W (2004) Althusser’s Late Thinking About Materialism. Historical Materialism 12:1:3–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Werskey G (1971) Science at the Cross Roads (Papers presented to the International Congress of the History of Science and Technology held in London from June 29th to July 3rd, 1931, by the Delegates of the USSR). Frank Cass, LondonGoogle Scholar
  56. Werskey G (1979) The Visible College. Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  57. Wood A (1981) Karl Marx. Routledge, London (2nd edn. 2004)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physics & EpistemologyUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations