Theory, the Theorist, and Revolutionary Practice: Rosa Luxemburg

  • Dick Howard
Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)


The question to be addressed here is not that of the adequacy of this or that particular theory in accounting for, or acting on, a given context of social relations. I am not concerned whether, for example, the theory expressed in The Accumulation of Capital is adequate to account either for the conditions of the period in which it was formulated or for our present conditions; nor, a fortiori, am I concerned with whether that theory conforms to the edifice of Marx’s Capital. To judge a theory in terms of its adequacy to supposedly real conditions implies a latent conservatism and positivism; theory is then treated as an analysis of ‘facts’ about a world that itself is taken as pre-given and fixed. Such an approach implies a dualism—on the one side, the theory; on the other side, the ‘facts’ which it is to reflect—that makes it fundamentally undialectical. Moreover, the point, after all, is not to understand a given positive world, but to change it! And this intention implies a very different notion of theory.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dick Howard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyStony Brook UniversityNew YorkUSA

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