Speaking at an international conference on “Internationality, Normativity and Objectivity” being organized by the Department of Philosophy from January 8th to 10th, Dr. T. V. Madhu discussed his paper titled Praxis and Historicity: Some Reflections on Prof. Dasgupta’s Reading of Marx.

Calling his paper more a note on Prof. Dasgupta’s take on Marx, he spoke of the unity in Marx towards a methodological construction of an idea. He spoke of the reconstructive breeding of the thought of practice and history.

He pointed out that there are misinterpretations of the Marxian purpose of thought which engenders confusion. He dwelt at length on the fact-value dichotomy that was the cause of this confusion in understanding Marx. Applying an either-or approach, which Dr. Madhu insists is a fallacy, one tends to eliminate one idea in favour of another.

Prof. Dasgupta says that the only resolution to such misinterpretations is to discard the either-or fallacy and embrace the conceptual reconstruction required here. Fact and value can co-exist and this is called the fact-value complementarity.

The professor also points out that Marx’s critique of materialism is also applicable to an imperialist and approach to knowledge. He also spoke of the epistemological distinction of man-nature and fact-value.

Madhu then spoke of his own views on Marx and Dasgupta’s interpretation of Marx. He argues that while Dasgupta only considered the epistemological value of “practice”, but that the term or the idea had ontological value too.

Madhu also spoke of the concept of “species being” wherein Marx referred to the restraints private ownership exerts on labour. Marx defuses the boundary between making and doing and says that humans who produce are producing themselves in the process of production. He says that Marx’s model of production as an immanent process is trapped in the metaphysics of subjectivity.

Harika Vankadara, MA Communications