Capital as organic unity: The role of Hegel's "Science of Logic" in Marx's "Grundrisse"

Mark Edward Meaney, Marquette University

Abstract

The Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Okonomie (Rohentwurf 1857/58) are a series of manuscripts in notebook form that Karl Marx composed from August 1857 to June 1858. The work represents a 'synthesis' of fifteen years of research into the origins and nature of political economy. This thesis is an historical critical exegesis. It aims to establish the influence of the Wissenshaft der Logic of G. W. F. Hegel on the Grundrisse. The purpose is to demonstrate that the Hegelian logic guided Marx's doctrinal development, and that the ordering of logical categories in the WL is reflected in the ordering of economic categories in the Grundrisse. The Grundrisse are both a critique of political economy, and a critical appropriation of Hegel's WL. The work establishes that Marx was cognizant of, and respected, the necessity of the development of Hegel's exposition of the logical categories of scientific method. The Grundrisse can therefore be divided into three sections. Each is distinguished from the others based upon the peculiar logic that is used in the exposition of the particular subject matter that is treated in that section. The second chapter of the work examines the logical form of Marx's exposition of 'simple circulation.' It argues that this exposition is indebted for its logical form to Hegel's treatment of logical categories in the first section of the WL, entitled "The Doctrine of Being." Hegel's development of the categories of the logic of "Being" is exemplified in Marx's exposition of monetary circulation. The third and fourth chapters examine the logical form of Marx's exposition of the essence of capitalist production. Here I argue that the ordering of economic categories in this presentation reflects an indebtedness for logical form to Hegel's treatment of logical categories in the second section of the WL, entitled "The Doctrine of Essence." In the third and final, most concrete section of the Grundrisse, capital is exposed as an essential organic unity of different, interdependent 'moments' of production and circulation. In chapters five and six, it is argued that Marx's exposition of capital as a 'totality' is indebted for its logical form to Hegel's treatment of logical categories in the third section of the WL, entitled "The Doctrine of the Concept." Hegel's development of the categories of the logic of "Concept" is exemplified in Marx's exposition of capital as a concrete, organic unity.

Recommended Citation

Mark Edward Meaney, "Capital as organic unity: The role of Hegel's "Science of Logic" in Marx's "Grundrisse"" (January 1, 1991). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9133800.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9133800

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