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Studies in the Methodology of Science

Igor Hanzel

The book discusses methodological issues relating to the philosophy of science and the natural and social sciences. It reconstructs the methods of measurement and scientific explanation, the relation of data, phenomena and mechanisms, the problem of theory-ladenness of explanation and the problem of historic explanation. From the sciences chosen for methodological analysis are those of early classical mechanics, early thermodynamics, Bohr’s theory of atom, early quantum mechanics, research into great apes and political economy.
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Chapter 9: Marx’s Method of Theory Construction: Categories, Magnitudes and Laws


The aim of this chapter is to reconstruct the conceptual methods used by Marx in the construction of Volume I of Capital as well in the manuscripts of its Books II and III.

The circumstances enabling such a reconstruction are now more favorable than ever before, especially since the conclusion of the publication of section II of the complete edition of Marx and Engels – known under the abbreviation MEGA. We now thus have at our disposal not only the reprints of all the editions of the first volume of Capital authored or authorized (1983; 1987; 1989) by Marx, but also of the manuscripts he intended for Capital’s Book II (1988b; 2008; 2012a; 2012b) and Book III (1992; 2003a; 2012c).

Drawing on these textual resources I can now identify the key components of the conceptual methods he employed in his economic works, allowing thus to overcome wrong, distorted or incomplete views of these methods.

In modern economics, Joan Robinson is a suitable representative of such a view. I shall start, therefore, with an analysis of her approach and evaluation of Marx’s economics and show how they are rooted in an incorrect understanding of the structure of Capital and thus, in fact, of the methods he employed in the construction of the Capital.

And, in contemporary philosophy of science, Leszek Nowak, who in (1980) made an attempt at a reconstruction of the methods of idealization and concretization employed by Marx in Capital,...

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