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Volume :8 Issue : 1 1980      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

IBN KHALDUN AND KARL MARX : ON DIALECTICAL METHODOLOGY

Auther : Fuad Baali – J. Brian Price

Contemporary sociology has tended to think of the empirical method in the tradition of neo-positivists such as George Lundberg as the basis of theory construction within the discipline. Dialectical methodology as often dismissed as a vagary of  metaphysical notions, or , in the words of C. Wright Mills, as either a mess of platitudes, a way of doubletalk, a pretentious obscurantism-or all three. In part, hostility to dialectical sociology results from its being identified with philosophy; with the feeling , for example, that Marx never really freed it from metaphysics. The fact is that the dialectic of Marx can be shown to be an historical generalization which evolves from empirical observations. This generalization, embedded as it is in empirical reality, can be abstracted from its context and be posited as a methodology in itself ; hence we may speak of an empirical-dialectical methodology. In order to see how this methodology id developed , it is first necessary to clarify its roots in the history of social thought In particular we can see its clearest expression in the work of Karl Marx. However, its is possible to go back to the fourteenth century to the great Arab thinker Ibn Khaldun (133201406), to find the beginnings of such a methodology. Elsewhere the congruence of the work of these two men as to their conception of socio-historical change has been studied. That study suggested that their work converged into the rudiments of an empirical-dialectical methodology; in this paper, we show in detail the ramifications of this finding. In addition, as the dialectic has been thought to be embedded in metaphysics or in value premises other than those premises relating to what is considered the criteria of scientific quality, we first turn our attention to refutations of this point.


 

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