By John P. Gerber
Publication by means of Gerber, John P.
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Extra resources for Anton Pannekoek and the Socialism of Workers’ Self Emancipation, 1873-1960
The question thus remained open: what was the exact content of human consciousness and what was its real relation to the material world? This gap in Marxian theory, Pannekoek felt, coupled with the tradi- * Although the word 'geistig' might best translate as ' mental', Pannekoek in h i s own English writings specifically chose the term 'spiritua l ' . By spiritual, h e meant a combination of subjective, menta l , in tellectual, psychological, and moral qualities. PANNEKOEK ' S METHO DO LOGY 17 tional influence exercised b y bourgeois thought, was one of the main reasons for the erroneous understanding of Marxism by anti-Marxists and revision ists alike.
Histor ically, Hegel 's attempt to develop a practical critique of bourgeois philoso phy as but one part of a larger intellectual effort to provide a theoretical j ustification of the Restoration. Stripped of its social origins and transcen dental character, the real significance of Hegelian philosophy lay in the fact that it provided an excellent theory of the human mind and its working methods: 'The vicissitudes of the absol u te spirit in the course of its self development are but a fantastical description of the process which the real 18 PANNEKOEK'S METHODOLOGY human mind experiences i n its acquaintance with the world and its active participation in life.
It contrasts with 'dogmatic truth ' which is based on 'pri mitive experiences' and is viewed with complete certainty as the final truth . 45 On this basis, Pannekoek felt that it stood to reason that an even more tentative causal relationship between laws and predictions existed for the social sciences: 'Through the immense complica tion of social relations "laws" of society are much more difficult to discern, and they cannot be put into the form of exact formulas. Still more than in nature they may be said to express not the future but our expectations a bout the future.
Anton Pannekoek and the Socialism of Workers’ Self Emancipation, 1873-1960 by John P. Gerber