Don't Blame Marx

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(5), 382–383. Reviews the book, Man in Marxist Theory and the Psychology of Personality by Lucien Sève (1978). In an earlier book, Sève answered Sartre's charge that Marxism shows its inadequacy by its neglect of human nature, by stating that neither dialectic nor historical materialism should properly develop its own system of psychology, a task that is best left to professional psychologists. Sève has a good deal to say about the form and the objectives of a Marxist program for psychology before he gets to his statement of “hypotheses” supposedly offered for the consideration of and testing by psychologists. Concern with early familial experience is discouraged–perhaps because Sève does not recognize the extent to which childhood experiences may be influenced by the structure of society outside the home. The focus of research is to be on the acquisition of functional capacities, but although these are erected on a biological foundation, the notion of differential native endowments is, not surprisingly, rejected as a bourgeois invention. The translation present pitfalls to understanding, and careless proofreading is an irritant throughout. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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