Perhaps my worst post title ever. In her conference talk (the one I wrote a post on), NP wrote that Marx is an example of what she calls immanent reflexive critical theory (IRCT for short). In particular she cites Marx’s Capital v1 as an exemplar text. She also laid out a taxonomy of other versions of critical theory.

I had the thought today – when did Marx become an IRCTist? That is, at what point in his career did his works become IRCT? (And if there is a pre-IRCT phase to Marx’s critical works, where do those works fall on NP’s taxonomy?)

This is basically to try and map NP’s taxonomy and argument about IRCT onto an old and perhaps obsolete (probably for the best) question about periodizing Marx’s work. To take just two examples as paradigmatic, Raya Dunayevskaya believed that what she called “Marx’s Humanism” was the basis of his work and stretched throughout his career. Louis Althusser, on the other hand, famously used what he called an “epistemological break” to periodize Marx works into Early, Of-the-break, Transitional, and Mature, with some smaller finer period markers within those four stages. (Althusser qualified and revised this periodization in his late work, published posthumously as Philosophy of the Encounter.)

[This was sparked by Engels’ Outlines of Critique of Political Economy, on which more notes to follow – I started a post on that but my browser ate it.]