Engels, Logic and History

  • Christopher J. Arthur


It should be remembered that volume III of Capital was edited by Engels; furthermore, to a considerable extent he set the framework for its reception through his commentaries. This contribution concerns the interpretation of the place of volume III in the structure of Capital as a whole advanced by Engels in his 1894 preface and 1895 supplement. However, there is a continuity between these texts and the logical-historical method Engels claimed to have found when he reviewed Marx’s Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859). According to this method, Marx’s exposition is simply a corrected reflection of the historical development of the system of capitalist production. In his comments in volume III of Capital Engels interprets this method as implying that Marx started in volume I by describing a historical stage of ‘simple commodity production’, that it was there that value attained its ‘classical form’, and that subsequently the picture changed when, with capitalist production, commodity value appeared in a ‘secondary’ derivative form.


Linear Logic Commodity Production Rectilinear Motion Industrial Capital Commodity Exchange 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe (hereafter MEGA) (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1975-), part II, vol. 2, p. 253. For a full consideration of this review see Christopher J. Arthur, ‘Engels as Interpreter of Marx’s Economics’, C. J. Arthur (ed.), Engels Today: A Centenary Appreciation (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 11.
    R.L. Meek, Studies in the Labour Theory of Value, 2nd edn (London: Lawrence & Wishart. 1973). p. 304.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Paul Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development (1942, reprinted New York: Monthly Review Press. 1968). p. 12.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    See Christopher J. Arthur, ‘Hegel’s Logic and Marx’s Capital’, in F. Moseley (ed.), Marxs Method inCapital’: A Reexamination (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press. 1993).Google Scholar
  5. 23.
    Capital, vol. I op. cit., p. 255. The point has been stressed by C. Napoleoni in ‘Value and exploitation: Marx’s economic theory and beyond’, in G. A. Caravale (ed.), Marx and Modern Economic Analysis, vol. I (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1991).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Arthur

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