Quiz #3 on Mill and Marx

Part I: Circle T or F depending on whether the sentence that follows is true or false.

T 1. Mill believes that the same general methods of inquiry that are employed in the natural sciences ought to be employed in the social sciences.

T 2. Mill is a compatibilist concerning free will – that he, he believes that free will is consistent with causal determinism.

F 3. Mill believes that astronomy is the best model for the social sciences.

Tideology is a better model. Mill thinks that astronomy, unlike the social sciences, is exact.

T 4. In Mill's view, the difference between the science of tides and meteorology is that we already know the laws of the most important causes of the tides and on their basis can make roughly correct predictions concerning the tides.

F 5. As a materialist, Mill thinks that there is nothing to be gained by searching for laws of mind.
Regardless of the possibility of a physical reduction, Mill thinks that the laws of mind are of the greatest importance in understanding social phenomena.

F 6. Mill believes that the most important factors explaining the differences among the characters of the different people are differences in their physical constitution.

F 7. In Mill's view, knowledge of what he calls "empirical laws" is the ultimate aim of science.

Empirical laws are the stuff to be explained. Causal laws are what we're after.

T 8. In Mill's view, perfect exactness in empirical laws is not to be expected.

T 9. Mill believes that there exist universal laws of the formation of character.

Therein lie his hopes for what he calls "ethology."

T 10. In Mill's view, the laws of ethology will state tendencies rather than facts.

i.e. Experience tends to make one wiser, strength more courageous, etc.

F 11. Mill believes that the only good way to answer questions such as whether tariffs increase or diminish wealth is to do statistical research on countries that have different tariff policies.

F 12. Mill's "chemical method" of social inquiry seeks the explanation of social phenomena in biological and chemical facts about people.

The chemical method is the method of direct or specific experience.

Consider the following argument (A):

1. People pursue their own interests and nothing else.
2. A ruler's interest will consistently coincide with the common interest if and only if the ruler is responsible to the public.
3. Rulers will consistently pursue the common interest if and only if they are responsible to the public.

F 13. Mill takes argument A to be an example of the deductive method that he favors.

It is an example of the "geometric method" he criticizes

T 14. Mill believes that statements such as premise 1 in argument A should be regarded as statements of tendencies rather than statements of fact.

T 15. Mill believes that argument A embodies a serious methodological mistake.

T 16. Mill believes that the desire for more wealth is the central causal factor in economics ("political economy" in his terminology).

T 17. Mill's deductive method is actually an inductive method.

The premises in the deduction must themselves be established inductively. Recall the example of determining whether absolute rulers will tend to abuse their power by examining wider circumstances in which people have unlimited power.

T 18. Mill thinks that acceptance of the conclusions generated by the deductive method depends in part on a process of "verification."

T 19. In the "inverse deductive method" empirical laws are in a sense "verified" – that is confirmed to be causal laws – by linking them to fundamental psychological or ethological laws.

T 20. Mill sees no inconsistency between statistical regularities, such as regularities in murder or suicide rates, and individual free will.

T 21. In Mill's view, statistical regularities, such as regularities in murder or suicide rates, shows that some of the causes of actions such as murder or suicide are general and act on essentially all members of a population.

T 22. Mill believes that great individuals can do comparatively little to modify the general sequence of social development.

They can speed up the course of development, but the general pattern is pretty inflexible.

F 23. In calling religion "the opium of the people," Marx means that religion is a harmful addiction and calls for a figurative "war on drugs" to wipe religion out.

He thinks of it instead as something that helps make life bearable, though without addressing the underlying causes of misery

F 24. Marx blames capitalists for the alienation of workers.

capitalists don't cause alienation and cannot prevent it

F 25. According to Marx, the crucial problem with alienation is that it makes capitalists rich and workers poor.

he is concerned instead about autonomy and human flourishing

F 26. According to Marx, the best life is the life with the most pleasures and the fewest pains.

F 27. According to Marx, the outcome of the proletariat revolution would be like restoring human beings to the Garden of Eden: it takes them back to where they were before they were corrupted and degraded by the division of labor.

the culmination of history will lead to incomparably more developed, sophisticated and richer human beings than primitive peoples

F 28. "Species-life" for Marx consists mainly in bearing and raising children.

T 29. According to Marx, our relations to others are central to our own development and fulfillment.

T 30. Marx claims to be a materialist.

F 31. Marx maintains that it is only an illusion or misunderstanding that leads individuals to think that the market (which is, after all, just a set of human relations) dominates them.

No individual can escape the domination of the market. It is not an illusion.

F 32. In Marx's view, conquest – or in other words military force – is an important source of historical change, which is largely independent of the forces or relations of production.
the effects of conquest are transitory and superficial

F 33. The forces of production are the same as the relations of production looked at from a different angle.

technology is not the same thing as the way in which people relate to one another in employing technology

T 34. In Marx's view, changes in relations of production drive changes in the ideological "superstructure" rather than vice versa.

F 35. Marx denies that there are any general laws in economics that apply to all the different modes of production.

He thinks there are general laws, but he thinks they are uninteresting and uninformative.

T 36. Marx maintains that the moral views accepted by people living in a capitalist society reflect and legitimize the relations of production and property relations that are characteristic of capitalism.

T 37. Marx thinks that statistical studies of properties of "concrete wholes" are relatively unenlightening.

T 38. A political scientist who was a follower of Marx would write a very account of the development of American political institutions than a political scientist who was a follower of Mill.

Part II: Write a brief essay (it should fit on the back of this piece of paper) responding to the following question: What differences would there be between the way in which an anthropologist who was a follower of Marx would study a "primitive" society and the way in which an anthropologist who was a follower of Mill would proceed? Here are some of the questions you might consider in answering this general question: How would their questions and presuppositions differ? Would they rely on the same or different data? What similarities and differences would there be between the explanations they would offer? Would they accept similar standards of evidence?

A follower of Mill (Mill*) would pay special attention to the character of the individuals and the relations between their character and the circumstances in which they live. This allows for some overlap with Marx, since Mill's ethology would be concerned, among other things with how relations of production shape character. But it would be interested in other features that shape character, too, such as climate and geography. Mill* would look for empirical regularities (laws) and would seek to explain them in terms of facts about individual character and laws of mind. Mill* would look hard at intellectual life in search of influences both toward permanence and change. The Marxian anthropologist (Marx*) would begin by examining the technology employed and would explain the relations of production (somehow) in terms of the requirements of the technology. Marx* would then attempt to relate all the other features of the society to the relations of production. Marx* would look for conflicts between the forces and relations of production or between the relations of production and other features of the society in order to predict the direction of social change. Both would accept similar standards of evidence, and it seems that both would seek causal explanations, but Marx* would be more focused and less flexible concerning which causes are the important ones. Marx* would have somewhat more of a "systems" perspective, while Mill* would be more interested in the role of individuals.