Publication details [#15041]

Yao, Yuan. 2020. The “Architectural Metaphor” in the Legal Principles of Historical Materialism. Law and Social Development 26 (6) : 199–221. 23 pp. URL
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Karl Marx's classical expression of the legal principles of historical materialism adopts an “architectural metaphor”. This preference for the rhetorical form of metaphor is associated with his background of aesthetics, and also relates to the characteristic of metaphor and the educational effects. The “architectural metaphor” can be traced to Marx's earlier texts. His term “superstructure” has no fixed reference, and is only a metaphorical word within a determined relationship, therefore cannot be understood or defined in itself. The “architectural metaphor” has its direct sources in Rousseau, Saint-Simon, Hegal as well as some economists, with whom Marx is very familiar. To reinterpret the possible intellectual meanings of the legal principles of historical materialism from perspectives such as the objective limitations of construction, structure and function, planning and alteration, and external goals, would help to respond effectively to criticisms based on the thesis of economical determinism, the thesis of reductionism, the thesis of structural separation, the thesis of instrumentalism, and the thesis of stillness."