Analysis or Dialectic? A Methodological Rereading of the 1857 «Einleitung». In this article, the Author maintains that the 1857 Introduction should not be regarded as Marx’s definitive coherent stance on method, but rather as a transitional text in which diverse and not necessarily compatible methodological options coexist. In the first paragraph, he examines the Marxian notion of "essential difference" and argues that, far from being the key notion, it only represents the first step in the internal development of the text. Moreover, it is maintained that the concept of "practically true abstraction" is to be acknowledged as a pivotal ontological structure of the capitalist mode of production, but it cannot be considered as a response to the methodological problems Marx sets out in the Introduction. In the second section, the Author focuses on the ambiguous and polysemous definition of the "abstract" and the "concrete", arguing that both an empiricist and a dialectical reading of their relation are possible. The third and the fourth sections contain a minute examination of Marx’s account of the problem of the order of categories so as to demonstrate that, while the re-evaluation of Hegel’s Logic is certainly the most influential motif in the Introduction, the theoretical result of the latter is irrevocably partial and not fully consistent.
Keywords: Hegel, Marx, Grundrisse, Abstraction, Dialectic