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From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jun 28 2007 - 13:45:41 PDT

  While you have suggested that I study the "philosophers of difference", I would suggest that you really need to study Marx. I studied Derrida as a grad student and read to a greater or lesser degree many of the authors he spawned thereafter. But after awhile I just began to see all of it as words chasing words. To me "the philosophies of difference" are something akin to intellectual candy, apparently quite tasty, but when looked at from a distance something that rots ones intellectual teeth and makes it difficult to chew anything except similar candies. I can't think of anyone of these "philosophers" whose philosophies ever reached beyond the intellectual circles who shared them or affected the broader social processes in a meaningful way. One person who might be considered to have taken these delectables to another level and found a way to include them in real food digestable and nutritious for a broader and not necessarily academic public is Peter McLaren at
  Did Marx intend a "critique" of capitalism. One would presume so since the title of one of his important early works is precisely "Contribution to a Critique of Political Economy" (1859) and Capital itself is subtitled "a critique of political economy". Remember that political economy was the name given to the theory of capitalism after Adam Smith. All of Capital (3 vols.) is devoted to showing how the categories of capitalism (rent, profit, wages, interest, etc.) are the fetishized representations of the social processes of exploitation in a system labor is a commodity. He did this both through an examination of the logic of capitalism and a history of the genesis of these categories--something Ilyenkov explores in depth. This method is the essence of critique and certainly not something that leaves a eunuch's shadow. There is no other social thinker whose work was so fertile and achieved such a broad public as that of Karl Marx, unlike, sooo unlike the so-called
 "philosophers of difference:"
  Also, you still haven't explained your point in mentioning Ilyenkov but this is perhaps understandable since one can't even begin to deal with Ilyenkov without having fully grasped what Marx is attempting in Capital. Or for that matter, in my view, neither can one understand what Vygotsky was trying to do for psychology without understanding what Marx did for political economy (i.e., the theory of capitalism). Vygotsky, for one, clearly, unequivocally, and repeatedly. inscribed himself within that tradition.
  Paul Dillon

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Received on Thu Jun 28 13:47 PDT 2007

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