Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [Possible SPAM] Re: [xmca]Copernicus, Darwinand Bohr

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Fri Jun 29 2007 - 09:02:45 PDT

Paul-- This might be the kind of note bb was indexing in his message about
hot rhetoric.

One lesson I have taken from several recent messages is that this
discourse community is incredibly heterogeneous in the intellectual sources
it draws upon. Consequently invocation of names, or references to books we
need to read to understand a message, often go right over my head. This
applies to heidegger, merleau ponty, the politics of difference, and many
other "key words" that the discussion of toolforthoughts has evoked.

I could not parse Michael's message sufficiently on these grounds, and had
similar difficulties with at least one of Martin's recent posts.

Not sure of a bottom line here. Perhaps two points.
1. Try to avoid posts that display irritation to the point where people are
likely to feel they are being publicly dissed, while making clear

2. Try, when authors outside of the main chat authors are being referenced,
to provide a link, or a quotation, or some support for the
reader who is likely to be in the dark.

In the fog here until the sun breaks through in so cal.

On 6/28/07, Paul Dillon <> wrote:
> Michael,
> It's amazing how in just two sentences (the first two) you can
> contradict yourself so completely, although not the type of
> contradictions you pretend to illustrate with you alleatorily selected
> citations from Marx and Ilyenkov. Looking at it from the politics of
> difference one just needs to ask why you put "really" in caps. Remember
> Derrida's "A Writing Lesson" from "On Grammatology"??? Do caps really
> functions in the same way as the headman's scribble? How dare you talk
> about civility when the very necessity you felt of reminding everyone of
> what you've published and where you published it takes center stage,
> provides the pulpit from which you pontificate? Don't you get
> it? Everything you, and all of us say, is, as Heidegger put it, already
> out there, it's already involved in something there before you or I became
> aware of it, and our responsibility being to become aware of it, not aimply
> theorize it on the basis of what you found out there but from your very
> beginning, as Husserl might have said. Where is your step back? Are
> your references meant as a help for anyone or as a prop for your own
> assertions of "expertise"???? Heidegger defined Dasein as the being for
> whom its very existence was of concern (Sorge), and that form of being the
> very essence of the human condition. What is your concern? Where do you
> dwell?? Or as Gadamer put it, what is the opening behind your stage,
> something Dewey and George Herbert Mead also probed and earlier xmca
> founders explicated.
> In any event, could you discuss say, the media coverage of Hurricane
> Katrina from the perspective of the politics of difference. Many people
> caught in that catastrophe didn't need anyone to tell them about
> essentialities or the politics of difference , they just got and slammed in
> a hideous but well backed nightmare, and one has to ask themselves about the
> role of intellectuals in the larger social processes, n'est-ce pas vrai? No
> es cierto? Chaynallam hinachu?
> Paul
> p.s.
> The US team in La Copa America really blew it tonight, lost to Argentina
> 4-1 after a great first half. Perhaps the tone of this message reflects the
> loneliness I felt in a crowd of Peruvians gleeful about another blow against
> the empire, whose ideology I despise in all its forms. This only because I
> think Americans should really embrace soccer as a path to world peace.
> Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:
> Paul,
> in discussing, we should adhere to some rules, maintain some
> civility, etiquette, including not to presuppose what others have
> read or not. I REALLY studied Marx and Hegel and Il'enkov. I am sorry
> that you don't understand philosophers of difference. I mentioned it
> before, I showed in a recent SEMIOTICA article how replacing in Das
> Kapital the term "commodity" by the term "sign" and all examples of
> commodities by examples of signs, we get new texts that have striking
> family resemblances with texts by recent philosophers of differences.
> Why? This is the interesting question. I showed how there is an
> underlying structure that is common to both. As a Marx aficionado who
> tells me to read Marx more closely or "really study him", you might
> find this kind of analysis interesting. So, my advice to myself would
> be: don't discard or dismiss a philosopher just because I do not
> understand him/her.
> Here some other issues.
> In France, for example, philosophers are integral to social life,
> they appear on TV, they get asked about political issues, high school
> students have their philosophy comprehensive examinations, etc. I
> Where in the US, Canada, or other countries will you find this?
> Marx was not just about representations but about societal praxis.
> And he did conceive of of difference within the thing itself.
> Concerning Il'enkov on inner contradictions:
> Something else is discovered in the form of the contradiction under
> consideration, as analysis shows, and that is the absolute content of
> each of the commodities, its value, the inner contradiction of value
> and use-value. 'Thus the contrast between use-value and value hidden
> away within the commodity,' Marx wrote, 'has an outward and visible
> counterpart, namely the relation between two commodities, the
> relation in which the commodity whose value is to be expressed counts
> only as use-value, whereas the commodity in teinls of which value is
> to be expressed 1 counts only as exchange-value. The simple value
> form oi a commodity is, therefore, the simple phenomenal form of the
> inherent contrast (within the commodity) between use-value and value.
> (Logic, 333-4)
> On fatherless origins:
> the secret of the birth of value was unresolvable in principle.
> (Logic, 245)
> And on the source of the inner contradiction.
> Correspondingly, 'Marx regards value as the relation of a commodity
> to itself, rather than to another commodity, and that is why it
> emerges as a living, unsolved and insoluble inner
> contradiction' (Il'enkov 1982 [1960]: 266).
> Michael
> On 28-Jun-07, at 1:45 PM, Paul Dillon wrote:
> Michael,
> 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 Fri Jun 29 09:04 PDT 2007

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