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Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 45, Issue 47: Ilyenkov on ideality and social relations


It is precisely the kind of manipulative, objectivist social science that
Habermas, for example, has tried to combat, along with many of us. Once one
accepts that scientific inquiry can only be about what is "strictly
quantifiable" one has in effect conceded the game. Appealing to empathy
won't make up the loss.

For anyone who wants to get their head around Habermas' earlier writing I'd
recommend Thomas MacCarthy's 1978 book. As for people who have written in
English about a social science that is built on interpretation rather than
numbers, there are Charles Taylor, Clifford Geertz, Anthony Giddens, and
many others. There are the important edited collections by Dallmayr &
McCarthy (1977) and Rabinow & Sullivan (1979). The important differences
between empathy and interpretation are explored by Taylor, and by Dreyfus.
Palmer's 1969 book was one of the first to explain hermeneutics to an
English-speaking audience, and is still worth a look. The important debate
between Habermas and Gadamer is explored in McCarthy's book, and also by
Misgeld (either written in English or in a clear translation) and by
Mendelson. Differences among Gadamer, Habermas and Dilthey are a popular
topic, see for example Harrington. For Gadamer's implications for research
see Hekman, for example. For a comparison between Wittenstein and Gadamer
see Lawn. 

McCarthy, T. (1978). The critical theory of Jurgen Habermas. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press.
Dallmayr, F. R., & McCarthy, T. A. (1977). Understanding and social inquiry:
University of Notre Dame Press.
Taylor, C. (1971/1985). Interpretation and the sciences of man.  [Originally
published in The Review of Metaphysics, 25, 3-34, 45-51]. In Philosophy and
the human sciences: Philosophical papers (Vol. 2). New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Taylor, C. (1980). Understanding in human science. The Review of
Metaphysics, 34, 3-23.
Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Harper and Row.
Giddens, A. (1976). New rules of sociological method: A positive critique of
interpretive sociologies. New York: Basic Books.
Dreyfus, H. L. (1991). Being-in-the-world: A commentary on Heidegger's Being
and time, Division 1: Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Misgeld, D. (1976). Critical theory and hermeneutics: The debate between
Habermas and Gadamer. In J. O'Neill (Ed.), On critical theory: New York:
Seabury Press.
Mendelson, J. (1979). The Habermas-Gadamer debate. New German Critique, 18,
Harrington, A. (1999). Objectivism in hermeneutics? Gadamer, Habermas,
Dilthey. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 30(4), 491-507.
Palmer, R. E. (1969). Hermeneutics: Interpretation theory in Schleiermacher,
Dilthey, Heidegger and Gadamer: Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
Hekman, S. (1984). Action as a text: Gadamer's hermeneutics and the social
scientific analysis of action. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior,
14, 333-354.
Lawn, C. (2003). Wittgenstein, history and hermeneutics. Philosophy & Social
Criticism, 29(3), 281-295.


On 2/25/09 9:05 PM, "Derek Melser" <derek.melser@gmail.com> wrote:

> Martin, Steve,
> Thanks very much those references, Martin. I have looked at Habermas,
> Dilthey and Heidegger in the past ­ ploughed through longish tracts in fact
> ­ but, to quote Arthur Hugh Clough's immortal 'Amours de Voyage', “Somehow,
> Eustace, alas! I have not felt the vocation!”. It may have to do with my
> reading them only in translation ­ and my being accustomed to the beautiful
> English of Austin, Collingwood, Ryle, Strawson, Reid, Hume, Hampshire,
> Wittgenstein, Wisdom, Macmurray, Quine, Mead, Grace de Laguna.... Reading
> modern continental philosophy, my experience is that the standard of the
> prose (due no doubt entirely to inevitable infelicities and uncertainties of
> translation) is simply inadequate to the subtlety of the philosophical
> points at issue. I've just read forty pages of Gadamer on Habermas and
> hermeneutics (courtesy of Google Books) and I have to say my impression is
> the same. I could write you a long book on what he *might be* saying. But I
> couldn't honestly say anything at all about what he *is* saying. Can you
> point me to anyone writing in English about this (to me, all-important)
> topic of the relations between empathy and objectivity in our perception of
> others (and their/our activities and artifacts)?
> Steve, thank you for your patience and appreciation. I get a bit obsessive
> about the empathy/objectivity divide. But just because I get obsessive that
> doesn't mean its not the most interesting philosophical topic around...
> Maybe my zealous, possibly impatient, attitude is due to a back-of-the-mind
> anxiety about science cornering all the intellectual authority not just in
> the area of the natural world but in the social area as well. Men (and
> women) in white coats conducting experiments, experts 'knowing best' ­
> presenting reports on 'how our mind's work' to God knows who. The concept of
> 'cognitive science' is, like its predecessor 'behavioral science', to me
> somehow unsettling. Lois Holzman swapped me her then-latest book for mine at
> a Distributed Language Group conference in Norway in 2007. Her book
> was *Unscientific
> Psychology: A Cultural-Performative Approach to Understanding Human
> Life*and it is very interesting. I didn't know, for example, just how
> involved
> were corporate interests -- advertising industry, Taylorists and the
> military -- in the (early 20th century) founding and funding of American
> psychology.
> Cheers, Derek
> http://www.derekmelser.org
> 2009/2/26 Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com>
>> Derek, this is a stimulating and refreshing response, thank you.  I am
>> going to see if I can figure out a response to some of your ideas using some
>> of the essays of Ilyenkov recently mentioned.  I am curious if Ilyenkov's
>> theory of the "ideal-material" boundary will be helpful in relation to some
>> of the points you make.  On the term "objectively," I would have understood
>> exactly what you meant if you had said "scientifically."  But I would still
>> have answered your questions yes - and therefore, still been wrong from the
>> concerted action theory perspective!  I will write you a proper response.
>>  And thanks much for your very well thought out and written posts, they are
>> a pleasure to read and think about.
>> - Steve
>> On Feb 24, 2009, at 2:55 PM, Derek Melser wrote:
>>  Steve, Andy,
>>> 1. Are purpose-made artifacts (a USB key, say, or a road sign) objectively
>>> observable physical phenomena?
>>> 2. Are people's actions objectively observable physical phenomena?
>>> Yes, Steve, the word *objectively* is crucial. Any study claiming to be
>>> scientific must employ objective observation methods. That is, all the
>>> variables affecting the phenomenon under observation must be recorded and
>>> controlled, phenomena under observation must be strictly quantifiable
>>> (observing implies measuring), observations must be precisely repeatable
>>> (by
>>> anyone anywhere employing the same observation techniques), and so on. And
>>> it's no good saying '*Oh, that's just the physical sciences*' because
>>> there
>>> ain't no other kind. Unless you employ *objective* observation methods,
>>> you
>>> are not doing science. [Incidentally, I love science, particularly
>>> neurophysiology, and zoology generally.]
>>> What other kinds of observation, of observation method, are there? I am
>>> interested in two in particular. First is the kind of informal everyday
>>> objectivity that science is a rigorous version of. This is our shared
>>> perception of things in the physical world. The objectivity of things in
>>> the
>>> world, indeed the world itself, is simply a reflecton of the shareability
>>> and repeatability of our perceptions. (Roughly, if they are not shareable
>>> and repeatable, they're illusions not perceptions.)
>>> However, the most interesting unscientific observation method, and by far
>>> our most important everyday perceptual mode, is what I call 'empathic'
>>> observation, or just 'empathy'. Other terms used to label it are:
>>> *verstehen
>>> *, *re-enactment* (Collingwood), *interpretation*, *hermeneutics*, *
>>> simulation.*
>>> It seems to be as plain as day that our observations of other people's
>>> actions are all, and must be, empathic rather than objective. In order to
>>> see what action is being performed we have to see what the other is doing
>>> as
>>> if we were doing it ourselves. We perceive the things (including any
>>> artifacts) relevant to the action in much the same way as the actual agent
>>> is perceiving them. We organise these perceptions, order and prioritise
>>> them, etc., according to the action being performed. The action we are
>>> imagining performing is the 'vehicle' for our perceptions. Indeed, to the
>>> extent we are sharing the agent's perceptions we are actually
>>> *imitating*him, doing them in concert with him, rather than merely
>>> empathising. And my
>>> claim is (and actually Vico's and Collingwood's and quite a few other
>>> people's) that if you do not empathise, you simply do not perceive
>>> actions.
>>> You might, if you had a biologist's hat handy to put on, see a human
>>> organism exhibiting some macro-physiological activity ­ but you wouldn't
>>> see
>>> George making a wry smile. You've got to empathise with George to see
>>> that.
>>> Similarly, if George is making a cup of tea. If you have no experience of
>>> making cups of tea, and you consequently cannot imagine doing what it is
>>> you
>>> are observing, neither will you be able to identify what George is doing.
>>> It also seems to me as plain as day that empathy is out of bounds for
>>> *scientists.
>>> *If you are doing science then, by definition, you are committing to
>>> abandoning our everyday informal observation methods and adopting
>>> science's
>>> strictly objective ones.
>>> I have to say that I find the notion of 'sciences' of history, politics,
>>> society, behaviour, economics, etc., as simply embarrassing. They are not
>>> even would-be sciences. We can only be talking pretend-science.
>>> As for the two questions: Are either artifacts or activities objectively
>>> observable? My answer is no, of course they aren't. You have to empathise
>>> the relevant activity before you can correctly identify either.
>>> What does this have to do with Ilyenkov? Well, Ilyenkov is attempting to
>>> solve exactly the same problem ­ about the incommensurability of
>>> objectivity
>>> and activity (people's activity, *our own *activity) ­ that I am raising
>>> here. He concentrates on artifacts, things made for a purpose, and
>>> distinguishes them from natural physical. phenomena by saying that they
>>> have
>>> the property of 'ideality'. He then defines ideality in terms of activity
>>> and thus ends up saying that artifacts have a certain activity 'implicit
>>> in
>>> them' or they 'bespeak' or 'represent' that activity. A bicycle pump
>>> 'implies' or 'signifies' the action of pumping up a tyre. Well, this is
>>> perfectly sensible but it doesn't take us very far. It's just saying that
>>> the activity is somehow 'in' the object, 'inherent' in it. This is a
>>> fairly
>>> unimaginative metaphor is it not?
>>> To my mind it is much more fruitful to think of the problem as *not* being
>>> about the *ontology* of the artifact or activity respectively, but instead
>>> being about the observation technique being employed by the observer. That
>>> is where the distinctions should be made. In order to identify an artifact
>>> ­
>>> in order to see it for what it is ­ we have to ourselves incipiently
>>> rehearse the relevant use-activity. And this imaginative rehearsal or
>>> re-enactment on our part straight away rules out the kind of objectivity
>>> that a scientist must maintain.
>>> Derek
>>> http://www.derekmelser.org
>>> 2009/2/25 Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch@me.com>
>>>  Derek, I am curious, instead of just observable you say 'objectively
>>>> observable' - are you distinguishing the concept from just 'plain'
>>>> observable, or from 'subjectively' observable (whatever that is), or,
>>>> perhaps, from objectively 'invisible'?  Just curious.  If I take your
>>>> questions in their everyday sense, I would answer as Andy did, yes and
>>>> yes,
>>>> for what that's worth.  I wonder who would say no, and why.
>>>> As for Martin's question which has been driving this thread, what did
>>>> Ilyenkov say and mean, I think we should try to keep on track with that.
>>>> Martin and this thread has gotten me to take a new and more thorough than
>>>> ever look at the essay The Concept of the Ideal again, and I am grateful
>>>> for
>>>> that.  That essay had a big influence on me when I first came around CHAT
>>>> about 6 years ago, and it is continuing to teach me now.
>>>> Once I began to grasp those ideas, the power of cultural-historical
>>>> methodology and activity theory began to sink in for me.  Ilyenkov
>>>> stresses
>>>> that the boundary between the material and the ideal is fundamental to
>>>> philosophy, and one of the interesting things he does in this essay is
>>>> trace
>>>> the different approaches to ideality taken by Plato and Hegel, which he
>>>> contrasts in detail with Kant, and then shows how Marx revolutionized the
>>>> whole concept with his rigorously materialist approach to consciousness
>>>> and
>>>> activity.  It is an interesting way of looking at the entire history of
>>>> Western philosophy.
>>>> Interestingly, a central aspect of the essay is that it is really a
>>>> correction of Marx.  Marx never uses the term ideality the way Ilyenkov
>>>> uses
>>>> the term.  Ilyenkov analyzes a number of places where Marx uses the term,
>>>> correcting him each time.  I went back to some of those quotes.  There is
>>>> one paragraph in Capital Ilyenkov points to where Marx uses the term
>>>> about
>>>> five times.  But each time, Marx uses the term as a synonym for mental,
>>>> for
>>>> consciousness, just as Hegel did.  So Ilyenkov spends some time
>>>> explaining
>>>> that, gently correcting Marx.  But Ilyenkov's main argument and thrust,
>>>> of
>>>> course, is that Marx, especially in his study of exchange value and use
>>>> value, very much uses the **concept** of ideality as Ilyenkov explains
>>>> it.
>>>> Ilyenkov uses the term ideality as a synonym for actually two kinds of
>>>> things: artifacts, and human activities when engaged with artifacts,
>>>> including goals and needs.  But only when the two things are together, in
>>>> motion.  Sociocultural motion, if you will.  His very last point in this
>>>> essay is that if you want to see ideality, you can't separate the
>>>> artifacts
>>>> and activities, you have to see them together, as a process, as an
>>>> unceasing
>>>> process of mutual transformation.  This may be part of the some of the
>>>> difficulty of a text-based email discussion, which focuses by nature on
>>>> words like "object" and "artifact" and abstract things like
>>>> "definitions."
>>>> Always a hazard of philosophical inquiry, those frozen words.  It just
>>>> takes a little work sometimes to get them to thaw them out and get them
>>>> to
>>>> reflect the right motions.
>>>> What Ilyenkov is aiming at doing in this essay, I believe, is completing
>>>> the revolutionary way of looking at human activity that underlies Marx's
>>>> Capital.  Human life isn't just a matter of labor being reflected in the
>>>> exchange value of commodities, he explains - human life is a matter of
>>>> human
>>>> activity being represented in **all** artifacts.  (Unless there are two
>>>> kinds of artifacts in this regard, of course).  And just as Marx
>>>> discovered
>>>> the secret of value, so elusive to bourgeois economists, he also
>>>> discovered
>>>> the secret of ideality, so elusive to idealist philosophers.  The answer
>>>> to
>>>> the puzzle is the same for both - it's all about labor, or more
>>>> generally,
>>>> activity.  The secret of value, the secret of all artifacts, the secret
>>>> of
>>>> meaning itself, the secret of ideality:   is activity.
>>>> Well, that is my take on Ilyenkov's concept.
>>>> On your presumptions, by the way, I am uncomfortable with your suggestion
>>>> that individual action is reducible to shared activity.  It is certainly
>>>> based on it and derived from it, but individuals can and do add their own
>>>> idiosyncratic twists and complexities to the cultural and social
>>>> activities
>>>> they interiorize and actualize, additions that don't "reduce."  I have in
>>>> mind the fact that some can turn such complexities into rather fine works
>>>> of
>>>> art that others cherish - and all kinds of forms of creativity, (some of
>>>> which are cherished more than others!).
>>>> My reasoning here is based on ideas from dialectics and complex systems
>>>> theory, where I would place the psychology of the individual at one of
>>>> the
>>>> highest levels of complexity in the human system.  This notion is
>>>> counterintuitive to the usual idea that groups of people are more complex
>>>> than single individuals, and societies the most complex of all.
>>>> Certainly, the complexities of say the economic system are very real, and
>>>> that lays the foundation of a society, according to my thinking.  On top
>>>> of
>>>> that are many complex levels of superstructure, where, as we ascend,
>>>> things
>>>> keep getting more complex, with more degrees of freedom emerging, and
>>>> entities gaining increased sensitivity to small changes, until we get to
>>>> the
>>>> psychology of a single individual, perhaps the crowning achievement of
>>>> the
>>>> whole shebang.  At the same time as possessing their ultracomplex mind,
>>>> this
>>>> thing that can "contemplate," this individual, is also participating at
>>>> all
>>>> the "lower" levels.  At the biological level this mind is a brain with
>>>> neurons, and that is itself a highly complex thing.  At the economic
>>>> level,
>>>> that mind is perhaps a worker, a home dweller, a commuter.  At the
>>>> social,
>>>> historical, cultural levels, perhaps a parent, an artist.  And so on.
>>>>  The
>>>> Big Challenge in my mind is how to grasp and make sense of all these
>>>> things
>>>> happening at the same time.
>>>> A key to this, in my view, is to try to understand how each of these
>>>> "levels" that humans engage in obeys its own unique laws of development,
>>>> while also interacting with other levels in often very intricate ways,
>>>> and
>>>> again, in its unique manner.  Thus, an artist-painter interacts with the
>>>> laws of aesthetics AND the law of value - and the laws of optics - and
>>>> much
>>>> more.  And somehow puts them altogether and paints something no one else
>>>> ever has, or will, again.
>>>> This may be part of the problem with this pesky units of analysis issue -
>>>> when we are talking about the psychology of an individual human, we are
>>>> talking about something sitting at the top of the most complex heap of
>>>> physical, biological, social, historical, cultural, and individual
>>>> developmental processes in the known universe.  It may make sense, in my
>>>> view, to look for a **constellation** of units of analysis, microcosms,
>>>> and
>>>> germ cells.  The scientific problem may lie more in figuring out how to
>>>> coordinate them, than discover new ones.
>>>> The units of analyses we often discuss on xmca - word-meaning, mediated
>>>> action, concerted action, class struggle, conditional reflexes, the
>>>> cathartic experience, are ALL relevant to the psychology of an
>>>> individual.
>>>> My question is:  what happens when we claim we have found the one that
>>>> the
>>>> others can be reduced to?
>>>> Ilyenkov, interestingly, made a big contribution to this discussion, too.
>>>> His best known work is The Dialectics of the Abstract and the Concrete in
>>>> Marx's Capital (1960), where he elaborates on concept of the concrete
>>>> universal.  Perhaps that concept could shed some light on the
>>>> u-of-a/cell/microcosm puzzle.  But that is another discussion.
>>>> Back to Martin's question and the topic of this thread ...  Ilyenkov
>>>> begins
>>>> his essay with a discussion of how the term 'ideality' is used in
>>>> different
>>>> contexts.  Derek, I am curious, from the concerted action theory point of
>>>> view you have developed, what is your concept of the ideal, where you
>>>> would
>>>> find the boundary between ideality and the material, how would you
>>>> analyze
>>>> this problem of the artifact?  I suspect your questions about USB keys
>>>> and
>>>> people's actions are leading toward something ...
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> - Steve
>>>> On Feb 23, 2009, at 5:53 PM, Derek Melser wrote:
>>>> Dear Andy, Martin, Steve, David and other contributors to this thread,
>>>>> Let me butt in here, possibly a bit cheekily...
>>>>> I presume everyone agrees with LSV and me that consciousness (including
>>>>> perceiving and thinking) and speech are actions of the person. [Even if
>>>>> consciousness covers, or qualifies, a whole range of actions ('conscious
>>>>> action'), it is still fundamentally actional ­ still something we *do
>>>>> *(and
>>>>> have to learn how to do).]
>>>>> And I presume everyone agrees with LSV and me that solo action is
>>>>> derivative
>>>>> of and reducible to shared (concerted) activity, rather than the other
>>>>> way
>>>>> round.
>>>>> And I presume everyone agrees that LSV sometimes describes speech as if
>>>>> it
>>>>> were the using of purpose-made artifacts (words qua 'tools') and at
>>>>> other
>>>>> times describes speech as if it were not an artifact-using kind of
>>>>> action
>>>>> at
>>>>> all, but rather a pure action (like sighing ostentatiously, signalling
>>>>> 'no'
>>>>> or plucking a grape). [I agree with the 'pure action' view. A written
>>>>> word
>>>>> is a graphic representation of an act of speaking. But that act of
>>>>> speaking
>>>>> is not literally a matter of 'using a word'. Even Skinner saw that.]
>>>>> Whichever side we come down on on the 'words as artifacts' issue, we
>>>>> still
>>>>> have to face the fact that there are such things as purpose-made
>>>>> artifacts
>>>>> and they are somehow to be distinguished from natural phenomena. And
>>>>> there
>>>>> are such things as people's actions too. These also have to be
>>>>> distinguished, somehow, from natural phenomena.
>>>>> We are left with two very important questions. I personally would much
>>>>> rather know what the answers to them are than know what any past
>>>>> scholar,
>>>>> of
>>>>> whatever nationality or political persuasion, thought the answers to
>>>>> them
>>>>> are.
>>>>> 1. Are purpose-made artifacts (a USB key, say, or a road sign)
>>>>> objectively
>>>>> observable physical phenomena?
>>>>> 2. Are people's actions objectively observable physical phenomena?
>>>>> Derek
>>>>> http://www.derekmelser.org
>>>>> 2009/2/23 Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>> I think I need to start saying things like 'ideal aspect' or
>>>>>> referring to 'ideality'. (Almost) everything made by human
>>>>>> labour has 'significance' or 'meaning' and this does not
>>>>>> exclude the fact that many properties of a thing may be
>>>>>> natural rather than ideal. The provenance of a coin
>>>>>> incorporates it within a country's money system, but none of
>>>>>> the physical properties of it establish that provenance,
>>>>>> because coutnerfeiters are clever. But the tarnishing of
>>>>>> silver coins is not an artefact, that is a natural of all
>>>>>> silver coins. I think 'ideality' is a property of certain
>>>>>> things which is quite distinct from any physical property.
>>>>>> How do you describe what sort of property is ideality?
>>>>>> Thinking about why Marx's analysis of money is so central
>>>>>> (for Ilyenkov for example) to a solution of the problem of
>>>>>> the ideal, and not just the nature of capitalism. I think
>>>>>> money is a kind of 'microcosm' (to link this to the
>>>>>> discussion with Nicolai).
>>>>>> People can say words are just made up, conventional symbols,
>>>>>> but words are just like money, and people think that money
>>>>>> is just a conventional symbol, too. The way money emerged
>>>>>> from thousands of years of human practice demonstrated how
>>>>>> the ideal emerges out of the practice of bringing things
>>>>>> into elation with one another in labour processes. I want to
>>>>>> think about this some more, MArtin, and thank you for your
>>>>>> continual challenges!
>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>> Martin Packer wrote:
>>>>>>  Andy,
>>>>>>> Once again you're pointing out what is material for Ilyenkov. I didn't
>>>>>>> bother to emphasize what things are material, because Ilyenkov is a
>>>>>>> materialist. Everything in his ontology is material. He is a monist!
>>>>>>> But he still wants to draw distinctions. I should probably have been
>>>>>>>  clearer
>>>>>>  that when Ilyenkov writes that it is the task of philosophy to clarify
>>>>>>> "the distinction between the 'ideal' and the 'real' ('material'),"
>>>>>>> what
>>>>>>>  he
>>>>>>  must mean is the distinction between what is ideal (and also material)
>>>>>>>  and
>>>>>>  what is material (but not also ideal). I presume that this distinction
>>>>>>>  must
>>>>>>  be drawn by humans (even philosophers are human!), using social
>>>>>>>  practices.
>>>>>>  If everything within social practice becomes ideal (if, as you put it,
>>>>>>> "every artifact is... ideal"), how could this task ever be completed?
>>>>>>> I
>>>>>>>  can
>>>>>>  only infer that for Ilyenkov there are things within social practice
>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>> are material (of course) but not ideal. And then it follows that only
>>>>>>> certain material things within social practice are (also) ideal.
>>>>>>> What are these ideal (yet material) things? Images, monuments, money,
>>>>>>> drawings, models, and "such symbolic objects" as banners, coats of
>>>>>>>  arms....
>>>>>>> Martin
>>>>>>> On 2/22/09 12:36 AM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>>>>> Martin Packer wrote:
>>>>>>>>  Clearly he [Ilyenkov]
>>>>>>>>> understands that it is a complete mistake to draw the line between
>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>  ideal
>>>>>>  and the material so that the mind is on one side and the world on the
>>>>>>>>>  other.
>>>>>>  But he evidently still wants to draw the line. My interpretation is
>>>>>>>>>  that he
>>>>>>  wants to draw it between those social artifacts that become ideal and
>>>>>>>>>  those
>>>>>>  that do not.
>>>>>>>>>  I don't think this is right Martin, though Ilyenkov focusses
>>>>>>>> so much on Marx's treatment of money, one wonders ... If
>>>>>>>> there is to be a line, then it would be between artificial
>>>>>>>> and natural, (i.e., part of a labour process or not part of
>>>>>>>> a labour process) or between the mental and the material
>>>>>>>> (see the commentary on Kant's idea about the real talers in
>>>>>>>> his pocket). But even then there could be no actual thing
>>>>>>>> which was wholly ideal or natural. Both the ideal and the
>>>>>>>> natural can be material and can be reflected in
>>>>>>>> consciousness. Ideal things are ideal from the beginning to
>>>>>>>> the end of their perception by an individual, that's the
>>>>>>>> point I think.
>>>>>>>> Looking at any given artefact, there are things about it
>>>>>>>> which are incidental with respect to any labour process and
>>>>>>>> other things which can be understood only in relation to
>>>>>>>> their meaning in some labour process. Every artefact is (as
>>>>>>>> I read it) both natural and ideal.
>>>>>>>> I take the materiality of a thing to be its existence
>>>>>>>> outside of consciousness and its connection with every other
>>>>>>>> material thing in hte universe. Materiality is therefore a
>>>>>>>> property of an ideal such as a coin as much as it is a
>>>>>>>> property of the other side of the moon. Hegel of course
>>>>>>>> "mistakenly" thought that ideality existed in Nature.
>>>>>>>> In his book about Lenin, Ilyenkov says:
>>>>>>>> 'Consciousness'  let us take this term as Lenin did  is
>>>>>>>> the most general concept which can only be defined by
>>>>>>>> clearly contrasting it with the most general concept of
>>>>>>>> 'matter', moreover as something secondary, produced and derived.
>>>>>>>> You've raised some interesting issues in this email Martin.
>>>>>>>> I need to think some more about it ...
>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>> I think, in fact, that the interpretation you are offering is
>>>>>>>>>  attributed by
>>>>>>  Ilyenkov to Hegel. For Hegel, he says (along with other idealists such
>>>>>>>>>  as
>>>>>>  Popper and Plato):
>>>>>>>>> "what begins to figure under the designation of the ³real world² is
>>>>>>>>> an
>>>>>>>>> already ³idealised² world, a world already assimilated by people, a
>>>>>>>>>  world
>>>>>>  already shaped by their activity, the world as people know it, as it
>>>>>>> is
>>>>>>>> presented in the existing forms of their culture."
>>>>>>>>> This is your position too, isn't it - that the social world is made
>>>>>>>>> up
>>>>>>>>>  of
>>>>>>  ideal objects?
>>>>>>>>> Ilyenkov argues that Marx used the term 'ideal' in the same way as
>>>>>>>>>  Hegel,
>>>>>>  but applied it to a completely different "range of phenomena":
>>>>>>>>> "In Capital Marx quite consciously uses the term ³ideal² in this
>>>>>>>>> formal
>>>>>>>>> meaning that it was given by Hegel... although the
>>>>>>>>>  philosophical-theoretical
>>>>>>  interpretation of the range of phenomena which in both cases is
>>>>>>>>>  similarly
>>>>>>  designated ³ideal² is diametrically opposed to its Hegelian
>>>>>>>>>  interpretation."
>>>>>>>  Martin
>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>  --
>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/<http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/><
>>>>>> http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/><
>>>>>> http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>+61 3 9380 9435
>>>>>> Skype andy.blunden
>>>>>> Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
>>>>>> http://www.marxists.org/admin/books/index.htm
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