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Re: [xmca] Peter Smagorinsky on concepts

"the categories of "abstract" and "concrete" are both applied to concepts
(whether subjective or objective) but in general both are description of

I agree with this.  "Concrete conception", as used here, is a qualifier for
whether the conception mirrors the concrete.


On 19 January 2012 11:23, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 19 January 2012 04:23, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> Huw, I think I have grasped your point about the way processes can also
>> be structures in relation to other processes, though I don'tquite see why
>> it is a criticism of my view. But, moving on ...
>> Your citations of the Grundrisse are a little confusing, because you
>> break out of the quotation from time to time with comments, and it is not
>> at all clear whether you are summarising Marx or criticising Marx when you
>> do this, or whether the quote marks have been left out inadvertantly.
> I don't see any typos there.  It is an elaboration.
>> But can we go to a central point: the categories of "abstract" and
>> "concrete" are both applied to concepts (whether subjective or objective)
>> but in general both are description of concepts, and nothing in this
>> excerpt from Marx concerns a contrast between thought and matter: rather he
>> is talking about abstract ideas and concrete ideas. So I think your
>> introduction of the category of the "material" into the section on the
>> "Method of Political Economy" is quite misleading. Marx makes no reference
>> to "material" here.
>> Can you explain please?
> My understanding is that a concrete conception, as referred to here, by
> Marx, refers to conceptions that authentically mirror the concrete, the
> material, the phenomena.
> All systems comprise of material relations.
> I refer to material here because this is directly related to structure.
> Concrete is not merely a concentration of abstractions, it is a
> concentration that mirrors the phenomena of interest in the concrete
> world.  Alternatively if we were to implement our concrete conceptions we
> would also have a concrete system.
> Huw
>> Andy
>> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>>> On 18 January 2012 00:55, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>    This is the original "rising to the concrete," Huw:
>>>    http://www.marxists.org/**archive/marx/works/1857/**
>>> grundrisse/ch01.htm#3<http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm#3>
>>>    In middle of that paragraph beginning "It seems to be correct ...".
>>>    Andy
>>> This seems to be perfectly in line with my earlier point, Andy.
>>> "It seems to be correct to begin with the real and the concrete, with
>>> the real precondition, thus to begin, in economics, with e.g. the
>>> population, which is the foundation and the subject of the entire social
>>> act of production.  However, on closer examination this proves false."
>>> It is false to begin with the concrete and it is false that "the
>>> population" is concrete.
>>> "The population is an abstraction if I leave out, for example, the
>>> classes of which it is composed. These classes in turn are an empty phrase
>>> if I am not familiar with the elements on which they rest. E.g. wage
>>> labour, capital, etc. These latter in turn presuppose exchange, division of
>>> labour, prices, etc. For example, capital is nothing without wage labour,
>>> without value, money, price etc."
>>> The abstractions are refined and related.
>>> "Thus, if I were to begin with the population, this would be a chaotic
>>> conception [Vorstellung] of the whole, and I would then, by means of
>>> further determination, move analytically towards ever more simple concepts
>>> [Begriff], from the imagined concrete towards ever thinner abstractions
>>> until I had arrived at the simplest determinations."
>>> If we began with "the population" as the concrete (the imagined
>>> concrete) we would have a chaotic conception.
>>> "From there the journey would have to be retraced until I had finally
>>> arrived at the population again, but this time not as the chaotic
>>> conception of a whole, but as a rich totality of many determinations and
>>> relations."
>>> The journey would need to be retraced because scientific minds would
>>> realise that "ever more simple concepts" are abstractions of material
>>> phenomena.  They would then make an abstract ascension towards a
>>> concentration of related abstractions that explained and predicted the
>>> concrete.  The material relations.
>>> "The former is the path historically followed by economics at the time
>>> of its origins. The economists of the seventeenth century, e.g., always
>>> begin with the living whole, with population, nation, state, several
>>> states, etc.; but they always conclude by discovering through analysis a
>>> small number of determinant, abstract, general relations such as division
>>> of labour, money, value, etc.  As soon as these individual moments had been
>>> more or less firmly established and abstracted, there began the economic
>>> systems, which ascended from the simple relations, such as labour, division
>>> of labour, need, exchange value, to the level of the state, exchange
>>> between nations and the world market. The latter is obviously the
>>> scientifically correct method. The concrete is concrete because it is the
>>> concentration of many determinations, hence unity of the diverse."
>>> The synthesis of many abstractions (the diverse) that approach
>>> (authentically explain) the complex dynamics of the concrete (the material).
>>> "It appears in the process of thinking, therefore, as a process of
>>> concentration, as a result, not as a point of departure, even though it is
>>> the point of departure in reality and hence also the point of departure for
>>> observation [Anschauung] and conception."
>>> Many patterns overlapped, overlayed and related -- a process of
>>> concentration (of perceiving many abstract relations in a concrete
>>> phenomena).
>>> The mental appreciation of the concrete is not the starting point for
>>> this process of appreciation (understanding).  Yet in reality we begin our
>>> observation and conception from the less appreciated existence of the
>>> concrete phenomena, which we endeavour to understand, to appreciate its
>>> material relations.
>>> Huw
>> --
>> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
>> ------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/**toc/hmca20/18/1<http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1>
>> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.**aspx?partid=227&pid=34857<http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
>> ______________________________**____________
>> _____
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