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Re: [xmca] "Rising to the concrete"
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] "Rising to the concrete"
- From: Huw Lloyd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 12:51:07 +0100
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On 15 August 2012 12:30, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Ha, ha! We can't be too far apart then, Huw, as I wrote that definition,
> albeit 13 years ago.
> The main thing though, as Brecht observes, is that there are *two
> movements*, somewhat like analysis and synthesis.
Well that bodes well, I think. :)
> A natural or social process itself is both abstract and concrete.
I disagree. The only thing that a natural thing is is itself. It is
analog. Abstract and concrete are digital. "Is" is only really useful in
the domain of the digital.
The abstract and concrete are only separated in the act of conception and
> What exactly did you mean in counterposing "every" and "universal", Huw?
> Hegel indeed makes a big issue of the distinction between the general and
> the universal, and it's part of his critique of parliamentary democracy,
> for example. But I couldn't quite catch how you brought this in.
"It is universal that workers are payed" is the same as "every worker gets
payed". By which we allude to going around and checking that every worker
we encounter gets payed in some form. We are looking at it from the
outside in. Work here refers to the instances that we encounter.
Whereas to say, "payment is a universal (a principle) of work", we are
looking from the inside out. Work here is no longer the instances, it is
the concretized general.
> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> I'm not sure where you're going with "both abstract and concrete", but
>> this doesn't seem to be the main point which hinges on universal.
>> The example of the worker, is applying universal as "Every", which is a
>> weaker version of universal as "princicple".
>> Both "every" and "principle" are abstractions, yes.
>> Measurements are abstractions.
>> The principle of dialectics is also an abstraction.
>> But the original quote is perfectly accordant with Marx.
>> One moves from an empirical (abstract) appreciation to a dialectic one
>> In other words, the universal in the quote refers to the principle by
>> which one attains the concrete.
>> Lenin is referring to process (methods), Marx is referring to form. They
>> are referring to the same thing.
>> The parts about context and experience I am happy with. However, we have
>> a caveat for the contextual truths and that is that principals (universals)
>> should apply across our historical contexts, what was a principal
>> (universal) then will still be a principal now.
>> I am perfectly happy with the description of concrete and abstract in the
>> glossary on the Marxists site:
>> Abstract and Concrete
>> Abstract and Concrete are philosophical concepts concerned with the
>> development of conceptual knowledge. An understanding of what is meant by
>> “abstract” and “concrete” is vital to making sense of dialectics. For Hegel
>> and for Marx, the contrast between abstract and concrete <
>> does NOT mean the contrast between an idea and reality. Rather ‘A concrete
>> concept is the combination of many abstractions’. A concept, such as a
>> number or a definition, is very abstract because it indicates just one of
>> millions of the aspects that a concrete thing has, or a brand new idea
>> which has not yet accrued nuances and associations. Concepts are the more
>> concrete the more connections they have. If we say “The British working
>> class are those who work for a wage and live in the UK,” then we've made a
>> very /abstract/ concept. To make it more concrete is to show the many
>> aspects of it; showing the historical circumstances of its rise and
>> development, the state of the world it developed in, etc.
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