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[Xmca-l] Re: Analysis of Gender in early xmca discourse




Hi Tom,

Thanks very much for your post and sharing a text that might be beneficial to the thread.

Is it possible for you to scan this chapter and post it to the list? It would contribute to the thread significantly, and I would certainly see you as an ally in collaboration with what the thread initiated if you did it, rather than being relegated to a lurker. Please join us, and anyone else interested.

If being scientific means being logical, and being logical means gendered, then certainly that can present problems. But if being scientific means avoidance of confirmation bias, then I'm all for it.

What I don't understand concerning Marx, and I do not mean to be insulting in any way; this is a real question... He served a very important purpose and he is historically valuable, so I do not doubt that. What troubles me, especially after reading some of the Piketty book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, is that Marx could not get his hands on the data to determine if his analyses were correct. Now Piketty (an economist) says in some ways Marx was right, but in others he was wrong. If there is someone being scientific about it, I'd say Piketty is. But the reasons Marx was wrong where he was wrong is because the data doesn't support his notions. Piketty explained his own work was to basically collect the data that Marx could not, now that the internet being what it is, that's basically the project of the book. But somehow it is heretical to have doubts about Marx, and that is why I said what I said, Tom. If Marx was a scientist, then why not be skeptical of him, just as any other scientist among us?

I'd certainly be interested in hearing from a person who had doubts in Darwin, not because they are creationists, but because they saw something in the theory that caused them to have doubt, and they want to follow the seam of that doubt. That seems very scientific to me.

I hope that doesn't make me a full-blooded capitalist for saying these things.

Anyway, I want to make the point that there is a privilege given to Marx as if he were a prophet and his utterances cannot be at all mistaken. He was a single man living in a time of economic upheaval and change, and he thought about it, he talked about it, and he wrote about it. And what he wrote viscerally resonated for people who suffer from the injustice inherent in the system, I cannot dismiss that and do not mean to. However history continues and technology continues in their development, and the view from the train of history isn't always flat and predictable. So how can it be that we anticipate that the worldview of Marx's train compartment will be identical to ours? Should we assume that the tools he fashioned then will work now?

Piketty draws that out, he is looking at the problem scientifically, I'd say. The publication of the translation in the US really freaked out all the capitalists, as I recall. Both Piketty and Varoufakis, that other famous lefty-economist, have remarked vociferously (maybe Varoufakis more than Piketty) that economics (in the university and elsewhere) *as a science* is a shambles and have almost come as close to saying the state of the discipline is no different then reading tea leaves (my words; their sense about it).

Last year I had been reading the first chapter of La Pensée Sauvage by Levi-Strauss and I really admired his observation that scientific thinking begins with the science of the concrete. Maybe that is what is referenced here as associative thinking or chaining, not sure. What is somehow off-putting is that associative thinking frequently gets short shrift, when it is the very kindling for higher conceptual thinking. But it seems like airing dirty laundry to admit to doing that kind of thinking or encouraging it. I did not get to the 2nd chapter on totemism (yet), but I sense that Levi-Strauss's work was to eliminate the hierarchies of human cognition because of his sense of social justice, having lived through the destruction of WW II, which we all know was begun because of a stubborn belief in a hierarchy of mental ability connected to unscientific notions of race. I wonder (which I would likely learn if I got deeper into the text) if he comments upon the idea that any hierarchies that do pertain to thinking and cognition are functional but not value laden, in terms of class or caste, intelligence versus stupidity, literacy vs illiteracy, etc. That's what I sense from his work, intuitively.

I feel the analogy of functional hierarchies very much when I've been building fires these past weeks. There is a trick to building the fire from paper and kindling to catching a log so the fire really starts to warm up the house and take the chill off. It's true you can't just go from kindling to logs and the flames must be of a certain caliber to light the log, so there must be intermediary and transitional pieces of wood to make the fire inevitable, while also contained. It also helps to have a bellows or to blow really hard to fan the fire. If there is not enough air the flames at the beginning do go out. There is more attention and care required at that stage.

So to all you fire builders out there, you might know what I am talking about.

Still wondering if anyone will discuss what is meant by chaining.

But thanks Tom, I hope to hear from you more, and others.

Kind regards,

Annalisa
Status: O