Re: [xmca] déjatel¹ nost¹

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Wed Sep 03 2008 - 06:44:19 PDT

Martin Packer wrote:
> examine units in relation. This seems to me to suggest that although a unit
> has the characteristics of the whole, this is the case only when the unit is
> examined *in* the whole. We need to study a commodity *in* capitalist
> society. ...

Martin, this doesn't quite figure because to do as you
suggest, we have to begin with *two* units of analysis, the
commodity relation and "capitalist society", which of course
presumes what is to be proved. It's a cell; it *generates*
the whole.

Certainly, Marx has already told us that "The prerequisites
with which we begin are ... the actual individuals, their
activity and the material conditions of their lives," and
this is the necessary foundation.

You really can't say it better than Hegel (here describing
how the concept of "right" acts as a "unit of analysis" for
"objective spirit":

"The science of right is a part of philosophy. Hence it must
develop the idea, which is the reason of an object, out of
the conception. It is the same thing to say that it must
regard the peculiar internal development of the thing
itself. Since it is a part [of philosophy], it has a
definite beginning, which is the result and truth of what
goes before, and this, that goes before, constitutes its
so-called proof. Hence the origin of the conception of right
falls outside of the science of right. ...
"In philosophic knowledge the necessity of a conception is
the main thing, and the process, by which it, as a result,
has come into being is the proof and deduction. After the
content is seen to be necessary independently, the second
point is to look about for that which corresponds to it in
existing ideas and modes of speech." (Introduction to the
Philosophy of Right §2)

So what Marx is doing in rising from the abstract to the
concrete is unfolding out of the value relation a whole
series of concepts which flow from it. It is a kind of
thought experiment which is constantly checked against
historical reality. In fact of course there never has been
and never will be a society in which the commodity relation
is "absolute."


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Received on Wed Sep 3 06:51 PDT 2008

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