Re: [xmca] déjatel¹ nost¹

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Wed Sep 03 2008 - 07:16:38 PDT

What we demand of the unit of analysis (or cell) is not that
it is a part of the whole, but rather that it is the
simplest form *of* the whole.


Martin Packer wrote:
> Andy,
> But to pursue the cell metaphor a bit, while the cell is certainly a unit
> that contains the life processes that animate the body, its functioning
> depends on its place within the body, which Marx also calls "an organic
> whole." I'm not suggesting that there are or should be two units - I agree
> that's the wrong way to go. It seems to me more that the unit itself has to
> be considered as an aspect of a larger whole, with which it has a relation
> of mutual constitution. No cells, no body. No body, no cells.
> It always takes me forever to read and process your excerpts from Hegel! But
> I'll give it a try. :)
> Martin
> On 9/3/08 9:44 AM, "Andy Blunden" <> wrote:
>> 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."
>> Andy
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Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 
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Received on Wed Sep 3 07:17 PDT 2008

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