Re: [xmca] déjatel¹ nost¹

From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Wed Sep 03 2008 - 07:30:43 PDT

Hi all,
The idea of the "cell" is biological, for dialectics is a genetic
logic, where the early forms are general but undeveloped, which
concretize themselves, as cells do, into varied possibilities, e.g.,
in F1, F2 etc. generations. This is different from Kant's approach,
where the general is abstracted FROM... The cell, the unit, therefore
is as concrete as the concrete forms that it gives rise to... Cheers,

On 3-Sep-08, at 7:16 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:

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


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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Received on Wed Sep 3 07:32 PDT 2008

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