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[Xmca-l] Re: Contrasting 'use-value' & 'value'

Hi Larry,
things become easier to think through if you do not take an individualist
starting point but a relational one---not "she has to produce . .  ." but
look at what is happening in the exchange, where each giving also is
taking, such that in a commodity exchange, you have double giving-taking;
in a verbal exchange, each speaking also involves listening and receiving,
and the receiving is for the purpose of giving (speaking, replying). As
soon as you do this, you remain with back-and-forth movement, no longer
action but transaction.

The other interesting thing is that the Russian word znachenie, translated
as "meaning" (really, signification) also translates as "value" and
"magnitude," and Il'enkov (2009) parenthetically adds "function" and
"rôle". I am quoting from p. 178:

Marx joins Hegel as regards terminology, and not Kant or Fichte,
who tried to solve the problem of ‘ideality’ (i.e., activity) while
remaining ‘inside
consciousness’, without venturing into the external sensuously-perceptible
world, the world of the palpable-corporeal forms and relations of things.
     This Hegelian definition of the term ‘ideality’ takes in the whole
range of phenomena
within which the ‘ideal’, understood as the corporeally embodied form of
the activity of
social man, really exists – as activity in the form of the thing, or
conversely, as the thing
in the form of activity, as a ‘moment’ of this activity, as its fleeting
     Without an understanding of this state of affairs it would be totally
impossible to fathom
the miracles performed by the commodity before people’s eyes, the
commodity-form of
the product, particularly in its dazzling money-form, in the form of the
notorious ‘real
talers’, ‘real roubles’, or ‘real dollars’, things which, as soon as we
have the slightest
theoretical understanding of them, immediately turn out to be not ‘real’ at
all, but ‘ideal’
through and through, things whose category quite unambiguously includes
words, the
units of language, and many other ‘things’. Things that, while being wholly
palpable-corporeal formations, acquire all their ‘meaning’ (function and
rôle) from ‘spirit’,
from ‘thought’ and even owe to it their specific corporeal existence.
Outside spirit and
without it there cannot even be words; there is merely a vibration of the


Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
Applied Cognitive Science
MacLaurin Building A567
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>

New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics

On Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 8:31 AM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> I am attempting to follow Wolff-Michael’s trajectory as presented in his
> article (A Dialectical Materialist Reading of the Sign). On page 149 he
> attempts to clarify the difference between sign complex ‘use-value’ & sign
> complex ‘value’.
> His methodology is to read Marx ‘substituting’ the word ‘SIGN’ (implying
> sign complex) FOR ‘commodity’ and intuites this method will be generative.
> Here is his realization through the method of re-reading as (trading,
> translation, transposition) as I am carried along.
> a) USE-VALUE:  ‘natural signs’ such as animal footprints are
> useful/functional to the hunter inherently; they do NOT have ‘value’
> (exchangeble value) though they do have use-value for the hunter or hunting
> party in finding game.  Similarly a sign complex can be useful and the
> product of human labour without being ‘value’ (exchangeable). Someone who
> satisfies HER needs through her product produces ‘use-value’ but NOT
> ‘value’.
> b) VALUE: (exchangeable). To produce SIGNS (complexes), she has to produce
> not only ‘use-value’ but use-value FOR others. She has to produce
> ‘societal’ use-values.... To be/come (exchangeable) SIGN, the product HAS
> TO BE TRANSFERRED to another, FOR whom the SIGN complex ‘constitutes’
> use-value.
> The production of signs that produce no ‘value’ that is exchangeable FOR
> others leads to personal notes often having NO use-value to others. To
> trans/form use-value to BE come ‘value’ requires exchangeability under
> lighting various forms of SIGN (complexes).
> Apologies to Wolff-Michael if my echoing his re-reading methodology
> garrbled the trans/mission?
> I offer this because it helps clarify my reading of ‘use-value’ & ‘value’
> (exchangeable)
> My morning musement
> Sent from my Windows 10 phone