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Re: [xmca] Consciousness


There certainly is a distinction between the President and your thought of the President, and between the taler in your pocket and your thought of this taler. But again you are siding with Kant, and against Marx. The difference is not that one is mental and the other is material. What makes the dollar bill real is not its material character, but the practices, customs, laws of a community. Your thought of the dollar is different, but not because it is in your consciousness. You could write on a piece of paper the statement: "There is a dollar in my pocket," and we would have a material object (writing on paper), but the same conundrum: does it correspond to the reality? The same *impossible* conundrum, because how can a linguistic statement ever be said to correspond, or not correspond, to a material object? Only (again) because of the practices, customs, of a community. They are both equally material - or equally imaginary.

Ilyenkov cited Marx making the same point. Ilyenkov writes:

"[Marx] went on: “'Real talers have the same existence that the imagined gods have. Has a real taler any existence except in the imagination, if only in the general or rather common imagination of man? Bring paper money into a country where this use of paper is unknown, and everyone will laugh at your subjective imagination.'"


On Sep 23, 2009, at 8:35 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

But Vera, all the complexity and nuances of the idea of consciousness and its relation to the material world (both its substratum in the body and in culture and in its relation to its objects) do not obliterate the categorical difference between the President and my thought of the President. And reflecting on this overnight, I am now convinced that this is an *important* as well as a "bleeding obvious" difference.

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