[OPE-L:2567] Re: Critique

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Mon Mar 20 2000 - 16:24:17 EST

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Re Andrew K's [OPE-L:2563]:

> 4. In OPE-L 2561, Jerry writes that "It is the attempt to *divorce
> critique*
> from this *larger* task of systematically comprehending capitalism in
> thought (and then surpassing capitalism) that I object to." This
> displays a positivist conception of critique, grounded in the supposed
> gulf between "is" and "ought." There is on the one hand, the task of
> systematically comprehending capitalism, and on the other hand a
> subsidiary AND DIFFERENT task, which is critique. One the one hand, is,
> and on the other hand, ought.

As the quote above should make clear, the attempt to divorce critique (of
political economy) from the clearly stated "aim" of _Capital_ is what I
*object* to.

> What Jerry rejects or does not recognize
> is that, for Marx, criticism is the *method* of comprehending capitalism,
> not a subjective attitude toward facts that are first comprehended
> independently of criticism.

What I would say, instead is that criticism is a necessary *part* of the
method of the method of comprehending capitalism.

If criticism alone was *the* method for comprehending capitalism, then
there would be nothing at all unique about Marx's method. Indeed, the
method of comprehending a subject through a critical examination of the
previous literature on the subject is common to much pre- and post-Marx
bourgeois conceptions.

Indeed, this moment of systematic criticism of the existing literature
is recognized by mainstream social theorists as a necessary part of the
research for and presentation of most scholarly articles and books as
well as just about all dissertations.

To be clear, I do *not* view this as Marx's method. Rather, I would say,
firstly, that Marx's conception of critique was unique . Secondly, I would
add -- and this is what I object to the most -- that the focus on
critique *alone* (as I hear John H saying) loses sight of the fact that
the *subject* of _Capital_ is capitalism.

In solidarity, Jerry

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