[OPE-L:2569] Re: the meaning of "critique"

From: C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Date: Mon Mar 20 2000 - 19:48:17 EST

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Dear Nicky
If you like Mattick's stuff you should very definitely check out his
excellent chapter 'Theory as critiqe: On the Argument in Capital' in *New
Investigations of marx's method* eds F. Moseley and M. Campbell Humnaitiies
Press 1997.
Chris A
>Re Jerry's questions on 'critique'[OPE-L:2556]:
>Below I have reproduced some passages from Paul Mattick's chapter in
>Moseley (1993, pp.122-123). I wonder if his interpretation of Hegel is
>accurate? Does Marx's inversion of Hegel's ontology (3rd paragraph) raise
>questions re the process of *Aufhebung* (1st paragraph)?:
>"By designating his writings on economics with the word *Kritik*, Marx
>continued Kant's use of the word to denote an inquiry into the limits of
>application of a set of concepts in certain spheres of inquiry. The
>question of limits arises when the application of a system of concepts in
>some area leads to problems unsolvable by means of this system. A critique
>in this sense corresponds to what Hegel called *Aufhebung* (translated
>hopelessly, but traditionally, as "supercession" or "sublation").
>*Aufheben* has a double meaning, as Hegel explains it: "(1) to clear away,
>or annul...;(2) to keep or preserve" (Hegel 1892, 180). With respect to
>the critique of a conceptual system (or theory), the idea of *Aufhebung*
>involves a new system that replaces the prior one but "preserves" it at the
>same time, in the sense that it explains both the phenomena that formed the
>subject matter of the prior theory and its limitations.
>"But more is at stake in Marx's work than a relation between two theories,
>even when it is of the sort now commonly described as a scientific
>revolution. Since in Marx's conception theories are to be understood as
>representations of socially regulated experience, theoretical critique here
>echoes Hegel's remark that dialectical consciousness is not 'peculiarly
>confined to the philosopher,' so that it 'would be truer to say that
>dialectic gives expression to a law which is felt in all other grades of
>consciousness, and in general experience' (Hegel 1892, 149-50). In this,
>Hegel's formulation of dialectic goes well beyond Kant's. Marx's
>represents a further, and distinct, development of the idea, since he
>regards his theoretical *Aufhebung*, the critique of political economy, as
>a response not to some inherent necessity located in the inadequacy of the
>conceptual structure of classical economics but as called for and rendered
>possible by the experienced crisis tendency of capitalism and the workers'
>movement responding to it. It was experience of the limits of capital that
>suggested the limits of political economy.
>"Marx's theory of capitalist society is not meant to be a replacement for
>political economy. It aims not just to demonstrate the analytic limits of
>economic theory but also to explain the hold of that theory over the
>inhabitants of the system. Thus the opening chapter of Capital ends with a
>discussion, under the heading of the "fetishism of commodities,", of the
>way in which the money form obscures the working of the system by
>concealing "the social character of private labor and the social relations
>between the individual laborers" (Marx 1976a, 168-9). The discussion of
>the "Trinity Formula" at the conclusion of Volume 3 aims to demonstrate how
>not only "vulgar economics" but even the "best representatives" of
>classical theory, by accepting as fundamental categories for social
>analysis the representatives of social relations developed within the
>system itself, inevitably "fell more or less into inconsistencies,
>half-truths and unresolved contradictions" (Marx 1982, 969).
>>1) What is the origin of the term "critique", as distinct from
>> "criticism" (or a simple attack), in the history of philosophy (and
>> science?)?
>> Has it always meant something like "An examination or analysis that
>> probes for what is incorrect and what is correct in an object of
>> study"? If not, then what was the source of the changing meaning of
>> "critique"?
>>2) What was the role of "critique" in Hegel's theory? He appears not to
>> have used the term often despite lengthy critical examinations
>> ("critiques"?) of certain subjects, e.g. his _Lectures on the History
>> of Philosophy_. Curiously, his followers seemed to use the expression
>> "critique" far more than Hegel himself (see below).
>>3) The "Young Hegelians" seem to have made "critique" central to their
>> method. Thus, publications by Feuerbach ("Towards a Critique of
>> Hegelian Philosophy"), Ruge ("A Self-Critique of Liberalism"), and
>> Bauer ("The Struggle for Critique with Church and State"), all included
>> "critique" in their titles. Critique seems also to have been employed
>> Straus and von Criszkowski, among others. How is the understanding of
>> the "Young Hegelians" different from that of Hegel and Marx-Engels?
>> It should be noted in this connection that Marx and Engels ridiculed
>> the notion of "critical critique" and "pure criticism" in their first
>> book, _The Holy Family_ (1845) -- a work which was mostly directed
>> against Bruno Bauer, one of the "Young Hegelians".
>> (many of the articles by Young Hegelians are collected in the volume:
>> Lawrence S. Stepelevich ed. _The Young Hegelians: An Anthology_,
>> Cambridge University Press, 1983).
>>4) Already by 1843, Engels ("Outline of a Critique of Political
>> Economy") and Marx ("A Contribution to a Critique of Hegel's
>> 'Philosophy of Right'") were using "critique" in the title of their
>> publications. In this early period, was their conception of "critique"
>> different from the rest of the Young Hegelians? How did Marx's
>> understanding of -- and use of -- critique evolve, deepen, and change
>> over the years?
>> How does "critique" in Marx's understanding transcend simple criticism
>> or rejection of previous conceptions? How does this fit in with his
>> revolutionary politics and "scientific" world-view? E.g. do other
>> "sciences" self-consciously advance by means of critique?
>>5) To what extent did "political economy" *also* employ the method of
>> critique? E.g. what role did "critique" have in classical political
>> economy? How was that role for critique different from the role within
>> Marx's theory?
>>In solidarity, Jerry

P. S. Please note that I have a new Email address,
but the old one will also run until the summer. (To be doubly sure load both!)

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