[OPE-L:2722] Marx's method

From: Asfilho@aol.com
Date: Wed Apr 05 2000 - 10:36:06 EDT

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Chris Arthur says:
I do not think Marx first worked out his method and then applied it; he
developed and redeveloped the method at the very same time as he wrestled
with the substantive issues. In this sense I do not think Capital is
unfinished because he only published Volume 1, I think the thought is itself
unfinished ... the reader has to take a step back from the text and try
to make sense of it ... to have a chance of understanding what is going on.
Having done this my conclusion is that exegesis is not enough and the
thought itself needs developing, clarifying etc.

IMO, Chris is quite right. I draw the following implications:
(a) Controversies in Marx's theory of value cannot be solved by recourse to
the canonical texts alone. We need to make sense of them and, if necessary,
rebuild them. 'Internal' MTV problems need to be addressed at two levels
simultaneously; what Marx said, and what helps to makes sense of the world.
The former helps, but the latter takes precedence.

(b) Marx's method is unclear because it is buried underneath his analysis.
Chris has argued elsewhere that 'Marx himself was confused about the
relevance of Hegel's logic' and, by extension, about his own method. I'm not
sure: I think that Marx's method *does not exist* in the abstract, as a set
of formulations that can be applied to any problem. It is specific, open and
contingent, and it 'surfaces' only in and through its application to specific
problems. This is why Marx relays what other people say about his method, and
does not say anything very substantive about it himself.


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