[OPE-L:2791] Re: Re: Re: Re: (5 end) Partial Reply to Fred's on

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Sun Apr 09 2000 - 13:39:37 EDT

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Fred wrote:

>could not derive the logical necessity of money from his fundamental value
>theory and therefore could not explain the "necessary connections" (as
>Nicky has emphasized) between the determination of value and the nature of

Nicky, please tell me the number of the post in which you pursued this most
interesting point. Thank you.

>And I believe that Marx borrowed this emphasis on explaining the necessary
>connections from Hegel.

This idea that money is *necessary* given the *concept* of abstract labor
seems to me an idealist derivation (money is necessary due to the objective
class relations of a bourgeois society, which is what Marx argued in Anti
Proudhon and after). And even if the Hegelian logic of essence explains the
kind of necessity money as an appearance of essence enjoys, I still don't
think this proves that we must learn Hegel's logic. It only indicates that
through the analysis of the objective relations of bourgeois society, there
is a kind of appearance/essence relation that bears (or may only seem to
bear) some relation to Hegel's critique of Descartes on this issue. This
may interest Hegel's scholars, allow them a kind of inside joke, this added
source of pleasure when reading Marx. So understanding of Hegel may be
necessary to understand just how funny Marx was.

I am also concerned that to the extent that we consider Marx's theory
somehow to be necessary, logically speaking, we make ourselves immune to
tests of empirical confirmation.

>Thanks for the compliment, I guess. But what do you mean by my descent
>into "Hegelian mysticism"? I am not saying that there is some mystical
>"logic of essence" that is determining reality, but rather that Marx's
>logical method used to explain capitalist reality was derived in some
>respects from Hegel's logical method - explain the necessary connections,
>posit the presuppositions, inversion of subject and object, etc. (I agree
>with Riccardo on the importance of these latter two).

Yet this does come close to saying that Marx's results are *derived* from
Hegel's logic. Rather in Marx's reading, Hegel's ideas are shown not to
*derive* from the superiority of timlesss logic; rather Hegel's logic is
shown to derive its plausibility from the properties of historically
specific relations of bourgeois society--this is the kind of argument that
Moishe Postone advances. Seems convincing to me.

 Perhaps Marx's understanding of totality as I suggesed in another post was
inspired by but still wholly inverted from Hegel's.

At the same time, I do find Tony S's argument (as I remember it)
persuasive. That Marx begins not with ideas but the commodity. Analysis of
commodity allows discovery of contradictions (use value and exchange value,
exchange value and value, value and surplus value). These contradictions
are also what allows Marx to point to the existence of objective classes
(surplus value implies a class of capitalists and a class of productive
proletarians). In this way, classes are derived from contradictions that
are discovered through logical analysis of an objective form. Here I
disagree with John Holloway. There obviously does seem to be a debt to
Hegel's method here of the kind that Tony S in particular has developed.
But I am not fully convinced yet.

>So please explain further what dangers I might fall into by exploring the
>influence of Hegel's logic on Marx's logic.

Of course I would have nothing to add to the John Rosethal/Tony Smith
debate on the dangers and possibilities here. My bias is in favor of
Rosenthal and Postone on this issue, partly because I want to encourage
people instead to go through the door to the kind of world historical and
empirical analysis that Richard Jones offered.

Yours, Rakesh

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