[OPE-L:3122] Re: starting points

From: JERRY LEVY (jlevy@sescva.esc.edu)
Date: Thu May 11 2000 - 09:30:31 EDT

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In [OPE-L:3120], Alfredo cites Marx's 7/11//68 letter to Kugelmann.
In that letter Marx wrote, immediately after the famous two sentences
about what "every child knows":

         "That this necessity of distributing social labour in
          definite proportions cannot be done away with by the
          *particular form* of social production, but can only
          change the *form it assumes*, is self evident. No
          NATURAL LAWS can be done away with. What can change,
          in changing historical circumstances, is the *form*
          in which these laws operate. And the form in which
          the proportional division of labour operates, in a
          state of society where the interconnection of social
          labour is manifested in the *private exchange* of
          the individual products of labour, is precisely
          the *exchange value* of these products" (CAPITALIZATION
          added for emphasis, JL).

This raises a number of questions:

(1) What is the status of "natural laws" in Marx's perspective on
    capitalism (and other modes of production)?

(2) Can the above be accurately said to be a "natural law"? How
    has the meaning of the expression "natural laws" changed since
    Marx's time?

(3) Using the contemporary sense of the term, are there: a) any
    natural laws of capitalism?; b) any natural laws which are
    of necessity associated with all modes of production?

(4) How was Marx's perspective on "natural law" influenced by
    the state of philosophy and science during his own lifetime?
    E.g. how was it influenced by Hegel? ... by Darwin?, ...

Any thoughts?

In solidarity, Jerry

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