[OPE-L:3239] Re: Re: Re: Reply to Gil and Ajit: Simple Commodity Production/ "Contemporary society"

From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Wed May 17 2000 - 01:55:49 EDT

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Paul Zarembka wrote:

> On Tue, 16 May 2000, Ajit Sinha wrote:
> > It depends upon what kind of audience I have. If my audience is convinced that a
> > text must be understood through the subjectivity of its author, then may be I'll
> > loose my audience. But if I have people like Althusser or Foucault as my audience
> > then they probably be rather listening to me keenly. Cheers, ajit sinha
> Ajit,
> I don't know if Foucault would give you an audience, but I do know about
> Althusser and, he, as I have already noted, does NOT exclude Marx's
> judgement of himself.


Paul, Foucault wrote a very interesting essay called 'What is an Author'. It is worth
reading. I'll just quote the end of the essay, which would suggest that he would at
least give me an audience.

"I think that as our society changes, at the very moment when it is in the process of
changing, the author function will disappear, and in such a manner that fiction and its
polysemous texts will once again function according to another mode, but still with a
system of constraint--one which will no longer be the author, but which will have to be
determined or, perhaps, experienced.

All discourses, whatever their status, form, value, and whatever the treatment to which
they will be subjected, would develop in the anonymity of a murmur. We would no longer
hear the questions that have been rehashed for so long: Who really spoke? Is it really
he or not someone else? With what authenticity or originality? And what part of his
deepest self he express in his discourse? Instead, there would be other questions, like
these: What are the modes of existence of this discourse? Where has it been used, how
can it circulate, and who can appropriate it for himself? What are the places in it
where there is room for possible subjects? Who can assume these various subject
functions? And behind all these questions, we would hear hardly anything but the
stirring of an indifference: What difference does it make who is speaking." (Foucault)

Furthermore, much before Foucault, Wittgenstein took a lot of pain to show that
"meaning" of an utterance has nothing to do with the psychological state of what the
speaker "meant". I think Sraffa's total silence or rejection of all psychological (or
subjective) explanation in the realm of economics may have a close link with
Wittgenstein here. But don't ask me anything about Wittgenstein just yet. He is the
toughest guy I have come across. Cheers, ajit sinha

> He "merely" says that Marx's own judgement is not
> the final arbiter. If we go your route, we cannot give a damn about what
> you yourself mean, nor myself, nor anyone on this list, and we really
> descend into nihilism.
> OPE-3183:
> >"[Marx would] be the first to agree that you must never judge someone on
> >the basis of his own self-conscious image, but on the basis of the whole
> >process which, behind this consciousness, produces it" (Althusser, "Is it
> >Simple to be a Marxist in Philosophy", p. 178-79)
> >This passage is similar to Ajit's but a "softer" version, because, above,
> >what the author meant is not irrelevant.
> Ajit in OPE 3175:
> >>...I read a *book* or a series of books as an object that needs to be
> >>analyzed on its own, irrespective of what the author meant.
> Paul Z.
> *************************************************************************
> Paul Zarembka, on OS/2 and supporting RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at
> ********************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

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