[OPE-L:3596] Re: Re: Heinz Lubasz on Aristotle

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Sat Aug 05 2000 - 01:25:04 EDT

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>I think that Marx's class analysis also is heavily influenced
>by the clarity of Aristotles analysis of class.
>Paul Cockshott (clyder@gn.apc.org)

Paul, it's been too many years since I read the Ethics and the Politics.
But do you mean here that Marx's dialectic of social labor can only be
understand in terms of his critique of Hegel's master-slave dialectic which
itself was developed as a critique of Aristotle's view of slavery? In his
Aristotle: the desire to understand Jonathan Lear suggests that Marx's
Hegel critique is based on Aristotlean premises, but I did not really
follow the argument. And unfortunately I haven't read Chris A's book on the
dialectic of labor.

On this list, Chai-on and others seem to have argued that Marx accepted
Aristotle's conception of slaves as instrumentum vocale and thus treated
them as a form of constant capital, unable then to produce surplus value.
Duncan has also suggested that the profits from plantations could only have
been a drain on surplus value gleaned through relations of exchange.

 Following Grossmann, I argued that the modern reintroduction of plantation
slavery was indeed a form of surplus value extraction ("a calculated and
calculating sytem") that was crucial in bringing about capital as a mode of
production (a "totality") which does depend on the civil rights of the
workers, though the coming into being of this state of the system actually
depended on the abolition of the very process by which it was made
possible. For this reason, I differed with Patrick M in that I claimed that
a mass reintroduction of formally unfree labor relations can now only
suggest clogging of the arteries of the capitalist mode of production.

Richard Lewontin defends this kind of thinking about dynamic systems (the
processes by which states of systems are brought about being abolished by
that very state) in The Triple Helix.

Best, Rakesh

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