[OPE-L:5851] Re: form and content re value-form and abstract labour

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Jun 11 2001 - 05:01:01 EDT


I checked out the Oxford dictionary of philosophy (admittedly not a 
great source since it is biased towards analytical 
philosophy)....and indeed, if you look up 'entity' it says 'see things'. 
And if you look up 'things' it says there are two possible meanings 
of 'entity'. The former meaning is basically your one (where 'entity' 
is an unrestrictive notion connoting anything within one's ontology, 
so including 'aspects'). And the latter is basically mine (a restrictive 
notion where entities/things are individual 'objects' *rather than* 
mere 'aspects').

So I prefer to say 'aspect' because of its added precision and 
because it doesn't risk being misinterpreted, in the way that I have 
misinterpreted your use of the term 'entity' (ie. as the latter, more 
restrictive meaning). This is all the more important given that value 
is such a mysterious and difficult notion from an ontological point of 
view. The more precision and the less the potential for 
misunderstanding, the better. 

Murray's notion of a 'distinction of reason' is useful here. 'Abstract 
labour' is indeed a 'distinction of reason'. As such it can never truly 
*exist* independently, though it is a distinct aspect. The peculiarity 
of the CMP is that abstract labour does gain 'quasi' separate 
exitence, as I have suggested in previous posts. Chris A's recent 
'Spectral Ontology of Value' is very useful on these ontological 
issues (though I deeply disagree with the absence of abstract 
labour from Chris's initial articulation of value). 

So we have have reached full agreement on the issues you 
mention, especially, if I have persuaded you of the added clarity 
talking of using the term 'aspect' rather than 'entity' here.

Many thanks,


> Thanks very much for your reply.
> Why is "entity too strong", in your view?  
> What is the difference between "entity" and "aspect"?
> Do you interpret "entity" to connote "independent existence" and thus no
> necessary connection?
> I interpret entity to simply mean a "something distinct from other
> identities", even though there may be necessary connections between these
> distinct identities.
> Whatever difference there might be between entity and aspect would seem to
> be very small.  We seem to agree on the main points - that abstract labor
> determines prices and therefore that abstract exits as a "distinct
> magnitude" (defined in units of labor-time) from money, and that the
> distinct existence of abstract labor as a magnitude is necessary in order
> to provide a quantitative theory of value and surplus-value.  
> Thanks again for the very productive discussion.
> Comradely,
> Fred

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