DEDICATED TO GIL SKILLMAN [ONE] "It is the aged Galileo, the Galileo of the confrontation with the Inquisition, who matters most. The idea that the universe possesses an intrinsic, distinct, and objective character is know in philosophy as *realism* and in ordinary life as common sense. It is an idea that in the late twentieth century has come under attack. Literary critics see texts receding behind texts, the objective world vanishing in a whorl of words. Philosphers of science? They busy themselves by calling attention to the sheer conventionality of scientific thought, paradigms piling up behind paradigms. There is no *progress* in the passage from paradigm to paradigm, only the rouged lips of fashion. Analytic philosophers urge upon one another lurid and revolting varieties of *irrealism*, the world, on their view, flickering into existence inconclusively, as much *made* as discovered, as much *fabricated* as found. "And yet there *he* is, Galileo, the gentle servant of the real world, trudging forward patiently up through the hours, days, and years, insisting always in his own slow, stubborn, and defiant way that regardless of what authority might affirm or fashion dictate, there *it* is, out there, objectively distinct, indifferent to human intervention, the universe, the world itself, the commanding thing that we are meant to know." [TWO] "Since Praxis is better than all theory, I ask you to describe to me with the *greatest exactitude* (with examples) the method by which you run your business regarding your banker, etc. i.e. 1. the method of purchase (cotton etc.). With regard only to the monetary way of doing things; the bills; time for drawing them, etc. 2. In sales. Bill-relationship to your buyers and to your London correspondent. 3. The relation and operations (current account etc.) affecting your banker in Manchester. ...Since Volume II is mostly too greatly theoretical, I will use the chapter on credit for an actual denunciation of swindle and or commercial morals." Marx to Engels, November 14, 1868.
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