[OPE-L:6945] Re: value-form

From: Christopher Arthur (cjarthur@waitrose.com)
Date: Mon Apr 08 2002 - 18:33:55 EDT

I am afriad in this mail you use 'predicate' too idiosyncratically. I
suggest you look it up in a philosophical dictionary.
Popularly, it is a grammatical term naming a property or attribute, or at
least something that can be affirmed or denied, of something else, called
the subject. Thus Aristotle's logic is primarily a subject-predicate logic:
'Socrates (subject) is a man (predicate).'
At first sight it seems value is a predicate: gold is valuable. But you
then talk - as we do - of 'values' as 'objects' which grammatically would
naturally fall into the subject position, so here we have left 'predicate'
behind. What we have done is a Feuerbachian reversal of subject and
predicate; merely metonymic rhetoric perhaps; but with money definitely
more. Sentences like 'money is gold/is cattle/is paper' show money is now
the value subject to which different predicates are applied in different
>Hello all,
>Re: many recent posts on VFT. Can I ask if the following summary
>of 'value' in VFT is correct:
>When first posited within the systematic presenation, 'value' is a
>predicate, under which the class of all purchased inputs and
>outputs of production is subsumed. This predicate is introduced as
>a necessary condition of existence of dissociation (i.e. as
>necessary to association).

Strictly predicates do not subsume, they apply.

>This gives us the 'commodity' as unity of use value and value. The
>answer to the question 'what is value?' is at this stage simply that
>'value is a *name* given to all products by people in capitalist
>society'. We can elaborate upon this answer further. Since value is
>a predicate, then it is valid to say that the class of objects to which
>this predicate is applicable, viz. all purchased inputs to and outputs
>of production, are 'values'. (And, indeed, they instantiate the 'value-
>form' and are 'forms of value'). This is because the notion of a
>'predicate' always implies at least two aspects: the object referred
>to (the 'referent') and the name by which the object is referred to.

Here as above I think 'values' are subjects not predicates.

>[An aside: I wonder where the notion of 'sense' fits in, a la Frege's
>sense / reference distinction]
Possibly. I use the cognate intension/extension to refer to the
money-commodity relation in a chapter in *The Culmination of Capital* eds
Campbell and Reuten.

>We will learn more about value and capitalism only through
>developing the systematic presentation. In this further systematic
>development we learn that 'money' must exist. At the outset,
>money, too, is a predicate this time denoting a commodity, or
>simply a bit of paper, or whatever, for which all commodities
>(excluding the money commodity, should it exist) are exchanged.
Predicates cannot exchange.
But in C-M-C I would say value is the subject predicated successively with
three different bearers, because of the reversal mentioned above.
Commonsense would say three objects with value changed places.

generally I do not find the term useful - it isn't in Hegel!


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