[OPE-L:7461] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: definitely not about Ch. 5

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@mail.wesleyan.edu)
Date: Wed Jul 24 2002 - 15:45:36 EDT

Rakesh, you write

>Well, I did write Albritton to tell him that his work was being discussed, 
>so I should have initially mentioned that what you are saying makes no 
>sense to me. Why shouldn't someone be apprised of the fact that a long 
>harsh criticism of her or his work was presented to this list? (Of course 
>that person should also be informed of the no citations policy of the 
>archive, but why shouldn't she have the opportunity to submit a defense in 
>a public archive?) The reason why this need not be done in the case of say 
>Roemer or Steedman is that we can count on their respective points of view 
>being ably defended by listmembers. This is not the case with Albritton, 
>Wood or Lapides.

I don't think this necessarily follows on either score; on one hand, Roemer 
and Steedman might not agree, had they been given the chance, that their 
respective points of view have been "ably defended."  That someone could 
leap so readily to this conclusion might suggest, to the contrary, that 
their views are *not* given serious consideration on this list. On the 
other hand, I don't see the basis for your suggestion that Albritton, Wood 
and Lapides *cannot* be ably defended.  You seem to be doing all right 
vis-a-vis Albritton.
And I deny that my criticism of Albritton's work was "harsh."  I criticize 
neither his grasp of the historical record, nor his overall method of 
analysis, nor the substance of his position in the debate with Zmolek.

>  So if their work becomes the focus of posts, why shouldn't we encourage 
> their replies by apprising them of list discussion about their work (I 
> wish I had Wood's or Brenner's email addresses on this computer)?
>Let's say you were not a member, and an OPE-L'er member submitted a long 
>criticism of your chap 5 critique as based on total incomprehension of 
>Marx's method. Would you be mad if I said: let's make sure to give 
>Skillman the archive web address of these posts so that he may submit a 
>reply as no one on this list is going submit a detailed reply on his 
>behalf? See what I mean.

No, not really.  It's a matter of context: if I were offlist and a 
listmember were pursuing some sort of vendetta against me or my work, 
including the misrepresentations you mention, then I suppose that I would 
want to be contacted.  But there is no vendetta here; I have nothing 
whatsoever against Albritton, and don't even have a settled opinion about 
his overall position in this specific debate.  As you saw, I willingly 
accepted your emendation of my initial quick summary of his argument.  I 
was answering a question posed by Mike concerning a particular reaction I 
had to an aspect of his argument.  If Mike hadn't asked the question I 
wouldn't have mentioned anything about Albritton's argument to begin 
with.  In this context, I think it would be silly to insist that the author 
be contacted as a general practice.  What's more, I think it would have a 
seriously chilling effect on our discussions if every time A asks B for his 
or her opinion about author C, B has stop and consider that possibility 
that his or her comments will be forwarded to C for refutation.  Our 
discussions are by their nature tentative, and should not be taken 
presumptively as serious indictments of others' work for which they 
automatically deserve the opportunity for rebuttal.  Furthermore there's 
the ever-present danger that some listmembers might use this as a selective 
threat to discourage the making of arguments they dislike.

I take this as a very serious matter for the list and ask that it be taken 
up by Jerry and the oversight committee.


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