[OPE-L:8074] Re: The 11th Thesis on Feuerbach

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Wed Nov 27 2002 - 09:25:41 EST

Re Michael E's [8071]:

> Up to this point I think you have provided a faithful recounting
> of Marx's views  and the intentions of his 11th Feuerbach Thesis.
> But, being a bourgeois  independent scholar, I don't adhere to this
> scheme for change (revolution). (I  told you I wasn't a Marxist.)

So you did.  Yet, you have a fresh perspective, raise challenging
questions, and are certainly conversant with Marx. ... even if you
are a self-described  "bourgeois independent scholar."

> Behind the mask of the scholar is the philosopher
> or thinker who attempts to go beyond (or rather: step back from)
> philosophy in a  way different from the direction Marx proposes.

In context, I assume that "the scholar" means you.  For  many _other_
scholars,  behind their masks may lie something quite different:
'hired prize-fighters'.   That is, if we strip away the masks of some
'independent' scholars, we can see their class allegiance and how their
perspectives are not so infrequently apologetics for bourgeois

>  I regard thinking as a practice
> in itself, a rather useless practice that neither says what is to be done
> in any  political arena nor addresses any particular social subject.
> In fact, the  thinking I have in mind accomplishes precious little,
> but this precious little  is also indispensable.

The 'thinker' however only appears to be isolated.  To the extent that
the thinker socially interacts,  those thoughts can become willy-nilly
a part of a social dynamic of change -- or resistance to change.

> The 'getting-over' philosophy I envisage would lead to a radically
> different  interpretation of the world. Thinking has the task of opening
> the world  historically in a radically different way (which ultimately,
> but in  unforeseen  and scarcely perceptible ways, would change the
> way we  live -- but the thinker's  role is neither to prophesy nor to
> predict).

That seems to depend on  what the subject the 'thinker' is thinking
about.  To the extent that the subject itself is characterized by
uncertainty and indeterminacy than any prophesies or predictions
are problematic.

> 'Radical' here means going back to
> the roots of philosophy with the Greeks, not in order to uproot
> philosophy, but   to discover the roots of our own Western thinking which
> has shaped the Western  world through various epochs up to the present
> day, and now on a global scale,  in order to gain a distance from them.

For the same reason many Marxists have 'gone back' to Hegel to
discover the roots of Marx's thought.  You carry it a few steps further

An issue, though:  isn't there the possibility of  almost infinite
regression?  I.e. having gone back to Aristotle then isn't the next step
in the same direction to ask who influenced Aristotle.  Where does
this end?  In caves?  In the stone age?

> The way we think is also the way world
> opens, and philosophical thinking is unknowingly present in all our
> everyday  thinking, say, when we employ the innocuous distinction
> between "form" and  "content", or think and talk in terms of "ideas",
> "force", "energy", "dynamics", > "reality", "objective", "subjective"...
> -- the list is endless. All these words
> have percolated down from philosophical thinking in which they were
> thought for  the first time and are now used thoughtlessly. To rewitness
> the struggle in  which key philosophical concepts were first thought means
> discovering our selves.

No doubt there are many directions in which we can discover and
rediscover ourselves.  I certainly have no objection to inquiry into
the history of philosophical thought.  The question posted by Marx
in the 11th Thesis is: what next?

> I realize that such talk is overly grand and terribly general and that my
> remarks here can only be paltry. With regard to Marx, I see a task in
> learning  to see how his own interpretation of the world in his
> philosophical  writings is  embedded within the tradition of Western
> philosophy and sets  the horizon for his  thinking. In particular, as a
> student of Aristotle, Marx
> adopts modes of  Aristotelean thinking which could perhaps be 'loosened
> up' to see something else  in them. This may become apparent as we
> discuss here further.

OK.  I look forward to hearing more about this in due course.

> (snip, JL) but my question was directed at the concept of SNLT. Nicky's
> recent  post makes it clear that this concept has already been debated at
> length and in  depth in this forum.

Yes, and we will discuss it at length and in depth again (and again and
....).  Nicky, I'm sure, (as well as others) would be willing to talk with
you  some more about SNLT. What do you think about Elson's
perspective on SNLT  (see quote from her in my reply to Tony T)?

I'm tiring so I'll pass over some of the rest of your post and go to:

> > Doesn't an examination of value, though, lead one to the category of
> > *'NOT-VALUE'*?   (Reference, of course, to the _Grundrisse_).  Thus,
> > the examination of value leads one to go _beyond_ value,  does it not?
> Ultimately, yes. But I'd prefer to say: That is the step back from value
> rather  than the step beyond. For, stepping beyond implies some sort of
> leaving behind,  whereas a stepping back allows another relation to value,
> a 'getting over'  value, not an overcoming of value.

Good point.  A  going 'beyond' -- surpassing -- of value requires the
negation of the subject (capitalism).   It is  within capitalism, though,
that value confronts not-value and vice versa.

In solidarity, Jerry

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