[OPE-L:8080] Re: The 11th Thesis on Feuerbach

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@t-online.de)
Date: Wed Nov 27 2002 - 16:34:10 EST

Cologne 27-Nov-2002

gerald_a_levy schrieb Wed, 27 Nov 2002 09:25:41 -0500:

> 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."

I've been conversing with Marx on and off, sometimes very intensively, for over
a quarter of a century.

> > 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
> society.

I don't want to use the word (_logos_) to turn away (_apo_) from bourgeois
society, but rather to look into it. That would be rather katalogetics.  I'm
interested in the phenomenon of social being (and we happen to live in bourgeois
capitalist society). I am interested in questioning bourgeois society -- and not
just capitalist economy.

> >  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.

Isolated in a togetherness with some of the great thinkers, but live interaction
is invigorating too. Suddenly, one is forced to see something else, or something

> > 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.

If exchange is the paradigm for sociation, then we can appreciate better the
uncertainty and unpredictability and _risk_ (and therefore also the
uncontrollability) essentially inherent in all sociation, e.g. in dialogue, the
impossibility of knowing what the other will say next.

> > '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
> back.
> 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 regress ends with the Greeks around 600 BC, roughly the same time as Buddha
had remarkable meditative experiences of nothingness in India. It is something
wondrous that suddenly this little people in a corner of the Mediterranean
started asking the most astounding questions -- something unparalleled anywhere
else in human history (for, religions with their cosmologies are different, and
Confucius is also more a moral teacher than a thinker). Luckily, we have many
traces of these early Greek thinkers, albeit often mere fragments which are more
enigmatic than enlightening.

> > 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 wouldn't say "rediscover ourselves", but discovering our selves in the deeper
sense, for the first time, so as to open up world differently -- the turning
back also allows the future to arrive differently because the hold over us of
traditional ways of thinking (discoverable in the primary source philosophical
texts) is loosened.

> > 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 liked many aspects of Elson's 1979 book.

I don't think she is radical enough with socially necessary labour-time and the
magnitude of value.

> 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.

Gotta earn some money, create some value, now,
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
http://www.webcom.com/artefact/ _-_-_-_-_-_- artefact@webcom.com
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Nov 30 2002 - 00:00:01 EST