[OPE-L:8299] logos

From: Christopher Arthur (cjarthur@waitrose.com)
Date: Thu Jan 09 2003 - 14:27:14 EST

Thanks for your various replies. Just one collective response: on the most
fundmental issue of all: what sort of science are we trying to produce?
In 8288 you write:

"Value is a social relation in practical, social life. For Aristotle,
practical life is
the realm which "admits of having it another way", whereas _epistaemae_,
directs itself toward the phenomena which "cannot be otherwise". This seems
to be
an important tip for thinking about social phenomena and has implications
for what
something resembling 'social science' can be."

In 8289 you say variously:

"_Ousia_ for Aristotle is a being in the mode of its being. ...In the
philosophical sense, _ousia_ is above all _to ti aen einai_, i.e. what
something 'always already was' from the start: its _eidos_ or 'form', i.e.
the face it presents in presenting itself which is then addressed and
defined,delineated and delimited through speaking (_legein_). The _logos_
brings the form to its definition"

"I would understand "form-determinations" (Formbestimmungen) as further
faces of
(the phenomenon of) value which show themselves in proceeding along the path in

"To my mind, the definition has to bring the phenomenon to light _as_ it shows
itself of itself. Your examples here suggest that the "real definition" for you
is a cause (labour) which necessitates further theoretical constructions. But
it is important to stick to the abstract relation of value itself".

You distinguish the causality of what could not be otherwise from the
contingency of open-textured social relations allowing human choices that
could have been otherwise.
However economics is at the interface:
a) clay turns into a house not as a result of natural causality per se but
in virtue of the cunning of reason developing techniques manipulating said
causes to produce something new that would not otherwise have been.
b) Social goals like capital accumulation are constrained by Nature and by
the historically given level of the productive forces (e.g. there would be
no surplus if the whole working day were necessary to subsistence).

However with capitalism there is something much more peculiar to the
economic form as such. It is clear it has laws of motion, such as the trade
cycle, of a generality that takes in its stride contingencies like a
decline in hat wearing, or an artifically manufactured desire for  'the
real thing', and exhibits definite necessities within which individual
human agents must act.
These 'laws' are niether causally efficient, nor intentionally generated
(even through counter-finality, althouth there is an element of that). IMO
what we see at work is a logic. Orthodox philosophy and some of your
formulations restrict logic to the laws of thought and take science to be
about uncovering causality. But in Hegel (and the ancients?) the logos is
the reason at work in the real; it is self-thinking thought producing from
within itself its objective instances. This sounds like the purest idealism
but imo it is mapped in the value form and its self-definition. I just love
this characterisation of the logos as "brings the form to its definition"
The form here is the objectivity of the value form which with MCM (OK
brought about by social practice but now autonomoursly imposing itself on
social practice) has become self-defined (determined) achieves a
destiny/destination delta M. Just one good example: how would you
characterise the relation between commodities and money? IMO it is logical
in that money stands in for the universality of commodities, albeit that
historical 'causes' may have been operative in its emergence, the selection
of gold etc.
MOney gathers the particular commodities under the universality of its form
just as mentally we may see commodities as having something in common. What
is peculiar in this case is that the commodities have very little in common
other than the opportunity to secure them through CMC and the capitalist
using MCM to generate them.
These structures then have a certain necessity in virtue of this
quasi-logical form. It is only within such necessities that the actions of
hat-makers and Coca-Cola make sense.
In the end was the word and the word is self-valorising value with the
stress on the 'self'.

17 Bristol Road, Brighton, BN2 1AP, England

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Jan 11 2003 - 00:00:01 EST