[OPE-L:8641] Re: probabilistic approaches to the theory of value and philosophy

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@t-online.de)
Date: Thu Mar 20 2003 - 12:01:49 EST

Cologne 20-Mar-2003

Re: [OPE-L:8636]

Philip Dunn schrieb Wed, 19 Mar 2003 19:23:22 -0000:

> gerald_a_levy <gerald_a_levy@msn.com> said:
> > (In the belief that the list can chew bubble gum and walk at the
> > same time, we can  simultaneously discuss abstract theory -- such
> > as the following -- and more immediate events.)
> >
> > A further question on Phil's [8570]:
> >
> > > Exchange-value is accidental because it falls under the category of
> > > relation.  Intrinsic value is accidental because it falls under the
> > > category of  quantity.
> >
> > What is the basis for asserting that categories of relation and quantity
> > (and  doesn't quantity itself  express a relation?) are accidental?   Is
> > this somehow related to a Aristotelian conception of 'accidental'?
> >
> Clearly, quantity can express a relation -- as in exchange ratio, or 'one foot
> taller'. But 6 feet tall would not I think be counted as a relation by Aristotle.
> This is related to Aristotle's Categories of Being. The first category is
> Substance, consisting of essential properties. All the other categories
> (position, relation, quantity etc) contain accidental properties.

As I said in [OPE-L:8570], I don't think the distinction between _kath'auto_ and
_kata symbebaekos_ represents a subdivision of the categories as you propose at all.
The former distinction is independent of the categories and represents another
dimension from the categories themselves.

Furthermore, "all the other categories" do not "contain properties" at all.
"Property" is a poor translation of the second category _poios_, i.e. how something
is or quality. It seems strange to say, e.g. that where something is is one of its

> I was thinking about the following passage from Capital I ch 1 p2:
> Exchange-value appears first of all as a quantitative relation, the
> proportion in which use-values of one kind exchange for use-values of
> another kind. This relation changes constantly with time and place.
> Hence exchange-value appears to be something accidental and purely
> relative, and consequently an intrinsic value, i.e. an exchange-value
> that is inseparably connected with the commodity, inherent in it,
> seems a contradiction in terms.
> My take on this is:
> Exchange ratios and 'relative prices' are relative in a sense that a money
> prices are not.  All are relative in the strict sense that they fall under the
> category of relation but money prices, taken in a non-dualist sense, can be
> said to be equal-or-unequal to value. An _absolute_ price is the value of the
> money that the commodity sells for. Absolute price is still accidental and
> fluctuate with time and place.  Intrinsic value is clearly non-relational in
> the strict sense. It is also an accidental property of the commodity: it can
> certainly change.  The question is: is intrinsic value equal or unequal to
> absolute price?

Why is "intrinsic value ... non-relational in the strict sense"? Is it not _related_
to the amount of labour expended in producing the commodity?

But I also have to ask you what you (and Marxists in general) mean by value at all?
What is the quotidian phenomenon of value which you have in view at all?

Isn't the value of something what it is good-for in the context of the practices of
everyday life? Such being-good-for... can include also things like aesthetic appeal,
such as the sparkling of a diamond, and need not be restricted to mundane utilitarian
uses. Anything desirable is good-for...

One could say that being-good-for... represents only a concept of use-value, and that
exchange-value, or what something is worth on the market, is something different
altogether. But the phenomenon of exchange-value is that something is good for
getting something else in exchange. To be good for this end, the something in
question must itself be useful in the sense of having a use-value. So use-value and
exchange-value are _essentially_ related (_kath'auto_) and only occur together.
Something without use-value also has no exchange-value. It is good for nothing, and
also no good for exchanging for something else.

The notion of the labour theory of value or intrinsic labour value seems to be that
things are valuable by virtue of having had labour expended upon producing them. The
useful commodity thing in its valuableness is attributed to or 'blamed on' (from
_aitia_ 'accusation of blame') the labour put into it. As a purported cause
(_aitios_) on which the value of a commodity is 'blamed', the labour input is _not_
the phenomenon of value itself, but is at one step removed from it. In attributing
commodity (exchange-)value to labour input, one loses sight of the phenomenon itself.

To stay on the track of the phenomenon of value itself, one must keep the phenomenon
itself in view and remain with the _same_ (_autos_), i.e. one must think
tautologically. Otherwise, one ends up in aitiology at one remove from the phenomenon
that is supposed to be brought into view and defined within the limits of its
concept. That is the task of thinking here.

If one does this, then exchange-value must be viewed first and foremost as something
being valuable for getting hold, through exchange, of something else which is useful.
That is the simple 'cell- or core-phenomenon' that has to be thought through and thus
disclosed in its truth. That is the literal meaning of dialectic, i.e.
_dialegesthai_, a thinking-through in the medium of the _logos_ in order to bring all
the various, and perhaps even contradictory, aspects of a phenomenon into
well-defined view and unify these various aspects in a concept.

Those who claim that there is "too much philosopy" in the so-called value-form
analytic approach to the concept of value have already overlooked and skipped over
the phenomenon to be investigated in all its simplicity. It is the simplicity of
phenomena which makes philosophical thinking difficult, whereas in the sciences
(which always have to presuppose their fundamental concepts) it is the complexity
that presents the challenge.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
http://www.webcom.com/artefact/ _-_-_-_-artefact@webcom.com _-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

> The standard non-dualist approach goes _partially_ for equality but at the
> cost  of the embodied labour interpretation of value. The value of constant
> capital is not its embodied labour value but taken to be equal to its absolute
> cost.  The commodity is produced with one value and productively consumed with
> another.  In standard notation:
>                 py = lx    (i.e the MELT is constant and equal to 1)
>                 v = a + pA
> where p is the absolute market price vector and v is the produced value
> vector. The problem is that if the value transferred, pA, is not embodied
> labour then v cannot be embodied labour. The signature of embodied labour is
> that the embodied labour of the produced commodity is the sum of the newly
> embodied labour, a, and the embodied labour transferred.
> This is why I go for _complete_ equality.  The value of the produced commodity
> is identical with the labour embodied in it and equal to its absolute price.
> This abolished price-value deviations even at the disaggregated level.  Value
> is always conserved in circulation. The valorisation process then becomes
> non-deterministic.  There is a deviation between actual value added as
> recognised in the product market via absolute prices and potential value added
> as recognised by wages in the labour market.
> Phil

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