[OPE-L:8654] Re: probabilistic approaches to the theory of value and philosophy

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@t-online.de)
Date: Sat Mar 22 2003 - 12:23:20 EST

Cologne 22-Mar-2003

Re: [OPE-L:8640]

Philip Dunn schrieb Fri, 21 Mar 2003 19:02:45 -0000:

> Michael Eldred <artefact@t-online.de> said:
> > > Exchange-value is accidental because it falls under the category of relation.
> > > Intrinsic value is accidental because it falls under the category of quantity.
> > > Intrinsic value can fluctuate like market price. It can have the relation of
> > > equality with the value of the money it sells for. The reason this seems
> > > strange is due to a confusion of the notion of intrinsic labour value with
> > > that of natural price. I have suffered from this confusion in the past.
> > > Natural price is immunised against market fluctuation.
> >
> > Phil,
> > I don't get this. Why are the categories of relation and quantity
> accidental, i.e.
> > _kata symbebaekos_? For Aristotle, beings which are _kata symbebaekos_ (i.e.
> which
> > are what they are simply because of what happens, from _symbainein_ 'to happen')
> > are distinguished from beings _kath'auto_, i.e. beings as they are "according to
> > themselves". Thus, e.g. "parenthood" is in itself and not simply accidentally
> > relational, or a triangle has in itself and not just accidentally three angles,
> > three sides and the sum of its angles is two right-angles, i.e. the category of
> > quantity is by no means always _kata symbebaekos_. You seem to be confusing the
> > primacy of _ousia_ as the first category as opposed to the further categories,
> > which are usually said of a 'something', i.e. a _tode ti_ i.e. the first
> category
> > in its primary sense as a concrete something. The categories are literally the
> > ways in which beings can be and are addressed as beings. _Ousia_ as
> 'something' is
> > usually the final 'subject' (_ousia_ understood as _hypokeimenon_) of such
> > predications which say, literally, in what predicaments the said being finds
> > itself.
> >
> Dear Michael
> Thank you very much for this.  I was using 'accidental' in the sense that it
> is used in distinguishing substantial from accidental change.  I have
> refreshed my memory about essential and accidental predication.
> Suppose Callias is talking while seated.  Aristotle is trying to distinguish
> between predication that is a mere juxtaposition of terms and predication that
> is useful for scientific purposes.  So "the seated is talking" is simply a
> coincidence -- accidental predication, whereas "Callias is talking" is
> essential predication. It seems then that the essential/accidental distinction
> applies to the _predication_, not the predicate or property.  In contrast,
> when it comes to considering substantial and accidental change, what matters
> is whether the _properties_ are essential or accidental.  In this sense, "is
> seated", coming within the category of position, is an accidental property of
> Callias since he might get to his feet.  On the other hand, "is human", in the
> category of substance, is an essential property of Callias since he would
> cease to exist if he lost this property.

This example with Callias as the _tode ti_, the concrete particular thing, being
'accused' (_katagorein_) by the categories is clear enough.

I should perhaps have added in my last post further phenomenal definition of _kata
symbebaekos_ and _symbainein_. _Bainein_ means 'to walk, go, come,'; in the perfect
_bebaek-_ it means 'to stand' and thus also 'to be'. The prefix _sym-_ means
'together, with'. So _symbaeinein_ means literally 'to walk with, to come with, to go
along with', and in the perfect it means 'to come to stand alongside', i.e. 'to be
with'. In the background there is the basic Greek understanding of being as 'coming to
a stand in presence'. _To symbebaekos_ is that which comes to stand in presence
alongside something and therefore 'touches' it, L. _contingere_, the contingent.
German has a very happy way of getting this Greek across -- _to symbebaekos_  is 'das
Beilaeufige', i.e. literally, 'that which runs alongside'.

Callias can sit or Callias can stand. The sitting or standing comes to stand alongside
Callias' being, but it does not constitute Callias' _ousia_, what Callias is from the
origin of what Callias has always already been. The deepest definition of _ousia_ in
Aristotle's Chapter Delta of the Metaphysics is _to ti aen einai_, which is
grammatically one of the strangest philosophical terms, literally, 'the what was
being'. Greek has no perfect form of the verb 'to be'. Therefore _to ti aen einai_
means something like 'being as it has become from its origin' and thus present a look
in presence. From his origin, Callias is a human being, and he presents himself in
presence in the look of sitting, standing, talking, etc. The look of talking or
being-able-to-talk comes from the (ontological) origin of what Callias _is_ as a human
being. This look does not just 'go along with' and 'come to stand alongside' Callias,
but is part of what Callias is from his origin in being _as_ a human being.

> > It has to be kept in mind that metaphysical concepts are invariabilty used in
> > several ways with different meanings. The chapter in Book Delta of the
> Metaphysics
> > on _ousia_ (usually, and misleadingly, translated as 'substance') lays out the
> > various possible meanings of _ousia_.
> >
> I agree that 'substance' is misleading. In English it has quantitative and
> 'material'(as in 'stuff') connotations.
> > What do you mean precisely by "intrinsic value"? I take it that "intinsic"
> here is
> > a translation of _kath'auto_. What is _kath'auto_ about value?
> >
> Again thanks for connecting _kath'auto_ and 'intrinsic'.  I read Marx's use to
>  be the same as the use in the distinction between the apparent and intrinsic
> magnitude (brightness) of a star.  A star's apparent magnitude is then a sort
> of coincidence of its intrinsic magnitude and distance.
> So, "commodity A has intrinsic value x" is essential predication, but "has
> value x" is an accidental property of commodity A. Is "commodity A sells for a
> sum of money x" accidental predication? Something that just happens?  In that
> case price, as a sum of money, is not a property of the commodity at all.

Aristotle points out that things (_pragmata_; he uses the example of shoes) have two
kinds of uses. A pairs of shoes can be worn. That is their primary use. A pair of
shoes can also be used to acquire something else in exchange. This is the origin of
the distinction between use-value and exchange-value as employed in political economy
a couple of millennia later.

Are these two kinds of uses essential to practically useful things? If something is
intrinsically useful, i.e. useful _kath'auto_, then it has an essential relation to a
use, i.e. a human practice or usage. The thing can only _be_ what it is, a use-value,
within the category of relation (_pros ti_), i.e. use-value is essentially relational.

Similarly, for exchange-value -- in a society with markets, i.e. in which exchange is
practised, useful things can be exchanged for other useful things (or sold for money
and thus indirectly exchanged for other useful things). The 'second order' use of
useful things in the practice of exchange is just as essential as the 'first order'
use in some other practice (e.g. wearing the shoe).

Even if the exchange of useful things on markets were banned in a certain kind of
society (communism), this would only be a repressed truth of useful things, i.e. that
they disclose themselves of themselves not only as useful, but as useful and therefore
also exchangeable. The usefulness and the exchangeability are _dynameis_ inherent in
the things themselves, i.e. _kath'auto_.

But the ontological structures of these two different _dynameis_ or potentials differ.
These questions remain to be taken up -- to the present day. The important thing to
notice at the outset and which must not be allowed to lost from sight is that these
questions are _prior_ to any consideration of the quantities involved (e.g. 1 pair of
shoes for 20 kg. potatoes -- notice that a single shoe has no exchange value, because
it is generally useless). Marx saw this (Ricardian) fixation on quantities, but his
thinking did not keep the phenomena themselves clearly in view. Marx's thinking, too,
moves too quickly to the question of the quantitative aspect of exchange relations.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-  artefact text and translation _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- made by art  _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
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_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_ Dr Michael Eldred -_-_-

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