Re: [OPE-L:8609] Weeks and Simple Commodity Production

From: Michael Eldred (artefact@T-ONLINE.DE)
Date: Sun May 18 2003 - 07:08:49 EDT

Cologne 18-May-2003

Ian Wright <ian_paul_wright@HOTMAIL.COM> schrieb Sat, 17 May 2003 18:03:17

> Hello Michael,
> Let's agree to differ on our interpretation of concepts and
> models, and also whether or not Marx made deductions from a
> model of an economy without capitalists and workers (at the
> beginning of Capital).

Hi Ian,
One small aside on models: In pure mathematics it is the models which are the
mathematical entities themselves as instantiations of axiomatic systems. E.g.
the real numbers are a model for a mathematical field (and also a ring, and a
group, etc.). This is a peculiarity of mathematical beings -- they do not exist
in the everyday, physical world, but separate (_choriston_) from it. (This
fascinated the Pythagoreans and Plato.)

> >I think that there is an enormous difference, but that would involve
> >extended
> >interpretation of Hegel, whose dialectical thinking, among other things, is
> >an
> >attempt to overcome the dualism introduced by Descartes. It took three
> >hundred
> >years in philosophy to overcome this subject-object dualism. Fichte made a
> >valiant start at the beginning of German Idealism, Hegel continued with his
> >speculative thinking, Heidegger completed the job in phenomenology. There
> >is
> >always an inertial lag for philosophical thinking to ripple out, which may
> >take
> >several more centuries.
> I have a joke for you: what's the difference between an engineer, a
> mathematician, and a philosopher? The engineer has a waste-skip to
> dump his mistakes, the mathematician a waste-paper basket, and the
> philosopher pen and paper.

Here's an echo from Nietzsche in response to your joke:

"Thinkers as stylists. -- Most thinkers write poorly because they do not just
communicate their thoughts to us, but also the thinking of the thoughts."
(_Human, All Too Human_ I 188.)

> A very strong argument can be made that the philosophical problem
> of understanding the relationship between subject and object has
> been solved in principle and is being solved in practice in the
> field of Artificial Intelligence, a field almost entirely devoted
> to understanding the relationship between kinds of representations
> and kinds of things, and embodying that understanding into systems
> that act autonomously in the world.

Yes, AI, too, operates within a Cartesian metaphysics.
How being is understood determines what kind of science is possible.
How social being is understood determines what kind of social science is

> I am sure that this won't
> convince you iota, perhaps because it is only vulgar technology,
> and therefore couldn't possibly contribute to metaphysical
> debates about the nature of mind and consciousness. The joke is
> true nevertheless. Things have really moved on since Heidegger.

I must have missed something.

> Due to the division of intellectual labour there are always lags, as
> you say, but in this instance the engineers, being much closer to
> the problem, have stolen a march on the philosophers.

The engineers could not do what they do without philosophers having laid the
ground, unbeknowns to them, centuries and millennia beforehand. E.g. without a
Greek thinker having thought "For, thinking and being belong together."
(Parmenides) over two and a half thousand years ago, there would not be any
engineers today working on AI problems. I have written on the digital casting of
being at the artefact web site:

> But I don't think it would be fruitful to enter into a debate about
> philosophy, particularly as the focus here is political economy.
> However, if you think that I'm labouring under some philosophical
> errors, which will affect my work in political economy, and if you
> suggest some concrete examples of such errors then progress can
> be made. I won't be much persuaded by somewhat abstract criticisms
> about problems of subject-object dualism, or suggestions that I'm
> replicating a flawed "Cartesian" paradigm. Rakesh thinks that a
> pure SCE never existed, and futher that a SCE is not a logically
> possible state-of-affairs. What is your objection to simple
> commodity models?

Remembering that thinkers are "poor stylists", if one has followed Marx's
presentation in Capital Vol. 1 up to the level of simple commodity circulation
(einfache Warenzirkulation), just before the transformation of money into
capital, then one will have understood conceptually what a commodity product of
labour _is_ in the context of commodity exchange and also money as the mediator
of that exchange, and what commodity exchange _is_ as a social relation. These
concepts would then enable, in turn, a conceptual understanding of capital
itself as a social relation and the capitalist production process. From the
start, the presentation in Capital is concerned only with capitalist society
(cf. the very first sentence of Capital Vol. I Chapter 1).

What is conceptual understanding? It means that what is always already
understood in everyday life has been brought to its concept and the phenomena
concerned have been explicitly grasped in thought (com-prehended) as what they
_are_. There is no model-building here, no construction of a thought-construct
or a 'logical thought experiment', but rather, the phenomena themselves have
been explicitly disclosed and understood.

Through the conceptual development, thinking and being come to belong explicitly
to each other -- without the famous Cartesian dualism in which a gulf still has
to be bridged. Explication means nothing other than unfolding (ex-plicare) what
everyday understanding already implicitly, (i.e. in a 'folded', hidden way)
understands. That is why it is necessary for thinkers "not just [to] communicate
their thoughts to us, but also the thinking of the thoughts." They have to show
the unfolding of the plies into which understanding is 'always already' folded.
This means that a concept without the path in thinking, i.e. the dia-logue,
which leads to it is worthless. A concept is more than a one-line definition,
even though a concept defines the phenomenon in bringing it to stand out in the
open in the outline of its being.

Hegel, who is only one among several great thinkers who all say the same, puts
it in the following way, "The business of philosophy consists only in bringing
expressly to consciousness what has long since been regarded by people as valid
with regard to thinking. ... Thus, for example, being is a pure determination of
thought; it never occurs to anyone to make the _is_ an object of our
contemplation." (Enzyk. I Section 22 Addition, Section 24 Addition 2).

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

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