(OPE-L) RE: logical order and historical order

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Feb 11 2004 - 17:26:46 EST

Re: (OPE-L) logical order and historical orderHi Rakesh.  I've been a bit busy lately -- writing a paper --
hence the delay in getting back to you on this. 

Previously I wrote:

> While Marx, at various steps in _Capital_, suggests that a
particular logical category or tendency is mirrored by an
actual historical process, the question is whether this
represents a _necessary_ step in the dialectical reconstruction
in thought of the subject matter. <

You replied:

> do not understand why this is the question, Jerry. <

Well, it might not be, Rakesh. It depends on what you are
concerned about.

You continued:

 > I don't think Marx is pointing to necessary steps but practical problems in the lower forms of value as having motivated their development. Marx's dialectic is at least partially a logic of practice, of real history. <

I'm not sure if you are referring to _only_ the "movement from
the accidental to  the expanded to the general form of value (from 
your 2/6 post)  _or_ whether you are making a general claim that
the progression of categories follows a historical order.

As i remarked previously, I think Marx at various points in _Capital_
suggests that the existence of a logical category -- like abstract labour --
or  tendency is mirrored by an actual historical process.  The question 
is to what  extent this is a necessary part of his analysis vs. to what extent it
represents Vorstellung.  (See Tony S's _The Logic of Marx's Capital_, 
p. 11).  

I previously wrote:

>  You will, of course, recall
what Marx wrote in the "Introduction" to the _Grundrisse_ about
why one should _not_ begin with population. <

and you replied:

> don't quite understand relevance of this.<

In the methodological comments in the "Introduction" to the _Grundrisse_,
I think Marx is explaining why  the "starting point" of the commodity is
essential and why the ordering  should be logical rather than historical.

The way I understand this is that if the logical and historical unfolding
of the subject matter coincide, that's OK, but it's not essential. The
issue is whether in unpacking and developing the logical starting point 
(for Marx, the commodity) one can reconstruct in thought all of the 
essential aspects of the subject matter (the capitalist mode of 

If the progression was historical, then Marx might have begun with 
Book II on _Landed Property_ rather than Book I on _Capital_.  Or, he
might have begun with Book IV on _The State_ rather than the book
on _Capital_.  Or, he might have begun Book I with the topic of the
primitive accumulation of capital rather than ending Volume I (of 3
volumes) of Book I with that subject. Or ....

In solidarity, Jerry

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