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

From: jairus (jairus@VSNL.COM)
Date: Thu Feb 12 2004 - 10:43:02 EST

Re: (OPE-L) logical order and historical order
A quick comment on this exchange - how can there be a 'historical order' which isn't grounded in some notion of historical necessity, i.e. of a necessity that drives the historical process (in this case, the history of capitalism) in some determinate direction?  If so, what is that necessity?  Is there a notion of historical necessity which is definable independently of the logic of capital (i.e. the so-called 'logical order')?  What concepts would it appeal to?
A possible way forward is to see how Hegel defines the relationship between the history of philosophy and the 'system' of philosophy in the introduction to his Lectures on the History of Philosophy. He provides a solution of sorts but one which involves writing 'essential histories'...
   ----- Original Message -----   From: gerald_a_levy   To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU   Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2004 3:56 AM
  Subject: (OPE-L) RE: logical order and historical order

  Hi 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   production).       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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