[OPE-L] New Version of Capital Annotations

From: Hans G. Ehrbar (ehrbar@LISTS.ECON.UTAH.EDU)
Date: Sun Feb 06 2005 - 21:29:44 EST


you asked

> So, how does one go about deciding _which_ of these meanings/
> translations is intended by Marx in a particular instance?

I did not seem to have much trouble deciding this.  The main
open question to me was whether I saw enough categories,
maybe some of my 3 categories can be divided more.  In any
case, I just uploaded a new version of my Annotations at


with an updated version of glossary.pdf which has all the
individual cases of "vorstellen" listed and linked to, with
my classification into the three categories listed after
this paragraph.  I consider this as infrastructural work
which gives an overview how Marx was using certain words,
from which one can infer whether or not he had a specific
meaning for them.  What struck me in that exercise was that
he is using the word "vorstellen" quite often as a
synonymous for "darstellen" (represent).  This seems to me a
somewhat odd use of the word in German, and I haven't
figured out what he wants to say with it -- but then I am
also still riddling about the precise meaning of darstellen
itself.  Another piece in the puzzle.

Regarding translations, only case (1) seems to present any
difficulties, and the only thing I would say as a general
rule is that Vorstellung should not be translated as
"concept", because it denotes exactly the kind of thinking
which has not yet been brought down to concepts ("auf den
Begriff bringen").  Idea, thought, imagination, etc. works.
Conception seems better to me than concept, since this seems
to have the connotation of a process.  Often the translation
"notion" is used, I am not sure what to think of this

>> (1) Sometimes it means a prescientific thought, idea, hunch,
>> imagination.  This term comes from Hegel, sometimes
>> translated with picture-thinking.
>> (2) Sometimes it means the same or something very similar to
>> darstellen, represent.
>> (3) The third meaning of "vorgestellt" is: notional, as
>> opposed to real.  Another German synonym for this meaning is
>> ideell (not ideal, there is a difference between the two).

You also asked:

> Did Hegel also use vorstellung, in some contexts, to mean (2)
> and (3)?

I am not enough an expert on Hegel to know for sure, but my
guess would be that Hegel uses it in meaning (3) since everybody
does, and he does not use it in meaning (2).

> In solidarity, Jerry

Thank you for your interest,


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