From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Tue Feb 15 2005 - 15:16:46 EST
Ian, I am struggling with the concepts of equality and status, so please accept delay in my reply to your stimulating messages. Let me share a quote that I found very helpful in the meantime. I would be especially interested in Chris Arthur's comments on this. yours, rb Marx Wartofsky, Piaget's Genetic Epistemology and The Marxist Theory of Knowledge, Revue Internationale de Philosophie, 142-3 1982, 470-507 "For a fully elaborated account of this dialectic of reflection as the genesis of self consciousness, the locus classicus is of course Hegel's Ph of Mind. Hegel's dictum in effect is that there can be no consciousness which is not at the same time a self-consciousness; but that the very conditions for the possibility of such a self consciousness is the recognition of that self-consciousness as such by another self consciousness, and reciprocally: namely, the condition for self conscious reflection upon one's own interiorized representations of outward modes of praxis is that self recognition which is possible only by the recognition of another as being like oneself: one recognizes or comes to know oneself only in the other. This is by now quite familiar dialectic of self consciousness that Hegel develops in the Phenomenology of Mind, and as Feuerbach interprets it in humanist terms in the Essence of Christianity. For Marx, and by contrast to both Hegel and Feuerbach, this process of self knowledge occurs not as a moment in the phenomenological dialectic of recognition, but in the recognition of oneself in that objectification of oneself in that objectification of oneself which occurs in the production of things. That is to say, one comes to know oneself, or to develop a self consciousness precisely in the externalization of one's own intentionality in outward form: we know what we make, in Vico's terms, not simply because we make, it, but because the making of it exhibits our capacities, purposes, intentions in the embodied form of the artifact, the product. Analogously, speech or language is such an objectification, or self-externalization, through which the speaker achieves self consciousness. But what is crucial for Marx in this process of self reflection in the other, or in the product of one's activity, is its essential sociality: my own act of production, while it is always 'mine' in the sense that I perform it as a concrete individual, is also not only mine, but is, even in my individual activity, a social action. For the very conception of what it is that I am making , and the very character of labor itself is social (even what that is hidden from me). My skills or character of the object made, in terms of the network of its uses, meanings, values in a given social context-all of these bespeak the fact that object upon which I operate, and which I produce is itself the external representation of my own mode of praxis in its individual and social meaning. I read myself back from the object, so to speak, as the 'mirror' of my activity. And it already has this character, because the very activity by which it was produced is the culmination of a history of cultural technological achievements and of my individual act in embodying these social capacities in the work, and stamping them with my own character. Thus the internal representations which I form are not representations of some alien object but an internalization of what has already been formed as a representation of my own intentionality. I project myself into the external world, so to speak, in the activity of production; and then I read back from this projection what the nature of my activity itself is, and thereby, what I have come to be as constituted by this activity. p. 498-99"
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