Re: [OPE-L] Enrique D. Dussel's writings online

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 18:16:04 EDT

At 2:44 PM -0700 4/7/05, Ian Wright wrote:
>  > At any rate,  may I ask for an explanation of what you mean by common
>>  sense humanism of the time.
>I was just thinking that in the past horse-power or machine-power was
>clearly different from labour-power, and it was obvious that
>mechanical devices could not conceivably ever think.

Ian, you can't be suggesting that Marx failed to 
realize the possibilities of automation? Surely 
Marx's understanding of value as abstract labor 
and surplus value as only unpaid abstract labor 
time did not result from his failure to 
understand that human labor could be mechanized. 
Moreover, Marx was quite clear that it was an 
objective or valid illusion that"first mover" 
mechanization was often a source of great profit.

>  With technical
>progress things are no longer so clear. For example Leibniz:
>"One is obliged to admit that perception and what depends upon it is
>inexplicable on mechanical principles, that is, by figures and
>motions. In imagining that there is a machine whose construction would
>enable it to think, to sense, and to have perception, one could
>conceive it enlarged while retaining the same proportions, so that one
>could enter into it, just like into a windmill. Supposing this, one
>should, when visiting within it, find only parts pushing one another,
>and never anything by which to explain a perception. Thus it is in the
>simple substance, and not in the composite or in the machine, that one
>must look for perception."

This was not Marx's argument against simple 
mechanical or reductionist view of perception.  
As Marx wrote in the Paris Manuscripts: "The 
senses of the social man are other senses than 
those of the non social man. Only through the 
objectively unfolded richness of man's essential 
being is the richness of subjective human 
sensibilityŠeither cultivated or brought into 
being. For not only the five senses but also the 
so called mental senses--the practical senses 
(will, love, etc.) in a word, human sense--the 
human nature of senses--comes to be by virtue of 
its object, by virtue of humanized nature. The 
forming of the five senses is a labor of the 
entire history of the world up to the present."

Marx was a materialist, but a historical 
materialist. This differentiated him from 

yours, rb

>I guess it was common-sense among many in the past, even the most
>brilliant and revolutionary, that there was such a simple substance
>and that it was in man and man alone.

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