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 Feuerbach. 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. > >-Ian.
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