Re: [OPE-L] Derrida's ghosts

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sun Oct 30 2005 - 23:49:25 EST

I think you are correct that Derrida's understanding of
temporality will not prove compatible with TSS's. An
more interesting comparison for Derrida seems to be with Ernst Bloch
(who is not discussed I think in Balibar's book on the Philosophy
of Marx which is what I believe Derrida drew from ).
But at least TSS has a conception of temporality where the
past, present and future are part of single analysis without being
collapsed into the eternal present implicit in comparative
static thinking.
Marx was a thinker of change from positive feedback and dialectical
transformations (for example if there is a shock and a sudden population shortage
the wage is not expected to return to a fixed real subsistence level ex ante; through
repeated exchanges with labor the small master becomes a capitalist though the
form of exchange seems to persist--quantitative changes become
qualitative, form can mask content so Marx was
not simply a theorist of social forms, etc.).
I agree that such a dialectical Marx is not what Derrida has in mind.
You are correct about this. In fact I think dialectics as beautifully
described by Levins and Lewontin has to be antithetical to Derrida's
understanding of contradiction and  iteration and qualitative change.
I don't remember Michael Ryan's book on Marxism and Deconstruction
exploring the contrast with dialectics. But that book is still packed up.
Those skeptical of Derrida from the perspective of critical realism will
probably be interested in the work of Christopher Norris.
Yours, Rakesh

On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 10:01:00 -0400
  Jerry Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM> wrote:
> I was making an observation, which was neither critical of TSS,
> SSS or Derrida for that matter.  I.e. I was simply noting that the
> conception of  temporality in Derrida is inconsistent with that of
> the SSS and TSS interpretations of Marx.  Whether they are using
> period analysis or (as in the case of some TSS writings) non-
> linear dynamics, both of these perspectives have what Derrida
> might have referred to as "traditional conceptions of temporality"
> (recall that temporalism _is_ a traditional conception of
> temporality).    Of course, TSS and SSS focus on the _quantitative_
> aspect of  Marx's theory which was clearly not Derrida's focus.
> Nor, as I recall from an EEA conference, is it Antonio's focus:
> indeed he was highly critical of the conceptions of _all_ Marxian
> "value theorists."
> If someone believes that TSS _is_ consistent with Derrida's
> concept of temporality then I'd like to hear how.  While (former
> member) Eduardo Maldonado-Filho called attention to Vol. 3,
> Chapter 6, Section 2 of _Capital_,  I don't think that he analogized
> the release and tying-up of capital to the release and tying-up of
> ghosts.
> In solidarity, Jerry
>> The ghost as a cipher of iteration is particularly suggestive. At the
>> beginning of Specters of Marx, Derrida talks about the way in
>> which the anticipated return of the ghost may be mobilized on
>> behalf of a deconstruction of all historicisms that are grounded in a
>> rigid sense of chronology.
>> 'Haunting is historical, to be sure', he writes, 'but it is not dated, it
>> is never docilely given a date in the chain of presents, day after day,
>> according to the instituted order of the calendar
>> ' The question of the revenant neatly encapsulates deconstructive
>> concerns about the  impossibility of conceptually solidifying the past.
>> Ghosts arrive from the past and appear in the  present. However, the
>> ghost cannot be properly said to belong to the past, even if the
>> apparition represents someone who has been dead for many
>> centuries, for the simple reason that a ghost is  clearly not the same
>> thing as the person who shares its proper name. Does then the
>> 'historical'  person who is identified with the ghost properly belong
>> to the present?  Surely not, as the idea of  a return from death
>> fractures all traditional conceptions of temporality.
>> The temporality to which  the ghost is subject is therefore paradoxical,
>> as at once they 'return' and make their  apparitional debut. Derrida has
>> been pleased to term this dual movement of return and inauguration
>> a 'hauntology', a coinage that suggests a spectrally deferred non- origin
>> within grounding  metaphysical terms such as history and identity."
>> (Buse & Scott, 1999, p.10-11)

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