Re: [OPE-L] marx's conception of labour

From: clyder@GN.APC.ORG
Date: Sat Nov 18 2006 - 10:42:45 EST

Quoting Dogan Goecmen <Dogangoecmen@AOL.COM>:

> Paul, your discusion is, then, just to remind us of these froms of
> transitions. But this does not argue against Marx. It become, however,
> problematic if
> you reject to recognise the qualitative difference between animal  and human
> labour. This is an old discussion. Some refer to the capacity of  thinking,
> others to language, other again to morality. But all these discussions  end
> up in
> asking what makes the difference between other animals and human  beings.
> Marx says humans work consciously, that is to say that they plan before  they
> work.

These transitions are, I think, considerably more complex than one would
guess if one was just going on what is in Capital, but then we have much
much more biological knowledge available to us than Marx had. I am just
pointing out that the distinction human/animal labour based on intentionality
is now regarded as untenable by researchers into animal behaviour.

Ian Wright's old tutor Aron Sloman, has a magnificent video of problem
solving ability and tool use among caledonian crows.
Once you have watched it, you
will never again be so confident about human particularity.

> Human labour according to Marx comprises, then, : thinking, it is a
> conscious action; it comprises language, it is a communicative action; it
> comprises
> morality, it is an ethical action involving moral judgments, This is,  of
> course, not a God given capacity. It is a result of of a historical process
> of
> tousands and tousand of years. Now, tell me, is there any species of animals
> (apart from human beings) which plan the future, say, reproduction of
> subsistence and the means of production in the next few years to come.

This sort of planning though, is not specifically human, it is specifically
agricultural. It only exists post the neolithic revolution.

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