Re: [OPE-L] Inter-species slavery- was marx's conception of labour

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Nov 22 2006 - 16:37:22 EST

> Quoting Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU>:
>> But what is distinctive to human labor? Imagination. Imagination is
>> also the key to our amazing capacity for "self transcendence and
>> rational analysis--for viewing ourselves from a vantage point outside
>> the self and for imagining what it would be like to someone else."
>> Davis, p. 33
> This involves, I think, considerable romanticisation of the labour
> process. It often involves little or no imagination, the tendancy
> of industrial capitalism has been to reduce tasks to sub tasks which
> can be performed 'automatically' without imagination. A requirement
> for imagination would slow down the production-line.

I find this a rather incredible statement--proletarians are performing
automatically?? They often suffer from not being able to lose themselves
in their work, from their work not carrying them along. For good reason,
Marx reaches the opposite conclusion. The worker has to maintain close
attention which does not come automatically at all. See the first few
paragraphs of Capital vol I, chapter 7. Perhaps maintaining close
attention  the completed task is not a form of imaginatiion, but it is
certainy not automatic.

> The self transcendence that you write about above, seeing ourslves
> as others see us, was the basis of Smiths theory of Moral Sentiments,
> about which Dogan has written his book. Reading these texts by
> Smith I am struck by the extent to which he anticipated the
> discovery of mirror neurons
>   {{Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind-reading}},
>   {Gallese, V. and Goldman, A.},{Trends in Cognitive Sciences},
>   volume={2}, pages={493--501},year={1998}
> Also available as:
> Adam Smiths theory of morality as being based in an inate empathic
> capability of humans now seems to have a sound materialist foundation.

Though by materialism I hope you don't mean that the empathetic self can
be located as a neural

> However, these mirror neurons are present in other higher primates,
> and experimental evidence seems to indicate that they too have a 'theory
> of mind', i.e., can put themselves in the position of another monkey
> watching themselves. So this indicates that we are dealing with our
> common primate heritage here.

Well this is controversial--on whose research are you relying; and as I
rmember Shanker and Rumbaugh they don't emphasize the common theory of
mind but the language capacity of monkeys. And even that is rejected by
Chomsky and others.


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