Re: [OPE-L] interpretations of capital and Marx

Date: Fri Mar 16 2007 - 13:42:49 EDT

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 16:20:09 +0100
From: Riccardo Bellofiore <>
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] interpretations of capital and Marx

>>At 10:59 -0400 15-03-2007, Pen-L Fred Moseley wrote:
>>>>This does not mean that Marx or Sraffa is necessarily “right”, but that
>>>>when there is uncertainty in their writings, which can be interpreted
>>>>in different ways, that priority be given to those interpretations that
>>>>make the theory internally logically consistent.  To me this seems to
>>>>be the most reasonable and the most "fair to the author" way to go.
>>This is exactly Kliman's position, referring to
>>Stigler's Principle of Textual Exegesis. Stigler
>>used it to counter criticism that his
>>interpretation was against textual evidence,
>>according to other critics.
>It is also a widely accepted principle (even with all its difficulties)
>in the field of hermeneutics (the interpretation of texts).

not true. it is very contested. and it goes
against all the debate in epistemology in the
XXth century. my advice is to read the entry
Epistemology by Wal Suchting in Historical
Materialism, and the work he cites.

>>There are many problems with this view.
>>Just one. There is no outside "neutral"
>>standpoint of evaluation to say which is better.
>>Any interpretation is a logical whole, and it
>>cannot overimpose itself to the author's true
>>text rereading the quotes, or entire volumes
>>(like Vol. I).
>This principle does not require a "neutral observer".
>If one (anyone) concludes that the textual evidence is a "toss-up"
>between two interpretations, then it seems to me that a reasonable
>and fair (to the author) rule to apply is whichever interpretation
>makes the theory as a whole more internally logically consistent.
>Which rule would you apply in this case?

I told you. interpretation has to do with the
texts, the true texts of the authors, checking
then always the original language, and is given
within a peculiar general understanding. and the
"toss-up" situation may not be decided by the
conflicting parties. thus, I deny that your
interptretation makes Marx coherent: it makes
vol. I the most incoherent book I have ever seen,
and Marx the most strange author I would have
ever seen. but definitely I cannot be the neutral
referee, and there does not exist here. so, if
the author is contradictory or unfinished
business, this is what interpretation must say.
the author is not corrected by interpreters. the
more so, as I told you, utilizing manuscripts
over published books. but one is allowed to
reconstruction, of course. and yours is
reconstruction, when begins to re-interpreting
quotes according to your general understanding.

the point, I repeat, is that justification is
contextual, within the theory or the

but if you find (as Sraffa did with Ricardo) an
unknown text by Marx saying what you say. well
then you're is an interpretation.

the game however is useless. as soon as we start
talking of macro-monetary interpretation we are
on the terrain of reconstruction, because macro
was something alien to Marx.

I agree 100% with Jerry in his answer.


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