Re: [OPE-L] class theory

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Mon Oct 29 2007 - 13:34:25 EDT

Hi Ian:

Ad hominem, you say?  Well, there seems to be some controversy over the
meaning of
that expression. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, though, gives two

1. "appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect."
2. "marked by an attack on an opponent's character rather than an answer to
contentions made".

How then does the following constitute ad hominem? (I'll break it down into
sections so you can better explain it to us):

>"The Temporal Single-System Interpretaqtion (TSSI) of Marx is a
>of quantitative Marxism which was developed by professional economists and

Sounds accurate to me. It's hardly an attack on character or an appeal to
someone's feelings.

>The TSSI is a perspective which represents the isolation of many Marxian
>economists from the class struggle and the retreat of part of that group
>into stale, hermeneutic debates amongst themselves.  The effect of this is
>to reinforce their own isolation.

See above.

>The TSSI thus expresses the interests of a segment of  a  skilled and elite
>segment of the working class.

Class  indentification, no?

>Like other brands of professional economists, their use of  mathematics and
>specialized knowledge is necessary to receive acceptance and possible
>career advancement within the universities where they teach.

You don't think that's true? How is it ad hominem?

>The TSSI is  the latest  attempt to legitimize the study of Marx and
>Marxism and hence their own position within the Academy to bourgeois
>economists and University administrators.  As part of this project, it
>seeks to utilize the exact same analytical tools of professional

See above.

>This is despite the fact that some of those analytical tools were not
>employed by Marx when analysing the issues in which advocates of the TSSI
>have become obsessed.  This contradiction has not been accepted by
>proponents of the TSSI because its recognition would lead to the
>self-dissolution (suicide) of the school.

See above.

>The hermeneutic focus of their debates  and their desire to 'reclaim Marx'
>from alleged non-believers and heretics is an indication of its
>character and orientation. It is therefore a religious denomentation which
>has been engaged in debates with >other denomenations. Unlike many of those
>other denomenations, pride of >place in the TSSI is given >to what they see
>as the proper repetition of  Church doctrine concerning >Marx.  They
>consider themselves to be the most faithful of Marxians - >indeed,   they
>have claimed that their interpretation is simply "Marx's Marxism".  Hence,
>the TSSI  doctrine is similar to the Jesuitical doctrine in the Catholoc
>Church -- the difference only being that in  the TSSI Church  the person of
>Karl Marx is  substituted for that of Jesus Christ."

What you take to be ad hominem attack, I think, is simply unhelpful
rhetoric.  If it has a failing (which I think it does) it is one shared by
many of the mis-characterizations directed at the
surplus approach school.  Recall that it was created to mimic some of those
mis-characterizations which seek to de-legitimize surplus approach theory
through some appeal to an alleged political / sociological implication.

I agree that we can do better on OPE-L. That was the point of my writing the
post you just responded to.

In solidarity, Jerry

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