Re: [OPE-L] Marx and philosophy

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Tue Nov 06 2007 - 08:35:52 EST

>I am not intending to mislead,

Hi Jurriaan:

I knew that.

>I therefore said explicitly "also by analogy" and therefore, not only by

>Paul C. said he had followed Mirowski's interpretation that Marx's laws of
>motion of capitalist market economy were in some way inspired by Isaac
>Newton's theories. I doubt that interpretation, especially because I am not
>aware that Marx seriously studied Newton, or even referred to his theories,
>other than perhaps incidentally.

Engels, more than Marx, referred to Newton.  Marx wrote a bit
about Newton, though - note  e.g. references in _Mathamatical Manuscripts_.

>When Marx talks about "laws of motion" and "inevitability", there is IMO no
>particular theoretical conflict or tension in his thought, unless you argue
>that efficacious human choices made on the basis of free will are
>incompatible with, or contradict, determinism.

But, Marx wasn't an economic determinist.

If you don't want to call it a "tension" (my expression) then I think you'd
have to call it a _contradiction_ in Marx's thought.  Either he believed
there were social processes at work which lead "inevitably" to certain
results or he did not or he at different places and times suggested
inevitability and non-inevitability.  If you don't see this tension, then we
look at specific references he made to the "inevitable".

>The "tensions" arise only in crudified, anti-historical Marxisms which
>operate with a deformed or schematic idea about determinism.

I think, rather, that most of what you call "crudified, anti-historical
Marxisms" have _some_  textual basis in Marx.

>The "whole" in Marx's economic writings, is the capitalist mode of
>production, defined as an organic unity of the production and circulation
>of commodities.

The unity of the processes of capitalist production and circulation
only express one essential  aspect of capitalism, it does not "define" the
capitalist mode of production.   The "whole" can only be unpacked
with reference to all of the essential levels of abstraction associated with
the real subject matter and that includes not only capital, but also
classes, the state, foreign trade, the world market, etc.

In solidarity, Jerry

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