Re: [OPE-L] Lawrence Krader on objective and subjective value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Mon Nov 12 2007 - 20:51:22 EST

> Dear Rakesh,
> I do not want to go so far as to say that Marx's standpoint is
> "epistemologically superior", if that is taken to mean something like
> he stood on a higher hill from which he could see further than
> others. I mean only that  in dealing with social systems we deal with
> an entity that has to be considered from the standpoint of its
> ongoing features: thus Rawls, for example, poses the question of
> justice for future generations by drawing attention to this feature
> of a social system's basic structure (Rawls also makes the point that
> asking what features a system should have from the standpoint of
> participants in the original position behind a veil of ignorance is
> equivalent to asking what features it should have as an indefinitely
> continuing system)
But as this is a Kantian regulative ideal, it need not deny the importance
of social scientific study of actual formations, no?

It is therefore easy to assume that a social
> system is indefinitely self-reproducing. Marx's insight is a
> theoretical one: social systems are only conditionally ongoing and
> through their own development can  undermine those conditions.

Will this distinguish Marx?  I think you put it eloquently.

> Resistance struggles against a system of domination, of course, raise
> the question of whether that system can last. So I agree that the
> rise of the working class movement prompted the theoretical shift
> that Marx proposed.

Yes what role the crisis of the 1830s and the rise of revolutionary workers
movments had on Marx is the focus of Stathis K's book Philosophy and
favorable review by Tony Smith; critical one by late Joseph McCarney.

 However, many others who responded to the rise of
> the working class movement did not take the same theoretical step. So
> it was not as though Marx enjoyed a kind of epistemologically
> privileged vantage point. He just proposed a new theoretical
> standpoint.

Perhaps he was disabused of certain social prejudices because he could
take the point of view of the rising working class, and he was disabused
of the prejudices of static metaphysics, categories of thought by Hegel.
But that would still leave a lot of positive work to do, so yes I agree
that we still have the question of why Marx got as far as he did.

 I am just raising the hoary question of what role  Marx's specific
understanding of dialectic (logical and historical) and especially
contradiction play in or distinguish his theory.
It seems that you are saying a very important one, no?


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