chaion lee (conlee@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr)
Thu, 2 Nov 1995 18:34:42 -0800

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Hi Comrades,

After my presentation on the method the other day, I realized I myself
failed in the presentation in making myself properly understood. So, I
decided to write this letter to explain my points more clearly. Sorry
if I am bothering you.

Originally, in my [Lee (1)], I intended to dissent on the conventional
understanding of Marx method as "the layering of determinations"(Foley: p 4)
or "self-determination in Marx's abstraction"(Foley: pp 6-7) or "first
approximation at first and then its modifications"(Foley: p 9) on the ground
that they are all virtually the same as the neo-classical modellings.
I want to know whether this message was accurately conveyed or not in the
previous presentation. If it is not, could you please give me any idea to
make better presentation? I am personally asking you of your opinion.

In [Lee (2)], I dissent on the so-called starting-point of abstraction for
the reason that it might be an empty abstraction. Without no guarantee that
it cannot be an empty one, we cannot start from the abstract. This point
also does not seem well conveyed in the previous presentation.

In [Lee (3)], I argue that we have to start from the concrete to arrive at
the substantive abstraction. Marx changed his mind from the starting-point
of value into that of the commodity, a particular, concrete as seen in
Preface to A Contribution to the Critique...". I rejected the idea that the
investigation method starts from the concrete and the presentation method
starts from the abstract for the reason that it is mystified.
The analytical path is seen originally in theology, metaphysics and
the works of art. Jesus explained the truth that was supposed to apply to
everything from a concretum example. Gough expressed his esthetic notion by
a concrete sunflower. A chemist analyses a meat into various elements, eg.
nitrogen, hydrogen, etc. But the analysis does not conform to our analytical
method. Without a certain general idea in the abstract, the chemist cannot
proceed his analysis any further. His analysis in the laboratory is simply
to confirm empirically the verification of the originally suggested general
abstract idea. The synthetic method is common in every other science since
the 17th century according to Marx (Grundrisse, p 100).

In [Lee (4)], I dissent on the idea of the "levels of abstraction" in the
so-called presentation method for the reason that it is virtually identical
with the neo-classical 'successive modellings'. I interprete it as a
sequence of the logical anteriority. We shall start from the most abstract
toward the more concrete in the synthetic method, which follows the logical
anteriority.. But the analytical method does not have any bearing on this
sequence of the logical anteriority, which is the point of the [Lee (5)].


Chai-on Lee