[OPE-L:1844] [PAUL C] Re: subjectivity

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Sun, 21 Apr 1996 11:46:22 -0700

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 11:22:33 -0700
From: Paul Cockshott <wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk>
To: ope-l@anthrax.ecst.csuchico.edu,
Multiple recipients of list <ope-l@anthrax.ecst.csuchico.edu>
Subject: Re: subjectivity

A Well, first, I do not see how we can sustain any very revealing
idealist/materialist dichotomy. Primarily this is because of what may be
summarised as the 'paradox of realism': whilst it is inconceivable that the
social world does not exist independent of MY conceptions of it; we cannot
CONCEIVE of the social world independent of OUR (social, inter-subjective)
conceptions. (Try it!).

I certainly would not dispute the real existence of systems of ideas, both
as brain states and as written and other records. These are clearly a
for any economy. Without them no technology, no economic calculation etc.

Letting in subjectivity does not close off research agenda in the way suggested
by Paul a dozen postings ago; rather not admitting it diverts research into no
doubt beautiful and worthy, but for our purposes irrelevant, avenues. We need
knowledge at the level of individuals and classes ,and their dynamic
interactions with social systemic structures.
(There are, of course, also many non-Marxist research agendas investigating the
nature of intentional relations, their compatibility with causal explanation,
the possibility of empirical investigation of them, etc, etc, (Dennett,
Davidson, Searle, etc).

I am a great fan of Dennett, but I am dubious about the proposition that
political economy requires, should have anything to do with, the category
of the subject in its philosophical sense - as opposed to the category
of abstract legal personality.

It seems to me that those economists who have recourse to subjectivity
to explain for example value, come up with theories that are both
politically reactionary and scientifically untestable. The Marxian
theory of value is both subject free, testable and does not obscure
real economic relations.

It is one of the strengths of Marx that his theory is based on the
relationship between historic economic categories, not on the subject
which is an a-historical philosophical category.

Paul Cockshott (clyder@gn.apc.org)