[OPE-L:2081] Re: Translator's lot is not a happy one

Michael Williams (100417.2625@compuserve.com)
Sun, 5 May 1996 15:59:39 -0700

[ show plain text ]

Michael P. draws attention to the German term used by Marx which translates
directly into English as 'character-mask'. As I pointed out in some of my posts
on 'subjectivity' this is the most abstract, initial general appearance of all
subjectivity - in the contradictory form of 'subject without subjectivity'. This
is to be grasped as subjects seen only as the bearer of capitalist economic

Geert Reuten and myself have suggested that the next step (at a lower level of
abstraction) in developing full bourgeois subsectivity is the move to
'competition subjects', who are character masks with abstract free will -
abstract in that it is freedom only to deploy their given income sources
(property and labour power) as constrained by the opportunities (different, of
course, for each) made available by the capitalist market system.

The motivation of the systematic movement to lower levels of abstraction is to
get a handle on the (again differentiated) nature and extent of 'free'
subjectivity available to concrete bourgeois subjects.

And so on.

One might speculate that the failure to render any adequate translation of the
term into English (and other languages?) may have contributed to neglect of the
post-Hegelian aspects of Marx's arguments?

Michael W.