[OPE-L:3008] RE: Developing Marx

McGlownet@aol.co (McGlownet@aol.com)
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 19:51:22 -0700 (PDT)

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I'm going to respond quickly to your post and think about it some more
later. What you said about critical theory in contrast to faith addresses
an issue I have been concerned with from a TSS perspective: why is there
such strong resistance to the TSS interpretation? I have observed that one
strand of resistance thinks that to claim that Marx's value theory of labor
is coherent in Marx's own presentations is to take Marx on faith or to
believe that one has a direct line to Marx. This is far from the case with
TSSer's since we have developed a quantitative demonstration of our
interpretation, critically engaged others and exposed the implications of the
stationary price assumption for the transformation problem and FRP. I think
that the issue of fighting against faith with critical reason is
historically/philosophically not so crucial at this point as working out
issues of method within what you called critical theory. Permanent
critique, as in the case of the Frankfurt School recommendation to intervene
in academic disciplines, replaced a positive relationship to working out what
Marx might have meant by revolutionary-practical-critical activity.
Important for me in this regard is Adorno's introduction to Negative
Dialectics where he says he is opposed to negation of negation because it
contains the positive in the negative. I do not agree with him that the
negation of negation subsumes the other into an authoritarian Subject. I
seem to recall his phrase is the "autarky" of the Concept. So, in addition
to our ongoing work to clarify value theory in its TSS interpretation I think
it is very important to clarify where we stand with regard to Marx's
appropriation of the Hegelian dialectic as absolute negativity. One last
thought, It "seems" to me that after fighting a battle against the taken for
granted assumptions of faith the next move historically is to turn to
experience and empiricism. This move is also present on the list as some
theorist turn aways from theoretical debates and attempt to resolve a
conflict in thought through empirical work. A counter tendency to empirical
attempts at resolution of value theory issues seems to be a critique of
value categories themselves, a value-form analysis. Another move seems to
be to give up on thinking that there is a basis in Marx's Marxism for working
out value theory and to do one's own theory as an independent new creation,
although some parts of Marx are salvaged for one's own theory. You won't be
surprised if I agree with you, criticism is crucial to develop theory. What
concerns me is when critical dialogue falls apart because an assumption is
made that we could never resolve the issue in principle i.e., agree what
Marx actually said about an issue and thus coherently interpret his text. If
we assume Marx's text is indeterminable in its meaning, then one
interpretation is as good as another, and critical thinking can never reallyl
address the heart of the matter. In this regard, what do you think about
Andrew's "scorecard" (in the response to Laibman paper) comparing the results
of the TSS interpretation with the standard and simultaneist interpretations
of some of Marx's key results? I went on longer than I planned....security
at the college tells me I have to leave the building!!