[OPE-L:3026] Re: The "Scorecard"

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Sun, 15 Sep 1996 06:00:52 -0700 (PDT)

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A reply to Jerry's ope-l 3017.

As I have mentioned maybe 100 times on this list, I fully agree with the point
Tony Smith expresses as: "an interpretation of _Capital_ must be able to
account for the main features of the work as a whole."

Jerry: "There is much in Chapter 2 ("Dialectical Logic in Marx's Work") that
is of relevance to recent OPE-L discussions on method (Andrew and Ted, for
example, take note)."

Both of us have read Tony's book. Ted wrote a review of it several years
back, and I have addressed Tony's argument as presented in the 1993 collection
Fred edited in a review of that collection (Marx's Method in 'Capital') for
Rethinking Marxism. In discussions with Michael W. on this list, I have
expressed a number of reasons why I don't think the method of _Capital_ is
describable as a systematic dialectics.

Jerry: "*Even if* one interpretation of _Capital_ can be said to be a more
accurate interpretation, that does not *by itself* necessarily advance our
understanding of capitalism.

"Do others agree?"

I do.

Jerry: "While critically evaluating and interpreting Marx is obviously
important, I believe that it is similarly important for Marxists today to
avoid *hermenutics*.

"Do others agree?"

I don't. If interpretation is "obviously important," one had better
understand and employ wisely the principles of interpretation, which is what
hermeneutics is about.

Jerry: "What, then, are the major areas related to *understanding capitalism*
that need further research and theorization?"

While Jerry characterized his post as "Some comments related to Andrew's
[OPE-L:3012]," and while the discussion of Tony Smith and the 2 prior
questions arguably have some indirect and tangential relation to my
"scorecard's" empirical test of different interpretations of Marx's value
theory, this last question, by Jerry's own reasoning, takes up a different
issue. In order to keep threads on the list clear, and especially in order to
respect the difference between interpretative adequacy and theorization to
"understand capitalism," I suggest that this latter topic be moved elsewhere,
so as not to divert the present thread away from the former.

In response to an earlier question by Jerry, I had mentioned that David
Laibman did not challenge the "score," i.e., the empirical results of my test.
In fact, Jerry's response to the test and its results is arguably the most
direct response I have heard to date, except from proponents of the TSS
interpretation. I would appreciate getting an even more direct response to
the evidence.

In particular, I hope that the evidence I presented gets discussed in
connection with the issues Ted (ope-l 3008) posed in reply to Jerry, when the
"scorecard" was first brought up:

"What concerns me is when critical dialogue falls apart because an assumption
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?"

The lack of direct response (since February) to the "scorecard" concerns me,
since it is exactly what Ted refers to as "critical dialogue fall[ing] apart."

Andrew Kliman