[OPE-L:3605] Re: "Surface/deep structure" or Marx and Plato

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 06:04:31 -0800 (PST)

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A quick comment on Alejandro's latest. Alejandro says he
doesn't think that "surface" vs. "deep structure" is the
right way to conceive of Marx's analysis of capitalism. The
reason he gives is that this opposition implies that deep =
true and surface = false (a la Plato) and that this fails to
grasp what Marx was talking about. But I don't read the
distinction that way. For instance, in the context of
Chomskian linquistics one talks of the deep versus the
surface structure of natural language, but surely this
doesn't mean that the surface structure of, say, English or
Spanish is "false": it is just less fundamental. It does
mean, though, that if one looks only at the surface
structure one is liable to make false _inferences_ about
language; in the same way Marx says that if one looks only
at the "surface" of capitalism one is likely to draw false
inferences, e.g. about the source of profit.

This doesn't answer all the points Alejandro makes. I'll
try to get back to some of them later.

Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University