[OPE-L:3635] Re: "Labor Theory of Value"--not used by Marx!

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Fri, 8 Nov 1996 09:36:57 -0800 (PST)

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With respect to ope-l 3629 and the foregoing discussion, it should be noted
that the passage from Marx's Preface to the French ed. of _Capital_ is a close
paraphrase of a paragraph in and, more importantly, concurs with the sense of
the whole of, the Preface ("On Scientific Cognition) to Hegel's _Phenomenology
of Spirit_.

Marx wrote

"it is to be feared that the French public, always impatient to come to a
conclusion ... may be disheartened because they will be unable to move on at

"That is a disadvantage I am powerless to overcome, unless it be by
forewarning and forearming those readers who zealously seek the truth. There
is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing
climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits".

Paragraph 70 of Hegel's Preface reads:

"Should anyone ask for a royal road to Science, there is no more easy-going
way than to rely on sound common sense; and for the rest, in order to keep up
with the times, and with advances in philosophy, to read reviews of
philosophical works, perhaps even to read their prefaces and first paragraphs.
... This common road can be taken in casual dress; but the high sense for the
Eternal, the Holy, the Infinite strides along in the robes of a high priest,
on a road that is from the first no road, but has immediate being as its
centre, the genius of profound original ideas and lofty flashes of
inspiration. But just as profundity of this kind still does not reveal the
source of essential being, so, too, these sky-rockets of inspiration are not
THROUGH THE LABOUR OF THE NOTION. Only the Notion can produce the
universality of knowledge which is neither common vagueness nor the inadequacy
of ordinary common sense, but a fully developed, perfected cognition; not the
uncommon universality of a reason whose talents have been ruined by indolence
and the conceit of genius, but a truth ripened to its properly matured form so
as to be capable of being the property of all self-conscious Reason [my

Hegel summarizes this idea in the next paragraph as: "Science exists solely
in the self-movement of the Notion."

Those who think Marx's many favorable references to "science" mean that he was
embracing the methods and vantage-point of natural science and eschewing
speculative philosophy should think again. Those who minimize Marx's
Hegelianism should think again. But those "Hegelian Marxists" who think of
the starting-point (of _Capital_, for instance) as a *foundation* of
knowledge, i.e., that the initial determinations are "definitions" employed as
building blocks for what comes later, should also think again. (How many
people are aware, for instance, that Marx argues that the commodity form of
the product of labor turns out to be an inessential form of the self-movement
of capital?) What "founds" Science, Hegel argues in this Preface and
throughout his works is the *self-movement* of its object. Not the
starting-point, which, by itself, is too abstract and undeveloped to be
genuine knowledge, and not the conclusions which, taken by themselves, are not
comprehended, but the self-movement of the whole.

This is why the *labor* of the Notion is necessary for real knowledge.

BTW, the myth that Marx wanted to dedicate _Capital_ to Darwin has been shown
to be false.

Also BTW, I think Jerry is wrongly conflating method of analysis and method of

Andrew Kliman