[OPE-L:4647] Re: The Tactical Status of Andrew's Debating Logic

Gil Skillma (gskillman@wesleyan.edu)
Wed, 2 Apr 1997 19:01:58 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

Andrew writes:

>I, for one, certainly have no desire to duck anything, Gil, including your
>stuff on Chapter 5 [etc, etc]

I made no statement whatsoever that you were "ducking" anything, Andrew.
Nor was I ever "compelling" you to engage in the Ch. 5 debate, as you
suggest later on in your post. In fact, if you'll go back and read the
opening statement in my post 4588, you'll see I state explicitly that it
represents an *"aside to the general point being made,"* to be considered
only if arguments related to the one stated in your excerpt from Alan's
writing were pursued in subsequent OPE-L discussions. Thus all of your
comments about my ignoring the "context" of your remarks are utterly beside
the point. A completely appropriate, and may I say more efficient and less
tactical, response to my post might have been, "I don't want to pursue these
issues now." Period. Fine with me.

Now, by exactly the same token, nowhere in my post 4588 do I indicate a
desire to "resume" any earlier discussion of ours (let alone "the"
discussion, since this use of the definite article begs yet another
question). You can look through my post line by line and you'll find no
reference to the discussion you seek now to re-initiate. True? Thus your
_non sequitur_ response to 4588 that "I'm eager to resume the [sic]
discussion" is no less a "gambit" than anything I've posted.

That said, this misbegotten exchange may have two useful consequences.
First, it should be clear from the summary of my critique of Marx's Ch. 5
argument given in 4588 that, contrary to your representation, in no sense
does this critique depend on any "method of substititionism." I was and am
not arguing against some "interpretation" of Marx's Ch. 5 argument. Rather
I'm saying that Marx's explicitly stated conclusion does not follow from the
premises he explicitly states in Ch. 5. There is no "interpretation" to
accept or not accept.

Now, I've also argued that the consequent lacuna in Marx's Volume I argument
can be resolved by looking to his historical analysis of capitalist
exploitation (laid out in the Grundrisse, the Economic Manuscript of
1861-63, the Resultate, and Volume III), beginning with capitalist
exploitation via usurers' and merchants's capital extended to value
producers. I could be wrong about this. But that possibility has nothing
to do with the invalidity of Marx's Ch. 5 conclusion.

And for what it's worth, I don't really believe your suggestion that you are
"simply incapable of engaging in the Chapter 5 debate." The argument is
straightforward enough. Time constraints are, I realize, another matter.

Now, as for resuming our earlier discussion. As I stated at the time, the
reason I withdrew from it was my exasperation over a) your suggestion that I
was attempting somehow to show "that Bortkiewicz 'proved', as he claimed to
have done, that Marx's account of the value/production price transformation
involved a self-contradiction" (my argument had nothing whatsoever to do
with defending this so-called 'proof") and b) your suggestion that in
pursuing the issues I raised I was somehow "hindering this effort [to reach
a society of freely associated individuals]" through "blather about
nonexistent 'errors' and 'incompleteness.' These were, I felt and still
believe, complete red herrings that substituted guilt by association for

However, now that I'm back in it I might as well address your questions,
since they are of course quite interesting. That way we'll find out first
hand whether it's "totally wrong" to suggest there's some connection between
your questions and Ch. 5 issues. Your first question addressed in my next post.

Cheers, Gil Skillman

PS I feel there is an important difference between a "criticism" and an
"attack". In criticizing a body of TSS argument I don't think that I'm
"attacking" it in the sense you repeatedly use the term. For example, I
don't yearn for your stuff to be consigned to the flames.