[OPE-L:7113] [OPE-L:612] RE: re: announcing TT/CS

David Laibman (DLaibman@brooklyn.cuny.edu)
Sat, 06 Mar 99 15:48:00 EST

Hi everyone.

My post earlier referred to my being in a composing mood. That was a
reference to a previous post, which however seems not to have gone out (since
a copy never came back). Sorry. Here is it again.

On Alan's question, routed to the list through Jerry: "Does David in fact
accept that TSS -- and other views such as the non-temporal single system
view -- are possible, coherent, interpretations of Marx -- and of the world
we live in?"

This stance, which has been part of the TSS style for some time now, is
crucially *ambiguous*. If you mean, do I accept the right of anyone to put
forward their views, and do I accept the legitimacy of their participation in
the debate, the answer is "of course." Any position is "possible" (whatever
that means). Do I accept that a given view is "coherent"? This is tricky,
but I mught want to say that *according to some set of validity criteria*, a
given position does not meet the test of coherence. Then attention must
shift to the validity, or meaningfulness, or indeed coherence, of the
validity criteria themselves. Similarly with claims that a given view
effectively interprets Marx, or explains the world: I (or anyone else) may
claim that a given view does not do these things, and that claim must then
itself be subjected to tests, the criteria for which will not meet with full
agreement. To the extent we *can* agree on a set of criteria, we may achieve
a better "crossing of swords" on the narrower issue at hand. But how can we
have a genuine, comradely debate if one is not allowed to say that, in
her/his opinion, position X is wrong, or contains a logical error or some
other form of incoherence, or fails to address the issues that, in the
observer's opinion, are the truly meaningful and fruitful ones? Alan, John
and Alejandro think (in my reading of their posts) that my TT/CS position
adopts some sort of Platonic idealist "essence," and that it fails to grasp
the truly temporal character of reality (and of Marx's theory). They are
saying that my position is, to that extent, incoherent, or *flawed* in some
way. I have no problem with that. That characterization of my position is
the basis for our continuing discussion. Andrew, in fact, has in the past
bent over backwards to be kind: to emphasize that my errors are held in
common with "many, many others." I interpret this as saying: "Laibman's
errors are not faults of his intellect, or morality, or personhood; they are
widely held precisely because the truer, or more valid, TSS positions are
*hard* to grasp and have remained hidden and elusive." I don't feel insulted
or offended by this in any way; it is just a matter of getting on with the
debate, and for that purpose A must be able to tell B that A thinks B's
position is wrong, in some specified way (*including* logical incoherence),
and vice versa, without having to worry about offending the gods, or the

Does this supply at least some of the requested clarification?