From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Dec 31 2005 - 17:42:19 EST
> Today you react to Howard's defence of the truth or falsity of social > theories by associating the notion of "absolute truth" with dogmatism. > The particular examples are not very important, perhaps the overall > pattern is. My question is: why not engage with the arguments and > their merits, rather than associating some of the arguments with, > undoubtedly politely expressed but nonetheless quite provocative, > ad-hominen slurs? Please correct any wrong impression I may have > got. Ian, Indeed you do have the wrong impression. I was simply offering a different interpretation than that suggested by Howard to the quote from Resnick & Wolff. I believe that quote can be understood better when placed in the context of R&W's perspective. You undoubtedly know that they were influential in establishing the _Rethinking Marxism_ journal and planning RM conferences (as indeed have Steve and Antonio). If put it in _that_ context, then I think that a desire to move beyond what they view as traditional , one-sided 'dogmatic' diamat interpretations of Marxism is at the very core of their intellectual project. What I try to understand is where a particular Marxian conception comes from -- i.e. I try not only to grasp what people are saying but also the context in which a particular perspective arises. The reason I do this is also to probe to see whether apparently divergent perspectives have some common understandings and concerns. I try to sympathetically understand what Steve and Antonio are saying just as I try to sympathetically understand what Howard and you are saying. Sometimes I may get it wrong, but I believe that I have been engaging with the arguments and (contradicting myself) I believe that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing that I have written in this exchange which could be viewed as an "ad hominem slur." ABSOLUTELY nothing. >> Can you (or anyone else on the list) make a theoretical claim >> about capitalism which is 'absolutely' true? > For example, the high end of the income distribution follows a > power-law. Do you really believe that is ABSOLUTELY true? Income distribution (by definition?) is relative, not absolute. But I will consider arguments to the contrary. In solidarity, Jerry PS: I just received Howard's post but won't have time to read it until 2006. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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