[OPE-L] Fwd: [PEN-L] an ad hominem response

From: Hans G. Ehrbar (ehrbar@LISTS.ECON.UTAH.EDU)
Date: Fri Apr 14 2006 - 20:15:50 EDT

Here is another conjecture: Perhaps "argumentum ad hominem"
is meant in contradistinction to "immanent critique"?
Let's see how this fits with the 3 examples:

   >> > Volume I comprises the 'Process of Production of Capital'. As well as
   >> > setting out the general theory, I examine in
   >> great detail the conditions of
   >> > the English agricultural and industrial proletariat over the last 20
   >> > years, ditto the condition of Ireland, basing myself on official sources
   >> > that have never previously been used. You
   >> will immediately realise that all
   >> > this serves me solely as an argumentum ad hominem.

I.e., in addition to Marx's immanent critique, which shows
the inherent contradictions of capitalism, this additional
material also shows that capitalism is inhumane, bad for

   >>Moreover, the more than twenty years of illegal
   >>behaviour of the censors in defiance of the law
   >>would provide argumentum ad hominem that the
   >>press needs other guarantees than such general
   >>instructions for such irresponsible persons; it
   >>would provide the proof that there is a basic
   >>defect in the nature of the censorship which no law can remedy.

I.e., the illegal activity of the censors is not a direct
proof that censorship itself is wrong, but it is an indirect
critique by showing what kinds of people are involved in it.

>Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it
>demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as
>soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the
>root of the matter. But for man the root is man

If my conjecture is right, this means: a radical critique is
not an immanent critique, i.e., not a critique which looks
at the thing itself on its own terms, but one which looks at
the *root* of the things, which for humans means, it looks
at the implications of the things for humans.

Hans G. Ehrbar

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