Re: [OPE] Character masks

From: howard engelskirchen <>
Date: Sun Jul 25 2010 - 20:40:02 EDT

Hi Jerry,

I don't have time to deal with this either just now, but let's put a pin in
it for when you return. I think the idea that Marx assumed particular masks
or roles at one level of abstraction and then relaxed them at a more
concrete level to allow for e.g. subjectivity is very wrong and I don't
think it is a method Marx followed at all, though I realize many Marxists
have assumed so. I think Marx's use of abstraction was as a verb, not a
noun. He abstracted from some things in order to focus analysis on other
particular real things, his search for the differentia specifica of value or
capital was a search for particular specificity.


----- Original Message -----
From: "GERALD LEVY" <>
To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
Sent: Saturday, July 24, 2010 12:36 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE] Character masks

> Hi Jurriaan:
> I am still sailing and don't have the time or access to sources at this
> time to expand upon the following, but I suggest that the point of
> departure for comprehending this concept in Marx is to understand that its
> roots (for Marx, I believe) are in Hegel's method of abstraction. While
> capitalists (or workers!) can be *assumed* at one level of abstraction to
> wear character masks, their subjectivity must be allowed for at a more
> concrete level of abstraction. If one were to employ this assumption (a
> variant on the fallacy of division) one wouldn't produce very
> sophisticated class analyses and/or historical and geographical studies.
> Yet, as in most assumptions in Marx, there is an element of truth to this
> assumption: the laws of value and competition tend to compel individual
> capitalists willy-nilly to don their masks. As in any generality, there
> are - of course - exceptions.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

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Received on Sun Jul 25 20:42:48 2010

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