Subject: [OPE-L:1680] Re: Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: Andrew Brown (A.N.Brown@uel.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Nov 15 1999 - 10:48:57 EST
Dear Jerry, Nicky and all,
(1) I was not aware of any clearly established difference between
Fred and Tony's theory of value. Have I missed something?
(2) Patrick Murray seems quite happy to employ the Hegelian
Essence structure *and* uphold Marx's notion of the substance of
value as, indeed, a 'ghostly objectivity'. Has Murray got Hegel's
doctrine of Essence wrong?
(3) Alfredo S-F has subjected the value-form school to critical review
though not at length and only in the context of putting forward an
alternative notion of 'abstract labour' as the substance of value.
(ROPE 1997). The critique itself of, say, Reuten and M. Williams'
value-form theory, doesn't hit home fully imo. However, the positive
argument for an alternative notion of abstract labour and the substance
of value to that of Reuten/Williams' is equally as well articulated and
grounded as is Reuten/Williiams' view. Moreover, it develops into a
distinctive theory of money and capital (was this all discussed before I
was on this list?) I would hesitate to spell out the theory for want of
more detailed knowledge of it. The point I want to make is simply that
Alfredo provides an interpretation of Marx is that avoids the 'value-
form' critique of Marx's notion of substance of value offered by
Reuten/Williams. At the same time, he sustains the notion of a
systematic progression of categories (though only, for Alfredo, at very
high levles of abstaction indeed). Ample scope for debate here, then.
(4) Underlying Marx's value theory is, of course, not just an ontology
of 'abstract labour', but, also, and necessarily, an ontology of labour-
in-general i.e. labour as a transhistorical notion. (Hence, some position
or other on many of the traditional problems of philosophy such as the
(5) To try to be provocative (and probably fail), I will assert that the
rejection by Reuten and others of Marx's notion of the 'substance' of
value ultimately comes down to the *idealist* philosophical
underpinnings provided by Hegel. This is not the notion of 'idealism'
that Rosenthal tries to pin on Hegel and 'new dialecticians'. Rather it
has to do with the precise way in which thought is understood to
emerge from matter. In this context, it is intresting that Alfredo is
influenced directly by Ilyenkov's philosophy. (Ilyenkov was an
important influence on Pilling, and thereby, indirectly, on many of us).
Ilyenkov draws on Spinoza to pin down Hegel as an idealist.
(6) I have not got far in the little discussion I have tried to persue so
far with new dialecticians regarding Ilyenkov's philosophy. One day I
hope to be able to articulate the ideas well enough to be able to raise
at least some response. Of interest is that Ilyenkov's exposition of
Hegel both raises and then comprehensively defends Hegel against the
sort of criticisms made by Rosenthal (ie. conflation of intention /
extension, etc.). Thus Ilyenkov's defence of Hegel is very close to that
of the new dialectcians'. I have not seen Ilyenkov's critique of Hegel
addressed. (Though I am yet to render an intelligible version of that
critique to a Hegelian).
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