[OPE-L:1716] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?

Subject: [OPE-L:1716] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: value-form theories and the Uno-school?
From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Mon Nov 22 1999 - 11:39:19 EST

Chris and Andrew, a brief question regarding 'transcendental argument' and
'critical realism':-

Chris wrote:

>The difference is that a Kantian TA
>infers retroductively what *must* be the case from what indubutably *is*
>the case; whereas my argument goes from what *might* be the case to what
>conditions *would* ground it.

Andrew wrote:

>Chris A's recent post distancing of his view from that of a
transcendental argument is important in the light of 'critical realist'
interpretations of Marx as employing transcendental arguments.>(snip)

Chris, how do you see VF dialectic in relation to Bhaskar's 'dialectic' and
'critical realism'?

Andrew continued:

> As to
the point at hand, I don't think Chris's argument from the real
practices of commodity exchange addresses at least one crucial
aspect of any materialism; namely the precise specification of the mind-
body relation, of the way in which mind emerges from matter. More
generally, there is no specification of just what, exactly, human 'real'
practices consist in: how should the various aspects of human practice
such as language, the body, the mind, external objects, society, be
articulated? The crucial aspect of such an articulation must be whether
the 'mind' [or 'language'] is considered the prime moment of human
practice, or whether material objects are the prime moment. The
former view is idealism, the latter is materialism, I would suggest. [it
should be made clear that my view is a million miles from Chris A, and
perhaps other systematic dialecticians; for one thing Chris denies any
significant connection between the mind-body problem and the
problem of the relation between thought and being - many apologies
to Chris A if I have misinterpreted].>(snip)

Andrew, how do you articulate the relation between thought and practices in
your work? I find Lev Vygotsky very useful here (his work is widely used
in American socio-historical psychology; eg the work of James Wertsch).
For Vygotsky the crucial link between intramental activity (thought) and
intermental activity (social activity) is to be found in cultural or
'psychological tools'. Vygotsky sees language as the key *psychological
tool* in so far as language first makes social practices available to
individual thought. Individual thought in turn evolves through activity on
the world and influences social practices. He did a great deal of
experimental work on this in Russia in the 1920s, with very interesting

Anyway, I think Vygotsky's approach sheds some light on your question of
whether the *material* or the *ideal* is to be considered the primary
moment. For Vygotsky, the two moments are inextricably connected through
language, and mutually involved in the process of change. Or to put it
differently, change occurs at two levels (individual and social), and is
always a dialectical process located in the inter-relation of
technological/material and psychological/ideal.

I think that Vygotsky is very close to Marx's understanding of the
mind-body and thought-practice relations. If this is so, then it may not
be helpful to approach the issue by making a ridgid (dualistic) distinction
between idealism and materialism; indeed, in the "German Ideology" Marx
appears to have found fault with both (!).


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