where's the contradiction, Mr. Cavell?

EBERT at newschool.edu EBERT at newschool.edu
Tue Aug 16 15:33:07 MDT 1994

Dear Colin:

I don't mind to be referred to as potentially nuts, but I think its
mean of you to say "there appears to be a contradiction with regards
to certain of your beliefs."

What beliefs are you referring to?

That I find potential in J. Elster's work (his interpretation of
Marx) on "self realization"...
yet that also my interest in marxism pertains to his (Marx's)
philosophical questions - meaning that you think Elster's a schumuck
(sp?) and has succeeded in doing nothing but detract from the "major
contribution" of Marx, ie. LTV, class, ...?  If this is indeed the
case then I apologize from calling you mean.  That's very helpful and
I would consider any comments pertaining thereto.

Or do you think I'm contradicting myself because I want to apply a
marxian interpretation of "self-realization" to the household - the
nonmarket, informal, unproductive, unit of consumption and basically
a pain in the ass to neo-classical economics - except schumucks like
G.Becker.  In which case I'll take you on.

Or do you think I'm contradicting myself because even though I'm
interested in marxian philosophical questions and J. Elster's
commentaries on them, I haven't written the paper yet?  Well, even
though I haven't finished the paper (I've written the first 10 pages -
 a (brief) critique of utilitarianism as the basis of neo-classical
household models and an argument rejecting outcome (as opposed to
action) and the emphasis on growth and accumulation, and a rehash of
the old argument against the perception of the household as an
alturistic unit on the basis that, combined with the former two, it
results, methodologically, in the denigration of household labor in
theory. etc, etc, .) I've certainly got the major argument thought
out.  the problem at this point is that I've got 3 weeks to get it
done and there are several sections I haven't quite figured out how
to piece together.

Or do you think I'm contradicting myself because although I've got
this great idea, I'm going to sign off from the marxism world
whateveryoucallit network! thus not giving myself a chance to get
feedback?  If this is it I again apologize for calling you mean.

But the bottem line is this.  I've just spent the last 20minutes
responding when I could have been writting my paper!  Okay, so maybe
I'm parinoid (sp?) that I can't pull this together in 3 weeks.  In
any case maybe It would be useful to stay plugged in - to share in
more detail my ideas and to receive CONSTRUCTIVE feedback.

Sincerely Yours,




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