DIALECTICS VS AM (SAYERS VS COHEN)

Hans Despain DESPAIN at econ.sbs.utah.edu
Tue Apr 11 11:44:30 MDT 1995


JS> As the house analytical Marxist let me say a few words in defense
JS> of my own current of Marxist theory and indeed of G.A. Cohen,
JS> although I agree with some of the criticisms Sayers makes here.

Justin thanks for your sympathic defense and differentication of
Analytical Marxists.  I think it important to recognize that
Cohen, Elster and Romer are not the only AMs.

Ralph> Cohen's commitment to the analytical school involves
Ralph> a deplorable commitment to the logic of external relations.

Justin> Well, I've never undferstood the internal relations ontology
Justin> myself, so I'm probably guilty here too.

Frankly Justin this is quite susprising to me, what else are you
putting forth when you write of "human propensities."  When you
write of forms of domination versus forms of resistence you must have
in mind internal mechanisms.  Why do some dominate while others
accept (or resist) this domination.  Or are you are solely interested
in the external manifestation.  (But still you at least recognize
the internal cause).  In this case, the term "actualist" is again
quite fitting (as it is for *most* Analytical Marxists).  It is
not surprising to me that AM economists are committed to external
manifestations, but it seems strange to me that you are committed to
only external relations.  Once again this convinces me more that you
assume the very mechanism which should be proven, or accept the
"actual" for the "real."

Personally this seems a very poor way to understand Marx.

I think you are quite correct to point out the "empiricist"
commitment of Cohen, as Ralph calls a Humean.  But this empiricist
commitment is only one step from your "actualist" commitment.  I
wonder why you reject internal relational logic?  And possiblly could
you further explain the philosophical underpinnings of AMs.

BTW, Ralph thanks for your summaries (with all the color piture-
thoughts), I don't think I want tenure.

Hans Despain
University of Utah
despain at econ.sbs.utah.edu


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