Phil + SB

Fri Apr 14 09:05:22 MDT 1995

Good morning, Chris,
Call me dialectical and materialist, I don't mind.  I'm sure I still
don't fully grasp all the implications attached to these words by
some people, but I never thought they had to be bad, so I'll take it
as a compliment.  Thanks for the other one too.

BUT, call me (no, my argument) reductionist and mechanical and I must
ask what do you mean by that?  Please be more specific.  (Does this
mean that we shall be revisiting the concept of "emergence" ?)

Based on your track record with me, I do not assume that you are just
"name-calling" in a mean-spirited, dart-throwing, no-follow-up way,
but labelling alone is not helpful!

I do wish to bring clarity and reality to bear upon the issues, and I
would be greatly dismayed but certainly interested to know how my
approach could instead produce "distortions".  Please offer examples.

You mention analysis of this list as an example, but you have not yet
explained _how_ it is an example.  Therefore, I cannot tell what you
are talking about.

BTW, does it help if I say "self-interested" rather than selfish?  To
me it may be interchangeable because I already know what I mean, but
"selfish" is loaded with more, traditional, pejorative connotations.

Lisa Rogers

>>> Chris Burford <cburford at>  4/14/95, 09:09am >>>
Hello Lisa,

 > Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 22:07:51 -0600 (MDT)
 > From: lisa rogers < at>
 > To: marxism at
 > Subject: Why phil

I continue to like you candour about what you feel you know and what
you  don't. I think it is the basis of a Marxist approach to
knowledge. I find  it much easier to concentrate on building up
points of agreement that  way, rather than being bogged down in
personalised conflicts.

Also, and please reject this if I am loading too much on you, I find
your  apprach both dialectical and materialist.

But one point in your thoughtful commentary to Justin I don't agree

 > This question, how to get selfish individuals to be nice to each
 > is surely also of interest to socialists.
 > Unless one just does not believe that people are like that....

No, I personally don't think people are like that. You may say I am
name  calling but I think the very posing of the question this way is

This list for example could only very woodenly and partially be
analysed  from a theory that we are all selfish individuals.

I do think that in my field of psychiatry, and in Marxist politics,
there  remain great distortions from people approaching the questions
in a  mechanical and reductionist fashion. Sometimes it is the most
sincere  people who do it.



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