Value, price, method, politics

Juan Inigo jinigo at
Thu Aug 3 21:47:21 MDT 1995

Chris Burford writes

>Your approach on several careful readings appears to me to be
>rigorous and translatable back to correlate with the reality we
>observe, but the style is one which I think inherently has the
>danger of departing from reality in a way that could not be
>tracked down. Supposing you had a couple of students who decided
>out of enthusiasm to alter slightly one sentence in your thoughtful
>piece? I think only you would be able to spot the fallacy. This
>makes your approach in my opinion highly vulnerable to idealistic
>distortions. It is also not at all easily accessible, as I have
>indicated. That does not make it wrong. Chaos theory and complexity
>theory are not easily accessible except in the form of folklore and
>legends, which appear to be unscientific.

Chris, could you further explicit why do you think my style has the "danger
of departing from reality"?

The "style" used to present any development about real forms by means of
thought is in itself another real concrete form and, therefore, needs to be
followed through the development of its own determinations. To begin with,
my style is a concrete form where my own personal specificity takes shape.
And nobody is more aware than me about the reach of my capacity for giving
the results of my research work a direct social form, as this capacity
emerges from my determinations, both in general and as the specific
personification of alienated consciousness I am; furthermore, when my
English has to be included among them. I will not bother anyone here with
the details of my constant struggle to expand that reach.

In the second place, the form itself of the process of cognition from which
the exposition results specifically determines its form. Let us briefly
consider the main specificity in this sense. In an ideal representation of
reality, that as such follows the development of a mental necessity, of a
logic that represents the real necessity, the subject of the exposition is
the expositor her/himself that refers to an object that he/she puts into
relation. On the contrary, when one reproduces this object in thought by
following the development of its real determinations, it is the object
itself that acts as the subject in the exposition, showing there the
development of its own necessity through the mediation of the researcher.
Notice Marx's: "We see, then, all that our analysis of the value of
commodities has already told us, is told us by the linen itself, so soon as
it comes into communication with another commodity, the coat. ..." (Capital
I, chap. 1) So the exposition itself of the reproduction of the concrete in
thought acquires a specific form, that distinguishes it from the normal
form taken by the exposition of a theoretical representation of the same
real form. (In other occasion I will come back to the singular form that
Marx gives to the specific formal determinations of the exposition of the
reproduction of the concrete in thought in Capital)

And if so happens regardless of the national language used, the current
grammatical structures of English stress the peculiarity of the exposition
of the reproduction of reality in thought: in Spanish we seldom use the
passive voice; we ordinarily use the reflexive form (just by adding a
separated prefix "se", or by using it as a suffix added to the word itself)
to reflect the movement suffered by anything that we are considering as our
object. And we are also used to impersonal forms, that make the object
normally appear as the subject of its own movement.

Besides, in the reproduction, the object has to be presented unfolding by
itself its own necessity, and more precisely, unfolding this necessity not
as it inheres in its abstract generic form but as it inheres in the
specific concrete form the object has reached at each step of its
development. Therefore, the exposition also becomes formally determined
from a purely grammatical point of view, specially when the reproduction of
the real forms has to be presented in a very summarized way as it happens
in the e-mail. The subject of its own development into a concrete form has
to be presented in its own specificity as such, explicitly showing how it
emerges from its own determinations. So, just to name the subject in its
specificity, the grammatical subject of the sentence acquires a complex
form that involves a development in itself. And, again, if this gives a
peculiar form to the exposition even in Spanish, although we are normaly
used to clauses and even sentences with no verb, it makes it sound even
more unfamiliar in English.

And if these formal peculiarities can make the exposition of the
reproduction look as being difficult to follow due to its style itself from
the point of view of any reader used to representations (and we are all
formed and immersed in them), no wonder what happens when this exposition
directly focuses on the historical nature of the formal substance of
representation, that is, on logic, and therefore on the formal essence
itself of alienated thought. I have presented in my posts how theoretical
representation is not the natural form of science but its historical form
as human potencies become alienated as capital's potencies, and therefore,
an historical form of alienated consciousness. I have presented also how
philosophy is not a natural complement of science, but an historical form
that constitutes an indissoluble unit with theoretical representation to
form the alienated consciousness that sees itself as an abstractly free
consciousness. Furthermore, I have presented quotations from Marx where he
explicitly rejects philosophy, logic, and specifically dialectic logic,
showing them as the alienated forms of consciousness they are. So to reach
a critical reading that follows it in its own terms, this exposition has to
go through the ideological reading that immediately represents it as its
opposite, as another philosophy. And, since this exposition cannot be
simply shown as a contradiction in terms, the ideological conclusion arises
that it has to be another philosophy, only that presented through some
"obscure" style. I will consider in a separated post the concrete forms
that this inversion takes concerning the replies of Hans Despain and Ralph
Dumain to my last post.

So "style" does not end in the singular personal determinations of the
author and of the structure given to the development itself by its nature
as a representation or as a reproduction of the real forms. The reader's
personal determinations are as much its determinations as the author's
personal ones. But does this fact render the exposition of an ideal
reproduction a contradiction in terms, or even worse, a concrete source of
"idealistic distortions" in the hands of some enthusiastic students?

Actually, it is about the form itself of the process of the transmission of
cognition; in other words, what is at stake is the development of the
process of cognition as a process of original cognition from the individual
point of view, but of recognition from the social point of view.

The answer resides in the formal determination that the reproduction of
reality in thought gives to its reading to be this reading itself such a
reproduction. To produce his/her own representation of a real form by
reading a representation of it, the reader does not need even to face the
real form itself. On the contrary, to be produced itself as a reproduction
of reality in thought, the critical reading of the exposition of
dialectical research unavoidably carries in itself the development of the
research process itself by the reader, with the potency that this process
acquires as it advances supported by the original research (in a future
post I will focus on the specific form that the recognition of the measure
of the concrete forms acquires, given the specificity of the quantitative
determination as the self-affirming through the negation of self-negation).

The ideal reproduction of reality is a product of the double process of
analysis and synthesis, in its indissoluble unity. Nevertheless, it is only
in its second phase that this process actually follows the unfolding of the
real necessity of the object under consideration and, therefore, where its
ideal reproduction in a strict sense, takes place. The exposition of this
reproduction is consequently determined. Dialectical research cannot
overlook any form pertinent to the development of the necessity of the
concrete object that is going to be personified. But the nature of the
specific unity between the dialectical cognition already produced and its
critical reading results in the independence of the exposition with respect
to the necessity of strictly presenting each and all the ties discovered by
research in the development of the abstract forms into their necessary
concrete forms. According to its specific aim, the exposition can thus be
limited to fully unfold only the discovered ties that are essential for
enhancing the critical reproduction of the research.

As you can see, Chris, I find the question of the forms of the exposition
that mediate the reproduction of the concrete through the path of thought
as a collective process of consciously ruling human action, a relevant one.
Hence, my interest in getting from you (and of course, from anybody else) a
more explicit critique of what you call my "style."

Juan Inigo
jinigo at

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