arguments or tricks?

Juan Inigo jinigo at
Fri Jun 9 11:37:07 MDT 1995

Ralph Dumain finds my posts

>... installment of Inigo's evasions.

Are they? Or is it just another of Ralph's tricks to cover his incapacity
for following a rational concrete argument when he is stopped from turning
it into an abstract question? Let's take an example:

After my

>Scientific cognition is the most developed form of the conscious regulation
>of human action, as it attempts to relate in thought the real forms by
>reflecting their real determinations.

Ralph was willing to know which was the place for "understanding things we
can never change -- the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies," being
according to me "the goal of science ... the regulation of human action
..., to transform the world for our use"

My answer was

>... to
>discover (whether through the ideal representation or the ideal
>reproduction of reality) the necessity of a concrete form of matter one is
>attempting to consciously transform, one needs to face it under the most
>abstract forms that are relevant to this transformation. Today, particle
>physics has reached a point where the relevant abstract forms of matter it
>has to deal with are such that they only become apparent when it faces them
>in the so-called Big Bang and in the formation of galaxies. Any reader of
>Scientific America knows that the models of quantum mechanics need to be
>tested against the models of the Big Bang.

Has anybody seen Ralph's "non-blanket" reply? Suddenly, Ralph's posts
stopped to show any interest in this concrete question. Instead, he came
out with:

>But in fact, there is no way to have a discussion, to write,
>think, or debate, even reproduce the concrete in thought and write
>CAPITAL, without being able to draw a distinction between
>cognition and practice, or better put, thought and other types of
>action.  This does not imply an a priori separation of the two at
>all.  Such a priori separation, in fact, does apply to alienated
>forms of theoretical cognition, of which postmodernism is just the
>latest mutation, but theoretical cognition in se is neither
>alienated from nor separated from nor antithetical to action.

"... a distinction ..., not an a priori separation, ... but theoretical
cognition in se is neither alienated from nor separated from nor
antithetical to action." The non-academic autodidact seems quite fond of
academic ambiguities: not a single word about the concrete relation between
thought and practice, just a string of _it is, but it is not so much_. On
the contrary, I have been making explicit from the first of my posts that
prompted Ralph's ire that

>The point is to discover the real necessity of our action, that is, our own
>determination as the real concrete form we are. The point is that cognition
>is the real process in which we, a specific real form, consciously rule the
>realization of our potencies as such specific real form to transform the
>potencies of other real specific forms into actualities for ourselves. The
>point is always: "what is to be done?"

Attributing to me the confusion between action and the specific concrete
form that action takes as the regulation of itself is just another of
Ralph's tricks. The next one follows: where I say

>Today, the true question about the form of science in relation with
>socialism is about the form the production of consciousness, not as a free
>consciousness but, as an alienated consciousness that negates itself as
>such negation of free consciousness, needs to take.

Ralph reads

>... I can't see how the
>conceptual problems solve themselves automatically through
>revolutionary activity.

>Your critique of science and philosophy and your
>prescription for its remedy, socialist revolution, is based ...

(By the way, despite Ralph's profession of anti-positivism and
anti-scholasticism, the reality of his positivistic and scholastic roots
constantly emerge: for him, it is all about finding a prescription to
remedy science and philosophy. For me, it is exactly the opposite way
round: it is about personifying the historical necessity inherent in
capitalism to supersede itself by producing the material conditions for the
conscious regulation of social life, that as such conscious regulation
needs to take shape in the production of a science able to overcome the
appearances of representation, and that - since these appearances inhere in
the alienation of human potencies as the potencies of capital in what this
is determined as the purely reproduction of the autonomous regulation of
social life through the appropriation of surplus-value - can only begin its
development as the conscious regulation of the proletariat's revolutionary

Where I say

>as long as scientific cognition is condemned to
>operate with the appearances of the real forms, the direct general
>conscious regulation of human life, that is, the community of the freely
>associated individuals, socialism or communism, is an utopia!

>Realized socialism presupposes a revolutionary change in the form itself of
>present-day scientific method. Therefore, this change must already reach
>its general realization as a necessity that socialism has in what it is
>determined as the potency of capitalism to supersede itself through the
>conscious revolutionary action of the proletariat..

>Moreover, Marx discovers that this reproduction is not an abstract question
>that just concerns scientific method as such. He discovers that this
>reproduction is the concrete form that the revolutionary production of the
>consciously regulated society necessarily takes: this production needs to
>materializes itself in the conscious action that is determined as such for
>being regulated through the reproduction in thought of its own necessity as
>such revolutionary action. And this is what Capital is about.

Ralph reads

>Do you suggest that new forms of rational
>apprehension of the world will come into being in the socialist
>society which we can scarcely dream of today?  Did Marx?

On the basis of these inversions he simulates he is arguing against what I
say, when he is just arguing against his own fantasies:

>Such a
>position comes pretty close to mysticism.  If we assert that
>rational thinking as we know it is mere alienation,...

when I actually said

>No, it is the concrete form of alienated
>consciousness through which the necessity of capital to produce relative
>surplus-value by developing the productivity of labor takes concrete shape
>in a scientific cognition that can operate on reality inside the limits of
>the transformation of quantitative differences into qualitative
>differences, without being able at the same time to go beyond this apparent
>causality, so it remains unable to face the alienation of human potencies
>as capital potencies.

and Ralph continues

>but we have no
>idea of what real rational thinking would be,

just look above for what I do say

>then we are left in
>a helpless position now.  If we are cognitively helpless now, then
>on what basis can we assert that rational cognition would be
>markedly different in a socialist society?  To make such an
>assertion is mere bluffing.

Of course, it is Ralph's bluffing. And it goes on:

>For the ultimate question
>is, what is the role of cognitive -- scientific to be more
>narrowly defined -- activity in the self-regulation of the social
>metabolism?  (Assuming of course that the entire enterprise of
>knowledge exists to regulate social metabolism -- a fancy term for
>the appropriation of nature, I presume.)  The answer, such as it
>is, is pure mysticism -- the end to alienation will lift the veil
>of representation and reveal the Real without the 'artificial'
>mediations of the mind.

It seems that Ralph hasn't learned the difference between being an
autodidact and practicing onanism.

But he has more tricks yet. Everybody knows that falsifying what an
opponent says is a very dishonest way of arguing. Instead, in Ralph's
fantasies (where the reasonings he is unable to follow are condemned to
"pure mysticism") I must be presented as the dishonest one. So when,
concerning Ralph's

>What would be different about science per se in a socialist

I pointed out

>Ralph seems to share here the same point of view of Justin Schwartz, that
>some time ago considered that Marx "made a serious mistake in refusing to
>write recipes for future cookshops."

Ralph replied:

>This is quite a dishonest characterization.  Marx is talking about
>recipes for social organization; I am talking about the future of
>rational thinking.

Isn't "rational thinking" a concrete form of "social organization"? a grace
from God, perhaps? has Ralph never read Marx saying something about
socialism being the conscious regulation of human life? And this guy
ponders himself for being high above positivists and scholastics!

But back to dishonest facts, in his next post Ralph said:

>In each
>case, we would have to determine specifically what features of
>these various sciences reflect ideology and alienated existence,
>and how these deficiencies are to be remedied.  We must indeed
>write recipes for the cookshops of future science or we can't do

To write recipes for the cookshops or not to write recipes for the
cookshops? Arguing by asserting one thing and then the opposite is
certainly easy, but it has a clear name: sophistry. But maybe it is just
Ralph has learned about honest arguing from a manual for secondhand cars

And, after all, what is all this Ralph's
everyone-here-is-an-academic-except-for-me pedantry about? Ralph posts
become grotesque: I have given a written form to my scientific findings, so
I MUST be an academic!

>You are so full of shit, you should be teaching in the USA.  Did
>your thesis committee understand one word of this blather, or were
>they satisfied it was unintelligible enough to qualify you for a
>university post?

My thesis committee? Ralph is just delirious in his pedantry.

By the way, Ralph never answered my

>Ralph comments:
>>Hmmm, revolution by scholarly paper.
>Since Ralph has agreed with me about the revolutionary character of
>Capital, which of course falls in the category of scholarly papers, this
>can only be taken as an expression of self-incoherence. ...
>No Ralph, the regulation
>of revolutionary action as a process inherent in collective consciousness
>still has the written result of individual scientific research about the
>relevant real forms as a necessary material support.

What collective form do the results of your individual cognition activity
usually take, Ralph? Or are you just a dilettante concerning science?
Anyway, the true question about academic is not to claim pedantically _you
academic bastards_ but to face the relation between revolutionary action
that incarnates the negation of the negation of free consciousness with
respect to a social organization that needs to see itself as if it were the
incarnation of the realized free consciousness.

Now, this is just a sample of the many tricks that take the place of
rationality (together with his obvious "horseshit, etc.") in Ralph's
defense of the form that science takes today under its historically
specific form of scientific theory, with its forced association with
philosophy, and that is a concrete form of alienated consciousness in
capitalism, as if it were the form than science must take by nature.
Pointing out these tricks is necessary to keep the discussion as clear as
possible, but it is a really tedious task and a waste of productive time.
So who can enjoy getting them into a scientific argument? Someone with a
poor training in scientific procedures? A miserable conceited that sees no
other way to cover his lack of rational arguments? A pedant that gets into
discussions to boast about his brilliancy? Someone who fills himself so
high above the rest so as to believe that his dishonest tricks will just go
unnoticed? An XXL mouth with a S brain overflowing bulshit? Well, probably
Ralph is all these things brought together. But, however puffy he has shown
to be, what he personally is does not really matter concerning science as a
necessary concrete form of conscious political action. The true point is:
what social determination needs to take shape by being personified by such
a guy?

Juan Inigo
jinigo at

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