needs and desireS.

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Mon Jan 31 20:58:37 MST 2000

Kevin Robert Dean wrote:

> Very good points on the needs and desires thread.  I wonder though if
> sometimes some Marxists tend to feel that aside from answering political
> questions, communism also answers psychological problems as well?
> I don't think Marxism is intended to be used in a Psychological fashion.

I've used up my 3 posts for the day, so I'll make a brief comment
off list on this.

I agree that Marxism has nothing to say on psychology -- but I
also argue that, to put it crudely, psychology does not exist. That
is essentially what Yoshie and I have been arguing in these
threads. Desires have to be seen in historical, neurological, and
purely contingent contexts. Desire is a false abstraction, and
cannot be studied becasue it does not exist. As a merely common
noun, collecting together the infinitely varied desires of humans,
it has meaning. But as naming some X to be studied in itself,
it does not exist. "The Psyche" does not exist. So what does
psychology study?

I informally would say that what is called psychology is
actually the area of overlap of history and neurology. One
may pile up more or less interesting empirical data there,
but no systematic theory is possible. Doug thinks that
because Yoshie and I deny the reality of the Platonic
abstraction Desire we deny human desires -- which
is untrue.


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