Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Jan 2 11:02:52 MST 2001

>>> snedeker at 01/02/01 12:15PM >>>
i don't think "circumstances" refers to "natural history. it seems that you
can turn any statement into a version of evolutionary movement.


CB: But "circumstances" can refer to natural history.  Thus, the reference to
"circumstances" in the quote you give is not what differentiates historical
materialism from evolutionism in natural history.

No, I not been turning any statements into anything. I have shown how an extremely
limited number of statements discussed on this thread are evolutionist.


reference is clearly to culture, ideology and social institutions passed on
from one generation to the next.


CB: And that those create circumstances for each new generation.


 it is a way of saying that we are not free
to act in any way we choose."i grant the existence of reification, but why
must you always return to the organic metaphor?


CB: It is Marx who uses the organic metaphor regularly. I am just following Marx's

Karl Marx
Capital Volume One
"To prevent possible misunderstanding, a word. I paint the capitalist and the landlord
in no sense couleur de rose. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far as
they are the personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular
class-relations and class-interests. My standpoint, from which the evolution of the
economic formation of society is viewed as a process of NATURAL HISTORY (emphasis
added -CB) , can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations
whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself
above them. "


 Marx liked Darwin; however,
Marx was not Darwin; society is not a natural environment.


CB: It is natural like, in Marx's approach.


as for your reference to WHAT IS TO BE DONE, that particular work should be
understood in its historical context. i don't think it has a universal
application to all situations.


CB: No, but it has some use as a guide to action in other situations. Similar
situations popup with amazing similarities. It is like the concrete analysis of a
concrete situation, when done correctly, turns into its opposite and gains general
significance. Lenin discusses specfically in _What is to Be Done_ how do generalize
some experiences.


let me clarify the proper use of an analogy. we say that two things are
similar to help clarify a point. we know that the two things are not in
reality the same. if they were the same, there would be no reason to compare
them. analogies are tools in communication. reification has some features of
the natural world. society has some similarities with a natural environment.
the danger in the use of analogies is the confusion between similarity and
identity. G.S.


CB: Marx's use of analogy here is fine.

P.S. Another usage of "inevitable"  ( and to "natural laws" in describing human
historical development) by Marx:

"Intrinsically, it is not a question of the higher or lower degree of development of
the social antagonisms that result from the natural laws of capitalist production. It
is a question of these laws themselves, of these tendencies working with iron
necessity towards INEVITABLE ( emphasis added -CB)  results. The country that is more
developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future
( This is also from the preface to the First German edition of _Capital_).

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