[Marxism] Rosa L. replies to RL and LK
xxxxxxx99 at xxxxxxx.xxx
Mon Oct 5 19:57:54 MDT 2009
Thanks for the heads up Jim,
I started to write a response but it was getting kind of drawn out, so I’ll keep it to a single simple CLEAR question, and we’ll see if we can do more later, like I said, I’m not in the position to comment on this at any length and that’s why I refer to the literature, which, of course, must be read critically; speaking of which, Rosa’s ban of Zeleny’s book sounds a li’l dogmatic for a Wittgesnteinian-Trotskyist, no?
Rosa did get something right out of my comment, which wasn’t intended as a ‘totalistic’ critique of all her writings, which I haven’t read, but were only my impressions of the debate at the Marxist Humanist Initiative. Alas, it was only one thing: it was off topic. That’s because according to Marx’s materialist conception of history, or any possible reading of it I can think of, -by the way, Marx never had a grand theory of historical materialism- taken in its full literal sense, “social being determines consciousness”, so that to ask for a ‘clear’ (where does this ‘clarity’ come from? who’s clarity is it, Wittgenstein’s? Giaquinto’s? Priest’s? Or could this rather be your alienated consciousness which doesn’t recognize the abstract image in which it must represent itself so that it, by necessity, reproduces the capitalist mode of production?) explanation of dialectical contradiction is an abstract fixation; it’s the wrong topic (!). We could talk about the dialectical method, someday, but the point is you give logic, clarity, or what have you, an independent existence; is that not the essence of idealism?
But please, don’t take it from me, here is the old man himself, in historical materialist mode,
“When, for instance, wealth, state-power, etc., are understood by Hegel as entities estranged from the human being, this only happens in their form as thoughts ... They are thought-entities, and therefore merely an estrangement of pure, i.e., abstract, philosophical thinking. The whole process therefore ends with absolute knowledge. It is precisely abstract thought from which these objects are estranged and which they confront with their presumption of reality. The philosopher – who is himself an abstract form of estranged man – takes himself as the criterion of the estranged world. The whole history of the alienation process [Entäußerungsgeschichte] and the whole process of the retraction of the alienation is therefore nothing but the history of the production of abstract (i.e., absolute) thought – of LOGICAL, speculative thought.”
And, with regard to the materialist conception of history,
"Therefore, to the kind of consciousness – and this is characteristic of the philosophical consciousness – for which conceptual thinking is the real human being, and for which the conceptual world as such is thus the only reality, the movement of the categories appears as the real act of production – which only, unfortunately, receives a jolt from the outside – whose product is the world; and – but this is again a tautology [SIC] – this is correct in so far as the concrete totality is a totality of thoughts, concrete in thought, in fact a product of thinking and comprehending; but not in any way a product of the concept which thinks and generates itself outside or above observation and conception; a product, rather, of the working-up of observation and conception into concepts. The totality as it appears in the head, as a totality of thoughts, is a product of a thinking head, which appropriates the world in the only way it can, a way different from the artistic, religious, practical and mental appropriation of this world. The real subject retains its autonomous existence outside the head just as before; namely as long as the head’s conduct is merely speculative, merely theoretical. Hence, in the theoretical method, too, the subject, SOCIETY, must always be kept in mind AS THE PRESSUPOSITION."
Rosa says she agrees with this conception, but this is only from a proto-idealist standpoint. For where does Rosa account for the social origins of formal logics, whatever kind, she makes such an unwarranted fuzz of? Did logic fall from the sky? Are we to believe that on the basis of neoclassical economics, along with the puny game theory of “analytical Marxism”, etc., etc., all but blatant manifestations of an inverted consciousness which doesn’t take society as the presupposition but directly starts from the imposition that society ‘should’ conform to the pure form of logic, and have served as the instrument of domination for the ruling classes, compels us all to pay homage to formal logic, because of how, it, coming from an abstract netherworld, and whose movement APPEARS as the real act of production, has developed nice purrrty technologies?
Yeah let’s read Von Neumann before Marx, “johnny boy”, as they called him, was such a radical, making atomic bombs and shit…
Where does logic come from Rosa?
p.s. thank you so much for bashing me next to Richard Levins. Awesome!
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