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101. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Jean-François Gava Editorial: Karl Marx. On the Occasion of the Bicentenary of His Birth
102. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Tommaso Redolfi Riva Samuel Bailey and David Ricardo in Karl Marx’s Dialectic of the Form of Value
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While Marx’s critique of David Ricardo is frequently debated, Marx’s critique of Samuel Bailey has, for far too long, remained in the shade. I try to show that Ricardo and Bailey represent two fundamental “moments” of Marx’s Darstellung. The word “moment” is here used in a non-generic sense: Ricardo’s and Bailey’s theories of value represent two opposite and contradictory sides of value’s category as presented in Marx’s critique of political economy. Building on the work of Hans Georg Backhaus, who claims that the first chapter of Volume one of the Capital can be understood only as a metacritique of Bailey’s critique of Ricardo, this topic is developed in order to further clarify the connection of critique and presentation in Marx’s theory.
103. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Harry Cleaver Rupturing the Dialectic: The Struggle against Work, Financial Crisis and Beyond
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In a period in which capital has been on the offensive for many years, using debt and financial crises as rationales for wielding austerity to hammer down wages and social services and terrorism as an excuse for attacking civil liberties, it is important to realize that the origins of this long period of crisis lay in the struggles of people to free their lives from the endless subordination to work within a society organized as a gigantic social factory. In both the self-proclaimed capitalist West and socialist East the managers of that subordination, whether in private enterprise or the state, repeatedly found their plans undermined by people who refused to play by their rules and who elaborated activities and social relationships that escaped their control. The refusal of their rules meant crisis for the managers; the elaboration of other ways of being—whether characterized as the crafting of civil society or as autonomous self-valorization—meant crisis for and freedom from society-as-work-machine. As always, the capitalist response has involved instrumentalization and repression; basically its managers have sought to harness what they could and eliminate what they could not. For a long time instrumentali-zation was most obvious in the West and repression was most obvious in the East, yet both were always at play everywhere, and everywhere those responses were resisted and often escaped. It was that resistance and those escapes that led to the unleashing of the monetary weapons of financialization and their current employment to convert crisis-for-capital into crisis-for-us. It is in past and present resistance and escapes that we must discover both our weaknesses and our strengths in order to overcome capital’s current offensive and to elaborate new worlds. It is the overall thesis of this paper that Marx’s labor theory of value still provides vital aid in helping us understand these historical developments.
104. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Adolfo Rodríguez-Herrera Needs: Value in Command
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This paper reviews one of the mechanisms with which capital weaves a new type of subjection of the human being, the production of needs. Unlike other living beings, whose needs are determined by their biology, the human beings are the fruit of the social relations that they establish within their culture. Humans need objects, but their needs arise through the objects called to satisfy them, objects that in capitalist society are capital—value in the process of valorisation. In this way, need is itself a product of capital, and capital thus appears as a force that imposes itself on the human being from within, not only in the labour process but in the very constitution of the human needing being. The article discusses the triple human condition that gives rise to this phenomenon—the objective being (the need for the object), the being of desire (the need beyond the object) and the object's being (the need as product of object). The paper concludes that capitalist market, that civilizing force that gives rise to the modern, autonomous individual, reduces freedom to a simple means of capital valorisation.
105. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Omer Moussaly The Political Implications of Marx’s Labour Theory of Value
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In economic history value theory is simply one paradigm amongst others. It refers to an ensemble of economic ideas developed by classical political economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo. In the works of Karl Marx, however, value theory takes on a new meaning. It is charged with political significance and relates directly to class struggles in modern society. In this paper we will explore some aspects of Marx’s critique of capitalism as interpreted by Harry Cleaver, Isaak Illich Rubin, Roman Rodolsky and several other scholars.
106. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
John Holloway Marx, Civilised or Savage?
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Capitalist civilisation is based on abstract labour. Mainstream Marxism has developed within a movement based on the defence of abstract labour and this has shaped its understanding. Savage Marxism starts from the first, not the second, sentence of Capital and moves against abstract labour through an underworld of categories usually neglected. Hope lies latent in this underworld.
107. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Jean-François Gava Subjection at the Very Core of the Production Process: A Radical Reappraisal of Marxian Value Theory
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This paper takes place inside the theoretical frame restored after that the false secular Bortkiewicz-debate around the transformation problem (Marx’s Capital III) has been solved in the years 1990 and whose flaw had not been identified for ages by most of Marxist economists, accepting its double accountancy of prices’ in money prices and workhours “prices” (“values”). Beyond the re-identification of finite values and prices, this paper aims at showing that, going back to a concept of value as an infinite working process which unifies money, time and work, machinery not only devoids every particular work of any peculiarity, but also its time, reduced to the mechanical clock movement. Once such spatialization of time occurs, succession dominates duration instead of the other way round. Time is not the time of any living movement any longer, but merely corresponds to locomotion. Hence, money as a mathematical real, is not neither quantity of anything, but pure number (€ is not any use value). Money and clock time made identical as empty numbers identify into value with devoiced work, reduced to mere, or pure, unqualified effort. Abstract work becomes real abstraction by making the real still more adequate to itself, i.e., work still simpler abstract work induces simple work.
108. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Werner Bonefeld Wealth and Suffering: On Capital, Chapter I
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Karl Marx's Capital is critique of the capitalistically organised social relations of reproduction. It recognises economic categories as perverted social categories and asks about the manner in which human social practice manifests itself in the form of independent economic categories and laws that unfold as if governed by invisible principles. He says, the capitalist relations are beyond human control and he argues that the indi-viduals act under economic compulsion and are controlled by the products of their own labour. His critique says, in the capitalist social relations the individuals act as personification of economic categories. The immense wealth of capitalist society is abstract, it appears in the form of money as more money. In these wealth-relations, time is money, the satisfaction of human needs a mere sideshow. Yet, the economic categories are purely social forms. Critique of political economy is social critique of economic inversion, it is about the sheer unrest of live as the hidden misery of economic things.
109. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Renzo Llorente Marxism, Socialism and Democracy
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Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels believed that their political project involved a commitment to democracy, and many subsequent Marxists have claimed that Marxism’s conception of socialism and communism represents a supremely democratic social arrangement. Many of Marxism’s critics, however, reject this belief, holding that the Marxist conception of socialism and communism entails anti-democratic policies, practices and institutions. While the position of Marxism’s critics is, without question, the predominant view today, it turns out that the arguments used to support this position are highly problematic, insofar as they proceed from certain liberal-democratic assumptions about democracy that Marxists can reasonably reject.
110. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Halina Walentowicz The Marxian Heritage
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This paper focuses on some specific aspects of the theory developed by Karl Marx, who as a philosopher distanced himself from philosophy because he questioned its traditional forms. Marx postulated tying philosophical cognition to scientific study (today known as inter-disciplinary research), he also strongly emphasised the importance of complementarity between social theory and social praxis. Marxism brought a breakthrough which paved the way for the philosophies of the 20th-century. The author devotes particular attention to Marxism’s forecasts, and concludes that, although Marx can be counted among the pioneers of globalisation having foreseen capitalism’s global expansion, today’s social trends appear to be steering away from the kingdom of freedom he envisioned.
111. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Kevin M. Brien Karl Marx: Praxis, Process, and Method
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In Karl Marx’s “Preface” to the second edition of Capital, Volume 1, he famously wrote that with Hegel dialectical thinking is “standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.” Unfortunately, across a wide spectrum of interpretations of Marxism, there continues to be a great deal of confusion about what Marx means by the “rational kernel” that he discerns within the Hegelian “mystical shell.” But not just a great deal of confusion, but real mystification and distortion of what Marx himself means by dialectical thinking, and especially what a dialectical mode of explanation involves. The concern of this brief paper is to offer some considerations that might open up a clearer conceptual horizon for understanding Marx’s method of dialectical explanation, and the fundamental canons of interpretation that are associated with it.
112. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Jean A. Campbell Karl Marx—Metaphor for Self-Empowerment and Liberation
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This essay presents what is enduring and still powerful in Marx’s analysis of capital, viewed synthetically as the resulting moral imperative to fairness in the social relationships of production.
113. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Boyan Znepolski Marx’s Concept of Ideology and Its Successors
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The article aims at revealing the historical reinterpretations of one of social sciences’ key concepts, namely that of ideology. Referring to the analyses of Étienne Balibar and Jacques Derrida, it tries, firstly, to clarify the main moments of the Marxian concept of ideology. In Karl Marx’s view ideology is an expression of the social deformations of consciousness in class divided bourgeois society, while in the works of his disciples, among others Louis Althusser, the ideological phenomenon is generalized and conceived of as a basic principle of all human practice and as a necessary condition for the social integration of individuals. Moving still further form Marx, Pierre Bourdieu deepens Louis Althusser’s line of interpretation and abandons the very concept of ideology substituting for it the concepts of “doxa,” which does not bind human sociality to consciousness, but to corporeal dispositions. Unlike ideology, doxa is not just an effect of an already constituted social reality, but rather a principle of its constitution, and, therefore, a principle of constitution of social domination as well.
114. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Andrey I. Matsyna, Anatoly B. Nevelev The Problem of Overcoming in the Creative Legacy of Karl Marx
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The authors consider the phenomenon of overcoming and examines the culture of overcoming in Marxist dialectics. As the core thread for dealing with this issue in the writings of Karl Marx, the authors follows the research on the socio-biological problem carried out by Vladimir I. Plotnikov, a Russian representative of the Marxist dialectics. Examining Marx’s standpoint on the subject, Plotnikov provides an outline of the issue of overcoming. This issue is described as the issue of mankind overcoming its species’ boundaries and divided into the problems of the first and second overcoming. The first overcoming is defined as breaking out beyond the boundaries of instinctual activity, while the second—as the problem of removing the self-restrictions by an alienated person.
115. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Robert Elliott Allinson Mao’s Contributions to Marxism and Dialectical Materialism
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This article raises the question of whether the thought of Mao Zedong is simply derivative from Marxist thought, whether it represents a deviation from Marxist thought, or whether it contains any original contribution to Marxist thought. It discusses such topics as Mao’s concepts of the principal and the non-principal aspect of the contradiction, Mao’s concept of permanent revolution, Mao’s replacement of the industrial proletariat with the peasant farmer class, Mao’s inversion of the classical Marxist position of the base determining the superstructure, Mao’s concept of the complementarity of opposites, Mao’s concept of antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions, Mao’s reduction of all laws of dialectic to one law.
116. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 3
Paul Guillibert, Frédéric Monferrand Ecology/Ontology: A Contribution to Historical Naturalism
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Contemporary debates in political ecology tend more and more to be held on the ontological level, where they are recomposed around the following alternative: should one conceive of nature as the order of reality that transcends society and that should be protected from the excesses of the latter? Or should one renounce the very partitioning of nature and society itself in order to imagine new, more sustainable, ecological arrangements? Examining both Bruno Latour’s and Jason Moore’s takes on this alternative we argue that it should be overcome in favor of a naturalist and historical ontology of society inspired by the young Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. In this historico-naturalist perspective, social relations indeed appear as both determined by their environmental conditions as well as determining the uses of a collective make of its environment. The interest in this approach is to allow one to conceive of social alienation and environmental destruction as two sides of a same process which should therefore be conjointly addressed.
117. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak Helmuth Plessner: Philosophical Anthropology as Social Critique
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The author goes out from Helmuth Plessner’s book Die Grenzen der Gemeinschaft to show how the basic categories of Plessner’s philosophical anthropology, especially the eccentric position conception, apply to his critique of community-oriented societies like communism and fascism. Plessner saw the alternative to a community-based society in a model where social bonds took place by association, and in which the anthropological a priori enjoyed the optimum conditions for self-expression (in such dimensions of the public sphere as ceremony, prestige, diplomacy and tact). This social model also allows the full establishment of social roles in the anthropological sense, something that is annihilated by community-type societies. The author also addresses the different ways in which the “social role” category is interpreted by Plessner (the anthropological approach) and Ralf Dahrendorf (a functionalistic approach drawing on Marxism and the concept of alienation, which Plessner felt unfamiliar with), and concludes with a few concrete and methodologically grounded objections to Plessner’s theory.
118. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Jagna Brudzińska “Catching Meteorytes": Philosophical Anthropology at the Crossroads
119. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak The Category of “Contingency” in Contemporary Anthropological Discourse: Odo Marquard, Richard Rorty, Jürgen Habermas
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This comparative paper analyses in detail the contexts in which the “contingency” category was used by the philosophers mentioned in its title. While Odo Marquard and Richard Rorty situated contingency within the antifundamentalist discourse, especially in the sphere of philosophical anthropology, epistemology and ethics, Jürgen Habermas drew his conception of the contingency of human birth from the “human nature”— related discourse against modern-day genetic engineering. Marquard’s and Rorty’s theories differ in their philosophical assumptions (scepticism vs. neopragmatism). Among others, the author shows that none of the mentioned thinkers accepted the radically relativistic consequences of the debate around the “contingency” conception. In his analyses, he also makes frequent use of Marquard’s distinction between “arbitrarily accidental” and “fatefully accidental.”
120. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak The Philosophical Anthropology of Arnold Gehlen as a Critique of the Age of Technology
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The author distinguishes three main interpretations of the concept, as well as the developmental trends in philosophical anthropology, and reflects on their relationship with critical social philosophy. Consequently, he follows up with an explication of the main assumptions of Arnold Gehlen’s philosophical anthropology and seeks to find out how they influenced the categorical particularity of his critique of postmodern society, labeled as “the crisis of institutions.” The author provides more detailed reflection in references to Gehlen’s Die Seele im technischen Zeitalter (published in English as Man in the Age of Technology), and its analysis of the so-called new subjectivism. The article ends with a critical conclusion, in which the author makes note of certain ideological incongruities in Gehlen’s philosophical standpoint.