Re: [OPE-L] Marx: In Our Time

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Mon Jul 25 2005 - 22:31:12 EDT

At 13:02 23/07/2005, you wrote:
>---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
>Subject: Marx: In Our Time
>From:    "Jurriaan Bendien" <>
>Date:    Thu, July 21, 2005 4:18 pm
>Well comrades, don't get me wrong. I am personally not anti-philosophy, I am
>*pro-philosophy*; it gave me more intellectual freedom than I ever thought
>possible; consequently I believe in freedom for philosophy.
>Push come to shove, I might even argue that philosophical preoccupations are
>part of human nature, to the extent that *all* people ask "general questions
>about man and world" at some time or other. The more the working classes
>philosophize, the better it is really, in these days of professional
>cretinism, although if that is all they do, then we're not much further
>ahead either.
>Michael Lebowitz's reference to Marx/Dietzgen is apt. But I think I am
>correct in saying, as a generalization, that Marx himself believed the scope
>of philosophy was drastically reduced and supplanted by the modern sciences
>and empirical/practical investigation. This is proved incidentally by the 14
>January, 1858 letter by Marx itself, I think it goes like this:
>"...I am getting some nice developments. For instance, I have thrown over
>the whole doctrine of profit as it has existed up to now. In the method of
>treatment, in fact by mere accident I have again glanced through Hegel's
>Logic has been of great service to me--Freiligrath found some volumes of
>Hegel which originally belonged to Bakunin and sent them to me as a present.
>If there should ever be time for such work again, I should greatly like to
>make accessible to the ordinary human intelligence, in  two or three
>printer's sheets, what is rational in the method which Hegel discovered but
>at the same time
>enveloped in mysticism.... What do you say to friend Jones?""
>In other words, there was a problem, and there was something rational in the
>mysticism, but it could be condensed in a few "sheets", and whether that was
>an instance of *philosophy* is a moot point.

'Sheets' were printer's sheets, and my understanding is that these
amounted to 16 printed pages; thus, 32- 48 pages in print, which
would have been quite a nice introduction to dialectical thought.

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

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