Re: [OPE-L] Grundrisse.Help

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Aug 05 2006 - 20:45:33 EDT

>Hi Rakesh,
>Unfortunately I expect to be out of email touch for a week, so I doubt I
>will be able to follow in my inbox.  Perhaps I will be able to pick up at
>the website.
>I wonder if you really need to think in terms of "idealized" and of a mental
>experiment regarding pure capitalism.
>True enough, water is rarely just H2O.

Yes this is an important Bachelardian point. As Mary Tiles puts it:
"Bachlard insisted that the object of laboratory study are not
natural givens. The laboratory is a carefully controlled environment
in which the object of study is carefully prepared and shielded from
interference or contamination, in an effort to analyze by isolating
the particular aspect to be studied....Thus in response to Descartes'
discussion of a piece of wax, Bachelard says: "The physicist doesn't
take wax straight from the hive, but wax which is as pure as
possible, chemically well defined, isolated as the result of a long
series of methodical manipulations. The wax chosen is thus in a way a
precise moment of the method of objectivation. It retains none of the
odor of the flowers from which it was gathered, but it ears proof of
the care with which it was purified. In other words, it is realized
in its experimental manfacture. Without this experimental
manufacture, such a wax--in the pure form which is not its natural
form--would not have come into existence."

Of course Marx realized that "In the analysis of economic forms,
moreover, neither microscopes nor chemical reagents are of use. The
force of abstraction must replace both."

In other words, he could only create a purified capitalism through
idealization. Which is exactly what he did as he then gave us a
complete theory thereof. He did not leave us with a torso of a work.

That Marx created a purified capitalism through the force of
abstraction does not make his theory any less realistic than
laboratory work on the purified chemicals that are themselves not
natural givens.

Jurriaan does not seem to realize that Marx's object is not
unrealistic simply because its object is an
idealization. So he continues to heap insult on me:

>f people do not
>know how to study a real object, real history, or real facts then that is
>because they haven't reflected sufficiently and critically about how these
>things have been studied before. But obviously endless disputes about
>"method" without actually using the method for the purpose for which it was
>intended are useless.

But scientists don't study natural givens. They create the objects of
their study. This Marx did too.
And self consciously. Meaning that he understood the activist nature
of scientific work long
before Bachelard. Which is another sign of his world historical brilliance.

Yours, Rakesh


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Aug 31 2006 - 00:00:03 EDT