[OPE-L:1154] The Material World

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Wed Sep 08 1999 - 08:34:10 EDT

Mike W wrote in [OPE-L:1145]:

> But, imo, material does not imply 'physical'. Services can be 'material'.

I agree with the last sentence, but not the former. Read on.

>From a materialist perspective, aren't *all* services 'material'?

After all, these services are created and reproduced by human -- material
-- activity. To *that* extent also they *do* imply some physical
(in this case, human) activity. This is the case regardless of whether
we are talking about the production of shoes or the cutting of hair. Both
activities (producing shoes; cutting hair) are material and physical.

If the activity (human labor) that goes into the production of any
commodity is material and physical (and, after all, even mental activity
is physical activity from a materialist perspective), why must the
commodity itself be objectified in physical form (e.g. a shoe) rather than
human energy in the form of a specific service (e.g. haircutting)?

Somehow the alleged dichotomy between "material" and "physical" itself
strikes me as somewhat metaphysical ... or in the case of "physicalist"
interpretations, somewhat "vulgar materialist".
In solidarity, Jerry

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