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who was the more important thinker ? Clearly Marx, and partly because he correctly saw that Hegel's approach to history - not surprisingly for a "genuine philosopher" - mistakenly placed far too much emphasis on ideas.

You're making a mistake of category.
The issue is not that one put too much emphasis on concepts, while the other put his finger on the real thing (means of production).
The issue is that one, as a genuine philosopher, kept his reflexion at the abstract level, while the other reduced the continuous conflict of ideas at a conflict of classes. I see this as a dire simplification for someone to still deserve to be called a philosopher. No matter how important the relations of productions are in the society, they are far from being responsible of every thing ever happened in history, be it social relationship or .

Lenin and the rest of the gang were even less worthy of even a pretence of philosophy. Suffice it to look at his works.
In "What is to be done" Lenin argues that the proletariat can only achieve a successful "revolutionary consciousness" through the efforts of a vanguard party composed of full-time professional revolutionaries, and that such a party could only achieve its aims through a form of disciplined organization known as "democratic centralism".

I feel like saying: Bull Shit. There you have the very description by which we recognize a dictatorship.
Call this a political theory if you like, but Marxism-Leninism, a "philosophy" ?  Pah-lease.

Objective moral truth. Emancipation as a species thing

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last line in my previous post is there by mistake. It deserves space for itself, because both are very important to understand marxist ideologies. Objective moral truth is actually dismissed by Marx as impossible, since ethics are a result of the social organization which, as we know, is determined by who owns the means of production. And there you have the moral relativism where there is no value worthy of the name: Marxism survived in socialist libertarianism.

As to the Emancipation of the man, Marx never meant it at the individual level, but globally. Mankind was supposed to emancipate. The man was merely the little wheel inside.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:10:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So how would you describe freedom?you do seem to have a rather simplistic negative freedom view, whereas there is a whole range of views of what it consists of.

Your argument appears to be that which is a carricature of views of Positive freedom , Dismissing Marx as not being a Philosopher (The study of whom by Philosophers would have, you'd have thought have spotted that he wasn't worthy of attention long ago)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:38:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your question is pertinent. My argument though is no caricature of any view of freedom. I simply defended my slightly provocative statement about Marx by commenting on his methodology. To me it seems like the guy was obssessed with means of production. This sounds exactly like some economists today, who are so completely deep down in their economical bubble that imagine the World must reduce to matters of inflation, deflation, currency and freemarkets. Buttheads.

Freedom, even though I don't feel like defining it in a negative way, does raise the question of ethics. Deserves some thinking, I guess.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Your argument appears to be that which is a carricature of views of Positive freedom"

Actually we cannot speak about freedom without speaking about its subject: the man, and without understanding his inner workings. I dare not elaborate on Positive Freedom from a Social Darwinism point of view...


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 06:02:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Objective moral truth is actually dismissed by Marx as impossible, since ethics are a result of the social organization

Well, yes. Irrespective of how one analyses the way in which social organisation arises, this is so self-evidently obvious that I am stunned that you would flag it as spurious.

Marxism survived in socialist libertarianism.

This statement is chronologically confused: Socialist libertarianism predates Marx's first influential works by half a decade or so.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not flag it in any possible way, what ever could possibly have made you think that ? :)
This must be some sort of contagious disease for some here on ET, putting words in people's mouths. I did not argue about the value of "objective moral truth", just like I have never supported Mme. Thatcher.

But while commenting on Marx's distorted view of society as a pure resultant of relations of productions, I suddenly remembered that modern progressives even today use to put anything on the "back" of the society, be it order, category, ethics, all seem to be a matter of societal constraints, of which the Man must of course be liberated.

This deserves a diary, because it is linked with ceebs' question above. I just don't feel like doing it, because I feel the ideological tide behind. And since I came to realise that ideology is builtin, and an affective rather than rational matter, one cannot argue with it - or would at least need a more neutral ground.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:57:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But while commenting on Marx's distorted view of society as a pure resultant of relations of productions, I suddenly remembered that modern progressives even today use to put anything on the "back" of the society, be it order, category, ethics, all seem to be a matter of societal constraints, of which the Man must of course be liberated.

From which Man can be liberated. Can and must are not - quite - the same thing; the former is a matter of fact, while the latter is a matter of policy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 06:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are speaking of ideologies, best (IMHO) described by the expression: "action-oriented [read: policy-driven] distortion of reality". I'm not sure if the Man can or cannot be liberated, but certain ideologies say he should be.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 09:46:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a very non-standard view of what "ideology" means.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 10th, 2009 at 06:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so non standard, when you took a closer look. Karl Marx himself had already postulated that economic relationships must be identified with reality to discredit ideology, which is supposed to be a false and distorted view of reality
(see for instance this book, p.41).

Daniel Bell later added the idea of "action-oriented", which can also be found in dictionaries:


Ideology
a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones. It is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/281943/ideology

Suffice it to put 2 and 2 together, and there it is :)


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Wed Jun 10th, 2009 at 08:39:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that there is no requirement that it is a distortion of reality.

It is a description of reality that is used to justify certain policy goals (it's more than that, but that's a minimalist definition).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 07:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you are right, of course. But after Marx, and then others
(of which I quoted Mannheim, Habermas -- Zizek! and his "for discourse analysis, the very notion of an access to reality unbiased by any discursive devices or conjunctions with power is ideological" )

described ideology as a distorted view, I have to say I could not find any serious argument of the contraire.

I particularly agree with Zizek: Marx was fighting ideology and predicting (and acting for!) its death, even as he was building one of the most important, sweeping, terrifying ideologies of all times!
The trick, is that he pretended to be an non-ideologue, a man of applied science.
A bit like myself before, which you very accurately noticed at that time, and remarked that "rational pragmatism" looks a lot like Marx's scientifical methods. So I added humanism, but then the doctrine of humanism is largely atheist, even a-spiritual, well, materialistic, really.

But I do think ideology in general (not just in politics) is a distortion of reality - ie, a mirror image distorted to say something.
Suffice it to look at ideologies in Arts. What any true artist actually does, is to propose his Universe to the public: that is, his own, personal, subjective view of reality, and we enter it and appreciate his work mostly in that respect.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:30:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you know Zizek keeps a poster of Stalin in his entryway?  There's practically no other decor in his apartment.  Just Stalin.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:34:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well Céline too wrote Bagatelles pour un massacre or L'École des cadavres right before WW2 begins, and is considered by some an antisemite author, which doesn't stop him from being one of the biggest modern French writers. Or Sartre, a fan of Mao, which doesn't make him less famous a philosopher. I could go oooon and oooooon...

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:41:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I am not questioning his fame.  I just find your agreement with him interesting.  Encouraging, but unexpected.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like Céline's style too, which doesn't mean I agree with his radical antisemitism.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You didn't say you liked Zezek's style, you said you particularly agreed with something he wrote.

Anyway...  Just sharing...  Go back to whatever you were doing.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol no problem, 'zjust that -- if you look carefully, I also agreed with JakeS about pragmatists' "scientific methods". Does that make me a closet revolutionary? :P

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 05:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey! I resent the implication that I'm a "closet" revolutionary - I like to think that I'm quite open and above-board about the kind of revolution I'd like to see ;-)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 11th, 2009 at 06:49:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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