Z A Jordan and Marx’s epistemology

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This topic contains 222 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  LBird 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #85180

    LBird
    Member

    Anyone interested in the issues of Marx, Engels, science, epistemology, materialism and idealism, will find this chapter from Jordan's book The Evolution of Dialectical Materialism, very interesting and thought-provoking.

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/en/jordan2.htm

    #123763

    LBird
    Member

    The link to the book that I gave earlier is only for chapter 2, pp. 16-64, ‘Marxian Naturalism’. However, as I’m reading further, I’m coming across more views about Marx that I also agree with, besides those on the content and meaning of Marx’s work.

    Jordan, p. 70, wrote:
    Marx’s predilection for the obscure language of Hegel and his pseudo-technical vocabulary, rich in oracular and mystical intimations, is plain and clear; it makes some of his early writings hardly readable and some later works more involved and difficult to understand than was necessary.

    This opinion certainly reflects my own; the fact is that, 133 years after his death, no Communist (group or individual) has ever produced a work that explains Marx’s ideas in a format suitable for workers who don’t have a degree in philosophy.I think that I had aspirations, when I first started posting here, to try to collectively produce such an introduction, with the help of the SPGB. I don’t think that the task is achievable by an individual, and certainly not by any so-called ‘genius bourgeois academic’ – only a group of dedicated workers, who are writing for their fellow workers, friends and neighbours, and who are guided by those fellows in their explanations (if the text can’t be understood by your mates, it’s failing), would be able to successfully produce this proletarian guide to Marx.I think now, however, given my real-life experiences with the SWP, Militant, RCP, Workers’ Power, etc., and my online contacts with LibCom, the SPGB and the ICC, that I’m never going to be a part of this production. Perhaps I can put some of that down to my failings (my combative style of questioning and debate, even when I’m not descending to the level of my childish detractors, is off-putting to many, even if I thrive on such stimulating clashes), but, given the sheer numbers of so-called ‘Marxists’ that I’ve debated with, I’d expect at least some to be able to get through the combativeness, to the ‘meat’ of these issues facing any democratic workers’ organisations aiming to build for Communism. But this problem goes deeper than me simply being an argumentative bastard.I’m inclined to conclude that Marx is going to remain a mystery, because the interests and purposes of a revolutionary, democratic workers’ movement have never yet been at the heart of any attempt to explain Marx’s ideas to workers. And I’m yet to read any work that does this – not from any individual academic, nor from any organisation supposedly ‘Marxist’. Not least of the problems is ‘materialism’ and its anti-democratic faith in ‘matter’ (such a comfort to ‘individuals’ and their personal touch), which seems to infect all the organisations that I’ve mentioned.But, so far, Jordan’s book has been one the better efforts to untangle and explain Marx’s views, and I’d again recommend it, to those who can sympathise with some of the critical problems that I’ve constantly identified, although not solved.

    #123764

    Bijou Drains
    Member
    LBird wrote:
     this problem goes deeper than me simply being an argumentative bastard. 

    There is an alternative explanation, another feasible reason why everyone disagrees with you, can you guess what it is?

    #123765

    LBird
    Member
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
    LBird wrote:
     this problem goes deeper than me simply being an argumentative bastard. 

    There is an alternative explanation, another feasible reason why everyone disagrees with you, can you guess what it is?

    Fools like you, masquerading as 'socialists'?

    #123766

    moderator1
    Member

    Reminder: 7. You are free to express your views candidly and forcefully provided you remain civil. Do not use the forums to send abuse, threats, personal insults or attacks, or purposely inflammatory remarks (trolling). Do not respond to such messages.

    #123767
    LBird wrote:
    Perhaps I can put some of that down to my failings (my combative style of questioning and debate, even when I’m not descending to the level of my childish detractors, is off-putting to many, even if I thrive on such stimulating clashes), but, given the sheer numbers of so-called ‘Marxists’ that I’ve debated with, I’d expect at least some to be able to get through the combativeness, to the ‘meat’ of these issues facing any democratic workers’ organisations aiming to build for Communism. But this problem goes deeper than me simply being an argumentative bastard.

    That's just it, though, you're not.  You duck and cover and refuse to debate whenever challenged on any substantive point (and maybe come back later with a slightly modified argument).  The point is: we don't need to understand Marx' philosophy.  We have his public work as an active member of a revolutionary party, we have the political documents, we know what he stood for, and we know that communism/socialism is something he learned from the worker's movement, all he did was help and have a certain élan in his writing style.The bottom line is: if Marx is right, we don't need Marx.  The methods of analysis he developed (not originated) are useful, and we should adopt and develop those methods.  Philosophers only interpret the world.

    #123768

    LBird
    Member
    Young Master Smeet wrote:
    The point is: we don't need to understand Marx' philosophy.  

    [my bold]I'm glad that you've been so open here, YMS, because it makes the debate so much more easily understandable by other workers who wish to understand the issues raised by Jordan's book.My 'point' is: we do need to understand Marx's philosophy.One further point of clarification would be helpful, YMS. Does your 'point' represent the official 'point' of the SPGB? That is, does the SPGB consider Marx's philosophy to be helpful to workers today, or does it consider it, like you do, only a hindrance to workers' self-development?Whether you clarify the latter or not, though, we can still move forward and be open about which ideologist(s) we do think helpful for workers' self-development.I openly state that my views are heavily influenced by Marx.Could you state openly whose views of social production have influenced yours?Perhaps I can give you some help from my perspective: I think that you're heavily influenced by bourgeois thinkers who stress 'individual production', rather than 'social production'. This influence is, of course, the 'standard view' in our society, because it is the 'ruling class idea' about 'production'. So, I would go further, and argue that your 'point' is one uncritical of ruling class ideas, and that a necessary critical view is precisely why I would argue that 'we do need to understand Marx's philosophy'.

    #123769

    Bijou Drains
    Member
    LBird wrote:
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
    LBird wrote:
     this problem goes deeper than me simply being an argumentative bastard. 

    There is an alternative explanation, another feasible reason why everyone disagrees with you, can you guess what it is?

    Fools like you, masquerading as 'socialists'?

    Hmmm, perhaps not the reply I was looking for, but definitely the reply that could have been predicited.Let me put it another way.Judging from your comments about your contact with other political parties, you quite clearly have been in contact with lots of different individuals over many, many years, putting forward your viewpoints and ideas. It might be fair to assume that these individuals had at least a passing interest in your viewpoint and at least a rudimentary interest in what you have to say. Can I then ask you a very straight question, I know you are not fond of answering yes or no questions, but I beg you indulge the fool. Can you (answering simply yes or no) let us know if, in all of the time you have been putting forward your cockamammie idea that the whole world population should vote on every "scientific truth", have you ever encountered a single individual who agrees with your proposition?

    #123770

    LBird
    Member
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
    … but I beg you indulge the fool.

    Since you've been so humble and honest, who I am to refuse?

    The Fool wrote:
    Can you (answering simply yes or no) let us know if, in all of the time you have been putting forward your cockamammie idea that the whole world population should vote on every "scientific truth"…

    You're wrong again here, Fool, because you're following robbo's 'cockamammie idea' about 'social production', not mine (or Marx's). You'll have to take up your question with robbo, because it's not up to me to answer for robbo's 'ideas', 'cockamammie' or not.Now, if you want to discuss Jordan's opinions about Marx, I'll continue the dialogue. But if you want to discuss robbo's opinions, then please go to robbo's new thread. I won't reply here to any more 'foolish' queries.

    #123771

    robbo203
    Member
    LBird wrote:
     You're wrong again here, Fool, because you're following robbo's 'cockamammie idea' about 'social production', not mine (or Marx's). You'll have to take up your question with robbo, because it's not up to me to answer for robbo's 'ideas', 'cockamammie' or not.Now, if you want to discuss Jordan's opinions about Marx, I'll continue the dialogue. But if you want to discuss robbo's opinions, then please go to robbo's new thread. I won't reply here to any more 'foolish' queries.

    Is LBird now finally admitting that the global population will not be voting on every scientific truth as I had previously imagined he had been saying? If so,  this is a bit of breakthrough. It would amount to agreeing that just because something is socially produced does not mean we have to have a democratic vote on it.  Teacups, industrial lasers,  and computer monitors are the products of socialised production but no one surely would be so daft as to suggest that the design of these things or their pattern of distribution should be decided upon by 7 billion people voting on such matters.  Or would they? Perhaps with that in mind LBird might follow through with this new sense of realism that he has apparently succumbed to and comment on my scathing criticism of society-wide central  planning in the other thread on "socialism and democracy".  Because unless I am mistaken society wide central planning  a la Lenin's idea of converting society into a single office and factory is another idea that LBird previously endorsed iwtth his conception of "workers democracy"

    #123772

    LBird
    Member
    robbo203 wrote:
    … I had previously imagined he had been saying?

    I have constantly challenged your personal 'imaginings', robbo, and asked, many times, that you read what I actually write, rather than consult your own 'imaginings', but to no avail. But, it's good that you are starting to question your own 'imaginings', at least.

    robbo wrote:
    Perhaps with that in mind LBird might follow through with this new sense of realism that he has apparently succumbed to and comment on my scathing criticism of society-wide central  planning in the other thread on "socialism and democracy".  Because unless I am mistaken society wide central planning  a la Lenin's idea of converting society into a single office and factory is another idea that LBird previously endorsed iwtth his conception of "workers democracy"

    Oh dear, you still seem to be raving about 'imaginings' of your own making, robbo.How you identify "workers' democracy" with "Lenin's central planning" says more about your ideological biases, than about mine.I suspect this is because you adhere to an 'individualist' philosophy (and unless you're lying, you are completely unconscious of your ideology), and regard 'democracy', which is a 'social' concept, as dangerous to 'individual freedom' (which is a bourgeois ideological concept). In this way, any restraints whatsoever upon 'individuals' (whether imposed by Leninist elitism or democratic decisions) is seen by you as 'central planning'.As I've said many times, I'm a Democratic Communist, influenced by Marx's ideas about social production, and so I regard 'socialism' as a society that will plan collectively its social production, in the interests of, and for the purposes of, the collective producers. This planning (an ongoing process, rather than a 'Stalinist Five Year Plan') can only be done by the participation of the whole of society, using democratic methods to make its social decisions, and decide its own interests and purposes.I can be open about my ideology, robbo, but for some reason you keep hiding yours, and alleging that 'democracy' is 'dictatorship', that "workers' democracy" is "Leninist society-wide central planning".I think, since you keep saying these things, that you're a follower of 'bourgeois individualism', and regard 'socialism' as the realisation of those ideas, rather than the Marxian concepts of "workers' democracy" and "social production".If you were open about your ideology, it would make the discussion much easier to follow, for others.Anyway, this thread is about Jordan's book, and I'd like to discuss Jordan's opinions about Marx, epistemology and materialism, with those who wish to read the text.

    #123773

    robbo203
    Member
    LBird wrote:
     I have constantly challenged your personal 'imaginings', robbo, and asked, many times, that you read what I actually write, rather than consult your own 'imaginings', but to no avail. But, it's good that you are starting to question your own 'imaginings', at least. 

     OK so lets be clear then – if I was just "imagiining" that you were saying the global population would democratically vote on the scientific "truth" of ten of thousands of thousands of scientific theories then it would seem to  follows that you do NOT support such an idea – meaning you do NOT advocate the global population democratically voting on these truthsCan you please confirm this in black and white for all to see so we can all move on and not accuse you of holding ideas you do not hold

    #123774

    Bijou Drains
    Member
    LBird wrote:
    Tim Kilgallon wrote:
    … but I beg you indulge the fool.

    Since you've been so humble and honest, who I am to refuse?

    The Fool wrote:
    Can you (answering simply yes or no) let us know if, in all of the time you have been putting forward your cockamammie idea that the whole world population should vote on every "scientific truth"…

    You're wrong again here, Fool, because you're following robbo's 'cockamammie idea' about 'social production', not mine (or Marx's). You'll have to take up your question with robbo, because it's not up to me to answer for robbo's 'ideas', 'cockamammie' or not.Now, if you want to discuss Jordan's opinions about Marx, I'll continue the dialogue. But if you want to discuss robbo's opinions, then please go to robbo's new thread. I won't reply here to any more 'foolish' queries.

    I'll take that as a no then, should I?

    #123775

    LBird
    Member

    The only way to be 'clear then', robbo, is for you to be 'clear then' about your ideological basis.Then we can discuss Jordan's opinions about Marx, from both my Marxist perspective and your individualist perspective. In the course of those discussions, our differing views about 'democratic production' will become apparent.You'll argue for 'elite production' (that 'truth' will not be a social product) and I'll argue for 'democratic production' (that 'truth' will be a social product).Right, that's my last reply here to you on your 'imaginings', robbo. Please read Jordan's text, and we can make some progress.

    #123776

    robbo203
    Member
    LBird wrote:
    .How you identify "workers' democracy" with "Lenin's central planning" says more about your ideological biases, than about mine.

    No I don't .  Where did you get that idea?  Any unbiased observer of what I wrote would see the point that I was making  which is that democracy has limits and has to be counterbalanced by other considerations which I outlined. If your idea of a " workers democracy is that the entire global workforce has to be involved in deciding upon the entire structure of production then what you are effectively advocating is what Lenin advocated – namely turning society into a "single office and a single factory".  This is the point I was making and I challenge you to refute it in the other thread if you think I am wrong 

    LBird wrote:
    I think, since you keep saying these things, that you're a follower of 'bourgeois individualism', and regard 'socialism' as the realisation of those ideas, rather than the Marxian concepts of "workers' democracy" and "social production".

    If I am a follower of "bourgeois individualism" then so is Marx,  We BOTH argue that the “free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”.  We BOTH believe,  unlike totalitarians like yourself, that individuals should be able to express their individuality and that this is a precondition of a free society.  We BOTH believe that there is no such thing as a society without individuals and that there is no such thing as individuals without society.  – that is  to say, they dialectically  interpenetrate as constructs.   You seem to think otherwise and this shows up  your anti-Marxist outlook.  You are the mirror image of Margaret Thatcher who argued that there is no such thing as a society only individuals. Only with you it is the exact opposite – there is no such thing as individuals only society.This is not what Marx and I believe. You are a totalitarian but you are coy about wanting to reveal your totalitarian ideology,  Is that not the case LBird?

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