Download e-book for iPad: Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology by Alfred Sohn-Rethel

By Alfred Sohn-Rethel

ISBN-10: 0333230469

ISBN-13: 9780333230466

ISBN-10: 1349158674

ISBN-13: 9781349158676

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Extra resources for Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology

Example text

Ethnologists are acquainted with the incidence of'silent trade'. To put it in the words ofBertrand Russell it is 'that all my data, in so far as they are matters of fact, are private to me .. ' 19 Thus one can justifiably say that commodity exchange impels 42 CRITIQUE OF PHILOSOPHICAL EPISTEMOLOGY solipsism. The doctrine that between all people, for every one of them, solus ipse (I alone) exist is only a philosophical formulation of the principles that in practice regulate exchange. What the commodity owners do in an exchange relation is practical solipsism - irrespective of what they think and say about it.

Marx was concerned with the 'critique of political economy', while our subject is the theory of scientific THE PHENOMENON OF THE EXCHANGE ABSTRACTION 23 knowledge and its historical-materialist critique. However, Marx himself has defined the aspect of exchange as it concerns our purpose: However long a series of periodical reproductions and preceding accumulations the capital functioning today may have passed through, it always preserves its original virginity. ] can be completely revolutionised without in any way affecting the property rights which correspond to commodity production.

This is a phenomenon deriving its origin, not from the private sphere of use, but precisely from the public one of the market. The individualised consciousness also is beset by abstractness, but this is not the abstractness of the act of exchange at THE PHENOMENON OF THE EXCHANGE ABSTRACTION 27 its source. For the abstractness of that action cannot be noted when it happens, since it only happens because the consciousness of its agents is taken up with their business and with the empirical appearance of things which pertains to their use.

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Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology by Alfred Sohn-Rethel

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