Re: [Marxism-Thaxis] [politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs Magazine - The Concept of quot; Auraquot; and the Question of Art in Althusser, Benjamin and Greenberg

2009-02-07 Thread Mehmet Cagatay

Mr. Dumain, would you please clarify why you regard Althusserian anti-humanism 
as a kind of epater les bourgeois?

Thank you in advance,



Mehmet Çagatay
http://weblogmca.blogspot.com/


--- On Fri, 2/6/09, Ralph Dumain rdum...@autodidactproject.org wrote:

 Althusserian and French anti-humanism in general 
 is bullshit, the French intellectual's way of, as 
 they say, epater les bourgeois. If humanism 
 alludes to something else, then that should be 
 decoded. And I think Tedman is quite mistaken.



  

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Re: [Marxism-Thaxis] [politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs Magazine - The Concept of quot; Auraquot; and the Question of Art in Althusser, Benjamin and Greenberg

2009-02-07 Thread Jim Farmelant

On Sat, 7 Feb 2009 05:30:54 -0800 (PST) Mehmet Cagatay
mehmetcagatayay...@yahoo.com writes:
 
 Mr. Dumain, would you please clarify why you regard Althusserian 
 anti-humanism as a kind of epater les bourgeois?

The whole debate seems peculiarly French to me.
In France since the 19th century humanism was
seen as something that was closely tied to
the bourgeoisie.  Even someone like Sartre
struggled over whether he was a humanist
or not.  He eventually decided that his
existentialism was a kind of humanism,
but one that was different from the kinds
of humanism that the bourgeoisie typically
embraced.  In Sartre's case, I think he
identified conventional bourgeois humanism
with essentialism. Those humanisms
posited a human essence, whereas for
Sartre, existence preceded essence.

In the French debates over humanism
in the 1960s and 1970s, structuralists
and poststructuralists like Levi-Strauss,
Louis Althusser, and Michel Foucault
attempted to push the critique of humanism
much further than Sartre had been willing
to go.  Sartre's existentialism, as he realized,
was still a humanism.  He placed free will
at the center of his conception of man.
People, regardless of the circumstances
that they might find themselves in, still
retained their freedom, if only the
freedom to redefine their situation
in alternative ways.  The French
anti-humanists questioned this view
in light of such developments in the
human sciences like structural linguistics
(which Levi-Strauss to generalize into
a complete anthropology), psychoanalysis
(i.e. the work of Lacan which enjoyed
great currency in this period), and of
course, Marxism.  Althusser, was
of course, a Marxist and long time
member of the PCF.  Foucault,
who had been a student of Althusser,
was a member of the PCF for a brief
period of time.  By the 1950s, he had
renounced Marxism in favor of Nietzscheanism,
although his work was still very much
influenced by Marxism.  Levi-Strauss,
I believed, identified himself at this time
as a Marxist, although his work doesn't
strike me as being particularly Marxist.

There were certainly differences in viewpoints
between these people.  Althusser doesn't
seem to have been particularly enamored
with Levi-Strauss's work, and he didn't
like being called a structuralist.  However,
all these people's work, whether drawing 
from Saussure, Freud, Marx, Nietzsche,
or Heidegger, all had certain themes in
common.  They all rejected the Sartrean
emphasis on human freedom, instead
emphasizing the extent to which human
behavior is determined by structures
of various sorts, whether these be
linguistic structures, kinship structures,
structures of epistemology (Foucault
in this *The Order of Things*), social
structures as represented by the 
mode of production and associated
superstructures (i.e. Althusser), and
so forth.  They all rejected the traditional
humanist idea that their exists an unchanging
human essence which provides the basis
for freedom and equality and human rights.
For the French antihumanists, this conception
was rejected as being ideological and/or
metaphysical, and they drew variously
upon Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger,
in their critiques of humanism.




 
 Thank you in advance,
 
 
 
 Mehmet Çagatay
 http://weblogmca.blogspot.com/
 
 
 --- On Fri, 2/6/09, Ralph Dumain rdum...@autodidactproject.org 
 wrote:
 
  Althusserian and French anti-humanism in general 
  is bullshit, the French intellectual's way of, as 
  they say, epater les bourgeois. If humanism 
  alludes to something else, then that should be 
  decoded. And I think Tedman is quite mistaken.
 
 
 
   
 
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 Marxism-Thaxis@lists.econ.utah.edu
 To change your options or unsubscribe go to:
 http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/marxism-thaxis
 
 

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Re: [Marxism-Thaxis] [politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs Magazine - The Concept of quot; Auraquot; and the Question of Art in Althusser, Benjamin and Greenberg

2009-02-07 Thread dogangoecmen
Jim,
thank you very much for this illuminating background knowledge.

Dogan

-Original Message-
From: Jim Farmelant farmela...@juno.com
To: marxism-thaxis@lists.econ.utah.edu
CC: marxism-thaxis@lists.econ.utah.edu
Sent: Sat, 7 Feb 2009 15:27
Subject: Re: [Marxism-Thaxis] [politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs Magazine 
- The Concept of quot; Auraquot; and the Question of Art in Althusser, 
Benjamin and Greenberg




n Sat, 7 Feb 2009 05:30:54 -0800 (PST) Mehmet Cagatay
mehmetcagatayay...@yahoo.com writes:
 
 Mr. Dumain, would you please clarify why you regard Althusserian 
 anti-humanism as a kind of epater les bourgeois?
The whole debate seems peculiarly French to me.
n France since the 19th century humanism was
een as something that was closely tied to
he bourgeoisie.  Even someone like Sartre
truggled over whether he was a humanist
r not.  He eventually decided that his
xistentialism was a kind of humanism,
ut one that was different from the kinds
f humanism that the bourgeoisie typically
mbraced.  In Sartre's case, I think he
dentified conventional bourgeois humanism
ith essentialism. Those humanisms
osited a human essence, whereas for
artre, existence preceded essence.
In the French debates over humanism
n the 1960s and 1970s, structuralists
nd poststructuralists like Levi-Strauss,
ouis Althusser, and Michel Foucault
ttempted to push the critique of humanism
uch further than Sartre had been willing
o go.  Sartre's existentialism, as he realized,
as still a humanism.  He placed free will
t the center of his conception 
of man.
eople, regardless of the circumstances
hat they might find themselves in, still
etained their freedom, if only the
reedom to redefine their situation
n alternative ways.  The French
nti-humanists questioned this view
n light of such developments in the
uman sciences like structural linguistics
which Levi-Strauss to generalize into
 complete anthropology), psychoanalysis
i.e. the work of Lacan which enjoyed
reat currency in this period), and of
ourse, Marxism.  Althusser, was
f course, a Marxist and long time
ember of the PCF.  Foucault,
ho had been a student of Althusser,
as a member of the PCF for a brief
eriod of time.  By the 1950s, he had
enounced Marxism in favor of Nietzscheanism,
lthough his work was still very much
nfluenced by Marxism.  Levi-Strauss,
 believed, identified himself at this time
s a Marxist, although his work doesn't
trike me as being particularly Marxist.
There were certainly differences in viewpoints
etween these people.  Althusser doesn't
eem to have been particularly enamored
ith Levi-Strauss's work, and he didn't
ike being called a structuralist.  However,
ll these people's work, whether drawing 
rom Saussure, Freud, Marx, Nietzsche,
r Heidegger, all had certain themes in
ommon.  They all rejected the Sartrean
mphasis on human freedom, instead
mphasizing the extent to which human
ehavior is determined by structures
f various sorts, whether these be
inguistic structures, kinship structures,
tructures of epistemology (Foucault
n this *The Order of Things*), social
tructures as represented by20the 
ode of production and associated
uperstructures (i.e. Althusser), and
o forth.  They all rejected the traditional
umanist idea that their exists an unchanging
uman essence which provides the basis
or freedom and equality and human rights.
or the French antihumanists, this conception
as rejected as being ideological and/or
etaphysical, and they drew variously
pon Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger,
n their critiques of humanism.


 
 Thank you in advance,
 
 
 
 Mehmet Çagatay
 http://weblogmca.blogspot.com/
 
 
 --- On Fri, 2/6/09, Ralph Dumain rdum...@autodidactproject.org 
 wrote:
 
  Althusserian and French anti-humanism in general 
  is bullshit, the French intellectual's way of, as 
  they say, epater les bourgeois. If humanism 
  alludes to something else, then that should be 
  decoded. And I think Tedman is quite mistaken.
 
 
 
   
 
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 Marxism-Thaxis mailing list
 Marxism-Thaxis@lists.econ.utah.edu
 To change your options or unsubscribe go to:
 http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/marxism-thaxis
 
 
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Re: [Marxism-Thaxis] [politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs Magazine - The Concept of quot; Auraquot; and the Question of Art in Althusser, Benjamin and Greenberg

2009-02-05 Thread Charles Brown
Hello,
Thanks for your response.

Yes, I kinda thought the idea might be that much humanism is philosophical 
idealism ( in Engels famous sense in _Ludwig Feuerbach: The End of Classical 
German philsophy_, two great camps of philosophy,idealism and materialism, 
especially modern philosophy, on the relationship between thought and being, 
and all that). He's probably avoiding being subjective as opposed to objective, 
too.

 But humanism as the term is commonly used today in English, is probably part 
of the rational kernel of idealism that we want to extract. Something might be 
lost in the translation from French. But even the French CP paper is name 
_L'Humanite_.

Anyway, I'll try to look at Althusser's essay, because I have become more and 
more a respecter of Althusser over time. And I subscribe to a certain amount of 
Levi-Straussian structuralism from my schooling in anthropology( even with its 
aroma of philosophical idealism ,smile); and Althusser was a structuralist in 
that school. Ideology and all that.

By the way, I think Marx did have a concept of human nature, in his discussion 
of species-being in the _Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844_. He 
expresses an essentialism on the relationship between women and men that knocks 
the socks off the post-modernist anti-essentialists in the following passage:


In the approach to woman as the spoil and hand-maid of communal lust is 
expressed the infinite degradation in which man exists for himself, for the 
secret of this approach has its unambiguous, decisive, plain and undisguised 
expression in the relation of man to woman and in the manner in which the 
direct and natural species-relationship is conceived. The direct, natural, and 
necessary relation of person to person is the relation of man to woman. In this 
natural species-relationship man’s relation to nature is immediately his 
relation to man, just as his relation to man is immediately his relation to 
nature – his own natural destination. In this relationship, therefore, is 
sensuously manifested, reduced to an observable fact, the extent to which the 
human essence has become nature to man, or to which nature to him has become 
the human essence of man. 

From this relationship one can therefore judge man’s whole level of 
development. From the character of this relationship follows how much man as a 
species-being, as man, has come to be himself and to comprehend himself; the 
relation of man to woman is the most natural relation of human being to human 
being. It therefore reveals the extent to which man’s natural behaviour has 
become human, or the extent to which the human essence in him has become a 
natural essence – the extent to which his human nature has come to be natural 
to him. This relationship also reveals the extent to which man’s need has 
become a human need; the extent to which, therefore, the other person as a 
person has become for him a need – the extent to which he in his individual 
existence is at the same time a social being. 

The first positive annulment of private property – crude communism – is thus 
merely a manifestation of the vileness of private property, which wants to set 
itself up as the positive community system.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm

Indeed, the human subject is an ensemble of social relations, cultural beings 
in the anthropological sense of culture.  But the sexual relationship is a 
natural social relationship, the sexual instinct a social instinct, and thus 
sexual relations are both socially and naturally social. The sexual 
relationship is a special exception to the postmodernist correct idea that 
human subjectivity and individuals are predominantly socially or culturally 
constructed (maybe, ? smile)




Ciao, Comrade

Charles Brown


--- On Fri, 2/6/09, Disqus notifications-dqukn5y...@disqus.net wrote:

 From: Disqus notifications-dqukn5y...@disqus.net
 Subject: [politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs Magazine - The Concept of 
 quot; Auraquot; and the Question of Art in Althusser, Benjamin and Greenberg
 To: cdb1...@prodigy.net
 Date: Friday, February 6, 2009, 3:12 AM
 Gary Tedman (unregistered) wrote, in response to bing:
 
 hello,
 
 
 
 Althusser meant philosophical humanism, which is basically
 mainstream bourgeois ideology, he distinguished it from
 humanitarianism, but there is a lot of humanism in bourgeois
 humanitarianism too (charity for example). Yes, Marx said
 that, and being a 'true humanist' is to go beyond
 classical humanism, as he did for example in his criticism
 of Feuerbach.. A classic humanist belief would be of the
 'human spirit' or 'Man' with a 'human
 nature' (essence), 'born free' and
 'responsible' for 'himself'. For Marx the
 human subject is an ensemble of social relations (to be
 brief). See Althusser's essay Marxism is not a
 Humanism in the book For Marx.
 
 
 
  
 
 Link to comment:
 

Re: [Marxism-Thaxis] [politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs Magazine - The Concept of quot; Auraquot; and the Question of Art in Althusser, Benjamin and Greenberg

2009-02-05 Thread Ralph Dumain
Althusserian and French anti-humanism in general 
is bullshit, the French intellectual's way of, as 
they say, epater les bourgeois. If humanism 
alludes to something else, then that should be 
decoded. And I think Tedman is quite mistaken.

At 11:10 PM 2/5/2009, Charles Brown wrote:
Hello, Thanks for your response. Yes, I kinda 
thought the idea might be that much humanism is 
philosophical idealism ( in Engels famous sense 
in _Ludwig Feuerbach: The End of Classical 
German philsophy_, two great camps of 
philosophy,idealism and materialism, especially 
modern philosophy, on the relationship between 
thought and being, and all that). He's probably 
avoiding being subjective as opposed to 
objective, too. But humanism as the term is 
commonly used today in English, is probably part 
of the rational kernel of idealism that we want 
to extract. Something might be lost in the 
translation from French. But even the French CP 
paper is name _L'Humanite_. Anyway, I'll try to 
look at Althusser's essay, because I have become 
more and more a respecter of Althusser over 
time. And I subscribe to a certain amount of 
Levi-Straussian structuralism from my schooling 
in anthropology( even with its aroma of 
philosophical idealism ,smile); and Althusser 
was a structuralist in that school. Ideology and 
all that. By the way, I think Marx did have a 
concept of human nature, in his discussion of 
species-being in the _Economic and Philosophic 
Manuscripts of 1844_. He expresses an 
essentialism on the relationship between women 
and men that knocks the socks off the 
post-modernist anti-essentialists in the 
following passage: In the approach to woman as 
the spoil and hand-maid of communal lust is 
expressed the infinite degradation in which man 
exists for himself, for the secret of this 
approach has its unambiguous, decisive, plain 
and undisguised expression in the relation of 
man to woman and in the manner in which the 
direct and natural species-relationship is 
conceived. The direct, natural, and necessary 
relation of person to person is the relation of 
man to woman. In this natural 
species-relationship man’s relation to nature 
is immediately his relation to man, just as his 
relation to man is immediately his relation to 
nature ­ his own natural destination. In 
this  relationship, therefore, is sensuously 
manifested, reduced to an observable fact, the 
extent to which the human essence has become 
nature to man, or to which nature to him has 
become the human essence of man. From this 
relationship one can therefore judge man’s 
whole level of development. From the character 
of this relationship follows how much man as a 
species-being, as man, has come to be himself 
and to comprehend himself; the relation of man 
to woman is the most natural relation of human 
being to human being. It therefore reveals the 
extent to which man’s natural behaviour has 
become human, or the extent to which the human 
essence in him has become a natural essence ­ 
the extent to which his human nature has come to 
be nnatural to him. This relationship also 
reveals the extent to which man’s need has 
become a human need; the extent to which, 
therefore, the other person as a person has 
become for him a need ­ the extent to which he 
in his inddividual existence is at the same time 
a social being. The first positive annulment of 
private property ­ crudee communism ­ is thus 
merely a manifestation of the vileeness of 
private property, which wants to set itself up 
as the positive community system. 
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/comm.htm 
Indeed, the human subject is an ensemble of 
social relations, cultural beings in the 
anthropological sense of culture.  But the 
sexual relationship is a natural social 
relationship, the sexual instinct a social 
instinct, and thus sexual relations are both 
socially and naturally social. The sexual 
relationship is a special exception to the 
postmodernist correct idea that human 
subjectivity and individuals are predominantly 
socially or culturally constructed (maybe, ? 
smile) Ciao, Comrade Charles Brown --- On Fri, 
2/6/09, Disqus 
notifications-dqukn5y...@disqus.net wrote:  
From: Disqus 
notifications-dqukn5y...@disqus.net  Subject: 
[politicalaffairs] Re: Political Affairs 
Magazine - The Concept of quot; Auraquot; and 
the Question of Art in Althusser, Benjamin and 
Greenberg  To: cdb1...@prodigy.net  Date: 
Friday, February 6, 2009, 3:12 AM  Gary Tedman 
(unregistered) wrote, in response to bing:   
hello, Althusser meant philosophical 
humanism, which is basically  mainstream 
bourgeois ideology, he distinguished it from  
humanitarianism, but there is a lot of humanism 
in bourgeois  humanitarianism too (charity for 
example). Yes, Marx said  that, and being a 
'true humanist' is to go beyond  classical 
humanism, as he did for example in his 
criticism  of Feuerbach.. A classic humanist 
belief would be of the  'human