DietSoap Interview Part 2

In the second part of my latest interview with Doug Lain I discuss the different levels of abstraction at which Marx discusses value relations and the particular approach I’ve taken in my Law of Value series. I’m sorry the interview ended when it did as I think we had some miscommunication about real abstractions toward the end of the video. It seemed like Doug was making the point that any society uses abstractions in the way it agrees upon common language, viewpoints and philosophical orientations. But this is not the same as the real abstraction of abstract labor that Marx is dealing with in a capitalist society. Abstract labor is not a commonly agreed upon mental abstraction that unifies the mental orientation of social subjectivities. Abstract labor is an objective abstraction imposed upon subjectivities. Rather than producing some unified, socially agreed upon, mental abstraction in subjects it creates contradictory and confusing subjectivities that fragment the social body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interview.

 

 

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3 Responses to DietSoap Interview Part 2

  1. Douglas Lain says:

    My apologies about the miscommunication. I think the trouble is that, while I’m convinced that money represents an utterly different kind of abstraction from say the concept of “apple” I am not convinced that “apple” was socially agreed upon in a conscious and direct way.
    Perhaps we could talk about this subject again in the near future and, before we talk, I could write up a full on explanation of what I’m thinking and some solid questions for you so the difference in our thinking could be spelled out clearly?

    • Ryan Faulkner says:

      Abstractions like value and money weren’t agreed upon in a conscious and direct way either, but they do derive power from the way social relations are organized under capitalism, through value.
      The abstractions are a way in which our labor, and the labor of every other worker in the world, acts back upon us through the directives of the market.
      “Apple” doesn’t work that way, because it’s simply a way of understanding a group of physical objects through abstraction. The existence of a common, abstract equation of apples isn’t a force that determines the organization of our society.

  2. Strannik says:

    Is it correct to say that there are three types of abstractions – the ones that refer to objects in the world, complete abstractions that are self-evident (like mathematical and logical rules) and then relational abstractions, that establish connections between other types or even between other relational abstractions?

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