Marx on Neurath was, Re: May Day "violence is our enemy"

Ian Murray seamus2001 at
Tue May 1 20:39:29 PDT 2001

> Metaphors are tricky if you run them into the ground. See some of the
> more clunky poetry of the 17th century. But anyhow, Marx very early had
> a comment that seems relevant:
> The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and
> upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of other
> circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change
> circumstances and that the educator himself needs educating. Hence, this
> doctrine necessarily arrives at dividing society into two parts, of
> which one is superior to society (in Robert Owen, for example).
> The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity
> can be conceived and rationally understood only as _revolutionising
> practice_.
> Theses on Feuerbach, VI
> The relation of a boat to the sea is an external (non-dialectical) one.
> Our relation to society is an internal relation. There's no drydock
> anyplace. Society is not a boat and we are not sailors on that which is
> other than us.
> Carrol
============= Carroll,

Good points; however Neurath's metaphor and it's re-working by Quine was that there is no drydock. Society is the boat and nature is the sea and we are engaged in an open ended learning process. As societies outlive the individuals that constitute their dynamics it's not too bad a metaphor for the dialectic of institutions and agency....


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