Victoribus Spolia wrote:
State of Nature and the State
Though I believe in the case of Rousseau, Spinoza and Hobbes discussed a state of nature in terms of individuals interacting with one another, you’re right in that it doesn’t require strictly a methodological individualism in that the state of nature. Which is acknowledged in the article I used earlier in being inclusive of family units within tribal society where there is certainly no need for a state or third party to intervene in communal life. Where the division of labor is based around one’s sex, age and relations within the family/kinship.
Though I would emphasize that the state arises historically along with the development of classes based on increases in production. Where the state is the organized violence and political tool of a ruling class. So we see it’s first form in the case of Slave societies with masters of the slaves as the ruling class. Then in Europe we get Feudal society, which extended the state’s function to that of self-defense and hence a warrior class that emerges as significant at this time. The class structure in feudal society is still tied to kinship and familial relations in it’s own way. Here the state was part of the kinship relations and doesn’t exist as something ‘above’ the people as the familial relations have significance within the difference classes. The serf doesn’t relate to the nobles in terms of family/kinship, but duty to one’s superior.
Then we get the merchant class developing during feudalism unregulated by the ethics of the time and preceding the economic development that made them a class powerful enough to challenge the old powers.1 Marx’s view of the capitalist state is that it is an illusion of the real community to be found in civil society, but it is real in the same way that abstract value and labour is real.2
The shared idea of dissolving the state seems agreeable between us, although I am suspect of your sense of how it is to be dissolve without the erasure of classes as defined by their relationship to production. It doesn’t seem an arbitrary association that the state emerges along with class distinctions and rule.
Tigers and Human Nature
A concrete universal (unity of particular and universal) would be what is true of tigers regardless of the environment, even if that nature is distorted in captivity just as it would be for humans.
In regards to Tigers in nature, I would think it better fits their nature being wild animals that they are.
I think I’ll drop the tiger analogy though for clarity in that humans aren’t comparable to Tigers in their nature in that they as wild animals are distinct from human beings.
There is a continuity between humans and animals in that we are natural beings, but we are also quite particularly different from other animals in a way that marks us as essentially human. Otherwise one hasn’t a concept of human nature in order to distinguish humans from any other animal. Where animals in general are driven by instincts, a ‘programme’ for their species, mankind inherits it in the activity one is raised into. 3
If one rejects the continuity of man from nature one ends up with idealist view which rejects the natural nature of man’s existence and the vulgar materialist (still prevalent today) sees man’s actions as only biologically without social distinction. 3
As such, this call for a return to nature for mankind I suspect goes further than you perhaps even expect in that for mankind to be like the tiger or other animals, one would have to essentially not be human. This idea of a family unit labouring for it’s self satisfaction still retains the basis of modern civilization and human nature in general. We aren’t simply driven by instincts, but have a consciousness which has split us from the immediacy of the natural world but allows us to act with greater purpose than an animal thanks to the history of labor and relations that have developed alongside production.
Logic, Empiricism and Essence
Marx’s sense of labor as the concrete universal to human nature is that it is found in any human society and is the basis for everything which has emerged within it. Labor isn’t identical to all it’s products but is the the absolute necessity for the existence of everything in tribal society all the way up to modern society. This is what distinguishes Marx’s universal in that it isn’t abstract identity of things in order to form a concept of a thing, excluded of the assumed inessential characteristics of a thing.
This is why I sometimes reference Ilyenkov’s summary of the concrete universal where he illustrates how the question of what is man (human nature) ends up the abstract identity and tautology of the first law of logic A = A or more specifically, man is man.
Where one doesn’t actually introduce understanding to what human nature is but leaves it unresolved.
Which I suspect is part of a criticism of formal logic that one can’t arrive at new knowledge through formal logic.
This is part of the problem with Kant’s universals, concepts which were posited as external to the empirical world as he considered form and content independent. We simply had concepts and schemata which we then perceived onto the external empirical reality. He didn’t have a sense of how concepts arose historically, and took them as pre-given in human nature.4
So the task isn’t to find something merely universal but something also particular and this is what Marx finds in the concept of labor as the basis of human nature. It is something particular to the nature of being human whilst also found universally in human society.
So in your sense, Marx’s idea of labor would be axiomatic but he didn’t discover this through formal logic but through anthropological study of human existence. Which served him well in regards to distinguishing capitalism as a particularly distinct mode of production where political economists considered labor historically the same as under capitalism rather than distinguishing it from labour power (commodification of labour potential), not seeing both continuity and discontinuity.
I don’t think you’d be able to determine human nature with formal logic because I worry that many rely on a scholastic method which indifferent to it’s truth in reality and that the empirical essence of human nature across time isn’t found in considering each human individual’s sameness (abstract universal).
Something which Hegel criticizes formal logic for, that it is overly concerned with form only.
The Logic of the Notion is usually treated as a science of form only, and understood to deal with the form of notion, judgment, and syllogism as form, without in the least touching the question whether anything is true. The answer to that question is supposed to depend on the content only. If the logical forms of the notion were really dead and inert receptacles of conceptions and thoughts, careless of what they contained, knowledge about them would be an idle curiosity which the truth might dispense with. On the contrary they really are, as forms of the notion, the vital spirit of the actual world. That only is true of the actual which is true in virtue of these forms, through them and in them. As yet, however, the truth of these forms has never been considered or examined on their own account any more than their necessary interconnection.
Which I think is exemplified in your affinity for Hoppe’s argumentative ethics and your own approach in the link to Objective Morality thread. Hoppe made a response of how his argumentation ethics isn’t challenged by empirical facts, as he seems to treat form entirely independent from content much like Kant.
From Economics and Ethics of Private Property By Hans-Hermann Hoppe
My entire argument, then, claims to be an impossibility proof. It is not, as the mentioned critics seem to think, a proof that means to show the impossibility of certain empirical events so that it could be refuted by empirical evidence. Instead, it is a proof that it is impossible to justify non-libertarian property principles propositionally without falling into contradictions. Whatever such a thing is worth, it should be clear that empirical evidence has absolutely no bearing on it. So what if there is slavery, the gulag, taxation? The proof concerns the issue that claiming such institutions can be justified involves a performative contradiction. It is purely intellectual in nature, like logical, mathematical, or praxeological proofs. Its validity, like theirs, can be established independent of any contingent experiences. Nor is its validity in any way affected, as several critics—most notoriously Waters—seem to think, by whether or not people like, favor, understand, or come to a consensus regarding it, or whether or not they are actually engaged in argumentation.
In this method, truth is what fits to a certain concept (a priori axiom) instead of reality itself ie idealism. Hence the relating of axioms to other axioms with some ultimate axiom from which all others are derived on the sense that from the first axiom being absolutely true so to much that which logically follows. 5
And this is a problem in terms of methodology because I don’t think one is guided by the subject material but forces empirical content into one’s pre-existing concepts which may not accurately capture the nature of the subject. 6 This is an arbitrary approach I suspect, rather than one that follows a logical necessity to the subject matter. Which is characteristic of the approach in which abstract universals are posed against the empirical reality which holds no logical necessity that binds the concept to the reality and results in a nominalism that denies the knowability of things beyond certain facts.
The task is to investigate the empirical in order to find the the basic unit of analysis/concrete universal which one can then return to the empirical with the concept (concrete universal) in hand to investigate it more consciously and give the concrete universal more concrete determinations/content to it. Eventually ending up with many concepts that are related to one another, and also reflective of the relations in the real world (ie Marx’s definition of class, where in reality a capitalist class with an independent existence of a working class is nonsensical empirically). 7
Or to put it in it’s simple and short form, one proceeds:
by the transition from the concrete to the abstract, and conversely by movement from the abstract to the concrete.
So I view your approach as problematic in it’s method and thus conclusions. It seems focused only on the form (words/signs) and their connection to one another independent of the reality which the concepts are derived from.
Also, I am working on a quick response to the other thread/objective morality.