Bogdanov's 'The Philosophy of Living Experience'

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Bogdanov's 'The Philosophy of Living Experience'
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I can't recommend highly enough this book by Bogdanov. I'm currently reading a hardback copy, but a paperback will be available later this year on 11th October for £17.36.


it'd help, if only by making the idea of reading it more accessible, if you said what the book was about, why it appeals to you, etc.

'Matter' as 'resistance to social effort'

Chapter 1 of Bogdanov's book is called 'What is Materialism', pp. 42-64, and it contains a brilliant discussion about the nature of 'matter', from the Marxian perspective of relationships and social production.

As examples:

Bogdanov, p. 43, wrote:
...'matter' correlates with labour, and ...these two concepts are inseparably related and are incomprehensible apart from one another.

Bogdanov, p. 55, wrote:
...matter is nothing other than socially valid resistance to human efforts.

I can't recommend it highly enough to any comrades seriously interested in understanding the arguments about 'matter' within the Marxist tradition.

His style is the easiest to read of any philosophy that I've read. He attempts to put into practice his own ideas about educating workers using a language that they can understand, and his metaphors are not only illuminating, but also funny.

are those unusual claims?

are those unusual claims?

Does one prefer the 'usual' business?

lem_ wrote:

are those unusual claims?

Well, If you call 'revolutionary' 'unusual', then, yes, they're unusual.

no i'm not asking that, i'm

no i'm not asking that, i'm asking who has agreed with him. e.g. the so called "critical realists"?

incomprehensible apart from one another

this needs more detail. on the one hand, i agree that labour is or at least can be material. on the other, the sun isn't a product of labour, and you have to exclude 'labour' from it, at least when talking about its formation so long ago,

have you heard of entity realism? they claim that everything unobservable which exists can be manipulated, i.e. in scientific labour. i take the exact opposite view, structural realism, that something like our mathematical formulae are what correspond to reality.

Philosophical woffle to those who like 'Truth' with a big 'T'

lem_, because this is a discussion about philosophy, and how it affects our physics, you have to delve into the 'categories' that we are using in discussion. One of the problems, which I've come to realise, is that when 'philosophical categories' are used, comrades often 'translate' these specific categories into ones that are more 'familiar' to them. This means that the comrades never get to grips with what is being said in philosophy, because they are 'talking' a different discipline. Unless some attempt is made to understand the categories being used, then misunderstandings continue to dog the conversation.

As just one example of what I'm trying to explain, let's take the philosophical category of 'activity'. This means something that is an opposite to 'contemplation'.

With Marx, this category is referred to as 'social activity' (ie. 'labour'), so when 'labour' is being discussed, the philosophical context is the various views about passivity/activity, observation/creation, fixity/dynamism, contemplation/change, present/history, etc.

It doesn't take much knowledge of Marx to realise that his stress is always upon the latter of these pairings. So, for Marx, 'labour' is 'social activity', a human effort, in its widest meaning in 'social production'.

For those brought up in bourgeois society, in its crap education system, these necessary subtleties are not taught, and people are brainwashed into seeing everything through an 'individualist' lens.

So, when the term 'labour' is used, it is usually 'translated' into 'an individual using their hands'. If this meaning of 'labour' is accepted, then clearly "the sun isn't a product of labour", as you rightly say.

But... if... one realises that the term 'social labour' refers to the 'creative efforts of humanity to build', then 'the sun clearly is a product of labour'.

We can then examine how and why, and for whose reasons and interests, the human concept of 'the sun' has changed. And the human concept of the sun is the only one we have, as Marx said.

Unless... one agrees with the bourgeoisie that they have, for the first time in history, discovered a 'scientific method' which allows them, and them alone, 'True' access to 'Reality', and that their 'knowledge' is an 'objective' account of that 'reality', then they really have 'eternalised' their rule. And so, we truly are at the 'End of History', and their accounts of our world are eternally valid. Thus, 'capitalism' is the end point of development for humans, because 'science' says so.

And we have the spectacle of workers saying that 'the physicists' know 'reality', which exists outside of 'labour', and so it can't be 'changed'.

And Marx? He becomes some unknown crazy from the 19th century who laughably talked of 'change' directed by 'labour', and we go forward into the sunlit uplands of 'True Knowledge', of a world that simply 'is'. 'The sun' doesn't lie.