Notes on foundations of modern social theory
JS Mill is a reformed utilitarian who became a Moulin-Rouge bohemian upholding "freedom, beauty, truth, and love" (Moulin Rouge's bohemian motto).
The French enlightment and Rousseau's general will are beloved by Marxists and Communists everywhere. For Locke and the English enlightment, individuals are intrinsically equal, therefore, the social contract is between individual, or sum of individuals, and sovereign. For Rousseau, the social contract is between general will and sovereign because, whereas Locke believed individuals are equal, Rousseau believed individuals are intrinsically unequal. Individual inequality means that neither individual interests nor even a sum of individual interests can define the common interest. Since individuals are unequal yet the common interest equally applies to all, then the common interest, ie, the general will, must be of a separate character than individual interests. The general will is supreme and citizens are obligated to submit to the general will even where it conflicts with individual interests. Practically, he who defines and controls the general will has a free hand to take freedom, property, even life from any individual who is in conflict with the general will. Thus, while general will underpins selfless civic duty and the ties that bind a diverse national people, it also opens the door for tyranny. In America, we have been progressively departing from our English political heritage of individual rights and aligning with the Continental political tradition of the collective.
Mill's individual who can and should best determine his own happiness and utility stands in diametric opposition to Rousseau's general will and amour propre. Mill is Rousseau's denigrated bourgeoise. Mill and Nietzsche have a lot in common although Mill visualized a society that protects and supports individual happiness while Nietzsche is only suspicious of society's conventions for the individual.
Rousseau: Man is born as a noble savage, morally perfect when leaving the hand of God, and socialization spoils him, and education removes social corruption - taught to think rather than to follow conventions. Opposite of Hobbes, who says man is appetites and aversions in state of nature and only learns morals contractually during socialization. For Locke, man is rational and adheres to golden rule in state of nature (for Hobbes, nature = war; for Locke, war is some disconnected thing that just happens). For Marx, man is social in the state of nature - born into a social unit. For Nieztsche (Judeo-Christian lies reversed classical Greek/Roman ideals of excellence) and Freud (man is wolf and aggressive in state of nature, repression is necessary for society), alienation is a social phenomenon.
The Theses on Feuerbach, published by Karl Marx in 1845 and described here by Professor Szelenyi, incisively describes my mindset as an activist in college. Marx's theory of self-estrangement (the illusion of freedom) or alienation in modern conditions speaks to me. The notion of unifying subject (my self) and object (my sensuous life - my world; my physical life - my do) fits MGTOW. MGTOW is about overcoming alienation. Does that make me a Marxist? I can at least say I newly appreciate the pre-Communist Manifesto Marx, Marx 1.0. Marx 2.0 started with the Communist Manifesto published in 1848. It appears Marx took a leap of faith by assigning revolutionary universal class status to the proletariat in order to create a jumping off point for the practical application of universal emancipation, similar to Locke building his constitutional arguments on a leap of faith with his anti-Hobbesian state of nature.
As an activist, I understand what Marx was attempting with the Communist Manifesto. I identify with Marx 2.0 in his struggle to resolve the gulf between the abstract goal of solving alienation through universal emancipation, along with the realization this change must be made by practical social activity, and the practical application for revolution. Marx settled on subjectifying the objectified proletariat as his vehicle; I settled on civil-military reform in our society's cognitive centers (Ivy League universities).
Based on Szelenyi's lectures, I'm disappointed with Marx's reductionist conclusion in Marx 2.0.
Marx's point of departure to create his political vehicle for social change was Adam Smith's (and Richardo's - who's Ricardo?) economic typology. However, Adam Smith did not formulate his typology as a causal mechanism of human nature. Rather Smith's work organized his observations. Smith's mechanism of human nature was individual rational self-interest whose interactive sum amounted to the socially balanced 'invisible hand'. Smith wasn't an alienationist nor did he separate and reduce economic activity as Marx did. Marx's quest to formulate a unified alienation-based theory of historic social change reminds me of Taleb's thesis in Bed of Procrustes, warning against attempts to force truth, reality, nature, etc, to fit into over-simplified, artificial, rigidly sized models.
Marx was a good philosopher who articulated the activist ethos. He set a worthwhile and compelling end-state of solving the problem of Hegelian subject-object alienation in the modern industrial age. He was on solid footing when he claimed sensuous activity and experience were necessary to solve alienation and re-align subject and object. That the solution would require social activity was a good general theoretical point of departure. But he struggled after that point to make a particularized political case to connect his 'theory of the case' to his social evolutionary goal. He did well in applying the scientific method to make observations about historical materialism and capitalist exploitation (cv-s, or investment capital-variable capital-surplus value; CMC vs MCM, where C=commodity, M=money). But Marx failed to build a practical vehicle from his economic-based components to activate his original goal of solving alienation. In his attempt to induce a causal theory, he made the mistake of limiting his activist vehicle to class-based economic relations while de-valuing individual agency and other sensuous activity and experience, such as values-based culture (Weber), sex (Freud), and everything else (Nietzsche). Within economics, Marx also underestimated the social system of free men following rational self-interest to sell their labor in a co-dependent union-type relationship rather than a class struggle, because in order to sell their labor, they need capitalists to buy it. Where Smith described a market as the sum of individual interactions, like water finding its level, Marx formulated a rigidly linear social progression with the leap assumption that dominance by the most alienated class would mean solving alienation for everyone. Marx made the classic scientific research mistake of trying to force the data to conform to his hypothesis. His historical findings simply did not support his causal theory of social-economic evolution, the class competition of the Communist Manifesto or linear social evolution by modes of production. Yet he tried hard to force his theory.
Marx's half-truth merely accomplished laying the foundation for modern tribal zero-sum competitions where dogmatic activists of various stripes make totalitarian end-state claims on evolutionary peak social justice. Radical Islam is a Marxist revolutionary hybrid. They cite Marx as their authority yet don't fit and cannot fulfill the end-state vision of Marx's actual fundamentally flawed theory. Adam Smith's individualist utilitarian premises, based in Hobbesian insight into human nature and the basic equality of human beings, from which society arose fluidly and organically from the sum of individual experiences, ie, the invisible hand, is a better (though still incomplete) explanation for social evolution than Marx's rigidly linear, reductionist, economic class-based progression.
Szelenyi closed his 3rd Marx lecture by disagreeing with Marx by first pointing out that Marx got the worker vs capitalist struggle part wrong, which I agree with. However, I don't agree with Szelenyi's 2nd disagreement with Marx. He said Marx didn't anticipate white collar workers in his cv-s formula for exploitation, where only blue collar physical labor was quantifiable. He used academia as an example of unquantifiable in the exploitation formula. But I believe white collar or mental-dominant labor can be quantified, too. The correct categorization shouldn't be physical vs mental labor but rather skilled vs unskilled labor. Academia and credentialing enters into the c (capital) and v (variable wages), just in a different way than 19th century factory workers. Modern white collar workers can be exploited, too. Marx also tried to separate capitalist mode (alienating and exploitative) from the commodity mode (not alienating) and Szelenyi disagreed with Marx's notion that the middle class (artisans, self-employed, small business) would disappear, some into the capitalist beourgoise, the rest into the worker proletariat as the industrial age absorbed them. Szelenyi thinks the industrial age has peaked and the middle class has stabilized, but I don't think so. I think the working class is just redefined (white collar workers are also proletariat) and progressive advancement in human-replacing technology with increasing efficiency can still shrink the middle class, if not kill it altogether.
The next lecture begins by contrasting Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber's departure from Marx's narrow solution to alienation that was overly economic reductionist.
Marx and Freud have in common that they apply Hegel's critical theory to sensuousness and activity, beyond Hegel's radicalized introverted consciousness. But Marx reduces sensuousness to economic activity so that class-based economic relationships and modes of production, with property as an included element, is the only causal mechanism of historical change. Individual identity and culture are lesser included elements of class identity. For Marx, the dominant ideas and values of society are determined by the dominant, self-serving economic class. That informs Marx's theory that making the most alienated class the dominant class, with reified consciousness, will fix all of society. The other alienationists disagreed with Marx's economic reductionism and looked for other influences and motivations for the individual experience. For Freud, the sensuousness that molds individual identity is sexual experience. Marx's basic unit of reified consciousness is class. For Nietzsche and Freud, the basic unit of reified consciousness is the individual.
Alienationists Nietzsche and Freud are Hobbesian in their belief that the individual interest conflicts with the social interest and the trade-off is a rational choice. They seek to solve alienation through rational self-interest rather than a class struggle. For Nietzsche, the mode is the power of society, including class, dominating the individual so that the individual internalizes society's rules as his subjugation. Freud's theory is that man is a wolf in the state of nature; he essentially restates Hobbes's theory of state nature of unlimited appetites and aversions that preceded the transition from man's state of nature to rationally cooperative society via social contract. For Freud, man extends power over the world, which includes other men, to form society. Repression of the individual, while alienating, is necessary for cooperative growth as a society, with all the benefits that come with it. According to Freud, repression of sexual impulses leads to sublimination of the energies, and those energies drive the progressive milestones of human civilization. Freud, like Marx, notes the economic theory that capitalism and modernity alienate individuals but also have created a great deal of social progress and technological innovation. Where Freud wants to balance the individual and society, Nietzsche focuses exclusively on the alienating costs to the individual and sets aside the social benefits to the individual from a repressive society.
Modernity as society against man (the alienationists). Or is society the organic outgrowth of men organizing together (the contractarians) where individuals interact and progress with society as setting and infrastructure, rather than conflicting forces.
Nietzsche is the MGTOW red pill philosopher. Applies Marx's theories of solving alienation, except not on social activity, but to individual development instead, ie, self-fulfillment of the individual, reified consciousness (own mind made real to rule own life and not ruled by external world), which is obstructed by the modern external world. He opposes the workshop of ideals - the Matrix - that binds us with 'pretty lies' and the blue pill. He applies critical theory to morals, instead of assuming universal or divine premises like pre-critical philosophers. Good/bad is turned into good/evil, which is a social construct for self benefit. Marx assumes a set of conditions, with morals as a lesser included element, for subject (self) and object (world), then focuses on the force field of interaction between the two. Nietzsche applies critical theory to the self and drills down and unpacks the individual's morals and beliefs. Nietzsche is introspective and introverted where Marxist is activist. Nietzsche seeks to ascend by freeing oneself from the shackles of imposed values, especially values that elevate the lesser/weaker/sinner as good while imposing ressentiment-based abasing sacrifice upon the better/stronger. One should free oneself from self-restricting morality, find the Truth, and rise and conquer one's own world with the light of that Truth. Adopt the Greek/Roman classical ideal of excellence rather than the Judeo-Christian ideal of abnegation and humility. In Freudian terms, fight off the rules of the outside world that have formed the controlling ego, and reconnect with the repressed id, and free and grow from the id. Let the blonde beast bird of prey loose.
Nietzsche is thrilling stuff. Be careful, though. Nietzsche excites the individual like Marx excites the activist, and the temptation is to belligerently and defiantly fight the enslaving chains of everyone else's conventions as a matter of principle. That is an impractical and risky proposition when I am weak and disenfranchised. I am not a god. I have weaknesses and flaws. I am needy and dependent, not independent of the social contract. Society is functional and based on need, it's not merely a bully seeking to dominate me, though that may be the practical effect. The best equipped people to pursue Nietzschean ideal are sociopaths who have extraordinary abilities. I don't believe I'm sociopathic. The better compromise point with Nietzsche is vomiting up the blue pill, so removing my internal subjugation, and then studying the world critically. Know what I want. Be aware and self-aware, respect and understand the power that the world has over me and what I need from the world, know the risks, and then interact with the world awake as a self-interested rational free agent.
Szelenyi nutshells Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud here while introducing Weber.
For Marx's typology of society, economic conditions drive history. For Nietzsche and Weber, the struggle for power and domination drives history. The nature of power and how power is constructed and how power is sublimated into domination (Freudian) is how societies operate. Nietzsche focused on the Judeo-Christians (meek shall inherit the earth) replacing the classical Greco-Romans (striving to the ideal), while Weber focused on the types of domination and authority to explain history, as opposed to Marx's types of economy. Weber looks at power, domination, and legitimacy, to chart the evolution of authority as his mode of historical change.
Weber is quite fascinating. His social-political theory begs for flow charts because of his typology constructions. Protestant ethic and spirit of capitalism > Four types of social action > Notion of rationality > Power, Domination, Basis of legitimacy > Types of domination and three modes of authority > Traditional authority and recruiting staff > Charismatic authority and four ways of succession > Legal-rational authority and bureaucracy > Class, status, and status groups.
Weber is known for his precise categorization of types of social actions (instrumentally rational, value rational, affectual orientation, traditional orientation), his definitions of rationality (substitute unthinking with deliberate adaptation, ie, consciousness), power (probablity to act despite resistance), domination (probability a command will be obeyed), and legitimacy (the voluntary association of leader and the led), and types of domination/authority (legal-rational authority uses instrumental rationality, traditional authority uses traditional orientation, charismatic authority uses affectual orientation and value rational). Eg, legal-rational authority or rule by bureaucratic law rather than personality is the hallmark of a liberal system. Weber's notion of legitimacy is interesting in that he connects it not with popular choice by mechanical election but rather a self-interested obedience or voluntary compliance to the system, which is based on a myth of the dominant's superiority (much like Nietzsche's concept of internalized submission).
Weber adds an interesting dimension to Marx's praxis base of activism. Marx has solid footing through the Theses of Feuerbach, and then he jumps off from sensuous social activity to his economic reductionism and 1-dimensional theory of change where ideas don't matter, only one's economic status is determinative. On one hand, Marx motivates activism by visualizing a controllable circumstance. On the other hand, what if your ideals don't match the materialist (economic) reality? That incongruence has discouraged me, that ideals seem powerless in the face of economic interests. Weber disagrees with Marx. For Weber, culture and values matter, too. He visualizes change as an "elective affinity" or a combining of the right ideal structure and material structure, like X and Y chromosomes combining, ie, modern capitalism was born from Calvinism combining with economic changes, while capitalism didn't take root in 12th century China despite the right material conditions because Confucianism and Taoism didn't provide the correct ideal basis like Calvinism did. So, changing the world requires the correct mix of ideas (culture) and material conditions (economy), rather than Marx's one-way causal relationship. That means as an idealist, I can still tell myself that my favored side of the equation is a necessary component to prepare to seize a material opportunity, ie, when the economic conditions are right for the ideas to make change. I partially induced the Weberian notion of elective affinity in my military and socialism post. I observed as a soldier that socialism can work in the military because the military has both the material conditions and culture that allow it. Translated to the individual level of change, Weber's position reminds that Nietzsche expresses the correct principle of internal change while Marx and Freud focus on specific aspects (economy, sex), but the individual change must work within the framework of real-world conditions. But one can learn to master and manipulate conditions, not just cargo-cult them.
According to Weber, traditional authority involves an exchange of honor for loyalty. Mutual loyalty is a part, too. Traditional authority, however, conflicts with modern capitalism, which matches a legal-rational, ie, liberal system of authority. Socialism is a better match for traditional authority due to its inherent focus of regulating economy according to the utilitarian social welfare - ie, needs - of its members, eg, socialism in the military, which in Weberian terms, uses patrimonial authority. Coercion exists for every authority, including liberal legal-rational authority. Weber related to Nietzsche in that Weber described the mechanical forms of administration and coercion of Nietzsche's subjugation, including the voluntary aspect or the internalization of subjugation. Like Nietzsche and Freud, Weber considers internalization as part of domination.
The other alienationists tend toward one-way cause-and-effect and subject-to-object formulations. While Weber also discusses power and domination like the other alienationists, Weber focuses on the human interactive factor in his modes of administration, in contrast to Marx's impersonal group-based mechanical historical theory that follows stratifications according to wealth/property and ownership of the means of production. Marx's history is linear. Weber's history is organic, more self-organizing like Adam Smith. Weber focuses on cultural influence and the modes of administration of the means of production. Weber shines a light on the conflicts that crop up in bureaucracy, such as the tug of war between formalistic rationality (impersonal upholding of rules) and substantive rationality (good of the client) and collegiality (higher ethics and impersonal rules vs formal
Note that Weber doesn't dismiss the notion of class determined by the market economy, but rather he claims property relations is not the only factor. Weber, however, makes the distinction from Marx that his notion of class is not of a hivemind, but rather rational individuals with similar position and characteristics who will act similarly at times out of self-interest. In this way, Weber, restores Smith's concept of the 'invisible hand' as the sum of individual interests acted out in the market, rather than a class-based tribe acting rationally as one. Szelenyi also notes the possible distinction of estate and status in Weber's word 'Stand', which can mean either, when evaluating the popular interpretation of Weber that class is determined by 3 independent variables of class (property/wealth), status/prestige, and real power. Szelenyi believed that Weber was making a historical observation about market-emergent class where 'Stand' or sovereign-granted 'estate'-based status preceded the market economy-based class rather than 'status' as an independent variable. Szelenyi also believes Weber views power is a dependent variable.
At the same time, Weber highlights self-regulating status groups that harken back to pre-market statifications with their own self-identifying lifestyle norms (how you act, interact, live, look, eat, etc) persist in the market economy, such as fraternal organizations, guilds (medical, legal), etc.. Status comes with privileges of ideal (status honor) and material goods. Distinct by distance, exclusiveness, dress and behavior. Comes with exclusive opportunities, goods, and privileges. A way to control goods. Weber says functionally fluid market-based class conflicts with status-preserving groups. Of the two competing types of order, status-based stratification is stable, whereas economic class-based stratification is "dynamic and conflictuous". However, the conflict decreases over time. Weber observed that class was in the foreground, but subgroups based on status continued. Classes types are property (rentiers, renters), commercial (entrepeneurs, laborers), and social (working class, petit bourgeoisie, propertyless intelligentsia). For Weber, the most important class type is commercial which is based on managers and workers in the labor market, not owners of capital vs owners of labor. Social classes are marked by easy and typical individual and generational mobility within the class. Social classes my be associated with economic class but carry with them distinct behaviors, dress, lifestyle, values, culture, aspirations, etc.. People self-separate along social class lines, though social class lines are less rigid in US than in Europe. Social class is a modern version of status groups.
Marx v Weber, 3 differences: Marx - history is friction between owner and labor; Weber - history is interaction between manager and worker. Marx - history is a linear progression of class struggle; Weber - (economic) class stratification only emerged with market economy and before then stratification was by status. Class corresponds with legal-rational authority while status corresponds with traditional authority. Marx - class struggle linearly increases until proletariat is dominant; Weber - class struggle is most intense in early stages of development of market economy but then reduces with consolidation and bureaucratization.
Weber test questions. Power: Leader-based, absolute ability to impose will, coercive element. Domination: Follower-based, internalize reasons for power, voluntary element. Legitimacy: Justification of power and domination, claims that justify power-holders. Today, legitimacy tied to popular consent, but election-based legitimacy only about 100 years old. Traditional authority (sanctity) vs legal-rational authority (rule of law). Legal-rational bureacracy, tied to market economy, most efficient, but they do become inefficient - why? Weber noted formalistic rationalisty vs substantive rationality (client relationships). My take: When bureaucracy loses rational link between means and ends, it becomes inefficient, and turns into a traditional form of authority. Charismatic authority appeal is about change and emotion, but charisma conflicts with legal-rational authority, which is the normal mode in the US. So, a charismatic leader like Obama would have charismatic features, but would not be a total charismatic authority.
Durkheim was a methodological collectivist. He was a positivist: theory, knowledge, ethics, logic, and epistemology based on empirically observable social facts, rigorous analysis of objective data, in contrast to ideally induced theology and metaphysics. And a functionalist: categorization according to cause and effect. Durkheim was the 1st social theorist to label himself a "sociologist". He crunched various streams of data and used the logic of statistical analytical methods (multivariate, regression), though not yet the statistical methods that are now essential to social science.
Like Montesquieu, he emphasized the ecosystem. Using the logic of multivariate analysis, his interactive variables for the ecosystem were population, physical environment, social system, and technology. Technology included the division of labor. I don't know where economy factors in; perhaps economy was a result of all the interactive variables.
He demonstrated empirically that individual actions, even outliers like suicide, were socially based acts. As a Frenchman, he was a methodological collectivist who looked for collective indicators. (Marx was halfway between a methodological individualist and collectivist.) As such, he used the law as his point of departure and social measuring stick, like Montesquieu. Language is another example of collective consciousness manifested. In contrast to the alienationists (Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber) who studied the conflicts that wrought change, Durkheim went to the other side of the coin and studied social solidarity (mechanical, organic). What holds us together in time of great social upheaval such as the alienating dislodgements in the industrial revolution? Durkheim's answer: solidarity with the "collective consciousness" (shared norms, beliefs, values) prior to a particular society, which is, of course, a collectivist concept. It has a life of its own and is not a sum of individuals. Compare to Rousseau's general will and Marx's class consciousness.
Durkheim claimed people carried both an individual consciousness and collective consciousness and individual action based on the collective consciousness was a collective action. Mechanical solidarity: pre-modern, based on the similarity of the parts and reinforces sameness of the group. Contrast to recognition by contractual law of differences of partners. In pre-modern society, members are fungible and interchangeable. Organic solidarity: People are differentiated with a division of labor and are interdependent and complementary, like body organs. Note that like Weber's traditional and legal-rational authorities, Durkheim finds both forms in contemporary life though one form is prominent. The division of labor matches the alienation noted by Marx and Weber. However, where the alienationists focus on how the emphasis of narrow functions and differentiation alienate the individual, Durkheim focuses on how complementary differences bind us, eg, contracts express organic solidarity with an interdependent exchange of specific differences. The key in organic solidarity is the same shared vision or goal for the members of the society. Durkheim emphasized the normal vs pathological. The transition from mechanical (sameness) solidarity to organic (complementary different) solidarity broke down our value systems, resulting in social pathologies that Durkheim called anomie. However, where the pathology (alienation) was an instrinic feature for Marx that could only be solved by a total social replacement of the capitalist class by the proletariat labor class, Durkheim viewed the social pathology (anomie or fatalism) as a bug that could be cured with proper regulation.
Marx was interested in struggle over scarce economic resources. Nietzsche and Weber were interested in struggle for power. Marx and Weber were conflict theorists. Durkheim was interested in what holds us together, why we aren't falling apart. Also contrast their typologies of social development: Marx's modes of production from slavery to feudalism to capitalism; Weber's traditional authority and legal-rational authority (charismatic authority turns into one of the types or is replaced); Durkheim's mechanical or organic solidarity. Traditional authority and pre-capitalist formations fall under mechanical solidarity. Legal-rational authority or modernity or capitalism fall under organic solidarity. Durkheim used anomie to label pathological form of labor, which is like but not the same as alienation for Marx and disenchantment (related to rationalism and congruent with Marxist alienation) for Weber. The fundamental difference is that Durkheim did not believe alienation was in the intrinsic nature of modern society, but rather a correctable pathology.
Durkheim and the law: For Durkheim, law is an objectively observable manifestation of collective consciousness. Pre-modern law was repressive and penal. Modern law is based on contract law, restitutive and civil. Modern law aims primarily to restore the status quo ante rather than punish deviations (though penal code is still used). Modern law matches capitalism and legal-rational authority. For Durkheim, the law represents social relations and therefore social cohesion and, important, law, legal records, and legal history can be studied objectively.
Durkheim's anomie "normless" (pathologies of modernity): Peasant goes to the city to work in a factory. From a personal standpoint, he's Marxian alienated from too little regulation because he's separated from everything he knew and his labour is like a machine, just a disconnected part on an assembly line. But over-regulation, and the same worker becomes fatalistic, powerless, because he's Marxian objectified from a class standpoint, forced to be something he's not. Durkheim believed organic solidarity should be healthy because it's complementary, but required just-right regulation to work right. However, note that for Marx, alienation and objectification are different aspects of the same phenomenon. Durkheim's belief in regulation to resolve anomie is similar to Smith's sympathetic human nature. Durkheim, like Marx and Smith, based his social theory on division of labor but made a simply division between organic and mechanical solidarity. Durkheim also believed in the invisible hand so that if over-regulation is avoided, people can settle upon the work that suits them best, thus avoiding alienation. Durkheim also proposed creation of professional organizations to create micro-culture and micro-communities in order to create micro-mechanical solidarity of ideas and identities. Compare to Weber's status groups.
Comparing Anomie (Durkheim), Alienation (Marx), Disenchantment (Weber): anomie - under-regulation, Durkheim's unique contribution; alienation - excessive regulation (like Durkheim's fatalism, which is more like objectification than alienation; alienation and objectification are two aspects of the same phenomenon for Marx); disenchantment - loss of "enchanted garden" of traditions due to rational, critical, industrial modernity where all-human relations are converted into instrumental relations (like Lukacs' reification, where value is determined by non-human characteristics imputed onto humans and vice-versa).
Comparing theories of human nature: Marx believed humans are good in state of nature or "species being" that humans are essentially fine (perfect when leaving the hand of God), while society corrupts, in line with Rousseau, but departs from Rousseau in the noble savage. For Rousseau, the noble savage must be brought into society and proposed education to fix society's corruption. For Marx, humans are born social and good in the state of nature, but then modern society creates egoistic individuals who compete. For Marx, the solution is a total class-based makeover of society because ideas are fixed by class. Durkheim's state of nature was in line with Hobbes's in that regulation was necessary for individuals to co-exist or else social pathologies would develop from individuals conflicting (God created men equal and each has full rights to all and ability to kill each other), though Durkheim also warned against over-regulation. To Durkheim, if we are not controlled, we can fall into evil. For Durkheim, the solution for social pathology in organic solidarity is for individuals to develop the proper value system.
Example. Civilian jobs are organic but the individual's social context or culture is atomized. Military, while the jobs are also organic, has a strong mechanical cultural component. Where Marx doesn't differentiate between jobs (labor) and culture, Durkheim's solution is to keep the jobs, which are complementary and should result in organic solidarity, while enhancing the culture whether through family, religious, other social micro-communities.
Durkheim on suicide: He uses suicide as a measuring stick for social pathology. He approaches suicide as a social act. His variables are Integration and Regulation. Too high or too low of either variable results in higher suicide rates. Just right or the 'golden middle road' of both variables is normal, as opposed to the social pathology of anomie or normless. Integration too high has altruistic suicides, too low has egoistic suicide. Regulation too high has fatalistic suicide, too low has anomic suicide.
Egoistic suicide. Social integration rate is inverse to the suicide rate. Higher education correlates with higher suicide. Education is a critical exercise that weakens the collective conscience, which leads to lower integration. Why? Loosening the social bondage of traditional dogma in order to become a more individual consciousness also loosens the social protection of traditional dogma. On the other hand, wherever education reinforces the social norms of religion, then education is a prophylactic for the divisive social pathology that causes suicide. Durkheim considers family as a safeguard against suicide. The family is the basic unit of the social aggregate and collective consciousness and protects against suicide when it's unified, powerful, with intercourse active and intense. Political society (eg, social solidarity in wartime) can also be a source of integration. Basically, egoistic suicide occurs when the bonds to society are severed, so the bonds to life are severed.
Altruistic suicide results from too high integration, which is rarer. Suicide is done for social reasons such as duty, expectation, obligation, and/or identification, not as a personal right. Durkheim cites the military as a high suicide rate due to too high integration.
Durkheim's theory is that disturbance of the social order's equilibrium of either variable in either direction leads to self-destruction. Anomic (lack of regulation) and egoistic (lack of integration) suicides are related by insufficient presence by society. Egoistic suicide results from lack of true collective activity. Anomic suicide results from lack of social influence in the individual passions. Two examples of anomic suicide is collapse of traditional institutions and collapse of marriage setting, with resulting disconnection from the social order.
Szelenyi doesn't say much about fatalistic suicide. Suicide from too much regulation and he couples it with too little integration. It's similar to Marx's notion of alienation. Examples are slaves and childless unmarried women.
Durkheim test questions. Durkheim was a methodological collectivist who wanted to use scientific method to study collective consciousness, but how does one quantify ideas? He used the law as a stand-in to rigorously study collective consciousness. Note that methodological individualists question the premise that there is a collective consciousness that's independent of individual rational actors. Weber's traditional authority and legal-rational authority vs Durkheim's mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity. The difference is supposed to be that Weber was studying power and domination under the alienationist conflict theory, what takes society apart - the struggle for power - while Durkheim was studying the forces of social cohesion; however, I found Weber to be more a typology describing an alternate historical theory of change that emphasized culture rather than propose a direct friction conflict like Marx's class conflict. Szelenyi related Weber to the lineage of Hobbes and Nietzsche. I didn't notice much difference in kind as far as conflict vs solidarity between Weber and Durkheim's typologies. I may have to review the Szelenyi lectures on Weber to understand better the conflict in Weber's theories. Organic solidarity and legal-rational authority cover similar ground. Both are also similar in their development of social typologies and social organizations. Anomie is the pathology in the transition space between the breakdown of mechanical solidarity and buildup of organic solidarity. It will go away. Durkheim's theory of human nature is classic methodological collectivist in that regulation is required for humans to cooperate in society. This is also the Hobbesian view, though Hobbes approached the issue from the individualist perspective of social contract. Durkheim also warned against over-regulation and the pathology of fatalism, which is similar to Marx's socially imposed alienation (really objectification) and, to a lesser extent, Rousseau's social corruption of the noble savage's morality. Szelenyi contrasts anomie and alienation as anomie is under-regulated while alienation is over-regulated, but I hold that alienation is an internal state that can be from anomie or fatalism, and Szelenyi really means objectification, which is imposed by the dominant capitalist class onto the proletariat, ie, over-regulation, in Marx's construct. Szelenyi is vague when he says there is also a tie-in to Rousseau's state of nature in that we are born into society and social in nature, but modernity corrupts. If modernity were removed, we would again act socially/collectively in a good way. I believe he is tying Rousseau to Marx rather than Durkheim. That said, Rousseau does tie in to Durkheim with his theory of education, which is a social regulatory function, that is designed to cure modernity's corruption. Comparison of anomie to Weber's disenchantment. Weber describes the loss of religious Godly "magic" with the rise of modernity's rationalism and is nostalgic over the loss of it. The loss of relationship with God also meant a loss of direct control of life's fate, which in this sense ties Weber's notion of disenchantment with the Marx 1.0 notion of alienation, which is based on the separation of subject and object after leaving the hand of God. Suicide. Durkheim used multivariate analysis to demonstrate suicide is largely a socially determined action. Durkheim advocated for the golden mean (Goldilocks's just right!) of integration and regulation. Egoistic suicide is due to low integration and anomic suicide is due to low regulation.
Durkheim's sociological method and social facts: Durkheim's life sciences are biology (body as organism), psychology (personality), sociology (collective representation). Social action is contractual execution, externally oriented duties, obligations. Social facts are representations and actions, in contrast to objective biological phenomena, and exist in the collective space, in contrast to the individual consciousness of psychological phenomena. Collective habits (mores, manners, customs, ways of acting) are taught by education, in contrast to Hobbes's individualist approach of individuals learning to interact by trial and error. Sounds like socialization. He held that collective social facts are things to which the scientific method should be applied: from observation to theory (the 'is', induction), rather than from theory to observation (the 'ought', deduction). Categorization by common external characteristics. The priority of applying the sociological method was to eliminate preconceptions (beliefs, dogmas, sentiments), point of agreement for Bacon and Descartes. Note: Bacon advocated induction in order to form theory, Descartes advocates deduction in order to test theory (hypothesis). Harder to overcome bias in sociology because we have ordinary knowledge and personal interest. Social facts may disagree with analogous personal beliefs (eg, marijuana-based petty crimes), but sociology should always seek to follow the objective and discard the subjective. Normal vs pathological label assignment seems like a subjective task, which contradicts objectivity, but Durkheim solved it by using a distribution curve. The highest number is usually normal and the extremes are usually pathological. However, he notes the habit that's apparently normal may be an artifact and no longer functional and advantageous. Abnormal seems to be a 3rd label by Szelenyi for high volume actions (like crime) that qualify as normal by high volume but are unhealthy, yet do not qualify as pathological by low volume. Nominalism vs realism vs classification (the middle road). Nominalism is the usual historian approach that each society is distinct and don't repeat. Realism is the usual philosopher approach that all humans are essentially the same and societies are just contextual. Classification applies essential social types. Social science purpose is to explain (ie, causality) social action, not just describe. Explanation should include cause and function. Usual method is comparitive (of similarities or differences) rather than experimental (application of stimuli) like in natural science. Like case law, correlations compare similar cases that control for independent variables and study differences in dependent variable. Study of differences uses cases with different independent variables and study varied effects on the dependent variable. Proper comparitive method is concomitant variations, ie, correlations. Correlation identifies intrinsic connections whereas studying differences is often illustrative rather than explanatory due to too few cases to contrast. Correlation and causation: Causality based on the inductive conclusion is verified by a testable deductive theory (hypothesis). Experimental method is best for science, but short of that in social science, then the causal mechanism of inductively observed and statistical correlation between independent and dependent variables should be confirmed by a testable hypothesis.
Hobbes lecture (first of the contractarians, man's nature is appetites and aversions, but man is driver): "Well, he had a close association with a person whom you may have heard of, Francis Bacon. And who was Francis Bacon, and what is his influence? Francis Bacon was a philosopher who rejected the Aristotelian logic and system, which basically was a speculative system--started out from some major assumptions and through deductions developed his philosophical system. As I said, occasionally I've taught this course by starting with Francis Bacon because Bacon, in some ways, is the Founding Father of modern sciences. Because he said every scientific investigation should start with induction, from sensual observation, and what you cannot observe, you should not assume it does exist. Right? Therefore he advocated a methodology which was exactly the opposite of the Aristotelian methodology, which was deductive. He advocated induction. ... He went to Paris, and he began to investigate natural sciences, Galileo and Descartes, in particular. Descartes was a great deal of importance for Hobbes. From Galileo he learned an alternative to Bacon's inductive method. Galileo offered a methodology that, by and large, social scientists today who believe in normal social science subscribe to. Namely that was the methodology, what Galileo called the resolutive-compositive method. It basically meant that you start with deduction. Right? You have some initial hypotheses. Then you move to observation, sensual observation, and from the sensual observation you make inductions. And you make that and you test your hypotheses. That's how it we would say it today. And this is what Bacon learned from Galileo and adapted his methodology. Now this is René Descartes, one of the greatest philosophers of his times and of all times. Descartes ascribed to something what I call dualism. Right? Dualism really meant that he separated the soul and body from each other, and Hobbes rejected this idea of dualism because he suggested that--in fact, they were engaged in a big debate on optics, what we do see. And he, Hobbes, was advocating that there must be a real object whose movement we see, what we actually can see. So he rejected the dualism. ... And, in fact, Hobbes translated, I also mentioned, Thucydides, basically because Thucydides expressed some skepticism about the democracy in Athens. And he was greatly skeptical about democracy and believed the need for a strong central authority. ... The idea is that we are driven by appetite, by desires. We will talk in this course later on about Sigmund Freud who was talking about drives. Right? There are drives which makes us move. These are what Hobbes called appetite, a few centuries before Sigmund Freud. But then he said we also have aversions, we have fears. There are things what we want, but we have fears that we won't be able to achieve what we want, and therefore we have to somehow negotiate out between our desires, appetites, and our fears or aversions. And what comes out is voluntary action. We have a choice. We have to measure up what the price of our action will be, and then we decide whether it is worth to pay this price or it is not worth to pay this price. ... And then the second point is we will seek power. The essence of human nature is that we are striving for power. Again an issue, a very good issue to discuss at the discussion section. Again, I think half of the class will probably agree with Hobbes, that people are actually trying to dominate others. ... It just describes what I have said, that we all have appetites, we have desires, we have needs. And in order to satisfy our needs, it always has costs, and therefore we have to figure out whether it's worth the cost for us to satisfy that need. Right? And therefore we have a certain degree of freedom. We can't do whatever we want to do, because we may not have the resources to afford it. Or we want to have many things, and then we will have to prioritize what we want to have more and spend more on it. As you can hear, Hobbes is very close to what later on becomes the utilitarians. Right? Very close to what Adam Smith will argue in his economic theory, or what John Stuart Mills will represent in his utilitarianism. Or, for that sake, what most economists today believe, who call themselves neoclassical economists, or who identify themselves as "rat" choice, or rational choice; economists or political scientists or sociologists, for that sake; there are some sociologists who also subscribe to rational choice. ... Well about power. The power is unending. Right? He said there is a general inclination for us to seek power, our influence on other people. And he said there is nothing evil about it. It is necessary because if we want to survive we will have to try to exercise influence on others. We have to seek power as such. ... He is one of the very first philosophers who claims that we are all born equal. ... Namely, he said what comes from this equality is this unending fight; that because we desire the same thing-- and he operates with the scarcity assumption, that what is desirable is actually scarce--that we'll fight each other. ... Well there are really two basic laws of nature. One law of nature is that you are forbidden what is harmful to you. Right? You have to pursue self-interest. Here again you see the rational choice theory speaking. Right? People are self-interested, and this is the law of nature that we should be self-interested. Right? We have to do everything in order to preserve our life. But there is a second law of nature, he argues, and this requires that we--what you would not do--yeah, not to do others what you would not want them to do to you. ... Well in the state of nature if there are no restraints, there is no civilization."
Locke lecture: "So we are all born free and equal. ... Men are all made by God, the omnipotent, right? And we are his property; a kind of theological argument. And we are not--have not been created for the pleasures of one another. So there should not be any man who is a superior, by principle. Because we are free, right? ... And in the state of nature, he said, we were all governed by reason. And that actually sort of--because we are all reasonable, we are born reasonable; we are born to be able to be rational. Right? And we should be able to understand that we are not supposed to harm each other.
... Hobbes said that we are actually learning morality out by interacting with others who are desiring the same stuff what we do. We are learning it from struggle, right? It does not assume that this comes out of our rationality, that we are reasonable and by nature good. He does assume that we are reasonable. ... So there is a scarcity assumption in Hobbes, and there is an abundance hypothesis in Locke, and you have to make up your mind who is appealing to you more. Do you think that the scarcity assumption is a better one, or the abundance argument is an empirically more appealing one?"
Montesquieu lecture: "But he said, but there is also a general spirit, a spirit which is above the individuals. And this is a very French theme, right? You cannot explain it from the individual; there is some general idea. Durkheim will call it collective conscience; Rousseau will call it the general will. Right? The very French idea that there is some consciousness above the individual consciousnesses--this has formulated so powerfully the first time by Montesquieu. And he actually said as civilization is progressing, the influence of the natural conditions declines, and the importance of general spirits increases. Or to put it with Durkheim, the collective conscience becomes more and more important. ... Okay, as I said, he's a methodological collectivist. Right? And I just explained this to you a little, right? A methodological individualist who begins--in order to develop a conception of society, you have to start with the individual; the only reality, what you can observe in individual action and individual consciousness. Everything else, what you suggest, is speculative. Right? This is British individualism and empiricism. Right? The French emphasizes there are stuff, like law. This is why the legal system, the law, is so important for Montesquieu. That's why the major book is called The Spirit of Law because the law is not simply a sum total of individual consciousness. It stands over us, and we get into a society and the law, the legal system already does exist."
Rousseau lecture: "Then in 1755, he writes a very interesting book--if you have spare time, read it--Discourse on the Origins of Inequality--Again, a very provocative book. In some ways there is some sort of Hobbesian idea behind that. He said, well it starts with love, but if you are really in love, well you tend to be jealous. Right? If you are deeply in love, passionately in love, then you don't like that the person who is the object of your love may have a love in somebody else; then you are jealous. And the idea is--this is the origins of inequality; we are jealous, right? There is one precious good--to put it with Hobbes--we all desire, and if somebody else desires it as well, and has a shot at it, to get it, then we become jealous, right? We want to grab it, we want to monopolize it. So this is a source of inequality, right? ... Now Rousseau, as we will see, adds a new, interesting element. He said, well, it's not quite the individuals, and he introduces the notion of general will. There is a general will which is well above the individuals--extremely important idea, has a degree of insights and realism. It's also a very dangerous idea. Totalitarian regimes very often advocate it. General will that you--and I will quote Jean Jacques for you when he said, "the individuals will have to be forced to be free"; that follows from the idea of general will. Well he's a complex thinker-- liberal on one hand, a contractarian on the other hand, and paves the road to totalitarianism."
Rousseau lecture 2: "All right, so nature good, society corrupts. Well people in nature are good; society corrupts. Well this is the opposite argument to Hobbes. Or, in fact, Durkheim's idea that you need more control over society is also opposed to Rousseau's fundamental idea. And he said, well a child does not know vice and doesn't know error. It is introduced to the child by society. And then he gives--though he was not much of a believer--he gives a bit of theological argument: "Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the author of things [God] and everything degenerates in the hands of man." "Man turns everything upside down. He wants nothing as nature made it." We are being told to get rid of our natural instincts. And this is again lovely, right? "Man must be trained like a school horse." So it's lovely. ... The task of education, not training, is not to tell you what the truth is. The task of education is to help your brain operate sufficiently to tell what is an error and to figure out when you are making an error. That's why there is no easy solutions. There is no right answer to the question. There are competing answers to every important question. And the task of education is to consider the pros and cons, to consider what speaks for and against the evidence, and then to make a judgment what is the proposition you will accept to try to eliminate error. That's what education is all about. ... Now this is turning savages into social beings, moving from amour de soi to amour propre. The love of oneself, amour de soi, is always good. There is nothing wrong about it--what Adam Smith will call self-interest. Well the child is born with amour de soi. Takes the toy away, "It's mine." Right? The other child will say, "No, this is mine." Right? This is amour de soi. I want it. Right? Amour de soi, as we will know from Freud. I want the breast of my mother. I want to monopolize it; this is mine. Right? That's amour de soi. Well but on the other hand we have to extend our relationships; we have to interact with other people. And amour propre will be when we realize there is another people who are also led by amour de soi, and we figure out the way how to live with them, by interacting with them. ... And there are--the first maxim is, "It is not the human heart to put ourselves in the place of people who are happier than we, but only of those who are more pitiable." So it is actually our weakness what makes us social, not our strengths. "It is our common miseries which turns our hearts to humanity."
Adam Smith lecture (various invisible hands, self-interest, rational markets, but also need for sympathy): "This is the central question: Where does our conception of good and evil come from? But Adam Smith already here asked this question, and he said, well "what's the solution?" That inside you there is an inner person. You are two people. You act, and there is somebody inside you who is watching you, and that inside you will tell you, "You did something wrong; that was not the right thing to do." ... Then he says--this is something which is kind of inspired by Hobbes--we are led by passion. But now he is not emphasizing fear. He said, "also by sympathy." ... We try to please people. We want to impress people. We want to have a reputation; we want to have a good reputation. We want to act honorably. So we are seeking sympathy. We have a sympathy--we have an understanding of other people's human conditions--but we are also expecting others to understand us and value us. ... Because indeed, if self-interest implies that I also want others to respect and evaluate [correction: value] me, the self-interest also implies that I want to do good to others. This is in your self-interest, that you can say at the end of the day, "I am a good person." Then, in fact, pursuing these self-interests may not be all that different from the common good because it is inside you.... And the arguments are if you are interacting with each other, do not expect benevolence. It is appealing to the self-interest of the person for whom I expect something, and not is benevolence. Well he said well we address ourselves not to the humanity of the people, not to their self-love, but we want people to take advantage of this. ... "Individuals are the better judge of their own interests than anybody else.""
Mill lecture (re Bentham, utilitarian): He said, "Well we are created to seek pleasure and to avoid pain, and therefore if we can minimize the pain and maximize the pleasure, that's when we achieve the greatest happiness." That's what will be called utility. Right? So action is right if it is leading to happiness. Right? We all want to be happy. Okay, well and this can be actually quantified. The action is right, morally right, if the sum of pleasures minus the sum of pains, multiplied by the number of persons affected by action is positive. Right? Sounds reasonable, right? If more people are happy in society than unhappy, then the society does as well as it can. Right? That's really the argument. ... So, he said, "The two big masters are pain and pleasure"; somewhat a kind of similar argument to Hobbes. And he said, "An action may be said to be conformable with the principle of utility when the tendency is to augment happiness, and that is greater than to diminish it." And what is utility? "Utility is that principle which approves or disapproves a reaction to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question.""
Mill lecture (higher levels of happiness which are individuated, legality not the same as justice, justice is higher, therefore personal liberty should not be infringed for expediency): "he also becomes very sort of unhappy with the expediency emphasis on utilitarianism--instrumentalism, the coldness of the argument. ... So he says, well there is higher happiness. Right? There is a lower level of happiness and there is a higher level of happiness. To have a good steak, well it is pleasurable. But to listen to the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, it's greater happiness. Right? It's a higher level of happiness when you hear the concluding chorale of the Ninth Symphony. You are through the roof of pleasure; you have a higher level of happiness than eating a nice rare steak. Right? That's a higher level of happiness. ... --"Individual liberty is the ultimate value, and expediency"--and you know what he means by expediency, that you get there by using the least means and you maximize the return--"expediency cannot justify intervention against individual liberty." ... The main themes in the work Utilitarianism is the concept of higher happiness; human beings have faculties for more elevated appetites than animals have. Then he talks about justice and legality. It's a very complex issue, but where he thinks that the law is a more restrictive notion than justice, and he stands for the idea of justice, and shows some contradiction between law and justice as such. And then he talks about justice and expediency--why justice cannot be simply explained by expediency. ... And I hope it got you up in speed--utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill, and Adam Smith, and you see how actually John Stuart Mill and utilitarianism radicalizes one stream of thought which is in Adam Smith, but Adam Smith is not quite ready to go as far as Bentham went, and even not as far as John Stuart Mill went."
Mill lecture 2: "These are the main themes of his book on utilitarianism, the way how he departs from Bentham--a very important change that he's beginning to emphasize there are higher happinesses we can seek. It is not simply quantity but quality of happiness is what we seek. A very important contribution, I think, and this is an idea which is only touched upon by Adam Smith but really not properly developed, and certainly completely missing in Bentham. It is really Mill's contribution which is very important for contemporary economic theory, neoclassical economics. They call this preferences, that we have preferences, and therefore individuals will attach different values to different utilities. And this really comes from the work of John Stuart Mill, when he makes this distinction between legality and justice, and what is legal is not necessarily just, and what is just is necessarily approved by laws. And then justice and expediency: what is expedient is not necessarily just, and well just may have its cost and may not be the fastest way to get there. Right? ... And therefore, he emphasizes there is a qualitative difference between human and simply animal appetites. So therefore you simply cannot do what Bentham did, simply add up appetites and to say if more appetites are satisfied, better off the society is. The chief good, so he argues, is virtue. Be virtuous and then you will feel good; you will be happier if you are virtuous, as such. ... "It is unjust to deprive anyone of his personal liberty and property." ... Well while Bentham only emphasized that we are seeking pleasure, Mill emphasized self-development. He said we have to--in our lifetime, we have to develop our capacities. Right? And what follows from this, individualism and liberty; these are the major values, rather than just satisfying our needs. ... This follows very logically from his argument of these higher happinesses, preferences, arrived at by individual judgments--not superimposed by government but individuals decide what is the higher value they attach to a utility. And therefore it can be minorities which do have different preferences, and we have to respect those preferences. That's very crucially important ideas. ... And individual liberty should always take precedence over short-term utilitarian consideration. Right? The main value is that individually that--believe me, this is not a contradiction, it follows very logically from the idea of preferences and from the idea that there are qualitative differences between utilities, and you are the only one who can decide what is worse for you. Nobody else can make a decision, a judgment for you. This is consistent with Adam Smith, by the way. ... And he said this is absolutely necessary to have total freedom of speech because an opinion, which suppressed right, then we lose the opportunity to exchange truths for error. ... government cannot limit individual liberties, only if that causes injury. ... And well interference. The only justification is self-protection. Right? This is very much in line of Hobbes' argument."
Nietzsche lecture: "the big project in Nietzsche is to offer a critical scrutiny of human mind, but not to have any critical vantage point. Right? To criticize the very principles of good society and good, to critical scrutiny. Where does it come from when we have the conception of good and good society? That is his project. ... he was a great admirer of the Greek civilization. And here he--his idea is that the whole human history is driven by the struggle between a Dionysian and Apollonian principle. Dionysian means--right?--your sentiments, right? You act out of your instincts. And Apollonian means the reason, as such. And the book contrasts Enlightenment. Enlightenment is reason. It's a victory of Apollonian principle over the Dionysian principle. And he kind of rejected--this is also why he's also kind of post-Modern, right?--he rejects Enlightenment and Enlightenment excessive rationalism. ... Well Nietzsche has a philosophy called Notion of the Übermensch. The Übermensch is the person who achieves self-mastery, who--basically the alienated person--right?--who is in control of his own life--right?--and can express himself authentically, without oppressive civilization. Right? That's the Übermensch. ... In a way this is a Buddha. It is an idea of a Buddha, but not a passive Buddha. He disliked Buddhism as much as he disliked the Judeo-Christian tradition. The problem with Buddhism was that it is too passive. He wanted to have an active Buddhism. Right? Somebody who becomes a master of its life, through action, acting out his feelings and his even sensual essence in life. And therefore he can overcome what he calls "the eternal return." Right? He can overcome the iron law of these--you know, this is again comes from almost Marx. Right? Reified consciousness. The reified word can be broken. There are no rules. Right? You can realize yourself in the world, and you are not ruled by the external world. ... But I hope you get sort of the bottom line. Right? The bottom line is have a radical critical theory, which does not need ultimate value to be critical of false ideas and lies. Get truth; and the ideal is the person who can fulfill itself in the world, and conquer the world as such."
Marx lectures, comparisons to Smith: "So the first point is there is in--you know, we are talking about commodity producing commercial societies, to put it with Adam Smith. ... We treat each other as an instrument to reach an end. Right? We call the others only when we need that person for something. Right? We act out of simply self-interest in interacting with the others. We lack compassion. Right? We lack love. Right? We lack sympathy. Right? You know, he probably did not read his Adam Smith carefully enough. Right? He has not been reading much Smith until '44. This is where he's beginning to read Smith very carefully, around this time, in '44. Anyway, you see the point what he is making. And I think what Marx describes in alienation, particularly alienation from fellow human beings, is something what probably some people in this room can respond to, and to say, "Well yes, I did experience that. I have been treated as an object. When I go to the admission office, occasionally an administrator treats me like a piece of paper. ... And then we get, starting with the second Marx, the first step towards the second Marx is the "Theses on Feuerbach," what I want to talk about today. And I'll try to economize with my time, right? Right? I have to learn from Adam Smith--right?--to be more utilitarian and to make sure that means and ends do match with each other. Okay, let's come back to Hegel and Hegel's theory of alienation. ... He now enters the road of radicalization, moves away from Hegel, and tries to carve out his own intellectual and political project. And he writes the paper "On the Jewish Question" in which he says, "Well Hegel is right. We need something universal. We should not allow society just to be the struggle of particularistic interests." Right? This is in a way against Adam Smith's utilitarianism. It's not enough that individuals fight each others' interests out, and that will end up to a universal good. We need some universal good to be achieved, and it will not simply achieved by particularistic interests followed. That is Marx's point. But then he writes an introduction to the Critique-- Contributions to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. And in this introduction he said, "Well, we need something; universal emancipation. But who will bring universal emancipation to humankind?" Right? He's looking for an agent who can carry this out. And in the introduction, he said, "This will be the proletariat." Well you may say now he's entering the wrong road--right?--and he's entering a very--he's basically painting himself in the corner, where he will be for the rest of his life, trying to show that indeed the proletariat will emancipate us all, and will create a good society as such. ... But many thinks that Jürgen Habermas was the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century. He said, "Well yes, Marx in "The Theses on Feuerbach" is right" at one point. I mean, Habermas had his 'culture' turn, moved away from materialism. But in most of his life he said, "I am a materialist because I also believe that the ultimate reality has to come through sensuous experiences, through the senses." Right? But he said, "Marx later on, the mature Marx became reductionist, because the sensuous activity he identified with the economy, with production, with economic activities." And he said, "In "The Theses on Feuerbach" he got it right. All sensuous activity are material." "So therefore," he says, "let's not simply limit our analysis to production, but let's look at human interaction." When we interact with each other, this is also a sensuous activity. Right? So he creates peace between Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx. Many people try to do that. Right? That this is not an opposition, that it is either production or your sexual drives. You know, your sexual drives--your sexual interaction with others--is very much sensuous. Right? It's actually more sensuous than doing a job--right?-- than, you know, being in McDonald's and serving hamburgers. That's sensuous activity. But all right, you know, sexual interaction is very much sensuous. That's Habermas's point. And Marx, in "The Theses on Feuerbach", opens this possibility up. It's a very open argument. Okay? This is actually one of the reasons why he does not publish it. It's too vague. He wanted to be more precise, and then he wanted to go--he was reading Adam Smith and Ricardo, and spent all of his time in the British Library reading these economists, and he wanted to bring it back down to earth, to the economy and economic interest. ... Okay, what are the major themes in The German Ideology? First, he offers a materialist view of history. Then he offers a theory of modes of production. Then he's beginning to develop forces of production and initially division of labor; and this is a problem. This is very much Adam Smith. He's still very strongly under Adam Smith and understands the evolution of society as the evolution of division of labor. And then he describes-- tries to describe the forces of production and division of labor--modes of production and describes a subsection and modes of production and give a very about human history. And then he develops what I would call--he's the first who creates a sociology of knowledge--how to study sociologically, socially how you can understand conscience, human consciousness. ... Well he said, "Well, we can distinguish therefore differences between nature, how the productive forces"--he means by technology--"is developing and how"--he uses initially the term the inter--"the intercourse, internal intercourse is changing." And by this he refers to division of labor. A very Smithsian idea, Adam Smith's idea. Right? That history evolves a greater division of labor--we will see in Emile Durkheim also this central idea--you can see the evolution of society by increasing division of labor. ... There is actually not a single theorist I can recall who, like Karl Marx, not only has a very specific set of ideas in what stages human evolution, from the very elementary societies to the most complex one evolved. There are many who offer typologies like this. We have seen in Montesquieu, we have seen in Adam Smith; there were many who did that. But what is unique about Marx, that he has a genuine theory of history. He has a very powerful argument what is the exact causal mechanism which leads the transition from one form of society to another one; what drives historical evolution. Marx is genuinely the Darwin of social scientists, in this respect. What Darwin could do with The Evolution of Species, Marx was capable to do in the theory of history. It's a genuine theory. Right? A theory, when you have an idea what are really the causal mechanisms, what links cause to an effect. And Marx has such a theory. ... Well there are some very important key differences, as we proceed from The German Ideology to the Grundrisse. Well in The German Ideology there's one important difference. History is driven by increasing division of labor. And I pointed to this in the earlier lecture. Here he draws directly on Adam Smith. He basically takes it over from Adam Smith. That's what Adam Smith did. In the Grundrisse, on the other hand, he sees a movement, a gradual movement over history, towards private ownership; that's what drives the story. "A gradual separation of the laboring subject and the objective conditions of the worker." That's how he describes now human history. And doing so--separation of laboring subject and the objective conditions of labor--enables him in the Grundrisse to bring back the notion of alienation. He already seemed to have forgotten and put it on the shelf. Then he will forget it again. But for this piece of work, the idea of alienation re-interpreted as the making of private ownership and the separation of worker and the objective conditions of work is very crucial, very important. ... As I said, in the initial formulation, he really thinks this is the division of labor, rather than property relationships. And I think we have seen it, he will--this comes straight out of Adam Smith, what you have read. Right? The relations of different nations among themselves depends to which each has developed these productive forces, the division of labor and its internal intercourse. So that's exactly--right?--what Adam Smith said. Hunting/gathering societies, grazing societies, agricultural societies, commercial societies, they all correspond to different levels of division of labor. And that's what Marx initially tries to do in The German Ideology. And he deals with the question of the property relations, but he said, "Look, property relations also change, but these changing property relations are simply the outcomes of the increased division of labor." So it's basically determined by the division of labor. "If I understand the level of division of labor, I will understand property relationships as well." That sounds actually quite reasonable. And these sections of The German Ideology, by the way, were rediscovered by Marxists in the 1950s, especially Marxists who were living in the Soviet Empire. ... He turns into a historical materialist in The German Ideology, but does not quite get it yet. Right? Too much under the influence of Adam Smith. The division of labor is still important and private property does not get the centrality of the analysis, what it's supposed to have for the theory. Then you read the Grundrisse, in which he kind of--now private property is in the central place, but he tries to bring back the idea of alienation. And he also considers that in The German Ideology he became too deterministic; history is more open than he may have believed. And then finally he finishes the book--at least the first volume of the book he always wanted to write--Das Kapital. ... So let's move to the question of theory of exploitation. And I will have to start this with the labor theory of value, and to go back to Adam Smith and to see how Marx is proceeding. Then I want to make a step further, Marx's distinction between commodity production and the capitalist mode of production. This is again taking his point of departure as Adam Smith's, Adam Smith's idea of commercial society. And what Marx does, well there are different types of commercial societies. One he calls the petty commodity production, and the other one capitalist mode of production. As we all know, he never used the term capitalism. He comes the closest to this concept by using the term capitalist mode of production. Neither Smith nor Marx had the concept of capitalism, as such. Then in order to understand what is unique about the capitalist mode of production, we have to understand Marx's theory of labor power as a commodity. ... And now the labor theory of value. The point of departure is John Locke and Adam Smith. Right? As you recall, already John Locke suggested that all value is created by labor; or, I mean, he's a little more cautious, at least 90% of all value is created by labor. ... And, as you recall, Adam Smith claims at one point, "All value is created by labor." Well but of course Adam Smith, when he comes to explaining the distribution of wealth, takes a step back from this proposition. And we discussed that when we discussed Adam Smith. Let me just remind you what the step backward. Right? The tension--right?--in Adam Smith was that on one hand he claims all value is created by labor, and then when it comes to the question but how is wealth or income distributed. He said, "Well it ought to be distributed between the three factors of production--right?--labor, capital and land; wages, profit and rent. And they have to be equally distributed in a just way, between these three factors of production." Right? And I think you remember we clarified that this is not a contradiction in Adam Smith. Somehow when he's claiming that all value is created by labor, he almost has a theory of human nature. Right? That in the state of nature, when there is no private property of land, and there is no accumulation of capital, then all value is created by labor. But this is just in this imagined--right?--natural conditions of existence. In all complex societies private ownership exists and private--and capital is being accumulated. And then, you know, in order to get production going, the capitalist has to rent--give capital, advance capital, to the worker. Without the advancement of capital, the laborer would not work. And therefore the owner of capital has due claim for part of the value which is created in the process of production. Because it took risks--right?--by offering its capital, and it had to supervise the labor process, and wants to have compensated for its risk taking and its supervision. And you could not operate without land, without a site. All activities need a site, and if somebody owns that site, they'll have to be compensated that you are on the site; and that is rent. Well this is a little more problematic in Adam Smith. You know, for capital he makes a pretty strong case, you know, why it is fair for the capitalist to collect profit. For the owner of the land, he--they are collecting rent. That's a little more problematic, whether rent is also something, a just income. And we all have a little unease--right?--when we are talking about rent, or when we are talking about, for instance, rent-seeking behavior. Right? That sounds a bad behavior, if somebody's seeking rent. Right? The reason is simple; because we associate in our mind rent-seeking behavior with monopoly. Right? Rent-seeking behavior comes from monopolistic ownership, and we don't particularly like monopolies. Right? We want competition, free competition--right? Free markets, and not monopolies. Right? Monopoly's a bad word. Anyway, this is a little of a problem. But nevertheless I think his fundamental point, in Adam Smith, that there is some fair distribution of income between the three factors of production, because they are all necessary for the production for the production process. ... Okay, then let's move further and let's try to figure out how--what Marx does to Adam Smith, and how he radicalizes Adam Smith. Marx does not want to go the Adam Smithsian way, to say there is a fair distribution of wealth between the three factors of production. ... And here there is an agreement--right?--with Adam Smith. Right? You have--right?--factors of production. But Marx wants to be consistent--consistent in saying that all value is being created by labor. ... So Marx starts to shy away from the idea that there is a kind of fair distribution between capital, land and labor. He said, "No, I mean, all value is being created by labor." So this is his kind of reconstruction of the labor theory of value, and leads us into the idea of exploitation. ... Okay, let's move a little further and makes--and let's have this important contribution what Marx makes between petty commodity production and capitalist mode of production, right? It's trying to sort of break up Adam Smith's idea of commercial society or market economy or capitalism. Marx seemed to have a more complex notion. Well he said this is petty commodity production, and he again offers us a little equation here. He said petty commodity production begins with a commodity, and then you go to the marketplace, sell this commodity for money, in order to purchase a commodity. This itself is commercial society. This is commodity production. But it is not capitalism. Right? ... Now but then he said well capitalism is a different ballgame. We are talking about a capitalist economy when the cycle starts with money. ... "Well, we have an economic system in which we have--right?--people who accumulated capital, and they are entering the marketplace. And what do they do? They produce commodities. And why do they do so? Because they want to have more money; that's it."
Nietzsche lecture - intro: "I think it's also very easy to see the point of departure from Marx--some continuity, but the basic point of department from Marx in the work of Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber. If I can put it very simply, the major departure is that they all depart from Marx's economic reductionism--right?--the emphasis on economic interest, which is actually not only Marx. Right? It was common in Adam Smith, and Marx as well. They depart from this and they emphasize that the problem in modernity is not so much in the economic system; it is much more in terms of power and consciousness. The problem of modernity is repression, in one way or another. The problem of modern life is that we internalize the reasons for our own subjugation, as such, and somehow we have to figure out how to liberate ourselves from this internalized subjugation. Why do we obey orders? Why do we actually accept that we are subjugated? This is the central question, I think, Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber are posing. It's again a question which has not been really asked by the other theorists we discussed so far. They just had civil society as a point of reference for the good society. Now the problem for Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber is in us, internally--in us, how we solve the problem within ourselves. So this is a kind of introducing the three authors. In some ways one can say Nietzsche, Freud, and Weber not only foreshadows twentieth century social theory, but in some ways they are the first of post-modern theorists--right?--the theorists which are beginning to come to terms with the oppressive nature of modernity, and try to figure out how to transcend that."
Weber lecture (summary of Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Weber): "But there are fundamental differences between the four authors. And in some ways there is a similarity between Marx and Freud. Marx and Freud all take their point of departure in their project to be critical of consciousness for sensuous human experience. Right? Material reality. In one way or another they are both materialists. Right? Of course, for Marx it is reductionist, because this sensuous human experience is reduced to the economy. "You tell me what your position in the economic system are, then I understand what your economic interests are. You are behaving and you are thinking according to your economic interests, and then I will understand what is on your mind." Well, by the way, it's not all that different--right?--from Adam Smith and rationally acting individuals. Marx has some similarities. Only he offers it critically, while Adam Smith offered it affirmatively. But that is Marx's reductionism; that what is sensuous experience is reduced to the economy."
Durkheim: "What is it? Durkheim, in The Division of Labor, has a core of an idea what one can call the ecosystem. Right? He sees an inter-relationship between the physical environment, the size of population which lives in this physical environment, the technology which is used in this environment and the division of labor, and the type of social organization what we have, what kind of social solidarity you have. Let me just put this on the blackboard. I think this is rarely noticed. You will rarely hear in Durkheim's lectures, or rarely read about this when you read about Durkheim. So the idea is that you have the environment, you have the population, you have technology, and you have social organization, and these constitute a system, right, which interacts with each other; and what ought to be studied is really this whole system. And, of course, technology has a lot to do with division of labor. Right? And that's what can be called the ecosystem. He doesn't call it this way, but environmental researchers would call it today as the ecosystem."