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"Torsion & Tension" [Chapter One, PDF download]

As discussed in my previous post, I'm slowly publishing a small manuscript––an extended essay I intended to expand but eventually shelved––as a serial, chapter by chapter, after some light copy-edits to make it more readable.  Today I'm offering the first chapter (The Meaning of "Dialectical Materialism"), and the prologue can be downloaded in the aforelinked post.

I also noted in my introductory post, which was kind of a rambling introduction to the actual manuscript introduction (and I hope nobody made the mistake of thinking the post was the prologue, quitting in frustration before discovering the link to the download at the bottom), that one of the reasons I left this manuscript in an early draft form was because I was uncomfortable with some of its aspects.  While doing the copy-edit I noticed one of these aspects, that will become a little problem later on, and that is an appeal to a kind of ontological language, i.e. the concept of being.  While it is correct to note that Marx used terminology like "social being" I am starting to become convinced that there is a certain kind of error with conflating his use of the word with its ontological status when, in point of fact, by the time he embarked on writing Capital he had vacated these words of their speculative philosophical content and filled them up with something else.  That is, he was not doing an ontology in the traditional sense; he wasn't even doing a "social ontology" but, in fact, was producing a scientific theory.  Hence, his use of "being" only shares the same sense of the previous concept of "being" in the way that the modern use of "atom" is related to the ancient Atomists' understanding of the word.

In any case, since there were parts of the manuscript that kind of signalled this (i.e. my discussion and tangent about the "scaffolding" disappearing in Capital)––and because I'm not very interested in doing any substantial edits that would then require substantially editing a later section as well––I left it as is.  For those interested in my thoughts on the problematic of ontology mentioned above, I have two manuscripts, one of which is currently being considered for publication and the other which requires serious draft work, which get into this subject in more detail.

Download Torsion and Tension chapter 1