From: cyrilsmith- at (Mr C Smith)

Subject: Application of logic.

I'd like to respond to Julio's remarks.

No, it wouldn't be sensible to 'reject the application of logical method ... to any theoretical purpose', because there's a lot of it about. Mathematics, for example, works precisely in that way. What I want to say is rather (1) that this procedure has a particular social context, relating to money, the division of labour, the State, and (2) that its use in discussing the categories of political and economic life must stand in the way of any questions being asked about the human content of these categories. It leads to each category being accepted as 'natural' or a necessary part of all social being, while its historical specificity is rendered invisible.

Thus an economist can 'apply' mathematical and statistical methods, relating econometric variables as if they were like mass, acceleration, force in mechanics. The actual exploitative and oppressive content of the economic situation, in which people are treated like things and vice versa, can't then be thought about at all. (In my Tony Smith article - which Andy hopes to make available on the site - I compared the thinking of an economist with an attempt to tell jokes to a computer.)

Although he was the first to describe the syllogism, Aristotle uses it only to relate essences, not to connect things. Hegel also wants to give the categories of logic ontological meanings. Marx praises him for this, but points out the limitations of what he can do with it.

I hope this makes things a bit clearer.

Best wishes,