Monday, December 29, 2008

Philosophy 118: 08 December, 2008

These notes were taken from my class with Dr. Reyes for Philosophy 118 last December 08...

.:Marx: Man Is Work:.

Marx rails against the ascetic tendencies of people who insist that the ideal life involves no work. Be it the Grecian point of view where the slaves do the work, or the Judeo-Christian concept where in paradise or in heaven, there is no work, these are all points of contention for Marx.

.:Man Raising Himself Above Nature:.

Muscles: man performs manual labor. Carrying something by himself, pushing something by himself, and so on and so forth.

Available Forces Of Nature: Man would use the winds for a sailboat to move. Man is still obviously at the mercy of nature in this regard.

Processing Nature: Refining crude oil into gasoline, processing wind into electricity, and so forth, making use of a particular force of nature and then processing it into a different form.

Automation: Man, using technology, imposes upon the rhythm of nature, be it having automated lamps, or a thermostat.

Through work, man achieves himself. For instance, an artist not doing art is not completely a man. A merchant who is not selling is a diminished human being. Marx looks down upon the people who do not work, regardless of one's reasons.

Furthermore, work is social. It is a matter of collaboration. Man working in solitude will be fighting a losing battle against nature. Man, society, and nature come together through work.

For Marx, work is the humanization of nature, and the naturalization of man.

While humanizing nature is almost self-explanatory, Marx's turn of phrase in the second segment is a clever twist on nature insofar as nature, given its Latin etymology, nature is a self-generation, or a self-birth to an extent.

Currently, the work we do does not lead to the renewal of man, but rather the death of people in society. As we have yet to master our work, we strive towards a society that can regenerate itself. Contrast this with our present situation where our society cannot sustain itself. This is the idea of naturalization of humanity: to make it sustainable and self-sufficient.

.:The History Of Work:.

The Form Of Production: at any point in history, the form of production hinges on what human relations exist based upon the force of production.

The Force Of Production: at any point in history, there area always certain forces of production at work, be it manual labor, horsepower, electrical power, or nuclear power.

Man as a hunter and a gatherer. The force of production would be the bow and arrow, perhaps an axe or a spear. The form of production would be a diffused communal ownership. Nobody could claim exclusive ownership of anything. As nomads, it was absurd to think that anyone could own any particular piece of land.

Man in the age of settled agriculture. The force of production would be the plow, or the beast of burden, or irrigation techniques. The form of production became a family ownership. If a family works on a piece of land, this land may now be claimed by a particular family.

For the first time, we see a certain measure of disparity between families with varying amounts of arable land. At some point, the anomaly arises that has a group of people who do not have any land they may claim, and in turn become dependent on the land owner. They become the serfs and tenants, ushering in the age of feudalism. Here you have the potential for a class struggle.

.:Quotable Quotes:.

“What do you do in heaven? I don't know... maybe pushing clouds around, and polishing your own halo?”

- Dr. Reyes

“Before the age of the horse, there was no chance to have an empire.”

- Fr. Dela Costa

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