Marx's Immense Theoretical Revolution

We can now go back to the past and assess the distance between Marx and his predecessors -- and between his object and theirs.

From now on we can abandon the issue of anthropology, whose function in Political Economy was to establish both the economic nature of economic phenomena (by the theory of the homo oeconomicus ) and their existence in the homogeneous space of a given. Once this anthropological 'given' has been removed, the space remains, which is precisely what interests us. What happens to it, in its being, once it can no longer be based on an anthropology, what effects does this omission have on it?

Political Economy thought the economic phenomena as deriving from a planar space governed by a transitive mechanical causality, such that a determinate effect could be related to an object-cause, a different phenomenon; such that the necessity of its immanence could be grasped completely in the sequence of a given. The homogeneity of this space, its planar character, its property of givenness, its type of linear causality: these are so many theoretical determinations which, as a system, constitute the structure of a theoretical problematic, i.e., of a certain way of conceiving its object, and at the same time of posing it definite questions (defined by the problematic itself) as to its being, while anticipating the form of its answers (the quanti- tative schema): in short, an empiricist problematic. Marx's theory is radically opposed to this conception. Not that it is an 'inversion' of it: it is different, theoretically unrelated to it, and therefore in rupture with it. Because he defined the economic by its concept, Marx does not present economic phenomena -- to illustrate his thought temporarily with a spatial metaphor -- in the infinity of a homogeneous planar space, but rather in a region determined by a regional structure and itself inscribed in a site defined by a global structure: therefore as a complex and deep space, itself inscribed in another complex and deep space. But let us abandon this spatial metaphor, since this first opposition exhausts its virtues: everything depends, in fact, on the nature of this depth, or, more strictly speaking, of this complexity. To define economic phenomena by their concept is to define them by the concept of this complexity, i.e., by the concept of the (global) structure of the mode of production, insofar as it determines the (regional) structure which constitutes as economic objects and determines the phenomena of this defined region, located in a defined site in the structure of the whole. At the economic level,

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strictly speaking, the structure constituting and determining economic objects is the following : the unity of the productive forces and the relations of production. The concept of this last structure cannot be defined without the concept of the global structure of the mode of production.

Once we have simply put Marx's fundamental theoretical concepts in their places and posed them in the unity of a theoretical discourse, a number of important consequences follow.

First : the economic cannot have the qualities of a given (of the immediately visible and observable, etc.), because its identification requires the concept of the structure of the economic, which in turn requires the concepts of the structure of the mode of production (its different levels and their specific articulations -- because its identification therefore presupposes the con- struction of its concept. The concept of the economic must be constructed for each mode of production, as must the concept of each of the other 'levels' that belong to the mode of production: the political, the ideological, etc. Like every other science, therefore, all economic science depends on the construction of the concept of its object. On this condition, there is no contradiction between the theory of Economics and the theory of History: on the contrary, the theory of economics is a subordinate region of the theory of history, understood of course in the non-historicist, non-empiricist sense in which we have outlined the theory of history.[43] And just as any 'history' which does not work out the concept of its object, but claims to 'read' it immediately in what is visible in the 'field' of historical phenomena, is still bound willy-nilly to be tainted with empiricism, any 'political economy' which goes to the 'things themselves', i.e., to the 'concrete', the 'given', without constructing the concept of its object, is still willy-nilly caught in the toils of an empiricist ideology and constantly threatened by the reemergence of its true 'objects', i.e., its objectives (whether these are the ideals of classical liberalism or those of a 'humanism' of labour, even a socialist one).

Second : if the 'field' of economic phenomena no longer has the homogeneity of an infinite plane, its objects are no longer de jure homogeneous at all points with one another: they are therefore no longer uniformly susceptible to comparison and measurement. This by no means excludes from economics the possibility of measurement or of the intervention of the instruments of mathematics and its peculiar modalities, etc., but it does make it from now on subject to a prior conceptual definition of the sites and limits of the measurable, and of the sites and limits to which the other resources of mathematical science (e.g., the instruments of econometrics and other formalization procedures) can be applied. Mathematical formalization must be subordinate to conceptual formalization. Here, too, the limits between political economy and empiricism, even formalistic empiricism,
43 Cf. Chapter 3.

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coincide with the boundary between the concept of the (theoretical) object and the 'concrete' object, along with even the 'mathematical' protocols of it manipulation.

The practical consequences of this principle are obvious: e.g., in the solution of the 'technical' problems of planning, in which 'problems' which arise quite simply from the absence of the concept of the object, i.e., from economic empiricism, are frequently treated as real 'technical' problems. The intellectual 'technocracy' lives by this kind of confusion, securing its full-time employment with it; for nothing takes so long to resolve as a problem which does not exist or has been badly posed.

Third : if the field of economic phenomena is no longer this planar space but a deep and complex one, if economic phenomena are determined by their complexity (i.e., their structure), the concept of linear causality can no longer be applied to them as it has been hitherto. A different concept is required in order to account for the new form of causality required by the new definition of the object of Political Economy, by its 'complexity', i.e., by its peculiar determination: the determination by a structure.

This third consequence deserves our whole attention, for it introduces us to an absolutely new theoretical domain. An object cannot be defined by its immediately visible or sensuous appearance, it is necessary to make a detour via its concept in order to grasp it (begreifen grasp, Begriff concept): these theses have a familiar ring to them -- at least they are the lesson of the whole history of modern science, more or less reflected in classical philosophy, even if this reflection took place in the element of an empiricism, whether transcendent (as in Descartes), transcendental (Kant and Husserl) or 'objective'-idealist (Hegel). It is true that much theoretical work is needed to deal with all the forms of this empiricism sublimated in the 'theory of knowledge' which dominates Western philosophy, to break with its problematic of subject (cogito ) and object -- and all their variations. But at least all these philosophical ideologies do 'allude' to a real necessity, imposed against this tenacious empiricism by the theoretical practice of the real sciences: i.e., that the knowledge of a real object is not reached by immediate contact with the 'concrete' but by the production of the concept of that object (in the sense of object of knowledge) as the absolute condition of its theoretical possibility. If, formally, the task which Marx has allotted to us in forcing us to produce the concept of the economic in order to be able to constitute a theory of political economy, in obliging us to define by its concept the domain, limits and conditions of validity of a mathematization of that object, if it does break with all the empiricist-idealist traditions of Western critical philosophy, then it is in no sense in rupture with effective scientific practice. On the contrary, Marx's requirements restate in a new domain the requirements which have long been imposed on the practices of those sciences which have achieved autonomy. These requirements often conflict with the practices that have reigned and still do reign in economic

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science, practices which are deeply steeped in empiricist ideology, but this is undoubtedly because of the youth of this 'science', and also because 'economic science' is especially exposed to the pressures of ideology: the sciences of society do not have the serenity of the mathematical sciences. As Hobbes put it, geometry unites men, social science divides them. 'Economic science' is the arena and the prize of history's great political battles.

But our third conclusion is quite different, and so is the requirement it imposes on us to think the economic phenomena as determined by a (regional ) structure of the mode of production, itself determined by the (global ) structure of the mode of production. This requirement poses Marx a problem which is not only a scientifc problem, i.e., one that arises from the theoretical practice of a definite science (Political Economy or History), but a theoretical, or philosophical problem, since it concerns precisely the production of a concept or set of concepts which necessarily affect the forms of existing scientificity or (theoretical) rationality themselves, the forms which, at a given moment, define the Theoretical as such, i.e., the object of philosophy.[44] This problem certainly does involve the production of a theoretical (philosophical) concept which is absolutely indispensable to the constitution of a rigorous discourse in the theory of history and the theory of political economy: the production of an indispensable philosophical concept which does not exist in the form of a concept.

Perhaps it is too soon to suggest that the birth of every new science inevitably poses theoretical (philosophical) problems of this kind: Engels thought so -- and we have every reason to believe him, if we examine what happened at the time of the birth of mathematics in Greece, at the time of the constitution of Galilean physics, of infinitesimal calculus, at the time of the foundation of chemistry and biology, etc. In several of these conjunctures we find the following remarkable phenomenon: the 'reprise' of a basic scientific discovery in philosophical reflection, and the production by philosophy of a new form of rationality (Plato after the discoveries of the mathematicians of the fifth and fourth centuries before Christ, Descartes after Galileo, Leibniz with infinitesimal calculus, etc.). This philosophical reprise', this production by philosophy of new theoretical concepts which solve the theoretical problems contained 'in the practical state', if not explicitly posed, in the great scientific discoveries in question, mark the great breaks in the history of the Theoretical, i.e., in the history of philosophy. However, it seems that certain scientific disciplines have established themselves or thought themselves established by the mere extension of an existing form of rationality (psycho-physiology, psychology, etc.) which would tend to suggest that not any scientific foundation ipso facto induces a revolution in the Theoretical, but presumably only a scientific foundation which is obliged to
44 Cf. Part I, section 14.

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reorganize practically the existing problematic in the Theoretical in order to think its object; the philosophy capable of reflecting the upheaval produced by the emergence of such a science by bringing to light a new form of rationality (scientificity, apodicticity, etc.) would then mark by its existence a decisive punctuation, a revolution in the history of the Theoretical.

Bearing in mind what has been said elsewhere of the delay required for the philosophical production of this new rationality and even of the historical repressions to which certain theoretical revolutions may be subjected, it seems that Marx offers us precisely an example of this importance. The epistemological problem posed by Marx's radical modification of Political Economy can be expressed as follows: by means of what concept is it possible to think the new type of determination which has just been identified as the determination of the phenomena of a given region by the structure of that region? More generally, by means of what concept, or what set of concepts, is it possible to think the determination of the elements of a structure, and the structural relations between those elements, and all the effects of those relations, by the effectivity of that structure? And a fortiori, by means of what concept or what set of concepts is it possible to think the determination of a subordinate structure by a dominant structure? In other words, how is it possible to define the concept of a structural causality?

This simple theoretical question sums up Marx's extraordinary scientific discovery: the discovery of the theory of history and political economy, the discovery of Capital. But it sums it up as an extraordinary theoretical question contained 'in the practical state' in Marx's scientific discovery, the question Marx 'practiced' in his work, in answer to which he gave his scientific work, without producing the concept of it in a philosophical opus of the same rigour.

This simple question was so new and unforseen that it contained enough to smash all the classical theories of causality -- or enough to ensure that it would be unrecognized, that it would pass unperceived and be buried even before it was born.

Very schematically, we can say that classical philosophy (the existing Theoretical) had two and only two systems of concepts with which to think effectivity. The mechanistic system, Cartesian in origin, which reduced causality to a transitive and analytical effectivity: it could not be made to think the effectivity of a whole on its elements, except at the cost of extra-ordinary distortions (such as those in Descartes' 'psychology' and biology). But a second system was available, one conceived precisely in order to deal with the effectivity of a whole on its elements: the Leibnizian concept of expression. This is the model that dominates all Hegel's thought. But it presupposes in principle that the whole in question be reducible to an inner essence, of which the elements of the whole are then no more than the phenomenal forms of expression, the inner principle of the essence being present at each point in the whole, such that at each moment it is possible to

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write the immediately adequate equation: such and such an element (economic, political, legal, literary, religious, etc., in Hegel) = the inner essence of the whole. Here was a model which made it possible to think the effectivity of the whole on each of its elements, but if this category -- inner essence/outer phenomenon -- was to be applicable everywhere and at every moment to each of the phenomena arising in the totality in question, it presupposed that the whole had a certain nature, precisely the nature of a 'spiritual ' whole in which each element was expressive of the entire totality as a 'pars totalis'. In other words, Leibniz and Hegel did have a category for the effectivity of the whole on its elements or parts, but on the absolute condition that the whole was not a structure.

If the whole is posed as structured, i.e., as possessing a type of unity quite different from the type of unity of the spiritual whole, this is no longer the case: not only does it become impossible to think the determination of the elements by the structure in the categories of analytical and transitive causality, it also becomes impossible to think it in the category of the global expressive causality of a universal inner essence immanent in its phenomenon. The proposal to think the determination of the elements of a whole by the structure of the whole posed an absolutely new problem in the most theoretically embarrassing circumstances, for there were no philosophical concepts available for its resolution. The only theoretician who had had the unprecedented daring to pose this problem and outline a first solution to it was Spinoza. But, as we know, history had buried him in impenetrable darkness. Only through Marx, who, however, had little knowledge of him, do we even begin to guess at the features of that trampled face.

This is merely to return to the most general form of a fundamental and dramatic theoretical problem of which the preceding studies have given us a precise idea. I call it a fundamental problem because it is clear that by other paths contemporary theory in psycho-analysis, linguistics, other disciplines such as biology, and perhaps even physics, has had to confront it, without suspecting that Marx had 'produced' it in the true sense, long ago. I call it a dramatic theoretical problem because although Marx 'produced ' this problem he did not pose it as a problem, but set out to solve it practically in the absence of its concept, with extraordinary ingenuity, but without completely avoiding a relapse into earlier schemata which were necessarily inadequate to pose and solve this problem. It is on this problem that Marx is attempting to focus in the tentative sentences we can read in the Introduction :

In all forms of society it is a determinate production and its relations which assign every other production and its relations their rank and influence. It is a general illumination (Beleuchtung ) in which all the other colours are plunged and which modifies their special tonalities. It is a special ether which defines the specific weight of every existence arising in it (op. cit., p. 27).

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This text is discussing the determination of certain structures of production which are subordinate to a dominant structure of production, i.e., the determination of one structure by another and of the elements of a subordinate structure by the dominant, and therefore determinant structure. I have previously attempted to account for this phenomenon with the concept of overdetermination, which I borrowed from psycho-analysis; as one might suppose, this transfer of an analytical concept to Marxist theory was not an arbitrary borrowing but a necessary one, for the same theoretical problem is at stake in both cases : with what concept are we to think the determination of either an element or a structure by a structure? It is this same problem that Marx has in view and which he is trying to focus by introducing the meta- phor of a variation in the general illumination, of the ether in which bodies are immersed, and of the subsequent alterations produced by the domination of one particular structure in the localization, function and relations (in his own words: the relations, their rank and influence), in the original colour and the specific weight of the objects. The constant and real presence of this problem in Marx has been demonstrated by the rigorous analysis of his expressions and forms of reasoning in the preceding papers. It can be entirely summed up in the concept of 'Darstellung ', the key epistemological concept of the whole Marxist theory of value, the concept whose object is precisely to designate the mode of presence of the structure in its effects, and therefore to designate structural causality itself.

The fact that we have isolated the concept of 'Darstellung ' does not mean that it is the only one which Marx uses in order to think the effectivity of the structure: a reading of the first thirty pages of Capital shows that he uses at least a dozen different expressions of a metaphorical kind in order to deal with this specific reality, unthought before him. We have retained this term because it is both the least metaphorical and, at the same time, the closest to the concept Marx is aiming at when he wants to designate at once both absence and presence, i.e., the existence of the structure in its effects.

This is an extremely important point if we are to avoid even the slightest, in a sense inadvertent relapse into the diversions of the classical conception of the economic object, if we are to avoid saying that the Marxist conception of the economic object is, for Marx, determined from the outside by a non-economic structure. The structure is not an essence outside the economic phenomena which comes and alters their aspect, forms and relations and which is effective on them as an absent cause, absent because it is outside them. The absence of the cause in the structure's 'metonymic causality '[45] on its effects is not the fault of the exteriority of the structure with respect to the economic phenomena ; on the contrary, it is the very form of the interiority of the structure, as a structure, in its effects. This implies therefore that the effects are not outside the structure, are not a pre-existing object, element or space in which
45 An expression Jacques-Alain Miller has introduced to characterize a form of structural causality registered in Freud by Jacques Lacan.

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the structure arrives to imprint its mark : on the contrary, it implies that the structure is immanent in its effects, a cause immanent in its effects in the Spinozist sense of the term, that the whole existence of the structure consists of its effects, in short that the structure, which is merely a specific combination of its peculiar elements, is nothing outside its effects.

This specification is very important when we have to deal with the occasionally strange form which the discovery of this reality and the search for expressions for it take, even in Marx. To understand these strange forms it is essential to note that the exteriority of the structure with respect to its effects can be conceived either as a pure exteriority or as an interiority on the sole condition that this exteriority or interiority are posed as distinct from their effects In Marx, this distinction often takes the classical form of the distinction between the inside and the outside, between the 'intimate essence' of things and their phenomenal 'surface', between the 'intimate relations', the 'intimate links' of things and the external relations and links of the same things. And it is well known that this opposition, which derives in principle from the classical distinction between essence and phenomenon, i.e., from a distinction which situates in being itself, in reality itself, the inner site of its concept, and therefore opposes it to the 'surface' of concrete appearances; which therefore transposes as a difference of level or of components in the real object itself, a distinction which does not belong to that real object since it is a matter of the distinction which separates the concept or knowledge of the real from that real as an existing object; -- it is well known that this opposition sometimes leads Marx to the following disarming pleonasm: if the essence were not different from the phenomena, if the essential interior were not different from the inessential or phenomenal exterior, there would be no need for science.[46] It is also well known that this singular formula may gain strength from all those arguments of Marx's which present the development of the concepts as the transition from the abstract to the concrete, a transition understood as the transition from the essential, in principle abstract interiority to the concrete, visible and palpable outer determinations, a transition summed up in the transition from Volume One to Volume Three. All these ambiguous arguments depend once again on the confusion between the thought-concrete, which Marx completely isolated from the real-concrete in the Introduction, and this same real-concrete -- whereas in reality, the concrete of Volume Three, i.e., the knowledge of ground rent, profit and interest, is, like all knowledge, not the empirical concrete but the concept, and therefore still always an abstraction: what I have been able to and have had to call a 'Generality III', in order to stress that it was still a product of thinking, the knowledge of an empirical existence and not that empirical existence itself
46 Capital, Vol. III, p. 797: 'All science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and the essence of things directly coincided.' This re-echoes the old dream which haunted all classical political reflection: all politics would be superduous if men's passions and reasons coincided.

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It is therefore essential to be rigorous and draw the conclusion that the transition from Volume One to Volume Three of Capital has nothing to do with the transition from the abstract-in-thought to the real-concrete, with the transition from the abstractions of thought necessary in order to know it to the empirical concrete. We never leave abstraction on the way from Volume One to Volume Three, i.e., we never leave knowledge, the 'product of thinking and conceiving': we never leave the concept. We simply pass within the abstraction of knowledge from the concept of the structure and of its most general effects, to the concepts of the structure's particular effects -- never for an instant do we set foot beyond the absolutely impassable frontier which separates the 'development' or specification of the concept from the development and particularity of things -- and for a very good reason: this frontier is impassable in principle because it cannot be a frontier, because there is no common homogeneous space (spirit or real ) between the abstract of the concept of a thing and the empirical concrete of this thing which could justify the use of the concept of a frontier.

I am very insistent on this ambiguity because I want to show clearly the difficulty Marx found when he had to think in a really reflected concept the epistemological problem which he had nevertheless produced: how was he to account theoretically for the effectivity of a structure on its elements? This difficulty was not without its consequences. I have pointed out that theoretical reflection before Marx had provided two and only two models for an effectivity in thought: the model of a transitive causality, Galilean and Cartesian in origin, and the model of an expressive causality, Leibnizian in origin and adopted by Hegel. But by playing on the ambiguity of the two concepts, these two models could quite easily find common ground in the classical opposition between phenomenon and essence. The ambiguity of these concepts is indeed obvious: the essence does refer to the phenomenon, but at the same time secretly to the inessential. The phenomenon does refer to the essence of which it can be the manifestation and expression, but at the same time, and secretly, it refers to what appears to be an empirical subject, to perception, and therefore to the empirical state of mind of a possible empirical subject. It then becomes quite simple to accumulate these ambiguous determinations in reality itself, and to locate in the real itself a distinction which is only meaningful as a function of a distinction outside the real, since it brings into play a distinction between the real and the knowledge of the real. In his search for a concept with which to think the remarkable reality of the effectivity of a structure on its elements, Marx often slipped into the really almost inevitable use of the classical opposition between essence and phenomenon, adopting its ambiguities by force rather than merit, and transposing the epistemological difference between the knowledge of a reality and that reality itself into reality in the form of the 'inside and the outside ', of the real, of the 'real movement and the apparent movement ' of the 'intimate essence ' and its concrete, phenomenal determinations,

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perceived and manipulated by subjects. There are surely consequences in this for his conception of science, as we could have seen when Marx had to provide the concept of what his predecessors had either found or missed -- or the concept of the difference between himself and them.

But there were also consequences in this ambiguity for the interpretation of the phenomenon he baptized 'fetishism '. We have proved that fetishism is not a subjective phenomenon related either to the illusions or to the perceptions of the agents of the economic process, that it cannot be reduced therefore to the subjective effects produced in the economic subjects by their place in the process, their site in the structure. But how many of Marx's texts present fetishism as an 'appearance ', an 'illusion' arising purely in 'consciousness', show us the real, inner movement of the process 'appearing ' in a fetishized form to the 'consciousness' of the same subjects in the form of the apparent movement! And yet how many other texts of Marx's assure us that this appearance is not subjective at all, but, on the contrary, objective through and through, the 'illusion' of the 'consciousness' and perceptions being itself secondary, and dislocated by the structure of this primary, purely objective 'illusion'! At this point we see Marx most clearly struggling with reference concepts which are inadequate to their objects, now accepting, now rejecting them in a necessarily contradictory movement.

However, and by virtue of these same contradictory hesitations, Marx often takes the side of what he was actually saying: and he then produces concepts adequate to their object, but it is just as if, producing them in a lightning gesture, he had not marshalled and confronted this production theoretically, had not reflected it in order to impose it on the total field of his analysis. For example, when dealing with the rate of profit, Marx wrote:

In fact, the formula s/c [the rate of profit] expresses the degree of self-expression of the total capital advanced . . . taken in conformity with its inner conceptual connexions (seinem begrifflichen, innern Zusammenhang entsprechend gefasst ) and the nature of surplus-value (Capital, Vol. III, p. 45).

In this passage, and in several others, Marx is unambiguously 'practising' the truth that interiority is nothing but the 'concept ', that it is not the real 'interior' of the phenomenon, but knowledge of it. If this is true, the reality that Marx studies can no longer be presented as a two-level reality, inside and outside, the inside being identified with the pure essence and the outside with a phenomenon, sometimes purely subjective, the state of mind of a 'consciousness', sometimes impure, because it is foreign to the essence, or inessential. If the 'inside ' is the concept, the 'outside' can only be the specification of the concept, exactly as the effects of the structure of the whole can only be the existence of the structure itself. Here, for example is what Marx says of ground rent:

As important as it may be for a scientific analysis of ground rent -- that is, the independent and specific economic form of landed property on the

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basis of the capitalist mode of production -- to study it in its pure form free of all distorting and obfuscating irrelevancies, it is just as important for an understanding of the practical effects of landed property -- even for a theoretical comprehension of a multitude of facts which contradict the concept and nature of ground-rent and yet appear as modes of existence of ground-rent -- to learn the sources which give rise to such muddling in theory (Vol. III, p. 610).

Here we have in black and white the double status Marx attributes to his analysis. He is analysing a pure form which is none other than the concept of capitalist ground-rent. He thinks this purity both as the modality and the definition of the concept, and at the same time he thinks it as what he distinguishes from empirical impurity. Still, he does at once think this same empirical impurity in a second correcting movement as the 'modes of existence ', i.e., as theoretical determinations of the concept of ground-rent itself. In this latter conception we leave the empiricist distinction between pure essence and impure phenomenon, we abandon the empiricist idea of a purity which is thus only the result of an empirical purge (since it is a purge of the empirical) -- we really think the purity as the purity of the concept, the purity of a knowledge adequate to its object, and the determinations of this concept as the effective knowledge of the modes of existence of ground-rent. It is clear that this language itself revokes the distinction between inside and outside, and substitutes for it the distinction between the concept and the real, or between the object (of knowledge) and the real object. But if we take this indispensable substitution seriously, it directs us towards a conception of scientific practice and of its object which no longer has anything in common with empiricism.

Marx states unambiguously the principles of this quite different conception of scientific practice in the 1857 Introduction. But it is one thing to develop this concept and quite another to set it to work in order to solve the unprecedented theoretical problem of the production of the concept of the effectivity of a structure on its elements. We have seen Marx practising this concept in the use he makes of the 'Darstellung ', and trying to pinpoint it in the images of changes in the illumination or in the specific weight of object by the ether in which they are immersed, and it is sometimes directly exposed in Marx's analyses, in passages where it is expressed in a novel but extremely precise language: a language of metaphors which are nevertheless already almost perfect concepts, and which are perhaps only incomplete insofar as they have not yet been grasped, i.e., retained and elaborated as concepts. This is the case each time Marx presents the capitalist system as a mechanism, a machinery, a machine, a construction (Triebwerk, Mechanismus, Getriebe . . . Cf. Capital, Vol. III, p. 858 -- Marx-Engels Werke, Bd. XXV, p. 887 -- Capital, Vol. III, p. 859; Vol. II, p. 216; Vol. II, p. 421; Vol. II, p. 509); or as the complexity of a 'social metabolism' (Capital, Vol. III, p.

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793 -- modified). In every case, the ordinary distinctions between outside and inside disappear, along with the 'intimate' links within the phenomena as opposed to their visible disorder: we find a different image, a new quasi-concept, definitely freed from the empiricist antinomies of phenomenal subjectivity and essential interiority; we find an objective system governed in its most concrete determinations by the laws of its erection (montage ) and machinery, by the specifications of its concept. Now we can recall that highly symptomatic term 'Darstellung ', compare it with this 'machinery' and take it literally, as the very existence of this machinery in its effects: the mode of existence of the stage direction (mise en scène ) of the theatre which is simultaneously its own stage, its own script, its own actors, the theatre whose spectators can, on occasion, be spectators only because they are first of all forced to be its actors, caught by the constraints of a script and parts whose authors they cannot be, since it is in essence an authorless theatre.

Need I add anything more? Marx's repeated efforts to break down the objective limits of the existing Theoretical, in order to forge a way of thinking the question that his scientific discovery has posed philosophy, his failures and even his relapses are a part of the theoretical drama he lived, in absolute solitude, long ago, and we are only just beginning to suspect from the signs in our heavens that his question is our question, and will be for a long time, that it commands our whole future. Alone, Marx looked around him for allies and supporters: who can reproach him for allowing himself to lean on Hegel? As for us, we can thank Marx for the fact that we are not alone: our solitude only lies in our ignorance of what he said. We should accuse this ignorance in us and in all those who think they have forstalled him, and I only include the best of them -- when they were only on the threshold of the land he discovered and opened for us. We even owe it to him that we can see his weaknesses, his lacunae, his omissions: they concur with his greatness, for, in returning to them we are only returning to the beginnings of a discourse interrupted by death. The reader will know how Volume Three ends. A title: Classes. Forty lines, then silence.

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