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12. Capital in Marx, or ‘Life’ in Hegel

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Chapter Summary

Dogmatic claims and fixed ideas have been, in France and elsewhere, an important obstacle to the understanding of the real meaning of the concept of capital. The Hegelian dialectic is supposed to be, according to these analyses, profoundly incompatible with the Marxian method. In Hegel, the term 'Idea' does not correspond to its usual usage. The 'Idea' is neither the subjective representation of a reality, nor the 'theorisation' of an empirical reality or an experience. In Marx - from the Grundrisse onwards - capital possesses a universal and a particular aspect, value and use-value, the commodity and money, and capital itself is the unity of these in movement. In the Science of Logic, the chapter entitled 'Life' is also organised around three points dealing with the 'living individual', 'the life process' and 'the genus'. These three points correspond to 'Shape', 'Assimilation' and the 'Genus-process'.

Keywords: commodity capital; genus-process; Hegelian dialectic; Marxian method; money capital; productive capital; Science of Logic

10.1163/9789004256262_016
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