Sunday, July 19, 2015

Work-in-Progress: Degeneration, Race, and the Rise of Sociology (reposted from the Until Darwin blog)

Degeneration, Race, &  the Rise of Sociology  
 (reposted from the Until Darwin blog

The work of writing the follow-up to Until Darwin has begun.  Below is a little bit about the manuscript.  I'll be posting more here over the next few months as I hope to complete it during my sabbatical this coming spring semester.  In hindsight, my approach in Until Darwin had an important silence because it was focused on the importance of Darwin's encounters with slavery on his thinking about nature.  Of course, Darwin is a towering figure across many disciplines whose work simply can not be ignored if we want to understand how we got to the place we find ourselves.  However, Darwin's shadow obscures just how difficult it was for even him to end the monogenic/ploygenic debates.  Most importantly, it obscures the continuities joining the concepts of polygenism, degeneracy, and race before and after the publication of the Origin, as well as their place in the emerging fields of sociology and biology. 

The persistence of the concepts of degeneracy and race, as well as polygenism, is a problem confronting not only Darwin scholars, but one to be found in the pages of any history of degeneracy or racialism. How is it that theories of race and degeneracy predate the Darwinian revolution and move from a relatively minor position within Natural History to a dominant position within the new sciences of life? By investigating this question, we are led to consider how polygenism, race, and degeneracy were reinterpreted after the collapse of Natural History. To do so is to reveal how the fields of biology and sociology relied on each other for validation and legitimacy through shared scientific ideologies of race and degeneracy. In my previous work, one gets the impression that Darwin's Origin of Species was an epistemological break, but it was an error to have left that impression. It is the persistence, and actual centrality, of these scientific ideologies that raise questions about the extent of the "revolution" initiated by the publication of the Origin. Degeneracy, race, and polygenism were not discarded as out-date scientific ideologies.  If anything, what was witnessed in the wake of the Origin of Species was an intensification of the scientific exploration of race and degeneracy as dynamic social forces in modern life, at times with an undercurrent of polygenic theory. Of course, one must admit that Darwinism produces its own theories of race and degeneracy, but equally true is that these most accommodating of Natural History's ideologies found their place with the new sciences of life. They remain  powerful scientific ideologies that gave legitimacy and social relevance to biology and sociology. It is almost impossible to imagine biology and sociology as disciplines apart from their relevance to government and to the health of the governed.

Thomas Huxley wrote that Naturalists like himself – for the term “biologist” was only just coming into use – had been too humble to simply and honestly lay their rightful claim to the domain of life, and so for the sake of convenience ceded the study of modern human life to sociology.  Huxley was quick to point out that with the inevitable advance of knowledge, biology will one day no longer need to be so humble and so will take its place as the central organizing science of social and natural life.  Until then, at the very least, “ should not be surprised if it occasionally happens that you see a biologist trespassing upon questions of philosophy or politics; or meddling with human education; because, after all, that is part of his kingdom which he has only voluntarily forsaken” (Huxley. 1876 (1902) “Study of Biology” in Scientific Memoirs IV: 252-253).  As told by this foremost of the new scientists, confining themselves to one domain of life acknowledged the formation of what his contemporary William Sumner called “the sciences of life in society" in which "....biology and sociology touch.  Sociology is a science which deals with one range of phenomena produced by the struggle for existence, while biology deals with another.  The forces are the same... the sciences are cognate” (1881:173). (from “Sociology” in War and Other Essays: 165-194). 

So the question that we will attempt to examine in this manuscript is a deceptively simple one: how is it that notions of polygenism, degeneracy and race survived the end of Natural History and were so easily incorporated into, and transformed by, the new sciences of life? It should be admitted that this question demands a more complex answer than this manuscript will provide. We can only point out an avenue of critique that has not been fully accessible until recently.  These pages will focus on one crucial aspect of this critique: the place of degeneracy and race in the emerging disciplines of biology and sociology, with special attention being given to their place in the emergence and legitimization of sociology in the United States. We can justify this focus on the United States, if indeed it need be justified, because it is where the polygenic theory reached its zenith and where slavery made questions of race and degeneracy matters of everyday life and politics. The sciences of life and society have always given a special place to degeneracy and race. Broadly speaking, the social was always biological and the biological has always been social, at least since that time when we began to speak of sociology and biology.

NGRAM (just for fun) Biology,Sociology,Biologist,Sociologist,biologist,sociologist,degenerate,degeneration,eugenics: 1800-1939

Herbert Marcuse on The Frankfurt School (video): An Interview with Brian Macgee.

Herbert Marcuse on The Frankfurt School, parts I-V.
Bryan Macgee talks with Herbert Marcuse about his work, his relation to the student movements, and the legacy of the Frankfurt School.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV Part V

Friday, July 10, 2015

READING MARX: Selected Sources on Materialism

Selected Sources on Materialism for the Genealogical Study of the Writings of Karl Marx

"Once into his library, however, and having fixed his one eyeglass in the corner of his eye, in order to take your intellectual breadth and depth, so to speak, he loses that self-restraint, and unfolds to you a knowledge of men and things throughout the world apt to interest one. And his conversation does not run in one groove, but is as varied as are the volumes upon his library shelves. A man can generally be judged by the books he reads, and you can form your own conclusions when I tell you a casual glance revealed Shakespeare, Dickens, Thackeray, Moliere, Racine, Montaigne, Bacon, Goethe, Voltaire, Paine; English, American, French blue books; works political and philosophical in Russian, German, Spanish, Italian, etc., etc." --- Chicago Tribune reporter's comments on interviewing Marx, January 5, 1879.

Karl Marx
"Karl Marx went to the University of Berlin with a happy heart engaged to the beautiful Jenny von Westphalen. He was matriculated at Berlin on October 22 1836 being then 1 8 years and 5 months old. The University of Berlin was at that time still enjoying some of the splendid glory of the great name of Hegel who had died five years before. During the time that great metaphysician held the chair of Theology there Berlin University was the Mecca of German students. They came from all parts of Germany often at great sacrifice to enjoy the priceless advantage of sitting at Hegel's feet. Among those who studied there was Ludwig Feuerbach the philosopher of humanitarian religion whose Wesen des Christenthums profoundly influenced the mental development of Marx as may be seen from his and Engels Die Heilige Familie. David Strauss author of the Life of Jesus was another. But while the University of Berlin was still enjoying some of the splendour of Hegel's fame it was already declining. It had begun to lose some of the great prestige it had enjoyed during the time Hegel was in active service there. Marx entered the university when it was undergoing a transition. Less on account of the passing of Hegel than because of changing economic conditions theology and speculative philosophy in general occupied a secondary place in the life and thought of the nation practical subjects such as jurisprudence now held the place of honor. A new school of Naturalist philosophers had arisen under the leadership of the brilliant Alexander von Humboldt.

Philosophy and history were the two subjects of study which most appealed to Marx but he studied jurisprudence to please his father as a necessary evil he said. It was his good fortune to have begun his studies in jurisprudence under those eminent jurists Frederich Karl von Savigny and Eduard Gans the former of whom was lecturing at the university upon Roman Law, the latter upon Criminal Law and Prussian Property Rights. Others who were lecturing and teaching at the University of Berlin at the time were Rudolff Erbrecht upon Theology, Philosophy and Philology, Bruno Bauer upon Theology, Karl Ritter upon Geography, and J P Gabler upon Logic. Of these Bruno Bauer and Rudolff Erbrecht were Marx's personal friends. Of all the others Eduard Gans seems to have exercised the greatest influence upon him, special mention being made in the report he received upon leaving of his attention to the lectures of his friend Bauer and those of Gans. As a matter of fact he studied only a little more successfully at Berlin than he had previously done at Bonn. He worked very hard it is true often endangering his health by the intensity of his studies but it was mainly independent personal work outside of the university altogether. During the term he attended very few lectures indeed and though he successfully graduated in 1841 at Jena with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy he cannot be said to have had a very distinguished university career. -- John Spargo. 1910. Karl Marx: His Life and Work. B. W. Huebsch, 35-36.

Marx's Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy (1839).
On the Difference between the Democritean & Epicurean Philosophy of Nature, Doctoral Thesis (1841).
Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts (1844).
The Holy Family, Or the Critique of Critical Criticism. Marx & Engels (1845).
Theses On Feuerbach (1845).
The German Ideology Marx & Engels (1845).
The Poverty of Philosophy: Answer to the Philosophy of Poverty by M. Proudhon (1847).
Grundrisse der Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie (1857-61).
Marx's Ethnographical Notebooks
Marx's Notebooks on the History of Technology
"… I have re-read my notebooks (extracts) on technology, and am attending a practical (only experimental) course for workers on the same by Professor Willis (in Jermyn Street, the Institute for Geology, where Huxley also gave his lectures)… While re-reading the technological-historical excerpts, I came to the conclusion that, apart from the invention of gun-powder, the compass and printing - these necessary pre-requisites for bourgeois development - from the 16th to the mid-18th centuries, i.e. the period of the development of manufacture from craftsmanship until really large-scale industry, the two material foundations on which were based the preparations for mechanised industry within manufacturing were the clock and the mill.…" Marx, letter to Engels of January 28, 1863. Marx & Engels, Letters on Capital, 82-84.

Eleanor Marx-Aveling. Biographical Notes on Marx’s Literary Interests.
And so many and many a year later Marx told stories to his children. To my sisters — I was then too small — he told tales as they went for walks, and these tales were measured by miles not chapters. “Tell us another mile,” was the cry of the two girls. For my own part, of the many wonderful tales Mohr told me, the most wonderful, the most delightful one, was “Hans Röckle.” It went on for months and months; it was a whole series of stories. The pity no one was there to write down these tales so full of poetry, of wit, of humour! Hans Röckle himself was a Hoffmann-like magician, who kept a toyshop, and who was always “hard up.” His shop was full of the most wonderful things — of wooden men and women, giants and dwarfs, kings and queens, workmen and masters, animals and birds as numerous as Noah got into the Arc, tables and chairs, carriages, boxes of all sorts and sizes. And though he was a magician, Hans could never meet his obligations either to the devil or the butcher, and was therefore — much against the grain — constantly obliged to sell his toys to the devil. These then went through wonderful adventures — always ending in a return to Hans Röckle’s shop. Some of these adventures were as grim, as terrible, as any of Hoffmann’s; some were comic; all were told with inexhaustible verve, wit and humour.

And Mohr would also read to his children. Thus to me, as to my sisters before me, he read the whole of Homer, the whole Nibelungen Lied, Gudrun, Don Quixote, the Arabian Nights, etc. As to Shakespeare he was the Bible of our house, seldom out of our hands or mouths. By the time I was six I knew scene upon scene of Shakespeare by heart.

On my sixth birthday Mohr presented me with my first novel — the immortal Peter Simple [adventure novel by the English writer Frederick Marryat]. This was followed by a whole course of Marryat and Cooper. And my father actually read every one of the tales as I read them, and gravely discussed them with his little girl. And when that little girl, fired by Marryat’s tales of the sea, declared she would become a “Post-Captain” (whatever that may be) and consulted her father as to whether it would not be possible for her “to dress up as a boy” and “run away to join a man-of-war,” he assured her he thought it might very well be done, only they must say nothing about it to anyone until all plans were well matured. Before these plans could be matured, however, the Scott mania had set in, and the little girl heard to her horror that she herself partly belonged to the detested clan of Campbell. Then came plots for rousing the Highlands, and for reviving “the forty-five.” [refering to Walter Scott’s novel Waverley which described an uprising against the British rule in Scotland in 1745] I should add that Scott was an author to whom Marx again and again returned, whom he admired and knew as well as he did Balzac and Fielding. And while he talked about these and many other books he would, all unconscious though she was of it, show his little girl where to look for all that was finest and best in the works, teach her — though she never thought she was being taught, to that she would have objected — to try and think, to try and understand for herself.
Biographical Notes on Marx’s Literary Interests by Eleanor Marx-Aveling
Source: Marx Engels On Literature and Art, Progress Publishers, 1976. Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

Marx: Interviews and the Observations of a Spy:
New York World, July 18, 1871.
New York World, October 15, 1871.
Chicago Tribune, January 5, 1879.
 New York Sun, September 6, 1880.
Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff: 
      A letter to Princess Victoria concerning Dr. Marx, February 1, 1879.
"Altogether my impression of Marx, allowing for his being at the opposite pole of opinion from oneself, was not at all unfavourable and I would gladly meet him again. It will not be he who whether he wishes it or not will turn the world upside down."

Frederick Engels
Dialectics of Nature (1873-1886).
Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy (1886).
Marx as the "Literary Prometheus" after the censoring of his newspaper.

The opening quotation of Marx's Dissertation is from Prometheus Bound:
"Be sure of this, that I would not change my evil fortune to be the faithful boy to father Zeus"
These are the only surviving texts of the c.70 plays by Aeschylus.

The Orestia Trilogy
The Suppliants
Other Plays
Prometheus Bound
The Seven Against Thebes
The Persians
The Choephori

"Anaxagoras himself, who first gave a physical explanation of heaven and in this way brought it down to earth in a sense different from that of Socrates, answered, when asked for what purpose he was born: 'For the observation of the sun, the moon, and the heaven' " (Marx. Dissertation, 66).
"The Eleatics, as the first discoverers of the ideal forms of substance, who themselves still apprehended the inwardness of substance in a purely internal and abstract, intensive manner, are the passionately enthusiastic prophetic heralds of the breaking dawn. Bathed in simple light, they turn away indignantly from the people and from the gods of antiquity. But in the case of Anaxagoras the people themselves turned away indignantly from the wise man and declared him to be such, expelling him from their midst. In modern times Anaxagoras has been accursed of dualism. Aristotle says in the first book of the Metaphysics that he uses the nous like a machine and only resorts to it when he runs out of natural explanations. But this apparent dualism is on the one hand that very same dualistic element which split the heart of the state in the time of Anaxagoras, and on the other hand it must be understood more profoundly. The nous is active and is resorted to where there is no natural determination. It is itself the non ens [not-being] of the natural, the ideality. And then the activity of this ideality intervenes only when physical sight fails the philosopher, that is, the nous is the philosopher's own nous, and is resorted to when he is no longer able to objectify his activity. Thus the subjective nous appeared as the essence of the wandering scholar, and in it power as ideality of real determination, it appears on the one hand in the Sophists and on the other in Socrates" (Marx. Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy, 436).
According to Diogeneres Laertius "Among the early philosophers....[Epicurus'] favorite was Anaxagoras, although he occasionally disagreed with him..."

History of Animals
Nicomachean Ethics
On Generation and Corruption
On the Parts of Animals
Politics (Translated by Benjamin Jowett)
The Athenian Constitution
On Longevity and Shortness of Life

Pierre Bayle
"The man who deprived seventeenth-century metaphysics and metaphysics in general of all credit in the domain of theory was Pierre Bayle. His weapon was skepticism, which he forged out of metaphysics' own magic formulas. He himself proceeded from Cartesian metaphysics. Just as Feuerbach by combating speculative theology was driven further to combat speculative philosophy, precisely because he recognized in speculation the last prop of theology, because he had to force theology to retreat from pseudo science to crude, repulsive faith, so Bayle too was driven by religious doubt to doubt about the metaphysics which was the prop of the faith. He therefore critically investigated metaphysics in its entire historical development. he became its historian in order to write the history of its death. He refuted chiefly Spinoza and Leibniz.

Pierre Bayle not only prepared the reception of materialism and of the philosophy of common sense in France by shattering metaphysics with his skepticism. He heralded the atheistic society which was soon to come in to existence by proving that a society consisting only of atheists is possible, that an atheist can be a man worthy of respect, and that it is not by atheism but by superstition and idolatry that man debases himself. To quote a French writer, Pierre Bayle was 'the last metaphysician in the sense of the seventeenth century and the first philosopher of the eighteenth century'" (Marx. Holy Family, 157-158).

Historical and critical dictionary: selections (1826)
An Historical and Critical Dictionary, Volumes 1-4.
Oeuvres diverses de M. Pierre Bayle.
Nouvelles de la republique des lettres.
Leibniz's Exchange of Views with Pierre Bayle.
Works by or about Pierre Bayle.

J. E. Cairnes
Follower of John Stuart Mill. Cairnes' The Slave Power: its character, career, and probable designs, being an attempt to explain the real issues involved in the American contest (1862) was a defense of the North in the American Civil War, made a great impression in England. Interested in noncompeting groups in the labor market and known for his distrust of mathematical economics. Works include: The Character and Logical Method of Political Economy (1857), and Some Leading Principles of Political Economy Newly Expounded (1874).

See also Adelaide Weinberg. 1970. John Elliot Cairnes and the American Civil War.
"The slave-owner buys his labourer as he buys his horse. If he loses his slave, he loses capital that can only be restored by new outlay in the slave-mart." -- Marx citing Cairnes' Slave Power.

Henry Charles Carey
U.S. economist, advocate of protective tariffs.
The Slave Trade, Domestic and Foreign: why it exists & how it may be extinguished
"In all countries of the world man has become free as land has acquired value, and as its owners have been enriched ; and in all man has become enslaved as land has lost its value, and its owners have been impoverished.... Freedom grows with growing wealth, not grow- ing poverty. To increase the cost of raising slaves, and thus to increase the value of man at home, produces exactly the effect anticipated from the other course of operation, because the value of the land and its produce grows more rapidly than the value of that portion of the negro's powers that can be obtained from him aa a slave — that is, without the payment of wages." (p.395-396)

DÊMOCRITUS OF ABDÊRA from Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, by Kathleen Freeman. 1948.
"Dêmocritus of Abdêra was in his prime about 420 B.C.
A large body of written work was produced at Abdera, during and after Democritus’ time. Thrasyllus, Roman scholar of the first century A.D., using the work of Alexandrian scholars, arranged these works in tetralogies, according to their subject-matter. Ethics (Tetralogies I and II); Natural Science (III to VI); Mathematics (VII to IX); Music (X and XI); and Technical Works (XII and XIII). There were also a group of treatises under the title Causes; a group of monographs on various subjects, the genuineness of which is suspect; a large number of Maxims; and a group of forged writings on magic."

Duns Scotus
"Already the British schoolman Duns Scotus, asked, "whether it was impossible for matter to think?" (Holy Family, 158)
A Treatise on God as First Principle
"Help me then, O Lord, as I investigate how much our natural reason can learn about that true being which you are if we begin with the being which you have predicated of yourself."


Introduction to The Epicurus Reader
An introduction of Epicureanism
by D.S. Hutchinson
Introduction to Lucretius
An introduction to Lucretius in four parts
by M.F. Smith
I. Lucretius
II. On the Nature of Things
III. Epicurus and Epicureanism
IV. The Structure of Lucretius’ Poem

Collections of Epicurean Sayings:
The Principal Doctrines

The Vatican Sayings

     A short anthology of fragments compiled by Cyril Bailey

Epicurea Enumerated fragments from Hermann Usener’s 1887 compilation
Fragments from known works (U1 - U218)
Fragments from uncertain sources (U219 - U607)

De Rerum Natura

Diogenes of Oinoanda
The Epicurean Inscription (Abridged)
by Diogenes of Oinoanda
(c. 200 CE) Translation by Martin Ferguson Smith

A Gigantic Jigsaw Puzzle: The Epicurean Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda via Youtube with Martin Ferguson Smith

The Rhetorica
Philodemus Project

Diogenes Laertius
The biography of Epicurus from The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers
Epicurus’ will
Epicurus’ letter to Herodotus - A Summary of Physical Nature
Epicurus’ letter to Pythocles - A Summary of Phenomena of the Sky
Epicurus’ letter to Menoeceus - How to Live a Happy Life

Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Moral Epistles. Translated by Richard M. Gummere. The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1917-25. 3 vols.: Volume I.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Moral Epistles. Translated by Richard M. Gummere. The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1917-25. 3 vols.: Volume II.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Moral Epistles. Translated by Richard M. Gummere. The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1917-25. 3 vols.: Volume III.

De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum
De Natura Deorum

Cornelius Nepos
"Atticus" a biography of Roman Epicurean Titus Pomponius Atticus

Alexander the Oracle-Monger
Zeus Rants

Ludwig von Feuerbach
"In these circumstances, a short, coherent account of our relation to the Hegelian philosophy, of how we proceeded, as well as of how we separated, from it, appeared to me to be required more and more. Equally, a full acknowledgement of the influence which Feuerbach, more than any other post-Hegelian philosopher, had upon us during our period of storm and stress, appeared to me to be an undischarged debt of honor." -- Engels, Ludwig von Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy
The Essence Of Christianity In Relation To The Ego and Its Own
Principles of the Philosophy of the Future
"Things in thought should not be different from what they are in reality. What is separate in reality should not be identical in thought. To exclude thinking or ideas – the intellectual world of the neo-Platonists – from the laws of reality is the privilege of theological capriciousness. The laws of reality are also the laws of thought."
Pierre Bayle: Nach seinen für die Geschichte der Philosophie und Menschheit
Ludwig Feuerbach Archive
Epicurus, By Peter Gassendi, Translated by Thomas Stanley

Hegel by Hypertext Home Page (features many complete texts)
Jean Hyppolite. Logic & Existence (1952). State University of New York Press, 1997. Final Chapter before Conclusion reproduced here: "The Organisation of the Logic: Being, Essence, Concept"

(fl. about 450-370 BC), Greek philosopher, probably born in Abdera. Virtually nothing is known of his life and none of his writings survive. He is, however, credited with founding the atomic theory of matter, later developed by his pupil, Democritus. According to this theory, all matter is constituted of identical indivisible particles called atoms. We have but one fragment, which Wheelwright translates (though Kirk and Raven dispute its authorship) as:
"Nothing happens at random; whatever comes about is by rational necessity"

Proudhon Archive
Proudhon letter to Marx, Lyon, 17 May 1846.

Complete Works.
Timon of Athens (Marx's favorite and often quoted play)
All's Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
The Comedy of Errors
Florizel and Perdita (adaptation of Winter's Tale)
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, Part 1
Henry VI, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love's Labour's Lost
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Richard II
Richard III
Richard III (18th century adaptation)
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter's Tale

The chief works of Benedict de Spinoza, vol. I.
The chief works of Benedict de Spinoza, vol. II.