Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Money of the Mind and the God of Commodities – The real abstraction according to Sohn-Rethel

Cardoso Machado, Nuno Miguel (2013): The Money of the Mind and the God of Commodities – The real abstraction according to Sohn-Rethel.

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Abstract

According to Sohn-Rethel there is a “secret identity” between commodity form and thought form. Commodity exchange is a real abstraction – embodied in money – and constitutes a social a priori which reflects itself in the conceptual abstraction, i.e., in the abstract thought typical of commodity-producing societies: philosophy (in ancient Greece) and modern science (in capitalism). However, the theory of Sohn-Rethel has a fundamental flaw: its exclusive identification of the real abstraction with the sphere of circulation results in the ontologization of labor which, on the contrary, is a capitalist specificity and the original source of the abstraction in this society.

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