Thread: Is the Hegelian triad thesis-antithesis-synthesis really a myth?

Results 1 to 20 of 34

  1. #1
    Join Date Jan 2007
    Posts 303
    Rep Power 11

    Default Is the Hegelian triad thesis-antithesis-synthesis really a myth?

    Is the Hegelian triad thesis-antithesis-synthesis really a myth? The Hegelian triad has been repeatedly debunked as a myth and its been fairly will proven that neither Hegel, Marx, or Engels ever used it except as a term of insult. Nevertheless upon reading Hegel's logic it seems that the term very aptly describes Hegel's method of reasoning and deduction. Can someone please explain to me what is incorrect about the triad, and how Hegel's method is actually different.
  2. #2
    Join Date Jan 2008
    Posts 50
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    The crude "thesis->antithesis->synthesis" reduction of the dialectical mode of thought was actually first presented by Chalybäus, and not Hegel.

    The dialectic as utilized by Marx (and Hegel) instead is a method of analyzing how two forces in contradiction influence each other, but end up negating the contradiction between them. For example, a person is who they are because: 1) of the environmental imprints which form their consciousness; and 2) the free choices they make in consideration of their conscious desires. We must understand that determination and free will are in dialectical opposition in our lives, yet both are still very much valid.

    I don't know if that was a useful description, but I guess I'm trying to say that dialectics is not just an A>B>C formula, but instead a tool for understanding contradictions. Also: it cannot be fetishized as a metaphysical system at the heart of the universe. It is simply a tool - not a "theory of everything", as the SI and Comintern made it.
    [FONT=Garamond]"The first premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of living human individuals. Thus the first fact to be established is the physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature....Men can be distinguished from animals by consciousness, by religion or anything else you like. They themselves begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence, a step which is conditioned by their physical organisation. By producing their means of subsistence men are indirectly producing their actual material life." - k. marx
    [/FONT]
  3. #3
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Renegadoe is correct; you can read the sordid details here:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...95&postcount=7
  4. #4
    Join Date Jan 2007
    Posts 303
    Rep Power 11

    Default

    Your quote basically blames it on Marx. But many Marxists deny that Marx ever said it except as an insult.

    But I think that ignores the fundamental question. I wont challenge the fact that Marx and Hegel never used the term. But it still seems from my cursory reading of the Logic, that it is how Hegel reasons. You can change the words if you want proposition-opposite-reconciliation, or what have you. But something along those lines seems to be at work. The fundamental Hegelian triad is being, nothingness, and becoming. whatever words you want to call it, to my untrained mind that seems to be the equivalent of the Hegelian triad.
  5. #5
    Join Date Apr 2007
    Location Eisenach, Gotha, & Erfurt
    Posts 14,079
    Organisation
    Sympathizer re.: Communistisch Platform, WPA, and CPGB (PCC)
    Rep Power 80

    Default

    Rosa, I think renegadoe is a "dialectician" by your standards.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
  6. #6
    Join Date Jun 2006
    Location London
    Posts 1,316
    Rep Power 14

    Default

    Can someone please explain to me what is incorrect about the triad
    I'm not really concerned if Marx or anyone else used it, they weren't correct to do so if they did is the important point. The 'triad' does not describe anything that can't be described by science - Even if you can find examples of it in nature, nature has no reason to conform to Hegel's system. It's just like people who find the number 23 in nature everywhere, or PHI. You can find examples of it if you look hard enough, but there isn't a reason to believe that nature is deliberately conforming to it.

    -Alex
    The walls pull back, they are transparent and they pull back... love can create this feeling, or art; it is rare to feel it in society, where one is almost always confronted with a kind of obligatory inertia, where the activity one pursues goes almost always hand in hand with the painful feeling of its limitations. But during the strike, we could touch it with our fingers, rub our hands across its back.
  7. #7
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Jacobin, you need to read the sources I linked to more carefully; I am not alleging this, they are (and Hegel himself says this, so does Lenin).

    Sure, Marx might have used it in the way you suggest, but we will need more than just your say-so if that opinion is to be elevated into fact.

    One thing is for certain, generations of ignorant Marxists have used this, and still use this wooden schema.
  8. #8
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Jacob -- I suspect so; I'll soon put 'him' right, though...
  9. #9
    Join Date Jan 2007
    Posts 303
    Rep Power 11

    Default

    How is Hegel's actual system of logic significantly different from the incorrect triad?
  10. #10
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Hegel's actual logic does not necessarily move in triads; it depends.

    Anyway, as I have shown you elsewhere, Hegel's logic is defective from start to finish.
  11. #11
    Join Date Jul 2007
    Posts 237
    Rep Power 11

    Default

    I don't know if that was a useful description, but I guess I'm trying to say that dialectics is not just an A>B>C formula, but instead a tool for understanding contradictions.
    I would say it's both: the "A>B>C formula" is negation of negation and unity of opposites is the "tool for understanding contradictions."

    Also: it cannot be fetishized as a metaphysical system at the heart of the universe. It is simply a tool - not a "theory of everything", as the SI and Comintern made it.
    It's funny how people here copy Marx and call things "vulgar" or use words like "fetishized."

    Anyway, I'm not sure if you realize this, but this idea started off as a metaphysical system. It goes back to Heraclitus, or even further if we avoid eurocentrism.
    "I am not interested in dry economic socialism. We are fighting against misery, but we are also fighting against alienation." - Che Guevara
  12. #12
    Join Date Jul 2007
    Posts 237
    Rep Power 11

    Default

    How is Hegel's actual system of logic significantly different from the incorrect triad?
    It isn't. Those objections are semantical arguments coming from those who want to take the Marx out of Hegel (or in the case of certain individuals here, vice-versa; even though that doesn't work, but I'm not getting into that again).
    "I am not interested in dry economic socialism. We are fighting against misery, but we are also fighting against alienation." - Che Guevara
  13. #13
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    V:

    Those objections are semantical arguments coming from those who want to take the Marx out of Hegel (or in the case of certain individuals here, vice-versa; even though that doesn't work, but I'm not getting into that again).
    But, you have already admitted you have not really studied Hegel, so how can you possibly know this?

    And, Hegel says this himself (and so did Lenin).

    I I do not wonder you don't want to enter into the debate where I showed that Marx himself rejected Hegel, since you lost badly last time.
  14. #14
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    V:

    I would say it's both: the "A>B>C formula" is negation of negation and unity of opposites is the "tool for understanding contradictions."
    This is an incomprehensible sentence, since it contains several meaningless words -- or ordinary-looking words put to odd uses (same thing).
  15. #15
    Join Date Sep 2005
    Posts 1,688
    Rep Power 15

    Default

    Chalybus places no unwarranted emphasis on the thesis/antithesis/synthesis idea. What he does emphasise is the triadic division of philosophy into Logic(Metaphysics)/the Philosophy of nature and the Philosophy of Mind.....but that is of no importance since the true origin of the conceptual framework is Fichte, notablly in the Review of Aenesidemus where he argues that no synthesis can be thought "without the presuposition of thesis and antithesis" He does this in the course of arguing against Rheinhold that any representation depends on certain abstractions, namely both differentiating one thing from the rest and connecting that thing to the rest. Thus representation is said by Fichte to be a synthetic act, relying on positing the thing and counterpositing the rest of reality as that which is outside the thing and related to it.

    This argument is the origin of the thesis/anti-thesis/synthesis idea in German IDealism.
  16. #16
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Thanks for that Gil, but are these your own words, or are you quoting someone?
  17. #17
    Join Date Sep 2005
    Posts 1,688
    Rep Power 15

    Default

    THe remark in quotation marks in quotes is from Fichte, from the review Aenesidimus. Look to my mind jacobn has a point. Hegel's philosophy is a philosophy of identity. What that means for Hegel is that at a range of levels Hegel goes again and again through the same process of marking out an identity, identifying what is outside that identity or what within that identity makes it heterogeneous and then names a new identity. That is the framework for his philosophy - to describe change by contrast with identity. That is a triadic relatinship. Thesis, antithesis and synthesis is one of the various triads he uses. (Ironically it is the one which refers back most to medieval dialectic about which Hegel knew little, unlike the Greek dialectic which he knew well.)
    I have taken the following description of Hegel's philosphy from the net and the tiadic relationships can be seen throughout:

    Outline of Hegel's Logic
    Hegel's logic consists of three branches, namely, the Doctrine of Being, the Doctrine of Essence, and the Doctrine of Notion. These three branches are each subdivided, such that the Doctrine of Being consists of Quality, Quantity, and Measure; the Doctrine of Essence consists of Essence, Appearance, and Actuality; and the Doctrine of Notion consists of Subjective Notion, Objective Notion and the Idea, and these are each, further subdivided. For example, Quality in the Doctrine of Being consists of Being, Determinate Being, and Being-for-Itself, and Being further consists of Being, Nothing, and Becoming.
    The starting point of the development of Hegel's logic is the dialectic of Being-Nothing-Becoming. After passing through these three stages, Being moves on to Determinate Being. This Determinate Being has three further stages, and after passing through them, the Determinate Being moves on to Being-for-Self. Being-for-Self has three additional stages, and when they are gone through, it moves on to Quantity. Quantity moves on to Measure by passing through its own three stages, and when Measure has passed through its three stages, the theory concerning Being comes to an end.
    Next is the theory concerning Essence. Hegel's logic moves from Essence to Appearance, and from Appearance to Actuality. Then comes the theory concerning the Notion. Notion moves from subjective Notion to Objective Notion, and from Objective Notion to the Idea. Within the Idea, there are three stages, namely, Life, Cognition, and the Absolute Idea. The Absolute Idea is the final destination in the development within logic.
    Then the world of logic or the world of Idea negate itself, in order to realize itself truly, and moves on to the realm of Nature. According to Hegel, Idea moves on to become external to itself, in other words, Nature is the self-alienation of Idea, the negative of Idea, and Idea in the form of otherness. There are three stages of Mechanics, Physics and Organics in the realm of Nature.
    Furthermore, Idea, which externalizes itself by negating itself, returns to its original self by further negating the negation. Idea as having recovered itself through human being is Spirit. Spirit passes through the three stages of Subjective Spirit, Objective Spirit, and Absolute Spirit. The Absolute Spirit stands at the highest point in the development of Spirit. The Absolute Spirit develops itself by passing through the three stages of Art, Religion, and Philosophy. The above description of Hegel's system can be illustrated in the following diagram (Fig. 10-5).
    3. The Dialectic of Being-Nothing-Becoming

    Hegel's logic, starting with Being, deals with the process of reaching the Absolute Idea. In this section, I will examine the initial dialectic of Being-Nothing-Becoming in the Doctrine of Being, because this portion constitutes the core of Hegel's logic.
    Hegel's logic starts with Being. 3 Being means simply that which exists, but this is the most abstract of all concepts, and is an entirely indeterminate, empty thought. Therefore, lie says it is negative, namely, Nothing. For Hegel, Being and Nothing are both empty concepts, and there is little distinction between the two. 4 Next, Hegel says that the unity of Being and Nothing is Becoming. Both Being and Nothing are empty abstractions, but Becoming, which is the unity of the two opposites, is the first concrete thought. 5 With this logic of Being-Nothing-Becoming as the basis, the logics of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, affirmation-negation-negation of negation, etc., which are usually regarded as Hegel's method, came to be established.



    Fig. 10-5: Hegel's system
    4. Determinate Being

    Having examined Being-Nothing-Becoming, we move on to the examination of the Determinate Being.
    Determinate Being is Being with a certain form, Being considered concretely. While Being means simply to that which exists, Determinate Being means that which is something. Moving from Being-Nothing-Becoming to Determinate Being, in short, means moving from the abstract to the concrete. Becoming is a contradiction containing Being and Nothing within itself, and through this contradiction, Becoming transcends itself to become Determinate Being.
    In this way, Determinate Being is a definite Being, a qualified Being. This determinateness of Determinate Being was called Quality by Hegel. However, even though we may say determinate, what is considered here is simple determination.
    The determination that makes Being a Determinate Being implies the affirmative content of something, and at the same time, it implies limitation. Therefore, the quality that makes something what it is, is reality, when seen from the affirmative aspect of something, and at the same time it is negation when seen from the aspect of not being other thing. Therefore, in Determinate Being, reality and negation, or affirmation and negation, are united. Next, Determinate Being proceeds to Being-for-Self. Being-for-Self refers to the Being that is not related to another thing, nor changes into another thing, but stays as itself in every way.
    5. Being-Essence-Notion

    In the Doctrine of Being, starting from an analysis of what it is to exist, Hegel discussed the logic of change, or the logic of generation and disappearance. Next, the Doctrine of Being proceeds to the Doctrine of Essence. Here, the unchangeable aspect within things and the interconnectedness among all things are discussed. Next, it proceeds to the Doctrine of the Notion as the unity of the Doctrine of Being and the Doctrine of Essence. Here, the fact that things do not cease to be themselves while changing into other beings-that is, self-development-is discussed. The driving force of this development is the notion and life.
    Why then can one say that God's thinking proceeded in the way of Being-Essence-Notion? One can understand this if he or she watches the process of his or her cognition as lie or she perceives things from externally to internally, lie says. In the case of perceiving a flower, for example, we first perceive the existence of the flower phenomenally.
    Next, we perceive the essence of the flower. Then, the notion of the flower is formed, in which the existence of the flower and the essence of the flower are united.
    6. Logic-Nature-Spirit

    As mentioned before, nature according to Hegel, is the Idea in the form of otherness, or the Idea as self-alienated.
    Therefore, if Logic is made to be the thesis, then Philosophy of Nature becomes the antithesis. Next, nature regains consciousness and freedom through the human being and becomes Spirit. Accordingly, the Philosophy of Spirit becomes the synthesis.
    The natural world, also, performs the dialectical development of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, that is, the three stages of Mechanics, Physics, and Organics. This does not mean, however, that nature itself develops, but rather, this is the process through which the Idea behind the natural world manifests itself. First, the concept of force appears; next, the concept of physical phenomena; and then, the concept of living beings, lie says.
    Finally, the human being appears, and the Spirit develops itself through humankind. This development takes place in the three stages of Subjective Spirit, Objective Spirit, and Absolute Spirit. Subjective Spirit refers to the spirit of the individual; Objective Spirit refers to the socialized spirit, or the objectified spirit transcending the individual.
    Objective Spirit has the three stages of Law, Morality, and Ethics. Law refers not to something systematized like the constitution of a state, but to elementary forms in human relationships, like a group of people. Next, man comes to respect the rights of others and to lead a moral life. However, there are still many subjective aspects (individual aspects) there. Thus, ethics appears as the norms that everyone should communally observe. The first stage in ethics is the family. In the family, the members are linked with one another through love, and there is freedom there.
    However, in the stage of civil society, the interests of individuals conflict with one another, and freedom becomes restricted. Thus, the state, which integrates the family and civil society, appears. Hegel considered that the Idea would manifest itself fully through the state. The state in which the Idea is actualized is the rational state. Human freedom will be fully actualized in that state.
    Finally, there appears the Absolute Spirit. The Absolute Spirit manifests itself through the three stages of art, religion, and philosophy. When it comes to the stage of philosophy, the Idea regains itself. The dialectical movement of the Idea returns to the origin in this way. Nature appears; the human being appears; the state appears; art, religion, and philosophy appear; and finally Idea returns to the perfect Idea (God). By accomplishing this return, the entire process of development comes to an end (Fig. 10-6).6



    Fig. 10-6: The Returning Nature of Hegel's Dialectic
    I have
  18. #18
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Thanks for the Hermetic wallpaper Gil, but it refuses to stick to the wall.

    Hegel's philosophy is a philosophy of identity
    Too bad he was incomeptent here too, then, isn't it?

    Why are you bothering with this mystical buffoon?

    Anyway, I have outlined his basic errors here:

    [FONT=Times New Roman]http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/Outline_of_Hegel's_errors_01.htm[/FONT]

  19. #19
    Join Date Jan 2007
    Posts 303
    Rep Power 11

    Default

    That was a very interesting document. But is it from the Unification Church? http://www.tparents.org/Library/Unif.../Euth10-01.htm

    Thats kind of interesting. Does anyone know if Hegel's theology has influence the Moonies?
  20. #20
    Join Date Nov 2005
    Location UK
    Posts 16,778
    Rep Power 0

    Default

    Hegel's thought was influenced by, and influences in return, many forms of mysticism, including 'materialist dialectics'.

    On the Hermetic origins of Hegel's thought:

    http://www.marxists.org/reference/su...s/en/magee.htm

    Here is one Moonie source (which seems uncommital):

    Hegel and the Development of Sociology

    All of the early Sociologists-Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Georg Simmel, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx (yes, we have to include him-at least for now)-were concerned with the direction that social development was taking. They were concerned that the rational, individualistic, materialistic tradition would create a society in which people no longer valued family and tradition, a society in which people would seek individual material wealth over loyalty to a community or social group, a society in which life was so fast paced we would become confused and disoriented, and other things. In other words, they were, at least in part, opposed to the developments of the Enlightenment.

    All of them had a concept of the social that was very different from Enlightenment thinkers. In Durkheim, the social is very similar to the Jewish tradition of tribal identity and loyalty. (He came from a long line of Jewish Rabbis.) Durkheim and the others saw the individual as being highly influenced by the social group of which he or she was a member. They did not advocate social contract, as did Rousseau. Rather they sought to explain how it is that people came to develop societies, how they learned to live with one another, what the future would hold.

    The concept of the social as a living entity that develops, lives, functions as a unit was borrowed from the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel. Hegel objected to the Cartesian dualism of mind and body, and to the Kantian dualism of the noumen (the world as it is) and the phenomenon (the world as we experience it). Once divided, they can never be reunited, he said. (This has indeed proven to be the case for the objective and subjective approaches to understanding, as exemplified in the conflict between religion and science.) Hegel thought that the Enlightenment, for all its brilliance, left out spirituality, which he took to be the inner subject of human activity. Some have interpreted this to mean that ideas are the only reality for Hegel and the Idealists, but that is a simplistic reading of his philosophy. The whole of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit describes the development of a social collective.

    It is not just the psychology of single group that Hegel describes, but the interaction of the psychologies of several distinct groups, and their growth into a point of unity. It is the unity of humanity into a single human spirit. It is our knowledge of ourselves, thought thinking itself, spirit recognizing itself as spirit, "the confidence that humanity can be a harmonious whole" (Robert Solomon, In the Spirit of Hegel).

    Hegel's concept of the individual embedded within society-from the intimate family relationships (he was one of the few European philosophers who even talked about family), to the larger community and state-stands in stark contrast to the ideas of the Enlightenment Philosphes who firmly rejected the church and tradition in favor of science and the transcendental pretense. Hegel had a vision of a dynamic society, growing and developing. Individuals played an important role, but their activity was not contractual, nor was the dynamic of society something that was visible. This complex vision of the inner workings of society is not linear. It cannot be grasped in Enlightenment terminology. It is a holistic approach, encompassing a living, moving entity in an un-machine-like manner. (Hegel's thought is very comfortable for those who have studied Divine Principle, because of the striking similarity between his dialectic and the four position foundation.)

    The first and most important collective for Hegel is the family. Love is a special form of reciprocity which supersedes the social contract of individualism. Precisely because it is NOT contractual, it frees those whom it encompasses. The only idea of a marriage contract Hegel allows is a contract to go beyond contract. For Hegel, the family is the foundation of social life.

    So, where did Hegel get his ideas, if not from the Enlightenment thinkers? According to some sources, many of his concepts were borrowed from the German mystics-Meister Eckhart, Jacob Boehme, Jan van Ruysbroeck, and others. The concept of growth, the concept of a social whole, the concept of consciousness developing to encompass more and more. So it appears that the thought of this giant European philosopher, whom I have argued elsewhere is really the granddaddy of sociology, reflected the richness of the religious tradition in contrast with that of the Enlightenment scientists, who rejected religion, often in favor of the ancient Greek culture. (Before you start praising Hegel, however, you should know that there are those- including myself-who concluded that he was an atheist! Society itself was God for Hegel, a view shared by most of the early sociologists.)

    In light of this very different orientation of the two different disciplines, is there any wonder that they would view religion, and spirituality in quite different ways? Granted not all psychologists are strict Freudians, nor are all sociologists Hegelians (in fact, most of them are not sure how Hegel's philosophy differs from Marx). But the legacy of their thought is still felt. As for myself, I feel certain that I was guided to sociology. There are many theories and ideas that I disagree with in the field today, but it is much easier to present my study of spirituality to sociologists than it would be to present it to psychologists.
    http://www.tparents.org/UNews/unws9510/gd-acdma.htm
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 15th February 2008 at 09:19.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 11th February 2008, 12:22
  2. Polemic Targets Avakian's New Synthesis
    By kasama-rl in forum News & Ongoing Struggles
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 22nd December 2007, 07:41
  3. Hegelian Thought and Marxism
    By deadk in forum Theory
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 30th August 2006, 02:18
  4. The antithesis to axiom is...?
    By ComradeRed in forum Theory
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 7th January 2005, 01:48
  5. Pragmatism vs. Dogmatism - My dialectical synthesis
    By Palmares in forum Opposing Ideologies
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28th July 2003, 09:20

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Website Security Test