Thread: Scrapping Dialectics: What would be lost?

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  1. #61
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    The concept of "class struggle" comes directly from Hegel's master-slave dialectic. This irresolvable class antagonism is the crucial starting point, not just for Marxism, but for anyone on the far left.

    Similarly, Marx's conception of history as progressing via revolutions is based on Hegel's historical dialectic. Otherwise, social classes are seen as mutually beneficial with revolutions taking place only when the master class fails to perform adequately (bad economic conditions and such).
    "I am not interested in dry economic socialism. We are fighting against misery, but we are also fighting against alienation." - Che Guevara
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    V returns, no less confused than before:

    The concept of "class struggle" comes directly from Hegel's master-slave dialectic. This irresolvable class antagonism is the crucial starting point, not just for Marxism, but for anyone on the far left.
    No, dingbat, the concept of the class struggle comes directly from history and the relation between classes.

    Hegel merely mystified things -- and confused you.

    Similarly, Marx's conception of history as progressing via revolutions is based on Hegel's historical dialectic. Otherwise, social classes are seen as mutually beneficial with revolutions taking place only when the master class fails to perform adequately (bad economic conditions and such).
    We have alrerady estabished that Marx abandoned every shread of Hegel in Das Kapital.

    Your memory seems to be going.
  3. #63
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    No, dingbat, the concept of the class struggle comes directly from history and the relation between classes.

    We have alrerady estabished that Marx abandoned every shread of Hegel in Das Kapital.
    This is nonsense. Without a scientific theory to explain history any account of class struggle and classes differs not a whiff from bourgois history. That scientific theory is dialectics. Without an understanding of Hegel Das Kapital could never have been written.

    From the introduction of Robert Tucker's "Marx-Engels Reader":
    [...]Marx created his theory of history as a conscious act of translation of Hegel's theory into what he, Marx, took to be its valid or scientific form...For Marx, as for others on the Hegelian left in Germany, Feuerbach's "transformational criticism" of Hegel was an intellectual innovation of epochal importance. The message that Hegelian theory has truth-value if one applies the method of inversion came with a ring of revelation. It meant that one could go on making good use of Hegel while escaping the toils of his colossal and seemingly so otherworldly system. One could discover social reality, the reality of the human predicament in history, by turning Hegel "right side up."
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  4. #64
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    Trivas:

    This is nonsense. Without a scientific theory to explain history any account of class struggle and classes differs not a whiff from bourgois history. That scientific theory is dialectics. Without an understanding of Hegel Das Kapital could never have been written.
    Oh dear, looks like dialectical myopia has struck again -- where did I deny we need a scientific theory to help us understand history?

    What we do not need is a mystical theory drawn from Hegel.

    Good job Marx abandoned the dialectic in Das Kapital, then, isn't it?

    [If you had bothered to read a few of the threads here before mouthing-off, you would have seen the proof of that fact.]

    And it is no good quoting Tucker at me; he is just spouting dogma -- a bit like you.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 29th May 2008 at 16:47.
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    Trivas:

    Good job Marx abandoned the dialectic in Das Kapital, then, isn't it?

    [If you had bothered to read a few of the threads here before mouthing-off, you would have seen the proof of that fact.]
    This has not been "proved" to anyone's satisfaction except your own.

    And it is no good quoting Tucker at me; he is just spouting dogma -- a bit like you.
    So in the absence of proof, your own assertion is no less dogmatic than Tucker's.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

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    CZ:

    This has not been "proved" to anyone's satisfaction except your own.
    No need to 'satisfy' anyone; it is enough that Marx and I agree on this.

    Anyway, you (and several others) gave up when it was obvious the evidence was against you.

    So in the absence of proof, your own assertion is no less dogmatic than Tucker's.
    Unfortunately for you, I have proof -- which you cannot answer.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 29th May 2008 at 17:57.
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    No need to 'satisfy' anyone; it is enough that Marx and I agree on this.
    And the last time you spoke to Marx and he told you this was when?
    Last edited by Hit The North; 29th May 2008 at 18:24.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

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    Good job Marx abandoned the dialectic in Das Kapital, then, isn't it?
    Your contention is absurd. Marx writes in the preface to the 1st German edition of Das Kapital: "[...] and it is the ultimate aim of this work, to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society".
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  9. #69
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    CZ:

    And the last time you spoke to Marx and he told you this was when?
    Here's when: about the same time as you showed some capacity to reason.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 29th May 2008 at 19:30.
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    Trivas:

    Your contention is absurd. Marx writes in the preface to the 1st German edition of Das Kapital: "[...] and it is the ultimate aim of this work, to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society".
    What has that got to do with anything I have said?

    I agree 100% with Marx's scientific analysis of history. That why we do not need dialectics, and neither did Marx.

    How many more times do you need telling?

    Or has all that mysticism addled your brain -- like far too many other fans of the dialectic who post here?
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 29th May 2008 at 19:29.
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    I agree 100% with Marx's scientific analysis of history.
    Then you agree with what he wrote in the afterword to the third German edition of Das Kapital:
    My dialectical method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. [...] The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel's hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.
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    Then you agree with what he wrote in the afterword to the third German edition of Das Kapital:
    My dialectical method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. [...] The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel's hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.
    That quote becomes much more interesting in its unabridged form:

    The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just as I was working at the first volume of “Das Kapital,” it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre Epigonoi [Epigones – Büchner, Dühring and others] who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing’s time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a “dead dog.” I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him. The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel’s hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.

    In its mystified form, dialectic became the fashion in Germany, because it seemed to transfigure and to glorify the existing state of things. In its rational form it is a scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its doctrinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehension and affirmative recognition of the existing state of things, at the same time also, the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; because it regards every historically developed social form as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account its transient nature not less than its momentary existence; because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary.
    Last edited by Dean; 29th May 2008 at 20:47.
  13. #73
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    Trivas:

    Then you agree with what he wrote in the afterword to the third German edition of Das Kapital:
    Sure, but you quote selectively, for Marx also quoted a reviewer thus:

    "After a quotation from the preface to my 'Criticism of Political Economy,' Berlin, 1859, pp. IV-VII, where I discuss the materialistic basis of my method, the writer goes on:*

    'The one thing which is of moment to Marx, is to find the law of the phenomena with whose investigation he is concerned; and not only is that law of moment to him, which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have a definite form and mutual connexion within a given historical period. Of still greater moment to him is the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of their transition from one form into another, from one series of connexions into a different one. This law once discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in which it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx only troubles himself about one thing: to show, by rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of successive determinate orders of social conditions, and to establish, as impartially as possible, the facts that serve him for fundamental starting-points. For this it is quite enough, if he proves, at the same time, both the necessity of the present order of things, and the necessity of another order into which the first must inevitably pass over; and this all the same, whether men believe or do not believe it, whether they are conscious or unconscious of it. Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intelligence, but rather, on the contrary, determining that will, consciousness and intelligence. ... If in the history of civilisation the conscious element plays a part so subordinate, then it is self-evident that a critical inquiry whose subject-matter is civilisation, can, less than anything else, have for its basis any form of, or any result of, consciousness. That is to say, that not the idea, but the material phenomenon alone can serve as its starting-point. Such an inquiry will confine itself to the confrontation and the comparison of a fact, not with ideas, but with another fact. For this inquiry, the one thing of moment is, that both facts be investigated as accurately as possible, and that they actually form, each with respect to the other, different momenta of an evolution; but most important of all is the rigid analysis of the series of successions, of the sequences and concatenations in which the different stages of such an evolution present themselves. But it will be said, the general laws of economic life are one and the same, no matter whether they are applied to the present or the past. This Marx directly denies. According to him, such abstract laws do not exist. On the contrary, in his opinion every historical period has laws of its own.... As soon as society has outlived a given period of development, and is passing over from one given stage to another, it begins to be subject also to other laws. In a word, economic life offers us a phenomenon analogous to the history of evolution in other branches of biology. The old economists misunderstood the nature of economic laws when they likened them to the laws of physics and chemistry. A more thorough analysis of phenomena shows that social organisms differ among themselves as fundamentally as plants or animals. Nay, one and the same phenomenon falls under quite different laws in consequence of the different structure of those organisms as a whole, of the variations of their individual organs, of the different conditions in which those organs function, &c. Marx, e.g., denies that the law of population is the same at all times and in all places. He asserts, on the contrary, that every stage of development has its own law of population. ... With the varying degree of development of productive power, social conditions and the laws governing them vary too. Whilst Marx sets himself the task of following and explaining from this point of view the economic system established by the sway of capital, he is only formulating, in a strictly scientific manner, the aim that every accurate investigation into economic life must have. The scientific value of such an inquiry lies in the disclosing of the special laws that regulate the origin, existence, development, death of a given social organism and its replacement by another and higher one. And it is this value that, in point of fact, Marx's book has.'

    "Whilst the writer pictures what he takes to be actually my method, in this striking and [as far as concerns my own application of it] generous way, what else is he picturing but the dialectic method?" [Marx (1976), pp.101-02. Bold emphases added.]
    You will note that Marx calls this the 'dialectic method', and 'his method', but it is also clear that it bears no relation to the sort of dialectics you have had forced down your throat, for in it there is not one ounce of Hegel -- no quantity turning into quality, no contradictions, no negation of the negation, no unities of opposites, no totality...

    So, Marx's method has had Hegel totally extirpated. For Marx, putting Hegel on 'his feet' is to crush his head.

    And of the few terms Marx uses of Hegel's in Das Kapital, he tells us this:

    "and even, here and there in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the mode of expression peculiar to him."
    So, the 'rational core' of the dialectic has not one atom of Hegel in it, and Marx merely 'coquetted' with a few bits of Hegelian jargon in Das Kapital.

    That is hardly a ringing endorsement of this mystical theory.

    And it is little use you telling me he called Hegel a 'mighty thinker', since he pointedly put that in the past tense:

    "I criticised the mystificatory side of the Hegelian dialectic nearly thirty years ago, at a time when is was still the fashion. But just when I was working on the first volume of Capital, the ill-humoured, arrogant and mediocre epigones who now talk large in educated German circles began to take pleasure in treating Hegel in the same way as the good Moses Mendelssohn treated Spinoza in Lessing's time, namely as a 'dead dog'. I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker" and even, here and there in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the mode of expression peculiar to him." [Ibid., pp.102-03. Bold emphasis added.]
    Moreover, one can call a theorist a 'mighty thinker' and totally disagree with him or her. [For instance, I think Plato was a 'mighty thinker' but I disagree with 99% of what he said.]

    Still less is there any use in your referring to the Grundrisse -- Marx saw fit not to publish that work, but he did publish the above comments.

    So, Marx and I agree that 'his method' contains no Hegel whatsoever; only I go even further and ditch the jargon with which Marx 'coquetted'.

    Now, we have been over this many times here, as I told you, in numerous threads.

    May I suggest you bother to read a few threads before making a fool of yourself here in future.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 30th May 2008 at 00:04.
  14. #74
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    So, the 'rational core' of the dialectic has not one atom of Hegel in it[...]
    So, then, what is the 'rational core' of dialectic?
    Last edited by trivas7; 30th May 2008 at 00:44.
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  15. #75
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    Trivas:

    So, then, what is the 'rational core' of dialectic?
    We do not need to speculate, for Marx told us:

    "After a quotation from the preface to my 'Criticism of Political Economy,' Berlin, 1859, pp. IV-VII, where I discuss the materialistic basis of my method, the writer goes on:*

    'The one thing which is of moment to Marx, is to find the law of the phenomena with whose investigation he is concerned; and not only is that law of moment to him, which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have a definite form and mutual connexion within a given historical period. Of still greater moment to him is the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of their transition from one form into another, from one series of connexions into a different one. This law once discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in which it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx only troubles himself about one thing: to show, by rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of successive determinate orders of social conditions, and to establish, as impartially as possible, the facts that serve him for fundamental starting-points. For this it is quite enough, if he proves, at the same time, both the necessity of the present order of things, and the necessity of another order into which the first must inevitably pass over; and this all the same, whether men believe or do not believe it, whether they are conscious or unconscious of it. Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intelligence, but rather, on the contrary, determining that will, consciousness and intelligence. ... If in the history of civilisation the conscious element plays a part so subordinate, then it is self-evident that a critical inquiry whose subject-matter is civilisation, can, less than anything else, have for its basis any form of, or any result of, consciousness. That is to say, that not the idea, but the material phenomenon alone can serve as its starting-point. Such an inquiry will confine itself to the confrontation and the comparison of a fact, not with ideas, but with another fact. For this inquiry, the one thing of moment is, that both facts be investigated as accurately as possible, and that they actually form, each with respect to the other, different momenta of an evolution; but most important of all is the rigid analysis of the series of successions, of the sequences and concatenations in which the different stages of such an evolution present themselves. But it will be said, the general laws of economic life are one and the same, no matter whether they are applied to the present or the past. This Marx directly denies. According to him, such abstract laws do not exist. On the contrary, in his opinion every historical period has laws of its own.... As soon as society has outlived a given period of development, and is passing over from one given stage to another, it begins to be subject also to other laws. In a word, economic life offers us a phenomenon analogous to the history of evolution in other branches of biology. The old economists misunderstood the nature of economic laws when they likened them to the laws of physics and chemistry. A more thorough analysis of phenomena shows that social organisms differ among themselves as fundamentally as plants or animals. Nay, one and the same phenomenon falls under quite different laws in consequence of the different structure of those organisms as a whole, of the variations of their individual organs, of the different conditions in which those organs function, &c. Marx, e.g., denies that the law of population is the same at all times and in all places. He asserts, on the contrary, that every stage of development has its own law of population. ... With the varying degree of development of productive power, social conditions and the laws governing them vary too. Whilst Marx sets himself the task of following and explaining from this point of view the economic system established by the sway of capital, he is only formulating, in a strictly scientific manner, the aim that every accurate investigation into economic life must have. The scientific value of such an inquiry lies in the disclosing of the special laws that regulate the origin, existence, development, death of a given social organism and its replacement by another and higher one. And it is this value that, in point of fact, Marx's book has.'

    "Whilst the writer pictures what he takes to be actually my method, in this striking and [as far as concerns my own application of it] generous way, what else is he picturing but the dialectic method?" [Marx (1976), pp.101-02.]
    No Hegel anywhere in site.
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    Now, if some dialectician here wishes to prove me wrong, then let that person illustrate the "dialectics" behind "peace, land, and bread."
    The dialectics behind that slogan were: to exist, the ruling class of Tsarist Russia had to tolerate the existence of labouring and producing classes whose interest lay in destroying that ruling class (contradiction).

    Seen from the perspective of dialectics, the class struggle is one between the social nature of labour and the private charactar of property. Capital must tolerate the social nature of labour, even as its very existence threatens capital. So the class struggle is not just a struggle for a higher wage, shorter hours, but these are manifestations of the class struggle, something deeper that is not as readily accesible in other modes of thought.

    The Marxist critique of materliasm in Marx's day was (to crudely summarise) that materialism of the time only studied the existence of matter whereas Marx and Engels inserted the subjectivity of humanity as central to a process. Love or hate dialectics, it doesn't change the fact that they would not have arrived at their conclusions without it.
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    PRC, this is not so. Both Marx and Hegel got the core ideas for historical materialism from the Scottish Historical Materialists (Ferguson, Miller, Smith, etc.), and other 'enlightement' thinkers, and Marx derived his class analysis from previous socialists and his own experience of the class struggle in Germany (and later in England).

    All Hegel did was mystify this, and thus slow Marx down.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 30th May 2008 at 17:56.
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    PRC, this is not so. Both Marx and Hegel got the core ideas for historical materialism from the Scottish Historical Materialists (Ferguson, Miller, Smith, etc.), and other 'enlightement' thinkers, and Marx derived his class analysis from previous socialists and his own experience of the class struggle in Germany (and later in England).

    All Hegel did was mystify this, and thus slow Marx down.
    I've always heard that Marx derived his ideas from:

    German philosophy (which he trashed);

    French Republicanism;

    British political economy (which you refer to above as historical materialism).

    If you want to assert that dialectics weren't an ingredient (more accurately, he used a critique of Hegel) then okay, but that's a new one to me.

    You can make the unfounded claim that it slowed him down- but I don't know that you were in touch with his actual mental processes enough that we can take that theory seriously.

    Marx modified and built-upon the existing philosophy of materialism, and it does seem that dialectics was the philosophical tool he used to insert subjective humanity into the mix.
    '...the proletariat, not wishing to be treated as a canaille, needs its courage, its self-esteem, its pride, and its sense of independence more than its bread.' Marx
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    This is the standard line, but the 'German Idealists' (i.e, Hegel) got their ideas from those I mentioned.

    And it did slow him down, for he wasted at least 20 years trying to come to grips with the incomprehensible (i.e'., Hegel's work), only to abandon it when he wrote Kapital.

    Moreover, one does not have to be in touch with Marx's actual 'mental processes' to be able to see this fact from his biography, and what he tells us in Kapital.

    Finally, we do not need dialectics to help us insert 'subjectivity' into anything.

    We get the latter from ordinary language.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 30th May 2008 at 21:06.
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    Finally, we do not need dialectics to help us insert 'subjectivity' into anything.

    We get the latter from ordinary language.
    It strikes me that the above statement can only be sincerely made by someone who has never attempted to study social life.
    "Events have their own logic, even when human beings do not." - Rosa Luxemburg

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