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Has anyone here read Hegel?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 17 Jun 2013, 20:23
I'm thinking of reading Hegel after I've finished Theories of Surplus-Value (and then read Grundrisse). Has anyone here read any of his works? I hear reading him is like digging a chisel into your eyeball or something to that extent! My plan was to read Phenomenology of Spirit then Science of Logic followed up by Marx and Engels' criticisms of both.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 17 Jun 2013, 21:16
*raises hand*

First half of Science of Logic, excerpts of phenomenology. Lenin's conspectus to science of logic is much more fun to read, though.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 17 Jun 2013, 22:05
Yeah I expect I'll read Lenin on Hegel too (and Althusser on Lenin on Hegel). How did you find Hegel to read? I've heard plenty of horror stories. Did you read it in German?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 18 Jun 2013, 06:37
Yeah, I did. And I'm sorry to say that my impression is that all English translations suck, but probably that's just because my English isn't good enough. I find Hegel impossible to read, let alone understand, in English. But then, maybe information at a certain level of complexity just has to be consumed in your native language. I hardly understand Marx in English either.

In German, Hegel was about as difficult to read as Marx in Capital. Nothing you can just gloss over, but easy enough to understand if you concentrate, take notes and reflect on what you read every now and then.

It was a weird experience, because, as a Marxist, you'll instinctively understand what he's talking about in many cases, but it will feel quite distorted. I can't really explain it. The method of thought employed feels eerily familiar. You know how the best Marxist texts of people like Engels, Lenin and Trotsky all share a very distinctive, common vibe of awesomeness? There's some of that vibe in Hegel, too. But at the same time, you'll gain a lot of respect for the huge progress that is the materialist interpretation of dialectics, because Hegelianism is quite literally lacking in substance.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 18 Jun 2013, 21:28
Quote:
Yeah, I did. And I'm sorry to say that my impression is that all English translations suck, but probably that's just because my English isn't good enough. I find Hegel impossible to read, let alone understand, in English. But then, maybe information at a certain level of complexity just has to be consumed in your native language. I hardly understand Marx in English either.


Yeah I think you have to read stuff like this in the language you are most comfortable with. Sadly, for me I have no choice, but you surely are at a big advantage in that your native language is the language it was written in.

Quote:
In German, Hegel was about as difficult to read as Marx in Capital. Nothing you can just gloss over, but easy enough to understand if you concentrate, take notes and reflect on what you read every now and then.


Yes that's what I do with all the political/philosophical/economic texts I read. I type up page by page summaries and example in Word docs for future reference. I've been wondering if I should get a copy of Hegel which has paragraph by paragraph explanations by an expert. Although I imagine this would help, another part of me thinks it would be best simply to read it on my own and draw my own conclusions.

Quote:
It was a weird experience, because, as a Marxist, you'll instinctively understand what he's talking about in many cases, but it will feel quite distorted. I can't really explain it. The method of thought employed feels eerily familiar. You know how the best Marxist texts of people like Engels, Lenin and Trotsky all share a very distinctive, common vibe of awesomeness? There's some of that vibe in Hegel, too. But at the same time, you'll gain a lot of respect for the huge progress that is the materialist interpretation of dialectics, because Hegelianism is quite literally lacking in substance.


Yes I'll probably read Feuerbach afterwards. How did reading Hegel affect your understanding of Marxism?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Post 18 Jun 2013, 22:24
Quote:
've been wondering if I should get a copy of Hegel which has paragraph by paragraph explanations by an expert. Although I imagine this would help, another part of me thinks it would be best simply to read it on my own and draw my own conclusions.


Unless the "expert" is a Marxist, don't. Bourgeois interpretations of Hegel are horrendous (that's from my experience taking a university course in German Idealism), they have no value at all, and they're only confusing to a Marxist. I always felt like I understood Hegel until the tutor "explained" it.

Quote:
How did reading Hegel affect your understanding of Marxism?


Reading Hegel paved the way for a massive qualitative leap in my understanding of dialectics. Hegel will teach you dialectics in a much more thorough way than any Marxist. In retrospect, I can say that I knew nothing about dialectics before I read Hegel, and Lenin is probably right when he says that you can't understand Capital if you haven't read the entirety of Science of Logic. I definitely intend to re-read both Logic and Phenomenology when I have the time and motivation to do so.

Hegelian dialectics is vastly more complex and elaborate than Marxist dialectics. It is probably the most complex theoretical system in the history of philosophy. Marxist dialectics is a highly simplified derivative of it.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
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Post 27 Jun 2013, 01:48
In that case, Mabool, you should find it easy to explain (and for the very first time in human history) what sense dialectics does in fact make.

Meanwhile here is an article I wrote a few years back (specifically for absolute beginners) outlining some very basic errors Hegel inflicted on his readers, which, naturally mean that the dialectic lacks any rationale (upside down, or 'the right way up'):

Hegel's Logical Blunders

Dialectical 'Logic' [DL] in fact derives from (1) Hegel's misconstrual of Aristotle's logic, and (2) A linguistic dodge invented in the Middle Ages.

First of all, Hegel thought that certain sentences contained an in-built contradiction.

If we use Lenin's example, we can see where this idea came from, and hence where it goes astray:

J1: John is a man.

[Hegel in fact used the sentence, "The rose is red".]

First of all, Hegel accepted a theory invented by Medieval Roman Catholic theologians (now called the 'Identity Theory of Predication'), which re-interprets propositions like J1 in the following manner:

J2: John is identical with Manhood.

The former "is" of predication was replaced by an "is" of identity.

[Predication involves saying something about someone or some thing. So, J1 can be used to say something about John. "John" is the subject, and "a man" is the predicate. The verb "is" that links them is called the "copula". When this "is" is turned into an "is" of identity, J1 becomes the following monstrosity: "John is identical with a man." That is why J2 is often used, even though it, too, is bizarre.]

Greatly simplified, the argument then went roughly as follows: Since John can't be identical with a general term/predicate ("a man"/"Manhood" -- or, rather, with what they supposedly represent, a 'Universal'), we must conclude the following:

J3: John is not identical with Manhood.

The argument then proceeded thus: but, if John is a man, he must be identical with (or, at least, he must share in) what other men are, so we must now conclude:

J4: John is not not identical with Manhood.

Or, more simply:

J5: John is not a non-man.

Hard though this might be to believe, out of this was born the Negation of the Negation and the Unity and Interpenetration of Opposites -- the entire dialectic from a diminutive participle of the verb "to be" -- namely, "is"!

[Any who would like to consult Hegel's argument in all its glory can access it here (link omitted -- you can find it by following the link I have added at the end). Its logical ramifications are spelt out in extensive detail in a (Marxist) paper I have reproduced (and then criticised), here (link omitted). Lenin copied much of this material from Hegel into his Notebooks, and wrote in the margin: "This is very important for understanding dialectics." On that, and the philosophical background to Hegel's argument (which was in fact a response to David Hume's theory of causation) --, as well as Lenin's appropriation of Hegel's theory -- see here (link omitted).]

Anyway, Hegel thought this showed that movement was built into our concepts as thought passes from one pole (one opposite conclusion) to another, which indicated to him that speculative (i.e., properly 'philosophical') thought, and thus all of reality, had dialectics built into it.

[He concluded this since, as an Absolute Idealist, he believed that such thoughts mirrored, if not constituted, the world.]

It also prompted Hegel into casting doubt on the validity of the 'Law of Identity' [LOI] -- a 'Law', incidentally, that can't be found in Aristotle's work, but which was invented by Medieval Roman Catholic theologians, once more.

As a result, Hegel argued that it was important to state the LOI negatively. So, as Hegel conceived it, the LOI ran as follows "A is equal to A", or "A = A" (where "A", it seems, could stand for anything from objects, to processes, predicates, concepts, relations, and much else besides).

[The confusion this generates -- and upon which confusion Hegel's core arguments actually depend -- are exposed here (link omitted).]

That is, he translated the LOI into the following negative form: "A cannot at the same time be A and Not-A", which he claimed was the so-called Law of Non-contradiction [LOC].

However, in order to proceed, Hegel not only employed a barrage of impenetrably obscure language, he relied on some hopelessly sloppy semantics, as noted in the previous paragraph.

[Semantics -- what words/symbols are supposed to designate, refer to, or signify.]

Hegel plainly thought he could ignore the logical/grammatical distinctions that exist between the various terms we use, or, at least, between the roles they occupy in our sentences -- and, more importantly in this regard, he thought he could ignore the distinction between naming and describing. This 'enabled' him to mesmerise many of his readers using several neat verbal tricks; from the ensuing confusion, hey presto, 'the dialectic' emerged like a rabbit from a hat.

So, Hegel's core argument was that the LOI, stated negatively, implied the LOC:

Quote:
When the principles of Essence are taken as essential principles of thought they become predicates of a presupposed subject, which, because they are essential, is "everything". The propositions thus arising have been stated as universal Laws of Thought. Thus the first of them, the maxim of Identity, reads: Everything is identical with itself, A = A: and negatively, A cannot at the same time be A and Not-A. This maxim, instead of being a true law of thought, is nothing but the law of abstract understanding. The propositional form itself contradicts it: for a proposition always promises a distinction between subject and predicate; while the present one does not fulfil what its form requires. But the Law is particularly set aside by the following so-called Laws of Thought, which make laws out of its opposite. It is asserted that the maxim of Identity, though it cannot be proved, regulates the procedure of every consciousness, and that experience shows it to be accepted as soon as its terms are apprehended. To this alleged experience of the logic books may be opposed the universal experience that no mind thinks or forms conceptions or speaks in accordance with this law, and that no existence of any kind whatever conforms to it. [Hegel, Shorter Logic, quoted from here (link omitted).]


[See what I mean by "impenetrable"! And he was being relatively clear here!]

So, from the LOI -- i.e., from A = A -- Hegel thought he could obtain "A cannot at the same time be A and not-A", which, while it is supposed to be the LOI 'stated negatively', is also supposed to be the LOC.

This was a key point, since he believed that commitment to the LOI was tantamount to denying that change occurred in reality -- an unsupported assumption that has been appropriated equally uncritically by Marxist dialecticians ever since.

But, Hegel reasoned, if change is universal (an idea he pinched from another mystic, Heraclitus, who in turn derived this 'universal truth' from his conclusions about the possibilities involved in stepping into a river!), then nothing could be identical with itself, and so everything must contain, or imply, a contradiction: A is at the same time not-A!

Quote:
Contradiction is the very moving principle of the world: and it is ridiculous to say that contradiction is unthinkable. The only thing correct in that statement is that contradiction is not the end of the matter, but cancels itself. But contradiction, when cancelled, does not leave abstract identity; for that is itself only one side of the contrariety. The proximate result of opposition (when realised as contradiction) is the Ground, which contains identity as well as difference superseded and deposited to elements in the completer notion. [Hegel (1975), p.174; Essence as Ground of Existence, §119.]


Quote:
but contradiction is the root of all movement and vitality; it is only in so far as something has a contradiction within it that it moves, has an urge and activity. [Hegel (1999), p.439, §956.]


[The serious problems these hyper-bold, and unsupported, claims create for Hegel are explored here (link omitted). And, of course, contradictions don't 'cancel' themselves.]

In fact, identity is no enemy of change, for if two objects are identical, they will both change equally quickly -- otherwise they can't have been identical.

Moreover, if an object is no longer identical with its former self, it must have changed.

So, identity doesn't prevent change (an odd idea in itself!); it enables us to decide if and when change has occurred.

With these observations, 'dialectics' completely falls apart.

Be this as it may, Hegel failed to notice that there is no connection between the LOI and the LOC. The LOI concerns the conditions under which an object is supposedly identical with itself, or with something else; it isn't about the alleged identity of propositions, nor of clauses with propositions, or clauses with clauses.

In fact, this is where the sleight-of-hand occurs. Hegel's sloppy semantics helped mask this serious error. Allowing "A" to slide effortlessly between various denotations (i.e., between different meanings -- one minute it stands for an object, the next a sentence, the next a predicate expression, the next a concept, the next a process, the next a relational expression...) 'allowed' Hegel to perform this verbal trick.

Indeed, if a proposition has no identity (i.e., if we allow "A" to stand now for a proposition, not an object), it wouldn't be a proposition to begin with. That is, if it were unclear what was being proposed -- i.e., put forward for consideration, which is what propositions do, or can be used for -- then plainly nothing has yet been proposed, and so nothing could follow from it.

In that case, the alleged 'negative' version of the LOI has nothing whatsoever to do with the connection between a proposition and its contradictory.

The LOC, on the other hand, concerns the truth-functional connection (see below) between propositions (or clauses), not objects. In its simplest form it concerns the conjunction of a proposition with its negation (e.g., "Today is Tuesday and today isn't Tuesday" (said at noon on any particular day)). It plainly has nothing to do with objects or their supposed identity.

["Truth-functional" is a technical term for the type of connection that exists, or might exist, between propositions. In this case, if a certain proposition is true its negation is false, and vice versa. The one affects the truth-status of the other.

Unfortunately, the full details of Hegel's moves here are rather complex, so I have omitted them. However, readers can find out what they are here, here, here and here (links omitted).]

Only by confusing objects (or the names of objects) with propositions (or clauses) -- that is, by confusing objects and/or their names with what we say about them -- was Hegel able to conjure the 'dialectic' into existence.

[His other 'arguments' are merely window dressing. (They will be demolished in Essay Twelve Parts Four and Five at my site, when they are published.)]

We name objects and persons (among other things). Typically, only then can we say things about them. And we do so in sentences. These familiar aspects of language are quite distinct. [I'll explain why it is important that they stay that way, later. (Sure we have other ways of referring to things, but they only complicate the picture, they don't change it.)]

Furthermore, propositions aren't objects, either. Nor are they the names of anything. If they were, they couldn't be used to say anything. Sure, we use inscriptions (words, phrases, clauses, sentences, utterances) to articulate our sentences, but when we do so they serve as symbols (i.e., they signify things for us, and to us, and convey meaning). We achieve this by the way we employ inscriptions like these according to the grammatical complexity our ancestors built into language.

To see this, just look at any object or collection of objects and ask yourself what it/they say to you. You might be tempted to reply that it/they say this or that, but in order to report what it/they allegedly say, you will be forced to articulate whatever that is in a proposition. You couldn't do this by merely reproducing the original objects, or any other objects, nor by just naming them.

[This amusing anecdote (link omitted), taken from Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, lampoons the idea that we could say things simply by using objects. More on this below.]

This isn't surprising, since objects have no social history, intellect or language, whereas we do, and have.

Naming is like setting out the pieces on a chess board ready for a game. A move in a game is like a proposition (describing, or explaining, for example). While they both depend on each other, only someone intent on ruining a game (or who had a hidden agenda) would deliberately confuse the two.

Unfortunately, Engels and Lenin swallowed this spurious Hegelian word magic, hook, line and sinker -- and that is because neither of them were logicians. Despite this, they both had a wildly inflated opinion of Hegel's expertise in this area.

[This is not to demean these two great revolutionaries; many others, who should know better, have similarly been duped. Why they have done this is explained in Essay Nine Part Two (link omitted).]

However, because of their misplaced respect for Hegel, Marxists have been saddled with his fractured 'logic' ever since (upside down, or 'the right way up').

Here, for example, is Lenin's application of this idea:

Quote:
To begin with what is the simplest, most ordinary, common, etc., [sic] with any proposition...: [like] John is a man…. Here we already have dialectics (as Hegel's genius recognized): the individual is the universal…. Consequently, the opposites (the individual is opposed to the universal) are identical: the individual exists only in the connection that leads to the universal. The universal exists only in the individual and through the individual. Every individual is (in one way or another) a universal. Every universal is (a fragment, or an aspect, or the essence of) an individual. Every universal only approximately embraces all the individual objects. Every individual enters incompletely into the universal, etc., etc. Every individual is connected by thousands of transitions with other kinds of individuals (things, phenomena, processes), etc. Here already we have the elements, the germs of the concept of necessity, of objective connection in nature, etc. Here already we have the contingent and the necessary, the phenomenon and the essence; for when we say John is a man…we disregard a number of attributes as contingent; we separate the essence from the appearance, and counterpose the one to the other….

Thus in any proposition we can (and must) disclose as a "nucleus" ("cell") the germs of all the elements of dialectics, and thereby show that dialectics is a property of all human knowledge in general. [Lenin (1961), i.e., Philosophical Notebooks, pp.359-60.]


[Engels's much shorter take on this aspect of Hegel's theory can be found here (link omitted).]

Both of these comrades plainly felt confident they could 'derive' fundamental truths about reality -- not from a scientific investigation of the world --, but from examining a few words seen through Hegel's distorting lens!

And yet, dialecticians still tell us with a straight face that their theory has not been imposed on nature!

Unfortunately, the sentence Lenin used -- J1 (repeated below) -- is descriptive. We use sentences like this to describe the individuals concerned --, so it can't be treated in the way Hegel imagined it could (that is, as an identity statement). In fact, Aristotle would have approached it differently. In order to explain its structure, he would have said something like:

A1: Manhood applies to John.

[J1: John is a man.

J2: John is identical with Manhood.]

In other words, in J1 the predicate is used to describe John; it isn't expressing an identity, as it is in J2.

Indeed, it makes no sense to suppose with Hegel that John (or his name) could be identical with a general term -- any more than it would make sense to suppose that you, for example, are identical with a conjunction, a preposition, or an adverb --, or with what any of these supposedly 'represented'.

In which case, this example of Medieval Roman Catholic 'logic' is not simply misguided, it is bizarre in the extreme!

It surely takes a special sort of 'genius' (which we are assured by Lenin that Hegel possessed) to suppose that an object/individual like John could be identical with a predicate, or with the 'abstraction' it supposedly designated!

[To be sure, Hegel would have called propositions like J1 "essential", in that they tell us what kind of being John is. Even if that were so, and there are good reasons to suppose it isn't (on that see Essay Thirteen Part Two, when it is published), that still wouldn't affect the counter-argument presented here. Nor would it affect the point that J1 is descriptive. It certainly doesn't justify turning J1 into J2.]

If we return to the original sentence, translated this time into Hegel-speak, we can perhaps see more clearly where the argument goes wrong:

J2: John is identical with Manhood.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to explain what the extra "is" (highlighted in bold) here now means. But, this extra "is" has to be used to make the alleged identity between John and Manhood (or whatever) plain.

In fact, if all such uses of "is" expressed disguised identities (as we are assured they must), J2 would now have to become:

J2a: John is identical with identical with Manhood,

as the bold "is" from J2 is replaced by what it is supposed to mean, i.e., "is identical with" --, in bold, in J2a.

After another such 'dialectical' switch, J2a would become:

J2b: John is identical with identical with identical with Manhood,

as the new "is" in italics we had to use in J2a is replaced by "is identical with" in red to yield J2b. And so on:

J2b: John is identical with identical with identical with identical with Manhood.

These untoward moves can only be halted if we argue that "is" doesn't always express an identity in such propositions. But, dialecticians gave up the right to lodge that particular appeal the moment they accepted The Identity Theory of Predication.

Fortunately, Aristotle's approach short-circuits all this; there is no "is" at all in A1:

A1: Manhood applies to John.

In contrast, Hegel's 'analysis' can't avoid this verbal explosion; indeed, it positively invites it.

Anyone who thinks this is just "pedantic" nit-picking need only reflect on the fact that Hegel, or anyone who agrees with him, can't explain this 'theory' without using J2:

J2: John is identical with Manhood.

But, as we can now see, Hegel's theory stalls at this point, for this extra "is" can't be one of identity (for the above reasons), and if it isn't, then the theory that tells us that "is" is always one of identity (in such contexts) is defective.

In fact, this Hegelian trick can only be carried out in Indo-European languages (link omitted). By-and-large, other language groups do not possess this particular grammatical feature. The above moves depend solely on the subject-predicate form taking the copula "is" (or its cognates), which is found almost exclusively in the aforementioned family of languages.

This shows that Hegel's 'logic' isn't just bizarre, it is parochial into the bargain!

-----------------------

The rest of this article (which explains the significance of the above remarks) can be found here (where the missing links, and much else besides, can be accessed):

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/Outline_of ... ted_01.htm

So, my advice to anyone who wants to read Hegel is: don't bother, unless you want to end up thoroughly confused.

No wonder Marx abandoned this logical incompetent when he came to write Das Kapital!
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Post 27 Jun 2013, 07:15
If you really want to get straight to the practical essence of Hegel's philosophy, you should begin with Philosophy Of History. It's by far the easiest reading Hegel ever graced his readers with (made up of lecture notes, so he had to deliver his message as clearly as possible). Whether or not you end up agreeing with Hegel is up to you, but you'll certainly have grasped his essential perspectives.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
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Post 27 Jun 2013, 09:28
Once more, why bother?

Hegel's work is based on a series of verbal tricks of no more interest, or use, to Marxists than Anselm's Ontological Argument (which was also derived from the same source in mystical Neo-Platonism).

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontol ... arguments/

http://www.iep.utm.edu/neoplato/
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Post 27 Jun 2013, 13:00
All right, so who will you recommend in place of Hegel? Schopenhauer, the bringer of Buddhism? Nietzsche, the discoverer of God's corpse? Heidegger the Nazi sympathizer? Sartre, the sufferer from the great Nausea?

Whether you like it or not, the foundations of Western thought were Greek Platonism and a first Hellenized, then Latinized, Christianity. You can't seriously expect any thinker who lived in the times between the fall of the Western Empire and the First World War to fully escape those influences.

By kicking Hegel out of the reading list, you're distorting the history of Marxist thought.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
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Post 27 Jun 2013, 17:01
Unless you are doing a degree in Philosophy, Political Theory, or a related subject, there is no reason for a Marxist (or anyone else for that matter) to read any of those you list, and many others besides.

Quote:
Whether you like it or not, the foundations of Western thought were Greek Platonism and a first Hellenized, then Latinized, Christianity. You can't seriously expect any thinker who lived in the times between the fall of the Western Empire and the First World War to fully escape those influences.


I am aware of this, but so what? Why bother stuffing your brain with the ideas of the ruling-class? It won't help you understand Marx any better, or help you change the world.

I know Lenin recommended studying and fully understanding the whole of Hegel's Logic in order to understand Das Kapital, but Lenin admitted that even he did not understand parts of Hegel's Logic -- so, that must mean he didn't understand Das Kapital! That is quite apart from the fact that it is impossible to tell if anyone has ever understood that book.

Moreover, not even Marx said one had to even open that confused book in order to understand his work. In fact, he indicated the exact opposite.

A weak case can be made for reading Aristotle, though, but I'd not recommend it. In fact, I can think of no great philosopher (other than Wittgenstein) who is worth reading.

Marx even told us to abandon Philosophy, and in his writings after the late 1840s there are no positive (or even neutral) things he had to say about that useless subject. But there are many in the mid- to late-1840s that excoriate it.

Quote:
By kicking Hegel out of the reading list, you're distorting the history of Marxist thought.


Sure, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, read Hegel --, but I think watching your toenails grow would be a more valuable use of your time.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
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Philosophized
Post 27 Jun 2013, 18:16
It's fun, since you're also devoting a lot of time to Hegel. I'm pretty sure you've read a lot more philosophy than I have. Why do you bother?
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
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Post 27 Jun 2013, 20:16
As Wittgenstein pointed out: someone has to show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.

Even a doctor has to study a disease in order to help cure her patients of it.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 18 Apr 2010, 04:44
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Post 28 Jun 2013, 01:44
Rosa Liechtenstein wrote:
Why bother stuffing your brain with the ideas of the ruling-class?

It's certainly worked in the past for people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, who were experts at using the most precious ideals of the ruling class to hoist them by their own petards. You might also check out Augustine's "City Of God" for a masterful summation and point by point rejection of every single element of the pagan superstructure of ancient Rome.
Miss Strangelove: "You feed giants laxatives so goblins can mine their poop before the gnomes get to it."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
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Post 28 Jun 2013, 05:47
Well, I'm not too sure what you mean by "It worked for Ghandi and Luther King" -- they relied on religious beliefs/precepts, which aren't at all the same as philosophical theories.

And thanks for the reference to Augustine, but I read the book you mentioned back in the 1970s and thought it was thoroughly confused.

And sure, theologians can, and have, attacked the ruling class (sometimes very effectively), but I still fail to see what philosophy has got to do with it.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 28 Jun 2013, 18:28
Thanks for your input Rosa. Are you saying that reading Hegel will be of no benefit (or even harmful) to our understanding of Marx? What about Marx's criticisms of Hegel? Also, what about Feuerbach?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
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Post 28 Jun 2013, 20:12
Not harmful to your understanding of Marx, just your brain.

Sure, read Marx's criticisms of Hegel if you have an Essay to write, but otherwise, much of it is only of interest (and use) to antiquarians.

Feuerbach is mostly excellent.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Post 03 Jul 2013, 22:28
Quote:
Not harmful to your understanding of Marx, just your brain.


This makes me want to read him now, if only for the challenge!

Also, did Marx say explicitly that he had dropped Hegelian logic when he came to write Capital? I'm pretty sure he said in some letters that he was influenced by it when he wrote Grundrisse.
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Post 03 Jul 2013, 23:29
gRed:

Quote:
Also, did Marx say explicitly that he had dropped Hegelian logic when he came to write Capital? I'm pretty sure he said in some letters that he was influenced by it when he wrote Grundrisse.


Here is an article I wrote recently on Marx, Hegel and Das Kapital (I have highlighted my comment about the Grundrisse in red so you can find it easier):


Many comrades point to this passage of Lenin's as an indication of how important Hegel's ideas are for Marxists:

Quote:
It is impossible to understand Marx's Capital, and especially its first chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel's Logic. Consequently, half a century later none of the Marxists understood Marx!! [Lenin (1961), p.180. Bold emphases alone added.]


Nevertheless, Marx himself certainly laid down no such preconditions for understanding his work. In fact, if anything, and as we will soon see, he tended to downplay Hegel's influence.

However, this myth has sunk so deep in the collective Dialectical Mind that this response of mine will elicit immediate disbelief. But, it is nonetheless true for all that.

Here is why:

By the late 1850s, Marx himself pointed out that the relevance of Hegel's method could be summarised in a few printers' sheets:

Quote:
What was of great use to me as regards method of treatment was Hegel's Logic at which I had taken another look by mere accident, Freiligrath having found and made me a present of several volumes of Hegel, originally the property of Bakunin. If ever the time comes when such work is again possible, I should very much like to write 2 or 3 sheets making accessible to the common reader the rational aspect of the method which Hegel not only discovered but also mystified. [Marx to Engels, 16/01/1858; MECW, Volume 40, p.248.]


Needless to say, Marx never supplied his readers with such a précis -- but, see below. From this we may perhaps draw the conclusion that in the end Marx didn't really think Hegel's method was all that significant or useful. [Indeed, the evidence presented below suggests this is an understatement.] So, despite all the millions of words he committed to paper, he didn't consider it important enough to complete these relatively few pages.

Meanwhile, and in stark contrast, Marx spent a whole year of his life banging on about Karl Vogt -- but he still couldn't be bothered with this 'vitally important' summary.

Even had Marx written such a summary (and yet he did in fact endorse someone else's summary, and it is a Hegel-free zone -- see below), it would still have meant that only a tiny fraction of Hegel's work is relevant to understanding Capital: a few pages!

Contrast that with what Lenin said.

Attentive readers, too, will no doubt have noticed that Marx tells us that he encountered Hegel's Logic by "accident"; this hardly suggests he was a constant and avid reader of that work. Indeed, he didn't even possess his own copy and had to be given one as a present by Freiligrath!

In contrast, the only summary we have of "the dialectic method" -- and the only one that Marx published and endorsed in his entire life -- suggests the interpretation presented below is 100% correct. [On this, see below.]

Much has been made of certain references to Hegel in Marx's later work. However, a close reading of them reveals a picture that is quite different from the standard line retailed by Dialectical Marxists. The scattered remarks concerning Hegelian Philosophy -- which mostly appear in unpublished books and letters -- are, at best, inconclusive. I will examine several of them in what follows.

[It is worth emphasising at this point that I am not denying Hegel was a major influence on Marx's earlier work, only that by the time he came to write Das Kapital, he had waved 'goodbye' to that mystical and logical incompetent.]

Some might be tempted to point to the following quotation from the Afterword to the Second Edition of Das Kapital in support of the idea that Marx was still being influenced by Hegel's method (but only if put 'the right way up') when he wrote that classic work:

Quote:
...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. [Marx (1976), p.103. Bold emphasis added. I have used the punctuation found in MECW.]


However, Marx's use of the word "coquetted" suggests Hegel's Logic -- at best -- had only a superficial influence on his ideas, confined merely to certain "modes of expression", and limited to just a few sections of Das Kapital. [Again, contrast that with what Lenin said, and with what we are about to discover about Marx's own view of "the dialectic method".]

Marxist dialecticians often take exception to this interpretation of the Afterword, arguing that Marx's "coquetting" was, on his own admission, confined to the chapter on value, not the rest of the book. This is a valid objection, but, in view of the material presented below, it isn't conclusive.

Far from it.

First of all, the punctuation in MECW (reproduced above) suggests Marx was using the chapter on value as one example where he had "coquetted" with Hegel's ideas, but it wasn't the only place. Moreover, it would be decidedly odd if he had "coquetted" in the most important chapter of the book, but nowhere else in the same work. Why pick on only the most important chapter?

Second, as far as Marx "openly" avowing himself a pupil of Hegel, he pointedly put that comment in the past tense:

Quote:
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 emphases added. Once more, I have used the punctuation found in MECW.]


This is hardly a ringing endorsement; indeed, it is equivocal, at best. Marx does not say he is now a pupil of Hegel, but that he once was. Of course, it might still have been the case that he counted himself a pupil of Hegel when the above was written, but there is nothing here to suggest that Marx viewed the link between his own and Hegel's work in the way Lenin did, or in the way that subsequent dialecticians have.

Of course, one can call a theorist a "mighty thinker", and claim to have learnt much from her/him, even while disagreeing with everything she/he said. For example, I think Plato is a "mighty thinker", and I have learnt much from him (mainly, how not to proceed!), but I disagree with 99.99% of what he said.

John Rees recently attempted to neutralise this devastating admission (that the extent of the influence on Marx of Hegel's Logic was no more than a few jargonised expressions, used only "here and there", and with which Marx merely "coquetted"), by arguing as follows:

Quote:
Remarkably, this last quotation is sometimes cited as evidence that Marx was not serious about his debt to Hegel and that he only or merely 'coquetted' with Hegel's phraseology, and that he really did not make any further use of the dialectic. That this interpretation is false should be obvious from this sentence alone. The meaning is clearly that Marx was so keen to identify with Hegel that he 'even' went so far as to use the same terms as 'that mighty thinker' not that he 'only' used those terms. [Rees (1998), p.100.]


[The exact reference can be found by following the link at the end.]

Well, if that is so, why did Marx put his praise of Hegel in the past tense, and why did he immediately add the following?

Quote:
...even, here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, [that he had -- RL] coquetted with the mode of expression peculiar to him." [Marx (1976), p.103. Bold emphasis added. Once more, I have used the punctuation found in MECW.]


This is quite clear: Marx himself (not me, not Peter Struve, not James Burnham, not Max Eastman...), Marx himself says that he "coquetted" with Hegelian phraseology (hardly a serious use of the Logic!), and only in certain places ("here and there"). So, far from "using" such terms, as Rees suggests, he merely "coquetted" with them. Indeed, had this alleged "debt" to Hegel been plain for all to see, Marx would surely not have expressed himself so equivocally. [These days we'd perhaps use 'scare quotes'.]

In fact, the core Historical Materialist ideas in Das Kapital owe much more to the dialectical method of Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish Historical School (of Ferguson, Millar, Robertson, Smith, Hume, and Steuart) than they do to Hegel.

[Added on edit: Proof supplied on request.]

It is now apparent that the ideas of these earlier dialecticians, coupled with the above comments (and the content of the long passage quoted below), represent the "rational kernel" of that mystical theory -- but nothing from Hegel.

Hence, for Marx, to rotate Hegel and put him 'on his feet' is to reveal how empty his head is. The "rational kernel" contains not one milligram of Hegel.

Some have pointed to Marx's own words -- where he refers to his "dialectic method" -- in order to counter the above allegations. But, what did Marx mean by this phrase?

Well, we needn't speculate. Marx himself tells us what he meant by it in the same Afterword to the Second Edition. There he quotes a reviewer in the following terms:

Quote:
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; quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at my site.]


In the above passage, not one single Hegelian concept is to be found -- no "contradictions", no change of "quantity into quality", no "negation of the negation", no "unity and identity of opposites", no "interconnected Totality", no "universal change" --, and yet Marx calls this the "dialectic method", and he says of it that it is "my method".

So, Marx's "method" has had Hegel completely excised --, except for the odd phrase or two, "here and there", with which he merely "coquetted".

In that case, and once more, Marx's "dialectic method" more closely resembles that of Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish School.

Others point to the following passage:

Quote:
My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life process of the human brain, i.e., the process of thinking, which, under the name of 'the Idea,' he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of 'the Idea.' With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought. [Ibid., p.102. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at my site.]


But, one can't get more "opposite" to Hegel than to remove his ideas totally from one's own.

Again, we needn't speculate about this, since the long passage above -- in which there is no trace of Hegel whatsoever, and which Marx's still calls "the dialectic method" -- supports this interpretation.

Still others refer us to the following remarks:

Quote:
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. [Ibid., p.102.]


Of course, this leaves it open to interpretation what the "rational form" of the dialectic amounts to. But, if we rely on what Marx actually published, as opposed to what tradition would have us believe, then the long passage above shows that the "rational form" contains no Hegel at all -- upside down or the 'right way up'. Indeed, as noted earlier, to turn Hegel "the right side up" is to show how empty his head really is!

But, what about this?

Quote:
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. [Ibid.]


To be sure, this doesn't prevent Hegel from being the first to do what Marx says. What does prevent him is that Hegel wasn't the first -- Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish School were, as Marx well knew. Moreover, Hegel failed to present us with a "comprehensive and conscious" form, as that long quotation shows. It isn't possible to make sense of Hegel's 'method'.

So, according to Marx's own endorsement -- not mine -- "the dialectic method" contains not one atom of Hegel.

Naturally, DM-fans are guaranteed not like this, but they should pick a fight with Marx, not me.

It could be argued that the Grundrisse is living disproof of much of the above. Well, it would be had Marx seen fit to publish it, but he didn't --, and so it isn't.

But, he did publish this:

Quote:
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. [Marx (1976), p.103. Bold emphasis added.]


Moreover, Marx did publish the only summary of "the dialectic method" that he endorsed in his entire life, which is, as we have seen, a Hegel-free zone.

So, whatever it was that happened to Marx's thinking between the writing of the Grundrisse and the publishing of Das Kapital, it clearly changed his view of Hegel's Logic -- to such an extent that its phraseology became something with which he merely wished to "coquette" --, or, in fact, totally ignore.

Some critics of the above point to certain letters Marx sent to Engels and others, which seem to support the view that Marx still looked to Hegel (as some sort of authority) when he wrote Das Kapital. However, these letters aren't conclusive either. Moreover, and more importantly, no unpublished work can countermand an author's published comments. Once again, in Marx's case, this includes the only summary of "the dialectic method" he published in his entire life (quoted above), in which there is no trace of Hegel whatsoever.

Moreover, in these letters, Marx does speak about "the dialectic method", but we already know what he meant by this -- the long quotation above told us: Marx's "dialectic method" owes nothing to Hegel.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Marx's unpublished material isn't important, only that when it comes to interpreting an author's work, published work must take precedence.

Hence, if we rely on what Marx actually published, which he called "his method" and "the dialectic method" -- and ignore the failed Hegel-Engels tradition -- it is clear that Marx had turned his back on this 'mighty thinker' when he wrote Das Kapital.

Others point to the following passage from Das Kapital:

Quote:
A certain stage of capitalist production necessitates that the capitalist be able to devote the whole of the time during which he functions as a capitalist, i.e., as personified capital, to the appropriation and therefore control of the labour of others, and to the selling of the products of this labour. The guilds of the middle ages therefore tried to prevent by force the transformation of the master of a trade into a capitalist, by limiting the number of labourers that could be employed by one master within a very small maximum. The possessor of money or commodities actually turns into a capitalist in such cases only where the minimum sum advanced for production greatly exceeds the maximum of the middle ages. Here, as in natural science, is shown the correctness of the law discovered by Hegel (in his 'Logic'), that merely quantitative differences beyond a certain point pass into qualitative changes. [Marx (1996), p.313. Bold emphasis added. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at my site.]


Here is what I have said about this passage in Essay Seven Part One (at my site):

Quote:
Values (it is assumed that these are "exchange values") do not become Capital by mere quantitative increment. It requires the presence of a Capitalist Mode of Production (and thus a change in the Relations of Production), or a different use of that money, for this to happen. The capitalist concerned has to do something with these exchange values. So, the mere increase of exchange values does not automatically "pass over" into a qualitative change and become Capital. They have to be invested, and that too isn't automatic (in certain circumstances, they could be consumed). So, what we have here is a change in quality passing over into another change in quality! Quantity has nothing to do with it. The very same quantity of money could be used as Capital or fail to be so used. It requires a change in its quality (its use) to effect such a development.

Over the last twenty-five years or so, in my trawl through the Dustbowl of Dialectics, I have yet to encounter a single dialectician who has pointed out that the above application of Hegel's 'Law' contains a serious error!

Hence, £x/$y (or their equivalent) owned by a Medieval Lord in, say, the Eleventh Century couldn't become Capital, no matter how large this pot of money became, whereas £w/$z in Nineteenth Century Manchester, even though it might be less than the £x/$y pounds held by that Lord (allowing for inflation, etc.), would be Capital if employed in certain ways. It isn't the quantity that is important here but the Mode of Production and the use to which the money is put, that are.

Furthermore, does this money actually "develop"? In what way can it "develop"? Sure, money can be saved and/or accumulated, but how does a £1/$1 coin "develop" if its owner saves or accumulates more of the same? Even if we redefine "save" and "accumulate" to mean "develop" (protecting this 'law' by yet another terminological dodge, thus imposing it on the facts), not all money will "develop" in this way. What if all the money was stolen or had been expropriated from, or by, another non-capitalist? What if all of it was obtained (all at once) by selling land, slaves, works of art, political or other favours, etc? Where is the "development" here? But, it can still operate as Capital, howsoever it was acquired, depending on its use and the Mode of Production in which this takes place.

Of course, this isn't to deny that there were Capitalists (or nascent Capitalists) in pre-Capitalist Europe; but whatever money they had, its nature as Capital was not determined by quantity, but by use. This is also true in the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism (before the Capitalist Mode of Production was apparent); it is the use to which money is put that decides whether or not it is Capital, not its quantity.


In which case, this is an egregious mis-application of Hegel's 'Law' -- by Marx himself! Now, either we believe Marx was an imbecile (in that he committed this crass error, and failed even to understand Historical Materialism!), or we conclude he was still "coquetting". Again, these days we'd use 'scare quotes' in such circumstances.

Others point to this passage from Volume One of Das Kapital:

Quote:
John St[uart] Mill, on the contrary, accepts on the one hand Ricardo's theory of profit, and annexes on the other hand Senior's 'remuneration of abstinence.' He is as much at home in absurd contradictions, as he feels at sea in the Hegelian contradiction, the source of all dialectic. It has never occurred to the vulgar economist to make the simple reflexion, that every human action may be viewed, as 'abstinence' from its opposite. Eating is abstinence from fasting, walking, abstinence from standing still, working, abstinence from idling, idling, abstinence from working, &c. These gentlemen would do well, to ponder, once in a while, over Spinoza's: 'Determinatio est Negatio.' [Every determination is also a negation -- RL.] [Marx (1996), p.596. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at my site.]


This also appears to contradict the conclusions reached above.

Here is what I have posted elsewhere on this passage (slightly edited):


The first thing to note is that this sentence is ambiguous:

Quote:
He is as much at home in absurd contradictions, as he feels at sea in the Hegelian contradiction, the source of all dialectic.


You [i.e., the individual with whom I was discussing this at the time] seem to think its meaning is obvious, that Marx is claiming that "Hegelian contradiction is the source of all dialectic", but this isn't plausible, and for several reasons:

1) Marx goes on to appeal to Spinoza's principle to illustrate the source of the dialectic:

Quote:
It has never occurred to the vulgar economist to make the simple reflexion, that every human action may be viewed, as 'abstinence' from its opposite. Eating is abstinence from fasting, walking, abstinence from standing still, working, abstinence from idling, idling, abstinence from working, &c. These gentlemen would do well, to ponder, once in a way, over Spinoza's: 'Determinatio est Negatio.'


Of course, Spinoza's 'principle' predated the invention of Hegel's 'contradictions'. If so, Hegelian 'contradictions' can't be the source of all dialectic (as Marx is clearly indicating by quoting Spinoza). And, indeed, these 'contradictions' most certainly aren't the source, since the dialectic originated in Ancient Greece (as Marx knew full well).

2. The sentence itself gives us a clue as to Marx's intentions:

Quote:
He is as much at home in absurd contradictions, as he feels at sea in the Hegelian contradiction, the source of all dialectic.


Now, the final clause could refer back to this passage:

"as he feels at sea in the Hegelian contradiction...."

Or, to this:

"He is as much at home in absurd contradictions...."

Or, what is far more likely, to this:

"He is as much at home in absurd contradictions, as he feels at sea in the Hegelian contradiction...."

In other words Marx is alluding here to the sort of puzzlement that motivated the early Greeks to engage in dialectic (the pursuit of truth through argument and counter-argument), puzzlement that has now re-surfaced in Mill's mind.

And this interpretation is supported by point 1) above -- Marx appeals to the puzzling features of Spinoza's Principle.

So, far from Marx being guilty of a simple historical error here (i.e., the claim that Hegel's 'contradictions' are the source of all dialectic, which they plainly aren't), he is pointing out something much less controversial: that puzzlement is the source of the dialectic (in fact, this is a remarkably Wittgensteinian claim to make).


The choice is quite stark: either Marx was an incompetent ignoramus or the above interpretation is correct.

Take your pick...

In that case, Lenin should have said:

Quote:
It is possible to understand Marx's Capital, and especially its first chapter, merely by coquetting with the phraseology of Hegel's Logic. Consequently, half a century later anyone who is capable of coquetting will understand Marx!! [Edited misquotation of Lenin (1961), p.180.]


-------------------------

I have quoted the Penguin edition of Das Kapital above, but the book itself can be accessed here (this is the MECW edition):

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/cw/volume35/index.htm

Any other references, as well as more detail on this topic, can be found here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2009_01.htm
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
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Post 04 Jul 2013, 19:15
Thanks Rosa, that was very interesting. I suppose the immediate question that springs to mind is how did Lenin come to ascribe such an essential necessity to Hegel's Logic? Did he misunderstand it (or Capital, or both) or was he just determined to make a connection between the two works>
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