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Marx and dialectic

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mcolome1
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Marx and dialectic

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2000s/2005/no-1213...

Marx himself, however, was not satisfied to let the case for socialism rest on a mere philosophical theory that it provided the only social basis on which the “essence of Man” could be fully and finally realised. After continuing to initial with his previous philosophical position, he ended by rejecting the view that humans had any abstract “essence” from which they were alienated. As he put it in some notes jotted down in 1845:

“The human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations (Theses on Feuerbach).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Lichtenstein
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In fact, Marx abandoned Philosophy root-and-branch by the late 1840s.

Proof suppiled on request.

'The emanicaption of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.'

Enroll on a dialectics detox programme here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm<

mcolome1
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I think Marx was more of an Anthropologist than a Philosopher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wez
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I don't think that debating which intellectual division of labour Marx did or did not belong to is helpful; he contributed to all of them. As for Ms Lichtenstein's ' dialectics detox programme' I can only respond with a quote from Bertell Ollman:  'All of Marx's theories have been shaped by his dialectical outlook and its accompanying categories, and it is only by grasping dialectics that these theories can be properly understood, evaluated, and put to use.' 

Wez

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Thanks for that Wez, but you can't expect me simply to accept Ollman's opinion, here, especially when he made such a mess of trying to explain what 'abstraction' is, can you?

 

But, what about Marx's own use of the phrase 'the dialectic method' (for example, in the Postface to the second edition of Das Kapital)?

 

However, what did he mean by this?

 

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

"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. I have used the version published in the collected works, on-line, i.e., MECW, but have quoted the page numbers from the Penguin edition.]

In the above passage, not one single Hegelian concept is to be found (upside down or 'the right way up') -- 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 still calls this the "dialectic method", and says of it that it is "my method"

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

"...[E]ven, here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, [I] coquetted with the mode of expression peculiar to him." [Ibid., p.103. Bold emphasis added. Once more, I have used the punctuation found in MECW.] 

In that case, Marx's "dialectic method" more closely resembles that of Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish Historical School (of Ferguson, Millar, Robertson, Smith, Hume and Steuart). 

Marx's 'dialectic method' is what we would now call 'Historical Materialism', which is a scientific theory, not a philosophy. 

It is also worth adding that this is the only summary of "the dialectic method" Marx published and endorsed in his entire life.

My original comment still stands, therefore.

More details here:

http://www.anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2009_01.htm#Marx-And-DM--11

[If you are using Internet Explorer 10 (or later), the above link won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu); for IE11 select 'Compatibility View Settings' and then add my site (anti-dialectics.co.uk). I have as yet no idea how Microsoft's new browser, Edge, will handle these links.]

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

'The emanicaption of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.'

Enroll on a dialectics detox programme here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm<

Wez
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There you go again: 'Marx's 'dialectical method' is what we would now call 'Historical Materialism', which is a scientific theory, not a philosophy' - compartmentalising intellectual endeavor. It's very old school to believe in such divisions and although Engels made a big fuss about the 'scientific method' I don't believe Marx really shared his enthusiasm even 'back in the day'. Anyways we have moved on and recognise the ideological element within every discipline. As for Mr. Ollman's 'opinion' (you, in contrast, do not admit that your ideas are also 'your opinion') I can say that his work gave me a better understanding of Marx. By the way, why do you end your posts with 'The emancipation of the working class will be the act of the workers themselves'? Does this imply you have an elitist belief that 'workers' can never achieve the intellectual level of philosophy? 

Wez

Tim Kilgallon
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To Paraphrase the above comment from Wez:

Why do you end your posts with 'The emancipation of the working class will be the act of the workers themselves'?

When you also state on your website "I count myself as a Marxist, a Leninist and a Trotskyist"?

Will it be the workers who emancipate themselves or a Leninist/Trotskyist vanguard?

 

How about replaceing Max Eastman's statement on the banner on the top of your site with this statement:

 

Leninsm is like a mental disease; you can't know what it is until you get it, and then you can't know because you have got it -- Tim Kilgallon


mcolome1
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Joined: 04/11/2011

Tim Kilgallon wrote:

To Paraphrase the above comment from Wez:

Why do you end your posts with 'The emancipation of the working class will be the act of the workers themselves'?

When you also state on your website "I count myself as a Marxist, a Leninist and a Trotskyist"?

Will it be the workers who emancipate themselves or a Leninist/Trotskyist vanguard?

 

How about replaceing Max Eastman's statement on the banner on the top of your site with this statement:

 

Leninsm is like a mental disease; you can't know what it is until you get it, and then you can't know because you have got it -- Tim Kilgallon

Lenin and Trotsky were dialectician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mcolome1
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The concept of dialectical materialism was created by Josph Deitzgen

http://mailstrom.blogspot.com/2007/04/joseph-dietzgen-workers-philosophe...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Joined: 19/03/2012

Wez:

"compartmentalising intellectual endeavor."

And what is so heinous about that?

"As for Mr. Ollman's 'opinion' (you, in contrast, do not admit that your ideas are also 'your opinion') I can say that his work gave me a better understanding of Marx."

Oh dear! Then you have my sincerest sympathy.

"By the way, why do you end your posts with 'The emancipation of the working class will be the act of the workers themselves'? Does this imply you have an elitist belief that 'workers' can never achieve the intellectual level of philosophy?"

Not at all. Philosophy is little more than self-important hot air; workers are well shut of it.

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

'The emanicaption of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.'

Enroll on a dialectics detox programme here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm<

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Joined: 19/03/2012

Tim:

"Why do you end your posts with 'The emancipation of the working class will be the act of the workers themselves'?

"When you also state on your website 'I count myself as a Marxist, a Leninist and a Trotskyist'?

"Will it be the workers who emancipate themselves or a Leninist/Trotskyist vanguard?"

If they so choose. It's up to them, not me, to decide. But I fail to see what this has to do with the topic in hand. Or have you 'emancipated' yourself from the meaning of the phrase "relavent comment"?

I see you have:

"How about replaceing Max Eastman's statement on the banner on the top of your site with this statement:

"Leninsm is like a mental disease; you can't know what it is until you get it, and then you can't know because you have got it -- Tim Kilgallon."

No thanks, I think Eastman's original words were far better.

But thanks for drifting off topic.

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

'The emanicaption of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.'

Enroll on a dialectics detox programme here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm<

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