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Dialectics

Marx: According to Humpty-Dumpty

'What Marx Really Meant'. By G. D. H. Cole. (Gollancz, 5s. net.)

    “It's a stupid name enough!” Humpty-Dumpty interrupted impatiently, “ What does it mean?" “Must a name mean something?" Alice asked doubtfully. . . . "When I use a word," Humpty-Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “ it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

Book Reviews: 'The Concept of Nature in Marx', & 'Alienation - Marx’s Conception of Man in Capitalist Society'

Who can read Marx?

'The Concept of Nature in Marx', by Alfred Schmidt. Published by NLB. £3.25.

'Alienation: Marx’s Conception of Man in Capitalist Society', by Bertell Ollman. Cambridge University Press. £4.

These two books by professional philosophers are very different in approach, yet both seem to have been chiefly inspired by two manuscripts of Marx: the Grundrisse and the Paris Manuscripts. In these, Marx’s debts to other writers, particularly philosophers, are much more evident than in Das Kapital, and it is much easier for scholars to get to grips with the feelings which motivated him and the principles which governed his thinking. Neither writer believes that Marx altered his attitudes in anything more than detail or emphasis later in life, and they trace the development of certain ideas from the earlier to the later works.

Book Review: 'Dialectical Investigations'

Hopping on moving cars

'Dialectical Investigations' by Bertell Ollman (Routledge, 1993)

Bertell Ollman, an American Marxist theorist, whose earlier works on Marx's theory of alienation, and the relationship between social and sexual liberation (as well as his invention of the fascinating board game "Class Struggle") have marked him out as one of the finest radical scholars in North America, has written a book which makes the concept of dialectical thinking both accessible and inspiring. Consider this opening to chapter 1 on "The Meaning of Dialectics" as an illustration of both of these characteristics:

Dietzgen and Dialectical Thought

Part of the series 'Socialist Thinkers: People Who History Made'

Islington Branch

Recorded: 
Sunday, 17 October 1982

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