Marx's dialectic

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Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 6 2012 10:12

Any chance you guys sticking to the point of this thread?

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no.25
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Mar 6 2012 10:39
Railyon wrote:
LaForce wrote:
Haha... Yeah I've read Marx. That was one of them joke things.

Well, you never really know... black bloc

Not like there aren't any anarchists who think Marx was like the Jesus of communism, nothing surprises me anymore. tongue

I'm too drunk for all of this, but for Marx was God's only begotten son, yada yada yada. The most pious 'Marxists' that I encounter are most generally Leninists, REVLEFT IS CRAZY man.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 6 2012 10:57

So, no, you can't stick to the point... sad

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Railyon
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Mar 6 2012 12:35

The point being that dialectics and dialectical materialism are mainly bull?

I think you made that pretty clear, and I think most posters on this site are equally dismissive of the concepts as a whole.

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LaForce
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Mar 6 2012 12:41

Yeah but its not a bad name for a cocktail.

S. Artesian
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Mar 6 2012 13:21

Right, here comes Rosa Lichtenstein flogging her completely ahistorical view, because after all, Marx only edited personally the first volume of Capital and in a completely idiosyncratic interpretation of nothing but the afterward to the second edition, Rosas thinks Marx's statements can be excised and weighed separate from the body of his work, published and unpublished...

Like the fact in all of Marx's economic manuscripts from 1857-1864, he writes not one word announcing that he has "excised" Hegel; that a man who demonstrates in every aspect his need to define, refine, reiterate, demonstrate every facet of his analysis of capital, never discusses the so-called cataclysmic break with his "younger" works; that in his correspondence and in his subsequent works, particularly his mathematical notebooks, Marx proclaims the viability of dialectic as Hegel developed it.

All this is ignored. You know what else is ignored? That we are not reading, in English, the Capital, Marx wrote, but a translation based on the 4th edition in German which was edited after Marx died?

Reading the original in the German, or the original German translated makes it quite clear what Marx is referring to when he uses the term "coquette"-- and he is not referring to the body of Hegel's dialectic, but the terms such as "determinate being" etc., which do appear in the first edition.

And... I say this only in the interests of historical accuracy. Anyone who discusses Marx's dialectic separate and apart from his demonstration of the dialectic in the relations between wage-labor and capital, separate and apart from his exploration of value, separate and apart from Marx's critical insight that capital is a social relation of production, is simply repeating Rosa's mistake.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 6 2012 13:36

SA:

Quote:
Right, here comes Rosa Lichtenstein flogging her completely ahistorical view, because after all, Marx only edited personally the first volume of Capital and in a completely idiosyncratic interpretation of nothing but the afterward to the second edition, Rosas thinks Marx's statements can be excised and weighed separate from the body of his work, published and unpublished...

Well, if you can produce a passage written and published by Marx, contempraneous with or subsequent to Das Kapital that supports your traditional reading of that work, let's see it.

Oh wait, there isn't one! sad

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Like the fact in all of Marx's economic manuscripts from 1857-1864, he writes not one word announcing that he has "excised" Hegel; that a man who demonstrates in every aspect his need to define, refine, reiterate, demonstrate every facet of his analysis of capital, never discusses the so-called cataclysmic break with his "younger" works; that in his correspondence and in his subsequent works, particularly his mathematical notebooks, Marx proclaims the viability of dialectic as Hegel developed it.

Except, and alas for you, in the Afterword he published a long quotation from a reviewer, which contains not one atom of Hegel, and which he calls 'the dialectic method'.

Now, this is the only summary of 'the dialectic method' he published in his entire life, and yet you reject it.

Odd that...

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All this is ignored.

May I suggest you desist then?

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You know what else is ignored? That we are not reading, in English, the Capital, Marx wrote, but a translation based on the 4th edition in German which was edited after Marx died?

Are you suggesting that the Afterword wasn't written by Marx?

If so, quite a few passages comrades appeal to in support of their claim that Marx still looked to Hegel, will have to go out of the window, too -- passages, indeed, that you yourself have relied on (in our discussions at Revleft).

So, which is it to be?

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And... I say this only in the interests of historical accuracy.

In which case, why are you ignoring what Marx actuually published?

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Anyone who discusses Marx's dialectic separate and apart from his demonstration of the dialectic in the relations between wage-labor and capital, separate and apart from his exploration of value, separate and apart from Marx's critical insight that capital is a social relation of production, is simply repeating Rosa's mistake.

So you say, but the facts say different. sad

S. Artesian
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Mar 6 2012 17:18

So says the troll.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 6 2012 17:47

SA:

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So says the troll.

Which, I take it, means that you still haven't managed to locate the missing passage, written and published by Marx contemporaneous with or subsequent to Das Kapital, that supports your attempt to re-mystify his work?

No big surprise there then.smile

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 01:06

R68:

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Everyone knows bricks don't have dialectics, they break them.

Eh? confused

Oenomaus
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Mar 7 2012 01:26
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:
Quote:
Everyone knows bricks don't have dialectics, they break them.

Eh? confused

Situationist film.

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Schwarz
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Mar 7 2012 01:34
Oenomaus wrote:
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:
Quote:
Everyone knows bricks don't have dialectics, they break them.

Eh? confused

Situationist film.

Something tells me Raving Rosa wouldn't take much of a shine to Debord.

Society of the Spectacle wrote:
The inseparability of Marx’s theory from the Hegelian method is itself inseparable from the revolutionary character of this theory, namely from its truth. This first relationship has been generally ignored, misunderstood, and even denounced as the weakness of what fallaciously became a marxist doctrine. Bernstein, in his Evolutionary Socialism: A Criticism and Affirmation (Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie), perfectly reveals the connection between the dialectical method and historical partisanship, by deploring the unscientific forecasts of the 1847 Manifesto on the imminence of proletarian revolution in Germany: “This historical self-deception, so erroneous that any political visionary could hardly have improved on it, would be incomprehensible in a Marx, who at that time had already seriously studied economics, if we did not see in this the product of a relic of the antithetical Hegelian dialectic from which Marx, no less than Engels, could never completely free himself. In those times of general effervescence, this was all the more fatal to him.”
Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 06:03

Schwarz:

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Something tells me Raving Rosa wouldn't take much of a shine to Debord.

Ah, yet another comrade who can't resist posting personal abuse -- doubtless because he/she can't defend his/her ideas either. No big surprise there then.

However, Debord is welcome to his opinions (not that he needs my permission), but he offers no supporting argument or proof, and what he says flies in the face of Marx's own published words.

Perhaps you are unaware of this summary of 'the dialectic method' (from the Afterword to the second edition of Das Kapital)-- the only one Marx published in his entire life:

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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 no doubt notice that Marx calls this 'the dialectic method', and 'his method', even though it bears no relation to the sort of dialectics characters like you and Debord have uncritically swallowed, for in it there is no trace of Hegel -- no 'quantity turning into quality', no 'contradictions', no 'negation of the negation', no 'unity of opposites', no 'totality', no 'internal relations'...

So pick a fight wth Marx, not me.

Quote:
Situationist

Ah yes, that irrelevant, inconsequential and failed 'movement'. With confused theorists like Debord behind it, that's no big surprise either.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 11:00

R68 (at last an attempt to present an argument!):

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That's a terrible text to cite in your favour, for a start Marx is precisely pointing out that what the writer is generously attributing to him [Marx] is really just an appropriation of the dialectical method to his own rational ends. The rest of the afterward goes on to explicitly lay out Marx's dialectical method.

Not so, he specifically says that this is 'the dialectical method'.

And, contrary to what you assert, in the rest of the Afterword he nowhere adds to this method.

As we are about to find out.

You quote this in support:

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Of course the method of presentation must differ in form from that of inquiry. The latter has to appropriate the material in detail, to analyse its different forms of development, to trace out their inner connexion. Only after this work is done, can the actual movement be adequately described. If this is done successfully, if the life of the subject-matter is ideally reflected as in a mirror, then it may appear as if we had before us a mere a priori construction.

Sorry, no Hegel in there (upside down, or the 'right way up'). So, this passage fails to support your case

What about this?

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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.

Well, you can't get more 'opposite' to Hegel than rejecting his method root-and-branch, can you?

Of course, Marx's 'reflection theory' is misguided, too, but even if it wasn't, it amounts to a rejection of Hegel, not an endorsement.

So, still no support for your argument.

And I have already covered this:

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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 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.

1) Marx put his 'avowal' in the past tense. There is no indication he still thought Hegel was a 'mighty thinker'.

2) Indeed, the very opposite is suggested by what he went on to say: so, the very best Marx could do with Hegel's jargon was to 'coquette' with it (i.e., use it non-seriously). These days we'd put this jargon in 'scare quotes'. [I'd go further, and throw it out completely.]

Hardly a ringing endorsement, is it? In fact, it suggests he no longer had much respect for that mystical bumbler.

Especially now we know that Marx had already indicated that the 'dialectic method' contained no trace of Hegel whatsoever.

Hence, Marx had so much respect for that 'mighty thinker' that he (1) endorsed a summary of 'the dialectic method' that completely edited Hegel out, and then (2) he went on to use Hegel's jargon non-seriously!

Pull the other one... roll eyes

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. 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.

Indeed, this isn't what 'prevents' Hegel from being "the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner". What actually prevents him is the fact that Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish Historical School (of Ferguson, Millar, Robertson, Smith, Hume, and Stuart) had beaten him to it.

All Hegel managed to do was mystify things.

So, still no support for your argument.

What about this, then?

Quote:
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.

As we can now see, the 'rational kernel' was laid down by Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish School. So, to put Hegel back on his feet is to see how empty his head really is.

What of this, though?

Quote:
The contradictions inherent in the movement of capitalist society impress themselves upon the practical bourgeois most strikingly in the changes of the periodic cycle, through which modern industry runs, and whose crowning point is the universal crisis. That crisis is once again approaching, although as yet but in its preliminary stage; and by the universality of its theatre and the intensity of its action it will drum dialectics even into the heads of the mushroom-upstarts of the new, holy Prusso-German empire

As Marx himself (not me! Marx) said, he was merely 'coquetting' with jargonised expressions like 'contradiction'. And he is plainly still doing that in the above passage.

So, there is no addition to the summary that Marx called 'the dialectic method' -- which contains not one atom of Hegel -- contrary to what you alleged.

Nice try, only it wasn't. sad

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 10:35

R68:

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It would appear that Rosa's skull must be considerably thicker than Prussian helmets.

You just can't resist personal abuse can you?

Even so, it's now apparent that it is you, my fine abusive friend, who is the numpty here.

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How anyone can read that and be in any doubt of Marx's appropriation of Hegelian dialectics albeit in an inverted form, is something of a mystery to me but to have someone cite it as evidence of Marx's rejection of dialectics is more akin to a psychological horror.

Easy: anyone who can read what Marx actually wrote, but who refuses to read into it a later, mystical tradition, will agree with me.

Get over it... smile

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 10:50

Duplicate Post!

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 11:08

Still in abusive mode, I see:

Quote:
I don't know why I am arguing this with you, you are obviously bat shit and have some sort of life investment in your deranged project.

You're the sort of plonker who would have said this of Marx:

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you are obviously bat shit and have some sort of life investment in your deranged project, fighting capitalism.

You:

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So you are now arguing that Marx is dialectical but not in a Hegelian sense but rather stretching back earlier to Aristotle?

You need to wake up. I am not now arguing this, I have been arguing it here and elsewhere for several years.

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Well the influence of Aristotle on Marx is something pretty well known, but Marx was also a left hegelian in his youth and anyone who reads Marx in the light of Hegel can see the influence not simply in language but at a conceptual level, the idea of a universal class, the slave/master dialectic and the guts of his historical approach. So much of the arguments in Capital are really those same themes fleshed out and applied in a more concrete manner. It has frankly baffled me that people claim some decisive break between the young and mature Marx.

I'm not arguing for any such break. Marx was moving away from Hegel all his life.

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Malva
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Mar 7 2012 11:08

Rosa, I suggest that you read Felton C. Shorthall's chapter in The Incomplete Marx 'Totality and Dialectic in Hegel and Marx'. It has a really excellent explanation of the relationship between Marx and the work of Hegel that focus on the theory of praxis in Marx. I'm afraid that if you reject the influence of Hegel and Feuerbach, even if it is a critical one, then you have to reject the theory of alienation and therefore the very basis on which Marx thinks revolution it is possible at all and what revolution means. In which case you find yourself simply falling into either the idealist trap of Hegel or the vulgar materialist one (which is itself a form of idealism) of the 2nd International and its reformist and revolutionary inheritors (from the Labour party to Lenin).

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Malva
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Mar 7 2012 11:11

I should add that Shorthall is able to show how Marx reads Aristotle, Hegel, Feuerbach (even a bit of Stirner) altogether in order to construct his own theory of praxis: the fundamental critical position in his work.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 11:12

R68:

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You have consistently argued that dialectics per se are bullshit, are you now claiming otherwise?

Where have I used these words?

From abuse to lies in one go.

Nice work..

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 11:21

Malva, thanks for that suggestion, but I have been reading material like this for well over 25 years,and have lost count of the number of times comrades have said things like this: "If only you'd read XYZ's work, all will become clear".

What happens is that I waste even more time reading the same repetitive material for the nth time, only to find it makes nothing clear, all the while it ignores what Marx actually said about the relation between his work (in Das Kapital) and Hegel.

Anyway, I'll give it a go, but I'm not holding my breath.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 11:25

Malva:

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I'm afraid that if you reject the influence of Hegel and Feuerbach, even if it is a critical one, then you have to reject the theory of alienation and therefore the very basis on which Marx thinks revolution it is possible at all and what revolution means. In which case you find yourself simply falling into either the idealist trap of Hegel or the vulgar materialist one (which is itself a form of idealism) of the 2nd International and its reformist and revolutionary inheritors (from the Labour party to Lenin).

Where do I reject the influence of Feuerbach?

It might be a good idea if you resisted the temptation to make stuff up about me.

And there is no chance of this:

Quote:
you find yourself simply falling into either the idealist trap of Hegel or the vulgar materialist one (which is itself a form of idealism) of the 2nd International and its reformist and revolutionary inheritors

Since those who adopt the 'dialectic' (traditionally understood) also fall into these traps.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 11:40

R68:

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well you're dislikes are dialectics, not simply Hegel and your website is called anti-dialectics.

The problem is that the classical word "dialectic" has been ruined by Hegel.

I have no quarrel with the classical word/method, which is why my site isn't called anti-dialectic.

Now, I'd be inclined to explain more, but why do you think I want to share any ideas with an obnoxious liar like you?

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ocelot
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Mar 7 2012 12:09
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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.

So, not Aristotle then... roll eyes

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jura
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Mar 7 2012 12:34
ocelot wrote:
So, not Aristotle then... roll eyes

Nah, that's just Marx coquetting again beardiest.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 12:49

R68:

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Apparently it's the plural form that is the problem.

No, it's when it's put in capitals... roll eyes .

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 12:53

Ocelot:

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So, not Aristotle then...

I've already dealt with this in my reply to R68.

Here it is again:

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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. 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.

Indeed, this isn't what 'prevents' Hegel from being "the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner". What actually prevents him is the fact that Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish Historical School (of Ferguson, Millar, Robertson, Smith, Hume, and Stuart) had beaten him to it.

All Hegel managed to do was mystify things.

So, still no support for your argument.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 12:54

Jura:

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Nah, that's just Marx coquetting again

Nothing useful to contribute, then, eh?

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 12:58

R68:

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A Song For Rosa,

Which I take it is the equivalent of waving a white flag, since you clearly have nothing useful to add.

Your obsession with personal remarks and abuse is testimony enough of that.

Rosa Lichtenstein
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Mar 7 2012 12:57

R68:

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what even at the start of a sentence, seems a tad harsh?

Still nothing useful to say, I see.