Marx misinterprets Hegel?

38 posts / 0 new
Last post
redtwister
Offline
Joined: 21-03-05
Oct 19 2007 04:34
mikus wrote:
capricorn wrote:
Hegel was an utter nutter and a religious maniac who talked absolute (or should that be Absolute?) rubbish. I can't understand why people take him seriously.

It shields Marxists from having their statements falsified. If you make all of your claims "dialectical", you can say that when you contradict yourself you are still correct. And instead of assessing whether or not statements are true, you can go on and on about method. And dialectics claims to be a super-method which reveals super-truths about the world.

Point #1
Ok, let's start with two people through whom you should by now know that your statement is simply wrong: Andrew Kliman, who is in News & Letters, the most Hegel-philic Marxists in existence, and Jairus Banaji, who has battled the platitudes you put out as much as he also translated the abridged version of your grandfather, Henryk Grossman, and made detailed studies of European and global transitions to contemporary capitalism. Are you proposing that both of them are like this? Hell, let's skip to the root. What about Marx?

Point #2
1) Dialectic is not about logic in the sense that analytical or formal logical statements are. Dialectic is essentially about ontological questions, not whether A = A and Not-A.
2) The idea of dialectic as a 'super-method' is nonsense, proposed by Leninists who do in fact claim to have some super-method and people who, not understanding dialectic, want to attack it. Both believe that dialectic is a method one can apply in no small part because they believe that philosophy is first and foremost about methodology, following on the nonsense enunciated by positivists who believed that there is a world of facts out there and all we can do is arrange them more or less satisfyingly.

These are only relevant comments against Plekhanov-ite and Stalinist ideology. Neither Hegel nor Marx ever made any such claims. Neither rejected the importance of research and mastering the material about which one wrote. Neither imposed the dialectic on material and neither one applied a dialectical method to the material. There is no such thing as a dialectical method which stands outside of its object, and therefore nothing to apply to some other thing.

So pardon me if I ask you to choose a real target and not a strawman, i.e. dialectic, not Diamat.

Chris

p.s.
As for Hegel being a nutter and a religious maniac, well, that is easy to throw out as a way to kill a discussion. The right-wing in the U.S. is excellent at it and with that approach you have adopted the method of a Fox News host or Ann Coulter's next editor. Fabulous.

mikus
Offline
Joined: 18-07-06
Oct 19 2007 05:29

It's amazing how quickly the arch-mystics come out of the woodwork when you criticize their cultish beliefs.

redtwister wrote:
Point #1
Ok, let's start with two people through whom you should by now know that your statement is simply wrong: Andrew Kliman, who is in News & Letters, the most Hegel-philic Marxists in existence, and Jairus Banaji, who has battled the platitudes you put out as much as he also translated the abridged version of your grandfather, Henryk Grossman, and made detailed studies of European and global transitions to contemporary capitalism. Are you proposing that both of them are like this? Hell, let's skip to the root. What about Marx?

It's funny you bring this up. It seems to be a rather sly way of attempting to drive a wedge between me and Andrew Kliman, who as you know I have the utmost respect for. The thing that you should know about Andrew Kliman, if you weren't too busy criticizing his works essentially for not having written I.I. Rubin's book, is that he never attempts to prove his arguments correct by appealing to Hegel, which is all-too-common in the Hegelian-Marxist circles (think Chris Arthur and Geert Reuten as too particularly good examples of this nonsense).

Naturally, I don't agree with his Hegelianism. But since he doesn't appeal to Hegel to prove his points, this seems to me to be a rather small issue. When he does speak of Hegel (relatively rare in his works) he makes fairly common-sense points which I don't disagree with. If that's all that Hegel is saying, okay, but I tend to think that's not the case, and it's certainly not the case with a large number of your idols. (See below.)

As for Jairus Banaji, I'm not familiar enough with his work to comment accurately. I've only read two of his works -- the early Capital & Class article on Pre-Capitalist Modes of Production (I forget the title at the moment but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about) and the article in the Diane Elson reader on value theory. I was pretty influenced by the former article, although I don't remember it too well at the moment. (I do recall that a lot of what he says sounds strikingly similar to the person who you have clearly never read but still hate for some reason only you and God (or Absolute Spirit?) himself are aware of -- della Volpe). It's account of slavery was quite good, if I remember correctly. The article in the Diane Elson reader does exactly what you claim that the true Hegelian Marxists never do -- impose their views on material. He essentially reads Hegel into Marx and decides that the structure of Capital is virtually identical to that of Hegel's Logic. If I remember correctly, and I'm pretty certain I do, he even goes so far as to claim that the beginning of Capital is based not on a concrete object (i.e. the commodity, as the title of the chapter subjects) but is rather an abstraction. Not only does this run directly counter to Marx's claim in his notes on Wagner, but it is a plainly bizarre argument for reasons that I imagine are obvious to you. (If not, I would be happy to elaborate.)

redtwister wrote:
Point #2
1) Dialectic is not about logic in the sense that analytical or formal logical statements are. Dialectic is essentially about ontological questions, not whether A = A and Not-A.

If this is the case, where do the criticisms of formal logic made all-too-often by dialecticians come from? If they are dealing with entirely different issues, what gives dialecticians the right to criticize formal logic from their dialectical standpoint?

Or are you one of the few dialectians who thinks that formal logic is fine as is?

redtwister wrote:
2) The idea of dialectic as a 'super-method' is nonsense, proposed by Leninists who do in fact claim to have some super-method and people who, not understanding dialectic, want to attack it. Both believe that dialectic is a method one can apply in no small part because they believe that philosophy is first and foremost about methodology, following on the nonsense enunciated by positivists who believed that there is a world of facts out there and all we can do is arrange them more or less satisfyingly.

Since I did not claim that dialecticians themselves believe that they have a super-method, your point doesn't criticize mine -- it only means that it is only Leninists who claim to have a super-method (although to be fair to the Leninists, I don't think even they claim to be using a super-method). It is exceedingly rare to come across texts that claim to be "applying" dialectical method. (Whatever you may think of Rosa Lichtenstein's website, she has documented this exceedingly well.)

And to hear a Marxist talk about straw-men while said Marxist is going off on "positivists" is just rich.

By the way, are you making the claim that for Hegel logic and ontology are two distinct issues? That there is a distinct logic of ontology and an analytic logic? If so, not many Hegel scholars would agree with you. Perhaps Tony Smith would, but then again he was only able to defend Hegel against Rosenthal by transforming Hegel into a hyper-empiricist. (Which is really not going to go over too well with many Hegelians.)

redtwister wrote:
These are only relevant comments against Plekhanov-ite and Stalinist ideology. Neither Hegel nor Marx ever made any such claims. Neither rejected the importance of research and mastering the material about which one wrote. Neither imposed the dialectic on material and neither one applied a dialectical method to the material. There is no such thing as a dialectical method which stands outside of its object, and therefore nothing to apply to some other thing.

If I remember correctly, Plekhanov himself claims not to impose dialectic on the world. Hegel of course didn't think he was doing so either. (Although Marx famously disagreed with Hegel on this point, criticizing him relentlessly for doing precisely what he said he wasn't doing.) And I don't think Marx was even being dialectical in the same sense the term is meant by most people, so that is no problem for me either. (I'm not an Althusserian who is trying to eradicate Hegel from Marx -- I'm a Marxist who thinks that Hegel is already for all intents and purposes eradicated from Marx.)

redwister wrote:
So pardon me if I ask you to choose a real target and not a strawman, i.e. dialectic, not Diamat.

Since most of what you have said about dialectic also corresponds to the claims made by dialectical materialists about themselves, I don't think you've made your point very well. If the dialectical materialists are to be taken on their own word, which is what you seem to want me to take the new Hegelian-Marxists on, then your and I's criticisms of the dialectical materialists would also be a straw-man.

redwister wrote:
As for Hegel being a nutter and a religious maniac, well, that is easy to throw out as a way to kill a discussion. The right-wing in the U.S. is excellent at it and with that approach you have adopted the method of a Fox News host or Ann Coulter's next editor. Fabulous.

Coming from someone who has attempted to reply to criticisms of Hegel by criticizing various anti-Hegelians' (particularly Colletti's) politics, I'm not terribly sympathetic to your concern. Or is it only okay when Hegelians do it?

Mike

mikus
Offline
Joined: 18-07-06
Oct 19 2007 05:32

And to call Henryk Grossman my "grandfather" is ridiculous. Just because I think he is light years ahead of the rubbish you put out (as well as light years ahead of the rubbish that you enjoy reading) does not make him my "grandfather."

lem
Offline
Joined: 25-07-05
Oct 21 2007 20:07

well anyway mikus, you never replied to that logical mistake you made on the thread that you said you were going to ignore me :-/ maybe i misunderstood what you were saying eh?

i am trying to learn java etc atm so i'm cuttng back on the philosophy reading. would it be better, anyone who can jump in here, to read kojeve's book or hyppolite's? many thanks.

lem
Offline
Joined: 25-07-05
Oct 21 2007 20:21
Quote:
And I don't think Marx was even being dialectical in the same sense the term is meant by most people

how was marx being dialectical then mikus - if i may ask?