Four-term dialectics

Hans Ehrbar ehrbar at
Mon Nov 14 07:19:36 MST 1994

Those arguing about the Fichte-Hegel-Marxian Thesis-antithesis-synthesis
should be aware that Bhaskar in his Dialectic, Verso 1993, says that
one should really have FOUR terms.  My understanding of it is as follows:

 Hegelian dialectic (1) starts with something, (2) finds its faults
 (negation), and (3) overcomes its faults (negation of the negation).
 It is, as Bhaskar says, undialectic even on its own terms
 because it ends in a static closure.

 Bhaskar's dialectic (1) starts with an ill (perhas social ill),
 a want, or a mission.  (2) It remedies this ill
 (absention of the original absence).
 (3) This process runs into obstacles, and (4) it overcomes these
 obstacles.  Thus it is the dynamic never-ending process
 of ``absenting constraints on absenting illnesses.''

If you want to read some other new thoughts, I recommend Bhaskar's
Dialectic; unfortunately, it is hard to understand without his other
works, Realist Theory of Science, and Possibility of Naturalism.  His
Reclaiming Reality in Verso is a failed attempt to make his other
works better accessible; it is not easier but harder to understand,
therefore I do not recommend it.

Hans G. Ehrbar                                    ehrbar at
Economics Department, 308 BuC                     (801) 581 7797
University of Utah                                (801) 581 7481
Salt Lake City    UT 84112-1107                   (801) 585 5649 (FAX)
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