Juan on dialectics

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Wed Aug 23 07:14:26 MDT 1995

To Juan Inigo, jinigo at inscri.org.ar

Dear Juan,
You have gone to great efforts with the piece you posted on
Tues 15th August, [Subject: Re: Value, price, method, politics]
an extract from a larger work.

You started:


Some days ago Chris Burford asked me

>Could you comment on the last six paragraphs of Marx's 1873 Afterward
>to the Second German Edition of Capital? He appears in this to say
>he was only here and there "coquetting" with the modes of expression
>peculiar to Hegel. Perhaps you would not accept that your elaboration
>of what I read as a dialectical analysis, is limited to that of Hegel,
>but one thing I am sure you are not doing in your thoughtful piece,
>is coquetting.

In fact, all my posts have been directly addressing the specificity of
dialectical method. Nevertheless, I will synthetically face here again the
question in its unity, by following this schematic structure:


And gave a six part structure.

I like:
 Dialectics thus reaches its complete
development as the "reproduction of the concrete through the path of
thought." (Grundrisse)

I think I understand the conclusion:

As Marx shows, the point is not to interpret the world. The point is that
the transformation of the world in question is the development of the
conscious regulation of the process of social metabolism, and, therefore,
the supersession of interpretation itself. Above all, the scientific
critique of scientific theory is the development of this conscious
regulation, the development of the organicity of the proletariat's
revolutionary action.

I have difficulty with the concept of necessity. I think more
in terms of momentum.

Your piece gives every impression of being finely crafted and internally
consistent in its own terms. I am sure however I am not the first person
you have met who is has difficulty understanding it.

It would help if you could give a more specific explanation of how
this approach relates to reality. How do you fire this arrow at
the target?

I do not think my original question was very clearly put. I was asking
whether in Capital Marx really was merely coquetting with dialectics
or whether Capital is a fully dialectical work relating to a structure
as internally coherent as your own. You own piece gives
no impression of coquettry. It is a pity Jerry is not around to
comment on this question. Could you therefore come back on the last six
paragraphs of Marx's 1873 Afterward to the Second German Edition of

I think of dialectics as the most modern model of scientific thinking
available to the nineteenth century. I am now more interested in the
paradigm shift that comes with taking on board non-linear dynamics (chaos
theory, complexity theory) as part of the scientific idiom.

But given your commitment to working through a model of dialectics, could
you say what differences you system has with that of Marx and
that of Hegel?

Chris B. London

     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list