dialectic

Hans Despain DESPAIN at econ.sbs.utah.edu
Tue Feb 21 12:00:08 MST 1995


Dumain points out that my contribution to comparing *Grundrisse* with
*Phenomenology of Mind* is not very heedful in bibliograpical
reference.  Yes, you are right.  I was using my notes on the issue.
If I am given a bit of time, a reposting of this issue will be forth
coming.

There are certainly major differences between Hegel's and Marx's
dialectic.  Although as Chodos offers from Wood, this difference may
often be slight.  Personal, the difference seems to be not so much in
(epistemological) dialectic as method, though Marx seems to pick and
choose where and how it uses it, very much different from the
absolute way that Hegel employs it in his *Philosophy of History* and
*Philosophy of Right*.

However the difference very much goes beyond the absolute way
that they may or may not employ dialectics.  Marx in his critiques of
Hegel: *Philosophical and Economic Manuscripts* (especially the
third), *Toward a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law:
Introduction*, Toward a Citique of Hegel's Philosophy of the State*,
*The Holy Family*, *The German Ideology* and in *The Poverty of
Philosophy* seems very much in support of the dialectic as method,
while at the same time very critical of the Hegelian "speculative
philosophy" that employs it.  Marx seems extermely repealed by
Hegel's ontological commitment to Idealism.  Marx takes special care
to address and critique Hegel's principle of identity over and over.

Hegel's prncple of identity is very much married to his dialectical
method.  And the former may actually encompass the latter.  The
principle of identity for Hegel is in four fundemental steps: (this is
from my notes once again, but Bhaskar says something very similar in
*Dialectic* 1993 p. 32).

First is the identity that X is X; this is found to be
epistemologically wanting.  Second, X is -X; e.g., X passes over to
not X; i.e., counterphenomenality.  Third, X is Y; or X is internally
related to Y, that is to say the existence of Y is necessary for the
existence of X; i.e., transphenomenality.  Forth, X is X after all;
i.e., positivity.

Marx in his critiques, will often point out that Hegel is able to get
to step four, only because he is committed to *speculative
philosophy* rather then science, which in turn is committed to
*Idealism*.  It is the commitment to idealism that leads Hegel to his
conservative conculsions, i.e., internal to the philosophy itself,
and not an external acedemic compromise of Hegel himself (as the Young
Hegelians were found of believing).  In the *German Ideology* Marx
points out that it is Feuerbach alone is able to recognize the
internal problem of Hegel's philosophy.

I believe that there is much support in Marx's critique that he is
taking issue with the *speculative philosophy* and *idealism* that
employs the dialectic and not the dialectic itself.  Especially, in
*Poverty of Philosophy*, Marx criticizes Proundon for only having a
notion of the dialectic and not a proper employment of it.  He says
that Proundon only uses the dialectic to discover the "good" and
"bad" of things, and then wants to simple keep the good and disregard
the bad.  Marx accusses him of not understanding the dialectical
inter and innerconnections, not understanding the use and power of
the dialectical method.  In short his employment is no better then
Hegel himself.  Proundon is to Political Economy as Hegel is to
Philosophy.

It is the speculative illusion (Bhaskar term, meaning questions of
science are transformed and turned into question of philosophy) and
the ontological commitment to idealism that Marx is most repealed by.
But he like the Young Hegelian as a believe that the dialectically
method itself is emancipating and revoltutionary as method.

Therefore, I believe that it is too strong to say that
Hegel did not practice what he preached, although a weaker statement
may very will capture what is being pointed out here.  In fact what
he preaches is the problem, it is too committed to his practice and
employment of the dialectic.

Hans Despain
University of Utah
despain at econ.sbs.utah.edu





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