dialectic and principle of identity

Philip Goldstein pgold at strauss.udel.edu
Wed Feb 22 15:31:30 MST 1995


	Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Let me ask you, Hans Despaine,
about one point. You say, "Therefore, my point is that Marx does not only
have a problem with
step four of the 'principle of identity,' but with Hegel's entire
*speculative* application of it, i.e., step 1, 2, 3, and 4.  This is
because Hegel from the beginning identifies and unites in there
difference; "thought with being," "subject with object," and
"infinite and finite."  The "materialist" is not willing to take this
for granted, or as slight as seemingly Hegel does.  Remember, thought
is the predicate."

You are right to say that Marx has problems with the whole series, but
Marx still preserves their form. For example, his claim in the Manifesto
that the bourgeoisie gives birth to its own gravediggers preserves
Hegel's belief in the internal contradiction whereby the new grows up in
the womb of the old, as he says in the Philo of History. I think this
phrasing implies that this contradiction opens the finite subject to the
infinite. Marx also preserves the Hegelian notion of identity whereby the
subject preserves the old virtues in a new synthesis -- the action of
aufhebung. The issue is what happens when he turns to scientific theories
like Darwin's if they have no commitment to Hegelian identity theory? I
think that ALthusser gets this point right, but it is still a point.

Philip Goldstein



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