Bhaskar and dialectics

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc2.igc.apc.org
Thu Feb 23 23:33:28 MST 1995


Jukka Laari asks me:

>On Tue, 21 Feb 1995, Ralph Dumain wrote:

>> ...  One doesn't just turn Hegel upside down, one transforms
>>logical method and structure in the process.

>Yes. Exactly. But how that happens?

I couldn't answer this question because I don't have one.  I posed
this question to myself 15 years ago but never had time to
investigate Hegel in the depth required to answer it.  I had a
couple of hunches, but at that time was not equipped to pursue
them.

I think some of the critiques of Hegel presented here begin to
offer a clue.  How does idealism work?  Idealism is not just a
viewpoint that matter comes from spirit or ideas, either from the
subjective individual or from the objective world of forms or the
mind of God.  Idealism is above all a tampering with the
categorial structure of the world, and with the relation between
empirical facts and abstract concepts.

BTW, Engels made some gaffes, but don't underestimate him: this is
what Engels was getting at by criticizing the metaphysical mode of
thinking (the use of the word "metaphysical" is most unfortunate,
but then most traditional metaphysics in the Western world
exhibited characteristic bad habits).  Engels also used the word
"interconnections", which is a bit better.

The inversion metaphor simply does not capture the real
consequences for the structuration of our concepts about the world
of turning Hegel or anybody else upside down.

I'll leave it to others to answer exactly how this happens.

Thanks, Jukka, for your compliments.  This discusion has been most
stimulating for me too.


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