Bhaskar and dialectics

Philip Goldstein pgold at strauss.udel.edu
Sat Feb 25 04:59:38 MST 1995


	Dumain quotes Fellini, "But this leaves us with the critique of
Colletti: you cannot
>have dialectics and 'materialism' at the same time, for
>dialectics is the necessary vehicle for the annihilation, or at
>least 'degradation' of the material."

Dumain comments:
I don't understand the reasoning here, and I don't believe a word
of this.  Every cold war sovietologist said you can't mix
dialectics with materialism,  Why the hell not?

My view is that dialectics is teleological: it cancels differences
and preserves the good. Communism reinstates the collectivity lost with
the emergence of private property and brought back by trade union
organizations. Materialism, by contrast, is scientific and need not
commit itself to a teleology. Physics and chemistry are resolutely
anti-teleological. Biology a la Darwin says that the evolution of a
species is a matter of chance adaptations, not large purposes. For this
reason, dialectical thought has always sought to limit science, to keep
it in the sphere of nature, and to deny that it is a model for social
science. I am not an expert on Bashkar, but, if he asks, "what makes
empirical science possible," he asks the idealist's kantian question and
means, thereby, to get beyond science and/or materialism. Isn't that the
real point of the ontological/epistemological distinction? Once you know
what is truly real, you don't have to bother with mere scientific truth.


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