Bhaskar and dialectics

Philip Goldstein pgold at strauss.udel.edu
Sun Feb 26 06:04:48 MST 1995


	Ralph Dumain writes as follows in response to my claim that
that dialectics is teleological: it cancels
>differences and preserves the good. "Teleological -- this is what
Callinicos stated in ALTHUSSER'S
MARXISM.  Supposing this is true of Hegelianism as a whole, why
would it nonetheless be impossible to extricate something of
Hegel's logic out of his overall system and use it otherwise?"

	No doubt people on this list won't like a citation of Derrida,
but one point which he established very clearly is that you can't take
part of a theory and reuse it somewhere else without bringing along with
it the assumptions and beliefs of its previous contexts. In other words,
theories are not tools subject to use or application; rather, to take
part of a theory is to make a new theory with a new context not entirely
independent from the old. My point was to show that Marx's account of
historical development preserved the teleological outlook of Hegelian
dialectics and that this dialectics is incompatible with scientific
theories. You are right to say that Marx and Engels were much more
positive about science than the Frankfurt Theorists are but wrong to
suggest that therefore their dialectics is not hostile to science or
anyless teleological. Eric Hobsbaum, the British Marxist historian,
edited a collection titled something like the centenary of Marxism, and
essays in that collection worked out this contradictory stance within
Marx's work.

Philip Goldstein



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