dialectic reference

Hans Despain DESPAIN at econ.sbs.utah.edu
Wed Mar 1 16:44:04 MST 1995




I just wanted to thank Dumain for his bibliogrphy and add, what I
believe should be toward the top of the list.

Smith, Tony.  *Logic of Marx's Capital: Replies to Hegelian
              Criticisms*, 1990, SUNY Press, Albany.

I have just began reading this, I believe it to be a very significant
contribution to the issue.

Smith does a comprehensive dialectical investagation of all three
volumes of *Capital* and the relation to Hegel's project in *Logic*.
In the first section of the book Smith introduces the *Logic* and
purpose of Hegel.  This follows the the "non-metaphysical"
interpreation of Hegel's system (which Ludwig Feuerbach could be
argued to be the precursor of, although Feuerbach may not have
understood just how well this interpretaion actually fits Hegel
himself).  The author most often sited for this interpretation is
Klaus Hartmann (mostly in German), with Terry Pinkard, H. Tristram
Engelhardt and Tony Smith on the American front.  It is especially the
critic of the Marxian dialectic expounded by Hartmann that Smith is
confronting "head on" in his book.

The "non-metaphysical" interpretation establishes, though Hegel
is an idealist, he is not a traditional idealist.  Moreover, the
metaphysical interpretations are wrong founded.  For example,
"Absolute Spirit" is not a metaphyscial supersubject, but a way of
capturing objectivity from a subjective point of view, i.e., a
contingent princple of identity.  This is also supported by the fact
that when one reaches the category of Absolute Idea in *Logic*, there
is no confrontation with a supersubject but a summary of the
dialectical method or transcendental systematic categorial method
itself.

Perhaps less convincing is the claim that Hegel's mentions of God are
a way of "picture-thinking" to capture the attention and respect of
Hegel's christian audience.  On the one hand this could be supported
by especially Hegel's early writings, but on the other hand, it seems
to me that, as Feuerbach suggests, Hegel very much intended, not just
to communicate with christians, but to reconcile philosophy and
theology.  However, this reconcilation very well may have followed a
"non-metaphyscial" foundation or ground.

The conculsion of this "non-metaphysical" interpretation is that
Hegel's system is a transcendentally argued ontology, which
systematically orders our (otherwise assumed) presupposed
or unevaluted categories of thought, which renders us scientific
knowledge about the world.

For Marxists this may suggest that that the contrast between Hegel's
"idealism" and Marx's "materialism" should not be placed as the
distingishing feature of the dialectic proper.  Smith has promised in
the early sections that the distinction between idealism and
materialism is important, but most often and usually misplaced, i.e.,
Colletti.

Smith argues that Marx very much adheres to Hegelian *Logic* and that
Marx's critiques toward Hegelianism is against the bastardization of
Hegel by the Right Hegelians and Christian Dialecticians.  Smith does
not develop this arguement, but it is the basis or ground that
establishes for Smith a strong Marxian-Hegelian affiliation whereby
he is able to then *rightly* argue and expound that Marx is closely
following the *Logic* of Hegel, and then defend it against the
*internal* critique lodged against Marx's Hegelianism from within
the Hegelian camp.

Marx is using social categories and not the specific categories of
*Logic*, this is something that Hegel also does in the *Philosophy of
Right*, and his lectures so *Philosophy of History*.

Well this is as far as I have read, if anyone is interested I can keep
you posted.

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


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