Why dialectics?

Juan Inigo jinigo at inscri.org.ar
Tue Mar 7 10:56:47 MST 1995

Fellini writes:

>Juan, I don't have a problem with your interpretation, but still I have a
>question (assuming, of course, that I understand your point). Do you
>have an account of the reality, or matter, so that we can understand these
>'potencies' as 'necessities to be realized'? If you have such an account
>about the necessities in the (material) reality, then your writings
>makes sense to me. (As far as I can see, Bhaskar has such an account
>explaining 'natural necessity', as the potentialities or tendencies, not
>'potencies', to be realized because of the very constitution of
>'things', without forgetting that the reality is essentially 'open',
>there are no 'constant conjunctions' with which we can explain the
>empirical reality. Of course it is quite possible that he is wrong.)
>On the other hand, related to this, I have a hard time with the idea that
>people should be considered as "personifications of some social
>necessities", for it seems to reject 'free will' or intentional human
>agency. Are you saying something similar to the (Spinozist) idea that
>'freedom is the knowledge of the necessity (or the laws of nature)'?

If for "an account of the reality, or matter" I must understand a
philosophical view, an interpretation of the world," I do not. I do not
start, as Bhaskar does, asking myself an abstract question: "what is the
world like to allow scientific cognition to exist?" The question with which
I start is, "what am I to do in facing this immediate circumstance, in this
very moment and place?" So my only pre-scientific cognition is an
"immediate cognition." And my scientific problem is precisely to account
for the necessity of the concrete form of reality I am facing.

The fact that I need to answer through my though about which form my action
should take, starts to tell me that this is an action whose necessity
transcends it. If my own action and, therefore, me myself, are determined
beyond ourselves, my action can only be a free one if I rule it by having
completely discovered its necessity, its determination. To do it, I have to
reproduce the complete unfolding of this necessity through thought until
discovering the concrete form my action is going to take, as its concrete
form of realizing itself. "Free" will is a completely determined will, not
the abstract negation of its determination.

If my action realizes a necessity that transcends my immediate self and,
rather, it is a concrete form that the social metabolism process takes,
isn't it a "personification" of this process? Moreover, if real concrete
forms are of any interest for us, let alone a nebulous abstractly
contemplative one, isn't it because, as potencies, they can affect us on
realizing themselves and, rather, because we can realize the potencies they
are with our action? And, if our action is thus determined as a concrete
form through which the necessity of a real form, at first alien to
ourselves, is realized, aren't we a personified concrete form of this real

I will quote here my work, concerning the form real necessity takes on
determining our action as a free action:

 "      At first, an abstract form exhausts its potency on becoming its
corresponding concrete form. Still, as any other, the very form of
realizing necessity undergoes its own development. Now, the abstract form
is in itself not one but many different necessities to be realized.
Moreover, these are potencies whose realized forms mutually exclude
themselves as the same concrete form, potencies that exist together with
their contraries. Such potencies do not have their actual existence in the
abstract form as a simple power to be, but as a power to be that is, at the
same time, a power not to be: as possibility or contingency. The abstract
form exhausts its necessity only on becoming a diversity of concrete forms,
each of them solving the mutual compatibility of those potencies as
realized ones. Abstract forms thus determine themselves as genus; their
concrete forms, as differentiated species in which the genus realizes its
        Since it is a concrete form determination takes, possibility itself
develops into a necessity actually existing as a possible potency, that has
the necessity of the very course of its realization determined as a
possible potency. The determination of species by genus thus develops
through the mediation of possibility as a specific form the realization of
possibility itself takes.
        As an already realized possibility, a species is completely
impotent concerning the determination of its own possibility. From its
viewpoint, the realization of necessity - causality - takes the form of
casualness, of accidentalness, of the necessity that, at the same time, is
no necessity whatsoever. Each species thus appears as the absolute
materialization of the generic potencies that have directly determined it;
and these potencies, as its circumstances or conditions. Life is the
overcoming of species' impotence concerning their own determination as
concrete modalities through which possibility is realized: it is the
concrete form that has the potency of appropriating its own conditions and
transforms them into concrete existences, thus determining itself as an
abstract form. Life advances in its real potency by appropriating its
conditions in their very virtuality. Life is so determined as the
transforming action that regulates itself through the cognition of its own
necessity. Seen from the outside, just because it is completely determined
as a necessary concrete form of matter, human action can transform other
forms of matter into forms for itself; and, therefore, can transform
itself. And only because it finds itself thus determined, human action
necessarily becomes, in the historical process, a free action: an action
that integrally cognizes its own necessity."

I'm leaving today for six weeks, so this will be my last post to the list
for the time being. But I look forward to continue with this discussion on
my return.

Hasta pronto a todos.

Juan Inigo
jinigo at inscri.org.ar

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