Leakage from Marx-l

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Thu Oct 12 21:22:11 MDT 1995


>This sounds exactly like something out of Marx and Egel's
>Manifesto.  It sounds prosaic and poetic, full of sound and
>fury, but lacking any real substance.

Looks to me like the shoe fits.

>I joined this list to here about Hegel, not some fanatic
>spouting off about his own paranoia.

You are pathetic, indeed.  However, I too joined the list to hear
about Hegel.  More below.

>I fear Hegel would be shocked to here his philosophy being
>discussed in the context of Marx's political fight for the
>rights of the working class.

In an increasingly depraved society, I am no longer capable of
distinguishing jest from earnest.  I would hate to be accused of
lacking a sense of humor.  Sounds like you are pulling my leg, but
I fear you are not.

Well, I have no intention of hijacking this list to discuss
Marxism.  However, Dr. Van Gelder, who is affiliated with the
renowned Institute for Social Research a.k.a. Frankfurt School,
characterized the Marxist attitude to Hegelianism -- nay to
philosophy as a whole -- thusly: philosophy is a piddling
distraction from solving our serious problems, and if we spend too
much time on it, we may not have a world left in which we can
chit-chat.  I submit that this is a dangerously inaccurate way of
characterizing Marx's or "the" Marxist attitude to philosophy.

So my first reaction was to summarize my own view on the
relationship of the philosopher to society and to the socially
determined underpinnings of his own mental habits and paradigms.
I don't base myself on any particular recognized school of thought
in this matter, but I do admit to my approach to things being
lately influenced by the little known thought of C.L.R. James.  I
uploaded the quote from James because it expresses the issue of
intellectuals (as a group of people with a social function, mind
you, not just anybody who reads and thinks) more eloquently than I
ever could.  Did I mention the work cited was published in 1950?

I uploaded this citation for the sake of thoroughness, not because
I want the Hegel list to get deep into a discussion of James or
Marx.  I do try to respect the focus of this list as best I can.
However, perhaps you will notice that James's criticism of
"rationalism" does have a Hegelian flavor.  Trejo was correct to
note that Hegel himself has a considerable contribution to make in
the overcoming of more traditional rationalistic approaches.  I
shall come back to this in a future post.

I have not yet followed through all the way, however.  For the
questions remain.  (1) How should one approach historically minded
scholarship in the light of the issues that Marxism raises?  This
is such an involved issue I must put it aside for now, though I
will say I had to confront it myself in doing my recent homework
on Coleridge.  (2) Does the consequence of Marx's approach mean
that philosophy comes to an end?  What would philosophy (what _we_
would call philosophy, anyway) look like, if we were to follow
through on the logic presented in my previous posts?  I have been
a terrible tease so far, because I suggested only that I'm not
going to accept the usual simplistic positions on this matter.
Give me some time, I'm a busy guy.  Just let me say now that the
projected future of philosophical activity does NOT entail
narrowing the scope of philosophical activity to social, economic,
and political concerns, nor does it entail that all scholarship on
all other questions must come down to a socio-economic analysis of
all subject matters.  Many of you know this already, but
stereotypes still abound.

>I am interested in this area is because I have developed a
>*bourgeois intellectual system of pure reason* on my own that
>also purports that Absolute Spirit is the fundamental essence
>that underlies all things.

I rest my case.  Now may I introduce you to Paul Trejo?



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