More on Dialectics

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Fri Sep 3 16:03:08 MDT 1999

>>> Chris Matthew Sciabarra <cms10 at> 09/03/99 02:09PM >>>
Brief comments...

>Charles: Which Marxists think this ? Marx , Engels, Lenin, Castro,
>Luxembourg, Proyect ?  I think you have a straw Marxist here.

Ok, here's some quotes:

Engels:  "... the more [people] make their own history consciously, the
less becomes the influence of unforeseen effects and uncontrolled forces on
this history, and the more accurately does the historical result correspond
to the aim laid down in advance."

Engels, in the future, people "understand in advance the necessity of
changing the social system . . . on account of changing conditions . . .
[they] will desire the change before it forces itself upon them without
their being conscious of it or desiring it."  The producers will have "a <<
perfect >> understanding" of social forces...


Charles: What you say above seems very different than this. They are not equivalent.
You had said:

Chris:  ...  "The problem is that Marxists
think they can run an economy as if they knew every last detail, and as if
they can transcend all the "unintended consequences" of human action.  "

Engels says nothing about transcending all the unintended consequences of human
action. Nor does Marx in your quote below.


Marx tells us that we go from being "playthings of history" to being in
control of it.

And so on and so on.  I think the socialist literature ... all the way up
to Trotsky -- where the average Tom, Dick, and Harriett become like
Aristotle, Marx, and Goethe -- and beyond, shows a penchant for utopianism
in this regard, a wonderful future in which everything is so perfectly
planned.  It is the Enlightenment's rationalist hubris writ large.

Charles: These are not the same as what I quote you saying


>Charles: It always changes ,but not necessarily continually, You make the
>errror of the old Greek philosopher, forget his name, who was
>ultra"dialectical", nothing was ever it self.Hegel doesn't totally throw out
>some definiteness and fixity.

Nor do I; part of that existence is dynamism.  The socialists have for too
long depended upon the neoclassical, Newtonian notions of equilibrium in
order to affect their command economy.  For all their dynamic analyses,
they fall into utterly bourgeois statics when it comes to planning.

Charles: There is quantitative change and qualtative change, and quantity turning into
quality and vice versa.

The socialist planners may have been dealing with equilibriated change or circular
change or quantitative change.

Anyway, some of the change in the economic planning may be equilibrated change, like
the neo-classicists fetishize. Marxists are not averse to equilibrated change in
socialism. The revolutionary or quantitative change has already taken place.

>The changes of economy are not instantly continuous. I'll get the Greek's
>name. This is a well known error you are making.

Heraclitus?  Yikes!  :)


Charles: Yea, Heraclitus, Never stepping into the same river twice and all that. It's
in all the basic Marxist philo books.


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