dialectical logic - some ideas from Marx
MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Sat Jul 12 18:36:26 MDT 2003
In a message dated 7/12/03 10:36:38 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
bendien at tomaatnet.nl writes:
>Stalin wrote, or had written, this piece on "historical and dialectical
materialism," and it is fascinating how, in the context of his dictatorship, he
was able to impose this text on the most varied fields of human inquiry/activity
as a sort of overarching "metaphysic," a philosophical guide. Of course,
Russian rocket scientists had absolutely no practical use whatever for dialectical
materialism in designing launching systems, they might have seen it as a
bureaucratic apology or as a way of policing thought, nevertheless the metaphysic
of dialectical materialism, positively interpreted, could define a sort of
personal cosmology, or the boundaries of experience
scientifically/philosophically considered, or a way of thinking
about reality. In fact, an important purpose of dialectical materialist
philosophy in the Soviet Union was to assist the "rooting out" of religious
superstition and promote an atheist, scientifically grounded world view (the
majority of citizens in Stalin's empire were themselves raised in a religious
milieu of one stripe or another). It is well known in Western science that
scientific researchers do operate with personal metaphysical beliefs, even if they
are not religious believers (see Stefan Amsterdamski, Between Experience and
Metaphysics). Point is, apart from your professional activity, you still have a
world view, which is at least in part not based on scientific knowledge, even
if you are not aware of it. Your personal experience is limited, and you have
a need to concepts which transcend your own experience to make sense of
unfamiliar situations, and so on.<
"An exposition citing sources and direct quotes from Marx and a 2 sentence
definition of dialectic logic."
Talk about nonsense.
Actually, what is fascinating about what Stalin wrote about dialectics is
what he wrote. The "fascination" cannot be the character and content of the
dictatorship of the proletariat or the form of the "Stalinist government" but what
he actually wrote, which you avoid like a thief running down the street of an
inner city neighborhood hollering "stop thief" to draw attention away from
your dastardly deeds. The fact that you do not answer the very question the way
you choose to pose this matter, speaks volumes to your insight on methodology.
Where I live we call people such as you "fakers" and liars. You posed the
question of what Stalin wrote concerning dialectic but do not unravel what Stalin
wrote - the issue you pose, because it requires thinking and dissertation.
Instead you choose to degenerate into a metaphysical presentation of "historical
modes of ideology" and the belief system of the individual, which you do not
even approach from the standpoint of elementary materialism. Why not simply
instruct the individual to read Marx afterward to the Second Volume of Capital?
Why the petty bourgeois intellectual masturbation?
To begin, you have not a clue as to the role of ideology and politics and
present the issue like an eight-year-old girl, who is smarter and more clever
than a 12-year-old boy. Ideology and policy is never to "police" thought but to
"police" actions and articulations. Governments cannot police thought as such
and the history of slavery in America proves this. Actually the history of the
world proves this to be true. Actions and written articulation in scientific
journals can be policed but not thoughts.
You begin as a petty bourgeois ideologist and end worse. To begin with a
"worldview' by definition pre-supposes a definite state of the development in the
means of production that allows the concept of the "world" to have meaning and
the formation of "differences" to given breath and depth to the concept
"view." This is true. Man emerges from nature - Africa, given its alkaline
content, with the power of observation. A worldview cannot arise before the evolution
of the division of labor and the formation of ideology to create a
"worldview." My point is that you are off your rocker to state that dialectical
materialism was used to root out a "wrong or bad" worldview. That is not what took
You confuse the anticlerical character of the fight take takes place as any
feudal society moves to industrial society and this fight is fundamentally lead
not by the proletariat but the rising bourgeoisie. It is true that Lenin
launched the campaign against superstition with the publication of "In Defense of
Militant Materialism," but anyone that reads the article will see whom it is
Here is the question posed to you, "can you give me a decent working
definition of "dialectical logic?" Your answer is not but you go on to explain what
you this is dialectical logic. Why? Obviously to express your hate towards what
you think you understand, although you plainly state you do not understand.
Every communist, proletarian and Marxist and laymen knows that the answer to
any question is shaped by the person who ask the question or your audience. My
four-year-old son asked me "what is air" and the answer I gave him was
different from the answer given to him when he was 15 years old. Why is this? The
answer to this unravels the response to the question "can you give me a decent
working definition of "dialectical logic"?
Logic or formal logic is a way of understanding things based on an action or
reaction or movement based on perceptible shifts in the magnitude of that
which is being observed. Formal logic admits - at this stage of the development of
the material factors of production and material social life, that everything
in the world is connected to everything else one way or another by virtue of
the inherit materiality of the world or existence.
Dialectical logic, as an explanation of motion, goes further. Dialectical
logic means that one strives to understand an action or reaction - matter as
motion or classes in society, in their history, environment, direction and the
internal impulses (connections) that compels them forward and gives what every
you are looking at its distinguishing character as it changes and comes into and
out of existence. What fundamentally distinguishes dialectical logic from
formal logic is the recognition of qualitative changes taking place on the basis
of two forms of transition: antagonism and non-antagonistic forms of change.
Dialectical logic strives to grasp motion, in its history, environment,
direction and the internal impulses (connections). Dialectical logic recognizes
changes on the basis of two form of transition: antagonism and non-antagonistic
forms of change.
This is what we tell the workers and intellectuals about the methodology or
approach employed by Marx and Engels. This definition is consistent with Engels
Anti-Dühring and Dialectics of Nature. In the case of Anti-Dühring, Marx read
and edited every chapter and wrote the last section on the Mark, before the
book went to press.
Interjecting the question of rocket science or any specialized field of
endeavor is dishonest because the individuals is trained in a discipline based on
the existing level of accumulated knowledge more than less verified over a
period of time by research, experience and experiment. What every level the
individuals inherits the existing accumulation of knowledge expresses in itself the
dialectic logic of human development and evolution.
Formal logic recognizes quantitative and qualitative change in society. A
caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Dialectical l logic informs us that to
understand why and how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly is contained in the internal
impulse that makes the caterpillar a distinct being as opposed to the rain,
weather or the particular tree the caterpillar inhabits. That is to say the
butterfly emerges on the basis of its own internal impulses as an interactive
creation of environment. In this sense the environment that interpenetrates the
very being of the butterfly has to be distinguished from the butterfly to
critically study and unfold its logic of development and evolution. Man himself is
part of his environment and his environment exists within him but man is not a
tree or plant or horse or cow.
Dialectical logic points out the direction and offers a methodology that
allows us to get to the critical point in where to start in unraveling the essence
Apparently you have objections to Stalin's pamphlet on Dialectical and
Historical Material written in 1938, for an audience of workers and peasants and
proletarians throughout the world who had never heard of dialectical materialism.
I also have "problems" with it in July 2003, but I had no such problem when I
first read it 35 years ago. The reason is that the knowledge of the
individual and indeed all of society moves from a lower level to a higher level. Within
the 122 paragraphs, 511 lines and roughly 10,756 words of this concise
synopsis is an introduction to materialist dialectics and certain important
questions concerning industry and agriculture faced by the workers and peasants in the
late 1930 in the Soviet Union.
No doubt you could have written this better although you can give not a clue
as to the general meaning of dialectical logic. You of course are probably
aware - having studied dialectics since 1980 that the Textbook of Marxist
Philosophy prepared by the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy under the Direction of
M. Shirokov was published in 1937, in front of Stalin's Dialectical and
Historical Materialism. In this particular philosophic text the question of
antagonism as the shape or form of a specific kind of contradiction is spoken of.
How are we to reconcile this startling fact, that this Textbook gives an
exposition on antagonism and Stalin does not do so in his 1938 pamphlet? Did the
thought police slip up? Was this textbook published and later the writers were
all shot? If this was the case there is nothing I can do about it because I
did not squeeze the hammer on them. Or is the explanation much simple? Could it
be that the two texts had different audiences?
"A decent working definition of "dialectical logic" is of course not an
exposition of dialectical logic but serves the purpose that all definitions serve.
My definition of dialectical logic is not "the" definition for all times and
all places but conforms to the environment in America in the year 2003, and the
specific shape of the class struggle that raises the question of antagonism
anew, as opposed to the question of the transition from "quantitative and
qualitative" (the quantitative and qualitative measure of both by both) and their
interactively or for that matter the issue of the negation of the negation, the
law of the unity and strife of opposites, the mutual penetration of
opposites, the relativity of the unity of opposites and the absoluteness of their
conflict, the dialectic of quality and property, the evolutionary leap, the
dialectic of the leap or the nodal point of transition and when it can be observed.
There is of course the relativity of qualities and the universal connection of
things, but a definition is not a definition if one has to write a pamphlet
and a pamphlet is not a philosophic text.
The issue is not Stalin but answering the question and intellectual honesty.
You insist on digging up his bones, but will not show what is wrong his
dialectical and historical materialism being written for non-intellectuals as a
beginners approach. You should know that for 10 years following the 20th Congress
of the CPSU - the Khrushchev revelations, a team of Soviet experts searched
through all of Stalin's to show where he was mistaken in his writing, with
special attentions of his Dialectical and Historical Materialism.
Don't laugh but the official verdict of the experts was that his exposition
for beginners, No. 4 through No. 12, were not only difficult to apply but hard
to remember. You state that this text was "on the most varied fields of human
inquiry/activity as a sort of overarching "metaphysic," a philosophical
guide," or basically on the people of the Soviet Union and I would like to see your
data to prove this when it was another Textbook written in 1937 that became
the official dogma. I could be mistaken but I do not think so. The official
dogma was the 1937 Textbook of Marxist Philosophy prepared by the Leningrad
Institute of Philosophy under the Direction of M. Shirokov. This is the "Stalin
You state as if it was clear as noonday:
>Different people are fascinated by different aspects of Hegel's
thought, for example, Lenin is fascinated by the idea of the unity of
opposites (he trained as lawyer), and Trotsky is fascinated with the idea of
quantitative changes causing qualitative changes, and sometimes the dialectic
of the particular and the general (he was a dropout
mathematician), and Mao Ze Dong was very interested in the concept of the
negation of the negation (he worked as library assistant, clerical stuff or
something like that etc.). <
Please do not misunderstand me because I honored Chairman Mao. The two texts
of his on dialectic that we could substantiate as being unquestionably his are
"On Contradiction" and "The Correction Handling of Contradictions Among the
People." The Maoist considers his, "On Practice" as a classic but lets live
this to the aside. I am absolutely amazed to find out that "Mao Ze Dong was very
interested in the concept of the negation of the negation." Considering that
is precisely the Marxist concept noticeably missing in his works. In place of
the negation of the negation is the concept of the principle contradiction and
or principle aspect of the contradiction and of it changing places.
According to Chair Mao - who I would stand shoulder to shoulder with, the
bourgeoisie and proletariat are the two poles of capitalist society; one must be
principle and the other secondary. In fact Chapter IV is called "THE
PRINCIPAL CONTRADICTION AND THE PRINCIPAL ASPECT OF A CONTRADICTION. "
This is in direct contradistinction to Marx articulated conception of the
negation and the negation of the negation. Yet, you state in black and white that
Mao obsession was the negation of the negation. I can only suggest for anyone
to read the Holy Family for Karl Marx description of the negation of the
I am amazed because "On Contradiction" not only has any chapter called
Negation or negation of the negation, but also lacks an exposition on the negation
of the negation. My copy is Peking Publisher 1967. May I ask what copy or what
books you base this on?
"Lenin is fascinated by the idea of the unity of opposites." Really. I still
have my 45 volumes, which I have read in total some years ago. What by chance
are you referring to? It might seem as if Lenin is fascinated by opposites but
after 1917 Lenin is consumed with the place of antagonism in contradiction
because he faced this question as a practical question of the class struggle.
Over and over he tell comrades they must learn and study to see under what
conditions opposites can be united. This means one already admits and recognizes
opposites and faces the practical question of antagonism. I do not call this
fascination with the unity of opposites" because Lenin says - and this was his
only criticism of Bukharin, that comrades do not understand the place of
antagonism in contradiction. "Quite wrong," stated Lenin. "Antagonism and
contradiction are by no means the same. Under socialism the first will vanish, the
second will remain."
It is in fact the conception of antagonism that is the basis of all of
Lenin's major works - not contradiction. In fact this is the theoretical basis that
almost led to Lenin resigning from the party because no one understood why he
saw the insurrection movement as the expression of antagonism and why power
could and had to be seized.
You have a way of stating thing as if they are facts when in fact they
contain no truth at all.
>The reason why Marxists considered that to be a true Marxist you had to be a
competent dialectician was, that Engels had written that manuscript
"dialectics of nature" which he did not publish, which implied some sort of cosmology
or at least an ontology. <
The book that was published was "Herr Eugen Durhing's Revolution in Science
or Anti-Dühring, each chapter was read and edited by Marx and then published.
Here the dialectic is expounded. One cannot claim to be a Marxist that has
never read Anti-Dühring. Why you present a manuscript published later when
Anti-Dühring was a masterpiece and a couple chapters was taken from it and
republished as Socialism: Utopian and Scientific is baffling to me. Anti Duhring was
published in 1878 and Socialism: Utopian and Scientific - the German edition
Here is what J. B. S. HALDANE writes November 1939 in Introduction to
Engels Dialectics of Nature;
"But apart from political work, other intellectual tasks lay before Engels.
Dühring had to be answered, and perhaps Anti-Dühring, which covers the whole
field of human knowledge, is a greater book than Dialectics of Nature would have
been had Engels completed it. After Marx's death in 1883 he had the gigantic
task of editing and completing Capital, besides which he wrote Feuerbach and
The Origin of the Family. So Dialectics of Nature was never finished. The
manuscript consists of four bundles, all in Engels' handwriting, save for a number
of quotations from Greek philosophers in that of Marx. Part of the manuscript
is ready for publication, though, as we shall see, it would almost certainly
have been revised. Much of it merely consists of rough notes, which Engels
hoped to work up later."
What is so terribly wrong with Marx 1873 description of dialectics in the
AFTERWARD TO THE SECOND GERMAN EDITION of Capital?
After a quotation from the preface to my "Criticism of Political Economy,"
Berlin, 1859, pp. IV-VII, where I discuss the materialistic basis of my method,
the writer goes on:
"The one thing which is of moment to Marx, is to find the law of the
phenomena with whose investigation he is concerned; and not only is that law of moment
to him, which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have a definite form
and mutual connexion within a given historical period. Of still greater
moment to him is the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of their
transition from one form into another, from one series of connexions into a
different one. This law once discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in
which it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx only troubles
himself about one thing: to show, by rigid scientific investigation, the
necessity of successive determinate orders of social conditions, and to establish, as
impartially as possible, the facts that serve him for fundamental
starting-points. For this it is quite enough, if he proves, at the same time, both the
necessity of the present order of things, and the necessity of another order
into which the first must inevitably pass over; and this all the same, whether
men believe or do not believe it, whether they are conscious or unconscious of
it. Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed
by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intelligence, but
rather, on the contrary, determining that will, consciousness and
intelligence.... If in the history of civilization the conscious element plays a part so
subordinate, then it is self-evident that a critical inquiry whose
subject-matter is civilization, can, less than anything else, have for its basis any form
of, or any result of, consciousness. That is to say, that not the idea, but
the material phenomenon alone can serve as its starting-point. Such an inquiry
will confine itself to the confrontation and the comparison of a fact, not
with ideas, but with another fact. For this inquiry, the one thing of moment is,
that both facts be investigated as accurately as possible, and that they
actually form, each with respect to the other, different momenta of an evolution;
but most important of all is the rigid analysis of the series of successions,
of the sequences and concatenations in which the different stages of such an
evolution present themselves. But it will be said, the general laws of economic
life are one and the same, no matter whether they are applied to the present
or the past. This Marx directly denies. According to him, such abstract laws do
not exist. On the contrary, in his opinion every historical period has laws
of its own.... As soon as society has outlived a given period of development,
and is passing over from one given stage to another, it begins to be subject
also to other laws. In a word, economic life offers us a phenomenon analogous to
the history of evolution in other branches of biology. The old economists
misunderstood the nature of economic laws when they likened them to the laws of
physics and chemistry. A more thorough analysis of phenomena shows that social
organisms differ among themselves as fundamentally as plants or animals. Nay,
one and the same phenomenon falls under quite different laws in consequence of
the different structure of those organisms as a whole, of the variations of
their individual organs, of the different conditions in which those organs
function, &c. Marx, e.g., denies that the law of population is the same at all
times and in all places. He asserts, on the contrary, that every stage of
development has its own law of population.... With the varying degree of development
of productive power, social conditions and the laws governing them vary too.
Whilst Marx sets himself the task of following and explaining from this point
of view the economic system established by the sway of capital, he is only
formulating, in a strictly scientific manner, the aim that every accurate
investigation into economic life must have. The scientific value of such an inquiry
lies in the disclosing of the special laws that regulate the origin, existence,
development, death of a given social organism and its replacement by another
and higher one. And it is this value that, in point of fact, Marx's book has."
Whilst the writer pictures what he takes to be actually my method, in this
striking and [as far as concerns my own application of it] generous way, what
else is he picturing but the dialectic method?
Of course the method of presentation must differ in form from that of
inquiry. The latter has to appropriate the material in detail, to analyze its
different forms of development, to trace out their inner connexion. Only after this
work is done, can the actual movement be adequately described. If this is done
successfully, if the life of the subject-matter is ideally reflected as in a
mirror, then it may appear as if we had before us a mere a priori construction."
The method differs in form from the inquiry . . . do you understand?
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