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.<


Reply

"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 
place. 

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 
directed to.  

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 
of things. 

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 
Dialectic." 

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 
negation. 

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 
1882. 

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? 


Melvin P

Melvin P.



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