[Marxism] Hegel : 'hopeless baggage'?

shaun may mnwps at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 10 14:10:22 MST 2014

Predictive? Well, I think it depends what we mean by 'predictive'. Physics is predictive in the sense that we can predict the approximate degree of force at which a projectile hits a surface if we know its mass and acceleration. In Chemistry, we can predict the properties of the next undiscovered or unsynthesised member in a homologous series of organic compounds or in the Periodic Table, we accurately predicted the properties of elements before they were actually discovered. We predicted their existence as well as their properties. In Biology, we can predict how a living system will behave if subjected to certain constraints, etc, homeostasis, and in Chemistry, Le Chatelier, etc

I do not think materialist dialectics is like this - which we find in the natural sciences - because in materialist dialectics there are sublated elements of fatalism and, of course, scepticism preserved (not absolutely annihilated) within dialectical thinking in so far as the latter, fatalism, reflects a certain recognition of the general trend of development which a formation must necessarily follow once its general principles of development have been discovered and the latter, scepticism, the conception that how this trend of development will turn out in its concrete particulars and detail expression cannot be fully known. So this type of thinking is, in a certain sense, both predictive and not predictive at the same time.

We cannot fully know how the unfolding crisis of the capital order will turn out in all its detail and particularity but we know that this crisis will unfold globally, based on our studies in Marx, Meszaros, etc. Not predictive as in the Natural Sciences but nevertheless predictive in a broad dialectical conception of the term. This, of course, serves to orientate us in our theoretical and practical work i.e. in the intrinsic unity between them. 'revolutionary practice' [Marx, Theses on Feuerbach]



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