[Marxism] O, Dialectics!

www.leninology. blogspot.com leninology at hotmail.com
Thu May 12 16:22:42 MDT 2005


>i don't follow you here.

Well, things ought to be quantifiable.  That is part of thingness of things.

>i don't agree. change is the thing that constitutes all things, since all 
>things come into being and pass away. it is the underlying ground of  all 
>reality (sometimes called "becoming", especially by Hegel). (hey -- at this 
>rate we will soon be working our way up to Heraclitus! - "All is flux.")

I'm afraid that argument doesn't move me - in large part because there is 
not enough argument in it.  You assert that change is the 'thing' which 
constitutes all 'things' (still don't understand why you think it is a 
'thing'), and go on to say it is the underlying ground of all reality.  
Sure, in Hegel, change is subsumed into a dialectical form, a triadic 
process of Being -> Nothing -> Becoming.  And that process is overdetermined 
by negation.  However, this only works because Hegel is an idealist, 
believing the Absolute to be a product of the workings of our minds.  If 
we're materialist about it, then we have to dispense with these kinds of a 
prior claims.  Imposing a triadic form on reality is not a materialist 
procedure (which is why Engels argued, futilely, that the dialectic had to 
be 'deduced' from nature).  And that means we return to the question of 
whether in fact change does 'constitute all things'.  I am dubious.  As a 
Marxist, I say there is change in the world, and historical materialism 
explains social and political change very well.  But I'm afraid diamat looks 
to me like a poor confection of Hegelianism and very very bad science from 
Engels onward.

>again, i would call these "things" too. they are not things in the crass 
>empiricist sense (the "this here now") but they are certainly objects of 
>study and contemplation, which makes them things, in my view. the important 
>thing is to be sensitive to the use of the word "thing" in everyday 
>language.

I agree with the comment about change in bourgeois societies, certainly we 
have had enough 'revolutions' that proved in fact to be adjuvants to capital 
(the sexual revolution providing new markets and a new kind of political 
subject oriented around narcissism and gratification, for instance).  But I 
cannot agree that justice, equality, tomorrow etc are 'things' or 'objects' 
in any meaningful sense.  Remember Wittgenstein - FACTS ARE NOT THINGS.

Anyway, I regret dragging you down into this pedantic mess, since I know 
perfectly well what you mean, even if I don't agree.

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