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View Diary: On the 'Vindication' of Marx *updated (208 comments)

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  •  It's absolutely the case (2+ / 0-)
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    KJG52, chrismorgan

    in Hegel.  His entire project is designed to prove it.  This arises from his relationship to Kant (which you significantly misrepresent).  In Kant reason is a drive for totality, purpose, and completeness that can never fulfill it's aim. Hegel sets out to show that it does, in fact, fulfill it's teleology.  There's a reason Marx says Hegel needs to be put on his feet, and it isn't a matter of endorsing Hegel's theological teleology, nor his idealism that places the notion before practice.

    •  One of his primary critiques of Kant (0+ / 0-)

      Was the lack of Annerkenung (recognition seeking) which Hegel deemed essential to any formulation of reason. This is why structures such as the family and labor unions and eventually the state become essential to the actualization of human spirit in Philosophy of Right. So I didn't misrepresent it. Your point is also another avenue in his overall critique of Kant - one which is largely the project of 'Logic'. I find Philosophy of Right and Phenomenology to be much more useful to understanding Marx specifically.

      I also profoundly disagree with Hegel's reading of Kant. I'm much more a Kantian philosophically. I have huge issues with the legacy of Aristotle in 19th century idealism.

      •  This is not a mere matter (0+ / 0-)

        of the Logic in Hegel's work.  In all three Critiques, Kant conceives reason teleologically and to have primarily a moral vocation.  The three ideas of reason in the Critique of Pure Reason (the Ideas of the Soul, Cosmology, and God) have the aim of conceiving a unified conception of nature or a totality.  Where understanding breaks things down into units, according to Kant, reason synthesizes them into wholes or systems.  In the second critique, the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant makes explicit that the function of reason is moral.  In the third critique, the Critique of Judgment, Kant shows how purposiveness or teleology is operative in nature.

        The key criticism of Kant by the subsequent German idealists (Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel) was that Kant left the world of morality separate from the world of nature.  Reason, they points out, demands a unification of these two domains-- because reason intrinsically calls for totality --yet Kant leaves them sundered because he argues that reason can only be regulative and can never generate knowledge (when it believes it does so, argues Kant, it falls into dogmatism; this is the point of the paralogisms, antinomies, and the critiques of the proofs for the existence of God).  The subsequent German idealists think this is a scandal.  Their argument is that if reason has this characteristic, it should be able to fulfill its aim.  They thus set about showing how nature and culture can be unified.  This is the point of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.  From one end to another it's an analysis of reason, beginning with the seemingly abstract issues of natural understanding (sense-perception, force, etc) and then passing into the cultural with its discussion of the master/slave dialectic, the beautiful soul, stoicism, the various stages of religion, the French Revolution, and so on.

        The key point is that in Hegel there's already a purpose or goal at work in history.  There is something that history ought to be-- and is Kant argued in the Critique of Practical Reason --every ought implies a can.  For Hegel there is something pulling Spirit to a final culmination or actuality.  In later Marx this disappears.  There is no teleological cause pulling history along.  Rather, there are a set of circumstances or tendencies that produce various outcomes.  

        •  A few points (0+ / 0-)

          A. You're falling into the trap of the German Idealist critique of Hegel by trying to collect Critiques 1-3 as presenting a teleological view of reason. I will quote one of my own papers here wrt to Kant:

          I will first look at a passage typical of Kant in order to establish how philosophically and socially Enlightenment humanism banishes ousia from its cosmology. In “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch”, Kant writes the following:
          Perpetual peace is guaranteed by no less an authority than the great artist Nature herself... We can not actually observe such an agency in the artifices of nature, nor can we even infer its existence from them. But as with all relations between the form of things and their ultimate purposes, we can and must supply it mentally in order to conceive of its possibility by analogy with human artifices.

          We must be careful when approaching this passage, and in particular we must keep in mind Kant’s method in the first critique. The first sentence and what follows immediately in the text and corresponding footnote posit an entity called ‘nature’ whose purposivness is exhibited in the rendering of humanity reasonable, by which it [humanity] in turn actualizes the order of nature through the full development of this capacity [in the moral law]. Here it appears again that we fall into the model of ousia — a form informs a passive matter and extends toward its actualization with the full realization of itself in that matter. If we were to apply Aristotle’s notion of the four causes, the efficient, formal, and final causes would here be reason [the development of reason in humanity, reason as nature, and reason as its actualization in the moral law respectively] and the material cause would be mute humanity itself. However, in a very clever [and typical] manner, Kant turns the tables on this. After positing a thesis according to the model of substance, he does an about face and discredits its rational objectivity [that is according to pure not practical reason]. Certainly, he concludes, some such attribution of purposive [and substantial] agency to nature is posited of practical necessity if we are to realize the demands of reason and ‘in order to conceive of its possibility by analogy with human artifices’, i.e. in order to find a loosely theological sanction for human artifice. But what is it which actually functions actively in this sanctioning? ‘We can and must supply it mentally’. This story about nature, this idea of ousia, cannot have objective validity. It is, in a sense, a practical fable by which humanity legitimates its own doings. We render in nature a purposiveness that accords with human artifice in order to ground our own practical everydayness. Indeed, if one thinks back to the first critique, such a thesis is demanded by the Transcendental Deduction — the condition of possibility for objects is that they correspond to the categories of the understanding. Likewise, the condition of possibility for a conception of ‘nature’ is that it corresponds [by analogy] to the structure of human artifice — a structure he believes to be purposive and loosely teleological, characteristics which we must then see in nature should we make it objective for us. At the risk of sounding blunt, there is no such thing as ‘nature’ [that is a ‘nature’ divorced from human reason] for Kant [like there is no such thing as the thing in itself]. ‘Nature’ [as with the ‘thing in itself’ in the first critique] is here used as a foil to enable him to develop a deeper concern — the self-grounding nature of human reason. If he proves this in the deduction [or in less systematic attempts elsewhere] then ousia is revealed for what it is, a practical metaphor without a grain of objective truth that we employ to legitimate human activity for those who cannot philsophically grasp the self–grounding nature of reason.

          In my opinion, the proper reading of Kant is not in a unified vision of the 3 Critiques, but taking the meat of the The 1st critique and using that as the rubric to understand his other works - and in my opinion his seminal work is Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals in which he most clearly lays out how the very existence of reason requires the 'kingdom of ends', i.e. that we must structure our society such that each rational being is treated as an end in themselves.

          B. Yes, the German Idealists did, and they're terribly wrong. See point A.

          C. I still profoundly disagree with you on your reading of Hegel's teleology as being deterministic ['pulled']. I think you interpret Hegel as having a Platonic view of final causation, which is untrue. This is also why I said in an earlier comment that your notion of a final cause is even arguable within the context of Aristotle. You lay out a supposition of causality that is more akin to Timaeus, the 7th letter or the middle books of Republic. What Aristotle lays out in Physica is quite different - and while still maintaining a Platonic primacy of final causality, intimated an evolutionary element - he greatly elevated the importance of the material cause. And in Hegel that becomes magnified to the extreme with builduing and annerkenung as essential elements in the revealing of reason throughout history. reason is not emanatory [as with Platonists] but imminent - becoming in the course of our history. In short, we learn. And while the Platonic idea of substance [ousia - literally 'inheritance'] plays far to great a role in the equation for my tastes, it does not mean that geist is 'pulled'. That is a complete misreading of Hegel.

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