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

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  •  Read the metaphor again (0+ / 0-)

    The truth of one form of existence reveals itself in its subsequent one through the destruction of the current. The notion of a final cause in a dialectical history is this. Rather than a truth originating the process and manifesting itself at the end of said process, the truth develops within the process and through many iterations, is actualized in the end. Hegel was many things, but he was not a theological thinker. He was not a Platonist. Heidegger reserves that particularly awful place in the pantheon of German philosophers. Hegel's dialectic is the first formulation of the idea of progressive history in the west.

    •  Yes, I'm familiar with (0+ / 0-)

      the metaphor.  What you're missing is that final causation and teleology say something more than the idea that "the truth of x is found in the result y."  A final cause is a form of causation in which the goal was pulling all that preceded it towards it.  Is that what you're advocating and defending?

      You're mistaken about Hegel not being a theological thinker (I'm not sure why you bring up Platonism, as I didn't mention it).  That's also a very peculiar thing for you to say about Heidegger.  He wrote a great deal about religion, saw it as central to his dialectic, and his conception of Spirit is that of God and the infinite incarnating itself on earth.  I should mention that this is my area of expertise in academia.  The only reason I'm responding in this thread is that I think your "defense" of Marx does a great deal of damage to his thought.

      •  Read part C of the long comment above (0+ / 0-)

        wrt to why I brought up Plato. Also, it's not a peculiar thing I said about Heidegger, as he was neo-Platonist extraordinaire [though of course he claimed Plato originated the fall]...

        This was also one of my areas of expertise when I was still in academia. I studied and wrote on Marx & Hegel thoroughly with Agnes Heller & Richard Bernstein & my reading is within the acceptable realm of interpretation - it's well within the bounds of scholarship on both. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on our readings.

        Interestingly enough I was working on a dissertation on ousia and political theory before I quit which largely featured Plato, Airstotle, Hegel and Heidegger as presenting rightist notions through the primacy of  substance within their philosophies & Kant & Marx as those who escaped that [albeit the case was somewhat more complex for Marx]. I am certainly sympathetic to what you are saying & often go back and forth myself as to whether Marx escapes his Geman Idealist roots. The night I wrote this, I obviously was feeling he didn't.

        •  Hegel is very Aristotlean. (1+ / 0-)
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          Everything in his thought hinges on the play of potentiality and actuality vis a vis Aristotle's conception of final causation.  There's a sort of drive or impulse within things to become fully actual or complete.  There is something that things ought to be.  This is part of what he means when he makes claims like the tree being the truth of the seed.  A seed that remains a seed is remains at the level of potentiality, having never actualized what it ought to be.  Hegel envisions history in terms of an ought that must realize and complete itself.

          Materialist frameworks are very different.  There's no ought that things should be.  Rather, they are fully actual or are what they are at every moment.  This is the framework that Marx is working in (let's not forget that his dissertation was on Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius).  There is nothing that is pulling history towards a particular points, but rather there are contradictions or tendencies that tend to resolve themselves in particular ways.

          In my view, German academia has always had a difficult time getting its head around Marx precisely because of his materialism.  Their tradition is one obsessed with Spirit and subjectivity, yet Marx carries out a substantial critique of that tradition.  His materialism was thoroughly perverted by the subsequent Frankfurt school and became the exact opposite of materialism.

      •  Also - as an aside (0+ / 0-)

        I argued your position to Agnes Heller during my Masters orals [Heller's position is much closer to what I present above]. She got quite a kick out of it.

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