Mr B Up To His Old Tricks

 

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~~~~~~oOo~~~~~~

 

Mr B has once again popped his head over the parapet in a debate about 'dialectical contradictions'.

 

But, does he actually tell us what these obscure Hegelian entities are?

 

Are you joking!?

 

His most substantive points surface in this passage:

 

On the contradiction implied in "John is a man", we might ask is John the only man? If so, then the correct expression is "John is the man".

 

So, if John is a man, then there are other men. Joe is a man. Jack is a man. Andrew is a man.

 

If John is identical with "a man", and Joe is identical with "a man", and Jack is identical with "a man", then through some kind of transitivity of identities we reach the contradiction that

 

John is Joe. John is Jack.

 

Rosa L will say what is the contradiction in "John is Jack"?

 

It is that John is not Jack, as stipulated above when we said there are other men besides John. Jack is another man from John is identical with the expression John is not Jack.

 

So directly the contradiction is that we have both John is Jack and John is not Jack at the same time.

 

I have now made the contradiction implicit in "John is a man" so explicit and patent that even contradiction-blind Rosa L. should be able to see it. But thanks to Rosa for pressing the point on this example from Lenin's philosophical notebooks, as it is only in "contradiction" with Rosa that I was moved to move the thought to full demonstration.

 

The contradiction inherent in the verb "to be", "is", can be seen as the same as that found in "self-reference" by modern mathematical philosophers like Russell. Russell's famous paradox derived from the self-reference of "the set of all sets that don't contain themselves".

 

The wikipedia article on paraconsistency notes the efforts at avoiding self-reference in the logics after that.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraconsistent_logic

 

In any sentence with a verb form of the verb "to be" makes a reference, a self-reference, of the subject of the sentence. The subject refers to itself in the predicate.

 

"John is a man", is a reference of John to himself as "a man", a self-reference.

 

So, modern mathematics rediscovered the paradoxes of self-reference that Hegel had discovered, perhaps as described in the quote of Hegel adduced on this thread by Rosa L. above

 

Paraconsistent logics are propositionally weaker than classical logic


"It should be emphasized that Paraconsistent logics are propositionally weaker than classical logic; that is, they deem fewer propositional inferences valid. The point is that a Paraconsistent logic can never be a propositional extension of classical logic, that is, propositionally validate everything that classical logic does. In that sense, then, Paraconsistent logic is more conservative or cautious than classical logic. It is due to such conservativeness that Paraconsistent languages can be more expressive than their classical counterparts including the hierarchy of Meta-languages due to
Tarski et al. According to Feferman [1984]: '…natural language abounds with directly or indirectly self-referential...yet apparently harmless expressions -- all of which are excluded from the Tarskian framework.' This expressive limitation can be overcome in Paraconsistent logic."

 

[I have slightly edited the above so that it conforms to the formatting principles adopted at this site, as I have also done with Mr B's other comments below. Links added]

 

It always amazes me the extent to which Dialectical Mystics will tie themselves in knots in a vain attempt to sell this ruling-class creed to the rest of us. They are indeed reminiscent of those Roman Catholic theologians and casuists who try to convince us, for example, that Jesus was both man and 'god' incarnate, many of whom will endeavour to employ sophisticated modern logic to that end, too.

 

Now, the above passage is supposed to be a response to a long argument of mine (much of which Mr B in fact ignores) that aims to show that this Hegelian doctrine is flawed from beginning to end.

 

The main points I raised there were the following:

 

(1) Traditional theorists treat all words as names or singular designating expressions (i.e., they are all supposed to 'refer' to this or that, and if we can't find a this or a that in this world to which they can refer, 'abstractions' -- or, these days, 'entities'/'abstract objects' from meta-theory -- are invented to order for them to designate). This is indeed yet another aspect of Plato's Beard, as Quine called it.

 

(2) Unfortunately, the traditional approach destroys the unity of the proposition, and that is because it turns propositions into lists, and lists say nothing. So, the 'propositions' that dialecticians finally end up with destroy any capacity their own language has for expressing, not just generality, but anything whatsoever, since it transforms predicate expression into the names of abstract particulars.

 

[Examples of the above are given below; a longer explanation can be found in Essay Three Part One.]

 

(3) Dialecticians in particular are guilty of doing this when, following Hegel, they transform the "is" of predication into an "is" of identity.

 

(4) Plainly, they do this since it is the only way they think they can 'derive' their 'contradictions'.

 

5) In so doing, they actively resist the conventions of ordinary language, since the vernacular actually prevents these verbal tricks from being performed.

 

As Marx noted, they have to distort ordinary language in order to concoct their a priori 'dialectical' theses:

 

The philosophers have only to dissolve their language into the ordinary language, from which it is abstracted, in order to recognise it, as the distorted language of the actual world, and to realise that neither thoughts nor language in themselves form a realm of their own, that they are only manifestations of actual life. [Marx and Engels (1970), p.118. Bold emphasis alone added.]

 

Now, in what follows I will try to explain where Mr B goes wrong. As we will soon see he ends up falling foul of points (1) - (5) above -- and several others into the bargain.

 

On the contradiction implied in "John is a man", we might ask is John the only man? If so, then the correct expression is "John is the man".

 

So, if John is a man, then there are other men. Joe is a man. Jack is a man. Andrew is a man.

 

If John is identical with "a man", and Joe is identical with "a man", and Jack is identical with "a man", then through some kind of transitivity of identities we reach the contradiction that

 

John is Joe. John is Jack.

 

Rosa L will say what is the contradiction in "John is Jack"?

 

It is that John is not Jack, as stipulated above when we said there are other men besides John. Jack is another man from John is identical with the expression John is not Jack. [This sentence does not seem to make sense (how can John be identical with an expression, for example?). I suspect there are some missing commas and/or quotation marks, here -- RL.]

 

So directly the contradiction is that we have both John is Jack and John is not Jack at the same time. [Bold added.]

 

Readers will no doubt notice that Mr B does not even attempt to justify a key component in this argument (highlighted in bold), namely, that the "is" here is an "is" of identity, not of predication.

 

Without this, his entire argument falls flat.

 

He then asserts:

 

Rosa L will say what is the contradiction in "John is Jack"?

 

No I won't say this, nor anything like it. I'll merely point out that Mr B has constructed a classic Reductio ad Absurdum [RAA] here, which now allows us to discharge one of the premisses as false. Since we want to hang on to "John is a man", the premiss we must reject as false is the one hidden in here:

 

If John is identical with "a man", and Joe is identical with "a man", and Jack is identical with "a man", then through some kind of transitivity of identities we reach the contradiction that... [Bold added.]

 

That is, we must discharge the hidden clause, "'John is a man' is an identity statement".

 

So, while Mr B has kicked up a cloud of dust, all he has in fact done is provide us with a refutation of his own 'theory'!

 

Moreover, Mr B's argument has John identical with "a man" (in "John is identical with 'a man'"); i.e., John is not now identical with what this phrase supposedly refers to (that is, if it is a referring expression to begin with), but actually with the noun phrase "a man"!

 

Is John really identical with this expression in the English language?

 

I suspect Mr B has confused use with mention here.

 

But, there is more. Even supposing that the "is" here is an "is" of identity, that can only mean that this proposition:

 

1) John is a man.

 

Should read:

 

2) John = a man.

 

But, if John is identical to a man, which man is this? That would be the first question we would normally ask upon being informed of this startling fact. The only conceivable answer would be that this man is...John! So, this brilliant theory ends up with "John is identical with John"!

 

Mr B might point the following out in response:

 

On the contradiction implied in "John is a man", we might ask is John the only man? If so, then the correct expression is "John is the man".

 

But, who on earth would ask "Is John the only man?" Someone with amnesia? Someone with learning difficulties? A visitor from another planet? Someone perhaps suffering from dialectics?

 

Nevertheless, let us suppose that we could find a benighted soul somewhere on the planet (other than Mr B) who would ask such an odd question. In that case, the natural reply would be: "No, there are plenty of other men..., and..., er..., do you perhaps need to go see a psychiatrist?", which sentence can't be press-ganged into helping Mr B in his attempt to defend Hegel. Indeed, I am rather surprised that Mr B failed to consider this more natural response to his own question. [But, then again, given the other odd things he has blurted out in earlier discussions..., not really.]

 

Unlike Marx, Mr B clearly thinks our ordinary use of language is an impediment, not a resource.

 

Even so, and ignoring these relatively minor niggles, the identity relation operates between two names, singular terms or objects (depending on how we interpret it).

 

This forces us to conclude that for Mr B "a man" is a name (or some other singular designating expression), and that it names or designates an object, class, set, or category, etc -- as (1)-(5) above predicted. Indeed, it is quite plain that for Mr B "a man" is akin to a Proper Name. This can be seen by the ease with which he slides between "John is a man" and "John is Jack". He clearly sees no difference between a Proper Name and an indefinite description, or, indeed, between a Proper Name and a predicate expression! Hence, the only conclusion possible is that for him "a man" refers to an object of some sort (or, perhaps, to an abstract particular), in the way that a Proper Name refers to its bearer. If so, given his 'theory', "a man" no longer functions as a general term since, manifestly, no object (abstract or concrete) can be general.

 

Generality is a feature of our use of language (as I argued in Part Two of Essay Three). Plainly, that is because, unlike human beings, linguistic expressions have no social life of their own, and are totally incapable of collecting things together in groups, classes or even sheep pens. To suppose otherwise would be to fetishise language, misconstruing the communal use of language as if it were in fact a reflection the social life of words.

 

[These ideas are spelt out in much greater detail in Essay Three Part One, which Mr B chose to ignore, clearly preferring he usual state of sublime ignorance to materialist good sense.]

 

Professor Lowe summed up the problems that the (traditional) approach to predication faces:

 

"What is the problem of predication? In a nutshell, it is this. Consider any simple subject-predicate sentence, such as..., 'Theaetetus sits'. How are we to understand the different roles of the subject and the predicate in this sentence, 'Theaetetus' and 'sits' respectively? The role of 'Theaetetus' seems straightforward enough: it serves to name, and thereby to refer to or stand for, a certain particular human being. But what about 'sits'? Many philosophers have been tempted to say that this also refers to or stands for something, namely, a property or universal that Theaetetus possesses or exemplifies: the property of sitting. This is said to be a universal, rather than a particular, because it can be possessed by many different individuals.

 

"But now we have a problem, for this view of the matter seems to turn the sentence 'Theaetetus sits' into a mere list of (two) names, each naming something different, one a particular and one a universal: 'Theaetetus, sits.' But a list of names is not a sentence because it is not the sort of thing that can be said to be true or false, in the way that 'Theaetetus sits' clearly can. The temptation now is to say that reference to something else must be involved in addition to Theaetetus and the property of sitting, namely, the relation of possessing that Theaetetus has to that property. But it should be evident that this way of proceeding will simply generate the same problem, for now we have just turned the original sentence into a list of three names, 'Theaetetus, possessing, sits.'

 

"Indeed, we are now setting out on a vicious infinite regress, which is commonly known as 'Bradley's regress', in recognition of its modern discoverer, the British idealist philosopher F. H. Bradley. Bradley used the regress to argue in favour of absolute idealism...." [Lowe (2006). Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

Analogously, Mr B's 'theory' faces the same overflowing basket of problems. By assuming that all words are names, or singular designating expressions (i.e., that they all refer to something or other), he (in effect) ends up with the following list:

 

Name/Identity-Relation/Abstract-Noun.

 

Or:

 

John/Identity/Man (or, Manhood, the Class of Men, etc.).

 

But, and once more, lists say nothing. Mr B's theory thus falls apart since it is now apparent that dialectical 'sentences' like this aren't even propositions!

 

Instead of asking himself whether it makes sense to say that a name could be identical with a predicate (or, as we saw above, whether or not John could be identical with a noun phrase!) -- or even: that what either word supposedly refers to could be identical with one another --, Mr B has swallowed Hegel's sub-Aristotelian 'logic' whole, and without blinking!

 

We then encounter the usual, almost clichéd, dialectical hubris:

 

I have now made the contradiction implicit in "John is a man" so explicit and patent that even contradiction-blind Rosa L. should be able to see it. But thanks to Rosa for pressing the point on this example from Lenin's philosophical notebooks, as it is only in "contradiction" with Rosa that I was moved to move the thought to full demonstration.

 

Well no; all Mr B has done is reveal how little logic he knows -- or, perhaps, how little thought he has devoted to what little he knows.

 

That suspicion is amply confirmed by what follows:

 

The contradiction inherent in the verb "to be", "is", can be seen as the same as that found in "self-reference" by modern mathematical philosophers like Russell. Russell's famous paradox derived from the self-reference of "the set of all sets that don't contain themselves".

 

The wikipedia article on paraconsistency notes the efforts at avoiding self-reference in the logics after that.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraconsistent_logic

 

In any sentence with a verb form of the verb "to be" makes a reference, a self-reference, of the subject of the sentence. The subject refers to itself in the predicate.

 

"John is a man", is a reference of John to himself as "a man", a self-reference.

 

Readers will no doubt notice, too, how the word "reference" has been indiscriminately thrown about the place as if all words were denoting expressions. Hence, we are told, with no argument in support, that:

 

The contradiction inherent in the verb "to be", "is", can be seen as the same as that found in "self-reference" by modern mathematical philosophers like Russell. Russell's famous paradox derived from the self-reference of "the set of all sets that don't contain themselves"....

 

In any sentence with a verb form of the verb "to be" makes a reference, a self-reference, of the subject of the sentence. The subject refers to itself in the predicate.

 

"John is a man", is a reference of John to himself as "a man", a self-reference. [Bold added.]

 

Once more, as predicted in points (1)-(5) above, we see Mr B here acknowledging that a verb actually refers, that is, that it is really a name or singular designating expression of some sort, not a verb. So, his 'propositions' have this form:

 

Name/Singular-Term/Abstract Noun.

 

John/Reference-to-Subject-in-Predicate/Man.

 

But, this is just another list!

 

And, of course, the following isn't even remotely true (or if it is, Mr B forgot to add the proof):

 

The subject refers to itself in the predicate.

 

The subject expression in fact refers to John! It doesn't refer to another symbol, but to a man called "John". [Of course, all this depends on what Mr B means by "subject" and "predicate"  -- but, as usual, he neglected to say.]

 

So, modern mathematics rediscovered the paradoxes of self-reference that Hegel had discovered, perhaps as described in the quote of Hegel adduced on this thread by Rosa L. above

 

Paraconsistent logics are propositionally weaker than classical logic


"It should be emphasized that Paraconsistent logics are propositionally weaker than classical logic; that is, they deem fewer propositional inferences valid. The point is that a Paraconsistent logic can never be a propositional extension of classical logic, that is, propositionally validate everything that classical logic does. In that sense, then, Paraconsistent logic is more conservative or cautious than classical logic. It is due to such conservativeness that Paraconsistent languages can be more expressive than their classical counterparts including the hierarchy of Meta-languages due to
Tarski et al. According to Feferman [1984]: '…natural language abounds with directly or indirectly self-referential...yet apparently harmless expressions -- all of which are excluded from the Tarskian framework.' This expressive limitation can be overcome in Paraconsistent logic." [Link added.]

 

Mr B's mention of Paraconsistent Logic here is mere bluff, since it has nothing to do with whether or not "is" is an "is" of identity, nor yet with whether "is" is even 'self-referential' (something Mr B takes for granted, as usual).

 

But, did Hegel actually make this discovery, as Mr B alleges? Did he even mention 'self-reference'? Well, we look in vain for a citation to, or quotation from, Hegel's Corpus of Confusion in support of this rather bold claim.

 

What about the other things Mr B says?

 

Actually, Einstein comes up a solid materialist. Einstein had admiration for the physicist Ernst Mach. However, Einstein came to disagree with Mach on the reality of atoms. Mach considered the concept of an “atom” as just an aid to thought, not something with objective reality.

 

This is the type of issue that Lenin critiques Mach on in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Einstein is a materialist by Lenin's definition in that book.

 

Rosa L: "we already have devices in language that allow us to identify things: we can point at a rose and say 'That's a rose', or at an individual called 'John' and say, 'John is over there. He is standing next to your father.' We do not need to examine 'concepts' to be able to do this."


CB: These devices are inadequate for things that are not in our presence. So, with only these would not be able to identify most of what language is good for identifying, what language allows us to do that animals, who don’t have language, can't do.

 

Marx couldn't adequately identify capitalism by saying “that's capitalism over there." The founders of human kinship systems couldn't say "That's my great grand mother over there" after grandmother was dead.

 

Rosa L. : But, how does this super-scientist (yours truly CB, smile) answer that allegation?

 

“Hegel, Marx, Engels, Lenin give lots of other examples as the basis for their generalization rendering their claims a posteriori, not a priori."

 

However, we can leave Marx out, for he is almost totally silent on this ‘theory’. As for the rest, here is what I say in Essay Seven:


CB: For a little lesson in rigor for our blooming logician Rosa L., Marx is "almost totally silent on this ‘theory’", but not totally silent. I think the passage from one of the Afterwords or Forewords from Capital I was posted on this thread already, but I’m sure Rosa has read Marx's claim that he is a follower of that great thinker, Hegel. Could Marx have meant that he followed everything but the most fundamental ideas of Hegel's dialectic? I doubt it.

 

Taking each claim, one at a time:

 

Actually, Einstein comes up a solid materialist. Einstein had admiration for the physicist Ernst Mach. However, Einstein came to disagree with Mach on the reality of atoms. Mach considered the concept of an “atom” as just an aid to thought, not something with objective reality.

 

This is the type of issue that Lenin critiques Mach on in Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Einstein is a materialist by Lenin's definition in that book.

 

In fact, as I have shown in Essay Thirteen Part One, given Lenin's unworkable 'definition' of matter (if such it may be called), not even Lenin was a materialist -- so Einstein stands no chance!

 

Rosa L: "we already have devices in language that allow us to identify things: we can point at a rose and say 'That's a rose', or at an individual called 'John' and say, 'John is over there. He is standing next to your father.' We do not need to examine 'concepts' to be able to do this."


CB: These devices are inadequate for things that are not in our presence. So, with only these would not be able to identify most of what language is good for identifying, what language allows us to do that animals, who don't have language, can't do.

 

Marx couldn't adequately identify capitalism by saying "that's capitalism over there." The founders of human kinship systems couldn't say "That's my great grand mother over there" after grandmother was dead.

 

But, here is what I actually said:

 

"we already have tools in language that allow us to identify things: we can point at a rose and say 'That's a rose', or at an individual called 'John' and say, 'John is over there. He is standing next to your father', and no other. We do not need to examine 'concepts' to be able to do this." [Slightly edited: "devices" replaced by "tools".]

 

In other words, I left it open whether or not we have other devices in language that allow us to refer to, or talk about whatever we want to talk about. Mr B, in his haste to malign me come what may, has allowed his insecure comprehension of ordinary language to let him down again.

 

[However, I have already made this point, and several others like it, in Essay Thirteen Part Three -- in my demolition of Voloshinov's theory. Mr B chose to ignore that, too.]

 

CB: For a little lesson in rigor for our blooming logician Rosa L., Marx is "almost totally silent on this 'theory'", but not totally silent. I think the passage from one of the Afterword or Foreword from Capital I was posted on this thread already, but I'm sure Rosa has read Marx's claim that he is a follower of that great thinker, Hegel. Could Marx have meant that he followed everything but the most fundamental ideas of Hegel's dialectic? I doubt it.

 

Sure, "not totally silent", since Marx was dismissive of this 'theory', and that would have been impossible had he been totally silent about it.

 

Fortunately, we needn't speculate about Marx's opinion of Hegel since he very helpfully added the following comments to the Afterword to the second edition of Das Kapital:

 

"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 civilisation the conscious element plays a part so subordinate, then it is self-evident that a critical inquiry whose subject-matter is civilisation, 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?" [Marx (1976) Das Kapital,
pp.101-02. Bold emphases added.]


Also worth noting is the not insignificant fact that this is the only summary of the "dialectic method" that Marx published and endorsed in his entire life.

 

Marx calls this summary the "dialectic method", and, indeed, "my method", even though it bears no relation to the sort of 'dialectics' Mr B has uncritically swallowed -- for in the above not one atom of Hegel is to be found: no 'quantity turning into quality', no 'contradictions', no 'negation of the negation', no 'unity of opposites', no 'universal flux', no 'totality'...

So, Marx's method has had Hegel completely excised. For Marx, putting Hegel on 'his feet' is to show how empty his head really is.

And, of the few Hegelian terms Marx uses in Das Kapital, he tells us that:


"even, here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the mode of expression peculiar to him."


In which case, the 'rational core' of the dialectic contains absolutely no trace of Hegel, and the very best Marx could do was "coquette" with a little Hegelian jargon, which hardly suggests a serious use of the latter's ideas or method. Marx's "dialectic" thus more closely resembles that of Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish Historical Materialists (i.e., Ferguson, Millar, Robertson, Smith, Hume, and Steuart). [On that, see here.]

This hardly represents a ringing endorsement of Hegel, or even of Mr B's mystical 'theory'.

And it is little use Mr B telling us that Marx called Hegel a "mighty thinker", since he pointedly put that avowal in the past tense:


"I criticised the mystificatory side of the Hegelian dialectic nearly thirty years ago, at a time when is was still the fashion. But just when I was working on the first volume of Capital, the ill-humoured, arrogant and mediocre epigones who now talk large in educated German circles began to take pleasure in treating Hegel in the same way as the good Moses Mendelssohn treated Spinoza in Lessing's time, namely as a 'dead dog'. I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker and even, here and there in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the mode of expression peculiar to him." [Ibid., pp.102-03. Bold emphasis added.]


And, even though Mr B assures us that Marx avowed he was a "follower" of Hegel, Marx in fact nowhere said this!

 

Moreover, one can call a theorist a "mighty thinker" and disagree with most or all of what they had to say. For instance, I think Plato was a "mighty thinker", but I disagree with 99.99% of what he wrote.

Still less is there any use referring us to the Grundrisse, or even to several unpublished letters in support -- Marx saw fit not to publish that material, but he did publish the above comments, and he call it the "dialectic method".

So, and alas for Mr B, Marx and I both agree that his "method" contains no Hegel whatsoever (upside down, or the 'right way up'); only I go even further and ditch entirely the obscure jargon with which Marx merely "coquetted".

 

More on this topic here, and here:

 

http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.php?p=1158574&postcount=73

 

http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.php?p=1161443&postcount=114

 

http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.php?p=1163222&postcount=124

 

http://www.revleft.com/vb/dialectics-and-political-t118934/index.html

 

But, does any of this help us in our quest to understand what a 'dialectical contradiction' is (the main point of the aforementioned thread)?

 

The answer is in the negative since we are now more in the dark than we were before Mr B dumped another load of his Hermetically-compromised ideas on his unfortunate readers!

 

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