The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

Dizzy with "Dialectics" December 14, 2004 by RedStar2000

This is my third collection of posts arguing that "dialectics" is crap.

It's always been in the back of my mind that someday some really brilliant "dialectician" is going to show up at Che-Lives and make total hash out of my arguments -- demonstrating the validity and utility of "dialectics" beyond all reasonable doubt.

But it ain't happened yet.


To make a thorough analysis of the "place" of "dialectics" in intellectual history is undoubtedly a task beyond my limited abilities.

No doubt a case could be made that Hegel's "dialectics" played an initially progressive role in spreading the general idea of human social evolution -- that things don't just "happen" in some chaotic fashion without direction.

And perhaps this supplied a crucial "scaffold" which Marx could use to erect his own theories of the "laws" of history.

But frankly, I think by the time of the Communist Manifesto if not a few years earlier, Marx had moved beyond philosophy and into the realm of scientific investigation of social reality.

Defenders of "dialectics" will argue, of course, that just because Marx had stopped writing about philosophy doesn't mean that a "dialectical understanding" didn't inform the real work of his maturity.

This may even be, technically speaking, a true statement.

What I have argued is that he didn't need to do that.

That everything Marx had to say about the evolution of human societies in the real world could have been said using the common scientific language of his day and ours. The idea that the world changes was already gaining ground in his time...even among circles who'd never heard of Hegel. The new science of geology, in particular, was convulsed in a heated debate between "gradualists" and "catastrophists" (in the end, we've learned that both sides were right).

Even evolution in animals and plants was widely discussed -- the pressing difficulty was discovering a plausible mechanism for making it happen.

That was then; this is now.

What I still await is a convincing demonstration of the "special utility" of "dialectics".

Specifically, I want to see...

1. Someone use "dialectics" to demonstrate a hither-to unsuspected property of some real-world phenomenon.

2. Having done this, then prove that this property is real with ordinary scientific methodology.

3. And finally and most importantly, demonstrate that there was no other path to this discovery except "dialectics".

Science does not care about the source of your ideas -- you can "use" "dialectics", astrology, or "divine revelation" if you wish. It only cares if your ideas can be demonstrated to be true.

In other words, you can't get away, in science, with suggestions that "dialectical truths" are "higher" than ordinary truths and "therefore" not subject to ordinary empirical verification.

Nor can you reply to your critics in lofty tones, "you have simply failed to grasp the dialectic."

In the 20th century, various Leninist leaders and parties claimed, quite seriously, to be able to "use" "dialectics" to predict the future in useful detail...Lenin himself did so, in fact.

Occasionally, they got one right -- usually they were wrong and sometimes badly wrong.

Any device or formula that will generate random outcomes can also be "used" to "predict the future in useful detail"...and will have the same outcome. Occasionally right...but usually wrong.

If "dialectics" appeals to you, try the tarot or the I Ching -- they are probably more fun to "use"...and just as reliable.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 29, 2004


Quantitative changes add up until they trigger something entirely new, a qualitative change.

Yes, that happens sometimes. And sometimes quantitative changes "cancel each other out" and nothing very important happens.

Not to mention the difficulty of identifying the crucial "quantitative" change that will "break the camel's back".

Imagine over the next few years or even a decade that the U.S. dollar more or less steadily drops against the value of other major currencies...but it does so in small increments -- it doesn't just drop like a rock.

According to "dialectics" these small changes will, at some point, generate a "qualitative" change. International capitalists will suddenly rush, lemming-like, to dump dollars at any price and the value of the dollar will drop like a rock!

But, oddly enough, you don't need "dialectics" to figure out that something like that might well happen...because it's happened before.

Many times.

A layman's knowledge of history is more than sufficient to raise that possibility for any currency that declines in value in small increments over a period of time.


...that minor conflicts build and build until they become revolutionary conflicts.

That also sometimes happens...but mostly it doesn't. There's a constant "background noise" of class struggle in capitalist societies -- for reasons that no one understands, this "background" occasionally becomes the "foreground" and a massive struggle erupts that may even become revolutionary.

But "dialectics" doesn't tell you why it happens when it does and why it doesn't happen most of the time.

To say that a series of minor conflicts suddenly generated a major conflict may be true enough...but it explains nothing.

On the other hand, "dialectics" can make you sound very "wise" and even "scientific" to the if you had access to "specialized knowledge" that was utterly beyond the common sense of the "rabble".

"Leaders" find this useful.


This is a tricky argument, largely because neither of us know whether it was Marx's genius which gave him his theory or his dialectics...or both! He may have been able to do so with or without dialectics, but we will never know!

Actually, we could know...though not, of course, with absolute certainty.

Someone could take the corpus of today's bourgeois economic "wisdom" along with some good summaries of how capitalist economies have actually performed over the last two or three decades and see if it is possible to derive Marx's economic "laws" using ordinary scientific methodology and reasoning.

I'm 99.999% certain that it could be done...though it would be a task far beyond my talents to accomplish. It might even take a team of energetic, young and very bright Marxists to pull it off...and perhaps some very sophisticated "modeling" software.

Marx was a real genius...right up there with Newton, Darwin, Einstein, etc. It would take a lot to "equal" him.

But I think we "merely talented" mortals could do it too...and without any regard to the "laws of dialectics" whatsoever.

Certainly any serious student of history could derive historical materialism from the evidence alone.

Class struggle is an obvious phenomenon, as is technological innovation, changes in class structure, etc. People were getting glimpses of this even years before Marx's birth.


The idea that the world changes was woven into the fabric of society; it wouldn't matter if the people didn't know who Hegel was or what his dialectics were, because it blended into the fabric of society.

Not before 1789 it wasn't -- indeed, there was vigorous argument throughout the 19th century on whether change was a "real" or an "apparent" phenomenon.

Indeed, it continues to this arguments over "human nature", for example.

I suppose a supporter of "dialectics" could attempt to argue that humans "think dialectically" but they are usually "not conscious" of doing so.

But I don't find that a very compelling "argument" -- we could be a "whole bunch of things" and just usually "not conscious" of being those things.

"Brains in vats", for example.


What difference would it matter if you rejected it or didn't? Using dialectics is like using the freeway to get from LA to New York, whereas logic takes surface streets. It's just a matter of method.

No, I think your analogy is very misleading.

It is, in fact, the scientific method that is "the freeway" -- the road that takes you where you want to go in the minimum amount of time and with the minimum number of possible errors.

"Dialectics" is not only a complicated network of surface streets...but you have to name each street yourself. Neither social nor natural phenomena come with little tags attached -- "major contradiction", "minor contradiction", "thesis", "antithesis", "synthesis", etc., etc.

Even worse, there's no independent check on your "map" -- some other "dialectician" could show up with a completely different "map".

In fact, it's a rather sobering thought: two people who want to drive from LA to New York using only "dialectics" to find their way. It wouldn't surprise me if they ended up in Panama! *laughs*

Finally, let me clarify a point I made at the end of my previous post.

I said that science doesn't care what method you use to come up with an idea -- a only cares if your idea actually works; can be demonstrated scientifically to be true.

Some methods, however, are more "respectable" than others. If you inform your colleagues that your latest hypothesis originated as a product of a tarot reading, a personal message from the "Virgin Mary", or a "dialectical" consideration of the problem, you may find it difficult to get your idea taken seriously.

What working scientists actually do is "reason backward" -- construct a chain of logical reasoning that shows "why" the new idea originated in previous research and discovery. Even if the truth is that they got the idea from something their 5-year-old said. *laughs*
First posted at Che-Lives on November 29, 2004


And this is where my first point comes in: economics is not repeatable because humans won't react the same way in the same situation. It is impossible for economics to use the scientific method.

No, I think that's far too limited a view. After all, evolution is not "repeatable" and yet no one would deny that scientists use the scientific method when studying evolution.

Granted, we don't have it as "easy" as physical scientists -- human societies and interactions are far more complicated than physical processes.

And we'll probably never understand them in the sense that we've learned to understand physical processes in nature.

But try we must.


As a matter of fact, you once "simplified" Das Kapital into about 10 points.

No, you give me too much credit.

Marx actually wrote two "popular summaries" of his economic ideas, Wage Labour and Capital and Value, Price and Profit.

They are far more instructive than anything I could write.


I did not know that it was "supposed to be" a science, I always thought of it as a form of reasoning, like deductive reasoning.

That's one way to look at "dialectics" and far superior to treating it as "the key to hidden mysteries" like the Leninists do.

But it's still inadequate -- how can we reasonably expect the complexities of human societies to neatly fall into only two opposing forces?

Why not "trialectics"? Or "quadrilectics"?

In practical terms, how many times have you run into a complex problem and had to put up with some dummy demanding that you "choose" either "this" or "that"? When you knew damn well that there were a substantial number of possible solutions, several of which were deserving of further investigation.

Even Das Kapital is, in a sense, an over-simplification -- there are complexities in class structure and inter-class struggle that go far beyond a simple struggle between "bourgeoisie" and "proletariat".

One outstanding example of this occurred in Germany in the 1920s. For a half-dozen years or so, there was a "working alliance" between Social Democracy and those German industries that were export-oriented.

I'm sure a "dialectical" "explanation" of this unusual phenomenon could be constructed after the fact...but, in fact, neither the "dialecticians" in the KPD or the Comintern even noticed.

Trying to "cram" the real world into a "dialectical frame" is, in my opinion, a waste of time and energy that would be better spent on more productive efforts.


One--Every thing (every object and every process) is made of opposing forces/opposing sides.

Two--Gradual changes lead to turning points, where one opposite overcomes the other.

Three--Change moves in spirals, not circles.

Why just "two" opposing forces? Why not three? Or 577?

Why don't "brief, sharp changes" (as opposed to "gradual changes") lead immediately to even briefer and sharper changes?

Why "spirals"? Perhaps they look "neat" and even "mathematical"...but then that wouldn't be a very good reflection of what change looks like in the real world, would it?

The real world is "messy" and changes are sloppy and partial most of the time.

If we stand far enough back and look at "the big picture" we can see some "order" in what has happened over the last 60 or 70 centuries of recorded history. That's "some", not "perfect".

I think it very unlikely that a "best fit" of the data points would generate a spiral. In fact, I think you'd end up with a "curve" requiring dozens of dimensions to accurately express.

The world is "divisible" by many more numbers than two.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 30, 2004


Because you can divide anything into two. You can keep dividing into two until you decide to stop.

Or three. Or four. Or 577!

What's the "holy significance" of "2"?

Hegel couldn't count any higher? *laughs*

I'm sorry but I see no "special" significance in the number two except that it's small and even...and perhaps easier for some folks to grasp.

That doesn't mean it has any unique usefulness in explaining the real world. Some problems can be usefully reduced to "either/or"...but many others cannot.

Except in words, of course. I've yet to run into a "dialectician" who proposes that wave-particle duality is a case of "the unity of opposites"...but I'm confident that one will try.


Well, spiral in this sense is meaning opposed to circles repeating itself.

But no one (by now!) questions the fact of movement; what is in dispute is that if you plotted a large number of "points" describing that movement, would you indeed get a "spiral-looking" diagram as a "best fit curve" for the data?

It's possible...but I would be shocked speechless if it actually turned out that way!

People who assert that it is now are just offering a "declaration of faith" a particularly improbable divinity.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 30, 2004


What "data" are you talking about? It's not the "scientific" "UFT" the Leninists make it out to be, it's a form of reason.

Well, this is getting to be pretty thin air for me.

What does it literally mean to say "things move in spirals"?

Doesn't it mean, in ordinary language, that if you plot the points of movement, the figure that will emerge is a spiral?

On the other hand, if you're just talking about "thoughts"...then isn't it simply a matter of arranging things so that they "look like mental spirals"?

In science, we say something like: under initial conditions A, the presence of phenomenon B will, over time, result in the emergence of phenomenon C.

And then we can plot that movement on a chart (at least in principle).

What do the "dialecticians" say? It varies, but I suppose it would run something like: Every phenomenon will, over time, split into opposing phenomenon, one of which will eventually dominate the other. Once dominant, then it too will split.

That's the Maoist version, anyway. If you diagrammed it, it would look like an evolutionary bush with species constantly going extinct.

But it's not a spiral -- there's no "intrinsic higher quality" to any particular point in the process. You could plot it in two dimensions.

(Note that Stephen J. Gould, who was very much a student of "dialectics", proposed exactly this model for understanding evolution -- not a "tree of ascending life" but a "sprawling bush of life". The problem with his model, in my view, is that it really ignores the emergent property of complexity.)

One could argue that this is "not" what Hegel (or Marx) had in mind. In fact, trying to "pin down" the "laws of dialectics" seems to be a fairly convoluted endeavor. What does one make of "the negation of the negation", for example?

If anyone really has their heart set on learning to "reason dialectically", there probably isn't anything I could say that will discourage them.

But when they emerge from their study and offer descriptions of or proposals for actions that relate to the real world, then I will challenge them according to the methods of scientific reasoning.

What is the evidence for your hypothesis?

And they'd better have real answers as I flatly refuse to be intimidated by "dialectical" flim-flam.
First posted at Che-Lives on December 1, 2004

It seems to me that human history cannot be realistically portrayed as either linear, exponential, or spiral-like...although those metaphors may have a certain limited utility in discussing specific social changes.

The problem of history is to figure out, on the basis of incomplete evidence, what really happened and why.

Mathematical metaphors of any kind are just not very helpful...and worse, give the impression of "precision" where none, in fact, exists and may not even be possible.
First posted at Che-Lives on December 2, 2004

To assert that "dialectics" is "just another form of reasoning" raises questions.

One of them is: is it "better" than ordinary scientific reasoning?

No one has ever demonstrated that it is.

Another is: is it "just as good" as ordinary scientific reasoning?

No one has ever demonstrated that, either.

Why then do we talk about it at all? Because Marx and Engels took it seriously, "therefore" there "must" be "something to it"?

First posted at Che-Lives on December 7, 2004


I hate to ask, but what do you exactly mean by "ordinary scientific reasoning"?

That stuff that ordinary scientists (and people who share their methodology) "do".

They may take the history of past observations, formulate a theoretical explanation, and test that theory against new observations.

Or they may simply begin with observations, accumulate data, and then formulate a theory to explain them.

Or they may perceive a problem in existing theory, create new observations designed to examine that specific problem, and consequently generate a brand new theory.

And so on.

Of course, they do have their "dogmas"...they assume from the start that events have causes and that causes are material; they rule out all imaginable supernatural "explanations"; they assume that the "arrow of time" is unidirectional; etc.

Far from having a "static" view of things, scientists assume that change does take place...and they want to know why -- what's the mechanism?

The "dialectician" grandly informs us that "A transforms itself into B"...but a real scientist would want to know how that happens. Under what limiting conditions? And is it "always" B or is it sometimes C or even occasionally D?

"Dialectics" deals with platitudes...ordinary scientific reasoning deals with the real world -- and how to change it.
First posted at Che-Lives on December 8, 2004

quote (Engels):

Dialectics is nothing more than the science of the general laws of motion and development of nature, human society and thought.

It has not been disputed that both Marx and Engels held a lofty opinion of "dialectics".

What is in dispute is: were they right or wrong?


There are numerous other examples, but I think that these two are sufficient to demonstrate that to redstar2000, dialectics is divorced from the scientific method and “layman’s” thinking—only the initiated can even practice dialectical thought according to him.

Well, that's what the "dialecticians" least most of the time. Their's is a "higher form of reason" that yields "superior truths" to "vulgar pragmatism".


Though he attempts to paint dialectics as an unnatural method of thinking in an attempt to discredit the philosophy, the most casual observer could easily show that one does not need to have read Hegel or Marx to think dialectically. Trotsky illustrates how the laws of dialectics are often used entirely unconsciously:

“Every individual is a dialectician to some extent or other, in most cases, unconsciously. A housewife knows that a certain amount of salt flavors soup agreeably, but that added salt makes the soup unpalatable. Consequently, an illiterate peasant woman guides herself in cooking soup by the Hegelian law of the transformation of quantity into quality.”

No kidding! The part that her taste buds played in the process of adding salt to soup was just "irrelevant"...she could have "reasoned" the whole thing out "dialectically" if she'd only read Hegel.

And the suggestion that we are all "unconscious dialecticians" is just precious; perhaps we all have "souls" but we're just not "conscious" of their existence.


If this method of “scientific thought” is good enough for science, why do Marxists (and perhaps more specifically, those “fucked up Leninists”) persist in using their own special philosophy?

You're asking that question rhetorically, of course. But let's consider that a real question. Why do the Leninists take "dialectics" seriously? Why do they try to cram the complexities of social reality into this sterile terminology? What do they have to gain from it?

As a vulgar pragmatist, I see a couple of "advantages" in pumping up "dialectics" as a "theory of everything".

First, of course, is indeed the claim of "intellectual superiority" and "higher understanding". Just as a Christian preacher claims a "dedicated line" to "understanding God's will", the dialectician can claim a "deeper insight" into the "ultimate goals of history". This is very helpful in defending positions that are, by ordinary reasoning, indefensible.

For example, "dialectics" is very useful in "justifying" abrupt and otherwise inexplicable changes in the Leninist party's line...especially when the party is moving in a rightwards direction. When the membership "can't understand" why yesterday's "reactionary enemy" has become today's "progressive ally", baffle them with "dialectical" bullshit and intimidate them with your "deeper understanding". It often "works".

But the big reason is that "dialectics" lies at the very heart of Leninism itself.

What is the Leninist hypothesis in ordinary language?

The path to the emancipation of the working class must first pass through the despotism of the vanguard party.

To free ourselves, we must first enslave ourselves.

Sounds wacko, doesn't it? But "dialectics" comes to the rescue: you see, comrade, the greater the despotism, the closer we get to liberation. Ultimate despotism "must transform itself" into ultimate liberation. It's a "law of history".

By the same "law", of course, we'd cook our meals in the freezer and store our ice cream in the oven.


Once again, we face the problem of the question being framed completely wrong.

I hear this complaint a lot from "dialecticians"...perhaps it's justified. Since I don't bother to arrange my questions so that they'll "fit" the "dialectical framework", my "dialectical" critics must "recast" them in a form that they can use.

In fact, you want to know a "secret"? You can re-phrase anything in "dialectical terminology" and reach any conclusion that appeals to you. There's no "right" or "wrong" answer to any question from the standpoint of "dialectics".

In a way, Hegel was the first "post-modernist".


Darwin’s theory of evolution was unconsciously dialectical in the first place.

Well, now, isn't that a brilliant insight? Any time scientists observe nature and draw correct conclusions, it "must be" because they are "unconsciously dialectical"...or perhaps guided by divine inspiration.

But if scientists draw the wrong conclusion, then it's because they are "inconsistently dialectical"...or perhaps were misled by the "devil".


I consider myself fairly familiar with Marxism, but I must say I was absolutely astounded to see people on this board not only trying to disassociate dialectics from Marx, but even proclaiming that Historical Materialism had nothing in common with dialectics—frankly, I had never before read ostensible Marxists argue anything of the sort.

Times I shouldn't have to remind you.


Even more damaging to the revisionist lie that Marx gave up dialectics is the fact that Marx’s closest collaborator, Engels, had on his death, left a pile of manuscripts, which he intended to work up into an account of dialectics, the laws of motion of nature, human society and human thought. These were published as “The Dialectics of Nature,” and despite being unfinished, are a brilliant example of dialectical materialism and its relation to science.

Aside from Chapter One of Capital -- which Marx himself admitted that he deliberately cast in "dialectical" terminology to annoy his critics -- the remainder of that monumental work was written (by and large) in the ordinary scientific language of the 19th century and relied on ordinary reasoning, empirical evidence, etc.

Engels' book, on the other hand, was just an embarrassment...and should have been buried with him.


Likewise Marx’s Historical Materialism is clearly dialectical.

But it did not have to be so. You can draw the same conclusions without concerning yourself as to which "negation" is being "negated".

Or the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.


The laws of dialectics are used as guides so that it is easier to recognize the relationship between different events, something which formal logic often becomes incapable of expressing when the complexity increases. By having a thorough knowledge of dialectics, it becomes much easier to recognize social trends. It is even possible to extrapolate on trends using dialectical laws in order to make generalizations about the future. The skillful application of the dialectical method is a thousand times more accurate than mysticism (as has been suggested), but dialectical “predictions” are necessarily of a highly conditional character. Undoubtedly there will be errors of judgment, but an even greater understanding may be achieved by re-analyzing faulty logic.
-- Emphasis added.

In other words, "we can see the future" but if we're wrong, "we can correct our mistakes in hindsight".

Any astrologer could make the same claim...with equal justification.

First posted at Che-Lives on December 9, 2004


But if I am correct, why couldn't one use dialectics to explain the observations? Marx did it in Das Kapital, Darwin did it in The Origin of Species, are they unscientific because they used dialectics?

You could...but why would you want to?

Marx had, as it were, a "vested intellectual interest" in promoting "dialectics"...but we don't.

For modern revolutionaries, "dialectics" is a nothing but a "verbal style" that "has" to be learned to "sound cool" -- or at least what some people think "sounds cool".

To me, it sounds like unnecessary babble.


Uhm...the last time I checked, I thought dialectics had those "dogmas" too...

Uhm, Hegel's "dialectics" are decidedly non-materialist.


I see what you're getting at now, correct me if I am wrong, you want dialectics to explain what science cannot...not just theorize something which science cannot.

Well, if the "dialecticians" ever managed such a feat, that would certainly constitute definitive evidence that they really had something...that "dialectics" wasn't just philosophical "smoke and mirrors".

I don't ever expect to see such a thing.


Dialectics is not a method to accumulate is a method of reason.

If you say so...I can't see the utility of any form of "reason" that does not allow us to "accumulate knowledge" about the real world.

If you wanted to argue that "dialectics" is really a kind of "verbal art form" and is not supposed to actually "mean anything", I would not dispute the point.
First posted at Che-Lives on December 10, 2004


One thing which people have not dwelt long enough on: dialectics demands that we consider things from the perspective of the totality and their place in that totality

Indeed, but what if the totality is unknown?

Which it usually is.

When faced with a complex problem, real scientists try to "take it apart", break it down into simpler problems which can be understood. At some point, if all goes well, the simple processes can be combined into a totality...which is now really understood in all its dimensions.

No doubt it's a lot easier to claim "understanding of the totality" with "dialectical" banalities.

But, for some odd reason, this fails to satisfy real scientists.

Or me.


The theory created is based upon the the idea that these observations are true. Their partial nature makes them equally untrue.

No, the partial observations are, at least potentially, partially true.

When the Greek-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemeus created his terra-centric cosmology, it was a very good summary of what the heavens would look like if the earth was "at rest". You could use it to make predictions about the future positions of the planets...and fairly good ones.

"Dialectics" would have been of no help to him at all; what he needed was an empirical question -- if the heavens are always moving, why am I assuming that the earth is not?

In fact, "dialectics" would have misled him even further -- suggesting some kind of philosophical justification for an earth at rest "opposed" by a "heaven in motion".


To start with, I would rather look at where "scientific" methodology is applied disastrously. The division of intellectual labour is the necessary conclusion of the "scientific" method. The accumulation of so called "facts" concerning economic phenomena needs no concern for political "facts" or they for legal "facts". And yet this is the basis for scientific methodology and the theories derived therefrom.

Fair enough.

But is this due to the inherent limitations of empirical investigation or is it due to something else entirely: namely, that the bourgeoisie are not willing to pay for the critical examination of their own social reality at all!

The academic careers of critical social scientists have not, by and large, prospered. The research conducted by bourgeois social "scientists" suffers from severe ideological say too much about the "totality" can be a ticket to early retirement.

On the other hand, theories that serve to ideologically strengthen the prevailing order ("evolutionary psychology" is a good example) are always well received...even if they are palpably absurd.

We are free, of course, to borrow what useful empirical data that bourgeois social "scientists" have come up with and draw our own conclusions from that data.

As I noted earlier, historical materialism is "flexible" and "open" to new data derived from empirical investigation. It is an "expanding totality".

Meanwhile, the fusty "dialecticians" are still mumbling over their ritual formulas..."unity of opposites", "negation of the negation", etc.

First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on December 27, 2004


In fact it is true, the relative motion of the two bodies is very much a truth within this system. Dialectics truly is child-like in its simplicity! So why this "mystical" language? Because, in spite of its simplicity and in spite of the fact that it has achieved rightful status as science in some fields, in others it remains absent. And when dialectics IS missing, it becomes a chilling factor in the confusion of the masses and upholds otherwise laughable capitalist ideology.

If I understand your point correctly, you seem to be saying that "until" some "dialectician" arrives to "grasp the totality", empirical investigations will only yield a growing number of "partial truths".

Were Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton "dialecticians"?

Was Einstein?
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on December 29, 2004


I don't need here to express the dialectical method in these examples though, it is obvious!

What's obvious to me is that you, like other "dialecticians" I've run into, will happily "take credit" for any "successful" understanding of a totality, even if the people that did the work never heard of "dialectics".

That is, whenever someone gets "the right answer", it's "because" they were consciously or unconsciously "thinking dialectically".

You know as well as I that there's no rational response possible to such an assertion -- you may as well be talking about "God's grace", something that can also not be measured.

But here is the fundamental objection: if "dialectics" is such a "powerful instrument", how is it that all those who've claimed to "master" it have come to grief?

Marx and Engels made predictions in their own lifetimes -- we can check on the outcome. A few of them were correct -- although even then, the time-scale was wildly inaccurate. Others were absurdly wrong...proven untrue even while they were still alive.

Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, etc. down to the leaders of today's remaining Leninist sects also made predictions. They got a few right...and heaping piles wrong.

Was everyone who claimed to "use dialectics" lying? Or totally incompetent?

Or what???
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on December 30, 2004


For fucks sake redstar, that's not even close!

All I'm saying is, dialectics is a simple concept that is sadly neglected in capitalism. It's not a very good tool for looking at science because it's glaringly obvious and applied like second nature by scientists who are much better than me at their jobs.

This is getting pretty funny.

Ok, we have all these scientists for whom dialectics is "second nature" (whatever that's supposed to mean)...and sooner or later, they get the right answer.

But the people who actually study "dialectics" and claim to "consciously apply it" just fuck up all the time and rarely get the right answer...ever.

So it would seem from your logic that the "best" thing we revolutionaries could do is consciously forget everything about "dialectics" and just let our "second natures" take over.

"Then", maybe we'd get some right answers too.

For a change.
First posted at RevolutionaryLeft on December 30, 2004
· Welcome
· Theory
· Guest Book
· Hype
· Additional Reading
· Links

· Contact
Latest Theory Collections
· Communists Against Religion -- Part 19 June 6, 2006
· Conversations with Capitalists May 21, 2006
· Vegetable Morality April 17, 2006
· Parents and Children April 11, 2006
· The Curse of Lenin's Mummy April 3, 2006
Defining Theory Collections
· What Did Marx "Get Wrong"? September 13, 2004
· Class in Post-Revolutionary Society - Part 1 July 9, 2004
· Demarchy and a New Revolutionary Communist Movement November 13, 2003
· A New Type of Communist Organization October 5, 2003
· The "Tools" of Marxism July 19, 2003
· Marxism Without the Crap July 3, 2003
· What is Socialism? An Attempt at a Brief Definition June 19, 2003
· What is Communism? A Brief Definition June 19, 2003
· A New Communist Paradigm for the 21st Century May 8, 2003
· On "Dialectics" -- The Heresy Posts May 8, 2003
Random Quote
History should have taught you by now that the working classes in the advanced capitalist countries will not accept a Leninist-party dictatorship. Whether you have 900 members or 900,000 members makes no real difference.  

Search Internet
Search Website
· There have been 3 users active in the past 15 minutes.

Copyright © 2003-2006 -- Some rights reserved.