HEGEL, MARX, LUKACS AND UCHIDA
From: "Geoff Boucher" <geoff.boucher@rmit.EDU.AU>
Andy - thanks for putting me on the list! Now I'll have to raise my theoretical level on a whole range of issues, including science and the possibility of a dialectices of nature ... as you may know I'm also a physics graduate but I've for years been sheltering behind my specialisations in practical politics and literature ... so it'll be very stimulating to come out of my shell.
I have for some time been debating the dialectics of nature with another physics-trained comrade in relation to Quantum Electrodynamics and 'M-theory' (the latest 'grand theory of everything' in sub-atomic physics and cosmology ...
astonishing crisis at the moment, actually, admitted openly by a number of world-leading theoreticians and experimenters). First I'll delve the archives and then see whether we've any fresh perspectives that might throw new light.
As for Uchida. Well, given what I was saying about literature not being reducible to economic conditions (but rather 'determined in the last instance') or to political conjunctures, this is going to seem rather strange but ...
Based on Lukacs' "The Young Hegel" in which Lukacs sets out to prove that Hegel studied economics in Jena before commencing work on the phenomenology, my impression was rather that Hegel set out consciously and deliberately to articulate a 'phenomenology of spirit' which encompassed <everything> including the tremendously important economic element. [We're talking conversationally here, on basis of recollections, I'll re-read Lukacs over the weekend and then we can get a bit dirtier.] So my memory of the Uchida thing was that it tallied with the Lukacs thing (isn't Lukacs in the bibliography?) - Hegel's Logic, as the culmination of system, is intended to represent the movement of thought <in every sphere> ... the economic is only an aspect of the unfolding of spirit and so reduces via mediations to the more general, underlying process of thought.
Hopefully that isn't a theoretical muddle ... like I said, more research to be done ... but as a 'first cut' my recollection is that Lukacs and Uchida argue similarly, that Hegel is setting up a general 'meta-language' based on (among other things, but for Marxists, crucially) economics as a determining aspect of thought.
That is, they both argue that there is a precise theoretical meaning to Marx's apparent throwaway remark that "Hegel's absolute spirit is ... bourgeois money."
I thought they argued that Hegel worked in precise reverse to Marx... starting with economics and inverting that as the movement of thought.
It's not then a matter of not taking Hegel's apparent subject matter at face value, but of asking how this 'maps' onto the other elements of Hegels system (as it develops over time ie. as Hegels changes his mind).
So, to sum up, I seem to recall them saying that Hegel sets up what we might now call "homologies" - sort of linear maps where 'in fact' this element of thought is only a reflection under partcular conditions of this other, ontologically prior and determining, element.
But like I said, I'll have to check that and work it through!