MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Terms




The historically first form of deduction, which consists of three terms: Individual, Universal and Particular (See them described in Hegel's Work), arranged in three judgments forming two premises and a conclusion. For example: Cujo (Individual) is a dog (Particular). All dogs are quadrupeds (Universal). Therefore, Cujo is a quadruped.

In the Doctrine of the Notion, Subjectivity, Hegel develops dozens of relationships between Individual, Universal and Particular, as part of his critique of formal logic. These ideas are very important in understanding how a simple program or demand develops into a large and complex movement and are central to the political ideas Hegel developed in his Philosophy of Right.

Further Reading: For example Marx's treatment of the concepts of political economy in the Grundrisse, Chapter One, part 2; See Hegel's Science of Logic on the Syllogism, and the Syllogisms of Existence, Reflection and Necessity. See also the section in the Shorter Logic on the Syllogism and Formal Logic, above, and Hegel ridiculing the idea of a logic indifferent to the truth of its premises, but only whether the conclusion follows from the premises: nothing could be deduced from a notion which has no content.



The process of combining the parts to form a whole.

See also: Analysis and Synthesis.


System & Method

In philosophy, System and Method refer to two complementary aspects of a philosopher's work: the Method the philosopher used in their work, and which can be emulated, and the System of concepts which was the product of the philosopher's work, which can be used.

Hegel's ‘Method’ for example, the ‘dialectical method’, is demonstrated in The Logic in his way of uncovering the internal contradictions in concepts (thesis) and showing how they pass over into their opposites (antithesis) and give rise to new richer concepts embodying the synthesis of both thesis and antitheses. Hegel's ‘System’ is the intricate sequence and structure of concepts outlined in the triads of The Logic. We can see the same aspects of the work of Marx or any other writer.

Prior to Hegel, all philosophers built a “system” of concepts and this is true of Hegel too (“The Absolute Idea”). Inasmuch as his system “includes” all previous systems as stages or moments of the Idea, Marx and Engels say that Hegel’s system is by far the superior of its predecessors. However, once Hegel’s system is “turned on its head” and the Idea replaced by the historical process itself, there was now no need of a special “system” of philosophy and the real value of Hegel lay in his method. See the discussion of this in Ludwig Feuerbach, part 1.

Further Reading: also System and Method.