I will attempt to make some response to Paul Healey's welcome appeal.

<<I have a good idea, but I can't test my realisation of its notion if no one is willing to make a contribution.>>

Activity on the list has dropped sharply. Although it is not uncommon for lists to "run their course", I think that it needs to be recognised that the bond of trust among us is quite slender and we need to exercise considerable sensitivity in commenting on contributions, if we are not to silence others.

<<would someone please explain, how they think the dialectical method is supposed to work.>>

My ideas about this question have evolved a lot since initiating the site. It was after all the main object of starting the site: to learn.

Hegel undoubtedly had a "method", that is to say, there is an "inner logic" to how he worked. However, I can't say that I would recommend his method. It belongs to quite another time. This is not to deny that Hegel is one of the greatest of thinkers ... but I could not recommend anyone to *emulate* Hegel today.

The transformation that Marx worked upon Hegel is huge, and Marx is quite explicit in his debt to Hegel.

<<For instance, the notion that uses the logical idea, as one that properly belongs to history, appears to me to smack of subjective idealism ...>>

... or something like that ...

I think a study of Hegel is an education in concepts. Concepts are after all the things we use to understand the world, and were, in my view what Hegel was studying.

For example, I learn from Hegel about the contrast between abstract universals and concrete universals, and this understanding continuously helps me in trying to understand things.

For example, I learn from Hegel about the contrast between essence & notion and between being & notion, etc. and about the simplicity of notions and how they become more concrete and the contradictory character of essence.

So the idea is to learn to be critical about the concepts we receive (? not quite "receive") from the world around us and with which we have grown up.

Never do I find that these kind of insights function like some sort of "key" or "method" in the normal sense of the word (a la Edward de Bono). I find it difficult to see how one could study social, ethical and historical questions productively using Hegel, without beginning from a study of Marx.

George and Paul here in Melbourne have said that one ought to "immerse oneself in Hegel", and I agree. But one has to climb out again afterwards, I believe, and subject oneself to a kind of "deprogramming", and "exorcise" the powerful influence of Hegel's wonderful idealistic system.

I tend to imagine that Germany in the 1840s must have been a bit like that.