To: Cyril Smith
Date: 7 Mar 9:43pm

Cyril, I manage a list-serv on Hegel's Logic and related subjects. Would you mind if I shared our discussion from here on with my friends on the list?

List members should NOT add Cyril's name to their lists! .. unless Cyril asks to be added. But I will forward messages to the list unless Cyril asks for that NOT to be done.


"philosophy is a part of living. ... That meant studying the whole history of philosophy, because it was the highest expression of the failure to live humanly, ..."

Like in the Preface to the German Ideology ... it may be that in a certain sense "philosophy comes to an end" with Marx, but until the basis for philosophy is negated in practice, philosophy is NOT "outmoded". Studying the history of philosophy is not just "for diagnostic purposes". The object has to be transformed in practice, and I don't suppose Marx was under the illusion that that would be a 5 minute job, and it certainly won't be done without philosophy, without the "science of thought".


"Hegel was the highest point of philosophy (I think it is all down-hill after that, but I might be wrong) because he grasped philosophical science as expressing the essence of history. Only for Hegel could philosophy have a history. Hegel's Spirit means the entirety of social relations and forms of consciousness. But his pre-eminence only means he is the most alienated expression of alienation."

I agree.


"Marx was right to see the Phenomenology as the main part of the Hegelian system. The Logic only makes sense when we know that it is a diagram of the way that Spirit works. As such, it is the concentrated expression of an alienated way of life."

I don't know about this Cyril, I'll have to leave that in the "to do" basket for the moment.


"Neither Hegel nor Marx can have an epistemology, a theory of knowledge, a scientific account of science."

Do we have an a priori knowledge of science?


"On Postmodern philosophy, I can only say that I believe it to be, not just crap, but reactionary crap. These guys have decided for us that there is no such thing as truth, so stop looking for it. Cheek!!! I am, no doubt, reflecting my inability to penetrate their dreadful vocabulary, but I suspect that they deliberately write like that to conceal their vacuity."

I agree wholeheartedly. But a couple of problems remain. If we are going to resolve the kind of problems you outlined so brilliantly in the first chapter of "Marx at the Millenium", we can hardly ignore the philosophical expression of this period, can we? Also, if the conditions which has led to such inhumanity are to provide the conditions for the liberation of people, then we have quite a lot of work to do. It may be that I will have nothing to add to your characterisations of "crap" and "vacuity", but a lot of wate rhas passed under the bridge while that vacuum has been forming.


"What I dream of doing about natural science is to show how, because it can never get a real understanding of humanity, it can't possibly understand nature, except in bits and pieces. Our task is then to criticise it, that means showing how its errors express the inhuman nature of human life."

But isn't this a bit like "fighting against the illusion of gravity"??


"PS Have you tried Heidegger? His Nazism is no accident. And yet his stuff on the history of philosophy is amazing. Isn't it interesting that the only philosopher worthy of the name that the twentieth century could produce could never come clean about Auschwitz?"

Personally, I am inclined to agree. I have barely touched Heidegger, as I think it is first necessary to get into Husserl. One of my correspondents said that Heidegger was more of a coward than a Fascist, but I am suspending judgment for a moment.

yours comradely