From: cyrilsmith- at (Mr C Smith)
Subject: dialectics, shmialectics ... what does it matter?

Dear Andy,

It's good that the dockers have won, at least at this stage, and also that you are able to get back to our muttons.

Your latest message, however, is the kind of thing that gives confusion a bad name. I thought we were discussing the ideas of K Marx, a notorious communist. How do you connect this topic with all this talk about logic? If you are giving us a recipe for good thinking, where did you pick it up? Perhaps you will say that your dialectical stuff is important in its own right. Then I will reply that in that case I am not bothered about it.

In fact, your way of understanding dialectic gets in the way of understanding Hegel, too. Hegel's greatness is precisely that he explains knowledge itself in terms of history and vice versa. He says very firmly that mathematical forms are no use for philosophy, because they exclude history.

Now I come to think of it, something similar goes for Aristotle. His syllogism, which is not about 'propositions', but about essences, has both ontological and political meaning.