From: labsoc- at (davie maclean)

Subject: Re: Dialectics - again.

Anyway, our question still stands unanswered: what has Marx's standpoint to say about Nature and natural science?
Maybe, one day....

These are big questions. There are some problems with the way Marx and 'Marxism' has attempted a response.

First of all - is it the case that the essence of humanity is expressed in social labour ?

I don't believe it is possible to answer with a yes. Even if the concept labour is broadened to cover all forms of human activity, there are aspects of humanity, such as the imagination, that can not meaningfully be brought into this category. So that even if alienation is eliminated from the labour process it would still be possible for an inhumane society to continue.

Secondly - is Hegel's resolution of the conflict between subject and object, between the concept and the reality it covers, acceptable as a guide to human freedom in its relationship with nature ? From my reading of the past few months it has become clear that there is a whole body of 20th century thought that answers this question with a no.

Lukacs' clash with Engels over 'alizarin' was one example, but likewise Heidegger, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas, Feyerabend among a host of others, all of who criticise the 'instrumental' form of rationality that is embodied in Hegel, and to some extent Marx, as thinkers within the tradition of modernity.

My question to you Cyril is to what extent are you familiar with this body of thought and its line of attack ? Adorno's 'Negative Dialectics' for example, engages Hegel directly.

How would you respond to it, either on behalf of Hegel, or simply from your own point of view ?