Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:03:48 +0100
From: Annette.Schlemm- at -t-online.de (Annette Schlemm)
thank you Julio.
Julio: I see a non-sequitur here. Annette's reasoning shows (and I agree with that) that the specificity of human existence within nature is qualitative in character. However, I see no reason why two qualitively distinct phenomena, one built on top of the other (one resulting from the evolution of other, etc.), imply the non-existence of basic structures underlying them both, structures such as those reflected in the categories and laws of (subjective) dialectics (as, say, in Hegel's Logic).
Please excuse me, I can´t write English very well. Therefore my argumentation isn´t subtly enough... I don´t see "two qualitatively distinct phenomena" - but a difference. Sometimes this difference is a contrast. If there were only dialectics in nature and we reflect it - and have to follow only this dialectics - this would be not acceptable (and Sartre refused such a thought). Fichte described the difference of two possible points of view in his writing: "Die Bestimmung des Menschen" ("Destination (?) of people"). Therefore I emphasize the difference too: against constraints, to follow only "natural" dialectics without new human possibilities to act and create. Dogmatical Marxism didn´t differ. They saw social laws like natural laws. We had "to follow" them (the leaders of party, who knew all laws better...). Sartre and others refused these consequences - and I think like Julio, it is not necessary to refuse dialectics in nature to do that. We must only emphasize the real difference. It is interesting to hear, how other people define this difference... (Sarte: existence before essence... ).
Annette quotes Hegel to support the claim that he rejected the idea of dialectics in nature. I'd like to check the context of the reference first. As I understand it, the movement of the Idea from absolute indetermination in the Being to the absolute determination in the Notion, through the Essence represents the movement of the whole damn thing we call the world, reality, universe, everything, etc. with the traits that Alex mentioned in his contribution (organic, teleological). I must admit that Annette's quotations confuse me.
It seems to me, that in our western philosophy, academic and alternativ... most of people interprete Hegel as a refuser of dialectics in nature. In German papers I never read about other opinions. All the people, who refuse dialectics in nature, quote Hegel in order to support their opinion. It is very interesting for me, to become aquained with your point of view. I am inclined to think that Hegel really refused dialectics in nature. According to Hegel - only people can create dialectics in reflecting nature (subject-object-dialectics). People think In German discussions, it would be better to proceeding on the assumption that Schelling were a better proceeding point for the left as Hegel. But I also showed the limits of Schellings dialectics.
Sartre's idea that the "assertion of dialectics in inorganic nature is out-of- scientifical assumption" does not truly stop scientists from trying to assert dialectics in that realm, whether they are aware of it or not, witness Complexity. And I fail to see how the "assumption" (of course, assumptions are first induced and proved) of dialectics in nature "would reduce humans to a simple product of physical laws."
I fail also. Existence of dialectics in nature was not a question to me for a long time. But I was irritated to read again and again from refusers of that (especially in some German internet-diskussions!) . Therefore I tryd to become acquainted with their arguments.
With regards to the crucial philosophical question of the objectivity of the world, the Kantian separation of the universe in-itself and the universe for- us, and the Hegelian critique of this separation, Annette and I may have a honest disagreement. I think that Annette's assertion "nature in itself doesn't exist!" is partially contested by her last sentence in the same paragraph: "we can be certain that there is really nature out there, because we are ourselves nature and interact within the nature." Partially, because the reasoning that states, "If nature is objective, then nature in-itself is graspable" is far from being obvious. By the way, not everyone (we) is sure that there is really nature out there. Some people deny it (solypsists). But that's not an issue to be voted on. That's a scientific (and philosophical) task.
I am reminding that Hegel also refused "thing in itself". These things would be without any interactions. Such things don´t exist (and merely therefore we can´t grasp them). Would it be better to differ: "nature for us" and "nature without us" (and "nature through us")? Than I think that nature without us is dialectically and nature for us in the same way and more (plus subject-object-dialectics).
Annette claims to believe that the radical critique of capitalism should jettison the labor-theory of value. But then she says, "to analyse capitalism, I use labor-theory of value." That's all I'm saying. Now, "to plan our new wishable society" we should leave that behind. In the old texts from Marx (including those old texts he wrote when he was old, I'd add), there're several arguments for this. I think so too. IMO, Marx believed that a communist society would use a diametrically oppossed mechanism to regulate the allocation of social labor to meet the needs of society. So, Annette may not disagree with me (or I may not disagree with her) on this after all.
Okay, Iam glad to agree with you. How do you think about my last sentences in the new text: http://www.thur.de/philo/coev.htm ?
Best wishes to all