Hegel’s Dialectical Logic


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Following G. Mure's thinking, from an inner point of view I examine whether, in carrying out his work, Hegel remains faithful to the different principles he proclaims, and I find substantial deviations. And, following W.

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Becker's thinking, from an external point of view, that is, from a formal, empirical or existential contemporary angle, I try to determine the extent to which we may legitimately talk about the fruitfulness of Hegelian dialectic. In this way, I reconstruct Hegel's thought so that it may become acceptable to us-readers of the twentieth-century-as intelligible and coherent as possible. I conclude that dialectic, as a logic of human reality, has to be grasped and expressed from the viewpoint of the particular historical individual, in constant interaction with the cultural environment of his or her time.

Using this approach, I investigate the questions at issue from Hegel's Logic point of view. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Synthese Library Free Preview. Buy eBook. Buy Hardcover. Buy Softcover.

Kaufmann also cites Hegel's criticism of the triad model commonly misattributed to him, adding that "the only place where Hegel uses the three terms together occurs in his lectures on the history of philosophy, on the last page but one of the section on Kant—where Hegel roundly reproaches Kant for having 'everywhere posited thesis, antithesis, synthesis'". To describe the activity of overcoming the negative, Hegel also often used the term Aufhebung , variously translated into English as "sublation" or "overcoming", to conceive of the working of the dialectic.

Roughly, the term indicates preserving the useful portion of an idea, thing, society, etc. Jacques Derrida 's preferred French translation of the term was relever. In the Logic , for instance, Hegel describes a dialectic of existence : first, existence must be posited as pure Being Sein ; but pure Being, upon examination, is found to be indistinguishable from Nothing Nichts.

When it is realized that what is coming into being is, at the same time, also returning to nothing in life, for example, one's living is also a dying , both Being and Nothing are united as Becoming. As in the Socratic dialectic, Hegel claimed to proceed by making implicit contradictions explicit: each stage of the process is the product of contradictions inherent or implicit in the preceding stage. For Hegel, the whole of history is one tremendous dialectic, major stages of which chart a progression from self-alienation as slavery to self-unification and realization as the rational constitutional state of free and equal citizens.

The Hegelian dialectic cannot be mechanically applied for any chosen thesis. Critics argue that the selection of any antithesis, other than the logical negation of the thesis, is subjective. Then, if the logical negation is used as the antithesis, there is no rigorous way to derive a synthesis. In practice, when an antithesis is selected to suit the user's subjective purpose, the resulting "contradictions" are rhetorical , not logical, and the resulting synthesis is not rigorously defensible against a multitude of other possible syntheses.

The problem with the Fichtean "thesis—antithesis—synthesis" model is that it implies that contradictions or negations come from outside of things. Hegel's point is that they are inherent in and internal to things. This conception of dialectics derives ultimately from Heraclitus.

Hegel stated that the purpose of dialectics is "to study things in their own being and movement and thus to demonstrate the finitude of the partial categories of understanding. One important dialectical principle for Hegel is the transition from quantity to quality, which he terms the Measure. The measure is the qualitative quantum, the quantum is the existence of quantity. The identity between quantity and quality, which is found in Measure, is at first only implicit, and not yet explicitly realised. In other words, these two categories, which unite in Measure, each claim an independent authority.

On the one hand, the quantitative features of existence may be altered, without affecting its quality. On the other hand, this increase and diminution, immaterial though it be, has its limit, by exceeding which the quality suffers change. This however is not a negation of quality altogether, but only of this definite quality, the place of which is at once occupied by another. This process of measure, which appears alternately as a mere change in quantity, and then as a sudden revulsion of quantity into quality, may be envisaged under the figure of a nodal knotted line.

As an example, Hegel mentions the states of aggregation of water: "Thus the temperature of water is, in the first place, a point of no consequence in respect of its liquidity: still with the increase or diminution of the temperature of the liquid water, there comes a point where this state of cohesion suffers a qualitative change, and the water is converted into steam or ice". Another important principle for Hegel is the negation of the negation, which he also terms Aufhebung sublation : Something is only what it is in its relation to another, but by the negation of the negation this something incorporates the other into itself.

The dialectical movement involves two moments that negate each other, something and its other. As a result of the negation of the negation, "something becomes its other; this other is itself something; therefore it likewise becomes an other, and so on ad infinitum". What is sublated aufgehoben on the one hand ceases to be and is put to an end, but on the other hand it is preserved and maintained. Marxist dialectic is a form of Hegelian dialectic which applies to the study of historical materialism.

It purports to be a reflection of the real world created by man. Dialectic would thus be a robust method under which one could examine personal, social, and economic behaviors.

What is Hegel's dialectical method? [Part 1]

Marxist dialectic is the core foundation of the philosophy of dialectical materialism , which forms the basis of the ideas behind historical materialism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels proposed that Hegel's dialectic is too abstract:. The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel's hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner.

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Hegel For Beginners

With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell. In contradiction to Hegelian idealism, Marx presented his own dialectic method, which he claims to be "direct opposite" of Hegel's method:. My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite.

To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i. With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought. In Marxism, the dialectical method of historical study became intertwined with historical materialism , the school of thought exemplified by the works of Marx, Engels, and Vladimir Lenin. In the USSR, under Joseph Stalin , Marxist dialectics became "diamat" short for dialectical materialism , a theory emphasizing the primacy of the material way of life; social "praxis" over all forms of social consciousness; and the secondary, dependent character of the "ideal".

The term "dialectical materialism" was coined by the 19th-century social theorist Joseph Dietzgen who used the theory to explain the nature of socialism and social development. The original populariser of Marxism in Russia, Georgi Plekhanov used the terms "dialectical materialism" and "historical materialism" interchangeably. For Lenin, the primary feature of Marx's "dialectical materialism" Lenin's term was its application of materialist philosophy to history and social sciences.

Lenin's main input in the philosophy of dialectical materialism was his theory of reflection, which presented human consciousness as a dynamic reflection of the objective material world that fully shapes its contents and structure. Later, Stalin's works on the subject established a rigid and formalistic division of Marxist—Leninist theory in the dialectical materialism and historical materialism parts.

While the first was supposed to be the key method and theory of the philosophy of nature, the second was the Soviet version of the philosophy of history.

A dialectical method was fundamental to Marxist politics, e. Soviet academics, notably Evald Ilyenkov and Zaid Orudzhev , continued pursuing unorthodox philosophic study of Marxist dialectics; likewise in the West, notably the philosopher Bertell Ollman at New York University. A very simple process, which is taking place everywhere and every day, which any child can understand as soon as it is stripped of the veil of mystery in which it was enveloped by the old idealist philosophy. In Dialectics of Nature , Engels said:. Probably the same gentlemen who up to now have decried the transformation of quantity into quality as mysticism and incomprehensible transcendentalism will now declare that it is indeed something quite self-evident, trivial, and commonplace, which they have long employed, and so they have been taught nothing new.

But to have formulated for the first time in its universally valid form a general law of development of Nature, society, and thought, will always remain an act of historic importance. Marxist dialectics is exemplified in Das Kapital Capital , which outlines two central theories: i surplus value and ii the materialist conception of history; Marx explains dialectical materialism:. In its rational form, it is a scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its doctrinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehension an affirmative recognition of the existing state of things, at the same time, also, the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; because it regards every historically developed social form as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account its transient nature not less than its momentary existence; because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary.

Class struggle is the primary contradiction to be resolved by Marxist dialectics, because of its central role in the social and political lives of a society. Nonetheless, Marx and Marxists developed the concept of class struggle to comprehend the dialectical contradictions between mental and manual labor, and between town and country. As the most comprehensive and profound doctrine of development, and the richest in content, Hegelian dialectics was considered by Marx and Engels the greatest achievement of classical German philosophy But, to acknowledge this fundamental thought in words, and to apply it in reality in detail to each domain of investigation, are two different things For dialectical philosophy nothing is final, absolute, sacred.

It reveals the transitory character of everything and in everything; nothing can endure before it, except the uninterrupted process of becoming and of passing away, of endless ascendancy from the lower to the higher. And dialectical philosophy, itself, is nothing more than the mere reflection of this process in the thinking brain. Lenin describes his dialectical understanding of the concept of development :.

Dialectical naturalism is a term coined by American philosopher Murray Bookchin to describe the philosophical underpinnings of the political program of social ecology. Dialectical naturalism explores the complex interrelationship between social problems, and the direct consequences they have on the ecological impact of human society. Bookchin offered dialectical naturalism as a contrast to what he saw as the "empyrean, basically antinaturalistic dialectical idealism" of Hegel, and "the wooden, often scientistic dialectical materialism of orthodox Marxists".

Dialectic Reconstructed as a Logic of Human Reality

Neo-orthodoxy , in Europe also known as theology of crisis and dialectical theology, [48] [49] is an approach to theology in Protestantism that was developed in the aftermath of the First World War — It is characterized as a reaction against doctrines of 19th-century liberal theology and a more positive reevaluation of the teachings of the Reformation , much of which had been in decline especially in western Europe since the late 18th century. In dialectical theology the difference and opposition between God and human beings is stressed in such a way that all human attempts at overcoming this opposition through moral, religious or philosophical idealism must be characterized as 'sin'.

In the death of Christ humanity is negated and overcome, but this judgment also points forwards to the resurrection in which humanity is reestablished in Christ. For Barth this meant that only through God's 'no' to everything human can his 'yes' be perceived. Applied to traditional themes of Protestant theology, such as double predestination , this means that election and reprobation cannot be viewed as a quantitative limitation of God's action. Rather it must be seen as its "qualitative definition".

Dialectics has become central to continental philosophy, but it plays no part in Anglo-American philosophy [ citation needed ]. In other words, on the continent of Europe, dialectics has entered intellectual culture as what might be called a legitimate part of thought and philosophy, whereas in America and Britain, the dialectic plays no discernible part in the intellectual culture, which instead tends toward positivism. Sartre states:. Karl Popper has attacked the dialectic repeatedly.

In , he wrote and delivered a paper entitled "What Is Dialectic?

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It should remind us that philosophy should not be made a basis for any sort of scientific system and that philosophers should be much more modest in their claims. One task which they can fulfill quite usefully is the study of the critical methods of science " Ibid. In section 17 of his "addenda" to The Open Society , entitled "Facts, Standards and Truth: A Further Criticism of Relativism", Popper refused to moderate his criticism of the Hegelian dialectic, arguing that it "played a major role in the downfall of the liberal movement in Germany [ The philosopher of science and physicist Mario Bunge repeatedly criticized Hegelian and Marxian dialectics, calling them "fuzzy and remote from science" [58] and a "disastrous legacy".

In the past few decades, European and American logicians have attempted to provide mathematical foundations for dialectical logic or argument. Pollock , systems have been built that define well-formedness of arguments, rules governing the process of introducing arguments based on fixed assumptions, and rules for shifting burden.

Many of these logics appear in the special area of artificial intelligence and law , though the computer scientists' interest in formalizing dialectic originates in a desire to build decision support and computer-supported collaborative work systems. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For varieties of language, see Dialect. For electrical insulators, see Dielectric. Discourse method for resolving disagreement by reasoned argument. Main article: Socratic method.

See also: Dialectical phenomenology and Logical holism. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. This section contains too many or overly lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. Please help improve the article by presenting facts as a neutrally-worded summary with appropriate citations. Consider transferring direct quotations to Wikiquote. January Theoretical works. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.


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Economic determinism Historical materialism Marx's dialectic Marx's method Philosophy of nature. Related topics. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Main article: Logic and dialectic. Philosophy portal Psychology portal. Connors Classical Rhetoric For the Modern Student 4th ed.

A Comparison of Marxist and Hegelian Dialectical Form

New York: Oxford University Press. A Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. A commentary on Hegel's logic. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Aristotle's Rhetoric.

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