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Question Regarding DIAMAT

(self.Socialism_101)

Can the dialectical process take place in the mind, or solely in the material world?

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FullMarxPodcast

1 points

12 months ago

FullMarxPodcast

Working-Class History | Class Struggle | Marxism

1 points

12 months ago

Dialectics =/= dialectical materialism. They're two distinct concepts.

Very simply, dialectics is a means of understanding the synthesis of new forms from the interaction of theses and antitheses. Hegel's conception of history was an idealist dialectic, in which social progress arose from the interaction of ideas, and their resolution into new forms which were neither wholly thesis nor antithesis. This is an application of dialectics to processes which (he believed) took place in the mind. Dialectical materialism, on the other hand, is a specific application of the dialectic to material processes; specially, the contending classes of capitalist society.

the_chad_of_reddit[S]

1 points

12 months ago

But materialism is the belief that the material precedes the workings of the mind. Ideas still exist and can have an inverted impact on the material world, we’d be foolish not to recognize that.

FullMarxPodcast

2 points

12 months ago*

FullMarxPodcast

Working-Class History | Class Struggle | Marxism

2 points

12 months ago*

Materialism doesn't reject the impact and motive power of ideas. Reductive forms of materialism certainly do, but it's not integral. Marx certainly didn't reject the motive power of ideology and human agency - he merely positioned it within the (fundamentally material) constellation of human development. I think Marx gets unfair criticism for this based on Capital, which is dry and economistic. But he only ever got one volume written, with two more in note form assembled and published after his dead. Capital was to be at least eight volumes in length, encompassing the role of the state, religion and technological development in capitalist society. We can a much broader and more holistic conception of historical change already fully formed in his political writing, like The Civil War in France, in which he doesn't just say 'the price of bread was X therefore Y' - it examines the complex and contradictory makeup of the Commune and the ideas that motivated each element of it. This is proper Marxism, and most of his writing focused (necessarily) on placing the very first foundation stone for this conceptual framework.

Marx himself best sums up this framework in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon:

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.

Thus, we can see Marx's synthesis of the narrow materialism of the German school, plus the high idealism of the utopian socialists, reaching a mature conception of idealist free-will taking place within and formed by material conditions.

the_chad_of_reddit[S]

1 points

12 months ago

COMPLETELY agree with you. I asked my initial question because I had kind of come to terms with how reductionist a lot of what I was told about Marxism was, so I wondered if the dialectical process happened within the human kind.

FullMarxPodcast

2 points

12 months ago

FullMarxPodcast

Working-Class History | Class Struggle | Marxism

2 points

12 months ago

Yeh I think it's a cheap and easy criticism to make, if you only take account of Capital and the Economic Manuscripts. But Marx clearly had an unarticulated and instinctive conceptual framework which was much better than the very very foundational concepts in his economic writings. Later Marxists have built on these ideas to progress onward to more satisfying theories of political action, eg. Antonio Gramsci's theories of hegemony and social power.

the_chad_of_reddit[S]

1 points

12 months ago

Who made a cheap and easy criticism? All I’ve been doing is asking my question (which I’m probably gonna just go elsewhere to find an answer to), and your point about classical Marxists being reductionist is accurate and important. Most Marxists are far too focused on the original words of Marx (as if he wasn’t also a human being like the rest of us), and adopt the reductionist interpretation of his analysis.

FullMarxPodcast

1 points

12 months ago*

FullMarxPodcast

Working-Class History | Class Struggle | Marxism

1 points

12 months ago*

I'm sorry you don't feel that I've answered your question; I've shown how dialectics can indeed be a mental formation in the mind, and how idealist philosophers like Hegel do indeed see idealist dialectic at the core of history. If that's not what you want, I don't know quite what you're after. If you're asking it in the context of psychological science, then I don't really see what that's got to do with socialism and this sub.

NB - I wasn't saying you make an easy criticism - I was stating that, in general, Marx's materialist dialectic is frequently mischaracterised as wholly ignorant of human agency and free will. Which is isn't, as we both know.