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Hegel and Dialectics

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  • Hegel and Dialectics

    PS it strikes me that endosymbiosis bears more than a passing resemblance to the Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis, synthesis. The thesis amoeba meets the anti-thesis bacteria, they fight, some survive leaving the synthesis, eukaryotes. That competitive struggle is a part of this process is a little contradictory, because endosymbiosis is supposed to be an example of Margulis Gaia principle (that species evolve as much through co-operation as by competition). I find this somewhat interesting.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Grey Mouser
    PS it strikes me that endosymbiosis bears more than a passing resemblance to the Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis, synthesis. The thesis amoeba meets the anti-thesis bacteria, they fight, some survive leaving the synthesis, eukaryotes. That competitive struggle is a part of this process is a little contradictory, because endosymbiosis is supposed to be an example of Margulis Gaia principle (that species evolve as much through co-operation as by competition). I find this somewhat interesting.
    You don't want to get me started on this one! It's a classic category error. Ignoring the fact that it's a popular misconception that Hegelian dialectic operates via thesis/antithesis/synthesis, you simply cannot take the mechanism out of a metaphysical system of idealist thought and attempt to apply it to concrete examples in the empirical world. It would be like, for example, taking a scientific theory with a very specific remit and using it as an all-encompassing explanatory meta-narrative
    Last edited by johneffay; 07-16-2006, 11:17 AM.

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    • #3
      Actually, I'd better back up that claim about Hegel in case anybody is interested:
      It is further asserted, even by some enthusiastic supporters of Hegel such as McTaggart and Stace, that Hegel’s dialectical method of argumentation takes the form of the thesis-anti thesis-synthesis triad. This is among the most famous of all the Hegel myths and, as we have already seen, can still be readily found in encyclopedias and handbooks of Philosophy. If students “know” one thing about Hegel this is usually it. In his essay, Gustav Mueller, the author of a number of works on Hegel, irrefutably exposes this legend for what it is, by tracing the regrettable dissemination of this view back to Marx, who inherited it from a certain Heinrich Moritz Chalybنus, a long since forgotten expositor of the philosophy of Kant and Hegel (from 'The Hegel Myths and Legends' at http://www.hegel.net/en/stewart1996.htm)

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      • #4
        Thanks for that Hegel link!

        I think you can account for some of the oversimplification of Hegel's dialectic in Marxism. Marx addresses Hegel's dialectic in a manner that supports his own dialectical materialism, but he ran into trouble with some of the other Young Hegelians early in his career because of his interpretation of Hegel. However, most people haven't been exposed to the other sides of the debates.

        What I'm saying is that so much of Hegel's work is understood (and taught) relative to Marx, which creates a bit of a stilted understanding of his work on its own. In my case, my only exposure to Hegel relates only to that work relevant to Marx's dialectical materialism, and how he uses Hegel for the whole "God is dead" thing.

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        • #5
          Both MArx and Hegel refer to the idea of contradiction.

          But, where for Hegel, the contradiction cannot be really solved, for Marx, it resolves in another state of the thing and another contradiction comes.

          The most classical example is the contradiction beetwen peasants and lords in feodalism who was solved by the emergence of capitalism and of another contradiction beetwen capitalists and proletariat.

          a split ?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Morgan Kane
            But, where for Hegel, the contradiction cannot be really solved
            Not sure what you mean by that. The entire movement of thought in Hegel is predicated upon the removal of contradiction via sublation (Aufhebung). The point is, however, that this is not a synthesis but the raising up of thought to a higher level of speculation by means of the subsumption of two categories under a third.

            This doesn't seem to have lot to do with evolution and creationism any more, so I'm splitting the thread.

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            • #7
              Agred : you spoke of a " speciulatice " point of view when i spoke of a social/marxist point of view ......

              That said, Marx affirms that the capitalist system is at an upper level than feodalism ( more productive and so .. ) .

              corrected ....

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              • #8
                Originally posted by johneffay
                ..you simply cannot take the mechanism out of a metaphysical system of idealist thought and attempt to apply it to concrete examples in the empirical world.
                Surprised to find that my casual speculation seems to have spawned it's own thread. Don't forget the question mark I put on the title, so my comment was framed as a casual observation rather than a statement of my own belief or an assertion of fact. Thanks for pointing these things out Johneffay. Your own conclusion is quite correct according to philosophical thought since Kant, and that conclusion is central to some points I will be making in the Evolution/Creationism debate thread. I hope you don't mind if I copy and paste some stuff from this thread back into the other.

                Back to the dialectics...
                Last edited by Grey Mouser; 07-17-2006, 03:46 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Grey Mouser
                  Surprised to find that my casual speculation seems to have spawned it's own thread. Don't forget the question mark I put on the title, so my comment was framed as a casual observation rather than a statement of my own belief or an assertion of fact.
                  I appreciate that. It's just when certain buttons are pushed, I go off on one...

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