Sunday, August 9, 2009

Some thoughts on A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Thanks to everybody initiating the discussion on this text – there were a lot of interesting points made by people. I had a couple of thoughts in light of them.

1. Ad Al’s comment on freedom and necessity.
As long as the decision making in communism Al talks about is a realization of freedom, its necessity is a form of realization of freedom. Moreover, to the extent this necessity enhances freedom, it becomes a prerequisite to freedom, its premise. That is, the necessity becomes a form of expression and a premise of freedom, which is a truly dialectical relationship of the two. Probably, the difference from the pre-history is the fact that in communism the two are dialectically related in the above sense, whereas in the hitherto existing societies necessity is a direct impediment to freedom, making the relationship between freedom and necessity ‘one-directional’: freedom’s attempt of self-realization, and necessity’s blocking this process. If it is correct, then the contradiction Al talks about does indeed have its actual ontological basis: this contradiction is a reflection in thought of the actual contradiction in the real (future) world – one of the contradictions inherent in communism. A propos, I’d like to stress that, from my perspective, communism is not a contradiction-free system, the question is of the nature of these contradictions that are qualitatively distinct from contradictions of the pre-history. Does it make sense?

2. Ad Al’s point on private property.
I think Al is bringing up an extremely important issue, and I’d love to know what he and Bertell have to say on that. In addition to Al’s remarks, I also want to draw you attention to the fact that, firstly, Marx distinguishes between private and personal property (sorry, can’t recall the text in which he talks abut it) with the classical example of the latter being the toothbrush Al is referring to. Secondly, Marx talks about superseding, sublation [Aufhebung] of private property, not its elimination as it is often understood in primitive versions of Marxism. The concept of Aufhebung – dissolution and preservation – can be another possible way of looking into it.

3. Another interesting point made by Marx in this text is that we can’t transcend [aufheben] philosophy without realizing [verwirklichen] it, on the one hand, though we can’t realize philosophy without transcending it, on the other hand (p. 250). The latter is put by him in another way elsewhere: “Criticism of the speculative philosophy of law finds its progression not within itself but in tasks which can only be solved in one way – through practice [Praxis]” (p. 251). The reason I am bringing this up is because it reminds me of Lukács stressing in his Theory of Class Consciousness that Marxism is a logical development of Hegelian philosophy, Hegel pushed to the logical conclusion of his theory. That is, the solution of contradictions inherent in the Hegelian philosophy lies beyond this philosophy per se.

No comments: