@nti-dialectics

 

"Hegelism is like a mental disease -- you cannot know what it is until you get it, and then you can't know because you have got it." Max Eastman

 

Important Notice: This Site Will Close on 01/07/09. It will re-open at a new address in a month or so. Use Google to locate it.

 

 

Hardened dialecticians, who in general reject everything at this site without bothering to read a single Essay, can instead try their hand at The 2009 Dialectics Final Exam, kindly set for us by the Guild of the Mediated Totality. [Note: this is not meant to be taken seriously!]

 

 

According to my sources, at Marxism 2007, in response to a challenge that dialecticians use opaque non-materialist language invented by ruling-class hacks 2400 years ago to make their theory work, John Rees alleged that this site uses technical terminology, too.

Sure, but this is merely a shorthand device; every such term used here has been, or can be paraphrased in ordinary, material language. The same cannot be said of the obscure jargon used in dialectics.

More details here.

 

However, you can read a summary of the above events, along with the original intervention at Marxism 2007 made by a supporter of this site -- here.

 

 

I recently had a letter concerning Marx and Hegel published in Socialist Worker.

Two comrades replied, but my second response was not published. Read the whole correspondence, and more, here.

And here is another letter I sent to the above paper; they did not publish that, either.

Here is yet another letter I sent in June 2008, which they did not publish either.

In August 2008, a supporter of this site sent a letter in to Socialist Review, which the editor decided not to publish. You can read it here.

In November 2008, the same supporter sent another letter to Socialist Review in response to an article on dialectics by John Rees. The editor chose not to publish it, either. You can read that letter here.

 

Anyone trying to view these Essays with Mozilla Firefox will find that some of the symbols I have used will not show up on their screens, and that the page formatting might change rather erratically.

Site Map

 

Quick Links:

What's New

Essay One: Why I Began This Project

Essay Two: Dialectics -- Imposed On Reality, Not Read From It

Essay Three, Part One: Abstract Ideas I -- The Heart Of The Beast

Essay Three, Part Two: Abstract Ideas II -- 'Science' On The Cheap

Essay Four: Formal Logic Can Handle Change

Essay Five: Motion Is Not Contradictory

Essay Six: Trotsky And The 'Law' Of Identity

Essay Seven: Engels's Three 'Laws'

Essay Eight, Part One: Change Through 'Internal Contradiction' -- Refuted

Essay Eight, Part Two: Opposing Forces Are Not Contradictions

Essay Eight, Part Three: What Are 'Dialectical Contradictions'?

Essay Nine, Part One: Why Workers Will Always Ignore 'Materialist Dialectics'

Essay Nine, Part Two:  The Damage Dialectical Materialism Has Inflicted On Marxism

Essay Ten Part One: Practice And History Refutes Dialectics

Essay Eleven, Part One: The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It?

Essay Eleven, Part Two: Dialectical Wholism -- Full Of Holes

Essay Twelve, Part One: Dialectics And Metaphysics -- Or, Lenin Thinks The Unthinkable

Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter

Essay Thirteen Part Three: 'Mind', Language, And 'Cognition -- Voloshinov Debunked.

Many of my Essays have not been published yet; here is an outline of three of them:

Summary of Essay Twelve Part Four: Outline of Hegel's Errors

Summary of Essay Fourteen: Hegel, Hermeticism And 'Materialist Dialectics'

Summary of Part of Essay Twelve: Traditional Philosophy And Ruling Class Ideology

Additional Essays

 

Contact

 

What's New:

May 2009

19/06/09: I have just re-written Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin's Disappearing Definition of Matter. I have corrected several errors and typos, clarified the argument and added abouyt 5% of new material.

Incidentally, I have to move home at the end of June, so there will be very few new updates published here over the next three months or so.

May 2009

15/05/09: I have just re-written the Basic Introductory Essay. I have added approximately 1000 words of new material, corrected a few errors and re-worked the argument in places to make it clearer.

April 2009

23/04/09: I have just finished a long re-write of Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage Dialectics Has Inflicted On Marxism --, correcting several errors and typos, and making the argument clearer. I have also added about 14,000 words of new material.

March 2009

17/03/09: I have just received a copy of Science & Society, volume 72, October 2008. In this number, noted Marxist economist Guglielmo Carchedi tries in vain to make sense of Marx's ideas on the calculus. Alas, his arguments have already been neutralised in Essay Seven Part One (here).

This is doubly unfortunate, since the latest edition of International Socialism contains a review by Chris Harman which recommends the above article.

In view of the recent split in UK-Respect, the depressingly poor results chalked up by the Left List, and the internal wrangling in the UK-SWP, it looks like my prediction that comrades will openly return to this mystical 'theory' in times of defeat and set-back has once again proved to be correct.

February 2009

23/02/09: Ok, at last Essay Thirteen Part Three, Mind. Language and Cognition, has been published!

It is by far the longest Essay at this site (at over 141,000 words), hence the repeated delays.

17/02/09: I will be posting Essay Thirteen Part Three in the next few days; yet more delays I'm afraid. Anyway, it is now about 99% complete.

01/02/09: Essay Thirteen Part Three (on 'Mind', Language and Cognition) is almost finished -- illness and the fact that it is easily the longest Essay I have so far written (it is fast approaching 120,000 words) have delayed it by another week to ten days.

January 2009

11/01/09: A couple of months ago, a supporter of this site sent a letter to the editor of Socialist Review in response to an article on dialectics by John Rees. The editors did not publish that letter, but you can read it here.

04/01/09: Visitors can view here the pictures I took of the demonstration in London yesterday protesting the Zionist slaughter in Gaza.

There were at least 50,000 on the march, which was amazing really, in view of the fact that it had only been called three days earlier.

December 2008

12/12/08: I have just re-written Essay Three Part One -- Abstraction: The Heart of the Beast.

I have added about 5000 words of new material, corrected several errors and typos, and made the argument clearer.

02/12/08: Another dialectical punch-up has developed at Liam Macuaid's excellent blog. Anyone who checks it out will see the same hackneyed examples wheeled out for the thousandth time, the same evasive and abusive tactics, the same scatological language.

These erstwhile apostles of universal change are living proof that Heraclitus got it all wrong -- they never change.

Incidentally, Essay Thirteen Part Three (on 'Mind', Language and Cognition) is on course to be published before the end of January. The long delay is down to the fact that this is easily the longest Essay so far published.

November 2008

20/11/08: More Socialist Unity mayhem here. Visitors will once again notice the same bluster, prevarication and abuse from our mystically-compromised comrades.

10/11/08: The argument at Socialist Unity of the 7th (see below) has kicked-off again, but I am not allowed to post my reply there. However, comrades can read my response here.

A few months ago I mentioned a book that was soon to be published, The Liberal Defence of Murder (Verso Books, 2008). Well it has now appeared, and I can whole-heartedly recommend it.

This is from the publishers web site:

"Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of prominent thinkers on the Left found themselves increasingly aligned with their ideological opposites. Over the last decade, many of these thinkers have become close to Washington; forceful supporters of the War on Terror, they help frame arguments for policymakers and provide the moral and intellectual justification for Western military intervention across the globe. From Kanan Makiya, one of the chief architects of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, to Bernard Henri-Levy’s advocacy of “humanitarian” intervention, The Liberal Defense of Murder traces the journey of these figures from left to right and explores their critical role in the creation of the new American empire. With wide-ranging testimony from many key figures on the left, this is a crucial account of the emergence of the “pro-war left,” and its shaping of our post-9/11 world.

Richard Seymour lives and writes in London. His website Lenin’s Tomb comments on issues such as imperialism, Zionism, Islamophobia and anti-capitalism, and covers strikes and protests with footage, images and reportage. It has been cited in, among others, Private Eye, the Guardian and Slate. This is Richard Seymour’s first book."

07/11/08: Over the last few days an argument over dialectics has broken out at the Socialist Unity blog. Several comrades there were content merely to abuse me (for no good reason) and post 'fibs' about me and my beliefs.

[Par for the course, or what?]

However, before I could respond to the latest allegations about my work, the owner of the site closed the thread!

No worries; I have now written that response, and you can read it here.

03/11/08: I have just re-written Essay One, which is an Introduction to this site, and which explains why I began this project.

I am still on course to finish Essay Thirteen Part Three ('Mind', Language and Cognition) before Xmas.

October 2008

21/10/08: In the light of a few criticisms I have received from certain comrades, I have completely re-written Essay Seven Part One. It is now approximately 15% longer at just under 91,000 words.

I am still working on Essay Thirteen Part Three ('Mind', Language and Cognition); it should be ready to publish before the end of December.

September 2008

28/09/08: I regularly search the internet for comments on my work. Some is supportive, some not; but some is quite poor. Here is the latest example of the latter. I have straightened these comrades out here.

24/09/08: I have now completely re-written the response I posted at RevLeft, mentioned below. I have entitled it "Engels and Mickey Mouse Science".

12/09/08: I have just been informed that the International Socialist Review has in fact published the letter I sent them, in the September/October issue, contrary to what I asserted below (entry for August 18th).

Comrade Jones (the author of the article that was the subject of my letter) has responded with a surprisingly trite rebuttal.

I have already posted a long reply to him here; a more considered response will appear at this site in the next few weeks.

However, anyone who access my reply above will need to note that it was based on a typed-out copy of the original response by comrade Jones posted at RevLeft by yet another comrade (who made a few typos). I used that version of comrade Jones's rebuttal since the link to the letters page at the International Socialist website was not working (until I informed them of that fact), so I could not cut and paste his response.

That will be rectified in the version I post here.

11/09/08: In August 2008, a supporter of this site sent a letter in to Socialist Review. The editor decided not to publish it. You can read it here.

10/09/08: A week or so ago I received a copy of Ellen Meiksins Wood's latest book Citizens To Lords. A Social History Of Western Political Thought From Antiquity To The Middle Ages (Verso, 2008). I was pleasantly surprised to find that several of her main theses amply confirm a number of my own. One of these is summarised by Neil Faulkner in the latest issue of Socialist Review:

"Greek democracy was traumatic for the ancient ruling class. Ellen Wood is right to root her analysis of western political thought in the context of this extraordinary historical experiment. For around 200 years, in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, Athens and many other Greek city-states were ruled by ordinary citizens. Major decisions -- like whether to go to war - were made at mass meetings of thousands. The poorest hill farmer had the same rights as the richest landowner. While it lasted, it was impossible for rulers to screw their own people. Instead the rich faced wealth taxes and corruption trials.

"The Greek ruling class never forgot or forgave. They later combined with Macedonian kings and Roman viceroys to smash democracy. This ancient class war between landowners and peasants is the starting point for western political thought. Other civilizations -- based on brutally enforced obedience -- had no need for political theory: there was a king, he was backed by god, his authority was beyond question, and that was that. But the city-state was a community of free citizens, all doing military service, all having political rights. Anything could happen -- like cancellation of debts and redistribution of land (the two great demands of the ancient left) -- and right wing intellectuals spent much time concocting theories to justify inequality. This is the origin of Greek philosophy." [Emphases added.]

The last sentence forms one of the main themes to Essays Two, Nine Part One, Twelve Parts One to Seven, and Fourteen Part One, that philosophy is and always has expressed the most abstract forms of ruling-class ideology, hence the importation of Hegel's ideas into Marxism has meant that "ruling ideas" now dominate revolutionary socialism in the form of 'Materialist Dialectics'.

August 2008

18/08/08: A few weeks back I sent a letter to the editors of the International Socialist Review about an article they published on Engels's Anti-Dühring. They chose not to publish that letter.

A copy can be found here.

The next Essay to be published will be 13-03, Mind, Language and Cognition. It will be ready before the end of September.

July 2008

29/07/08: The Summary of Essay Eleven Part Two (Dialectical Wholism -- Full of Holes) has just been posted.

13/07/08: I have just re-written Essay Two -- Dialectics Imposed On Nature, Not Read From It -- taking the opportunity to correct several errors and typos, and to make the argument clearer. I have also added 10,000 words of new material, so the Essay is now well over 30% longer.

11/07/08: Levins and Lewontin's Biology Under The Influence (Monthly Review Press, 2007) has just landed on my desk. This book was given a glowing review by Phil Webster in the latest issue of Socialist Review.

However, where this book touches on dialectics, it makes all the usual mistakes, which Webster either does not know about, or missed. I will be adding a few comments on this book in a later re-write of Essay Seven Part One, and Essay Eleven Part Two.

A supporter of this site will be sending a letter about the review to the editor; we will see if she publishes it.

10/07/08: I have just re-written Essay Eleven Part Two -- Dialectical Holism, Full of Holes -- correcting several errors and typos, making the argument clearer, and adding over 2500 words of new material.

June 2008

29/06/08: I have just re-written Essay Twelve Part One -- Dialectics And Metaphysics. I have corrected several errors, clarified the argument and added some new material. It is now about 5% longer.

23/06/08: The Summary of Essay Twelve Part One -- The Metaphysical Status Of Dialectics -- has just been published.

16/06/08: I have just re-written Essay Nine Part Two -- The Damage 'Materialist Dialectics' Has Inflicted On Marxism --, correcting several mistakes and typos; I have also added about 3500 words of new material.

06/06/08: I have just re-written essay Eight Part Three "What are 'Dialectical Contradictions'", correcting several errors and infelicities, adding new material. It is now just over 10% longer.

May 2008

30/05/08: I have just added 1500 words of comment and argument to Note 4 of Essay Seven Part One, in view of the fact that my original argument had a few gaping holes in it.

I have also added new links to this page, which records the many 'debates' I have had on the Internet with dialecticians (mostly at RevLeft).

25/05/08: I have re-posted, as a separate Essay (i.e., as 08-03 -- "What are 'Dialectical Contradictions'"), a long footnote that appeared in Essay Eight Part Two.

Because of its length, this footnote has in fact taken on a life of its own. Buried as it was in 08-02, it was not easy to access.

25/05/08: I have now published the Summary of Essay Eleven Part One: "The 'Totality' -- WTF Is It?"

---oOo---

I have been away for over three weeks, hence the lack of activity at this site.

The next work to be published will be a summary of Essay Eleven Part One; that will be followed sometime in July by Essay Thirteen Part Three: "Dialectics, Language, 'Mind' and 'Cognition'".

April 2008

26/04/08: I am progressively re-writing Essay Sixteen, which is an extended summary of my ideas. Because of its length, it has been broken up into manageable sections, each corresponding more-or-less to one of the main Essays.

To that end, I have just finished the summary of Essay Ten Part One: Dialectics -- Refuted By History.

24/04/08: Because of the interest it is receiving (in fact it is currently the most visited page at this site), I have just re-written Essay Ten Part One, making numerous small changes and correcting a few errors and typos.

23/04/08: Essay One has just be re-written. This Essay explains the background to my work, and serves as an Introduction.

21/04/08: The re-write of Essay Thirteen Part One (on Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-criticism) has just been completed.

I have corrected several errors and typos and added about 3500 words of new material.

17/04/08: I have just re-written Essay Five, since it is still attracting much interest.

I have corrected a few errors and typos, made the argument clearer and added small amounts of new material.

It is now just short of 5% longer.

I am also in the process of re-writing Essay Thirteen Part One, posting the changes as they are being made.

March 2008 Latest

31/03/08: The summary of Essay Nine Part Two has just been published -- 'Militants on Methadone'.

This outlines the reasons why I think dialecticians have swallowed this ruling-class theory, and the consequent damage this has done to Marxism.

27/03/08: I have now written and posted a summary of Essay Nine Part One: 'Dialectics -- A Ruling-Class Theory'.

24/03/08: I have just written the Summary of Essay Eight Part Two -- Why 'Dialectical Contradictions' cannot be equated with opposing forces.

20/03/08: Over the last few months I have been completely re-writing Essay Sixteen (which is an extended introduction to and summary of my work), breaking it up into manageable parts.

Well, as part of that, I have now written the Summary to Essay Eight Part One.

18/03/08: I have just re-written Essay Twelve Part One, correcting several errors, and adding new material. I have also tried to make the argument even clearer.

That Essay is now approx 3,500 words longer.

17/03/08: Visitors can find my pictures of the recent anti-war demonstration in London, here.

07/03/08: I have just finished re-writing Essay Five -- 'Motion is not Contradictory' -- making numerous small changes, correcting several errors and typos, and adding some new material. It is now about 1000 words longer.

05/03/08: A few weeks ago, a sympathetic reader of my Essays added a comment about my work to the article on DM at Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, a rather miffed Maoist and a thin-skinned Trotskyist deleted it (the latter after it had been restored).

Apparently, such 'scientific' comrades cannot tolerate the idea that their theory has been systematically demolished, and think that censoring me will make me or my ideas go away.

However, the original poster has restored it again. You can read it here (if it is still there!).

[It can be accessed in the History section of that article anyway.]

04/03/08: The seminar in Oxford went well. I filmed the talk and subsequent discussion, but the lighting was poor. If I can improve the quality of the video on edit, I'll post it on YouTube.

I'll also post a transcript of the talk, and discussion at a later date.

February 2008

28/02/08: Essay Nine Part Two has just been re-written; I have corrected a few errors, clarified the argument somewhat and added new material. It is now just under 2000 words longer.

Essay Five is still being re-written

Also, I have just received the second edition of Reason In Revolt by Woods and Grant.

The chapter on logic is still among the worst I have ever seen in a book about dialectics, even though, at my suggestion, Alan Woods has removed the syntactic mess that used to appear on page 98.

The book still makes grossly erroneous remarks about Wittgenstein (among others), and it repeats all the old errors (debunked at this site) as if they were eternal truths.

On page 101, the authors still manage to get George Boole's name wrong (they call him 'George Boyle') even though I pointed this error out to Woods in 2004 -- just as they mis-spell Gottlob Frege's name on the same page.

These might seem small errors, but they reveal how sloppy dialecticians are when it comes to logic -- even after such things have been pointed out to them!

[There are plenty more examples of this sort of thing here.]

25/02/08: I have just received a copy of Science, Marxism and the Big Bang, by Peter Mason. While this book is a short critique of Woods and Grant's Reason in Revolt, it is by far and away the most measured and reasonable defence I have ever seen of Dialectical Materialism. I will add a few comments about this book to Essay Seven at a later date.

Added later:  I wrote the above after reading only half of the said book. However, much of the second half is highly repetitive, the author becoming fixated on infinity, saying more or less the same thing over and over again for the next 60 pages!

I am also in the process of re-writing Essay Five in view of the fact that it is attracting quite a lot of attention right now.

21/02/08: I have just re-written Essay One, correcting several errors, and adding new material. It is now about 5% longer.

14/02/08: A few months ago, I wrote a very basic outline of the egregious logical errors Hegel committed, which launched the 'dialectic', and which subsequent prominent Marxists accepted uncritically.

I have now re-written it to make the argument even clearer.

It was originally designed for those who found the extended argument  here, here, here and here a little too daunting.

That being so, the dialectic has no foundation in logic, or in fact.

It is no surprise therefore to find it has presided over 150 years of almost total failure.

12/02/08: After a long delay, I have finally published Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter.

This Essay took me far longer to complete than I had imagined!

01/02/08: The next Essay to be published will be ready to post in the next week or so. It is Essay Thirteen Part One, which will demolish what is easily Lenin's worst published work: the lamentable Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.

Apologies for the delay, but it has been far harder to finalise than I had anticipated.

A supporter of this site will be addressing a conference on the renewal of the left, to be held at Oxford University at the end of February.

More details here.

 

 

--------oOo--------

  

 

 

SITE MAP:

The following Essays will be posted here over the coming months and years (those in blue have already been published):

Essay One:  Introduction And Background

[Posted 12/11/05; re-written 31/12/06, 16/05/07, 07/09/07, 21/02/08, 23/04/08, and 03/11/08.]

Essay Two:  Dialectics -- Imposed On Nature, Or Read From It?

[Posted 22/11/05; re-written with new material added, 05/02/06; updated 12/04/06. Re-written 27/09/06 with new material added. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written 11/04/07; up-dated 02/05/07. Re-written 24/05/07, and 13/07/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Three, Part One:  Abstraction -- The Heart Of The Beast

[Posted 26/12/05; re-written 11/07/06, 14/03/07, 11/11/07 and 12/12/08.]

[Summary here.]

 

Essay Three, Part Two: Abstraction -- Science On The Cheap

[Posted 05/01/06; re-written 08/05/06, with new material added. Re-written again, 28/03/07. Re-written 25/11/07.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Three, Part Three: 'Emergence', Reductionism and 'Crude Materialism'

Essay Three Part Four: Fact vs Fiction

Essay Three Part Five: 'Determinism

Essay Four, Part One: Formal Logic

[Posted 22/12/05; re-written with new material added, 24/06/06; partially re-written 24/12/06. Updated 18/03/07. Re-written with new material added, 04/05/07. Re-written again 06/11/07.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Four, Part Two: 'Internal Relations'

Essay Four, Part Three: Reason In Remission -- Woods, Grant and Diabolical Logic

Essay Five:  Is Motion Contradictory?

[Posted December 2005; re-written with new material added, 23/07/06, and again 27/01/07. Re-written 09/04/07, 29/10/07, 07/03/08, and 17/04/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Six:  The Law Of Identity

[Posted 21/01/06; re-written with new material added, 17/02/06; re-written again, with new material added, 16/09/06. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written, with new material added, 10/10/07.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Seven:  The Three Laws Of Dialectics

[Posted November 2005. Re-written, with new material added, 07/04/06. Re-written, 07/09/06. Updated 13/02/07. Re-written 14/03/07, and again 23/09/07. Updated 20/12/07, and 23/02/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Seven, Part Two: Reason In Remission -- Woods and Grant

Essay Eight,  Part One: Change Through 'Internal Contradiction'

[Posted 20/04/06; corrected, with new material added, 25/04/06. Re-written, 09/01/07. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written 13/06/07, and again 28/09/07.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eight,  Part Two: Forces And Contradictions

[Posted 07/06/06; re-written with new material added, 01/07/06; partially re-written 16/10/06. Re-written 21/01/07. Updated 18/03/07, and 03/06/07. Re-written 20/10/07, and again 15/01/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eight, Part Three: What Are 'Dialectical Contradictions?'

[Posted 25/05/08.]

Essay Nine, Part One: The Politics Of Metaphysics; Dialectics -- An Alien-Class Theory

[Posted 01/08/06. Re-written: 15/11/06. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written: 06/10/07.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Nine, Part Two: Dialectics -- The Opiate Of The Party

[Posted 15/04/07. Re-written 03/06/07. Partially re-written 12/07/07 and 01/11/07; fully rewritten 28/02/08, and  16/06/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Ten, Part One: Practice Refutes Dialectics

[Posted 10/08/07. Re-written 29/09/07, and again 26/10/07. Up-dated 22/11/07, 05/01/08, 23/02/08, and 24/04/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Ten, Part Two: Truth -- Coherence, Correspondence, Or What?

Essay Eleven,  Part One: Totality -- WTF Is It?

[Posted 28/10/06; re-written 13/11/06. Re-written with new material added: 07/01/07, 13/02/07, and 03/09/07.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Eleven,  Part Two: DM-Wholism -- All Holes, No Substance

[Posted 20/11/06. Re-written 16/12/06. Updated 11/02/07. Re-written 27/05/07, and 10/07/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Twelve,  Part One: The Metaphysical Status Of Dialectics

[Posted 16/07/07. Re-written 20/08/07, 18/03/08 and again 29/06/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Twelve,  Part Two: Metaphysics And Ruling-Class Thought

Essay Twelve,  Part Three: The Material Origins Of The 'Opiate of the Oppressor' -- Traditional Philosophy

Essay Twelve,  Part Four: Linguistic Idealism -- Is Nature Rational?

Essay Twelve,  Part Five: Hegel's Master 'Deduction'

Essay Twelve,  Part Six: Hegel's Mother Lode -- The Dialectical Dope Dealer Brought To Book

Essay Twelve,  Part Seven: Ordinary Material Language -- A Class Issue

[Summary here.]

Essay Thirteen, Part One: Lenin's Disappearing Definition Of Matter

[Posted 12/02/08. Re-written 21/04/08.]

[Summary here.]

Essay Thirteen, Part Two:  Dialectical Materialism And Science

Essay Thirteen, Part Three: 'Mind', Language And'Cognition'

[Posted 23/02/09.]

Essay Fourteen,  Part One: The Mystical Origins Of Dialectics

[Summary here.]

Essay Fourteen,  Part Two: Dialectics And The Mystification Of Revolutionary Socialism

Page Fifteen:  Links

[Posted December 2005.]

Essay Sixteen:  Summary

This Essay Is now badly out-of-date, and is being re-written in shorter sections; on that, see here.

[Posted February 1, 2006; re-written 26/03/06; updated 23/04/06. Re-written 21/12/06.]

Essay Sixteen: Index

Essay Sixteen has been broken up into smaller Essays because of  its length. Access these sections here.

[Posted February 1, 2006. Re-written 2007-2008.]

Page Seventeen: Additional Essays

[Posted 21/02/06 and 12/08/06.]

Page Eighteen: Books and Articles

Page Nineteen: Abbreviations Used At This Site

Page Twenty: Site Bibliography

Other Anti-Dialecticians

These are Essays or articles written by earlier anti-dialecticians who have developed some of the ideas advanced at this site, among others.

Other Material

This section contains additional material relevant to the aims of this site.

["Updated" means that minor changes and/or corrections have been made to the Essay in question.]

 

 

 

How Not To Argue 101

This page contains links to forums on the web where I have 'debated' this creed with other comrades.

For anyone interested, check out the desperate 'debating' tactics used by Dialectical Mystics in their attempt to respond to my ideas.

You will no doubt notice that the vast majority all say the same sorts of things, and most of them pepper their remarks with scatological and abusive language. They all like to make things up, too, about me and my beliefs.

25 years (!!) of this stuff from Dialectical Mystics has meant I now take an aggressive stance with them every time -- I soon learnt back in the 1980s that being pleasant with them (my initial tactic) did not alter their abusive tone, their propensity to fabricate, nor reduce the amount of scatological language they used.

So, these days, I generally go for the jugular from the get-go.

Apparently, they expect me to take their abuse lying down, and regularly complain about my "bullying" tactics.

So, these mystics can dish it out, but they cannot take it.

Given the damage their theory has done to Marxism, and the abuse they all dole out, they are lucky this is all I can do to them.

 

 

 

This is a picture of Rosa Luxembourg, not me!

I point this out merely to end the speculation I have seen on some discussion boards.

 

 

Contact Me

 

 

Finally:

Several commentators have clearly taken these opening comments of mine (above and to the right) as definitive of my entire work, and have read no further, when they are merely that: opening comments --, which represent about 0.01% of the material so far posted!

This opening page is deliberately provocative and is not meant to contain water-tight arguments, merely a statement of intent.

In contrast, the Essays I have posted are  are meant to be definitive. Whether they achieve that particular goal is, of course, another matter.

 However, to date, no one has been able to respond effectively to my Essays (including this joker and this poseur).

Clearly, such a superficial approach to my work makes about as much sense as someone who reads the opening page of the Preface to Das Kapital and judges all that Marx ever wrote on the basis of that!

I was right to describe such numpties as 'clowns'.

 

 

 

Blogs:

Lenin's Tomb

Par En Bas

Histomatist

John Molyneux

Splintered Sunrise

Through The Scary Door

International Rooksbyism

Lindsey German

Respect Blog

Killing Time

Cliffism

Casper

[It is worth pointing out that I do not necessarily agree with everything published in the above Blogs; indeed John Molyneux's otherwise excellent site endorses the very theory under attack here!]

Special mention:

Guy's Philosophical Nuggets

           

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Watch this video -- it represents what could be a major advance in alternative Web-based News.

Other Links

Hurfinator

 

 

 

Just Published: The Long-Overdue Demolition Of Lenin's Materialism and Empirio-Criticism

Essay Eight Part Three: What Are 'Dialectical Contradictions'?

Essay Thirteen Part Three: 'Mind', Language, And 'Cognition' -- Voloshinov Debunked

 

 

A leading member of the CPGB has written an article in Weekly Worker criticising a few of the ideas found at this site, and in an earlier article of mine.

Initially, I was quite shocked at how superficial and irrelevant this comrade's article was. I still am!

Anyway, visitors can read my reply here.

 

Socialist Unity Blog Censors Debate -- Read The Details Here.

Socialist Unity Replies -- Read My Response Here.

The Debate Continues.

A Complaint.

 

Those who would like a short (but very basic) introduction to the aims of this site should read this first.

I have also written a much shorter and even more basic summary of some of my main objections to Dialectical Materialism: Anti-Dialectics For Dummies.

There is also a one page summary of several of my main arguments here.

This was in fact an article I wrote which was published in a supposedly left wing newspaper in September 2007. I disowned its appearance there for reasons spelt-out in the above link

What's New

 

 

Those who want a more detailed summary of my main ideas should begin here.

 

 

The index to my extended Essays can be found here.

Quick links are located below and to the left.

 

The complete irrelevance of 'Materialist Dialectics' to the prosecution of the class struggle is underlined in these dialogues (written and contributed by my collaborator, 'Babeuf').

 

I regularly check the internet to see if these numpties have had another go at my ideas; sure enough they have. My response is however PG-rated, so that more sensitive souls can choose to avert their eyes, should they so wish.

Check out the latest (30/08/07) exchange here and here.

 

An old Idealist enemy of reason has raised his head above the parapet once more -- I lob a few very heavy, materialist bricks at him here, here, here, and again here.

And here.

The have now all been collected together here.

 

 

Recently I had the pleasure of watching John Pilger's latest film, "The War on Democracy"; it is easily one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.

This film is about the oppression suffered by the people of Latin America at the hands of the US ruling-class and their determined fight-back over the last seven or eight years.

You can now view it here.

 

 

Please note that nothing posted here is intended to undermine Historical Materialism, a theory I fully accept.

 

 

Here is a site devoted to anti-dialectics, which is well worth visiting -- if you speak French.

 

For those comrades interested in reading a very short refutation of a key Hegelian argument, which thus brings the whole dialectical house of cards crashing down, I have just posted one here.

A longer version appears in Essay Eight Part Three and an entirely different one here.

 

 

 

ff

Introduction

Dialectical Materialism (DM) has been the official philosophy of active revolutionary socialists for over a hundred and thirty years.

During that time, Dialectical Marxism has 'enjoyed' spectacular lack of success.

Given the fact that dialecticians assure us that truth is tested in practice, and that "materialist dialectics" is the main-spring of all they do, this can only mean that this 'theory' has been tested and shown to fail.

However, not only is it virtually impossible for most Dialectical Marxists to accept this negative picture of their own 'success', it is more difficult still for them to blame it even so much as partly on the misbegotten theory they have inherited from Hegel.

In fact, it doesn't even make the reserve list.

This must mean that in a world where dialecticians claim that everything is interconnected, the only two things in the entire universe that are not inter-linked are the long-term failure of Dialectical Marxism and its core theory: 'Materialist Dialectics'!

This is impossible to believe.

Unfortunately, their denial means that Dialectical Marxists never learn from their mistakes --, they just blame this long-term failure on anything and everything else.

Naturally, this just leads to yet more failures, and the cycle continues year on year.

Now, this site has been set up to substantiate these allegations, as well as to advance several more; among which are the following:

 

1) That there is a close link between the class-origin of the ideas found in DM and the rabidly sectarian nature of revolutionary politics. This helps explain why, almost without exception, Marxist parties tend to be small, divisive, and thus almost totally ineffectual.

2) That none of the major theses advanced by dialecticians stands up to close scrutiny.

These include the famous "Three Laws" of dialectics (i.e., the 'Laws' of change of quantity into quality, the interpenetration of opposites, and the negation of the negation), the belief that everything is interconnected in a "mediated Totality", and the doctrine that change is the result of "internal contradictions".

3) That the criticisms dialecticians make of Formal Logic -- and the so-called 'Law of Identity' -- are as ill-informed as they are misguided.

 

Of course, highly controversial claims like these require considerable proof; that is why all of the Essays posted here go into such unprecedented detail.

However, it is worth pointing out that when I write short articles, dialecticians complain about their "superficiality". Nevertheless, in response to these greatly extended Essays, they now say that they are too long!

The truth is, of course, that dialecticians already have the truth, and despite what Lenin said (about no theory being final), they treat theirs as if it had been delivered to them on stone tablets.

And, despite their belief that all change is the result of contradiction, dialecticians do not like to be contradicted.

Nevertheless, those who like their Internet articles short and sweet will find a summary of my ideas here.

In August 2006, I added an 'Absolute Beginners' page, here, and the summer of 2007 an 'Anti-Dialectics For Dummies' Essay -- aimed at those who find even these summaries too difficult to follow.

In fact, there is now a one page précis of my main objections here.

Great care has been taken with these Essays; they have been distilled from work I have been doing for ten years, but I have been mulling over the ideas they contain for twenty-five or more. Literally thousands of hours have gone into writing, re-writing and re-thinking this material. In addition, I have spent more money than I care to mention obtaining literally thousands of obscure books, theses and papers on a whole range of topics directly and indirectly connected with DM.

In that case, anyone who cannot bring to this discussion the seriousness it deserves is encouraged to go and waste their time elsewhere. I am not interested in communicating with clowns.

Essay One expands on the above comments, and explains: (1) why I began this project, (2) why the tone I have adopted is unremittingly hostile, and (3) why I have gone into such unprecedented detail.

 

 

 

Preliminary Points

(1) It is important to emphasise from the outset that I am not blaming the long-term failure of Marxism solely on the acceptance of the Hermetic ideas dialecticians inherited from Hegel.

It is worth repeating this since I still encounter comments on Internet discussion boards, and still receive e-mails from those who claim to have read the above words, who still think I am blaming all our woes on dialectics. I am not.

However, no matter how many times I repeat this caveat, the message will not sink in (and this is after several years of continually making this very point!).

It seems that this is one part of the universe over which the Heraclitean Flux has no power!

Here is just the latest example.

What is being claimed, however, is that adherence to this 'theory' is one of the subjective reasons why Dialectical Marxism has become a bye-word for failure.

There are other, objective reasons why the class enemy still runs this planet, but since revolutions require revolutionaries with ideas in their heads, this 'theory' must take some of the blame.

So, it is alleged here that dialectics has been an important contributory factor.

It certainly helps explain why revolutionary groups are in general vanishingly small, neurotically sectarian, studiously unreasonable, consistently conservative, theoretically deferential to 'tradition', and almost invariably lean toward some form of substitutionism.

Naturally, this has had a direct bearing on our lack of impact on the working-class over the last seventy years or so -- and probably for much longer -- and thus on the continuing success of Capitalism.

The following 'Unity of Opposites' is difficult to explain otherwise:

The larger the proletariat, the smaller the impact that Dialectical Marxism has on it.

Sadly, this will continue while comrades cling on to this regressive doctrine.

Any who doubt this are encouraged to read on, where those doubts will be severely bruised, if not completely laid to rest.

(2) However, I have few illusions that hard-core dialecticians will be swayed by what they find here.

[Why this is so is explained in Essay One, Essay Nine Part Two, and briefly here.]

I hope I am wrong in this, but bitter experience over the last twenty-five years 'debating' with the DM-faithful tells me I am talking to comrades with stoppered ears and closed minds. Internet 'discussions' have merely confirmed (if not greatly amplified) this negative impression.

So far, not one single dialectician seems capable of entering into reasoned debate without descending into some form of scatological abuse or without indulging in systematic fabrication.

Nevertheless, a marker has to be laid down by someone.

Someone has to try to prevent younger comrades from catching this Hermetic virus.

(3) Now, if Dialectical Marxism were a ringing success, it is I who would be on the defensive, and dialecticians could rightly ignore these Essays.

But, it is over one hundred and fifty years since the Communist Manifesto was published, and we still do not have a Workers' State anywhere on the planet --, despite the fact that the working-class can now be numbered in the billions and is by far and away the biggest class on earth.

Indeed, we seem to be further away from that goal than we were in 1917.

Things appear to be going backwards.

All four Internationals have gone down the pan (the tiny 'Fifth International' has already split!), the vast majority of the former 'socialist' states have disappeared  -- and not a single worker rose in their defence.

Contrast that with the way workers and others fought in Nepal in 2006, the Lebanon, in Serbia, France, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia recently -- and now in Burma (September 2007 and 1988) -- to name but a few.

Figures One, Two And Three: Nepal April 2006

[Pictures by Phalano]

Figure Four: Burma September 2007

Figure Five: Dramatic Scenes From The Former USSR In 1991, Showing The Massed Ranks Of Workers Defending 'Their' State

[Yes, it's supposed to be blank!]

Communist parties the world over have adopted market capitalism, and most of them have embraced openly reformist, if not neo-liberal dogma.

Trotskyism is, if anything, in even worse shape. It is riddled with deep divisions, and ever-increasing factions. With few exceptions, its parties are vanishingly small, constantly at each other's throats, and rabidly sectarian.

Trotskyism is thus even less successful than Maoism and Stalinism have been -- well, is there a Trotskyist Workers' State anywhere on earth? Has there ever been?

[And I say that as a Trotskyist!]

Because of its propensity to provoke endless splits (its one genuine growth area), Trotskyism is now a standing joke.

Even UK Respect has now split!

Libertarian Communism, too, is almost non-existent, and thus politically impotent -- but, for all their chest beating, you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise. In fact, it is one of the few areas of Marxism that makes Trotskyism look successful in comparison!

Hence, and because of this, Marxist revolutionary parties have not noticeably benefited from the world-wide radicalisation created by the Anti-Globalisation Movement or the unprecedented world-wide opposition we have seen to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now, compare that to the way many of the above parties grew in the first half of the 20th century, or in the 1960s and 1970s.

Compare it too with the way that non-Marxist, anarchist, anti-capitalist (and thus largely non-dialectical) groups have grown since 1999.

For most people, rightly or wrongly, traditional Marxism has become a by-word for vicious in-fighting, bureaucratic authoritarianism, systematic oppression, mass murder, widespread denial of freedom, and heartless dictatorship.

[This should not be taken to mean I think this abysmal record can't be changed for the better. That is, after all, why I began this project!]

And yet there are comrades who will tell you -- with a straight face -- that Marxism is a ringing success!

Such benighted souls will not respond to anything I have to tell them (even if they were listening); pathological myopia of this order of magnitude requires professional help.

Figure Six: Dialectical Marxism 'Tested In Practice' -- And, If 'Objective Factors' Are Ignored -- A Monumental Success!

Dialecticians claim that their theory is the dynamic heart of both Marxist politics and material reality, and that it is the guiding light of all they do.

If revolutionary practice has dialectics stamped all over it, and if the vast bulk of that practice has failed, the inescapable conclusion is that practice has refuted dialectics.

Because its supporters claim such a prominent role for 'Materialist Dialectics', the failure of the subjective side of Dialectical Marxism points nowhere else but here.

[Clearly, only those who reject the idea that truth is tested in practice will feel confident enough to deny that untoward conclusion.]

To those who think this is an Idealist explanation for the failure of Dialectical Marxism: I advance historical and materialist reasons why dialectics has had this effect on comrades, here.

To those who have read the above, and think I am claiming Marxism is a failure: please read it again, and note the use of the term "Dialectical Marxism".

Hence, it is dialecticians who should be on the defensive.

They are the ones who still adhere to a theory that has presided over 150 years of almost total failure.

In that case, as revolutionaries, we have no alternative -- we have to re-think our ideas from scratch, like the radicals we claim to be.

Hence, I propose a suitably radical starting point: the rejection of the theory that history has already refuted: Materialist Dialectics.

 We can't keep blaming our failure on workers' "false consciousness" (a term, incidentally, that Marx knew nothing about).

Dialectics is not the "world-view of the proletariat", since they know nothing of it, never have, and never will.

Indeed, for far too many generations workers have sent a very clear message our way: they are not the least bit interested in Dialectical Mysticism, or in those who peddle it.

So, if change is indeed caused by "internal contradictions" --  as dialecticians allege --, let it begin here with the many I have exposed in their 'theory'.

In that case, comrades, you have nothing to lose but your failed theory of change.

(4) Some might wonder how I can count myself as both a Leninist and a Trotskyist while making such profound criticisms of the ideas that the founders of both these traditions regarded as fundamental to Marxism.

Well, we can surely recognise Newton's genius while rejecting his Alchemical and Kabbalistic ramblings, just as we can severely criticise him for wasting so much time and effort on such worthless pursuits.

The same comment applies to the writings of Engels, Lenin and Trotsky on dialectics. Hence, even though I hold their work in politics, economics and history in the highest esteem, I am equally critical of the mystical gobbledygook these comrades imported into our movement.

In fact, and on the contrary, a slavish acceptance of everything these great revolutionaries had to say about dialectics -- just because they said it, and just because the vast majority of comrades think highly of it --, would be to spit on their graves.

Marxism, if it is anything, is not a personality cult. If it were, then Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky would have been the first to have turned their backs on it.

The radical tradition was built on a lack of respect for gutless tradition like this.

This is also true of these Essays.

Anyone who still prefers the safe confines of Dialectical Dogma is encouraged to join the Catholic Church.

(5) Those tempted to think that this is "just another attack on dialectics" -- something the enemies of Marxism are always trying to pull (since the dialectic in history is "an abomination to the bourgeoisie", etc., etc.) --, need only reflect on the fact that revolutionaries like me attack dialectics because it is by far and away the weakest aspect of Marxist theory (a boast that is as easy to make as it is to substantiate -- as the Essays posted here amply demonstrate), and this we do in order to strengthen, not weaken, Historical Materialism.

On the other hand, our enemies attack dialectics because it is such an easy target --, and they do so for the opposite reasons.

We have presented them with this 'gift' for far too long; we need to stop leading with our chins.

(6) Academic Marxism has largely been ignored in my Essays.

Rightly or wrongly, this site is aimed at impacting on the class struggle by seeking to influence those involved in it. Since active revolutionaries still accept, to a greater or lesser extent, classical forms of DM, they alone are being addressed in what follows.

Academic Marxism (mercifully) has had no such impact on the class war, or none of any note --, and it probably never will.

Anyone who reads the dense and aimless prose these comrades constantly churn out will soon see why.

 Very little attempt has been made, therefore, to engage with this theoretical dead end.

It is also worth pointing out that I am not just attacking 'Diamat' here (i.e., 'orthodox' Soviet Russian DM), but all aspects of 'Materialist Dialectics' as they feature in revolutionary socialism.

Figure Seven: Academic Marxism -- The Movie

Of course, there are notable exceptions to these sweeping generalisations, but they are just that: exceptions. Some academic Marxists have fought alongside workers in the class war.

However, I can think of no work published by academic Marxists that has ever impacted on the class struggle (except negatively).

Such comrades, who forever tell us that 'praxis' is a core principle of Marxism, are clearly living on a different planet to the rest of us, for their work has no impact on it.

(7) These Essays represent work in progress; hence they do not necessarily reflect my final views.

I am only publishing this material on the Internet because several comrades whose opinions I respect urged me to do so, even though the work you see before you is less than half complete. Many of my ideas are still in the formative stage and need considerable attention and time devoted to them to mature.

I estimate this project will take another ten years to complete before it is fit to publish either here in its final form or in hard copy.

All of these Essays will have radically changed by then.

This work will be updated regularly -- edited and re-edited constantly --, its arguments clarified and progressively strengthened as my research continues (and particularly as my 'understanding' of Hegel develops).

So, visitors are encouraged to check back often.

Up to the middle of June 2009, I have posted Essays and other material totalling in excess of 1.7 million words. This is approximately 85% of all the material I have to date.

Of course, far more will be added as my researches continue.

However, much of the later half of this work exists only in note form, so the second set of Essays will appear here far more slowly than the first.

Anyone who objects to the length of these Essays should rather pick a fight with Marx, Lenin and Trotsky -- and Hegel -- whose collected work easily dwarfs my own.

 

Figure Seven: Exhibit A For The Defence -- Das Kapital

(8) Finally, and most importantly: I cannot emphasise strongly enough that nothing written here is intended to undermine revolutionary socialism -- or Historical Materialism [HM], a scientific theory I fully accept (once the baleful influence of Hegel has been completely excised).

HM will therefore be taken as read.

This means that any non-Marxists visiting this site are advised to go no further; this material is not intended for them.

 

Rosa Lichtenstein

June 2009

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