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Notes on Andy Blunden's "The Meaning of Hegel's Logic"

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Gena Kozak, notes on

Andy

Andy Blunden

Andy Blunden’s "The Meaning of Hegel's Logic" Edit

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/help/mean.htm

(After finishing Hegel’s logic, go to J.S. Mill’s)

There is a logic of a social revolution. There is a logic to a scientific enquiry. Is there a logic “in itself”, i.e. a generalization of these logics? And since we know the prior logics very imperfectly, can we help ourselves by jumping to the higher level of logic?

(Read this text as a supplement to Hege's Logic)

I: The Structure of The Logic

Read.

II: The Meaning of “Being”

first being the Law of the Unity (Interpenetration) of Opposites

second – development of quantity into quality, and quality into quantity

third being the Law of the Negation of the Negation

“the beginning is not pure nothing, but a nothing from which something is to proceed; therefore being, too, is already contained in the beginning. The beginning therefore contains both, being and nothing, is the unity of being and nothing; or is non-being which is at the same time being, and being which is at the same time non-being”. [Science of Logic, With what Must Science Begin?]

A. Blunden’s comment: “Here is the archetypal disclosure of the identity of opposites: Being is Nothing! Being, not any particular type or stage of existence, just pure Being, precisely because it is simply Being, undifferentiated, undetermined, undeveloped Being, has no feature, no quality, you cannot be aware of it; in other words it is nothing”

III: The Meaning of “Essence ”

Essence - the most important or defining aspect of thing, besides which other aspects are just accidental or "unessential"

=== (cont. The Sub-divisions of Essence) === As soon as, by the accumulation of the properties of a science or a thing or event, we have been able to identify what it is, there begins a process of penetration from essence to deeper essence. This is the dialectic of form and content or Appearance. – from one “essence” to a deeper one.

Actuality is the dialectic of Cause and Effect, which reaches its fullest development in the concept of Reciprocity, a totality in which every aspect and form of the thing is both cause and effect of every other; and the truth of Reciprocity is Necessity, and the truth (or "understanding") of Necessity is Freedom, which is the Notion.

The problem of science, and especially of philosophy, undoubtedly consists in eliciting the necessity concealed under the semblance of contingency. Аналогично для любви – понять что есть человек, за видимостью «прически», макияжа, и т.д.

When we try to explain something, we enquire into its cause. At this point the Cause is absolutely independent of the Effect. But the cause is also an effect… In its fullest development, this cause - effect/cause - effect - cause chain bends back upon itself, becomes a circle in which there is no beginning, but a reflection of the all-sided interconnection of things which have their ground equally in themselves as in an Other. This concept is called Reciprocity.

... in so far as the relation of cause and effect is admitted, although improperly, the effect cannot be greater than the cause; for the effect is nothing more than the manifestation of the cause. It has become a common jest in history to let great effects arise from small causes and to cite as the primary cause of a comprehensive and profound event an anecdote. Such a so-called cause is to be regarded as nothing more than an occasion, an external stimulus, of which the inner spirit of the event had no need, or could have used a countless host of other such in order to begin from them in the sphere of Appearance, to disengage itself and give itself manifestation.

Necessity is blind only so long as it is not understood

"Freedom is the understanding of Necessity"

The Essence of capitalism is the production of surplus value – A. Blunden doesn’t understand that surplus value is necessary in any production mode

IV The Meaning of “Reflection”

the concept of contradiction as the essence of a concept

a dialectical unfolding of the concept of Identity through a series of stages in which Identity is successively transformed to reveal the concepts of Difference, Opposition, Contradiction and finally Ground

It is a universal law of the objective world and thus the world of thought, that "Identity comes to Difference"

“"A = A" only makes sense even in the strictest and valid application of formal logic if the first A is indeed not the second A” – hence, in the law of identity there is implicit a law of difference

Whatever exists is concrete, with difference and opposition in itself

“Contradiction is the very moving principle of the world: and it is ridiculous to say that contradiction is unthinkable. The only thing correct in that statement is that contradiction is not the end of the matter, but cancels itself. But contradiction, when canceled, does not leave abstract identity; for that is itself only one side of the contrariety. The proximate result of opposition (when realised as contradiction) is the Ground.” – Contradiction within a thing reveals to use its “Ground”.

Hence: “Identity” -> “Opposition” -> “Contradiction” -> “Ground”

“The maxim of Ground runs thus: Everything has its Sufficient Ground: that is, the true essentiality of any thing is not the predication of it as identical with itself, or as different (various), or merely positive, or merely negative, but as having its Being in an other, which, being the self-same, is its essence” – everyone one thing has its ground in another thing. It’s like a constructor, where one piece is based on another, and so on.

“ The refutation of a philosophy, therefore, only means that its barriers are crossed, and its special principle reduced to a factor in the completer principle that follows.” – this applies to Marxism. The “completer principle”, I think, is the idea that the principle means of production in modern times is knowledge. The task is examination and unification of knowledge. That is not only theoretical, but also practical and social.

everything is inherently contradictory, and in the sense that this law in contrast to the others expresses rather the truth and the essential nature of things

contradiction is the root of all movement and vitality; it is only in so far as something has a contradiction within it that it moves, has an urge and activity

V: Formal Logic and Dialectics

Logic, is the science of the operations of the understanding which are subservient to the estimation of evidence: both the process itself of advancing from known truths to unknown, and all other intellectual operations in so far as auxiliary to this. It includes, therefore, the operation of Naming; .. Definition and Classification. [System of Logic, J S Mill]

Bluden talks about formal logic, without giving us an idea of what it is, in modern developments. Probably, does not know it.

Formal logic is present in mathematics.

The syllogism is the method of inference, first developed by formal logic, in which from two statements a third is inferred. For example, "All A are B", "C is an A", therefore "C is B"

The Universal, Particular and Individual are categories closely related to the syllogism:

  • the Universal is a truth which applies always and
    everywhere, such as "A", "B" (notions) and "All A
    are B" in the above example, as aspects of knowledge are the outcome
    of a protracted period of social development;
  • the Individual ("C" in the above example) is
    knowledge as given in immediate perception;
  • the Particular is a kind of joining of individual and
    universal, a finite but generalised truth ("C is an A" and
    "C is B").

The universal in its true and comprehensive meaning is a thought which, as we know, cost thousands of years to make it enter into the consciousness of men. [Shorter Logic, § 163n, The Subjective Notion]

Limitations of formal logic:

1) The whole is not equal to the sum of the parts. E.g. the phenomena of “Emergence”.

2) If a system is sufficiently complex and "rich", then the phenomena that arise in it cannot be reduced to the properties of the system's component sub-systems

3) transitions, leaps

4) Formal logic works fine in physics, so long as atoms are hard little balls; but as soon as quantum behaviour slips into the picture and particles "leap", transform one into another, disappear and reappear, behave like waves and so on, formal logic gets into trouble. 

(Skimmed chapter 6-10. Boring)

Andy Blunden’s summary of Hegel’s logic:

  • The validity of things as
    moments or stages of development; - validity of
    stages as moments in development of a thing
  • Not definitions, but the
    genesis of a thing; - very important, e.g. in
    application to the problem of USSR, socialism
  • Knowledge begins with Immediate
    perception, but all knowledge is mediated: Being is Nothing; - knowledge starts withh empiricism, but continues as
    thinking on experience
  • The objective immanent movement
    of a thing itself; - each thing has its own stages
    of development, immanent to the nature of the thing
  • Both phenomenon and essence are
    objective;
  • Subjection of all concepts to
    criticism the source of movement and change is internal to external;
  • The Conception of a thing as a
    Unity of Opposites;
  • The discovery of the internal
    contradictions within a thing;
  • Practice is the Criterion of
    Truth;
  • Not the Thing or its Other but
    the Transition between them;
  • The Absolute is Relative and
    there is an Absolute within the Relative;
  • Negation of Negation: the
    retention of the positive within the negative;
  • Quantitative change at a
    certain point becomes qualitative change;
  • The struggle of form and
    content, the content is also a form, the shedding of form and the
    transformation of content into form and form into content;
  • Cause and effect are relative
    moments, merged and canceled in actuality;
  • Chance and necessity are relative moments, merged and canceled in
    actuality;- necessary laws manifest themselves through chance,
    random events, random personalities
  • All that is rational is real,
    all that is real is rational and all that is real deserves to perish;
  • Freedom is the understanding of
    Necessity;
  • The truth of actuality is a
    concept;
  • Knowledge proceeds from
    Abstract to Concrete;
  • The truth is concrete;
  • Subjectivity is also Objective,
    objectivity includes the subject;
  • Analysis and Synthesis are
    inseparable, the alternation between synthesis and analysis;
  • The Means is realised in the
    End, the End is realised in the Means; - in other
    words, you can tell the end by the means used
  • Life is Cognition;
  • Theory is the comprehension of
    Practice.

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