Proposal of a Hegelian Marxism - Annexes - Text
- 1 Annexes
- 1.1 I. On the relationship between Hegel and Marx
- 1.1.1 1. An academical issue... or a mithological one
- 1.1.2 2. Engels, creator of Marxism
- 1.1.3 3. Minimal defense of Dialectical Materialism
- 1.1.4 4. „Hegelians“ and „Anti-Hegelians“: the 20es and 30s
- 1.1.5 5. „Hegelians“ and „Anti-Hegelians“: the polemics of the 60es
- 1.1.6 6. The same "nice little story", in a purely theoretical coding
- 1.1.7 7. "Hegelianisms" without Hegel
- 1.1.8 8. A "Hegelian" Marxism... from Hegel
- 1.1.9 9. Dialectics as political critique
- 1.2 II. Methodological issues
- 1.1 I. On the relationship between Hegel and Marx
I. On the relationship between Hegel and Marx
1. An academical issue... or a mithological one
The problem of the relationship between Hegel and Marx is different from the problem of the relationship between Hegel and Marxist tradition. The first, by itself, is a relatively academic issue. The second is, however, overtly political. Marxist tradition, however, accustomed to the use and abuse of authority argument, presents them both in the same plane, and defends the political interests that are relevant in each of its moments, appealing in a supposedly "objective" way to what Marx would have said or not, and even to what would he would have thought or not.
Of course, on how the Marxists of various ages might have been learning what Marx thought there can only be a deep mystery. Common prudence demands rather sticking to what he said and, in fact, to what he wrote.
Regarding what he said, however, again all methodological precautions aren't enough. We have no recordings nor videos, in which we recorded His Word. Testimonials are all fragmentary, especially on this subject. And there is no reason why they would not, like all living testimony of events, be interested.
The matter should therefore be restricted to what Marx wrote. But if this was easy to do! It happens that most of the preserved writings of Marx were not published during his lifetime. And it is not clear whether Marx himself would have had with his own writings the generosity of Engels, or the editorial rigor of David Ryazanov. Even testimonies about this openly show that he used to feel dissatisfied with what he wrote and that, despite Engels' patience, he refused time and again to deliver his texts to press.
It happens also that precisely those texts in which Marx refers to Hegel, always with the character of sketches or quick references, are among the unpublished. That is, to be loud and clear: among those not authorized by the author for publication.
Still worse. It is known that Engels after Marx's death devoted much time and effort to publish texts that Marx had not published or to republish texts that, due to the precarious character of the early editions, had simply lost. The most notorious cases are volumes II and III of The Capital (1885 and 1894), The Poverty of Philosophy (published in 1847, reissued in 1884), the Critique of the Gotha Program (written in 1875, first published in 1891), The Class Struggle in France (published in 1850, reissued in 1895), The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (written in 1852, first published in 1885). However, precisely the most relevant texts on "Hegel" were not published by Engels.
Of course, these are the manuscripts of the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (whose introduction was published in 1844, and the remaining, little more than a collection of reading notes, only in 1927), the so called "Economic Philosophical Manuscripts from 1844" (a series of reading notes, published only in 1932), and the various texts that make up the German Ideology (written in 1845-46, and published only in 1932). His doctoral thesis, of Hegelian inspiration, Difference Between the Philosophy of Nature according to Democritus and Epicurus written in 1841, was first published in 1929. The text of the Holy Family, Critique of Critical Criticism, published in 1845 in a small edition, was reprinted only in 1917.
The case of the German Ideology is, for the sake, exemplary. We know that Engels had in view the bundle of papers, sewn spine by Marx himself, which were later published by David Ryazanov under that title. He refers to it several times in letters and prefaces. However, when Karl Kautsky writes from Germany to ask him about the new fashion of neo-Hegelianism (Bradley, Bossanquet, Gentile) and the alleged connection of Hegel to Marx, he decides not to publish this manuscript and, in its place, he writes, in 1886, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of classical German Philosophy, a text that refers to the same issue as the manuscript he avoids.
[NOTE ON THE PUBLISHING OF MARX'S MANUSCRIPTS. As is well known, Marx's manuscripts began to be published in full, systematic and careful manner, on initiative by the remarkable Bolshevik non Leninist comrade in his own words, David Zelman Berov Goldendach, who called himself David Ryazanov (1870-1938) . As director of the Marx Engels Institute in Moscow since 1921, Ryazanov promoted the publication of Marx Engels Gesamtausgabe (Complete Works of Marx and Engels), now called MEGA I. Between 1927 and 1935 twelve volumes could be published from a project that included 42. The last ones, though fully designed under his direction, were published by his successor, a bureaucrat, Victor Adoratskii. Among them, in 1932, in one volume, the Manuscripts and the German Ideology were published. Comrade Ryazanov was purged in 1931, during the Stalinist revolution, and finally executed in 1938 after a session of the Revolutionary Court which lasted only fifteen minutes.
Considering the dates, we have to highlight something otherwise clear: neither Lenin (who died in 1924), nor Rosa Luxemburg (murdered in 1919), nor Antonio Gramsci (in jail since 1927), three of the most important Marxists of the twentieth century, could ever read the manuscripts of Marx. Their views on the relationship between Hegel and Marx, therefore, can not come directly from The Master.
A subsequent attempt of Collected Works are the Marx Engels Werke (MEW), published in East Germany (GDR) between 1945 and 1968. To this edition, of 42 volumes in 44 books, was added, after being interrupted for many years, a volume 43 was added in 1989. It was not continued. Finally, a monumental critical edition of Collected Works, called MEGA II, was being planned since 1972 in the Soviet Union. It was to contain 164 volumes. Of these, until 1990, 36 had been published. The project was resumed from 1992 by the MEGA Project, led by the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, which retains to this day many of the original manuscripts, inherited from Engels through Eduard Bernstein. This project, which brings together institutes from Moscow, Berlin and Amsterdam in the Marx Engels Foundation, reduced the project to 114 volumes, of which to date 52 have been published.
As shown, if the method of exegesis of Marx's work continues to rest in notes, letters and texts not published by himself, there is still a very long way to go. A path that may contain some, unfortunately until now simply unimaginable surprises.]
The summary of this complex situation is that of the views of Marx on Hegel we only know of allusions and notes scattered in unpublished letters and manuscripts. Directly, surely claimed by the author, we know almost nothing.
Of course this situation, dreadful to start with for most Marxists, is only "complex" or even "dreadful" under certain assumptions, which such Marxists rarely ever stop to explain.
The first, and the coarsest, is that Marx's authority is sufficient to solve any possible dispute about the meaning or the projections of his work. The notorious rituals of established Marxism rarely go through the idea that Marx may have been wrong, in general, and even more, might have even been mistaken about his own work.
This may seem strange, even sacrilegious, is due to an actually very simple reason, way too simple indeed: an author, especially a great author, does not have to have a clear and distinct consciousness about the influences that operate on his work, and even less about the ways in which he may influence others. It is quite common for big thinkers, according to the interests and contexts to which they are immediately dedicated, to reconstruct the path followed by the development of their work in a different way than what a less committed external observer may find. It is not strange at all when great authors tell us "from the beginning I thought so", or "since long ago that idea has no influence on my thinking".
The issue, as considered from the point of view of a minimally serious history of ideas, is that the author himself is just one of the inputs that should be taken into account to reconstruct his intellectual evolution. It is the first and most important input, of course. But it is only one among many possible inputs.
Of course, this would not be difficult to accept in respect of any other author: but it is Marx. And on this ground, the ritualism of discussions greatly hinders any moderately rational examination.
The second assumption, now about the writing, is that it can give the same kind of authority to a witness to the opinions of an author which comes from a private letter, a reading note, an early writing, an allusion, than to those from texts published and revised by the author for publication. Again, of course, this method only is applied to Marx or Lenin, or Heidegger or Lacan, or Matthew, Luke, Mark and John. That is, with authors where the reverence to their words is more important than the arguments that may be established for, or against them. Nobody disputes in these terms about Weber or Parsons or Luhmann. Nobody argues in these terms about Kant, or Plato or Aquinas.
The third assumption is that Hegel was really a central problem for Marx himself, something he had to rule on urgently and clearly. No evidence shows that this was so. Marx studied Hegel's disciples. He particularly admired Feuerbach, and arguing against him played an important role in his philosophical training. All direct references to Hegel, however, seem to be relatively incidental. Notes, readings that apparently proved evocative to him, but without clearly telling us in what way, a pleasant encounter after many years with the Science of Logic, with us not knowing how far and in what detail he read it.
Of course the relationship between Hegel and Marx could be very important for us, and it may contain keys enabling us to deeply reformulate the political and critical theory. We don't know, however, except for a set of rather vague allusions in the strict sense, whether Marx would have agreed with our urgent so evidently determined by our own problems, which in so many ways are no longer those he faced.
Have I with these arguments discarded all hope of finding a relationship between Hegel and Marx? I sincerely hope that no reader has reached this conclusion just by reading what I have written here. If anyone did, it would make me feel really deeply intrigued.
What I have established is that the problem of the relationship between Hegel and Marx can not be resolved satisfactorily at a purely academic level, attending only to the necessary rigor that the history of ideas should have. At no time here I have argued that there is no such relationship, or that we can not "find it". Furthermore, I will argue is that we need, in a compelling way, to "find" a relationship, to formulate it clearly, and to use it to develop the Marxist theory, and to project it on possible Marxist policies.
But the expression "to find" in this context can only be quoted. This is a "find" that should not be for free, that should not force the texts, or ideas of Marx, beyond reason. But this is a "find" primarily motivated by politics.
The summary, in short, to put it directly, is this: the problem of the relationship between Hegel and Marx is a political problem, not an academic issue. And, as such, it has more to do with us than with the ideas of Hegel and Marx.
Just because we are talking about big thinkers, we can find in them more than one, much more than one relationship between their ideas that is at least generally consistent with what they themselves say. Compatible also asymmetrically: we care more about enriching the potentially revolutionary ideas of Marx than about understanding Hegel's quite real conservatism. To read Hegel in a Marxist way is perhaps more relevant to revolutionary politics than a Hegelian way to read Marx. In the following I will hold both operations. But it should not be a secret, it should not remain implicit, that the general purpose I pursue is to reformulate Marxism in a way that is meaningful to the policy of the XXI century.
2. Engels, creator of Marxism
Who did not doubt for a moment that any relationship between Marx and Hegel was a political rather than an academic issue was Frederick Engels. In a very real, true sense, Engels invented "Marxism". That is, he invented the idea that Marx's work was a general system, able to account for all of reality. To show this, as I noted, he reissued Marx's works that were no longer available, edited and published the manuscripts that seemed important to him, and even completed his works with those theoretical spaces that seemed underrepresented to him. This is the case of his texts Eugene Dühring's Revolution of Science (Anti - Dühring) in 1878, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, written in 1880 and published in 1884, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of classical German Philosophy, published in 1886, and many articles of doctrinal type published in Die Neue Zeit from 1883 until his death.
But also correlative to the establishment of a true canon of works of doctrinaire character, Engels created the difference between orthodoxy and deviance, and its corollary, the idea that there are left and right deviations. In the framework of the Second International, Eduard Bernstein represented the model of a "revisionist" (right deviant), and Rosa Luxemburg the "leftist" (left deviant). Lenin, years later, consecrate this scheme with two symmetrical works: The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky (1918) against revisionism and its reformist consequences, and Leftism, the childhood disease of communism, against the "Bolshevik Left" (1920).
In this canonical construction plan, Engels thought that there was a definite, clearly determinable philosophical base, which supported the work of Marx. A "scientific philosophy" to which he referred to as the "dialectic". His developments on the subject can be found in the Anti - Dühring, where he specifies what he calls "laws of dialectics", in Ludwig Feuerbach, in which he makes explicit in what sense the "philosophy" of Marx would have surpassed that of this thinker, a disciple and critic of Hegel, and in the number of texts written between 1875 and 1885, which were subsequently published in 1925 in the Soviet Union as Dialectics of Nature.
In all these texts, however, he never uses the term "dialectical materialism", which is neither found anywhere in Marx. This figure was introduced by George Plekhanov, who in a similar systematic intention to Engels argued that in Marxism two main parts could be distinguished: dialectical materialism, which operates as a general philosophical basis, and historical materialism, which would be a sort of application of the former to the field of social relations and human history.
When examining the idea that Engels and Plekhanov have of "dialectics" with a philosophical approach, however, what may be found is, just as they themselves seek, but a "scientific philosophy". A conception that compared with the general trends found in the history of modern philosophy, is rather a reformulation of the ideas of Enlightenment, eased through critiques of the ideas of determinism, mechanical action, and externality.
Both cared about emphasizing the conflictual nature of reality, the concatenation of all phenomena, an idea of the conflict presenting it as opposition of contraries, as conflicting interrelationships, and the introduction of a principle that accounts, from the real itself, for the possibility of qualitative changes. Question, the latter, of course, essential to ingrain the idea of revolution in the nature of reality itself.
Major changes, of course. Significant changes, leading the philosophy of Enlightenment to a more complex state, able to present a nearer account for biological phenomena, or the complexities of social life. In many ways it is fair to recognize in this conception a powerful theoretical advance over its enlightened predecessor that, from here, is understandably called "mechanistic".
Of course, the major explicit objective of this theoretical operation is at all times to emphasize the scientific nature of dialectics. To affirm it as "the most general science". And to use this character as a basis for subsequent theories about society, thought and history.
The importance of this purpose, about what is important here is that, from Engels, the main problem involved in the notion of "dialectics" and the overall theme of the relationship between Hegel and Marx, is the relationship between dialectics and science. The whole discussion about the "dialectical logic" will be, from here, a discussion about the best way to understand science.
3. Minimal defense of Dialectical Materialism
Dialectical materialism is widely unpopular today. Given the grim nature of our times that reason alone should spur a minimal defense. "Post Marxist" fashions, almost always professed by former Marxists, please themselves in criticizising its precariousness, that does not stand the multiple and profound critiques that the modern philosophical tradition itself has leveled against its classical period. They criticize its somehow ritual modes of argument. They criticize its naive acceptance of scientific evidence, which has been criticized in many forms in contemporary philosophy of science. And now, when there is no longer any great power or social movement flying it as their worldview, they even criticize with suspicious enthusiasm many issues such as determinism, the claim that historical events can be predicted, messianism, totalitarianism, the subordination of the individual to the state, which just ... never were sustained by dialectical materialists.
A minimal defense, a duty against this somehow detestable line of criticism, may be done in two areas. One purely theoretical, and other political, practical.
On a purely theoretical level perhaps the only moderate, strict and philosophical analysis of dialectical materialism can be found in the remarkable work of the German Jesuit Gustav Andreas Wetter (1911-1991). Even more meritorious when you consider that his studies were conducted during the Cold War, a time unsuited for dispassionate analysis.
Wetter basically argues that dialectical materialism can be compared to the philosophy of nature that can be found in ... Aquinas. In conceptual terms, this would mean a position from which the internal dynamism of the natural reality is recognized, before the mechanistic extremes from the end of the eighteenth century and fully defensible today, when natural science itself has overcome those extremes.
One way to visualize this possible validity, as a conception of nature, can be seen in the excellent introduction to the science of the twentieth century made by astronomer and exobiologist Carl Sagan (1934-1996), in his famous Cosmos series . Engels' happiness is perfectly conceivable if he could have seen it. Its contents are fully compatible with those the battered Soviet ideology widely taught and disseminated.
Because the latter is a significant, practical and political fact: dialectical materialism is perhaps the broadest mass philosophy that has existed in human history. For the first time a radically secular, deeply naturalist and humanist philosophy educated, trained, an entire people, in a span which was also incredibly short. In the rest of Europe the philosophy of the Enlightenment, which was the ideological support to the process of industrial revolution, never really achieved its independence of its deep connection to Christianity. In the Soviet Union, a powerful totalitarian state apparatus made a daunting cultural revolution, which led to a nation of a hundred million peasants to their full integration into modernity in just forty years.
It is through dialectical materialism that the Soviet people experienced the huge existential and political developments involving the forced industrial revolution. It is through its mediation that a huge crusade collecting scientific talents was put into place, who with unlimited support by the state, came to shape the twentieth century's greatest national scientific community.
The usual critics, blinded by the Cold War, or by the aftermath of the post modern disillusionment, are unaware that under the influence of this philosophy, which can be considered quite poor even from the point of view of science, great scientists were formed and produced, who argued notable theories using it as a foundation.
Even the simplest enumeration may be overwhelming. The contributions to neurology of Alexander Luria and Anatoly Leontiev, the psychology and theories of education, critical of the Pavlovian canon, of L.S. Vygotsky and P.K. Anokhin, the critical contributions to quantum physics of A.D. Alexandrov and V.A. Fock, the cosmological theories of O. Schmidt, V.M. Ambartsumian and G.I. Naan, the theories on the origin of life of A. Oparin. To cite only those who explicitly refer to dialectical materialism as the philosophy their work is based on.
Still, however, there may be mentioned some who, such as those above, are among the most important scientists of the twentieth century. A.N. Kolmogorov, I.M.Gelfand and O.B. Lupanov in mathematics. I. Kapitza, Lev Landau and Y.B. Zeldovich, in physics. B.P. Belusov, N.N. Semenov and A.N. Frumkin, in chemistry. All of them formed in this spirit, and recognizers of its influence.
Of course, for the critics, the abuses and persecutions promoted by Trifim Lysenko, specially the case of Nikolai Vavilov, who died in prison for defending a "bourgeois pseudo-scientific" genetics, are sufficient to override, and even olympically ignore all that huge creativity, without which the science of the twentieth century would be very different. It should be sufficient to state as a fact, that after the fall of the USSR, the European, American and Japanese scientific communities are filled with Russian surnames, which are reputed today as top scientists. Or again, one more annoying thing, just see how after this political collapse the lists of Nobel Prizes were filled, for many years, by great Soviet eminences, being recognized in their old age, dramatically a posteriori.
Just as Wetter is the reference in the philosophical level, to dispassionately examine the relationship between dialectics and science in the USSR it is necessary to resort to the extraordinary studies by Loren R. Graham, a perfectly American academic, now Ph.D. in Columbia, Professor Emeritus of the Science, Technology and Society Program at MIT who, since 1970, also during the Cold War, was dedicated to the topic.
4. „Hegelians“ and „Anti-Hegelians“: the 20es and 30s
However, despite all considerations that can be made for or against the site of "dialectics" in Marxism, one thing should be perfectly clear: very little of it has really to do with Hegel. In Marxism using Hegel is academically and politically more relevant than actual knowledge about his work.
It is not difficult to show that the considerations of classical Marxists, say, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Kautsky, Trotsky, Gramsci, Mao Tse Tung, to cover a wide spectrum, are only weakly supported by direct references to texts of Hegel and completely lack the dedication and difficulty that is famously required for a fairly serious consideration of all of his work.
The most blatant case is perhaps that of Lenin, who in his exile found time to read parts of the Science of Logic and, as a careful reader, took a series of notes on many paragraphs of this work. In these notes, published as "Philosophical Notebooks" in Moscow in 1933, Lenin is revealed as an intelligent, thorough reader, especially with a clear idea of the political consequences that he wants to get from his readings. H can not be regarded, however, as a specialized reader, or as a close connoisseur of the philosophical context in which the texts of Hegel were originated. It is not even possible to share many of his estimates of what Hegel would have meant, that in light of the most basic "hegelology" are simply wrong.
Again, then, I can insist on the central point. The use of Hegel is more political than academic. The philosophy "of Hegel" is a discursive element rather than a real argument.
But even if we assume that the issue should be discussed in these terms, what we find in the Marxist tradition is a long dispute between those who could be considered "Hegelian" and those who openly declare themselves as "anti Hegelian".
The controversy occurs mainly in two periods, first in the 20s and 30s in the Soviet Union, then in the 50s and 60s, in the context of what has been called "Western Marxism". It isn't banal to remember that all this happened ... in the last century.
Interestingly, both the "victorious" side as well as the political sign of that "victory" is, in each case, almost exactly the reverse. This also shows that it is not in the plane of dialectics where the essential conflict is played out, but rather this is used as a rhetorical element in a discussion that goes far beyond, and, of course, is more political than philosophical.
In the 20s and 30s, in the Soviet Union, amid the storms that would give rise to the Stalinist revolution, there was a controversy between "dialecticals" and "mechanisticists". The latter named that way by the former. For one thing, the most important of the "dialecticals" is Abram Moiseevich Ioffe, who used the name Deborin (1881-1963), a close disciple of George Plekhanov, who can be identified as the true inventor of Diamat,  in its official and final version. Furthermore, the most important "mechanisticists" were Liubov A. Akselrod (1868-1946), I.I. Stepanov (1870-1928) and A.K. Timiarazov (1880-1955), who reformulated the criticism from O.S. Minin and E.S. Enchmen against philosophy in general, who had already been labeled as "vulgar materialists" by Nikolai Bukharin, then considered the "the top theoretician of the Party".
The discussion begins with articles from Minin and Enchmen in 1920, in which they call for the exclusion of philosophy from Marxist thought, under the very typical charge of "metaphysics" against, moreover, all the founders of Social Sciences. Akselrod, in 1922, following the conviction of "Enchmenism" (which remained an ideological sin for a long time), calls for a complete reduction of philosophy to criteria of truth and scientific argumentation. Again a fairly common idea in contemporary European philosophy, without going further, in the Logical Empiricism of the Vienna Circle. In this context Akselrod and Timiarazov criticize the "Hegelian" influences on Marxist philosophy, where they see a germ of dogmatic metaphysics which may lead to political positions of totalitarian type. An indictment, as seen, very common among the opponents of the philosophy of Hegel.
These propositions, just like their analogues among contemporary European philosophers, have little to do with Hegel himself, but has, however, a component that is politically relevant, and dangerous at the time: its reference to totalitarianism. Deborin intervened since 1924, both in favor of the "Hegelian" inheritance, as well as for its "revolutionary" implications, citing the texts from Engels' Dialectics of Nature, published just for the occasion in 1925, and affirming the tradition coming from Plekhanov. The controversy was resolved at a meeting of the philosophical section of the Academy of Sciences in April 1929 ... by show of hands! And the "Mechanisticists" were never seen again. Most of them just got lost in the many obscurities of the Gulag.
Deborin, however, was not immune himself. He was criticized in 1931 as "idealizing Menshevik" by none less than Iosif Vissarionovich Jugashvili , which, despite the grim consequences that could ensue only meant he stopped publishing over the next twenty years, holding a comfortable seat of honor at the Academy of Sciences and to be rehabilitated at the time of Nikita Khrushchev. He died in 1963 surrounded by honors and awards, after the release of the many writings of his days of silence.
The second chapter of this story was incubated still during the time of the first major controversy, but only achieved notoriety in the 60s. Since the 20s many Marxist philosophers had warned of the "mechanical" nature of Soviet dialectical materialism itself. Their influence, however, was largely muted by the political success of the Stalinist formulas.
One of the first ones among them is Antonio Gramsci, whose critique of the manual entitled The ABC of Communism, written by Nikolai Bukharin and Evgeni Preobrazhensky, which Lenin had described as "a beautiful book, on the highest level", was quietly silenced by Palmiro Togliatti, his successor in the leadership of the Italian Communist Party, while he was in exile in Moscow.
Another completely independent attempt is from Georg Lukacs who, in contact with Marx' 1844 Manuscripts, for his work at the Marx Engels Institute in Moscow, starting from History and Class Consciousness (1923), developed a vision of Marxism much closer to Hegel's philosophy than any of his contemporaries. Criticized by Deborin and B.M. Mitin as "subjective idealist, however, he began a long and dramatic series of advances and retreats, arrests of bravery and forced recantations, involving most of his work in Stalinist rhetoric, completely unsuitable for the matter, and that shed as its final result a number of doubts about the degree, and even the mode, he really would have been prepared to found the Marxist philosophy on Hegel's.
The breadth and depth of the work of Georg Lukacs make him undoubtedly into one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. His dramatic relationship with Stalinism says something very central with respect to any philosophical exercise in that terrible century. His situation is quite comparable to that of Heidegger regarding Nazism. However he has been criticized for it in an excessive and decontextualized manner. Today it is one of the commonplaces of academic philosophy, in particular the so called "postmodern" variants, to bitterly criticize Lukacs, almost just like "understanding" Heidegger in an equally excessive and decontextualized manner.
A minimal comparison, however, shows a Lukacs taking advantage of every opportunity in which the political conditions show some degree of opening to criticize totalitarian politics, as compared to the stubborn silence of Heidegger, even under the most favorable conditions, facing general knowledge of Nazi crimes. A philosopher who was Minister of Culture during the attempt to democratize the Hungarian socialism under Imre Nagy, and was punished for it, compared to a philosopher who continued to send his contributions to the National Socialist Party by regular mail until 1946, when the reality Holocaust was widely public, and even the Nazi Party did not even exist any more.
Regarding our subject, however, the situation of Lukacs, despite what you might believe, is rather ambiguous. In Young Hegel (1938), he presents an unlikely Hegel, almost becoming a forerunner of Marxism, and groundlessly takes over the legend that distinguishes between the "young", almost a Socialdemocrat, and an "old" conservative and reactionary. A legend which, to the current canons of studies on Hegel, is simply untenable. In The Assault on Reason (1954), a subtle and profound work, despite its rhetoric of that time, describes irrationalism in German philosophically thinking in an incisive way, but unfortunately partial from the point of view of the historical contexts that would allow to understand it.
In the overall assessment Lukacs's work seems closer to Schiller, even to Kantian aesthetics, reinterpreted in a historicist way, than to the work of Hegel. Certainly this can not be marked as a defect. Differences between the philosophy of one great thinker and another can not be perceived as "misinterpretations"; they are, by themselves, another philosophy. And that I think is a good approach to the dramatic and profound Lukacs: his views on Hegel teach us much more of his own thinking than of Hegelian philosophy.
A third side of these "Hegelian" readings of the 20s and 30s is represented by thinkers such as Ernst Bloch (1885-1977), Karl Korsch (1886-1961) and Herbert Marcuse (1898-1980), which are among the first, as Lukacs, to know the Marx Manuscripts, published in 1932, and to be influenced by them. The immense erudition of Bloch and the philosophical radicalism of Korsch operate again, however, on the clichés established about Hegel. They try to defend him from the charge of being the precursor of totalitarianism. They try to portray him as a humanist. They take on the myth that philosophy is but disguised theology. But they do not distance themselves from the idea that we should separate in him a "rational kernel" which resides mainly in the "dialectic", from a "mystical shell" which would relate to the alleged Hegelian commitment to the idea of a God superior to history, or a historical "spirit" that would leave no room for the autonomy of the citizen. Myths which, like many others on Hegelian philosophy, modern scholars consider also simply unsustainable.
Incidentally, both Lukacs and Korsch as well as Bloch, share the fate of doing philosophy in the crossfire. They are criticized bitterly, unceremoniously, by Soviet ideologues and are both ignored, or referred laterally and somewhat derogatorily by the mandarins of European philosophy. This treatment, close to caricature, will worsen in the 60s with the structuralist "philosophers".
5. „Hegelians“ and „Anti-Hegelians“: the polemics of the 60es
The powerful influence of Lukacs, Bloch, Korsch and to a lesser degree, Marcuse, is felt in the 40s and 50s at least in three schools. One is the Marxism influenced by existentialism in France, Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980), Roger Garaudy (1913) and Henri Lefebre (1901-1991). Another is the "School of Frankfurt", particularly Theodor Adorno (1903-1969). And in the Praxis Group, also called the "School of Belgrade", which brought together leading thinkers like Mihailo Markovic (1927), Predrag Vraniki (1922-2002), and Gajo Petrovic (1927-1993). All of them could share the overall qualification as representatives of a "humanist Marxism". Several among them explicitly defended it.
Generally speaking, the task was to set up an alternative Marxism to what had become the official ideology of the Soviet state. It was to root Marxist thought in the humanism seen in the early writings of Marx and in the critique of the authoritarianism prevailing in the socialist countries.
Far from the Trotskyist politics that sought similar goals, these thinkers firmly believed in the political and social returns that philosophy could render.
Just this political urgency, however, means that, in general, their discussions about "dialectics" have more to do with distancing themselves from the official dialectical materialism than with a direct and profound appeal to the Hegelian Logic. You might say, now in a very different political world, and with over forty years of perspective, that they were trapped in the stigma associating the figure of Hegel with Soviet scholasticism, advocated so strongly by the supporters of official Marxism Leninism as noted, at once, by the academic philosophers of non-socialist countries. In this dilemma (Hegel defended and attacked at the same time for the same reason: as a precursor of totalitarianism), they resorted to other theoretical sources to "purify" the dialectics from its "mystical veil", from its conservative look.
There is the strategy shared by Sartre, Kosik, Lefebvre and Marcuse to use a leftist extension of Husserl's phenomenology, associating it with a more or less explicit criticism of its conservative extension in Heidegger. Adorno's strategy, close to Garaudy's, through his "negative dialectics", built on a mystified misreading of Hegel's Logic, which uses a historicization of Kant's ethics, without understanding the deep keys of the historicization proposed by Hegel. There is the strategy of the Praxis Group to dissolve the actual logical problem of dialectics in a philosophy of social action, in a radical sociology.
Generally when traversing this universe of texts, so ingrained by their authors in concrete, anti-bureaucratic politics, against the exercise of academic evasion by official philosophy on either side of the wall, one feels enormous sympathy for their leftist will, their deeply rebellious vocation. But very little may be found of Hegel himself, even when it is directly claimed.
Of course, that political urgency was much more important than a particular philosopher, even if somehow one of their banners. The matter beyond its immediacy, is whether this appeal to the concrete can solve what philosophy wants to solve. And the issue, now explicitly political, is whether the enemies against which they fought are the same, or are even comparable to those we face today.
What the continuers of that humanist Marxism do today, attacked by viruses of nostalgia, overwhelmed by the din of defeat, is but repeat it. They try to accommodate to the new realities of post-Fordism and globalization, to the Internet and new forms of mass manipulation. They insist on applying such long-standing rhetorics created for realities that no longer exist, for realities that exceed them. They reinterpret, translate the new appealing to the operation of thinking on the old. Not only philosophy, especially politics, require us to go beyond this horizon, however noble it was at its time.
The critique of these Marxists of "Hegelian" type was launched, however, as is well known, already in the 60s, from the ostentatious academic arrogance that was called "structuralism". Marxist structuralism advocated for at least fifteen years (1958-1973) by Louis Althusser (1918-1990), (who later led, Lacan mediating, what was called "post-structuralism") and widely disseminated, especially in Latin American universities through popular books by Marta Harnecker. At their time, Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, Etienne Balibar and many other celebrities, proudly declared themselves "structuralists", each of which, years later, would end up denying it, even retroactively: "we never were".
Althusser, who just as Foucault and many of the French fashionable intellectuals, in his youth was a fervent Catholic, is universally known for his "anti-humanism", "anti-historicism" and "anti economism". He tried, in his own way, to rescue the truly scientific character of Marxism unintentionally repeating, and probably without knowing, Akselrod's gesture in the 20s. His political purpose, interestingly, is directed against the same scholastic and ideological Marxism professed by bureaucratic socialisms, which is the adversary of his "humanist" opponents.
Unfortunately his criticism against these "humanists", suspect of petty bourgeois deviation, is vastly more radical and acid than the one he says to be running against bureaucracy, which apparently he assumes as obvious. His later drift to post structuralism only accentuates his anti humanist arguments, generalizing them now against any utopian horizon emerged from modernity. Perhaps to his fortune, his unfortunate health condition prevented him in his later years from attending the catastrophic disintegration of the philosophical and political tradition he helped to found. And from witnessing the way he is today an excuse for political evasion, or somersault, in the intellectual circles which admired him that much.
It is not difficult to show the surprising ignorance with which Althusser and his followers addressed the philosophy of Hegel. Common places. Elementary confusion of philosophical terms in common use. A reading long-held in "what is said" more than in the texts themselves of the philosopher, referring more to dictionary myths and legends than to the effective philosophical context. A reading that ascribes to the main terms of Hegelian philosophy an absolutely different semantic field than the one explicitly conferred by the author. In their early days they criticize him as a romantic obscurantist, in their "post" time they rather identify him with an Enlightened arch rationalist, ie the exact opposite. Finally, the list of purely academic "difficulties" involving their interpretation could be quite long. The important thing here is to enter this rough estimate: the allegations of Marxist structuralism has nothing to do directly with Hegel. His philosophy is more a place in them condensing everything they want to criticize of modernity than a strict reference.
The results of the controversies surrounding Hegel in the 60s are almost as deplorable as those of the 30's "Hegelian" are "defeated" as had previously been the "anti-Hegelians", but this time they do not go to the Gulag, but to the endless canyons of nostalgia and loss in general. The "anti-Hegelian" "succeed," but only at the price of devouring themselves in less than a decade. The remnants of one and another haunt us to this day, as a kind of theoretical ghosts, just as the ghosts of the darkest years of Stalinism tormented them.
The crisis of the "post" fashions that have come to make evident their essential anti politics and even in more than one case, downright anti leftist vocation, has meant the revival of several noble "old sixties" with their always prevailing humanism. Young people come to them with the same attitude of a funny hit song, "Dad, tell me again the story of students as nice bangs, sweet urban guerrilla in bell bottoms, and songs of the Rolling [Stones] and girls in mini skirt ... ". Our most committed scholars often confuse the simple stubbornness of nostalgia with militant commitment, they often given to this curious spectacle.
6. The same "nice little story", in a purely theoretical coding
I have the painful feeling that I have devoted pages and pages here the barren counting craze, so typical of nostalgia. May God, who does not exist, help me get rid of it forever. At least I will have satisfied, to some extent, the anxiety of those who expect all theoretical consideration to be framed in some sort of chronology. As if the (hi)story was written in another (hi)story could still be useful, even in a radically different world.
I will try, therefore, in what follows, address the issue from a purely argumentative perspective. Following the concept, the subject itself, beyond those who represented it, and the reasons that took them to do so.
You could say that the key to all these discussions in the Marxist tradition always involves a central point: the relationship between "dialectics" and "science". For the so-called "Hegelians", dialectics is nothing but a form of science. Or "the most general", or the one obtained from pursuing a "critical thinking". For the "anti Hegelians", dialectics can only be considered truly scientific if it is clearly separated from metaphysics, following, in general, the figure of a "non-mechanistic" "non-positivist" science.
Note, of course, that after so many rivers of ink about it, basically it is the same attempt: how to make the job better than scientific. Let's specify.
The formula that best defines dialectics from the standpoint of dialectical materialism was already formulated by Friedrich Engels: Dialectics is nothing more than the science of the general laws of motion and development of nature, human society and thought"
The dialectic itself, a science. The relationship would be of generality. There are special sciences and there is "a science of the general laws".
Of course this presupposes a vision in which there would exist different "levels of reality" that the texts of dialectical materialism listed again and again: an physical-chemical level, a biological organic level, a relatively simple social level, the level of human history as a general process. These "levels" of complexity justify specific sciences. But all of them would have laws that hold in every context in a common way.
Engels himself made the first enumeration of these laws: the law of unity and struggle of opposites, which determines the transition from accumulation of quantitative changes to qualitative transformation, the law of negation of negation. Subsequent treatise writers, without departing too much from this basic plan, would list some other or explicitly formulate some conditions considered fundamental at the doctrinal level as additional "laws": the primacy of matter over consciousness, and as a projection of this the primacy of social being over thought, the reflection theory as the basic mechanism of knowledge, and yet some others.
For the tradition of humanist Marxists, however, the best way to define dialectics is in contrast to "mechanism" that is commonly associated with defects such as determinism, positivism, one-sidedness in analysis, and reductionism. These defects, in turn, are often criticized for leading to disavow the role of subjectivity and drown the historic initiative, for translating into economism, for promoting fatalism and resignation to authoritarianism. Needless to add that all these features were attributed by humanist Marxists not only to usual positivism, or common determinism, but also to the philosophy of dialectical materialism spread by the Soviet school.
Put in these terms, the general issue is "don't be mechanistic (or positivist) but dialectical". That is, the relation is an alternative. Dialectics is then a critical alternative to less desirable forms of science. It would be a deeper form of science.
Two versions might be characteristic. For Gramsci, first, the way to find such an alternative is to emphasize historicism: locating and historicizing. For Adorno, on the other hand, this way would be epistemologically criticizing positivism. In both cases it would be appropriate to use the idea that "dialectics is equivalent to critical thinking" as a way to summarize. With this formula both the epistemological nature of the project as well as its political intent are linked. Of course, talk is of "critical thinking" in terms of theory, but rather, with perhaps more emphasis, of "practical critical policies". The confluence of these two aspects is what is called, very broadly, "philosophy of praxis".
Both the solutions presented by the "anti Hegelians" as well as their political intentions are strangely similar to those of the opponents fought in a "theoretical struggle" ... as sterile as enthusiastic. On the one hand, what they saw as "truly scientific" dialectics is hardly distinguishable from the repeated calls of "humanists" to locate each problem in its social and political context, and to place each social context in the historical situation which determines it. On the other, in both you will find virtually the same calls for a "critical political practice", almost in the same terms. Even, without apparent difficulty, they were also able to call their position "philosophy of praxis". Unless, of course, for the reluctance to use a term so loaded with bourgeois connotations like "philosophy".
Taken from a distance, the critiques to Althusserian "historicism" seem mounted on a (deterministic and teleological) idea of history none of the humanist philosophers would have accepted, and that is therefore attributed to them without any justification, in a dialogue of the deaf, which unfortunately has been quite common in the history of Marxism. The same applies to the allegations against the "economic reductionism" which, carefully considered, was not defended virtually any moderately relevant Marxist, even in the Soviet Union.
When directly reading the writings of the major defendants, such as Kautsky, or Bukharin, or Deborin, and it should be noted that the charges often reached Engels, and even Marx (the "young"), what is found is an unexpected dose of restraint in judgments, of complexity in global approaches, of counterbalances between some statements that seem sharp and others that compensate them.
The procedure applied by structuralist Marxists when these difficulties are reported with respect to their Olympic "demonstrations" has invariably been visibly crafty: partial declarations are cited out of context, quotes of propaganda formulas are used as if they literally represented the theoretical constructs they translate, or oblique statements are used like "this idea tends to that consequence ...".
In summary, a history of boundless intellectual arrogance, worse for worse, sterility on sterility, did not lead but to its own self destruction.
7. "Hegelianisms" without Hegel
The conspicuous absence of Hegel's philosophy itself from these endless debates about Hegel represents their common seal, in my opinion. It is the central hub that links all positions, beyond the annoying differences so heatedly discussed.
The same can be said otherwise. The common assumption in all these discussions is a strangely uncritical view of the historical significance of science itself. In all these writers the word "science" is used simply as a synonym for "truth" or "the best truth." Everything is historical, even for the most historicists, except the idea that knowledge as such is deeply determined by its historical origin.
But, before giving way to the anxieties and surprises of those who claim to have established this exhaustively since over half a century, let us specify more carefully to what historicity each one is referring.
Very few, even in large sections of non-Marxist thought, do have any doubt about the historicity of scientific knowledge. The implicit difference in this simple statement is that one could distinguish between an epistemological aspect of truth, truth as known to the observer, and an ontological substratum of truth as such, that would be contained in the object itself.
The vast majority of those who speak of historicity of knowledge are actually referring to the "historicity" of ignorance. The truth itself, the truth of the object, the truth of what is held as "reality as such", has no history. What has history is our knowledge that, according to the classical formulas of dialectical materialism, is approaching truth progressively (every time we are closer), in a contradictory manner (with advances and retreats) and cumulatively (there already are, in the accumulated knowledge, matters that are true as such, that correspond to the object).
What is formulated in this way is rather a sociology of knowledge that a real question posed on the possibility of knowing. And virtually no one would doubt that advances in knowledge are in fact strongly influenced by the social environment in which science develops. Around these vicissitudes all kinds of stories have been told, all kinds of moralizing consequences, since the time of the Enlightenment. That is precisely much of the Enlightenment project.
Indeed, in this sociology it is assumed without further question that we have at least some knowledge on the real that can be considered correct in an objective sense. Especially in the field of natural sciences. The most popular argument about this is merely the old reference to technological efficiency: if the techniques we have derived from our knowledge are effective, then this knowledge can be considered true. An argument that, despite its apparent forcefulness, unfortunately does not withstand logical analysis. An argument, however, which shows that it is just not about the historicity the real as such, but of our efforts to master it.
To put it in reverse, very few Marxist brought historicism to the degree of relativizing in it the reality as a whole. What the most "dialectical" readily accepted is that social realities, those that have to do with human history, are profoundly historical. Saving, however, a consistent prudence when deciding on the possible historicity of nature, of the reality that is implicitly expressed as "external" to human history, except, of course, the claim that that reality is subject to evolutionary laws. Most even inadvertently confuse the two concepts by simply calling "history" the fact that there are evolutionary processes. A confusion, of course, that removes any interest in the concept of history: while "evolution" is something that happens to objects according to given laws, acting on them from outside in an unavoidable way, the real "history" can only be that scope proper of subjects, ie, the space in which they display the power of their freedom, building or repealing the laws that govern them.
The problem, in terms of the vexed politics of the time, was not risking "petty bourgeois idealism", an unwanted conception according to which individuals have the power to create the reality by themselves. "Obviously" an expression of the characteristic subjectivism of the decay of scientific culture. And obviously too an extreme philosophical simplification that does not stand the slightest confrontation with what the classical philosophers of modernity thought, in a much more sane way, about it.
However, when we turn our attention to those Marxists who took forward the issue of historicism, like Gramsci, Lukacs and Bloch, who never commited the triviality of confusing history with evolution, or with temporal succession, and deeply assumed the connection between the notion of history and the idea of human freedom, we find similar hesitations. We also find them in the allegations, which do not have the explicit form of historicism, of Adorno, Marcuse or Kosik. Again there is a tendency to accept, even radically, the historicity of human affairs, and to shun it in the case of "the exterior". In several of them, an issue particularly clear in Adorno, what is found is a "historicized" version of the Kantian idea of indeterminate in itself. The outer reality, that on which human history has been built, would in itself be unknowable, but in any case, real: something must be there. Human history can not be, by itself, everything.
The idea of limiting the historicity of reality to human affairs is, of course, quite plausible. Especially for a common sense educated in the modern operation of thinking. But it is an idea that, however plausible it appears, has its consequences. The most important is that maintaining a level of reality on which human initiatives are simply powerless.
What happens with this is that if the inescapable "outside" reality takes the form of Kant's unknowable, nothing prevents that we put cheating on it, again and again, the metaphysical foundations that we supposedly, on the other hand, decline. These are fundamentals operating as "cores of pre-determination" that, in practice, are as peremptory as would be defined and knowable determinations. The original and prototypical case is the unknowable God postulated in the Critique of Practical Reason by Kant. An entity without which, according to Kant, the possibility of morality can not be guaranteed. An entity that, despite being "unknowable", puts us as universal and necessary condition of any moral act ... just the Christian morality.
Similarly, you can always "postulate" this internal trend, or that other outer limit which, although indeterminate in its nature and possibility of control, unavoidably conditions us. This is the case of the famous "finitudes" of human condition, supported by philosophers like Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer or Heidegger: loneliness, death, isolation, lack ... market laws.
Worse is the case when that "outside" is thought as determined and knowable. In this alternative we are at the mercy of the "discoverers" of natural limits, specially "biological" ones, of the human condition. A whole army of ethologists and neurophysiologists willing to "scientifically show" that we are selfish because of natural selection, or are aggressive due to neuronal functioning. From there to show that the laws governing the capitalist market or the bureaucratic paternalism are rooted in our genes there is but a step. In to counter, at least philosophically, we can only wield our good will or our spirit of "impose ourselves to our own nature" through some ethical formula, the best style of "petty bourgeois idealism", now in its ethical form, we supposedly wanted to fight.
It is in this crucial issue where Marxists who can be called "Hegelian" lack any roots in the philosophy of Hegel. Which is to say, without further ado, that they completely lack what is essential in that philosophy. Or, to put it directly: only from the Hegelian philosophy is it possible to think a radically and absolute historicism. A form of historicism that puts absolutely all human affairs under the sovereignty of human beings themselves.
8. A "Hegelian" Marxism... from Hegel
For a Hegelian Marxism thought from Hegel's Logic, rather than from the political-philosophical emergencies of the moment, the historicity of science is rooted in the historicity of reality itself, of all of reality. Or, to put it both in the most direct and hard way: it is rooted in the fact that what we call "nature" is merely an externalization of human history, of our own history.
This makes that science not only is the epistemological expression of a truth, which in itself would be outside and prior to it, but the truth is also in an ontological sense: the truth of a particular, historically finite, experience of reality.
But it also makes that the word "science" can not be used any more abstractly as a synonym for truth, or as the best possible truth. Used in strictly historical terms, the word "science" does not refer but to the modern experience of the real. To modern knowledge, and to the operation of thought which chairs that knowledge about the real. 
Every human culture has had knowledges in a theoretical and especially in an operational sense, that can be considered "true" with respect to their own criteria of truth and practical effectiveness. Science, historically considered, is one such knowledge. The most complex, which, tautologically, seems more plausible to us, but not the last imaginable.
To the same extent that modernity, ie, capitalist industrial culture, with its post industrial and bureaucratic extensions, is surmountable, so also science, rooted in it, is surmountable.
It is from this premise, derived from the radical historicism contained in Hegelian philosophy, that the following can be held: dialectics is a way of historically overcoming scientific rationality. A form that contains it, as a premise, and yet transcends it from a horizon of greater complexity.
Let's do a very quick recap here. My argument is that the relationship between science and dialectic does not need to be thought of in terms of generality or alternative, but can be thought of, rather, as a historical connection.
A historic relation not only in an epistemological but, more radically, in an ontological sense. The laws of reality itself are what will change. We will not just meet the given in our finitude, to use it on a benevolent basis for the benefit of all. What we will do is revolutionizing the laws of reality itself. We will produce a radically different reality, different to the one that condemns us, like if it were a nature, as if it were a sign of our finiteness, to class struggle. There is absolutely nothing, neither in nature nor in our human condition, that essentially prevents us from radically transforming history. Everything we call nature, or finitude, we have put ourselves, historically, reifying the differences that we ourselves have created as alienation. We are free, we are infinite: that is the deepest message that Hegelian logic can bring to Marxism.
I will examine the key connotations of each of these three ways of understanding dialectics in a Marxist context: dialectics as most general science, dialectics as critical thinking, dialectics as overcoming science, comparing them systematically to each other. For this I will respectively consider as paradigmatic authors of these positions: Abram Deborin and the Soviet school, for dialectical materialism, Gramsci and Adorno, for historicist dialectics, and Pérez, for now, in the name of materialist dialectics.
Dialectical materialism is a naturalistic scientific philosophy, rooting the social relations in the relationship between nature and culture. In this conception, dialectics is a science and as such a method. In this method a difference in principle between subject and object is assumed, and a relationship of critical realism is sustained, .i.e a flexible version of positivist objectivism, which recognizes the social determination of the progress of knowledge. The externality between subject and object is collected here in the "theory of reflection", which assumes that the knowable is objective for itself, and that it is the process of knowledge which is socially influenced. Of course, under these assumptions, it is considered that the Being is generally anterior and exterior to the act of knowing it.
This is a philosophy that understands consciousness as a set of representations and ideas, as something that occurs in individuals but is strongly determined from its social context. It is a conception in which subjects are basically individuals, but a collective (collection) may operate as a subject given a close relationship between the social interests of its members.
For this philosophy, ideology is "false consciousness" in the sense not only of profit-seeking knowledge, but of the presupposed difference between true and false. Going from ideology to science would tantamount going from a misconception of reality to another true one. "Making consciousness" would mean in this case to make truth triumph over falsehood.
The explanation of the origin of ideology, and its opposition to science, is formulated from a theory of interest, and from the primacy of formal logic and objective empirical knowledge in relation to it.
For dialectical materialism matter is dialectical, i.e., it meets, in a first place and in a foundational way, the general laws that have been established as the "dialectical method". Given this foundational reality, historical materialism is an application of this method, and an acknowledgment of those fundamental laws, at the scope of human society and history.
To historicist dialectics, dialectics can be understood as critical thinking. The relationship between subject and object is no longer of externality, but of co-creation. A relationship in which knowledge is an interaction in which there always remains an unknowable, external background, but where what matters is the human capacity to change reality, and produce its own humanity in that activity.
The social determination of knowledge is carried beyond the theory of reflection, and is considered constitutive. From that basis, then, the difference between "true" and "false" is radically historicized, while knowledge is always understood as an "outlook", proper and inseparable from social interests. This makes that the conception of the world both of the dominant and the dominated classes is recognized as an ideology, and "to make consciousness" means rather to recognize ones own situation, in social relationships, than a simple step from falsehood to an entirely distinct truth. The "truth" becomes thus more a political assessment that a finding on objective facts. Something must be done, rather than found.
The origin of ideology here is profoundly historical, and fighting it can not be done from the standpoint of abstract truth, but rather from the formulation of an ideology of the opposite class. Thus the essential thing is not so much the supposedly objective knowledge, but how the real, and knowledge itself, are involved in the class conflict.
For this conception, dialectical materialism is but a naturalism and the philosophy Marxism is based on would rather be historical materialism. Only in the context of the latter might it be possible to account for the eventual validity or usefulness of the first.
Historicist dialectics assume human groups, in particular social classes, as the real subjects. The individual is thus almost entirely a product of its insertion in the class. Two questions remain, however, untouched by this eventual absorption into the collective: a radical defense of the freedom of the individual agents, even over their social determinations, and a curiously implicit acceptance of natural determinations operating as limits on the physical reality of the individual, and establishing him, in an insurmountable core, as such.
From the point of view of a materialist dialectics, in the above two concepts the word "dialectics" does only refer to exetrnal forms of interrelation. A "close relationship", in the first case, a "co-creation", in the second, they both assume, however, the prior reality of related terms. The founding idea of this concept, instead, is the idea of internal relation, of a differentiated whole, without a prior and unknowable outside.
Thinking in terms of totality means, in this case, asserting an absolute historicism, in which there isn't anything external to human history, all beyond is a beyond itself, and any difference is thought as contradiction, as opposite internal difference.
Under these conditions, knowledge is nothing but a projection of the experience producing the object in an integral sense. This is not a finding nor a co-creation but, truly, the production of the Being as such, in the framework of human history.
The subject-object relationship here is an internally contradictory differentiated identity. But there are no "objective objects" that are by themselves. Everything experienced as an object is nothing but an "objectified object".
Dialectics, in this view, corresponds to the operation of Being as such, to the becoming Being of Being. Just as epistemological projection, it can also be regarded as the historically conditioned structure of the operation of thinking. Dialectics, as overcoming of the operation of the thinking that is science, can be understood as an ontological logic. The logic of the unfolding itself of human self-production.
While in dialectical materialism matter is dialectical, here dialectics should be called material. Material not in the sense of chemistry or physics, but in the historical sense we experience social relations as if they were natural.
This experience can be called consciousness. Thus consciousness is not a set of ideas or representations, but a field of actions, of real experiences. A way of life in which the object is experienced as given. Facing it, the experience of what appeared given, external, natural, and is actually our product, a product objectified from human action, may be called self-consciousness.
Ideology, with this is not the passage from truth to falsehood, but from consciousness to self-consciousness. "Making consciousness" means, in this context, to create self-consciousness, that is, engage in experiences that demonstrate the radical historicity of what we experience. In ideology, understood this way, there is nothing true or false in itself. Everything in ideology is true. What happens is that truth itself is split. Every truth, in this double truth, is but the own experience of those who struggle. The experience that what is at stake in this fight is their own life. Their way of being in the contradiction that constitutes the social.
Each of these ideas on the relationship between science and dialectics contains a reconstruction around the relationship that historically would have occurred in the passage from Hegel to Marx. Beyond the purely methodological difficulties I have earlier indicated, it is possible to collect and compare them, as significant elements in each position, that also speak, in their way, of the political background they propose.
For dialectical materialism a statement of Marx about it is collected: "to reverse dialectics". The idea is that Marx would have made an "inversion" of dialectics, such as that contained in the notion that "it is not consciousness that creates social being, but it is the social being that creates consciousness". The tradition of historicist dialectics has put the emphasis on the continuation of the same statement by Marx: "finding the rational kernel within the mystical wrapper".
In both cases, however, the philological defect is that a comparison between Hegel and Marx considering both terms of the comparison the same way is not made. Instead, it is assumed that Hegel's relevant position is, without further questioning, the one that Marx attributes to him. Hegel would have been, according to Marx, an idealist who puts an abstract spirit as transcendent to history. The truth is that there aren't many experts in the thought of Hegel who would agree with that estimate.
When the origin of these ideas is discussed, and the canonical statements that support them, what is found is that they not only are not directly referred to Hegel but even to what Ludwig Feuerbach thought of Hegel.
Perhaps this could be a useful hypothesis, I do enunciate it unpretentious, because I really do not think it plays nothing essential: in fact everything that Marx believed about Hegel comes from his ongoing dialogue with what he learned with Feuerbach in his youth. For scholars, let's say that there might be enough textual backing for this. Marx referred to Hegel by allusions to Feuerbach virtually throughout his writings. Engels invariably continued this practice.
I argue that if we reconstruct the relationship directly comparing the writings of each of these three thinkers directly, not through what each said the other was saying, we might get a very different view.
Actually what is the whole, the Absolute Concept in Hegel, is not a foreign "spirit" which hovers history behind human freedom, a cartoon that has been reported by many Marxists, even some with respectable academic ancestry. You might say that for Hegel the Spirit is but the absolute identity, tragically divided between human history and God. On the idea of a divided identity we would have to see the things that Hegel says in his Logic, particularly the Doctrine of Essence. To understand the philosophical meaning of the tragic nature of that division one would perhaps need resort to the Religion section of the Phenomenology of Spirit and consider it in the proper and internal logic of that work.
When the texts of Feuerbach are read, however, one has the impression that he did two major theoretical operations, that completely change the meaning of what is claimed by Hegel. First, he converted the relationship of absolute and split identity into a relationship of determination between external terms. Second, he did the famous "inversion" that Marx simply collects: "It is not God who creates man, it is man who creates God".
What I contend, from this, is that Marx's critique of Feuerbach turn contains two operations, that bring him closer to Hegel, philosophically. First, he reclaims human history:
- "The basis of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet found himself or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being encamped outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, society. This state, this society, produce religion, an inverted world-consciousness, because they are an inverted world". (This is Marx's word: Contribution To The Critique Of Hegel's Philosophy Of Right, Introduction, 1843)
Second, he reclaims the identity relation, but this time not between human history and God, but between what he will later call Mode of Production and what he called Ideology. This second operation should be called "materialization of dialectics". That is, the idea that dialectics as such is the social relations of production, of which one can say that they are material in the sense that I specified above.
In this conception of a differentiated identity Marx has kept the idea of tragedy. But this time with two changes that are just the substance of his conception. This is a tragedy instituted among men themselves, not between humanity and God: "The criticism of religion has been completed". It is a eminently historical, i.e. fully surmountable tragedy: class struggle. A revolutionary initiative to overcome it is fully possible.
But postulating that the effective role of Marx in these transitions is to materialize dialectics returning to the dialectical logic of differentiated identity, like the one in Hegel's Science of Logic, is certainly a great hypothesis. This is to think of the social relations of production as an internally divided whole. So that every relationship in them is but inner relation. Or again, so that the negation is not thought of as interaction, but properly as contradiction, that is, as internal opposed difference.
In order to keep in mind at least one consequence of this view of the matter, we can see that, under this way of reading the old, very old, problem of the relationship between "Base" and "Superstructure" simply becomes meaningless. It would no longer be an external relationship, where you might wonder what term more or less affects the another, or wonder whether there is "over-determination" or a "gap" between the terms. The so-called "Base" (an unfortunate metaphor), can not but match the "Superstructure" as they are simply the same thing, considered differently. Their relationship is not one of terms of an external relationship, but of moments or aspects of a differentiated whole.
Both "economism", as well as the attempts to avoid it by stressing the "close relationship" or co-creation of the terms, are thus displaced by a type of analysis that circumvents the problem, and allows to emphasize its proper historical and political aspects rather than what the scholasticism of Weberian or structuralist Social Sciences has been interested in up to now.
9. Dialectics as political critique
The idea of materialist dialectics, based on a Marxist reading of Hegel and yet on a Hegelian reading of Marx, again assumes what has been common in the Marxist tradition: that in the relationship between Hegel and Marx the latter's use of Hegel is relevant not Hegel himself. However, based on this finding, which only exposes the primacy of political interest in a field that seems purely philosophical, what is claimed is that the philosophy of Hegel, especially his Logic, may be an appropriate source, by itself, for the aims of Marxist politics.
This means it is no longer necessary to state this possible relationship in the classic myths about the work of Hegel. And it is not necessary to root reflection in a ritual use of Marx's writings, published and unpublished. The logic that can be attributed to the thought of Marx and, especially, the communist goal, are here the frameworks governing the criteria for reading and the modes of appropriation of philosophical thinking.
Strictly speaking, we do not need Marx to agree with our reasoning. What we need is credibly pointing to the only relevant end: the end of the class struggle. Marx's thought is sufficiently deep, incisive and general, his political will is sufficiently clear as to be widely recognized as the matrix and, correspondingly, our policy to be recognized as "Marxist". However there is not, nor can there be absolutely nothing sacred about it. Whenever Marx's views regarding specific issues are different, or insufficient, for our needs or perspectives ... sorry for Marx. Communism should matter to us more than Marx. There can be no doubt that he would have agreed with this certainly healthy approach.
But also, this is because today argue that the relationship between science and dialectics is a historical relationship has a lot more contingent sense than these philosophical details: it implies a criticism of scientific discourse as a form of legitimization.
The directly political issue involved is that scientific knowledge has become a form of legitimization of bureaucratic power, considered as a class, within the block of dominant classes.
To state very briefly an idea that requires further development, the point is this. It is necessary to distinguish, in class domination, the material mechanism that makes it possible from the system of justifications" that makes it a relatively stable social practice, in a real and effective way. In general, the actual material mechanism of domination is the possession of the techniques, the immediate operational knowledge, which allow a domination of the social division of labor. The social group that manages to dominate the division of labor becomes, by virtue of this domination, enabled to usufruct from the social product with advantage. Given this material power, it imperiously requires to be put into a system of legitimization which in practice is nothing but a system of social relations, of ideas expressed in institutions, that support its power and make it fluid.
For the bourgeoisie, that system of legitimization focuses on the legal concepts of private ownership of the means of production and the wage labor contract. In other words, the bourgeoisie isn't the ruling class because it owns the means of production, it's the opposite, it became owner of this means, which it already possessed, because it became the ruling class.
The resulting hypothesis is that today the bureaucracy, for its possession of the immediate operational knowledge on the technical division of labor, and the coordination of the global market, has come to effectively control the social division of labor. And it is capable of usufructing with advantage in that position from the social product. But in this case, the system of legitimizing of what it receives under the bogus figure of "salary" is the ideology of knowledge, i.e., the, purely ideological construction, that it would hold expertises and responsibilities that accrue from its scientific knowledge on reality.
The only real creators of all value and wealth are but the direct producers, workers producing goods liable to be consumed. They are only given back in wages, according to the replacement cost of their workforce. The surplus value from their work is appropriated today by two sectors in the block of dominant classes. The bourgeoisie, which supports its appropriation on the right it would derive from private property. And the bureaucracy, to which we pay much more than the social cost of reproduction of their labor force only under the ideology of knowledge and expertise.
Science is thus, to put it in a controversial way, more historical than ever. Just as Marx made a Hegelian critique of the philosophy of right, showing what was made to appear as a neutral realm, above the conflicts, in which citizens could negotiate on equal terms, as merely an ideological construct, traversed from its origin by class interest, so today it is necessary to perform a critique of the philosophy of science, showing how science also plays that role with respect to bureaucratic interests.
With this, as is evident, the idea of a possible overcoming of science acquires an immediate political interest. My thesis is that from Hegelian logic that critique may be done.
II. Methodological issues
(Against academization of criticism)
Only in the former Annex, insert itself at the end of this book, just because it is dedicated to a moment of nostalgia, I turned to some of the formalisms commonly required in academic production: quotes, famous names, counts. In all the previous sections, in which the content is developed, I have tried to avoid them. I have almost made any citations except, of course, an occasional reference to the Word, put here or there, more to keep out the unbelievers than to bring in something substantive. Nor have I resorted, because this book does not attempt to describe immediate realities, to any "hard data" from empirical research except to offer an occasional example. I do not claim that this second type of citations are unnecessary, what happens is that in this text, because it is dedicated to the formulation of a large theoretical hypothesis, this is not required.
The option of not resorting to ritual academic writing, however, for which I have taken as (only formal) model the works of the great classical authors, from Descartes to Hegel (XVII and XVIII centuries), is due more to a policy than to elegance or comfort issues. What is at issue is put at the center the discussion of ideas, not of precedents or authors. And also, it matters to direct the writing to the reasonableness of the ordinary people, not to academic scholarship. This is an option that has a direct and explicit anti bureaucratic content. The issue is to oppose in practice to the academization and bureaucratization of criticism.
The triple principle that I followed when writing this way, gradually developed, is as follows:
- important are not the texts, but the authors;
- important are not the authors, but the ideas;
- important is the construction of arguments;
- their consistency, credibility and above all, their relationship with social reality.
Of course, no text has probative value by itself, or under the author who proposes it. But also, no text has a single meaning that could be determined in a unique and objective manner, independently of the context in which it was formulated and the context in which it is read.
Texts are but premises on which textual hypotheses are made. The correspondence of these hypotheses with the literal text is NOT the crucial factor, nor the most relevant, of the value of these hypotheses. What is relevant is that they should serve to construct ideas about reality. The texts are just excuses.
On the other hand, no author can be considered only from his texts. It is common and natural that even the greatest writers contradict themselves, be it because they have changed their mind, or because they have not seen all the consequences of their ideas. Frequently they even use the most significant terms of their theories in opposite directions, because they use them in colloquial manner, because they have not granted them a technical value, or because they have changed their minds about their meaning.
In general, to construct reading hypotheses on all the work of an author, published texts are to be preferred before the unpublished, notes for publication before simple reading notes, manuscripts containing explicit theoretical development before letters or fragmentary and occasional notes. Obviously these precedence puts us in a certain problem concerning the work of Marx, in which the order of most of his writing seems to be exactly the opposite. But the texts are just excuses.
And these textual variations and uncertainties are even more difficult for the reader where the author insists obsessively on showing his changes of opinion or as simple twists or consequences of his previous ideas (as in the case of Freud), and in cases where most of the textual material we have are notes or manuscripts that the author has not considered stable or definitive (as with Marx).
Discussing the possible contradictions of an author is trivial and useless. Every great author allows different readings that are compatible with aspects of his work, and which may be incompatible with others. No reading can support one hundred percent of a great work.
Discuss the meaning of an isolated term in the body of a work is just stupid. The terms used by an author, including his keywords, may well appear in his texts with different, complementary, or even contradictory meanings.
Always regarding an author what we do is a reading hypothesis in which we decide, according to our interests and those of our time, what their consistencies are, what is relevant, and what is the general sense of his writings. It is perfectly legitimate, valid and, moreover, the only useful thing, to use the authors as excuses.
Sometimes we prefer to rescue only one aspect, or one period, even against another. This is the option of those collecting the clinical method of Freud, but not the metaphysics on which he bases it. Or those who prefer the "young Marx", or the "second Wittgenstein". But we can also prefer building a global coherence of the work, even for their differences or flagrant contradictions. Both options, or other, may be perfectly useful to recognize, develop and produce ideas.
It is perfectly useless and stupid enough, however, to discuss the intrinsic correctness or the truth of such hypotheses. There is no, nor can there be a "correct Marx", nor a "correct Kant". The purely philological scholarship of complaints about it can only contribute to worship, or merely academic playback, but it does not add one iota to the discussion of content. The only useful aspect of reading hypothesis is their eventual likelihood regarding real problems. Setting its strict correspondence regarding the original authors and their texts is a purely scholastic occupation.
One consequence of these considerations is that it is absolutely useless to ask who said this or that, or worse, who said it first. Citing the source of an idea is a purely scholastic question, only relevant to academic bureaucracy. What is sought with this? To secure copyright, private ownership of knowledge? Is it intended to record the extremely trivial fact that the writer is not the author of all sources from which his ideas emerge, or of any ideas he records? Perhaps it is to defend and highlight the market value of "originality"? All this is nothing but bourgeois vanity ("to me it struck me first"), or bureaucratic hiding ("I'm not saying it, dude says it"). What is relevant is the idea itself, its consistency, its correspondence with reality.
Academic bureaucrats usually build their speeches almost completely through a stickiness "as guy said," "following so-and-so" and "according to" in a regime in which such references appear as evidentiary, and terms, citations and names, are more important than the arguments and contents. And these rituals have been elevated to a degree of legitimization, i.e., to methods that allow the certification of what they write well above the actual content that they manage to develop. The run for citations is simply a mechanism of formalist reproduction which has, however, a powerful effect on the status and power of a bureaucrat, as shown by the extraordinarily frequent cases, of groups of scholars who are themselves cited over and again, circularly, thus constructing a textual enclave whose only meaning is to expand their ability to raise funds.
For its possible content, the only useful way of quoting is to invoke sources of information to indicate where to look for similar ideas. It makes absolutely no sense to quote texts, just as texts. It is quite evident, however, that the usual bureaucratic procedure is reversed: texts are cited, invoked as sources of authority. Only magic or slavishly authoritarian mentality can believe that the authority of someone is demonstrative in argument sense.
To quote someone in gratitude ("I owe this idea to this guy") is, in the limit, a usually unnecessary, but tolerable gesture. Citing as an authority ("as Lenin said") is a magical or totalitarian gesture.
Among Latin American intellectuals in this area, a strange, something subservient modesty is prevalent, which of course, hardly any European intellectual has. It is said that citing the authors in which ideas originate is a gesture that shows that the writer has invented them not alone and by itself. It is extremely common, however, that contemporary European authors repeat "inventing", once and again, shamelessly, the most common classical ideas, which the slightest scholarship should know, presenting them on their own behalf and, worse, in a superficial and watered manner. This is what happens in a systematic way with discoverers of gunpowder such as Weber, Baudrillard and Antonio Negri.
So exactly the opposite, however, it is common in Latin America not only to stigmatize this vanity, celebrated and shamelessly supports in Europe, but also those creative thinkers that do not have care to conceal their originality in any citations ... of European authors. A notorious case is that of Don Humberto Maturana. "He believes that he invented everything", "he thinks, he is smarter than others", "an author who doesn't cite is not relevant to academic discussion". Of course, this contrast does nothing but add to academic bureaucracy the ignominy of servitude.
Is it necessary at every step to record the trivial fact that nobody comes up with ideas alone, without influences, contexts and precedents? Why these records, obvious by themselves, should be needed? To whom are they important?
To the extent that all these rituals are part of the fraudulent certifications of the claim to know, which is nothing but bureaucratic legitimacy and reproduction, the option that I do in this text to discuss ideas regardless of their textual source must be understood not only as a question of method, but as a policy option.
As is, conversely, the option of referring to all these arguments as "Hegelian Marxism". What this name should suggest is not their possible links with some textual tradition, even if this is obviously so, but the membership in a political project. The importance of the name in this case is rather to point a belonging, a will, not to the adequacy or academic correctness of what it proposes.
Of course, a storyline that calls itself "Hegelian Marxism" belongs to a tradition of ideas, authors and texts. My argument, however, is that to argue about how "Marxist" or how "Hegelian" this project is, is absolutely useless, except to specify the political will at stakes. It is not only a matter of displacing the substantive question on its plausibility and usefulness to formal complaints, which can only be of interest to bureaucrats.
On the general reasons that could justify these names I have already argued in Part IV, Chapter 1, "A possible Marxist philosophy". That should be enough, and it is only useful to the extent that a large field texts indicates where to look for ideas to develop. Beyond that, at least for Marxists, the theory and its development should be guided, first and foremost, by the imperatives of social reality.
This is a political text. It is not a step toward a certification, nor does it want to be another piece of rhetoric over the large amount of internal quarrels of the academic left. I think, reasonable people, who read it with the future in mind, can understand it. It is written for them.
- Gustav A. Wetter: El Materialismo Dialéctico (Dialectical Materialism) (1952), Taurus, Madrid, 1963. See also, G. A. Wetter and W. Leonhard: La Ideología Soviética (Soviet Ideology) (1962), Herder, Barcelona, 1964.
- The Cosmos television series, a personal journey, extremely recommended for anyone who wants to be informed about the world he lives in, is available online at the official site www.carlsagan.com. There is also a book, published in Spanish by Labor. The TV series is far superior.
- Consider this incredible, usually unknown fact: by 1970 forty percent of all scientists and engineers dedicated to scientific research from around the world were Soviets.
- From Loren R. Graham you may find, among others, Science, Philosophy and Human Behavior in the Soviet Union (1987), Columbia University Press, Columbia, 1987. In Spanish you may find Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union (1973), Siglo XXI, Madrid, 1976.
- It is good to keep in mind that the Philosophical Notebooks of Lenin, which can be found in Spanish editions, contain notes from reading, not systematic studies. Notes, moreover, that concern as diverse works as The Holy Family from Marx and Engels, The Essence of Christianity from Ludwig Feuerbach, The philosophy of Heraclitus, the dark from Ferdinand Lassalle, and the Metaphysics of Aristotle. Lenin certainly never thought of publishing these notes, written at various times in his various exiles, and they are not the unit that appears due to the will of the editors.
- Perhaps the most widespread, but not the least, is the reinterpretation of the logical figure of contradiction, clearly stated in the second book of the Logic, The Doctrine of Essence, as opposition or conflicting interaction, issues that Hegel distinguishes completely and explicitly.
- They are generally rooted in the interested estimates by Rudolf Haym, in his biography of Hegel (1857) and the echo they generated, especially in the founders of the analytic tradition in England. On the myths about Hegel see Appendix at the end of this text, which includes the title of one of the most important texts about the issue, Jon Stewart, ed.: The Hegel myths and legends (1996), Northwestern University Press, Illinois, 1996.
- One of the first things the Georgian revolutionary Iosif Vissarionovich Jugashvili understood is that nobody could make history with such name: he changed his to Joseph Stalin. Considering the Russian word "stal", "steel", accompanied by the personal suffix "in," which can be read as "made of", you can guess the intent of that name. His intimates, however, often simply called him Koba.
- Actually this enumeration of humanist Marxists, like any other, will always be partial, unfortunately summary. The most notorious example of possible omission is, of course, the unavoidable Czech philosopher Karel Kosik (1926-2003), whose radical and anti authoritarian Marxism, built on a permanent critical dialogue with Husserl's phenomenology and Heidegger's philosophy, led him, like few others, far beyond the collapse of the socialist countries, at which many intellectuals of the East, who hitherto called themselves "Marxists", preferred to abjure, with varying degrees of cynicism and shame.
- The song is, of course, from Ismael Serrano, usually presented as a "new Serrat" and its most dramatic verse says: "Dad, tell me again that after so much barricade, after both fists raised and bloodshed at the end of the game you could do nothing, and under the pavers was no sand beach". Many intellectuals of my age, including myself, could sincerely get really excited with "this song so beautiful". The issue is whether you can make policy from that feeling.
- Friedrich Engels, The revolution of science by Eugene Dühring (1878) (Anti - Dühring), Progress Publishers, Moscow, p. 131. Internet: http://www.marxists.org/espanol/me/1870s/anti-duhring/index.htm
- One may raise, at this point as a mere intellectualist game, the following challenge: find texts from relevant Marxists explicitly defending economic reductionism, a teleological and deterministic character of history, or a fatalistic idea of political action.
- This is not the right place to start a detailed reflection on what in philosophy of science is considered established since long time ago, but let us say to the surprised, that the most basic standard logic shows that from false premises it is always possible to obtain true consequences. Or, in other words, that the truth of the consequent does not imply the truth of the antecedent. If it is true that there are electrons, when put into circulation through the filament of a light bulb this will emit heat and light, however, the fact that bulbs do in fact emit heat and light does not prove that electrons circulate through them.
- On the difference between history and evolution considered from a Hegelian standpoint, see Carlos Perez Soto, Desde Hegel, para una crítica radical de las Ciencias Sociales (From Hegel, for a radical critique of the Social Sciences), Ithaca, Mexico, 2008. In that same text a critique of the "Kantisms" associated with the identification of both notions is developed.
- A defense, starting from a critique of the tradition of contemporary philosophy of science, of this historic idea of science can be seen in Carlos Perez Soto, Sobre un concepto histórico de ciencia (On a historical concept of science), LOM, Santiago, 2nd edition, 2008.
- Let's say it, it may be necessary ... Pérez is me. Well, at least in general or ... almost always.
- For those who like citations, Marx's reference is: "With him [Hegel] it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell". It is at the end of the epilogue of the second edition of The Capital, dated January 1873. The context is that Marx there defends himself against interpretations that have been made about the method with which he has written the first volume of this book. There are at least four letters of Marx, even in 1858, where he repeats this idea, almost literally. In his early notes it is seen that this was his idea of dialectics already in 1844.
- Again, as the terrain is tricky because we are talking about the Master As Such, let's go for a citation."The Hegelian conception of history assumes an abstract or absolute spirit, which develops such that humanity is just a mass that, consciously or unconsciously, serves him as support. This can be found in The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Criticism, which he wrote with Frederick Engels in 1845. Forty years later, in Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, Engels repeats it almost verbatim, adding other estimates that aggravate the central claim.
- Of course, the texts of Feuerbach, not what Marx or Engels say Feuerbach said. In Spanish two short pieces may be seen, in one volume, Provisional Theses for the Reform of Philosophy (1842) and Principles of Philosophy of the Future (1843), translated and edited by Edward Subirats in Labor, Barcelona, 1976. Also the main text, The essence of Christianity (1841), in Clarity, Buenos Aires, 1963. On the same subject, three unusually valuable studies can be found. Gabriel Amengual, Crítica de la religión y antropología en Ludwig Feuerbach (Criticism of religion and anthropology in Ludwig Feuerbach), Laia, Barcelona, 1980. Alfred Schmidt, Feuerbach o la sensualidad emancipada (Feuerbach or emancipated sensuality) (1973), Taurus, Madrid, 1975. Werner Post, La crítica de la religión en Karl Marx (Criticism of Religion in Karl Marx) (1969), Herder, Barcelona, 1972.
- Let's insert the well known citations, only for scholars. "The essence of theology is the transcendent essence of man put outside of man; the essence of Hegel's logic is transcendent thinking, the thinking put outside of man". And another, "Hegel's absolute spirit is none other than the abstract spirit, separated from itself, the so called finite spirit, just as the infinite being of theology is none other than the finite abstract spirit". Both in "Provisional Theses ...". The italics are the author's.
- On a critique of bureaucratic power see Carlos Perez Soto, Para una crítica del poder burocrático (For a critique of bureaucratic power), LOM, Santiago, 2nd edition, 2008. As can be seen, the titles of these books are quite explicit.
- Of course, these conditions are required for authors of which we only have texts. For those of us who can directly check the opinion of Marx or Hegel, however, things are much easier.