Re: XMCA Book Discussions

From: Steve Gabosch (
Date: Fri Aug 20 2004 - 05:52:30 PDT

I am putting this post both here and at the Book Forum site (follow Kristen
Clark's directions to get there).

Peter Moxhay and I discussed some ideas earlier this summer about how to
organize a discussion on Ilyenkov's _Dialectics of the Abstract and the
Concrete in Marx's Capital_ (let's call it DAC for short). DAC consists of
5 chapters, each divided into 5 to 30 page or so subtitled sections. This
provides a natural way to discuss the book. In some cases, it might work
to divide these subtitled sections into 5 to 15 page subsections.

The biggest question we have is whether to try to go through the whole book
starting on page one, or tackle just one chapter, probably chapter 5, "The
Method of Ascent from the Abstract to the Concrete in Marx's Capital."

I think the people who want to study Ilyenkov together in this first round
of the XMCA Book Forum should talk things over to see what we want to do. I
read DAC this spring and was very impressed with it - EVI is having a big
impact on me. I will be happy to study his work however we do
it. Starting with a single 66-page chapter might be a reasonable-sized
challenge in which to get oriented in our new book discussion space that
Kristen has set up for us.

The book DAC was originally published in Russian in 1960, and was
translated into English in 1982 by Progress Publishers - but it is now out
of print. Some copies can be found through online used book dealers. I
understand it is also available (but perhaps out of print) in other
languages. The book is well respected internationally.

Marxist Internet Archive has the entire book available in English at

It is a dense book that requires slow reading and close
consideration. Familiarity with dialectical materialism and Marx's Capital
is a big help. At the same time, DAC is itself a very good introduction to
Capital and dialectical logic.

The second section of Chapter 5, entitled "Contradiction as the Condition
of the Development of Science" is a succinct 4-page overview of some of
EVI's essential themes in the book. He concludes this small section with
the idea "objective reality always reveals itself to theoretical thought as
contradictory reality." Perhaps this section would be a good entry point
to discuss chapter 5 - summarizing a key idea in the book as a whole - and
leading into his discussion of the method of the ascent from the abstract
to the concrete in Marx's Capital, the main subject of chapter 5. Check it
out. It is at

As I mentioned, I am going to put this post both on xmca and the Book Forum
site. Those interested in perhaps studying some Ilyenkov, come on in!

~ Steve

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