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Re: [xmca] Wolves and Ilyenkov
Thanks. Yes, very useful. But I think the most useful thing about it is that your paraphrase (which I would qualify as an English-to-English TRANSLATION) differs from my reading of Ilyenkov in EXACTLY the places I have trouble. Since sg is no philosophical neophyte, ergo, dk is not losing what paltry philosophical wit he was endowed with.
Here's what I mean:
sg: Hegel made an interesting remark about philosophy. He said that, on one hand, the end results of philosophy express the complete facts themselves in their very nature, whereas, on the other hand, the mere process of bringing these facts to light has no essential significance. –sg]
evi: In philosophy, more than in any other science, as Hegel remarked with some regret in his Phenomenology of Mind, ‘the end or final result seems ... to have absolutely expressed the complete fact itself in its very nature; contrasted with that the mere process of bringing it to light would seem, properly speaking, to have no essential significance’.
dk: Hang on. That isn't how I read the Hegel at all, nor is it how I read the Ilyenkov. I read Hegel as saying that philosophy, unlike other sciences, has neither an experimental nor an empirical METHOD to offer. The end is everything and the means is nothing. This seems very true to me and it is a legacy of the fact that philosophy is still in many ways a kind of intellectual fossil, methodologically pre-scientific in the same way that religion, art or literature is. But Ilyenkov takes this true and, as he says, "very apt" observation and twists it into a comment on how dialectics should not be used to "prove" things we already know are true. This may also be true (one suspects he has certain colleagues in mind), but it's a very different statement and in some ways it means the precise opposite of what the Hegel says. Ilyenkov holds that the MEANS is everything, precisely because it leads to unexpected and surprising ENDS. This is really backed up by
his statement later on that:
sg: 9. Real dialectical logic does not take on life in the form of ‘naked results’ nor in the ‘tendency’ of the movement of thought. It takes on life only in the form of ‘the result along with the process of arriving at it.’ Therefore, we must take this into account in our investigation of dialectics.
evi: And if it is true that real dialectical logic takes on life not in ‘naked results’, and not in the ‘tendency’ of the movement of thought, but only in the form of ‘the result along with the process of arriving at it’, then during the exposition of dialectics as Logic, we must reckon with this truth.
dk: Wait a minute. If we take 'the result ALONG WITH THE PROCESS OF ARRIVING AT IT" we have very considerably more than naked results. There is a unity of ends and means here that suggests a scientific, rather than a pre-scientific, philosophy. And it also suggests that a certain amount of reverse engineering is in fact justifiable. So we have a contradiction upon a contradiction.
sg: 12. Our ‘object,’ that is, our ‘subject matter’, is thought. Dialectical logic aims to scientifically represent thought in its necessary concrete, developmental, objective existences, including those aspects of these existences that are objectively independent of will and consciousness.
evi: Our ‘object’ or ‘subject matter’ in general, and on the whole, is thought, thinking; and dialectical Logic has as its aim the development of a scientific representation of thought in those necessary moments, and moreover in the necessary sequence, that do not in the least depend either on our will or on our consciousness.
dk: Hmmm. You, sg, say that the goal of dialectical logic is to represent thought as an objective fact, including its aspects that are involuntary and unconscious. That is excellent and good, and I think it actually includes a lot of what Haydi and Mike have been batting back and forth about the mental life of animals. The problem is that YOU, evi, don't seem to be saying that at all. Ilyenkov seems to be saying that our goal is the representation of thinking (a process, and not, as he says later, a kind of mental organ). We have to represent this process as an objective process. We do that by representing it as a set of determined, definite steps and stages, like any other objective process. We do that by representing it as determined, definite, defined steps and stages WHICH ARE INDEPENDENT OF HUMAN WILL AND CONSCIOUSNESS. For me, that is, dk, that is a step too far. That brings us right back to the entirely pre-scientific era of philosophy.
Why would dialectical logic want a representation of thinking that is independent of human will or human consciousness? That's the task of religion, of metaphysics, and of teenage vampire literature.
Seoul National University of Education
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