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[Xmca-l] Re: Hegel on Action

Well, I'm a little bit torn. On the one hand, my heart is with Haydi; it
really does seem to me that the "aphorism" is useful in understanding that
marginal note of Lenin's. And that marginal note of Lenin's appears in
Chapter Two of Thinking and Speech, so it's useful in understanding Chapter
Two of Thinking and Speech. Chapter SEVEN of Thinking and Speech is really
an empirical elaboration of Vygotsky's critique of Piagetian neo-Kantianism
in Chapter Two, and so it's useful there too. I think Andy more or less
acknowledges this when he says that the quote is a one off.

I also agree with the general tenor of Haydi's jeremiad against an
aristocracy of philosophers who are perfectly willing to recognize their
own contribution to the dialectic between theory and practice but who howl
about empiricism when it comes to recognizing the immense contributions
made by practitioners. This seems to me a violation of both the spirit and
the letter of the dialectic, and sociogenetically it seems to me to turn
the relationship between philosophy and social practices entirely on its

That said, I think Andy has a point. I'm at a workshop now, and don't have
the library handy, but if I remember correctly then Marx didn't actually
create the aphorism about standing Hegel on his head. The right-Hegelian
critics of Marx did. What Marx said, responding to the criticism, was that
he had FOUND Hegel standing on his head, and put him on his feet again. The
problem is that this apposite remark, made in a polemical context, has been
conflated with the famous quotation from Economic and Political Manuscripts
to the effect that it is not mankind's consciousness which determines his
being, but rather his social being that determines his consciousness. If we
assume that this is directed against Hegel, we get Hegel entirely wrong: it
is precisely with the phylogenesis and ontogenesis of consciousness that we
find Hegel and Marx on exactly the same page.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

"The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"

Free Chapters Downloadable at:


Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children

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On Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 10:26 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> That remark by Lenin is his only comment on a passage of a hundred pages
> or so of the Science of Logic, the passage where in his own idealistic way
> Hegel is discussing effectively the Party question. It is extremely obscure
> and I gather it went over Lenin's head. Nonetheless, Lenin's notes were
> where I got started on Hegel and marked the beginning of the return of
> Marxists to a study of Hegel in the 20th century. Not Lukacs, not Korsch or
> Horkheimer, but Lenin.
> As to Marx's remark in the Afterword to Capital and Engels reference to it
> in "Ludwig Feuerbach" I always liked it and repeated it to others, too. But
> it did function as a kind of explanation of why I didn't study Hegel and
> believed that it was good enough to just read Marx. Once I got started
> reading Hegel I did not find the aphorism useful. It was kind of obvious
> that I had to penetrate the hard shell of logical rigmarole to get what I
> wanted. But how?? The idea of standing it on its head gave me no guidance
> at all. So I try to dissuade people who might want to tackle Hegel to not
> use this aphorism as a guide.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> On 17/07/2017 7:18 AM, David Kellogg wrote:
>> In the Philosophical Notebooks, Lenin notes that the Aristotelian
>> syllogism still has a whiff of Platonism about it.
>> Precious metals don't rust.
>> Gold is a precious metal.
>> Therefore gold doesn't rust.
>> I gather that what he means is that in the syllogism it is concrete,
>> sensuous experience with a particular metal which comes dead last. But when
>> we look at human experience as historical activity, we notice that it comes
>> first: that it is thousands of years of experience with a particular metal,
>> from the ancient Egyptians and their obsession with uncorruptibility
>> onward, which leads to the valuation of gold and its exaptation as money,
>> and then generalization to silver.  Lenin says that in its idealist form
>> the syllogism is a game: it is this which must be "turned on its head" to
>> see how the concept arises.
>> ....
>> If Marx's remark to that effect was not helpful or clarifying, why do you
>> think Vygotsky and Luria (not to mention Lenin) were so taken with it?
>> David Kellogg
>> Macquarie University
>> On Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 12:01 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>     I meant specifically that the aphorism about Hegel
>>     having to be turned on his head is not useful.
>>     Andy
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>>     Andy Blunden
>>     http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
>>     http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
>>     <http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-
>> decision-making>