Re: The dialectic of reality/possibility

On Fri, 3 Oct 1997, Campbell Jones wrote:

> At 21:29 02/10/97 -0400, John Ransom wrote:
> >... and asserting that world history
> >evolves according to an inner necessity that works itself out in the
> >manifestations of Spirit (Hegel) or a succession of economic forms (Marx).
> >
> Is it really fair to argue that Hegel's system involves inserting the
> category of evolution into history? This is a standard knock-down argument
> used against Hegel, but in my mind is about as interesting as Habermas'
> objection that all that Foucault finds in his 'genealogy of Modernity' is
> the eternal return of power (in The Philosophical Discourse of MOdernity?).
> To much like the caricature that you draw to parody commentator's on
> Foucualt in your preface, John!!!
> Such an image is overly simplistic in that it fails to draw a distinction
> between 'evolution' in the Spencerian/Parsonian sense and 'aufhebung' in
> the Hegelian/Marxian sense. Two significant points of divergence: (1) the
> latter involves revolutionary change (rupture/discontinuity), (2) the
> latter is the result of definite action in specific contexts (even if we
> make history in conditions which are not of our own making).
> I make these comments so that we avoid 'absorbing, digesting and
> neutralising' (sorry to readers of Kristeva, i couldn't resist) the key
> critical and radical moments in Hegel's thought. And in this I agree
> entirely with John that Hegel is a critic, even if not a 'leftist'.

I completely agree with you. I was not trying to use 'evolves' in a
Darwinian sense, but using that word certainly does convey Darwinian
connotations and I regret the error. You are, I think, correct to point to
the big difference between what Marx and Hegel are up to and what Darwin
was up to.


> -------------------
> Campbell Jones
> University of Otago
> New Zealand
> -------------------

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