quetzalcoatl wrote:Contradiction, viewed from the viewpoint of a 19th century idealist, is a very different animal when viewed by modern science. Sure, scientific materialism is still the way to go, but the study of the dynamics of history needs to be reframed to reflect state-of-the-art knowledge. Hegelian dialectics can only serve to hold us back at this point. Better intellectual tools are available. Marx valiantly attempted to sanitize Hegel, using his dialectics as an intellectual tool but rejecting its inherent telelolgical implications. https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/45011/1 ... _45011.pdf
So why not instead just use more modern analytical tools developed by science? For instance, there's an extensive field of study around complex adaptive systems and how they change and evolve over time. It's a very flexible tool, scalable from the large to the small, and over varying timescales. Ambiguity and paradox abound in complex adaptive systems - contradictions are seeds that create new possibilities of co-evolution with their environment. You could check out Rosen's relational biology, which pioneered mathematical tools to deal with anticipatory systems in biology - these IMO should be translatable to other CAS type fields.
If I were young, smart, and ambitious, I'd attempt to revisit scientific materialism using modern tools.
“All these people could not have been ignorant of the fact that Marx and Engels scores of times termed their philosophical views dialectical materialism. Yet all these people, who, despite the sharp divergence of their political views, are united in their hostility towards dialectical materialism, at the same time claim to be Marxists in philosophy! Engels’ dialectics is “mysticism,” says Berman. Engels’ views have become “antiquated,” remarks Bazarov casually, as though it were a self-evident fact. Materialism thus appears to be refuted by our bold warriors, who proudly allude to the “modern theory of knowledge,” “recent philosophy” (or “recent positivism"), the “philosophy of modern natural science,” or even the “philosophy of natural science of the twentieth century.” Supported by all these supposedly recent doctrines, our destroyers of dialectical materialism proceed fearlessly to downright fideism…” (Lenin 1908 ).
Source: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ ... pref01.htm
In the above context, he is criticizing their idealist streak, but I do think there needs to be something more specific than what feels like a point of faith in the greater insight and relevance of contemporary thought over and above the apparently obsolete modes of thought.
Such a point would require great effort in both illustrating the strength of one position over another, so understanding of two theories or schools of thought adequately enough to see their relationship with one another. Thus an internal critique of Marxism and an illustration of the superiority of the alternative theory in some similar aspect.
That whilst certain facts can become obsolete due to changes in the world, the irrelevance of a line of thought is harder to establish. For example, Lev Vygotsky, who illustrates a more modern version of dialectical thought and to great results in the field of psychology, synthesizes studies from decades ago (late 19th century and early 20th century), which would be problematic to the positivist notion of relying on only the most recent/modern of facts. But his retains great contemporary relevance because his insights aren’t necessarily disposed of by the greater detail of studies in child development or chimps in zoology.
Part of the maintained relevance is that when one identifies the essential, it doesn’t get refuted by future experience/data as with the issue of the inductive method. Because only the inessential is to be torn away from understanding in a subject.
My thought on how one would attack Marxism and the dialectical tradition would be to show how there is great insight in a line of thought which is incompatible with dialectics, and following the above point, that it misses what is essential to understanding. Although I would wonder if it might be less a refutation than more simply an updating of content and specific details in the same way that some details of Marx’s analysis have become outdated with changes in the global economy but aren’t as some critics say, so different that his work is entirely irrelevant to understanding Capitalism. As such a critic only relies on faith and assertion in contemporary knowledge, for which natural sciences have developed immensely than they once were due to empirical discoveries, but whether theories open up the necessity of an essentially new world view and philosophy is another matter.
And looking at the CAS article, although such a brief glimpse can hardly constitute an understanding seems to relate to but an aspect in dialectical thinking of considering the relationship between the whole and it's parts, as well as the more elaborate views of causality.
So in the wiki article on CAS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_adaptive_system
A complex adaptive system is a system in which a perfect understanding of the individual parts does not automatically convey a perfect understanding of the whole system's behavior. The study of complex adaptive systems, a subset of nonlinear dynamical systems, is highly interdisciplinary and blends insights from the natural and social sciences to develop system-level models and insights that allow for heterogeneous agents, phase transition, and emergent behavior.
They are complex in that they are dynamic networks of interactions, and their relationships are not aggregations of the individual static entities, i.e., the behavior of the ensemble is not predicted by the behavior of the components. They are adaptive in that the individual and collective behavior mutate and self-organize corresponding to the change-initiating micro-event or collection of events. They are a "complex macroscopic collection" of relatively "similar and partially connected micro-structures" formed in order to adapt to the changing environment and increase their survivability as a macro-structure.
All this reminds me very much of the broad summary Spirkin makes of dialectics on Systems and Structures as well as causality. It's not an explanation of a particular case for the most part, as much as the general outlines of a dialectical outlook. https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch02-s07.html
For scientific analysis to be able to move in the right direction, the object must constantly occupy our consciousness as something whole. When we are investigating a whole, we break it down into its parts and sort out the nature of the relation between them. We can understand a system as a whole only by discovering the nature of its parts. It is not enough to study the parts without studying the relationship between them and the whole. A person who knows only the parts does not yet know the whole. A single frame in a film can be understood only as a part of the film as a whole.https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch02-s06.html
An overabundance of particulars may obscure the whole. This is a characteristic feature of empiricism. Any singular object can be correctly understood only when it is analysed, not separately, but in its relation to the whole. Each organ is determined in its mode of operation not only by its internal structure but by the nature of the organism to which it belongs. The importance of the heart can be discovered only by considering it as part of the organism as a whole. The methodological fault characteristic of mechanistic materialism is that it understands the whole as nothing more than the sum of its parts.
In medicine, exaggeration of the independence of a part in relation to the whole is expressed in the principle of localisationism, which stipulates that every organ is something isolated in itself. This gives rise to the methodological principle of looking for the seat of the illness. This narrow, localised approach is just as harmful as the approach to the organism that ignores the question of which particular organ is sick. In any organism there are no absolutely localised pathological processes or any processes that affect only the whole. The disease of one separate organ is in some degree a manifestation of disease in the whole body and vice versa.
In rejecting the so-called summative approach, which mechanistically reduces the whole to the sum of its parts, we should not make a fetish of wholeness and regard it as something with mystical power. The whole does owe its origin to the synthesis of the parts that compose it. At the same time it is the whole that provides the basis for modification of existing parts and the formation and development of new ones, which, having changed the whole, help to develop it. So, in reality, we have a complex interaction between the whole and its parts.
So my suspicion is that such works are complimentary to such a philosophical outlook as the limitations of Hegel's Objective Idealism don't doom his entire work and hence the assertion of Marxist to be able to appropriate rich insights of Hegel but in a materialist reading.
An in regard to causality with Hegel, causality reaches a limit in which it can go no further than reciprocity. https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/determinism.htm
Hegel showed that causality is extremely limited in its explanatory capacity, because the invocation of causation leads to an infinite regress. Efficient causes are always of interest, but a phenomenon is only understood when it is grasped as a cause of itself (a causa sui), that is, the relevant process is seen to create and recreate the conditions for its own existence. But even then, explanation often takes the form of Reciprocity of cause and effect. Hegel (1831) grants that “to make the manners of the Spartans the cause of their constitution and their constitution conversely the cause of their manners, may no doubt be in a way correct,” but still explains nothing. But Reciprocity is as far as Causality can go. The understanding of a process as a cause sui means grasping it as a concept and usually incorporates an investigation of its origins and development.
The point of reciprocity is the point at which one makes a radical break with the old paradigm and establishes a new science or paradigm based on the abstract notion, the new concept that then radically changes a field.
I always like to give the example of Einstein's theories of relativity as an example of such a sudden break in science which retains many of the facts and explanatory power of the previous Newtonian physics and is able to explain the accruing anomalous data/facts of the time.
With the new concept, one is able to make an intelligible explanation of processes, because in a causal relationship one only goes as far as identifying that causes are effects upon one another in a constant interaction but this does not, for example, suffice to produce Darwin's theory of evolution.
And I think there might be grounds on contesting that Marx rejects the teleological
implications of Hegel's thought because he emphasizes humans as agents and if we aren't to be reduce to a fatalistic determinism based on a philosophy of matter and motion, but instead following Hegel, Ficthe and Heder, make activity the substance of our philosophy then humans act with a social logic rather than a pure causal necessity. Basically man acts with clear reasons even if in tragic circumstances where one decision is most rational to make in every situation of the same kind.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Article_on_Teleology.pdf
Any given social arrangement has an inherent ‘logic’ which constrain the actions of all the particular actors; no-one ‘forces’ any actor to act in a certain way (indeed they would not be actors at all if they were forced), but the social arrangements constrain them in what can be called ‘logical necessity’: “You don’t have to do X, but look at your options. You’d be well advised to do X.” But it does not stop there; people endeavor to change arrangements which do not suit them. Responses to institutional arrangements are a kind of practical critique of the concept on which the institution was based. Institutional arrangements will be changed in response to such critique and the changes decided upon by rational deliberations, however imperfect, will respond to the practical critique explicitly in the form of thinking and argument. Institutional change in modern societies is not like crowd behavior, but takes place according to what is found to be necessary in the circumstances. Institutions try to do what they have to do according to their concept, rather than simply striving to maintain a status quo.http://banmarchive.org.uk/collections/nr/08_89.pdf
What is it to understand any given piece of behaviour as a human action? Consider the following example. If my head nods, it may be a sign of assent to a question or it may be a nervous tick. To explain the nod as a way of saying ' Yes' to a question is to give it a role in the context of human action. To explain the nod as a nervous tick is to assert that the nod was not an action but something that happened to me. To understand the nod as a nervous tick we turn to the neurophysiologist for a causal explanation. To understand it as a sign of assent is to move in a different direction. It is to ask for a statement of the purpose that my saying ' Yes' served; it is to ask for reasons, not for causes and it is to ask for reasons which point | to a recognisable want or need served by my action.
And it is in fact crucial in maintaining a kind of humanism that asserts some level of self-determination of human beings in creating their own history not as they please but with in determinant conditions that there is a telos to life. Something we have lost in presupposing the human being as an individual prior to social relations even though it is through society one becomes individualized. https://ecommons.udayton.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1064&context=rel_fac_pub
WHY THE ENLIGHTENMENT PROJECT HAD TO FAIL
The important thing to realize is that the Enlightenment Project didn't simply happen to fail , it had to fail. What doomed the Enlightenment Project from its inception was its loss of the concept of telos. The word telos is borrowed from classical Greek and means "end" or "purpose." When applied to human morality the term signifies the answer to the question, "What is human life for?'' In Aristotle's day (fourth century BC), moral reasoning was an argument consisting of three terms. The first term was the notion of the untutored human nature that so desperately needed moral guidance. The second term was human nature conceived in terms of having fulfilled its purpose or achieved its te/os. The third term, moral imperatives, was that set of instructions for moving from the untutored self toward the actualized telos. In this way moral precepts weren't snatched out of thin air but got their "punch" or their "oughtness" from the concrete notion of what human life was for. 5
The wristwatch is a good example of how this works. If we ask, "What is the wristwatch for?" the usual answer is that watches are for timekeeping. 6 To put it more technically, we could say that the purpose or telos of the watch is timekeeping. Or, to put it in still other terms, we can say that the watch is functionally defined as a mechanism for keeping time. Knowledge of this telos enables us to render judgment against a grossly inaccurate watch as a "bad" watch. Furthermore, our functional definition also allows us to identify the functional imperative for watches: "Watches ought to keep time well."
Because the Enlightenment rejected the traditionally shared concept of what human life is for and started, as it were, from scratch by inventing the idea of humans as "autonomous individuals," the concept of telos, so very central to morality, was lost. Having rejected the received account of telos, the only remaining option upon which moral principles might be grounded was the untutored human nature-the very thing in need of guidance and, by nature, at odds with those guiding principles!
Overall, don't take my defensiveness here as a dismissal that one should be engaged with the latest discoveries, it is the synthesizing of facts which play a crucial role in the advancement of theory. But I'm not sure I can accept those dialectics as a tradition of thought is a hindrance. Maybe in the hands of a dogmatist who quotes Marxists and such as if they're scripture, making out that a quote can suffice for the actual work of a science. Lev Vygotsky was highly critical of such types in thinking they could look to Marx to arbitrarily justify their assertions of psychology rather than appropriating Marx's method to make novel discoveries and establish new concepts/methodology specific to the subject.
As a tangential thought playing off my last post:http://braungardt.trialectics.com/philosophy/philosophy-in-the-19th-century/hegel/hegelian-concepts/#Dialectical_Thinking
Hegel’s different way of thinking has become known as dialectical thinking. What makes dialectical thinking so difficult to explain is that it can only be seen in practice. It is not a “method” or a set of principles, like Aristotle’s, which can be simply stated and then applied to whatever subject-matter one chooses.
I’m not sure how true the characterization of Aristotle is, as whether this characterizes more how Aristotle’s categories and logic had be deployed by scholastics as opposed to his own understanding.https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/geoff3.htm#Pill08
We have stressed that for Marx one of the limits of political economy lay in its implicit confinement to a purely formal logic, a logic which prevented it from grasping the laws of capitalist development. Now this should in no way be taken to mean, as Hodgson implies, that Marxism rejects formal logic completely. In point of fact it draws a sharp distinction between Aristotelean logic and its later degeneration at the hands of the scholastics (‘Clericalism killed what was living in Aristotle and perpetuated what was dead’, LCW, vol. 38). Aristotle’s logic, by virtue of its close connection with the scientific developments of his age, and the entire process of knowledge, cannot strictly speaking be called ‘formal’ logic in the sense in which this word is used in the logic of modern times. Aristotle did not place the logical forms of investigation in any rigid opposition to their concrete content. He tried to elicit the logical forms and connections from the basic characteristics of existence. It is this which explains the depth and richness of his thought. In the hands of the scholastics, logic degenerated into a mere proof-producing instrument, having no connection with the real content of the world, whereas in fact ‘even formal logic is primarily a method of arriving at new results, of advancing from the known to the unknown – and dialectics is the same, only much more eminently so’ (Engels).
But this follows my own experience in that it has only been in reading through Lev Vygotsky that I got to experience the process of dialectics, one which was governed by the subject matter he was investigating and wasn’t some crude example used to explain it which all seem dissatisfying and trivial. It seems to only have significance when it is at the frontier of thought and illuminates understanding of a subject. But this can’t be done in a few sentences but must actively trace the essential and pure positions in an overall subject.https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/comment/vygotsk1.htm
In addressing the genesis of thought and language in human individuals, it would have been very tempting for an admirer of dialectics to seek a solution in some kind of reworking of Hegel’s genesis of the Notion in his Logic. But heeding Engels’ advice, Vygotsky utilised the dialectical method, and did so consistently materialistically. Whereas Hegel provided many insights in his analysis of the history of philosophy on the basis of the system of Logic, and his system continues to provide a valuable approach to the critique of philosophical method, the result of Vygotsky’s application of the dialectical method to the genesis of thought and language in the development of the individual human being is a series of concepts quite incommensurate with the stages of the Logical Idea which populate the pages of the Logic.
And so it should be! Hegel advises that: “... this progress in knowing is not something provisional, or problematical and hypothetical; it must be determined by the nature of the subject matter itself and its content”.
This follows the suggestion that those who adopt Hegel’s method as opposed to his System achieve revolutionary results as opposed to reactionary and static ones.
One has to witness a dialectician’s work and understand it, one can’t come to dialectics by a mere verbal repetition of its moments. Because understanding isn’t synonymous with saying the right words, a parrot can mimic a human being without any concept of what it means for humans. Just as a child can point to the same object and refer to it by the same name, but doesn’t have a rich and complex concept as an adult.
Tangent 3: Been trying to look back to Aristotle and have a glimpse at his Categories considering Hegel elaborates on Aristotle's method. I keep noticing bits and pieces that I've seen in Marxist thinkers that are clearly based in Aristotle and this is one brief musing.
Those things are called relative, which, being either said to be of something else or related to something else, are explained by reference to that other thing. For instance, the word 'superior' is explained by reference to something else, for it is superiority over something else that is meant. Similarly, the expression 'double' has this external reference, for it is the double of something else that is meant. So it is with everything else of this kind. There are, moreover, other relatives, e.g. habit, disposition, perception, knowledge, and attitude. The significance of all these is explained by a reference to something else and in no other way. Thus, a habit is a habit of something, knowledge is knowledge of something, attitude is the attitude of something. So it is with all other relatives that have been mentioned. Those terms, then, are called relative, the nature of which is explained by reference to something else, the preposition 'of' or some other preposition being used to indicate the relation. Thus, one mountain is called great in comparison with son with another; for the mountain claims this attribute by comparison with something. Again, that which is called similar must be similar to something else, and all other such attributes have this external reference. It is to be noted that lying and standing and sitting are particular attitudes, but attitude is itself a relative term. To lie, to stand, to be seated, are not themselves attitudes, but take their name from the aforesaid attitudes.
It is possible for relatives to have contraries. Thus virtue has a contrary, vice, these both being relatives; knowledge, too, has a contrary, ignorance. But this is not the mark of all relatives; 'double' and 'triple' have no contrary, nor indeed has any such term.
It also appears that relatives can admit of variation of degree. For 'like' and 'unlike', 'equal' and 'unequal', have the modifications 'more' and 'less' applied to them, and each of these is relative in character: for the terms 'like' and 'unequal' bear 'unequal' bear a reference to something external. Yet, again, it is not every relative term that admits of variation of degree. No term such as 'double' admits of this modification. All relatives have correlatives: by the term 'slave' we mean the slave of a master, by the term 'master', the master of a slave; by 'double', the double of its hall; by 'half', the half of its double; by 'greater', greater than that which is less; by 'less,' less than that which is greater.
So it is with every other relative term; but the case we use to express the correlation differs in some instances. Thus, by knowledge we mean knowledge the knowable; by the knowable, that which is to be apprehended by knowledge; by perception, perception of the perceptible; by the perceptible, that which is apprehended by perception.
Sometimes, however, reciprocity of correlation does not appear to exist. This comes about when a blunder is made, and that to which the relative is related is not accurately stated. If a man states that a wing is necessarily relative to a bird, the connexion between these two will not be reciprocal, for it will not be possible to say that a bird is a bird by reason of its wings. The reason is that the original statement was inaccurate, for the wing is not said to be relative to the bird qua bird, since many creatures besides birds have wings, but qua winged creature. If, then, the statement is made accurate, the connexion will be reciprocal, for we can speak of a wing, having reference necessarily to a winged creature, and of a winged creature as being such because of its wings.
Occasionally, perhaps, it is necessary to coin words, if no word exists by which a correlation can adequately be explained. If we define a rudder as necessarily having reference to a boat, our definition will not be appropriate, for the rudder does not have this reference to a boat qua boat, as there are boats which have no rudders. Thus we cannot use the terms reciprocally, for the word 'boat' cannot be said to find its explanation in the word 'rudder'. As there is no existing word, our definition would perhaps be more accurate if we coined some word like 'ruddered' as the correlative of 'rudder'. If we express ourselves thus accurately, at any rate the terms are reciprocally connected, for the 'ruddered' thing is 'ruddered' in virtue of its rudder. So it is in all other cases. A head will be more accurately defined as the correlative of that which is 'headed', than as that of an animal, for the animal does not have a head qua animal, since many animals have no head.
Thus we may perhaps most easily comprehend that to which a thing is related, when a name does not exist, if, from that which has a name, we derive a new name, and apply it to that with which the first is reciprocally connected, as in the aforesaid instances, when we derived the word 'winged' from 'wing' and from 'rudder'.
All relatives, then, if properly defined, have a correlative. I add this condition because, if that to which they are related is stated as haphazard and not accurately, the two are not found to be interdependent. Let me state what I mean more clearly. Even in the case of acknowledged correlatives, and where names exist for each, there will be no interdependence if one of the two is denoted, not by that name which expresses the correlative notion, but by one of irrelevant significance. The term 'slave,' if defined as related, not to a master, but to a man, or a biped, or anything of that sort, is not reciprocally connected with that in relation to which it is defined, for the statement is not exact. Further, if one thing is said to be correlative with another, and the terminology used is correct, then, though all irrelevant attributes should be removed, and only that one attribute left in virtue of which it was correctly stated to be correlative with that other, the stated correlation will still exist. If the correlative of 'the slave' is said to be 'the master', then, though all irrelevant attributes of the said 'master', such as 'biped', 'receptive of knowledge', 'human', should be removed, and the attribute 'master' alone left, the stated correlation existing between him and the slave will remain the same, for it is of a master that a slave is said to be the slave. On the other hand, if, of two correlatives, one is not correctly termed, then, when all other attributes are removed and that alone is left in virtue of which it was stated to be correlative, the stated correlation will be found to have disappeared.
For suppose the correlative of 'the slave' should be said to be 'the man', or the correlative of 'the wing"the bird'; if the attribute 'master' be withdrawn from' the man', the correlation between 'the man' and 'the slave' will cease to exist, for if the man is not a master, the slave is not a slave. Similarly, if the attribute 'winged' be withdrawn from 'the bird', 'the wing' will no longer be relative; for if the so-called correlative is not winged, it follows that 'the wing' has no correlative.
Thus it is essential that the correlated terms should be exactly designated; if there is a name existing, the statement will be easy; if not, it is doubtless our duty to construct names. When the terminology is thus correct, it is evident that all correlatives are interdependent.
Correlatives are thought to come into existence simultaneously. This is for the most part true, as in the case of the double and the half. The existence of the half necessitates the existence of that of which it is a half. Similarly the existence of a master necessitates the existence of a slave, and that of a slave implies that of a master; these are merely instances of a general rule. Moreover, they cancel one another; for if there is no double it follows that there is no half, and vice versa; this rule also applies to all such correlatives. Yet it does not appear to be true in all cases that correlatives come into existence simultaneously. The object of knowledge would appear to exist before knowledge itself, for it is usually the case that we acquire knowledge of objects already existing; it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a branch of knowledge the beginning of the existence of which was contemporaneous with that of its object.
Again, while the object of knowledge, if it ceases to exist, cancels at the same time the knowledge which was its correlative, the converse of this is not true. It is true that if the object of knowledge does not exist there can be no knowledge: for there will no longer be anything to know. Yet it is equally true that, if knowledge of a certain object does not exist, the object may nevertheless quite well exist. Thus, in the case of the squaring of the circle, if indeed that process is an object of knowledge, though it itself exists as an object of knowledge, yet the knowledge of it has not yet come into existence. Again, if all animals ceased to exist, there would be no knowledge, but there might yet be many objects of knowledge.
This is likewise the case with regard to perception: for the object of perception is, it appears, prior to the act of perception. If the perceptible is annihilated, perception also will cease to exist; but the annihilation of perception does not cancel the existence of the perceptible. For perception implies a body perceived and a body in which perception takes place. Now if that which is perceptible is annihilated, it follows that the body is annihilated, for the body is a perceptible thing; and if the body does not exist, it follows that perception also ceases to exist. Thus the annihilation of the perceptible involves that of perception.
But the annihilation of perception does not involve that of the perceptible. For if the animal is annihilated, it follows that perception also is annihilated, but perceptibles such as body, heat, sweetness, bitterness, and so on, will remain.
Again, perception is generated at the same time as the perceiving subject, for it comes into existence at the same time as the animal. But the perceptible surely exists before perception; for fire and water and such elements, out of which the animal is itself composed, exist before the animal is an animal at all, and before perception. Thus it would seem that the perceptible exists before perception.
This seems to capture some of the concepts deployed in Marxism such as class, where commonly see the relative nature of worker to capitalist, that where there is no capitalist there can be no worker.
And even in the case of mechanical materialism and it’s opposite, idealism, the point is made that they are a perfect compliment to one another, the lacking of one makes a necessity of the other. To destroy one is to destroy the other, and to overcome them with a higher notion is to properly sublate the positions into a notion that is a unity of these apparent opposites.https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/pilling2.htm#Pill2
Empiricism, as a theory of knowledge rests upon the false proposition that perception and sensation constitute the only material and source of knowledge. Marx as a materialist, of course, never denied that the material world, existing prior to and independently of consciousness, is the only source of sensation. But he knew that such a statement, if left at that point, could not provide the basis for a consistent materialism, but at best a mechanical form of materialism, which always left open a loop-hole for idealism. It is true that empiricism lay at the foundation of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century materialism in England and France. But at the same time this very empiricist point of view provided the basis for both the subjective idealism of Berkeley and the agnosticism of Hume. How is it possible, starting with the proposition that sensation is the sole source and material of knowledge, to end up either denying the objectivity of the external world (subjective idealism) or denying the possibility of an exhaustive knowledge of that external world (scepticism)?
I am somewhat wary to the extent the category of relative is synonymous with the unity of opposites as it does have a special place in dialectics as being the point at which one might identify the abstract notion which allows one to explain the genus of both things.
It seems to be a category that shows up at moments, but isn’t necessarily synonymous with the unity of opposites.
Which might just follow above Aristotle’s example where two things which are relative to one another don’t necessarily share a similar origins in time.
Such as the commodity as a unity of use-value and exchange-value, exchange-value is dependent upon the prior existence of use-value of objects whilst use-value is not dependent on exchange-value for its existence.
So it seems a good rule or point of note to see such interdependent relatives, things which necessarily presuppose one another and have an internal relation to one another. But also that it isn’t a universal rule that both emerge simultaneously, which might be a point of interest for then examining how the internal relation between the two emerged. Which I assume is what Marx did somewhat in considering the nature of labor across human history to have a clearer conception of the commodity as the concrete universal of capitalist production.