What is or is not contradiction? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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I ask this because it seems ambiguous and I am ambivalent about the way in which it seems reduced in a way that tends to negate the sense of using the term contradiction.
There is ambiguity in the history of Marxist thought
Marxist philosophers have made similar denials about the Marxist view of dialectical contradiction. Sometimes contradiction is characterized as the co-existence of conflicting forces, which is hardly a logical interpretation. Priest cites a few to that effect. After the Stalin era (in which contradiction hazily covered a variety of meanings), a growing number of Soviet philosophers dissociated the notion of dialectical contradiction from any taint of logical contradiction (Sheptulin, Narskii), and some maintain that contradictions hold in thought but not in reality (Narskii).

The last part of the above seems to be a Kantian move in confining contradiction as a subjective matter which seems to be a step back from Hegel and anything appropriated from his method, effectively leaving contradictions/antinomies unresolved in the mind.
It would be understatement to say that Hegel understands that one might seek to resolve the issue of those contradictions by locating notions in our Mind, and then saying that while contradiction will be necessary in the ‘realm of the Mind”, they don’t say anything about the external world (which would be thus left free of any contradictions). That is the Kantian solution, which Hegel contrasts with his own thus:

"The Kantian solution, namely, through the so-called transcendental ideality of the world of perception, has no other result than to make the so-called conflict into something subjective, in which of course it remains still the same illusion, that is, is as unresolved, as before. Its genuine solution can only be this: two opposed determinations which belong necessarily to one and the same Notion cannot be valid each on its own in its one-sidedness; on the contrary,they are true only as sublated, only in the unity of their Notion."

It seems that the term contradiction gets replaced with things like tension, opposition, antagonism and conflict.
Spoiler: show
Norman first of all stresses the necessity to distinguish between dialectical contradiction and the logical law of non-contradiction, and argues why the latter must be upheld even if the former is admitted (p. 49). The very notion of rational argument is at stake if one equinanimously accepts "that one and the same proposition can be both true and false."

On the other hand, opposed to Popper, Norman does accept the fruitfulness of paradoxes (p. 50). But while paradoxes may be important and profound, and acceptable as fruitful statements, they cannot be left to stand logically as they are.

And now we get to the nuts of what dialectical contradiction is all about. Here the tender testicles of dialectics lie delicately poised in the scrotum of their mutual interdependence: section II: contradiction as interdependence of opposed concepts (see esp. pp. 52-54). The issue is the interdependence of united yet mutually opposed categories! (Hopw many times have I said this?) There are trivial examples and there are better examples:

"The relation between these opposed categories is tighter than that between the rather trivial examples I have previously quoted. here the point is not just that, for the one concept to be applicable, the opposed concept must be applied to something else, but rather that, for the one concept to be applicable, the opposed concept must also be applied to the same thing." (p. 53)

The contradiction which is involved could, with more plausibility, be said to require the assertion of a self-contradictory statement—for the statement that one and the same thing possesses opposite characteristics looks like a self-contradictory statement. However, I still want to resist this suggestion. In all these cases the same thing can possess opposite characteristics because they are ascribed to it under different aspects, from different points of view. (pp. 53-54)"

In the text that follows, Norman's resistance is rather feeble; however, in the footnotes on pp. 65-66, he admits that the question of logical formal contradiction is appropriately raised here. Study carefully, folks because here is the essence of the whole issue of dialectical logic!

In section III of the same chapter: Norman proceeds to analyze the notion as contradiction as conflict of opposed forces, as it is usually seen by Marxists. Here Norman agrees with Sayers that the notion of contradiction properly goes beyond the mere notion of conflict and opposed forces to included an interdependence of opposed concepts as well (p. 57, 59). Norman nonetheless warns as viewing this kind of contradiction as a logical law. When one sees an interdependence of concepts as well as forces, then:

. . . the vocabulary of 'contradiction' becomes appropriate. But this does not entitle us to say that one force 'contradicts' another force. The term 'contradiction' still refers to the relation between the concepts by which the forces are characterized. The relation between the concepts 'inciting force' and 'incited force' is one of contradiction because it is a meaning-relation. The two have opposite meanings but at the same time each depends for its meaning on its relation to the other. this is what makes the relation between them an interdependence of opposites, an opposition within a unity, a contradiction. (p. 59)

The above I can jive with as having a place in Marxist thought and I've seen it reflected in in a summary of Ilyenkov's work in which the universal isn't an abstraction of common attributes for a thing.
Clearly, the concrete-empirical, apparent essence of the relation that binds together various phenomena (individuals) into some “one,” into a common “set,” is by no means delineated and expressed by their abstract-common feature, nor in the definition equally characteristic of both. The unity (“or commonness”) is provided much sooner by the “feature” which one individual possesses and another does not. The very absence of the known feature ties one individual to another much stronger than its equal presence in both.

Two absolutely identical individuals each of whom possesses the same set of knowledge, habits, proclivities, etc., would find themselves absolutely uninteresting to, and needless of, each other. It would be simply solitude multiplied by two. One wit, as he explained to his young friend the ABC of dialectical logic, advised him to ask himself the question: what is it in his bride that attracts the young man; wherein lie the ties of their “commonness”?
Ilyenkov has established that thinking in concepts entails revealing the real living unity of things, their concrete connection of interaction and not abstract dead unity.

Sameness is usually assumed to identify a link or interaction between phenomena. Yet the sameness does not reveal the essence of interconnection. For example two gears are locked together between their teeth and grooves not between tooth and tooth. They are connected through their opposite reflection.

A similar process is observed in chemical process between particles when to become a molecule one particle finds its compliment in another in the electrons within its opposite structure. Bonding takes place through one particle finding in the other a property which it lacks. Without this continuous coming together and breaking apart no cohesion or interaction exists either.

Indeed were two phenomena absolutely identical it would be hard to see any interaction between them ever taking place. Identical phenomena may exist side by side but in order for there to be interaction between them certain changes must take place within them that turns them into mutually opposing moments within a coherent whole.

But the issue I take with Richard Norman is that it raises the question of why Hegel in the first place had to create a logic for which existing logic was apparently inadequate.
Here's a good summary: Contradiction in Motion: Hegel's Organic Concept of Life and Value By Songsuk Susan Hahn
Either he must affirm contradictions, but they are of the barren variety that fatally reduces contradiction to an error that ought not to happen - hence, he loses contradiction as the positive, dynamic force that propels dialectical visions forward- or he must endorse a watered-down version involving conflicts and inconsistencies, which falls short of affirming strong, full-blooded contradictions, hence he loses his motivation for revising traditional forms of logical judgements. Hegel dismisses this either/or as artificial because it doesn't begin to exhaust the richness of possibility that can arise on a radically revised speculative logic.

To which the above author cites authors who assert it is a myth that Hegel denies formal logical princinple of contradiction.
The Myth that Hegel Denied the Law of Contradiction
It is often claimed in the Anglo-American tradition, which prides itself on its methodological rigor and deference to formal logic, that Hegel foolishly denied the law of contradiction. Some analytic philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell, have been led to this conclusion by a mistaken interpretation of Hegel’s dialectical method, which they claim resolves all dualisms and oppositions by simply not recognizing the contradiction involved in simple statements such as “P and not P’ The implication is that Hegel would have miserably failed a course on introductory logic. This Hegel legend is addressed by two different essays in this collection.

Robert Pippin, acclaimed for among other things his seminal study, Hegel’s Idealism: The Satisfactions of Self-Consciousness, recounts this myth and focuses on the notion of contradiction as a logical category in Hegel’s Logic. In his analysis of the Wesenslogik where Hegel’s disputed doctrine makes its appearance, Pippin tries to unpack some of Hegel’s most obscure philosophical terminology, such as “determinate negation” and “Aufhebung.” On the basis of this he offers a corrective interpretation of the notion of contradiction according to Hegel’s dialectical view.

In his essay, Robert Hanna complements Pippin’s analysis of Hegel’s doctrine of contradiction. Hanna indicates the different conceptual levels of logic according to Hegel, which allows him to make sense of Hegel’s criticism of the logic of his predecessors. Far from denying any logical principles per se, Hegel’s critique amounts to reinterpreting them from a higher standpoint. Hanna analyzes carefully Hegel’s account of judgment, syllogism, and contradiction, and lays to rest the view that Hegel rejected the law of contradiction.

So somehow, Hegel's speculative logic stands on a different plane of reasoning, presumably because he has an expanded consideration of what is thought I guess.
Although, the earlier author notes that none of these people really clarify what the status of Hegel's position in regards to the law of contradiction.
It does seem though that there is something specific, that the antiomonies of reason found by Kant are though to be necessary conclusions of correct thought, as opposed to simply sloppy and errernous thinking that formal logic rightly rectifies.
he old logic, coming up against the logical contradiction that it itself brought to light just because it rigorously followed its own principles, always baulked at it, retreated to analysis of the preceding movement of thought, and always strove to find an error or mistake in it leading to the contradiction. For formal logical thinking contradictions thus became an insurmountable barrier to the forward movement of thought, an obstacle in the way of concrete analysis of the essence of the matter. It therefore also came about that ‘thought, despairing of managing by itself to resolve the contradiction into which it had got itself, turns back to the solutions and reliefs that were the spirit’s lot in its other modes and forms’. It could not be otherwise, since the contradiction did not develop through a mistake. No mistake, it ultimately proved, had been made in the preceding thinking. It was necessary to go even further back, to uncomprehended contemplation, sense perception, aesthetic intuition, i.e. to the realm of lower forms of consciousness (lower, that is, in relation to conceptual thinking), where there was really no contradiction for the simple reason that it had still not been disclosed and clearly expressed. (It never hurts, of course, to go back and analyse the preceding course of argument and check whether there has not been a formal mistake, for that also happens not infrequently; and here the recommendations of formal logic have a quite rational sense and value. It may turn out, as a result of checking, that a given logical contradiction is really nothing but the result of committing an error or mistake somewhere. Hegel, of course, never dreamed of denying such a case. He, like Kant, had in mind only those antinomies that developed in thought as a result of the most formally ‘correct’ and faultless argumentation.)

It seems crucial to dialectical logic that it is clarified.
A general impression though of Wald's discussion and of more recent discussion [Moran 1982], is that Marxist logicians everywhere recognize the law of contradiction as the key problem of dialectical logic, and have reached a level of high technical sophistication in these discussions, but no unanimity.
There is even a contention that there isn't a place for such a thing as dialectical logic but instead a dialectical interpretation of formal logic.
What Is Dialectical Logic?

For Marxists dialectics is the science of the most general laws of development in nature, society and thinking. So far so good, but the application of dialectics to the laws of logical thinking, or the definition as to what dialectical logic is, causes a great deal of disagreement. Many Marxists believe that there is a basic contradiction between formal logic and dialectical logic. Formal logic concerns itself with the extensional aspect of thinking, with the forms of thinking, viewing them as static, isolated entities. Dialectical logic however studies supposedly the intensional aspect of thinking, i.e. not its forms, but the contents of thinking, seeing it as a process of development.

I disagree with this point of view. First of all, to assign to (dialectical) logic the study of the contents of thinking is to trespass on fields which are the concern of other scientific disciplines such as philosophy, epistemology, psychology, educational theory and others. Furthermore it would prevent formal logic from carrying out its true function, namely to study the forms of thinking, the extensional aspect of thinking, not only as static entities, but also as a process of dialectical development—in their transition from one form of thinking to other forms of thinking, from lower forms of thinking to higher forms of thinking. It is true, that formal logic so far, has largely treated forms of thinking as static, isolated entities. Yet the fact that formal logic has not been interpreted dialectically does not justify a separate discipline, a dialectical logic, which opposed to formal logic, can eliminate its mechanical weaknesses. What is required is not a dialectical logic opposing a mechanical formal logic, but a formal logic interpreting its object, the forms of logical thinking, as a dialectical process. For example, to understand the logical operations of creative thinking, it is imperative to study the transition of a proposition to a question or problem, and again the transition of the question to an answer. In other words, to master the logical laws of creative thinking one has to interpret formal logic dialectically. Indeed the dialectic approach to formal logic seems to me one of the great tasks confronting formal logic in our time. In capitalist society, man has to a growing degree mastered the laws of nature. In socialist society man has begun to understand and apply the laws of society. In communist society, man will also master the laws of thinking, especially the logical laws of creative thinking. Yet the latter will only be possible if formal logic is interpreted dialectically. Thus there exist no such opposing disciplines as formal logic and dialectical logic, but only a formal logic interpreted mechanically and a formal logic which treats its object dialectically.

Which doesn't sound outlandish to me in it seems that the emphasis is a kind of abstraction more sensitive to what is considered reality in its emphasis on change/flux as well as relationship though difference rather than identify as typical to the abstract universals identified with formal logic. Which is possibly fitting to the view that Hegel had a need to create (or expand) upon formal logic and is how he can have a different position on Zeno's paradoxes of motion which is assertedly not about the quantitative nature of motion but it's qualitative. Formal logic in it's search for what is common as opposed to a concrete universal which by logical necessity is the genus to all particulars is even something attributable to what is seen as the liberal position of abstract humanism devoid of difference.
I read a passage taken from E. V. Ilyenkov on 'The problem of contradiction in logic' which has brought me to an emphasis on 'what is thought?'. I speculate that this would help clarify the nature of what a contradiction or a dialectical interpretation of logic is.
[122] The logic which we discuss is not at all concerned with specific forms of the expression of thought in language in general, and still less with an artificial "language of science," but with the forms of thought itself, understood as a "scientific-historical process" (K. Marx), which is by no means realized only in language.

[123] Obviously the forms of thought are expressed (and realized) in language, in forms of language, but the main difference between this error and others which would be worse, but are also especially unpardonable for specialists in logic, is overlooked. It is impossible to put the identity sign between forms of thought and forms of expression of thought unless we put both feet on the ground of the old philosophical prejudice according to which language in general (in the broadest sense) is the one "external form" in which thought is realized, "manifested," "becomes explicit," and hence thought is also investigated. In that case, indeed, forms and norms of "language" would be also uniquely accessible to observation and investigation of the "forms of thought," its logical norms. However, this prejudice, as given and well-known, is fraught with sad consequences for the science of thought, in particular, a threat of the complete degeneration of logic as a science investigating general and necessary forms and laws of thought, into purely subjective "rules," not having and not being able to have any objective basis and justification except that they are established by an amicable agreement ("conventionally"); "logic" in such an interpretation is unavoidably transformed into something resembling that convention which was previously violated by Panikovskii. Identifying the forms of thought with forms of language, by means of the [identity] sign whose logic was worked out by the Stoics and the Medieval scholastics, had, finally, its historical justification, which has disappeared into oblivion....

[125] If logical forms are found not only in acts of speaking of the surrounding world, but also in acts of really changing it in human practice, then practice proves to be the criterion of "justification" of logical figures directing human speech, man's verbally formalized self-consciousness. Logical forms (schemes, figures) are the forms within whose framework human activity in general is performed, to whatever particular object it may be directed, but it words, things, or events, historical situations. [126] And if we find some figure only in the verbal form of the passage of thought, and cannot find it in the real affairs of men (as their abstract scheme), then this means that we are not confronted with any kind of logical form, but only with forms of speech. Practice also remains the criterion for logic, the determining factor, and we are concerned with logical form or with nothing.

Naturally, the understanding of logic as the science of thought, as the science of activity which is realized not only in words, not only in speaking and written records of this speaking, but also (and above all!) in works, in acts of changing the external world, in experiments with fully real things, in the precess of creation of objects of labor and in changing the relations between people, the matter begins to look essentially different from the views of those who side with the old, pure formal logic. They are primarily concerned not mainly with thought, but with the mode of connection of "subject and predicate," with the constitution of the verbal "definitions" of things, with "conjunctions of propositions," which mutually cancel each other, and with similar situations of a linguistic rather than logical character.

From the point of view [of the science of thought rather than its expression in language] it is precisely contradiction, and not the absence of contradiction, which turns out to be the real logical form, within whose framework lies real thought, realizing itself in the aspect of the development of science, technology, and "morality."

For just this reason Hegel was also right to make his paradoxical assertion that "Contradiction is the criterion of truth, absence of [127] contradiction is the criterion of error" ( Hegel, Raboty pasnykh let [Works from Various Years], t. 1., Moscow, 1970, p. 265.) Hence he was also right to deprive the notorious principle of the "exclusion of contradiction" of the status of a law of thought, the status of an absolute and undisputed "norm of truth." ...

This seems to be something shared by Hegel in regards to the expansion of thought beyond simply language.
Spoiler: show
It is important, first of all, to understand clearly what the real object was that Hegel investigated and described in his Science of Logic, so as to find the critical range immediately in regard to his presentation. ‘That the subject matter of logic is thought, with that everyone agrees,’ Hegel stressed in his Shorter Logic. Later, quite naturally, logic as a science received the definition of thinking about thought or thought thinking about itself.

In that definition and the conceptions expressed by it there is still nothing either of the specifically Hegelian or of the specifically idealist. It is simply the traditional ideas of the subject matter of logic as a science, quite clearly and succinctly expressed. In logic the object of scientific comprehension proves to be thought itself, while any other science is thinking about something else. In defining logic as thinking about thought, Hegel quite accurately indicated its sole difference from any other science.

The next question, however, arises from that and requires a no less clear answer. But what is thought? It goes without saying, Hegel replied (and one again has to agree with him), that the sole satisfactory answer can only be an exposition of the heart of the matter, i.e. a concretely developed theory, a science of thought, a ‘science of logic’, and not an ordinary definition. (Compare Engels’ view in Anti-Duhring: ‘Our definition of life is naturally very inadequate.... All definitions are of little value. In order to gain an exhaustive knowledge of what life is, we should have to go through all the forms in which it appears, from the lowest to the highest.’ And later: ‘To science definitions are worthless because always inadequate. The only real definition is the development of the thing itself, but this is no longer a definition.’

In any science, however, and therefore in logic too, one has to mark everything out in advance and outline its contours, if only the most general boundaries of the object of investigation, i.e. to indicate the field of the facts to which the given science must devote its attention. Otherwise the criterion for their selection will be unclear and its role will be tyrannous and arbitrary, taking only those facts into consideration that confirm its generalisations, and ignoring everything else as allegedly having no relation to the matter or to the competence of the science concerned. Hegel gave such a preliminary explanation, not concealing from the reader exactly what he understood by the word ‘thought’.

This is a very important point, and everything else hangs on proper understanding of it. It is no accident that the main objections to Hegel, both justified and unjustified, have hitherto been directed precisely at it. Neopositivists, for example, unanimously reproach Hegel with having inadmissibly broadened the subject matter of logic by his conception of thought, including in the sphere of examination a mass of ‘things’ that one cannot call thought in the usual and strict sense; above all the concepts traditionally referred to metaphysics, and to ‘ontology’, i.e. to the science of things themselves, the system of categories (the universal definitions of reality outside consciousness, outside subjective thinking understood as the psychic capability of man).

If thinking were to be so understood, the Neopositivist reproach must really be considered reasonable. Hegel actually understood as thought something at first glance enigmatic, even mystical, when he spoke of it as taking place outside man and apart from man, independently of his head, and of ‘thought as such’, of ‘pure thought’, and when he considered the object of logic to be precisely that ‘absolute’ superhuman thought. Logic in his definition must be understood even as having a content that ‘shows forth God as he is in his eternal essence before the creation of Nature and of a Finite Spirit’.

Such definitions are capable of confusing and disorienting at the very start. But of course there is no such ‘thought’ as some superhuman force creating nature, and history, and man himself and his consciousness from itself somewhere in the Universe. But is Hegel’s logic then the presentation of a non-existent subject? Of an invented, purely fantastic object? In that case, how are we to rethink his constructions critically? With what, with what real object, must we compare and contrast his strings of theoretical determinations in order to distinguish the truth in them from the fallacy? With the real thinking of man? But Hegel would reply that in his Science of Logic it is a matter of quite another object, and that if empirically observed human thought is not like it, that is no argument against his logic, for criticism of a theory only makes sense when the theory is compared with the same object as it represents, and not with another one; and it is impossible to compare logic with the acts of thinking actually taking place in people’s heads because people think very illogically at every step, even elementarily illogically, let alone according to a logic of a much higher order, of the kind that Hegel had in mind.

When you point out to a logician, therefore, that man’s real thinking does not occur as it is depicted in his theory, he could reasonably reply that it was so much the worse for this thinking and that the theory did not need to be adapted to the empirical but that real thought must be made logical and brought into harmony with logical principles.

For logic as a science, however, a fundamental difficulty arises here. If it were only permissible to compare logical principles with logical thought, did that then not wipe out any possibility whatsoever of checking whether or not they were correct? It is quite understandable that these principles would always be in agreement with thoughts that had previously been made to agree with them. After all, it only meant that logical principles agreed with themselves, with their own embodiment in empirical acts of thought. In that case, a very ticklish situation was created for theory. Logic had in mind only logically immaculate thinking, and logically incorrect thinking was not an argument against its schemas. But it consented to consider only such thinking as logically immaculate as exactly confirmed its own ideas about thought, and evaluated any deviation from its rules as a fact falling outside its subject matter and therefore to be considered solely as a ‘mistake’ needing to be ‘corrected’.

In any other science such a claim would evoke consternation. What kind of a theory was it that consented to take into account only such facts as confirmed it, and did not wish to consider contradictory facts, although there must be millions and billions such? But surely that was exactly the traditional position of logic, which was presented by its devotees as standing to reason, and which made logic absolutely unself-critical on the one hand and incapable of development on the other.

That, incidentally, was where Kant’s illusion originated, the illusion that logic as a theory had long ago acquired a fully closed, completed character and not only was not in need of development of its propositions but could not be by its very nature. Schelling also understood Kant’s logic as an absolutely precise presentation of the principles and rules of thinking in concepts.

Hegel had doubts about the proposition that it was the rules of logic that prevented understanding of the process of the passage of the concept into the object and vice versa, of the subjective into the objective (and in general of opposites into one another). He saw in it not evidence of the organic deficiency of thought but only the limitations of Kant’s ideas about it. Kantian logic was only a limitedly true theory of thought. Real thought, the real subject matter of logic as a science, as a matter of fact was something else; therefore it was necessary to bring the theory of thought into agreement with its real subject matter.

Hegel saw the need for a critical reconsideration of traditional logic primarily in the extreme, glaring discrepancy between the principles and rules that Kant considered absolutely universal forms of thought and the real results that had been achieved by human civilisation in the course of its development. ‘ A comparison of the forms to which Spirit has risen in the worlds of Practice and Religion, and of Science in every department of knowledge Positive and Speculative - a comparison of these with the form which Logic, that is, Spirit’s knowledge of its own pure essence - has attained, shows such a glaring discrepancy that it cannot fail to strike the most superficial observer that the latter is inadequate to the lofty development of the former, and unworthy of it.’

Thus the existing logical theories did not correspond to the real practice of thought, and thinking about thought (i.e. logic) consequently lagged behind thinking about everything else, behind the thinking that was realised as the science of the external world, as consciousness fixed in the form of knowledge and things created by the power of knowledge, in the form of the whole organism of civilisation. In functioning as thinking about the world, thought had achieved such success that beside it thinking about thought proved to be something quite incommensurable, wretched, deficient, and poor. To take it on faith that human thought had really been and was guided by the rules, laws, and principles that in the aggregate constituted traditional logic was to make all the progress of science and practice simply inexplicable.

Hence there arose the paradox that the human intellect, which had created modern culture, had come to a standstill in amazement before its own creation. Schelling had also expressed this amazement of the ‘spirit’, and it was just at this point that Hegel began to differ with him.

Hegel considered that the rules by which the ‘spirit’ was actually guided, contrary to the illusions that it had created on its own account (in the person of professional logicians) and had set out in the form of textbooks of logic, could and must be brought out and set forth in the form of a concept, quite rationally, without shifting everything hitherto not comprehended onto ‘intuition’, i.e. onto an ability that was from the very outset something quite different from thought. Hegel’s posing of the matter played a special role because it, for the first time, subjected all the main concepts of logical science, above all the concept of thought, to careful analysis.

At first glance (and people usually proceed from such a ‘first glance’, adopting it absolutely uncritically from everyday usage), thought represented one of man’s subjective psychic abilities along with others like intuition, sensation, memory, will, and so on and so forth. By thinking was also understood a special kind of activity directed, unlike practice, at altering ideas, at reorganising the images that were in the individual’s consciousness, and directly at the verbal shaping of these ideas in speech; ideas, when expressed in speech (words, terms) were called concepts. When man altered real things outside his head, and not ideas, that was no longer considered thinking, but at best only activities in accordance with thought, according to the laws and rules dictated by it.

Thought was thus identified with reflection, i.e. with psychic activity in the course of which a person gave himself an account of what he was doing, and how, and became aware of all the schemas and rules by which he acted. The sole job of logic then proved, quite understandably, to be simply the ordering and classifying of the corresponding schemas and rules. Every individual could discover them for himself in his own consciousness because, even without any study of logic, he was guided by them (only not, perhaps, systematically). As Hegel justly put it, ‘such logic had no other business than could be done through the activity of simple formal thought, and so it certainly produced nothing that one could not otherwise have done just as well’.

Everything we have said also applied fully to Kant, which is why Hegel said that ‘the Kantian philosophy could not have any effect on the treatment of the sciences. It left the categories and methods of ordinary knowledge quite undisturbed’. It only introduced order into the schemas of existing consciousness, only built them into a system (in so doing, true, it came up against the facts of a mutual contradiction between the various schemas). So the Kantian logic appeared as a kind of honest confession of existing consciousness, of its systematically expounded self-consciousness, and nothing more; or rather, of its conceits - an exposition of what existing thought thought of itself. But just as it was a blunder to judge a person according to what and how he thought of himself, so it was impossible to judge thinking by its self-opinion; it was much more useful to examine what it was really doing, and how, possibly even without giving itself a proper evaluation of it.

Having thus posed the problem Hegel proved to be the first professional logician who resolutely and consciously threw aside the old prejudice that thought was presented to the investigator only in the form of speech (external or internal, oral or written). The prejudice was not accidental; thought could only look at itself from the side, as it were, as an object different from itself, only insofar as it had expressed itself, embodied itself in some external form. And the completely conscious thought that all the old logic had in view really assumed language, speech, the word, as its outward form of expression. In other words thought achieved awareness of the schemas of its own activity precisely through and in language. (This circumstance had in fact been recorded in the very name of logic, which is derived from the Greek logos, word.) Not only Hegel and the Hegelians, incidentally, spoke of this, but also some of their opponents in principle, like Trendelenburg, who noted that traditional (formal) ‘logic becomes conscious of itself in speech and so in many respects is a grammar absorbed with itself’.

Let us note in passing that all schools of logic, without exception, having ignored Hegel’s criticism of the old logic have shared this old prejudice to this day as though nothing had happened. It is most outspokenly professed by Neopositivists, who directly identify thought with linguistic activity and logic with the analysis of language. The most striking thing about this is the self-conceit with which they project this archaic prejudice as the latest discovery of twentieth century logical thinking, as the manifestation to the world at long last of the principle of the scientific development of logic, as an axiom of the ‘logic of science’.

Language (speech) is, nevertheless, not the sole empirically observed form in which human thought manifests itself. Does man really not discover himself as a thinking being in his actions, in the course of actually shaping the world around him, in the making of things? Does he really only function as a thinking being when talking? The question is surely purely rhetorical. The thought of which Hegel spoke discloses itself in human affairs every bit as obviously as in words, in chains of terms, in the lacework of word combinations. Furthermore, in real affairs man demonstrates the real modes of his thinking more adequately than in his narrations of them.

But, that being so, man’s actions, and so too the results of his actions, the things created by them, not only could, but must, be considered manifestations of his thought, as acts of the objectifying of his ideas, thoughts, plans, and conscious intentions. Hegel demanded from the very start that thought should be investigated in all the forms in which it was realised, and above all in human affairs, in the creation of things and events. Thought revealed its force and real power not solely in talking but also in the whole grandiose process of creating culture and the whole objective body of civilisation, the whole ‘inorganic body of man’ (Marx), including in that tools and statues, workshops and temples, factories and chancelleries, political organisations and systems of legislation.

It was on that basis that Hegel also acquired the right to consider in logic the objective determinations of things outside consciousness, outside the psyche of the human individual, in all their independence, moreover, from that psyche. There was nothing mystical nor idealist in that; it meant the forms (‘determinations’) of things created by the activity of the thinking individual. In other words, the forms of his thought embodied in natural materials, ‘invested’ in it by human activity. Thus a house appeared as the architect’s conception embodied in stone, a machine as the embodiment of the engineer’s ideas in metal, and so on; and the whole immense objective body of civilisation as thought in its ‘otherness’ (das Idee in der Form des Anderssein), in its sensual objective embodiment. The whole history of humanity was correspondingly also to be considered a process of the ‘outward revelation’ of the power of thought, as a process of the realisation of man’s ideas, concepts, notions, plans, intentions, and purposes, as a process of the embodying of logic, i.e. of the schemas to which men’s purposive activity was subordinated.

The understanding and careful analysis of thought in this aspect (investigation of the ‘active side’ as Marx called it in his first thesis on Feuerbach) was still not idealism. Logic, furthermore, by following such a path, thus took the decisive step toward genuine (‘intelligent’) materialism, toward understanding of the fact that all logical forms without exception were universal forms of the development of reality outside thought, reflected in human consciousness and tested in the course of millennia of practice. In considering thought in the course of its materialisation as well as in its verbal revelation Hegel did not go beyond the bounds of the analysis of thought at all, beyond the limits of the subject matter of logic as a special science. He simply brought into the field of view of logic that real phase of the process of development of thought without understanding which logic could not and never would be able to become a real science.

From Hegel’s standpoint the real basis for the forms and laws of thought proved to be only the aggregate historical process of the intellectual development of humanity understood in its universal and necessary aspects. The subject matter of logic was no longer the abstract identical schemas that could be found in each individual consciousness, and common to each of them, but the history of science and technique collectively created by people, a process quite independent of the will and consciousness of the separate individuals although realised at each of its stages precisely in the conscious activity of individuals. This process, according to Hegel, also included, as a phase, the act of realising thought in object activity, and through activity in the forms of things and events outside consciousness. In that, in Lenin’s words, he ‘came very close to materialism’.

In considering thought as a real productive process expressing itself not only in the movement of words but also in the changing of things, Hegel was able, for the first time in the history of logic, to pose the problem of a special analysis of thought-forms, or the analysis of thought from the aspect of form. Before him such an aim had not arisen in logic, and even could not have. ‘It is hardly surprising that economists, wholly under the influence of material interests, have overlooked the formal side of the relative expression of value, when professional logicians, before Hegel, even overlooked the formal aspect of the propositions and conclusions they used as examples.’

Logicians before Hegel had recorded only the external schemas in which logical actions, judgments and inferences functioned in speech, i.e. as schemas of the joining together of terms signifying general ideas, but the logical form expressed in these figures, i.e. the category, remained outside their sphere of investigation, and the conception of it was simply borrowed from metaphysics and ontology. So it had been even with Kant, despite the fact that he had nevertheless seen categories precisely as the principles of judgments (with objective significance, in his sense).

So the idea is that thought isn't identical to words/language and to think as much is to mystify ourselves and often end up making language independent from the material reality.
— Thought and Language —
One of the most difficult tasks confronting philosophers is to descend from the world of thought to the actual world. Language is the immediate actuality of thought. Just as philosophers have given thought an independent existence, so they were bound to make language into an independent realm. This is the secret of philosophical language, in which thoughts in the form of words have their own content. The problem of descending from the world of thoughts to the actual world is turned into the problem of descending from language to life.

We have shown that thoughts and ideas acquire an independent existence in consequence of the personal circumstances and relations of individuals acquiring independent existence. We have shown that exclusive, systematic occupation with these thoughts on the part of ideologists and philosophers, and hence the systematisation of these thoughts, is a consequence of division of labour, and that, in particular, German philosophy is a consequence of German petty-bourgeois conditions. The philosophers have only to dissolve their language into the ordinary language, from which it is abstracted, in order to recognise it, as the distorted language of the actual world, and to realise that neither thoughts nor language in themselves form a realm of their own, that they are only manifestations of actual life.

And this seems to relate well to a Spinozian perspective of thinking as to be found in action of a thinking being.
In order to understand the mode of action of the thinking body it is necessary to consider the mode of its active, causal interaction with other bodies both ‘thinking’ and ‘non-thinking’, and not its inner structure, not the spatial geometric relations that exist between the cells of its body and between the organs located within its body.

The cardinal distinction between the mode of action of a thinking body and that of any other body, quite clearly noted by Descartes and the Cartesians, but not understood by them, is that the former actively builds (constructs) the shape (trajectory) of its own movement in space in conformity with the shape (configuration and position) of the other body, coordinating the shape of its own movement (its own activity) with the shape of the other body, whatever it is. The proper, specific form of the activity of a thinking body consists consequently in universality, in that very property that Descartes actually noted as the chief distinction between human activity and the activity of an automaton copying its appearance, i.e. of a device structurally adapted to some one limited range of action even better than a human, but for that very reason unable to do ‘everything else’.

Thus the human hand can perform movements in the form of a circle, or a square, or any other intricate geometrical figure you fancy, so revealing that it was not designed structurally and anatomically in advance for any one of these ‘actions’, and for that very reason is capable of performing any action. In this it differs, say, from a pair of compasses, which describe circles much more accurately than the hand but cannot draw the outlines of triangles or squares. In other words, the action of a body that ‘does not think’ (if only in the form of spatial movement, in the form of the simplest and most obvious case) is determined by its own inner construction by its ‘nature’, and is quite uncoordinated with the shape of the other bodies among which it moves. It therefore either disturbs the shapes of the other bodies or is itself broken in colliding with insuperable obstacles.

Man, however, the thinking body, builds his movement on the shape of any other body. He does not wait until the insurmountable resistance of other bodies forces him to turn off from his path; the thinking body goes freely round any obstacle of the most complicated form. The capacity of a thinking body to mould its own action actively to the shape of any other body, to coordinate the shape of its movement in space with the shape and distribution of all other bodies, Spinoza considered to be its distinguishing sign and the specific feature of that activity that we call ‘thinking’ or ‘reason’.

It is in the activity of the human body in the shape of another external body that Spinoza saw the key to the solution of the whole problem. “Within the skull you will not find anything to which a functional definition of thought could be applied, because thinking is a function of external, objective activity. And you must therefore investigate not the anatomy and physiology of the brain but … the ‘anatomy and physiology’ of the world of his culture, the world of the ‘things’ that he produces and reproduces by his activity.”

To which Lev Vygotsky's work is pivotal in understaning the intersecting nature between thought and language where they are distinct but necessarily tied to one another in their development such that we have words that mean something and aren't thoughtless.
So language is important but it is but a part of thought.
This leads us to the conclusion that thought does not immediately coincide with verbal expression. Thought does not consist of individual words like speech. I may want to express the thought that I saw a barefoot boy in a blue shirt running down the street today. I do not, however, see separately the boy, the shirt, the fact that the shirt was blue, the fact that the boy ran, and the fact that the boy was without shoes. I see all this together in a unified act of thought. In speech, however, the thought is partitioned into separate words. Thought is always something whole, something with significantly greater extent and volume than the individual word. Over the course of several minutes, an orator frequently develops the same thought. This thought is contained in his mind as a whole. It does not arise step by step through separate units in the way that his speech develops. What is contained simultaneously in thought unfolds sequentially in speech. Thought can be compared to a hovering cloud which gushes a shower of words.

Therefore, the transition from thought to speech is an extremely complex process which involves the partitioning of the thought and its recreation in words. This is why thought does not correspond with the word, why it doesn’t even correspond with the word meanings in which it is expressed. The path from thought to word lies through meaning. There is always a background thought, a hidden subtext in our speech. The direct transition from thought to word is impossible. The construction of a complex path is always required.
We must now take the final step in the analysis of the internal planes of verbal thinking. Thought is not the last of these planes. It is not born of other thoughts. Thought has its origins in the motivating sphere of consciousness, a sphere that includes our inclinations and needs, our interests and impulses, and our affect and emotion. The affective and volitional tendency stands behind thought. Only here do we find the answer to the final “why” in the analysis of thinking. We have compared thought to a hovering cloud that gushes a shower of words. To extend this analogy, we must compare the motivation of thought to the wind that puts the cloud in motion. A true and complex understanding of another’s thought becomes possible only when we discover its real, affective-volitional basis. The motives that lead to the emergence of thought and direct its flow can be illustrated through the example we used earlier, that of discovering the subtext through the specific interpretation of a given role. Stanislavskii teaches that behind each of a character’s lines there stands a desire that is directed toward the realization of a definite volitional task.
The consciousness of sensation and thinking are characterized by different modes of reflecting reality. They are different types of consciousness. Therefore, thinking and speech are the key to understanding the nature of human consciousness. If language is as ancient as consciousness itself, if language is consciousness that exists in practice for other people and therefore for myself, then it is not only the development of thought but the development of consciousness as a whole that is connected with the development of the word. Studies consistently demonstrate that the word plays a central role not in the isolated functions but the whole of consciousness. In consciousness, the word is what – in Feuerbach’s words – is absolutely impossible for one person but possible for two. The word is the most direct manifestation of the historical nature of human consciousness.

Consciousness is reflected in the word like the sun is reflected in a droplet of water. The word is a microcosm of consciousness, related to consciousness like a living cell is related to an organism, like an atom is related to the cosmos. The meaningful word is a microcosm of human consciousness.
Big and poorly edited post for a lack of time, but trying to digest some material.

In thinking further on how for Hegel thought isn't = to language (a tendency of idealism) but can be considered in it's other objectified forms (products of human labor), I sensed an association about logic in regards to form and content.

Geoffrey Pilling summarized very briefly how Marx emphasizes the empirical (sensually real) and its form, but isn't an empiricist in the traditional sense. Because it neglects form of empirical thought.
Marx’s objection to empiricism rests upon this: that its attention is directed exclusively to the source of knowledge, but not the form of that knowledge. For empiricism the form assumed by our knowledge tends always to be ignored as something having no inherent, necessary, connection with the content, the source of our knowledge.

This relates well to the problem of Hume in regards to causation.
An apt summary of this via consideration of Spinoza in regards to how the emphasis on sensations as the only source of knowledge...
For to live at the level of the knowledge of effects, that is to know nothing of the causes of things, is to live a life of encounters only. One sensation follows another sensation, but I have no real understanding of the causes of these sensations.

For Hume, there was no connection between sensations except psychological habit, no rational necessity. In reaction to Hume's position, Kant emphasized that the mind had categories of perception that allowed one to rationally comprehend isolated facts. But there was an independence of form from content in such a way that one could only evaluate the correctness of reason, but reason itself could not speak in regards to the empirical world. Something could be correct in reasoning, but false in actuality.

Hegel sought to overcome this in emphasizing that form and content of logic were inseperable, rather than independent.
But let us note here that it was Hegel, on the basis of his criticism of Kantianism, who attempted to resolve the problem (of the connection between the ‘sensed’ and the ‘logical’, the ‘content’ and the ‘form’) by showing that thought is a dialectical process of movement, from thought of a lower grade to that of a higher grade.

According to Hegel, concepts developed by thought ceased to be dead, a priori products of the individual mind, but forms endowed with life, the life of the movement of thought itself.

This is asserted as something true to the origins of logic for the west, with the thought of Aristotle who apparently didn't divide form and content so extremely.
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).

I think this also holds in regards to how truth is based in how it's reflected in reality and not purely in thought. Formal logic helps defend one against fallacies, but doesn't necessarily guarantee scientific thinking and judgement of reality.

Concepts aren't a priori, but rather are historical and social products. Concepts are the product of peoples work through institutions. Developed in solving problems.
Spoiler: show
So, to understand thought, and therefore concepts, we have to go behind speaking and thinking to the plane from which thought is motivated, “toward the realization of a definite volitional task.” But the life-tasks which confront people are not invented by the individual. Like the cognitive content of concepts, the affective and volitional content is also drawn from outside the individual, through collaboration in the various projects in which an individual produces and reproduces their life and that of others.

Even though our “inclination and needs, our interests and impulses, ...” reside deep within the psyche they do not originate in biological drives, but on the contrary, like all human psychological functions, are complex structural formations, mediating attention, memory, will, perception, .... fashioned and manifested through collaboration with others in furtherance of “volitional tasks.” The tasks, whose realisation motivate our activity, have their origin in the institutions of the wider society in which we participate.

The impelling force which determines the start of any process or initiates any evolving mechanism of behavior and propels it forward along the path of further development, is not to be found inside, but outside the adolescent and, in this sense, the problems thrown up in front of the maturing adolescent by the society around him, which are connected with the process of growing into the cultural, professional and social life of adults, are extremely important functional aspects which continually depend on the reciprocal conditionality and the organic coherence and internal unity of form and content in the development of thinking (Vygotsky, 1930: 213).
A concept arises in some culturally and historically formed system of practice, some institution in the most general sense of the term, and a word, acting as a sign for the concept, passes into the language. Concepts arise for individuals also when confronted with situations.

Where these situations arise within a child’s system of activity, the child may form a complex in the course of resolving their situation. But an adult or adolescent confronting problems which arise within institutions and the social practices of the wider community, will be able to call upon the wisdom of the past, the corporate knowledge of the institution, which is organised around the word denoting the relevant situation, a sign for a true concept. This is part of their professional knowledge and ideology, part of the means by which institutions and traditional social practices are maintained.
All the concepts which the adolescent comes across have their origins in institutions of some kind. Scientific concepts are one, particularly ‘pure’ example of true concepts, but every branch of industry and technology, every branch of the state, churches and social movements, sports, and so on, create concepts. Concepts originate in some problem in social life. In the course of their development institutions come up against problems which, if the institution is to survive, they have to overcome. Each of these institutions adds a concrete concept to the life of the community as a whole, as well as a series of concepts flowing from their further development. Insofar as these institutions interact with the wider society, the words, which are bearers of these concepts, enter into the language.

The subject which forms concepts is the social and historical practice of human beings. Concepts are social products. They are passed on to generations through social vehicles and products such as languages, media, institutions, wars and industries, etc. They are not primarily the creation of individuals, who 99% inherit concepts and work with them together with others within definite social relations, and to the extent of no more than 1% do individuals create concepts.

I bring up this point of concepts being derived from the practice of individuals within institutions (Leaders of a religion, Specialized scientists, etc) and problems facing them in that I think this might relate well to the view that thinking is inclusive of the products of human labor and contradiction isn't merely thought forms expressed in formal logic/language but in the real world.
Part of which comes from a different attitude in regards to epistemology, the relationship between the real world and reason, not so thoroughly divided into empiricism versus rationalism, but a unity from the empirical to the abstract and back to the concrete.

I don't comprehend Hegel to confidently speak with his terminology but it makes me think to Lev Vygotsky's work Thought and Language in which he explored the opposition of two positions which contradicted one another in regards to a problem.
The unit of analysis is a methodological concept, not an ontological concept: the selection of the unit of analysis is relative to the problem (or contradiction) which the researcher wants to resolve. In that sense, the unit of analysis is a succinct expression of the problem itself. In “Thinking and Speech” Vygotsky says “the central problem is that of the relationship of thought to word,” (1934, p. 43) and his unit of analysis (word meaning) reflected that problematic.

The two position Vygotsky outlines are:
1. Thought and language are independent of one another
Spoiler: show
Perspectives that represent the other extreme, perspectives that begin with the concept that thinking and speech are independent of one another, are obviously in a better position to resolve the problem. Representatives of the Wurzburg school, for example, attempt to free thought from all sensory factors, including the word. The link between thought and word is seen as a purely external relationship. Speech is represented as the external expression of thought, as its vestment. Within this framework, it is indeed possible to pose the question of the relationship between thought and word and to attempt a resolution. However, this approach, an approach that is shared by several disparate traditions in psychology, consistently results in a failure to resolve the problem. Indeed, it ultimately fails to produce a proper statement of the problem. While these traditions do not ignore the problem, they do attempt to cut the knot rather than unravel it. Verbal thinking is partitioned into its elements; it is partitioned into the elements of thought and word and these are then represented as entities that are foreign to one another. Having studied the characteristics of thinking as such (i.e., thinking independent of speech) and then of speech isolated from thinking, an attempt is made to reconstruct a connection between the two, to reconstruct an external, mechanical interaction between two different processes.

2. Thought = Language, position typical of idealism which Hegel sought to displace.

After analyzing this contradiction, he as mentioned above chose word meaning as his unit of analysis. Realizing that Thought and Language are distinct things but do coincide/intersect and can be assessed scientifically via word meaning which is constituted by both. Though he doesn't begin exactly with this, but considers also it's emergence rather than accepting it as a given.
The position of language and thought entirely independent of one another would contradict the position of language = thought. But to get past this contradiction/impassable dualism, was able to in a way accept them both in a particular way.

And in considering the historical development of this part of psychology, one would presumably better see the outlines of Hegel's sort of logic in which concepts develop in institutions on a particular problem.
Which of course is easily reflected in language through the different schools of thought independent of its development, where one sees developed/finished concepts instead of ones in the process of development. In which, prior to the richer concept of Vygotsky's which allowed a firmer basis for his scientific investigation, was indeed in contradiction.
It would presumably reflect Hegel's view of logic, in which form and content are tied together, develop from lower forms to a higher more concrete abstraction (See terminology for Abstract Concrete).

In this way also, one is to be guided by the content of a thing rather than to make a schematicized sense of reasoning. This seems to be something good in Hegel in emphasizing content, although not to the neglect of form.
The following are some comments on Vygotsky’s work as part of a discussion of the application of the dialectical method.

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”.

Though it concerns me to what is the nature and standing of the labelled, 'Dialectical Logic'.
See On trends in the status of dialectical logic: A brief study of Lefebvre, Ilyenkov and Wald Claude M. J. Braun for summary of different views on the nature of dialectical logic and differing emphasis in regards to form, content and limits.

But it does seem that in an emphasis on content guiding reason, one should avoid mistakes of an idealist nature where abstractions are understood in regards to other abstractions independent of conscious relation to material reality (Marx's summary of thought and language in previous post).

Which relates to the method in not beginning from some abstract principle, axiom but instead forming concepts only in analysis of the subject's content, not a matter of some a priori system.
Spoiler: show
The essence of empiricism is that as a theory of knowledge it holds that sensory experience is the only source of knowledge and affirms that all knowledge is founded on experience and is obtained through experience. One reflection of this philosophical method is that it takes a series of facts as ‘given’ (by experience), that is, takes them uncritically, accepting them as fixed and natural phenomena and using them as the basis on which an analytical structure can be built. According to this conception, a general law – such as the law of value – is taken as given, as a point of departure. Such a general law, argues the empiricist, can be upheld only when it can be established as an immediately given principle under which all the facts being considered can be directly subsumed, without contradiction. The ‘general’ for the empiricist is mechanically constructed out of a series of ‘concrete’ experiences and in this way all dialectical relations are set aside, since the universal is merely analysed from the empirically concrete. Engels characterises this method – this starting with so-called ‘principles’ or ‘laws’ which are tested against ‘the facts’ as ideological – as a method which inverts the true process by which knowledge develops.

The general results of the investigation of the world are obtained at the end of this investigation, hence are not principles, points of departure, but results, conclusions. To construct the latter in one’s head is ideology, an ideology which tainted every species of materialism hitherto existing. (Engels, Anti-Duhring)
This method of starting from principles (instead of abstracting them in the course of theoretical work) was essentially the same as starting from abstract definitions, into which the facts are then ‘fitted’.

A prime example in this regard is Marx choosing the commodity (concrete universal/unit of analysis/cell/genus) in Das Kapital which would appear as having an a priori construction
Of course the method of presentation must differ in form from that of inquiry. The latter has to appropriate the material in detail, to analyse its different forms of development, to trace out their inner connexion. Only after this work is done, can the actual movement be adequately described. If this is done successfully, if the life of the subject-matter is ideally reflected as in a mirror, then it may appear as if we had before us a mere a priori construction.

but was developed through a Marxist twist on Hegel's dialectics in identifying a real existing universal which is empirically real but generative of all particulars we see in modern capitalism.

To help understand this, one should read Ilyenkov's The Universal in which he thoroughly criticizes the abstract universal derived from formal logics conception of a universal as that which has shared attributes of everything, rather than a real existing entity which is a particular which emerges as a universal in time. A universal which exists through a particular among the particulars which have been generated from it.
Like an ancestor that lives among it's progeny, which was the cause of them, but isn't simply a sum of all attributes of one's progeny. This concept of the universal is somewhat synonymous with Goethe's Urphänomen, the simplest thing which is generative of a class, the smallest thing which in a sense contains the whole ie cell.
A funny thing happens when we make abstractions of this kind: They often cease to be general features of the entire class.
I see some clarity on what is necessary before can understand the nature of Hegels contradiction.

In this booklet, I have deliberately focused on the various categories of Hegel's system. However, the important point is to grasp not just the meaning of each category, but the transition between them:

“though ordinary thinking everywhere has contradiction for its content, it does not become aware of it, but remain an external reflection which passes from likeness to unlikeness, or from the negative relation to the reflection -into-self, of the distinct sides. It holds these two determinations over against one another and has in mind only them, but not their transition, which is the essential point and which contains the contradiction. [Science of Logic, Law of Contradiction ]”

However, it is fair to say, that one cannot grasp the transition between two concepts, until one has grasped the concepts each in-itself. I leave this as the task of you the reader, in your further study.

Basically one mist understand Hegel’s logic. I’ve gotten some clues to some moments based on apt descriptions. Like an essence of things being a thing considered within its real world relations rather than abstracted. The concrete universal being a real particular that is a genus to all other particulars rather than dull sameness (abstract collection) and other clues.
Wellsy wrote:I see some clarity on what is necessary before can understand the nature of Hegels contradiction.


Basically one mist understand Hegel’s logic. I’ve gotten some clues to some moments based on apt descriptions. Like an essence of things being a thing considered within its real world relations rather than abstracted. The concrete universal being a real particular that is a genus to all other particulars rather than dull sameness (abstract collection) and other clues.

This might help.

I'm speculating that part of the issue of the law of identity as considered as not an absolute begins in considering the relation of universals to reality.

Many typically conceive of universals as abstract collection of properties which form the concept of a thing, which is distinct from Hegel's concrete/substance universal which is consideration in which a thing is a particular thing, it's essence.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms ... #universal
Properties common to all objects are the ‘abstract universal’, in that a person is abstracting a single aspect from the multiplicity of connections and aspects of a thing. ‘Concrete universal’ is a principle or law which unites all the objects perceived, combining them into a single conception.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenk ... stra1f.htm
The problem of the relation of the universal to the individual arises in this case not only and not so much as the problem of the relation of mental abstraction to the sensually given objective reality but as the problem of the relation of sensually given facts to other sensually given facts, as the object’s internal relation to the object itself, the relation of its different aspects to one another, as the problem of internal differentiation of objective concreteness within itself. On this basis and as a consequence of it, it arises as the problem of the relation between the concepts expressing in this connection the objective articulated concreteness.

To determine whether the abstract universal is extracted correctly or incorrectly, one should see whether it comprehends directly, through simple formal abstraction, each particular and individual fact without exception. If it does not, then we are wrong in considering a given notion as universal.

The situation is different in the case of the relation of the concrete universal concept to the sensually given diversity of particular and individual facts. To find out whether a given concept has revealed a universal definition of the object or a non-universal one, one should undertake a much more complex and meaningful analysis. In this case one should ask oneself the question whether the particular phenomenon directly expressed in it is at the same time the universal genetic basis from the development of which all other, just as particular, phenomena of the given concrete system may be understood in their necessity.

Wittgenstein's critique of essentialism with his concept of familial resemblance might be useful for those with knee jerk reactions to association of marxism. Though Wittgenstein's critique is purely negative as he has no thought as to how essence of things can exist.
https://marxismocritico.com/2012/12/12/ ... y-blunden/
Wittgenstein goes on to suggest that we don’t have and don’t need to have any kind of definition of a word, beyond clarifying how we are using the word in the given instance. Taken in conjunction with his observations about ‘family resemblance’ and the impossibility of setting boundaries, this suggests a move away from a taxonomy based on attributes, and towards a typology based on exemplars and as such has some merit. We can agree with Wittgenstein that it is untenable to privilege one proposition as the definition of the word, as if a concept could be exhausted by a single word meaning. But this falls far short to refuting the need to explain a concept by means of its connection with manifold other concepts, contextualising, concretising and qualifying the central problematic of a concept.

With abstract universals one typically adopts nominalism due to the difficulty today in seeing abstract universals as more than subjective rather than real world entities and as such are only of practical use.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/jordan ... y/ch26.htm
Methodological nominalism denies that the world contains any other entities but individuals and, consequently, refuses to acknowledge that universal statements have an ‘independent cognitive value’. They are reports in a shorthand notation of what in principle can be fully described by a finite or an infinite conjunction of singular statements. Nominalism is a set of semantical, logical, and methodological rules of describing the world as composed solely of individuals. Properties and relations are inseparable from things to which they belong and are not independent ontological categories. The rules of nominalism do not imply, as some Marxist-Leninists suggested, that a nominalist must abandon the use of general words altogether. For the use of general words does not compel the nominalist to the acceptance of abstract objects whose existence he denies, if he can show that they are in principle expendable, that is, that they are introduced as convenient fictions or abbreviated manners of speaking.

The above is on par with the point of abstract universals merely being the collection of properties common to similar objects.

Hegel probably considers universals in terms of the law of identity, but this doesn't suffice for a concept.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunde ... oncept.htm
The Universal Concept is what is represented by a word (or in general, the sign for a concept) taken alone, outside of any determination or context of use. The meaning is entirely ‘in itself’, waiting to be developed, but at the same time is ‘pure’, in that every utterance is identical. Unreflective thought takes the Universal Concept to be the beginning and end of the concept, as if something can be said of it or it can be placed in this or that context, whilst remaining unchanged. But a word accrues meaning precisely by its use in a variety of contexts. Hegel likens the Universal Concept to Identity because it is taken to be self-identical. For example, if the Universal is ‘unionism’, then it is taken that every union and union member is equally subsumed under ‘unionism’; if you’ve seen one then you’ve seen them all. This broad brush is precisely the weakness of the Universal Notion. Lacking any perception of difference, it is hardly likely that the concept has really been grasped. It is somewhat like knowing the definition of a concept while lacking any actual relevant experience.

But, if someone makes the universal, the particular or the individual absolute, one has only a partial truth and isn't yet able to properly conceive of how they are mediated between one another, all necessary momements of a concept.
Each of these three Immediate Concepts are made absolute by certain theories of the concept. Plato for instance believed that Universals exist, although not in a spatio-temporal sense, nevertheless, independently of human activity and the symbols by means of which Universals are represented in activity. The intersubjective theory of Robert R. Williams sees concepts entirely constructed by intersubjective actions, leaving no place for symbols or artefacts of any kind, whilst Franz Brentano allowed that only individual things exist. Although none of the Immediate Concepts have stability or can stand up to scrutiny, each is involved in the process of a concept and the immediate concept will always take one or the other of these forms, according to conditions, until forms of mediation develop. We see this when one theory of concepts is abandoned in favour of another, without attempting to interconnect the different theories in a mediating process.

It is the case that universals only exist through/are instantiated through individuals, but it should be quite apparent that it's difficult to properly conceive of the social reality if only individuals exist, words themselves in their generalizations become quite difficult to comprehend.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms ... #universal
A Universal can exist only through Individuals – the objects to which universal properties are assigned. For example, an apple (individual) is red (universal). At the same time we can say blood (individual) is red (universal). The universal cannot exist if it is not assigned to individual things, while at the same time those individual things can only exist as part of the universe.

To which the relationship between the universal, the particular and individual are never perfectly identical.
https://ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/wo ... oncept.htm
By “Idea,” Hegel means the development of humanity as an ethical community. He says that the Idea is the identity of intuition and concept, but intuition and concept are never identical. We feel a need, but in endeavouring to satisfy that need we create a new means of mediation, thereby generating new needs. Things never turn out just as we thought; we satisfy a need but we are still dissatisfied. So the ‘identity’ of intuition and concept, Idea, is in fact a non-identity, constituted in a never-ending struggle to overcome its internal contradictions each time only generating more contradictions. This is how the universal is constructed. The Idea is defined as the identity of intuition and concept, but this identity is forever out of reach! Human life is by its very nature contradictory, and in an eternal struggle to overcome this contradiction. Putting this another way: there is always a difference between the particular and the universal. The universal exists only in and through the particular, and is implicit in it, but every particular is also different from the universal. The universal is the idea manifested in every particular, its aim and object.

So I think rather than reiterating the simple point of the continuity of identity which is a basic truth and foundation to us making sense of our reality at all, the problem of how universals exist ontologically and are mediated should be the focus of discussion.
But the most fruitful discussion for as much would require some study of Kant and Hegel's development of his project, basically we need insight into German Idealism as dealing with problems born from the epistemological debate between rationalists and empiricists.
This is in part why I earlier spoke of the concrete universal as one of Hegel's greatest developments as I think it is integral to the solution between the positing of abstract universals directly against individual things in the world. Such a nominalism has long existed but is at a stand still, it makes a valid criticism to the issue of universals, which we see are being destroyed by post-modern skepticism today which has sought to criticize the abstract universal of subjects.
Abstract universals are a valid manner of thought and a necessary one but concrete universals take priority over the arbitrary collection of properties (bundle theory).
https://brendanwcase.wordpress.com/2016 ... universal/
The individual is no more than an instantiation of universals (there are no ‘bare’ individuals). But the universals that constitute the individual are not just property universals, as these just tell us what attributes the individual has, not what the individual is (so the ‘bundle view’ is false). But the substance universals which constitute the nature of the individual qua individual do not exist in the abstract, but only as particularized through property universals, and thus as instantiated in the form of individuals (so Platonism is false) (Hegelian Metaphysics, 157).
Along with glances at summaries of different part of Hegel's work, this has helped me clarify a bit what a dialectical logic is as different from formal logic.
The Subject Matter of the Logic
For a logic to be valid it must have some empirical domain in which it can be tested and proved. Logic must be the logic of something, and stands or falls according to whether it expresses the necessary relations and laws of movement in some domain of reality. This is true of any scientific theory in fact, but it needs to be said in the case of logic because logic seems to be free of this requirement. To the extent that rational argument is institutionalised in a society, the truths of logic seem utterly compelling to us. Consequently, demonstration of the truth of logic in the material world seems to be irrelevant, or even a misunderstanding of the subject matter of logic, which after all, appeals to Reason alone.

Here we should distinguish between formal logic, meaning the kind of logic commonly used to generate propositions in mathematics, and Hegel’s logic, which for want of a better word I will call ‘dialectical logic’, a more general conception of logic, of which formal logic is a special case. Dialectical logic offers the only alternative rationale for categorisation to the method of sorting by attributes which is the basis for the formal understanding of concepts as the necessary and sufficient combination of attributes defining a subject matter.

Formal logic is the logic of propositions. As such, formal logic is indeed the logic of some domain of material reality, for whether spoken or written, propositions are material entities. The mathematical foundations of propositional calculus depend on treating propositions as strings of arbitrary symbols. Formal logic tells us the conditions under which if a given set of propositions are true, then some other proposition follows. It turns out that this is broadly the same requirement as for Set Theory. Set Theory concerns elements x and sets, S, in which x є S means that x belongs to a set, S. We can visualise S as representing some distinguishing feature that x may or may not possess, and S is the set of all those x having the feature, S. This is the logic implicit in the approach of Cognitive Psychology, in which a concept was identified with some category of objects. The same logic was taken to apply to the definitions relied upon in their interpretation of the ‘classical theory of concepts’, in which concepts were defined as sets according to the necessary and sufficient features for being a member of the set. (Such concepts are called ‘abstract general’ concepts.) It is presumed that the world and its mental reflection are made up of elements which can be organised into sets, and the validity of all the propositions which can be made about these sets is given by Set Theory and Formal Logic. It turns out that this logic simply does not compute with concrete concepts, and the definitions which are supposed to rely on it cannot retain their validity in the real world outside of the narrow domain of mathematics which it models.

This is one of the problems which dialectical logic addresses: Hegel aimed to produce a logic which doesn’t fall over as soon as it steps off the page, a logic which is geared to dealing with concrete situations, not mathematical abstractions. Rather than demanding that Logic be a series of eternal and universal truths, Hegel’s logic is in essence a logic which develops. And rather than setting up the logic so that contradictions are eliminated and avoided, even while real life is saturated with contradiction, Hegel made contradiction the driving force of this development.

Just as formal logic is the logic of abstract general concepts ─ the logic of the type of concepts modelled by dropping coloured beads into boxes ‒ dialectical logic is the logic of concrete concepts, the logic of concepts which I take as the basic units of a formation of consciousness. Hegel is able to develop such a logic on rigorous grounds by examination of a certain kind of proposition: “c is absolute,” in which c represents some logical concept. Propositions like “c is absolute” exhibit relative truth, that is, they are true only up to a certain point, under certain conditions; but if pushed beyond a certain limit they become false. This is the basic substance of dialectical logic. A formation of consciousness is the instantiation of a claim of the form “c is absolute,” or “everything is c” in just the same way that a set (or abstract general concept) is the instantiation of a proposition from Formal Logic, like “all x are S.” So dialectical logic is the logic of formations of consciousness elaborated by means of sceptical critique of propositions of the form “c is absolute.”

This clarifies the domain in which dialectical logic must be validated, namely, the development of formations of consciousness in real social life and experience. So the substance of the Logic is purely logical in the sense that it concerns only the truth of propositions, but it finds its domain of application not so much on the pages of mathematics books, but in real life.

Perhaps I could make this clearer with an example. Take the proposition: “Everything is the same as itself.” It is not hard to show logically that this is true only up to a point, and in fact everything is different from itself.* This can be seen for example, when a group of people sit down together for the first time in a committee set up for some purpose or cause. “We all came here for the same reason,” someone might say, a seemingly self-evident proposition since they all responded to the same invitation. “Let’s hear what everyone thinks,” and very soon it appears that everyone has some different idea of why it is we are all here ... and so it goes. Hegel confines himself to the categories of logic and examines them as such; he is not concerned with what people might say at a meeting, etc. But “We all came here for the same reason,” is read as “Identity is absolute” in the domain of propositions about “our collective aim,” which did after all bring this group of people together. Hegel’s Logic examines propositions like “Identity is absolute” in the sense in which it arises in this example, and he relies on purely logical critique of the concept of Identity itself, demonstrating its relativity, its limits, and takes it beyond those limits.

I will show that dialectical logic is the logic of concepts, understood as actions organised around some universal artefact, word or symbol of some kind. We will see that a universal principle may find the resources for such a developmental logic because concepts are not just empty words, but on the contrary, such universals exist in social life and the mind only insofar as the universal is particularised in experience through individual actions, that is, because they have meaning. Meaningless symbols cannot exhibit dialectical or any other kind of logic. But the subject studied in the logic is not social life or psychology, but concepts, concepts understood in such a way that they are meaningful in social life and their meaning may be manifested in social and psychological phenomena. That people called together for the same reason discover that they have different reasons arises from the nature of the concept of Identity, rather than simply being a manifestation of psychology or human behaviour. In fact, Hegel was very determined that the Logic would not be based on any assumptions about human nature.
In trying to think of how Hegel is said to have avoided the dichotomy in epistemology of subject vs object, I see Andy Blunden often mention that the particular mediates the individual and universal. Where the universal is the abstract sign and the individual is the very specific instance and the particular is the social project which makes normative the relationship between the universal and the individual.
That the concept of a Union remains only an abstract universal until it is differentiated into specific unions such as The Australian Teachers Union, The Industrial Boilermakers Union or what ever and within those social projects are then the individual unionists.
Moving from the Universal signifying all, to the particular marking some and the individual which is one.
And in doing this, the normative rules based in those social relations and activities sets the basis for how one can then relate the universal to the individual or the individual to the universal which seems to be how one bridges the gap between the ideas of things (signified) and the actual thing itself (referent).
So we see in the instance of this simple object concept, of the type considered as an archetypal example in the Psychology of Concepts considered above, that the concept can only exist through the coincidence of three moments: Individual, Particular and Universal. We saw that
- the Individual is each concrete individual thought, action or thing;
- the Particular is some normative social practice;
- and the Universal is a word or symbol which unifies it all under a concept.
It doesn’t matter whether you have in mind a material object of which someone has a thought within some formation of consciousness, or you have in mind the thought of that object as constituted within that formation of consciousness. In either case, the same relations of Individual, Universal and Particular apply: an object thought of, or the thought of an object. This is not to say that the object and a thought of it are the same, but such a distinction is indicative of movement and contradiction within the formation of consciousness. Such contradictions are manifested in the non-identity of universal, particular and individual.

In fact, Individual, Particular and Universal never completely coincide. There is always a degree of dissonance between them. The meaning of a word is never quite the same from one context to another, what people do is never quite normative, people never quite manage to say what they mean or do what they say. So when we say that a concept is the identity of Particular, Individual and Universal, we recognise that such an identity never exists. So a concept is always to one extent or another imperfect and riven with contradictions.
Hegel does not take ‘concept’ to mean a ‘thought-form’, something inside the head. Rather Hegel takes ‘concept’ to refer to a system of collaboration organised around some ideal or artefact. This includes as one of its moments, the thoughts and actions of individuals involved in such forms of activity. Because actions are mindful, what is going on in people’s heads is part of that collaborative activity, part of the concept. The personal meaning of the words and actions is distinct from their meaning to anyone else, but personal meaning is not something radically inaccessible. Personal meaning exists only in its connection with the realisation of concepts in the life of an individual person.

In such an approach Hegel has resolved two troublesome dichotomies. Firstly, he has resolved the ‘inside/outside’ dichotomy, that is to say, the conundrum of what is inside the head and inaccessible to observation, and what is outside the head and observable. By making the unit of analysis a concept, which includes both the mental and material aspects of activity, that dichotomy is avoided from the outset. Secondly, he has resolved the ‘individual/society’ dichotomy, that is, the formation of two different domains of science, one devoted to the actions of individuals within their immediate environment, and the other devoted to the activity of states, social movements and so on, independently of individual psychology and behaviour. For Hegel, language and other artefacts which are societal entities and the bearers of a culture, figure in the same unit of analysis by means of which individual thinking and activity are understood. Institutions are grasped in the same terms as the actions of the individuals who participate in them. There is no individual/societal dichotomy for Hegel.

This means that the basic unit of a social formation is not an individual but a concept, whilst a concept is not taken to be some kind of ethereal abstractum, but rather a form of collaboration between individual people. A real society is therefore understood as an ensemble of Gestalten each to be grasped in terms of a concrete concept. Individuals are likewise to be understood in and through their participation in forms of activity and therefore lived experience grasped in terms of concrete concepts, which are fundamentally shared and not exclusively private.

To be outside certain relations is to make incomprensible the possibility of relating the unviersal to the individual. One can't have a sense of something being owned by someone if they're outside/excluded from the practice of property relations that make normative such an idea. One can't name an individual thing without having inherited the universal signs originating from a certain historical practice.

And I think this is bringing me closer to the sense of ideality Ilyenkov tried to explain about being a stage in the activity of an individual in which their series of actions have meaning due to the project of which they're part of.
The material is really ‘transplanted’ into the human head, and not simply into the brain as an organ of the individual’s body, (1) only when it is expressed in immediately, generally significant forms of language (understood in the broadest sense of the word, including the language of drawings, diagrams, models, etc.), and (2) when it is transformed into an active form of man’s activity with a real object (and not simply into a ‘term’ or ‘utterance’ as the material body of language). In other words the object proves to be idealised only when the faculty of actively recreating it has been created, relying on the language of words or drawings; when the faculty of converting words into deeds, and through deeds into things, has been created.
The ideal, as the form of social man’s activity, exists where the process of the transformation of the body of nature into the object of man’s activity, into the object of labour, and then into the product of labour, takes place. The same thing can be expressed in another way, as follows: the form of the external. thing involved in the labour process is ‘sublated’ in the subjective form of objective activity (action on objects); the latter is objectively registered in the subject in the form of the mechanisms of higher nervous activity; and then there is the reverse sequence of these metamorphoses, namely the verbally expressed idea is transformed into a deed, and through the deed into the form of an external, sensuously perceived thing, into a thing. These two contrary series of metamorphoses form a closed cycle: thing—deed—word—deed—thing. Only in this cyclic movement, constantly renewed, does the ideal, the ideal image of the thing exist.

The ideal is immediately realised in a symbol and through a symbol, i.e. through the external, sensuously perceived, visual or audible body of a word. But this body, while remaining itself, proves at the same time to be the being of another body and as such is its ‘ideal being’, its meaning, which is quite distinct from its bodily form immediately perceived by the ears or eyes. As a sign, as a name, a word has nothing in common with what it is the sign of. What is ‘common’ is only discovered in the act of transforming the word into a deed, and through the deed into a thing (and then again in the reverse process), in practice and the mastering of its results.

And as such this situates the Cultural Historical Activity Theories continuation of ideas of Hegel in which human psychology has to be integrated with sociological understanding where to understand the individual is to consider their actions (unity of behaviour and consciousnesss) which is inferred by what they do with in a project/activity.
It is true that actions are carried out by individuals, but such actions are possible and only have meaning in so far as they participate in sociocultural practices. There are two important questions here, Westphal suggests: (1) are individuals the only bearers of psychological states, and (2) can psychological states be understood in individual terms? Individualists answer both questions in the armative, and most holists answer both questions in the negative. Hegel, however, answers the rst question armatively and the second negatively. In other words, it is only individuals who act, have 108 intentions, construct facts, and so forth. Nevertheless, such acts, intentions, and facts cannot be understood apart from sociocultural practices—their meaning can only be understood as interpreted in a sociocultural context.

The meaning of things isn't the product of an individual subjectivity but is experienced subjectively because human needs are organized in institutionalized activities before the person is born and they are raised into such sociocultural practices.
Continuing above about the ability to overcome dualisms, this has been interesting in finding concepts that necessarily entail both subjective and objective aspects in order to be the same concept.
The great contribution that Hegel made was that, while not eliminating the subjectiveobjective distinction from his philosophy, he made this distinction secondary and derivative from the more fundamental unity between human beings and the world created by human activity in the world, which was his starting point. This meant that it was possible for Hegel to give us the definition of a concept which did not define concepts as inward subjective thought-forms, nor as objective worldly entities, nor a duality comprised by pairing up something subjective with something objective.

The concept of ‘formations of consciousness’ gave him a primary concept from which objective and subjective aspects could be distinguished. Contrariwise, any approach which begins from entities as either objective or subjective cannot eliminate such a dichotomy because it is built into its foundations. Whether we call it Spirit or Activity is an entirely secondary question, in fact, provided we begin from a foundation which is prior to the rupture between the subject and object of activity.

There are only a limited number of concepts in our culture whose objects are not implicitly either subjective or objective. We may say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but 3 “beauty” still designates an attribute of the object

Although this of course has to be mediated as found in previous post's example.
Dichotomies and Triads
Hegel always took care to foreswear, somewhat counter-factually, any commitment to triads, Marx cared not a hoot for any such thing, but Peirce was insistent on the importance of the triadic relation. I side with Peirce on this issue. Wherever we see a relation, we look for the mediating term.

The dichotomous relationships which lie at the heart of positivist, structuralist and poststructuralist theory act, in my view, as a barrier to understanding. The dichotomy acts in two ways: firstly, in response to every proposition, it asks what is denied, excluded or reflected; which is all very well, but secondly, it splits the universe into two independent realms according to what is given and what is denied or reflected. As a result of the failure of the two worlds to be perfect mirror images of one another (there can be no final one-to-one relationship between signifier and signified), each then becomes a self-sustaining and meaningless tautology. The rupture of the world of activity into signifiers and signified is the archetypal case. Dichotomy is the logic of choice for the professional dogmatist, since by its means he can rule in a world composed entirely of text, unchallenged by events in the world beyond the text.

The Peircean or Hegelian trichotomy on the other hand, responds to every relation, every contrast and every meaning by asking what mediates the relation. This has the effect of everywhere generating yet new avenues for enquiry, and instead of rupturing the field of activity into mutual alien and meaningless realms, makes connections between what was otherwise separated. Fichte’s notion of activity, mediating between subject and object, did away with dualism of Kant’s transcendental subject and thing-in-itself. Although Fichte’s activity was not itself mediated activity, it was Fichte’s insight which opened the way for the Hegelian and Peircean systems. The sign-object-interpretant trichotomy is the archetypal case.

Found an interesting summary of dialectics as a logic and speaks to the point about real thought not being found in those who merely follow schematized rules.
Bakhurst argues that like Vygotsky and Akselrod, Ilyenkov has a particularistic view of dialectical method; that is, dialectical method is not a set of uni-versal laws that explain motion but it points to the method of identifying the particular logic of each concrete phenomenon that is to be analysed (1991, p. 250). (The core of Marx’s criticism of Hegel is the latter’s reduction of dialectics to a set of universally applicable, prefabricated laws: Hegel fails to fulfil his promise of laying the foundation of an “immanent” criticism of phenomena and overcoming the essence–appearance duality; see Marx, 1970, p. 18.) Furthermore, this is not only characteristic of science but of all cognition that it is not a consequence of following a procedure or a set of rules:

It is true that the ability (or skill) to think cannot be “grafted” into the brain in the form of a collection of “rules,” formulas, and—as people like to say nowadays—“algorithms.” A human being is still a human being, much as some would like to turn him into a “machine.” In the form of “algorithms” you can “insert” into the skull only a mechanical, that is, a very stupid “mind”—the mind of a cashier, but not the mind of a mathematician. (Ilyenkov, 2007a, p. 11)

Ilyenkov does not imply that acting physical bodies are capable of every kind of activity; rather, he states that they are capable of adapting to new situations and environments; in contrast to both animals’ and machines’ environment, human environment is in part the product of human activity and thus of acquiring the particular logic of concrete situa-tions. Through concepts, human beings are capable of acquiring the logic of new situa-tions they have never confronted before. Concept designates “the ways of understanding meaning”; “the word ‘concept’ in dialectically interpreted logic is a synonym for ‘under-standing the essence of the matter’, the essence of phenomena which are only denoted by a given term” (Ilyenkov, 2012, p. 174). (2007a, p. 12)

And in regards to contradiction as is the interest of the thread ultimately
Ilyenkov presents “contradiction” not in the narrow, formal logical sense of the term; such contradictions (e.g., p and ~p) are to be barred by rules of formal logic. Contradiction, here, means “the unity and coincidence of mutually exclusive theoretical definitions” (Ilyenkov, 1982, p. 233).

Contradiction appears when the phenomena that form the subject matter of a science are systematised conceptually. A concept, as the logical reconstruction of the essential relations within phenomena, is not based on a mere generalisation of common features of the individual members of a set; rather, it is the expression of the unity of differences. Concept reveals the common genetic root of different members of a set; it reconstructs the process of development of this common root into cognisable features of individual members of that set. Appealing to Marx, Ilyenkov formulates the relation between con-ceptualisation and contradiction:

The essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In reality it is the ensemble of the social relations … Translated into the language of logic, this proposition means it is useless to look for individual definitions of the essence of the genus through abstraction of the individual property possessed by each individual representative of this genus. (1982, p. 69)
Contradiction is also an essential aspect of the development of human mind. Contradiction is a sign of the existence of a question, which cannot be solved with the use of available logical and formal procedures. In such a case further and deeper analysis of facts appears as a need or a requirement. Contradiction “is an indicator that the knowl-edge recorded in generally accepted propositions is excessively general, abstract, and one-sided” (Ilyenkov, 2007a, p. 19) in the face of this particular problem.

According to Ilyenkov, a mind that is trained with stereotypes and has only learned to apply prefabricated procedures cannot become independent. Such a mind abhors contra-dictions; in the face of contradictions it collapses into hysteria. Human thinking, accord-ing to Ilyenkov, is different from animal thinking exactly due to its attitude toward contradiction (for an interesting example concerning animals’ reaction to contradictions, see Ilyenkov, 2007a, p. 19). Teaching one to think independently, which is the prerequi-site of the emergence and development of a truly human mind, requires providing the mind with the skills of handling contradictions properly, that is, the mind should be trained so that it perceives the contradiction not as a mere formal anomaly, but as an impulse for further and deeper examination of phenomena. “This is an elementary requirement of dialectics” as “the real logic of real thinking” (Ilyenkov, 2007a, p. 20).

And I think I'm coming to understand this emphasis on contradiction where there is a real contradiction based on essential properties of a thing that defines it's nature, one can then take the opportunity to find a genus, something which underpins the opposites and in this one finds the unity.
11. Where the unit of analysis is constituted as a unity of opposites, this means that the opposites have their own independent existence and paths of development, the unit arising in those circumstances where these two processes intersect. The dynamics of the unit cannot be revealed until the independent dynamics of the processes being united are grasped. So, for example, “In the initial stages of child development, we can clearly identify a pre-intellectual stage in the formation of speech and a pre-speech stage in the development of thinking.” (1934, p. 112) This is something more than can be revealed simply by conceptual analysis of the inner and outer aspects of word meaning.

12. Vygotsky’s approach (like that of Goethe, Hegel and Marx before him) is a genetic or developmental approach. The unit of analysis reveals not just the structure or composition of a complex whole, but the logic of its development. That is why there is always a tension between the opposites united in the unit of analysis; meaning is not an attribute of the sound of the word, but has its own origins and development – word and meaning may at times even be in contradiction with one another.

In general, interaction proves to be strong if an object finds in another object a complement of itself, something, that it is lacking as such.

‘Sameness’ is always assumed, of course, as the premise or condition under which the link of interconnection is established. But the very essence of interconnection is not realised through sameness. Two gears are locked exactly because the tooth of the pinion is placed opposite a space between two teeth of the drive gear rather than opposite the same kind of tooth.

When two chemical particles, previously apparently identical, are ‘locked’ into a molecule, the structure of each of them undergoes a certain change. Each of the two particles actually bound in the molecule has its own complement in the other one: at each moment they exchange the electrons of their outermost shell, this mutual exchange binding them into a single whole. Each of them gravitates towards the other, because at each given moment its electron (or electrons) is within the other particle, the very same electron which it lacks for this precise reason. Where such a continually arising and continually disappearing difference does not exist, no cohesion or interaction exists either; what we have is more or less accidental external contact.

If one were to take a hypothetical case, quite impossible in reality-two phenomena absolutely identical in all their characteristics-one would be hard put to it to imagine or conceive a strong bond or cohesion or interaction between them.

It is even more important to take this point into account when we are dealing with links between two (or more) developing phenomena involved in this process. Of course, two completely identical phenomena may very well coexist side by side and even come into certain contact. This contact, however, will not yield anything new at all until it elicits in each of them internal changes which will transform them into different and mutually opposed moments within a certain coherent whole.
That is why concreteness understood as an expression of living, factual, objective bond and interaction between real individual things, cannot be expressed as an abstract identity, bare equality, or pure similarity of things under consideration. Any instance of real interaction in nature, society, or consciousness, he it ever so elementary, necessarily contains identity of the distinct, a unity of opposites, rather than mere identity. Interaction assumes that one object realises its given specific nature only through its interrelation with another object and cannot exist outside this relation as such, as ‘this one’, as a specifically definite object.

To express the individual in thought, to understand the individual in its organic links with other instances of the individual and the concrete essence of their connection, one must not look for a naked abstraction, for an identical feature abstractly common to all of them taken separately.

Here I see most clearly how it's about the real relationship between things rather than the relationship between words.
One can see for example in materialism and idealism a real contradiction where they identify things that are quite true but they're unresolved because they don't find the genus/concrete universal which explains each one/particular.
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