Category Archives: links

Trying to figure out Marxism, page by page…


DiaMyHegel

Video by video, podcast by podcast, and even pretension, by irritating pretension. Before we get too far, do I really understand the works of Marx? Nope I’m still neck deep in working it out, but recently my head crested the surface after something like 2 months of on and off reading, watching and general research.

So if you read some of my other posts on philosophy you may have noticed me mention I do not like it when anyone uses over complicated and difficult to understand terms to describe their work. Especially when it is an introductory piece. There no need for it, and regardless of how fashionable being hard to understand is if you goal is to create something to be use to improve the world, it will need to be able to apeal to people not steeped in your field already.

Now Marx was writing in a different time, and in many ways a climate where deep intellectual materials where simply the norm, so he writing would have been easier to digest. Yet there has been over a century of time dividing his work from us, and while plenty of people exist to carry on his work. Marxist still can’t explain what the fuck Material Dialectics are. There’s this expectation you need to read Hegel, and Marx, and sometime Lenin to really understand what Marxism is. Though I’m here to tell you, in my experience whenever someone has said that, “only x y or z can explain that,” to me it’s been bullshit. I think the real problem is many Marxism either worship the shrine of Marx, hoping to get the long dead man’s approval, or simply don’t really get the methods and just parrot what they know, because it’s confusing and that’s the only thing they know how to do.

That itself is of course an over simplification of what Marxists are doing, an abstraction if you will *wink wink*, but my frustration is real. So what have I been trying to accomplish since late September? To understand the basic of what Marxism are, so I can begin to both discuss and explain wtf it is to my own satisfaction. Because I firmly beilive that if you can’t explain the basics of a concept to a high school student in under 30 minutes, you don’t understand it yourself.

Now I wouldn’t have made is post if I was completely confused still, indeed I would have written much sooner if I had better luck in my search, but I got lucky, and decided to backtrack from Marx and figure out that “Dialectics” are in the Hegelian sense, which was much of the basis of Marx. The Luck Really kicked in when I found this lovely video series outlining the basics of Hegel’s Dialectics.

Not to be confused with the Dialectical Method of Socratic fame.

The Long and the short of it is as follows, Dialectics are not a formula for thinking, they are a method very much akin to the scientific methods. Not a single paths, but a basic system of thought that allows you to critically analyze concepts and physical processes. From what I’ve deduced and inferred from my readings. Material Dialectics, and Hegel’s Dialectics  are in turn a scientific method itself, and almost a scientific method, but still holding on to  the idealism (Think platonic if you aren’t familiar with what idealism entails) present in much of early a pre-enlightenment thinking.

So what is Marx Method? Well he died before he ever laid one out explicitly… THANKS MARX. However, Hegel was more kind, and laid the following three steps which should apply well to Marx with some tweaking. Thanks Hegel!

1 Abstraction, 2 Negation, 3 Concrete.

1. The Abstraction: This is the first step in what is a cyclical cycle. Fairly analogous to Hypothesis and experimental design in the common description of the scientific method. The Material Dialectic, when you begin to attempt to understand anything, first you must begin to make an abstract of it you must deconstruct how you think it work. Determine what it’s parts are, the inputs, the outputs, followed later by how that parts relate to one another.

2. Now like a good materialist as good scientist you must destroy what you’ve made. Now it is time for Negation! You now get to see if your abstraction can survive when it come into contract with the real world, or at least can withstand logical bombardment, in Socratic Method sense, as you and ideally some critics attempt to find its weak points.

3. Concrete is a bad name, but basically once you’ve done your best to negate the abstraction, you should be left either with nothing as your idea was wrong and completely unsalvageable (return to step one) or you should have helped move your abstraction closer to the real (material) world, and can use it to better describe the world. In essence you start with the simple abstraction, and through negation to bring it’s abstracted parts at least partially back together in a way that effectively describes, and ideally helps predicts the world.

4. Same as step one, but you take your idea from step 3 and feed it back though, in an endless cycle as you attempt to approach a perfectly accurate description of reality.

Is that all correct and accurate? Probably not, but if not I can certainly run in it back through the system, because the funny thing was, if I’m even close to being right, I have been doing material dialectics all along.

Questions and comments are more than welcome. If you know a fair bit about Marxism even better, but regardless I’ll keep up my investigations, and share again when I have something of interest.

Withteeth

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SoJoCal Talks live now! (No Longer live but you can still watch!)


Update all the videos can now be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIj0-ynPkXpJ-y5u41X1KZg

t 1:30pm MST
Criticizing Religion Intersectionally

In a rather timely talk, Heina Dadabhoy will discuss how to criticize faith while taking into account the experience of being a minority.

http://youtu.be/e9oSbXnr3F4

At 2:30pm MST
Spawn More Trans

It’s Zinnia Jones, what more do you need to know?

http://youtu.be/_B3RKuFVs_c

At 3:00pm MST
Atheist Activism as Social Justice

Russell Glasser will argue that atheist activism is a form of social justice, and deserves to be treat as such by activists.
http://youtu.be/BgaYc9SQ57A

And finally at 4:00pm MST
Interfaith and Inter-non-faith
Dan Linford will try to reinvent interfaith work, allowing atheists to better work on justice issues with their theistic peers.

http://youtu.be/0Aoh0uAgVWM


5 Logical Fallacies, 6 videos.


I’m a fan of PBS Idea Channel and get a kick out of the serious for cover a wide range of topics. I highly recommend them for those who like to think a little be harder about video games, pop culture, media in many of it’s forms, amongst other related topics. Though I really like this latest video as it gives a handy resource for linking people to a number of common fallacies.  I suspect I have no shortage of opportunities to link to this video in the future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qb-h0sXkH4

Straw man Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1nzyoR8

Ad Hominem Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1wbQnAk

Black and White Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1th3q0M

Authority Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1t5DPIn

No True Scotsman Fallacy:
http://bit.ly/1wu6J5Z

Watch the playlist:
http://bit.ly/1sQSSEe


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