[OPE-L:2720] Re: Re: Proof from Marx that Hegel is NOT required

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Wed Apr 05 2000 - 09:40:43 EDT

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A few comments on the recent discussion.

I agree with Jerry in 2697 we need to distinguish between different levels
of understanding Marx. As I have said before, I think it is possible to
understand a lot about Marx's theory without reading Hegel. But I also
nonetheless think that Marx's theory is based in part on Hegel's logic
(such aspects as totality, necessary connections, essence-appearance,
inversion, mediation, subject, posit the presuppositions,
etc.). Therefore, a higher level of understanding (a more complete
understanding) of Marx's logic requires some understanding of Hegel's

In other words, our students do not need to study Hegel in order to
understand a lot of Marx's theory. But we ourselves, as scholars, must
study Hegel in order understand Marx's theory more thoroughly.
There is simply no way to avoid this.

Of course, there are many things that we "must" do, and studying Hegel may
not be at the top of the list. But it certainly should be on the list,
and I think close to the top.

So, Paul, what exactly are you arguing? Are you arguing only that one can
obtain a decent understanding of Marx's theory without understanding
Hegel? If so, I agree.

Or, are you also arguing that Marx's logical method does not depend in any
significant way on Hegel's logic? In which case, I would strongly
disagree. You seem to be suggesting the second point as well when you
argue that "Marx distanced himself from Hegel later in his life." Paul,
could you please tell us IN WHAT SPECIFIC ASPECTS did Marx distance
himself from Hegel later in his life? What specific aspects of Hegel's
method did Marx first accept and then later reject as he "distanced
himself"? How did this "distancing himself" alter the logical structure
of his economic theory after the Grundrisse?

2. One very important piece of evidence that has not yet been mentioned
is the Manuscript of 1861-63. This manuscript begins with a second draft
of Volume 1 of Capital (Parts 2-6). This draft has only recently been
published - in German in the early 1980 and in English in the late 1980s
(Marx-Engels Collected, Vol. 30) (unfortunately, it has not yet published
in Spanish).

This draft is extremely important as an intermediate draft between the
Grundrisse and the published versions of Volume 1. It is much clearer and
better organized than the Grundrisse and very close in organization to the
final published versions. And the continuing strong influence of Hegel is
clear throughout the manuscript, similar to the Grundrisse. Therefore, if
one wants to argue that Marx had an "epistemological break" with Hegel,
it has to come after 1861. This draft (which was presumably unknown to
Althusser) conclusively proves that Althusser was wrong - there was not
such an "epistemological break" with Hegel in 1857-58.

But I also don't see how such an "epistemological break" could have
occurred between 1861 and 1867. The logical structure of the final
published versions of Capital is essentially the same as in the 1861
draft. There does not seem to be any change of logical method. There is
absolutely no discussion of a change of his logical method. The only
difference is that the language has been "popularized" - at the suggestion
of Engels, Kugelmann, etc.

3. I agree with Paul that Marx's comments on Sieber express approval of
Sieber's interpretation of Capital (or at least parts of it, and
apparently significant parts). Marx said in his Postface: "what ASTONISHES
a Western European when he reads this solid piece of work is the author's
consistent and firm grasp of the purely theoretical position." Such
praise from Marx is exceedingly rare. And it is praise with respect to
the "theoretical position" of Sieber. (I wonder what Marx meant by
"theoretical position"? Did he mean issues of logical method? Would the
German help here)

Therefore, Sieber's book could be very important and illuminating about
Marx's logical method. It would be great if we had a translation of this
book and could try to understand such key questions as: What exactly does
Sieber say about Marx's theory as a "necessary sequel" to Smith and
Ricardo? What does he say are their similarities and their differences
(e.g. with respect to their theories of money)? Does he discuss the
"deductive" method explicitly? What does he mean by the
"deductive" method?

So, any ideas about how to have this book translated and published
(actually both editions)? I think it is a gem waiting to be discovered.


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