Projects to revive the dialectic as the mode of thinking/practice:
Jameson, Valences of Dialectic, Hegel Variations
1. Method. Treating the dialectic as a pre-existing method (that can be applied to law, medicine,etc.). Jameson, Hegel variations: "The dialectic is not enhanced by its association with a truly vulgar and instrumental idea of method, a temptation we do well to resist but which is certainly reinforced by omnipresence of verschtand (understanding) or the reified thinking of which method is so striking an example". What the dialectic might be if it's not just a set of tools?
2. Totality. The emphasis (mediated by cultural logics) on the theme of totality. Especially the historically mutable conjunctions/disjunctions between individual experiences and various level of supra organisation (nature, history, capital, etc.). It is only through dialectical thinking that one can begin to think categories like social individual that is unthinkable for liberal thought. Historical disjunctions such as personal experience and capital as system/totality. Ambivalence of dialectic: (1) we can only think dialectically - in a society that surpassed atomization, reification, separation, etc. - i.e. it is impossible in capitalism; (2) dialectic is the only way of thinning in a capital society (Marx' Capital).
3. Abstraction. Relay/short circuit b/w two critiques: (1) Hegel's critique of understanding: reified, static thinking that separates/freezes dimensions of reality; (2) mediated/reversed by marxist critiques of reification. Real abstraction: dialectic is the only style of thinking which is capable to inquire to transcendental (objective) illusions. I.e. in the situation of 'universal commodification', where capital subsumes social life and labour, 'ideology is not false consciousness, but itself a possibility of knowledge'. What is to think truly about 'real world'? 'Capitalism and its law value are profoundly contradictory and their reality is a set of false appearances which are themselves however real and objective, cannot be dissolved by mere analysis and moralising denunciation'. Why a fetish is not understood is not as simply an illusion? Why it cannot it be cured by better pedagogy, - e.g. like false beliefs, etc. Autonomy of capital are based on the mechanisms that one could study and analyse.
Jameson's thinking of the dialectic is 'ethic', denunciatory or dualistic thinking in one way or another. Deleuze replicated an ethical or moralistic dualism despite of his own attempt to circumvent it.
Jameson's 'objective appearance' paradox is at the core of dialectical thinking. It is virtually constitutive of the dialectic as such - it is in a strange affinity with capitalism. 'Can a true idea of a false society be true? Or is it necessarily false despite its accuracy, or do we not confront this opposition of truth and falsity with another one, binary opposition, a vocation of the dialectic and its unity of opposites to overcome and transcend'.
What is the role of theory in this inverted world? Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia, 'Every good detective has to think as a criminal' - Marx replicates the oppressive forms of capital.
Difference between nominalism and realism in philosophical terms. A theory of real abstraction/social forms of capital as real abstraction is the real side. Nominalist theory defines capital as nominally conventional, constructed entities.
Marx: specificity of the capital in term of relationship to the law. Objective dependency relations 'appear in antithesis to those of personal dependance. Individuals are now ruled by abstractions, where previously they depended on one another'. Critique of enlightenment: as the era of the reign of the ideas which misses the reality. Critique of mental illusions vs. objective illusions: dialectical vs. non-dialectical thought. for this reason Marx also rejects the Enlightenment critique of religion in favour of a broader critique of abstraction (including critique of the law and the capital).
Zon Reto (1970's, Germany, Intellectual and Manual Labour) - theory that abstract thought was determined by a practice of commodity exchange - the real abstraction in practice was a possibility to think of commodities as immutable, eternal essences, individuality as such etc. In later interpretations of Marx the idea the notion of abstraction is taken as abstraction in the world/socila relations, and later yet as abstraction mediated by thought and ideas. 'Nothing can operate in greater secrecy than the truth that the independence of the intellect is owed to its original social character'. So the intellect is actually a by-product of commodity exchange.
Socially necessary false consciousness: the disawoval that abstraction comes frompractice rather than from purely cognitive activities. Forms of cognition, intellectual labour/philosophy cannot perceive their origin fro the act of exchange - genetic blindness of the categories of understanding.
Historical explanation of a purely formal phenomena - exchange is a traditional, historical reality which is in itself abstract, because in order to take place it depends on treating commodities as really timeless, as immutable within the act of exchange, individuals as separate, dissocialized, etc.
The result of this is to demote philosophy in extreme way, to remove it as the practice that has privileged access to abstractions.
Between Eco-rights: the marxist theory of international law - Mievo, Evgeny Poshukanets: 'The legal form enters the scene with the isolation and opposition of human beings precisely within commodity exchange… legal forms regulate relationships between autonomous subjects. It is the subject that is the cell form of the legal system'. Legal form is the necessary from -> equality of subjects. Mievo: 'law is based on its abstract qualities, the equality of its subjects and its pervasive character in capitalism'.
At certain point the social relations of production assume the doubly mysterious from: (1) relations b/w things, commodities; (2) relations b/w the wills of autonomous entities which are equal to each other as legal subjects; i.e. equal relations b/w/ individuals are just as illusory and fetishistic - but also just as real - as the social relations that things as commodities may have.
What this understanding of abstraction, commodity and the law might mean for politics?
Poshukanets: withering away of the law. End of commodity form is the end of the legal form.
Marx/Lenin on equality: lies on the view of 'communism as a dangerous levelling force, a violent abstraction unleashed on the world of embedded customs, refractory differences'. Communism also developed its own critique of equality as social abstraction.
Lenin, State and Revolution, equality is a fair distribution … of products of labour - Marx retorts that it is still steeped in the abstractions that dominated the bourgeois society.
Communism/post-capitalism as a determinant negation of capitalism, the one that emerges out of dislocation of this one. Marx notes that the abbregation of exploitation and expropriation of surplus value, does not end the injustice, which inheres in the abstraction of value (idea that you can commensurate human labour to the equivalent of money, time etc.). The notion of 'standard labour' is the bearer of inequality (of capacity, ofproductivity, intensity, etc.). The equal right and the equal product of labour on the basis of incommensurable human differences is in itself unjust. Individuals are by definition unequal.
In Lenin's view, the mere conversion of means of production into the hands of the producers does not remove the defects of distribution as long as the products are divided according to work.
The communist problem of inequality is the equality without any standard of right (non-standard equality).
Does the notion of equality still work here at all? Communism sees the society where social inequalities will not disappear, but will be rendered entirely inoperative. Idea of equality beyond right and value is of course in its own way profoundly abstract.
Dialiectic involves (1) a struggle against a certain type of abstraction, derivative of the capital forms of value and the standards they impose, (2) a question of realisation, transition from one type of equality to another (not another equality, but the disarticulation of this equality to another one outside of capitalist values).