"Not Dialectic but Sophistry"

CONTRADICTIO EST REGULA VERI
"Contradiction is the rule of the true."—G.W.F. Hegel
Post Reply
>
User avatar
GeorgeHagel
Posts: 6
>

class="first">"Not Dialectic but Sophistry"

Post by GeorgeHagel » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:21 am

I think I may have found a good argument against the "Thesis–Antithesis–Synthesis" interpretation - in addition to the best one, that is, which is that Hegel never uses this formula himself. Anyway, I was reading Hegel's remarks on Becoming in the Science of Logic (there are 4 of them) and in the 4th one he says:
This form of argumentation that falsely presupposes the absolute separation of being and nothing, and insists on it, should be called not dialectic but sophistry. For sophistry is an argumentation derived from a baseless presupposition rashly accepted without critique; but we call dialectic the higher rational movement in which these, being and nothing, apparently utterly separated, pass over into each other on their own, by virtue of what they are, and the presupposition sublates itself. It is the dialectical immanent nature of being and nothing themselves to manifest their unity, which is becoming, as their truth.
Image
To make the argument, you would substitute "thesis" & "antithesis" for "being" and "nothing" - like this:
The form of argumentation that falsely presupposes the absolute separation of thesis and antithesis, and insists on it, should be called not dialectic but sophistry.
Image
In the next paragraph he says: "Becoming is the unseparatedness of being and nothing, not the unity ["synthesis"] that abstracts from being and nothing". Becoming is their "vanishing": "[t]hey sink from their initially represented self-subsistence into moments which are still distinguished but at the same time sublated."
Does that sound like what people mean when they say becoming is the "synthesis" of being and nothing?

As for dialectic being a "method", in the Encyclopedia logic Hegel says (in the lecture notes to §41:
"it is to be regarded not as something brought to bear on thought-determinations from outside of them, but instead as immanent in them."

>
User avatar
YoungHegelian
Posts: 7
>

>Re: "Not Dialectic but Sophistry"

Post by YoungHegelian » Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:47 am

I like your argument about unity/synthesis - to which I would add, from the Encyclopedia:
a speculative content can also not be expressed in a one-sided sentence. If we say, for instance, 'the absolute is the unity of the subjective and the objective', this is, to be sure, correct but one-sided insofar as only the unity is expressed here and emphasis is placed on it alone, whereas in fact the subjective and the objective are indeed not only identical but also distinct.
My take is that when people (but not, of course, Hegel) say "synthesis", they mean "unity" - which Hegel here is specifically disallowing - in a speculative (i.e. dialectical) context. (This is from the addition to paragraph 82, by the way.)
Right after this, he goes on to talk about "the mystical" - which he says "is normally taken to be synonymous with the mysterious and the incomprehensible" - which means I think that we can take Hegel to be linking the abstract idea of unity ("synthesis") with "the mystical" - meaning that it remains at the level of the understanding without containing difference (negation) within itself.

>
User avatar
HegelonTV
Posts: 6
>

>Re: "Not Dialectic but Sophistry"

Post by HegelonTV » Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:13 am

I thought I'd add here, following Hegel's line in the original post: "in fact the subjective and the objective are indeed not only identical but also distinct", that this is what he says is "one of the hardest thoughts that thinking imposes upon itself" (§88). This is because it "appears to be such a paradoxical proposition for the representation or the understanding that one perhaps believes that it is not meant seriously."

Post Reply