"Dialectic and Its Vicissitudes"—Marcuse's Critique of Soviet Marxism

"Men thought dialectically long before they knew what dialectics was."
—Friedrich Engels
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class="first">"Dialectic and Its Vicissitudes"—Marcuse's Critique of Soviet Marxism

Post by HerbM » Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:48 pm

Marcuse's Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958)

Soviet Marxism is nowhere more "orthodox" than in its painful
elaboration of the dialectical method; we shall see that not one
of the above mentioned innovations in itself runs counter to the
Marxian (and even Hegelian) dialectical logic.
In Soviet Marxism, the function of dialectic itself has undergone a significant change: it has been transformed from a mode of critical thought into a universal "world outlook" and universal method with rigidly fixed rules and regulations, and this transformation destroys the dialectic more thoroughly than any revision. The change corresponds to that of Marxism itself from theory to ideology; dialectic is vested with the magical qualities of official thought and communication. As Marxian theory ceases to be the organon of revolutionary consciousness and practice and enters the superstructure of an established system of domination, the movement of dialectical thought is codified into a philosophical system. The more problematic the relation between dialectical and formal logic becomes, the more dialectic itself becomes formal logic. (p. 137)
Marcuse says "the emphasis on the dialectic of nature is a distinguishing feature of Soviet Marxism—in contrast to Marx
and even to Lenin."
in Engels's
"Dialectics of Nature" the dialectical concepts appear as
mere analogies, figurative and superimposed upon the content—strikingly empty or commonplace compared with the
exact concreteness of the dialectical concepts in the economic and socio-historical writings. And it is the Dialectics
of Nature which has become the constantly quoted authoritative source for the exposition of dialectic in Soviet Marxism.


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