Dialectics as a method of social research
Seminar given at the IIRE, Amsterdam, on 15 January 2008
Part I. A general introduction.
As well known, Marx did not explicitly write a work on dialectics. Nevertheless, he thought it would be possible to make intelligible to people with ordinary intelligence in a few pages what is rational in the method “which Hegel discovered and at the same time mystified”. In spite of Marx’s warning that Hegel mystified dialectics, traditionally, commentators have tried to force Marx into conformity with Hegel. I will depart from this tradition and will submit a notion of dialectics as a method of social research, a method focused exclusively on social reality. This method is extracted from Marx’s own work rather than from Hegel’s work. I argue that it is internally consistent with Marx’s theory and therefore capable of further developing that theory in order to account for capitalism’s new features.