Herbert Marcuse on the dialectic of Hegel & of Marx

3. Hegel.—Hegelian dialectics cannot properly be portrayed as a continuation or further development of the Kantian and Fichtean. It is true that Hegel sees it as his task to complete the work, begun by Kant and carried on by Fichte, of justifying logic itself and of grounding the categories. With [142/143] this the limits of traditional logic have already been surpassed. But despite this continuity in the history of ideas there appears in the Hegelian dialectic a qualitatively new element, which might be characterized provisionally as the “power of the negative”. It is true that Fichte, in the concept and function of the non-ego, finds in negation the impetus to dialectical process, but Hegel recognizes for the first time its reality beyond the transcendental idealistic sphere. With this the “unity of opposites” as the “original, synthetic unity of apperception” (Kant) is also removed from the realm of transcendental constitution. The concept of constitutive subjectivity now experiences a decisive transformation: subjectivity becomes real substance. Dialectical logic becomes ontology. This means that Hegelian dialectics cannot be isolated from the system; its structure is the structure of the system as a whole. Hegel himself insists on this in the last chapter of the Science of Logic: his method is “only the movement of the concept itself”, “the peculiar method of each individual fact” (Hegel, Wissenschaft der Logik, ..., Tl 2, p. 486).

Since it is impossible, in such a short space, to present an adequate idea of Hegel’s system as a whole, we shall concentrate on aspects of the Hegelian dialectic which are of decisive significance for Marx, following, for the most part, Hegel’s own formulations.

The driving force of dialectics is the necessity that thoughts become “fluid”— only in this way can they become “concepts” capable of comprehending reality (Hegel, Phänomenologie des Geistes, ..., Bd 2, p. 35). That thoughts thus become fluid and are raised to the level of the concept, of scientific knowledge, is demanded by the very nature of things, i.e. by the content to be comprehended, reality. For the substance of things is “movement”, and as such cannot be grasped by the traditional categories of understanding, for categories fix what is truly flowing and separate what is truly united. This “purification” and stabilization of thinking and its contents, the principle of all the axioms of formal logic, but especially of the principle of non-contradiction, is the beginning of all knowledge—but no more. It is the work of understanding, which posits the univocal distinctions and determinations which first make possible the comprehension of reality in thought. Thus understanding is itself “negative”, since it negates the immediacy of sense experience and puts in its place, as its truth, a conceptual order of the object. But this first contradiction, this first break with immediate experience with which all thinking and knowledge begin, produces an abstract order in which understanding, however much it may extend and deepen it, always remains imprisoned. Thinking itself, if it is not bound from the outset to established norms (for which there is no real justification), goes beyond the categories of understanding: negation of the first negation. This is the work of reason, and its truth. Reason “is negative and dialectical because it dissolves the determinations of understanding into nothing” (Hegel. Wissenschaft der Logik... ., Tl 1, p. 6). In this dissolution, however, the concepts of understanding do not disappear; they are transformed into other concepts—which are only other concepts of themselves—and these alone are [143/144] capable of grasping reality concretely. It is of the greatest importance, in any abstract portrayal of dialectics to understand what is meant by the concrete which appears at the third stage of the process. The dialectical negation of the abstract has nothing in common with the demand for existential concreteness and non-conceptual immediacy. Reason is “equally positive and has thus produced what is primary and simple, but as something universal which is concrete in itself” and comprehends and determines the particular (ibid.). The concrete which emerges as the result of the dialectical negation of the immediate, as determined by understanding, is the universal, and indeed the universal of the “primary and simple”. This means that the result is the concept of the object, or the conceptual object, for the way in which it has now come to be determined is the object in its reality and truth. There are not two dialectics, one of thinking and one of reality: the two are united from the very outset of the Hegelian dialectic. The real (conceptual) objects is a “universal” in so far as its identity and objectivity consist in the unity of all its individual determinations (which, taken individually, are mutually exclusive). The object is what it is only as the unity of such diverse determinations; its identity is nothing but the process of this unification, in which any given “being other" (for every individual determinate character involves “being other" and hence negation) mediated with Being (Sein). With this, however, the object becomes the subject of its own proper Being. The modes of being of the subject differ in the different regions of Being; the process of the unification of opposites, the mediation of otherness, is a passive occurrence in matter, a gradual ascent to consciousness in organic nature, the reflective mastery of existence and understanding in human history. In history the subject is not only the substance of reality in itself but for itself as well, and thereby spirit. The movement of reality is the conceptual transformation of the given, which is recognized to be negation and negativity. Only through this knowledge and the activity in which it is realized does man (who is here the object) become the free subject of his existence, but this subject is very definitely a “universal”: the subjectivity which realizes itself through the totality of mediations occurring in theory and activity and constituting a historical whole. And this historical subject then draws nature into the circle of its mediations; thus understood and transformed, nature becomes a manifestation of spirit, becomes itself historical.

Hegelian dialectics cannot be understood simply as a development from Kant to Hegel, a development in which objectivity is constituted first by Kant’s knowing subject, then by Fichte’s transcendentally positing subject, and finally by Hegel’s historical subject. What is qualitatively new in the Hegelian dialectic is the function of the negative. Even in classical antiquity the concept of the negative (as non-being, μή öν) played a central role in dialectics, and it retained this central position in the negative theology and cosmology of the Middle Ages. Fichte draws the concept into the notion of constitutive subjectivity. In Hegel it becomes a determination of subjectivity and thereby a determination of substance itself. “Living substance” is “as [144/145] subject, pure, simple negativity and thereby the division of the simple …” (Hegel, Phänomenologie des Geistes, ..., p. 23). The “ego” and the “power of the negative" are two aspects of the same thing (ibid., p. 35); as such they are also the ground of freedom, and not only of transcendental freedom. This connection, which is developed in The Phenomenology of Mind and the Science of Logic, is condensed to the decisive issue in the preface to The Phenomenology of Mind:

But that an accident as such, separated from its context, that what which is united with others and real only in conjunction with them, that this should win its own proper being and isolated freedom is the tremendous power of the negative. It is the energy of thinking, of pure ego. Death . . . is the most terrible thing, and to keep and hold fast what is dead demands the greatest force of all. Beauty, powerless and helpless, hates understanding because the latter exacts from what it cannot perform. But the life of the mind is not one that shuns death, and keeps clear of destruction: it endures death and in death maintains its being. It only wins its truth when it finds itself utterly torn asunder. It is this mighty power, not by being the positive which turns away from the negative . . . on the contrary, mind is this power only by looking the negative in the face and dwelling with it. This dwelling is the magic power that converts the negative into being. It is the same thing which above was called subject. (Ibid., p. 34)

If one could speak of “basic evidence" in the Hegelian dialectic—which is impossible in the strict sense, since the Hegelian dialectic admits no absolute starting-point—it would be the experience of the negativity of beings, which becomes positive in surmounting and being surmounted. Every being (das Seiende) is the negation of what it (in truth) is and can be, and in this way it is something other than itself, otherness. Thus Being itself becomes contradiction. Existence is not only something determined by another which stands opposed to it; what a thing is not is not something extrinsic to it but the thing itself: it is in contradiction. Its existence consists in “enduring” the contradiction; its existence is a (unifying) unity, the mediation of otherness with itself—while it itself is nothing but this mediation—the surmounting opposites. And because these are, in strict sense, “inner” opposites, constituting the structure of the real being, they cannot be surmounted by the determinate being to which they belong but must represent “transition” from one determinate being to another, and thus its real negation. This prefigures the movement of dialectics towards totality.

This is consequent upon the object of thinking which, a contradiction in itself, surmounts itself and ceases into another. It can only be determined concretely if it is seen in the context, of the whole within which it exists, or rather unfolds and surpasses itself. Any fixed and isolated definition is incomplete and hence untrue, since it isolates the object from the proper possibilities through which it realizes itself and thus brings the movement which is the law of its being to standstill. There is no aspect, no condition, no movement of the object or stage of such movement which lot determined [145/146] by the whole within which its inner contradictions unfold, shattering each successive form its identity. Its catastrophic dynamism radically distinguishes dialectics from all holism or Gestalt philosophy; it reflects the unconscious destructiveness of nature, the conscious destructiveness of history, which, by destroying, manifests itself as reason. What exists destroys itself in the process of its evolution, passing over into a new form in which the “limits” or negativity of the old are transcended: what is new is thus the liberation of the old, a process of self-liberation. As liberation, freedom (q.v.) is essentially negation; as a process of liberation (subjectivity), the movement of objectivity constitutes “progress”. This it is in the degree to which the process becomes conscious and self-conscious: the comprehending of reality and its necessity. In this comprehension the universal is realized: the process of history draws all the diverse regions being into itself, making nature itself the material of its freedom, a manifestation of spirit.

By hypostatizing the universal as a rational and self-contained totality, however, an idealistic dialectic deprives itself of its own proper impulse, and this is the corner-stone of the idealistic interpretation of dialectical movement as a whole. From the very beginning, following Kant, dialectics is the movement of subjectivity as the constitution of objectivity, the original synthetic unity of opposites. Once it breaks out of a purely transcendental context this dynamism is recognized as the process of reality itself in all its regions. “Substance” becomes its own subject; its concrete Dasein (being there) is the unification and overcoming of opposites, its identity the transition to its other. In this unification of the “many”—representing its determinations and conditions as they are given at any moment—its real identity emerges as the universal which sustains itself through all negation. But this universal is conceived from the beginning as that of the concept, or rather of the process of conceiving, for only in the concept is the “many” represented by opposed determinations unified and this unity given a secure foundation. What the “thing itself " truly is, it is in its concept, while the concept is the universal, or “the determinate character which includes in itself, as a unity, all the various determinations of a thing” (Werke, hrsg. von H. Glockner, Bd 3, p. 145). But if the concept is the “recognized essence” of the thing itself, it cannot be extrinsic to the thing, a product of “mere thinking”. Rather the thing itself must strive towards its concept, it must itself be a process of “comprehending”. Matter is an obstacle to the attainment of this goal, and in its domain the unification of opposites remains blind, passive and incomplete. Even in history, despite all progress in freedom, matter remains (in nature and society) the barrier which is never fully surmounted. It appears in its full negativity even at the most rational stage of history in the contradictions of bourgeois society (Foundation of a Philosophy of Right, §243ff.), which are insoluble at this level and can only be brought under control by the coercive power of the state. The state (q.v.) is the universal which cannot be realized at the level of bourgeois society, the free subject—but in this form it is not yet the true universal, nor does it [146/147] represent true freedom, for it still contains the conflicts of bourgeois society and is itself one particular state among many. In relations between states there rules “a maelstrom of external contingency and the inner particularity of passions, private interests and selfish ends, abilities and virtues, vices, force and wrong" (ibid., § 340)—a play of forces which exposes “the ethical whole itself”, the state, to chance and caprice. The state itself is only a particular in the universal of world history, in the course of which all particular totalities (the Oriental, the Greek, the Roman and the Germanic realms) are surpassed in a “rational” process of evolution. But what is the free subject of world history, which unites its opposites in universal reason and makes of the historical sequence of negations a pattern of progress (q.v.) in the realization of freedom? In history itself we find nothing which might qualify; here too reason is blind, and the universal does not exist in the free actions of individuals and peoples. Thus world history is itself only a “manifestation” of a higher universal, the true totality. It is only in such a totality that matter, as object, something “thrown against” a subject, can itself be subject, so that it can be and remain itself through all otherness and all negation. And this free unity of subject and object (see SUBJECT, OBJECT) is (pure) thinking, which contains its object within itself as an object grasped and understood, the object in its reality and truth. Such thinking cannot belong to any particular subject: it is the world as comprehended and as concept, but also as conceiving, activity, movement. In this sense it is the absolute, the Godhead. As absolute knowing it is the “idea” which “externalizes" itself freely in nature and history and, in and through this negative movement, remains itself and returns to itself.

True reality is seen as absolute idea, as the movement of absolute knowing, and so, in the final analysis. Hegelian dialectics eventually proves to be precisely what, at the outset, it did not seem to be, a method. The absolute idea “proves to lie in the fact that determinateness does not consist in the shape of a given content but is form pure and simple. . . the absolutely universal idea. What we have therefore to consider is not any given content as such but the universal of its form, i.e. the method” (Hegel, Wissenschaft der Logik... ., Tl2, p. 435).

III. The Meaning and Significance of Dialectics in Marx

We should not regard Hegel’s making Thinking absolute—the absolute as method—as the starting-point or basis of his dialectics. It is rather a result, the fulfilment of the demand of the free subject, the unity of the universal and the particular which remains unfulfilled in the material world and even within the realm of objective spirit (society and the state). In so far as every being and every stage in the unfolding and overcoming of opposites finds its place and function in the Hegelian dialectic only within the ultimate context of a closed totality, dialectics can in fact be regarded as the complete [147/148] transfiguration of the status quo, the way Marx characterizes it in the epilogue to the second edition of Capital. And in so far as it organizes all surpassing negations in a coherent order of progress, in which synthesis always represents the “higher level”, it reveals the optimistic dimension which is the final blessing of all negativity. The uncritical, abstract moment of Hegelian dialectics is not to be found in its triadic form—thesis, antithesis, synthesis: Hegel himself characterizes triplicily as “the quite superficial, external side of the mode of knowing” (ibid., p. 498)—but in the order of contradictions as the necessary harmony of the whole. At each individual stage of the process, however, negativity and radical critique reign. This is the way in which Marx understands Hegelian dialectics:

In its rational form it is a scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its doctrinaire professors, because it include in its . . . affirmative recognition of the existing state of things . . . the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up . . . because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary. (Marx, Capital Vol. 1 M, 1961, p. 20)

This is to say that its critical and revolutionary character is not simply one property of dialectics among many but belongs to its idealistic core. Once the concept is understood as “the Nature or Essence” of things (Hegel, Wissenschaft der Logik... ., Tl 1, p. 14) the immediacy of anything, its given form as it happens to be at the moment, is negated, and this negation is not a fiat of metaphysics, it occurs in the concept of the thing itself, in understood reality. “Thinking robs the positive of its power" (Hegel, Werke, hrsg. Von H. Glockner. Bd 8, p. 71). Even dialectical thinking remains thinking, and yet it has a revolutionary function: in its very abstractness, through which it comprehends and thereby transcends the power of the positive, it wins its way to a new concept of the concrete.

In the best-known passage in which Marx comments on his relation to Hegelian dialectics he emphasizes its difference from, rather than its essential similarity to his own view:

My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e., the process of thinking, which, under the name of ‘the Idea’, he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurges of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of ‘the Idea'. With me on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into form of thought. (Capital Vol. 1, M, 1961, p. 19)

Marx continually stresses Hegel’s inverted conception of the relation between appearance and reality, between ideal and material mediation (e.g. in the “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of the State”. In Marx’s Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society, Garden City. N.Y. 1967, p. 154f. & 159f.). This concerns the contrast between historical materialism [148/149] and absolute idealism, but it does not alter the fact that Marx derives all that is essential to his view of dialectics from Hegel. Marx himself sees the essence of dialectics in “negativity as the moving and generating principle” (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. 2nd imp. M. 1961, p. 151). On the basis of his materialistic presupposition, he conceives such negativity as the externalization and objectification of man and as the overcoming of this condition, i.e. as the process of labour (q.v.). The “positive aspect" of the Hegelian dialectic is the “insight concerning the appropriation of the objective essence through the annulment of its estrangement . . ." (ibid., p. 164).

[Hegel thus conceives] man’s self-estrangement, the alienation of man’s essence, man's loss of objectivity and his loss of realness as finding of self, change of his nature, his objectification and realisation. In short, within the sphere of abstraction. Hegel conceives labour as man’s act of self-genesis. (ibid., p. 164f.).

Once Feuerbach—“the only one who has a serious, critical attitude to the Hegelian dialectic" (ibid., p. 145, cf. Marx, Engels, The Holy Family M., 1956, p. 125)—had put real man in place of the self-moving concept the “difference between being and thinking, between consciousness and life” (see BEING AND CONSCIOUSNESS) again became “painfully” obvious (The Holy Family, p. 73). Negativity as the moving principle, the unfolding of opposites and their resolution in the realm of the finite, were now no longer, in their truth, movements of thinking, of consciousness, but of real human history (see ALlENATION]. In its fundamental structure Marxian materialism is at once historical and dialectical, as Marxian dialectics is at once materialistic and historical. The whole which is dialectical in itself now becomes society (q.v.), i.e. the particular society which is given at any moment in its historical evolution. Thus Marx analyses capitalism (q.v.) as the system issuing from feudalism (q.v.) in which the opposition between the productive forces and the relations of production inhibiting their full employment permeates the social whole in all its spheres and ultimately brings about its negation, a negation which liberates the forces which were stifled under the old system and realizes new forms of social order in the division of labour and property, already prefigured in the old system, thus presenting a “determinate negation" and the overcoming of the status quo on the basis of its own inner dynamism.

The supporting and driving force of capitalism, its law of growth, becomes the law of its regression and downfall. The realization of capitalism is the negation; its freedom is suppression. Thus in the just work-contract the completed exchange of equivalent goods is already exploitation (q.v.); free competition is the road to monopolistic concentration; the rise of productivity necessarily leads to the destruction and waste of the productive forces. In this dynamism there arise new arms of social organization of the [149/150] productive forces which can no longer be held within the structure of private property and private control.

The genesis of new forms of social being in the resolution of opposites now poses a crucial problem for a materialistic dialectic: does the dialectical process itself represent “progress”, i.e. are its new historical forms necessarily “higher” in the sense of a more rational organization of productive forces and of allowing greater human freedom? Does the Marxian dialectic implicitly or explicitly adopt the Hegelian pattern—only putting it on a materialistic foundation—according to which the series of historical “realms”, in their necessary sequence, represents progress (q.v.) in self-consciousness and in the realization of freedom? Does materialistic dialectics also recognize reason in history? There is no simple answer to such questions. It is clear that historical development appears in Marx’s works as a development of productive forces and an advance in freedom which overcomes previous periods of regression. It is also true that this view overshadows conflicting references to the real possibility of decay and annihilation. But on the other hand Marx protests against any attempt to turn his “historical sketch of the genesis of capitalism in Western Europe” into a “historico-philosophic theory of the general path every people is fated to tread, whatever the historical circumstances in which it finds itself, in order that it may ultimately arrive at the form of economy which ensures, together with the greatest expansion of the productive power of social labour, the most complete development of man” (Letter to the editorial board of Otechestvennye zapiski, Nov. 1877. In Marx, Engels, Selected Correspondence. M. [195 5], p. 379).

A similar ambiguity surrounds the concept of dialectical necessity. Marx clearly ascribes the character of necessity to the “action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production”: “capitalistic production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation” (Capital, vol. 1, p. 763). The concept of immanent dialectics does in fact imply a necessary unfolding and overcoming of opposites—otherwise it would not be a dialectical concept. And yet this necessity can come about only through social activity in which the consciousness of each man who acts (or is acted upon) itself constitutes a necessary element of the final resolution. But consciousness, reflection, and the will to negation rooted in reflection, are all a matter of freedom. In the Marxian dialectic, thinking and subjectivity remain a decisive factor of the dialectical process: the function of class-consciousness (see CLASS, CLASS STRUGGLE) testifies to this. It is true that this subjectivity is no longer that of the absolute idea, of pure thinking, but rather one of social classes; this only makes the role of consciousness in the process of history all the more decisive. To the same extent to which this process is “open”, i.e. cannot be captured in a philosophical system, it is also determined by the development of consciousness of the possibility of freedom (liberation) or slavery. Freedom and necessity appear here in unresolved tension. The unity of subject and object is never finally realized: the confrontation with nature (and with alienated society in its likeness to nature) remains [150/151] a realm of necessity, of objectivity, which cannot be resolved or redeemed in subjectivity. The Marxian conception does not allow for a dialectic of nature, in which matter would realize itself as subject (see DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM).

Marxian dialectics involves an unresolved tension between freedom and necessity, subject and object, which deprive it of the ultimate reconciliation and justification characteristic of the Hegelian dialectic. It lacks the affirmative character which we find in the Hegelian dialectic as a whole. In this sense Marxian dialectics is essentially revolutionary. It understands the coercive power which men have exercised throughout history on one another and on nature; it does not justify this, nor does it even provide consolation in the form of a non-violent abolition of violence. The inner contradictions of a given social order unfold under the dominion of established power; the productive forces—material and intellectual—which are caught up in these contradictions are freed to provide transition to a “higher” historical form of social being in a conscious conflict with the existing powers and the interests and institutions determined by them. The outcome depends upon the conditions of the possibility of the conflict and of the consciousness which emerges in it. To this end it is necessary that those in possession of such consciousness recognize their servitude and its causes, that they will their own liberation and understand how it can be brought about. Marx includes the development of a revolutionary class-consciousness and the conflict of the proletariat in the dialectic of capitalism: capitalism necessarily produces and reproduces the working class as proletariat (q.v.). Its existence is the real contradiction in the reality of such a society, which proclaims private property and the freedom of the individual as its law. The proletariat does not fall under this law, or rather for the working class the law of capitalism is a law of poverty and the impossibility of genuinely human existence. Thus the proletariat in a capitalistic society is its absolute negation: its existential interest is incompatible with the status quo and can only be fulfilled in its dissolution. But only as the negation of the existing order is the proletariat the historical agent of liberation: should its existence no longer pose a real contradiction. It becomes another force contributing to the established order and its interest lies in preserving that order. The necessity of socialism itself depends upon the social condition of the proletariat and its development of class-consciousness. Thus the Marxian conception includes the possibility of its own negation, the possibility of the suppression of class-consciousness and the defeat of revolutionary activity.

In the letter of November 1877 quoted above, Marx reminds us of the similarity between the processes which, both in ancient Rome and with the rise of capitalism, separated the free peasants from their means of production and led to the formation of great estates and concentrations of capital. But this analogous development had very different consequences

in the two cases: in Rome the plebeians were reduced not to the status of wage-earners but to a “mob of do-nothings”; and instead of a capitalistic [151/152] form of production there arose one which was based on slavery. Until man has mastered history, society itself is only an expression of nature, which determines the possibilities of its development. There is no rational pattern to be found here. The materialistic dialectic sees itself against the open horizon of history, which it understands. With this it pays tribute to human freedom, which is its greatest concern.

SOURCE: Marcuse, Herbert. “The History of Dialectics,” part of the entry on “Dialectics” in Marxism, Communism and Western Society: A Comparative Encyclopaedia. Volume 2: Class, Class Struggle - Disproportions; edited by C[laus] D[ieter] Kernig (New York: Herder and Herder, 1972), pp. 132–152. This excerpt: pp. 142-152.

I. The Significance of Dialectics in Ancient Philosophy
     1. Origins: Zeno, Sophists, Socrates
     2. Plato and Aristotle
     3. The Stoics and Plotinus
II. The Significance of Dialectics in Kant, Fichte and Hegel
     1. Kant
     2. Fichte
     3. Hegel
III. The Meaning and Significance of Dialectics in Marx

Other treatments of dialectics by Marcuse:

“Zum Problem der Dialektik I,” Die Gesellschaft, 7:1 (1930): 15-30; translated by Morton Schoolman as On the Problem of the Dialectic,” Telos, 27 (Spring 1976): 12-24.

“Zum Problem der Dialektik II,” Die Gesellschaft, 8:2 (1931): 541-557; translated by Duncan Smith as “On the Problem of the Dialectic,” Telos, 27 (Spring 1976): 24-39.

Hegel’s Ontology and Theory of Historicity [1932], translated by Seyla Benhabib. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987.

“Dialectic and Logic Since the War,” in Continuity and Change in Russian and Soviet Thought, edited by Ernest J. Simmons (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955), pp. 347-358.

Reason and Revolution: An Introduction to the Dialectical Thinking of Hegel and Marx [1941] with a new preface by the author and “A Note on Dialectic.” Boston: Beacon Press, 1960.

“Zum Begriff der Negation in der Dialektik,” Filosoficky casopis, 15, no. 3 (1967): 375-379. Translated by Karl Bogere as “The concept of Negation in the Dialectic,” Telos, 8 (Summer 1971): 130-132.

The Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm Correspondence, 1954-1978: Dialogues on Hegel, Marx, and Critical Theory, edited by Kevin B. Anderson, Russell Rockwell. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2012. Includes debate on dialectics and Hegel.

Other texts:

Marx, Karl. Texts on Method, translated and edited by Terrell Carver. New York: Barnes & Noble Books; Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1975. Includes Introduction (1857) to the Grundrisse; Notes (1879-80) on Adolph Wagner; with notes and commentary.

On this site:

Dialectic and Logic Since the War,”
by Herbert Marcuse

Karl Marx on commonsense, unity, & distinction

Marx on good & bad abstraction in political economy

Marx’s mirrors

Marx & Engels on elliptical motion & dialectical contradiction

V.I. Lenin: Their Abstraction & Ours

Louis Althusser on Hegel’s Expressive Totality

Theodor W. Adorno & Critical Theory Study Guide

Marx and Marxism Web Guide


Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right
(1843, the full originally unpublished ms)
by Karl Marx

Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy in General
from Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
(on Hegel’s uncritical positivism & idealism)

The Mystery of Speculative Construction (by Marx)
in The Holy Family by Marx & Engels (1845)

“Criticism” and Feuerbach (by Engels)
in The Holy Family by Marx & Engels (1845)
(on ‘History’)

Chapter 3: Saint Max: The Old Testament: Man: 4. The Moderns
in The German Ideology (1845-6) by Marx & Engels
(on Stirner’s degraded speculative philosophy of history)

The Method
in The Poverty of Philosophy (1847)
by Karl Marx

The method of political economy (1857)
by Karl Marx

Marx to Lasalle, in Berlin, 16 January, 1861
(on Darwin & teleology)

Notes on Wagner
by Karl Marx

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