File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-29.113, message 19

Date: Mon, 27 Jan 1997 15:11:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: M-I: [S. Chatterjee] - Dialectics

Viraj Fernando,

I should make one correction in your text. I *do* believe that historical
materialism is a science. Dialectics as an art in no way sneaks into my
writings. A historical materialist analysis of aethetics might be a future
discussion, but that would still not be the dialectic as art, but rather
dialectical analysis of the dialectical process behind the production of
art. I regard historical materialism as not only the most sophisticated of
sciences, but more--it is *critique* (that is, it is historical,
self-reflexive, and subjectivistic). My argument is the historical
materialism is the science of history and society. Dialectics can be (1)
method, (2) process internal to social formations
(relational/social-ontological), or (3) process external to social
formations (physical/natural-ontological). What I object to is the latter
possibility (physical/natural-ontological. I regard this reification of
dialectical logic as non-scientific (rather pseudoscientific) and, in
fact, a form of mystics.

I fear my opposition has yet to comprehend my argument. I don't say this
to be arrogant; what is reproduced so often claiming to be a reflection of
what I have written is incorrect.

Andrew Austin

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