Marxists laughing stocks to call Kant a dead end…???

I was critical of Woods’ History of Philosophy but tried to be less negative in a second attempt, but his work is ruined by the attempt to call Kant a dead end. That is typical of the wreckage of historical culture created by ‘historical materialists’ and their narrow visions. A good example is the chapter, The Dead End of Kant. As a socialist one winces at the kind of blanket judgment that leaves cultural history in a shambles. Kant is no dead end, but the inventor for a new aspect of idealism. Foar what earthly reason do ‘socialists’ have to trash Kant on the way to their vaunted new culture? It is like defacing exhibits in a museum.The left in the era of Hegel got sidetracked into a useless debate of materialism versus idealism which turned the whole Marx project into a one-sided monstrosity unable to evaluate culture and bent on narrow visions. And they can’t handle a Kant. What an instant mess. But in a strange outcome the ‘dialectic’ somehow survived into Marxism, but it is a narrow version, much vaunted as a ‘materialist’ dialectic. But the dialectic was always materialist, as in the classic Samkhya with its triads of ‘triadic’ versus ‘dual’ dialectic (the opposition of a pair of opposites versus some barely known three term non-dual version). But the dialectic has no real explication in Marxism. It is strange orphan in Marx and made into a universal and final version of an idea already distorted. So what will happen in Marx world when yogis attempt to do the dialectical triadic Sankhya yoga: will they be liquidated by a Stalin in chard of all thinking on dialectic? etc… Attacking Kant is typical of the amputations of Marxists of cultural history. Kant is open to critique, obviously, but to dismiss him thus is grotesque. And he is the ultimate source of a dialect before Hegel turned that into a mishmash of trinitarian Christianity and mystical thinkers like Boehme. The ‘dialectic’ in dual or triadic versions is a complicated subject and still unresolved even by yogis who has realized mysterious states of consciousness. To reduce to a post-Hegelian trinket won’t work. The sad reality is that philosophy after Kant started downhill to reach finally the philosophic realm of Rorty. The passage via Hegel/Marx was the first step down. Brilliant as both are. Transendental idealism has a better popular version in Schopenhauer, unfortunately no leftist, but a keen student of the real significance of Kant.

The eonic model would work better: it is completely generalized and stands beyond materialism and idealism, and shows the historical reality of both. The model is a periodization of world history and doesn’t dogmatize about some mysterious law of history or science of such. It simply shows each stage as empirical and points to economies as secondary processes inside civilizations. Economies can overtake societies but they never determine the fate of civilization as such which has its own process of creative evolution. Cleary capitalism has overtaken a whole civilization and then turned malignant. It is easy to bring in a modified marxism there, if it can be melted down and recast. The debate over materialism and idealism is simply not more than a side issue. Both are very much in evidence in modern ‘secular humanism’ freed of its crackpot versions we see in so many versions of rank scientism. A true humanism looks at the mental process in its material and ideal aspects in search of a higher unity. And the dialectic can never be a Marx monopoly in its reductionist narrowness.

I was very critical of Woods, as his book came out, but I hadn’t read it, although I did read his Reason In Revolt. This summary is useful and suggests the context in which ‘dialectical…

Source: Marxism’s contracted philosophic mess of pottage – 1848+: The End(s) of History

Should Philosophy Retire? | Commonweal Magazine

Rorty was a strange thinker but, it would seem, his stance on Kant, thence philosophy in general, tokens a real mystery, leaves the ‘end of philosophy’ next to the ‘end of history’ in limbo.
A student of the eonic effect sees the problem at once and why it arises, but must consider that in ‘theory’ the end of philosophy is arguably an illusion. The student of the eonic effect has a strange secret, but he may not understand it. Since we can’t predict the future, we leave the issue ambiguous. The history of philosophy, in a word, is bound up in the eonic effect and its mysterious sequence: philosophy arises and advances in clear concert with the eonic sequence, to the extent that we see it, the realm of Sumer, say, remaining hard to understand. Note that Kant, Hegel, and Marx, and a whole school of post-Kantians, Schelling, etc, cluster around the divide interval or point ca. 1800, and this is not a coincidence. Kant especially is a seminal figure nonpareil. Kant has been the object deconstruction later rascal boys posing as philosophers, the biggest target within range, and yet somehow eagle-perched on a timeless crag, beyond comprehension, and always surviving his critics.
So the problem is not the end of philosophy but a waning of a creative era, an effect all too obvious in classical antiquity in the wake of Plato, and then Aristotle.
Aren’t we seeing the same effect in our own time? An eerie timing lurks here.
But by this analysis there is no reason in principle why philosophy can’t advance. But that requires now a genuine understanding of Kant and his related milieu, and that effort defies one and all in its mystery. Kant by himself took philosophy to a height that few can match because they simply can’t understand such a complex figure, let alone his larger contemporary scene. The problem can be seen already in Hegel and Marx: has either of these two understood Kant? Kant’s ethics and transcendental idealism disappear in Hegel, the idealists lumped together and denounced by Marx, with a nearby woods of strange disciples and students, Schelling et al.
But that generation is short-lived and philosophy damps down rapidly because no one can really understand their own subject matter. Can anyone grasp Kant’s strange legacy in the Transcendental Deduction? One can study here to any depth, and yet the mystery there lingers. It is hard to advance from this moment. Schopenhauer can manage, yet he amputated a good deal of Kant’s work. But he keeps alive the sense of the noumenal, but that soon vanishes, and in the rise of science the era of scientism enters, next to the brief flush of the Romantic movement. And a crescendo of dozens of other effects. Just as this brief climax peaks, it wanes, and becomes a mystery that future philosophers cannot quite grasp. For example, classical music peaks in exact concert with the era Kant and his immediate milieu. Is this chance? Surely so. Are you sure. Don’t you have to solve the mystery of this generation in order to pass beyond it? We don’t even know that much. And it remains difficult to take in the whole moment, and the question of what philosophy is lingers to finally stall and then snuff out further advance, for the moment at least. Philosophy seemed to end after Plato and Aristotle (nonsense to some who study later thinkers in antiquity) and yet millennia later it returns.

    To see the problem consider two additional figures, this time in the emergence of evolutionary ‘science’: Lamarck and the teleomechanists, in the milieu of Kant. They show a promising start to evolutionary thinking/science, they are soon swamped in the rise of Darwinism, one of most outrageous distortions of science, yet one that few philosophers can detect, even as ‘critical thinking’ becomes a key focus. Philosophy was mostly unable to deal with the strange arising of that evolutionary fiction, although Bergson came close to solving one of its aspects (or so I conjecture). The point here is simply the crisis of understanding in so many directions taken all at once.

Our position is different now. We can see the dynamics and transcend it. We don’t have to remain baffled by Kant forever, or distracted by misleading figures like Hegel and Marx.
Philosophy is part of a far broader flow of culture then, and its mystery begins to move in new directions. And we are left with the challenge of the great yogas that study the mind in a different way. Kant’s thinking almost seems like a form of Advaita and the senses and mentation seem the larger question of mind beyond mind.

We should annotate the obvious point: the theme of Plato’s Cave lurks in the background to explain perhaps one part of our philosophical paralysis.

    Update: we should mention that the eonic model distinguishes ‘system action’ from ‘free action’. Clearly philosophy has two aspects and histories: we have just pointed the system driven aspect of philosophy. But the free agency in its wake points to the fact that man can transcend historical momentum and move to create in a period outside the driven moment. There has been a lot of philosophy since Kant and his era, but like Neitzsche the later era can confound itself even as it makes incremental advances, or simply, phases of being as a philosopher. The modern era can be seen as ambiguous, and the future of philosophy would be hard to predict.

    But how can philosophy end? Surely the quest for Truth is eternal? Surely the hunger for Wisdom is part of human nature? Surely questions about the Good will never cease to exercise us? Well, yes and no. Certainly Rorty was not proposing that we simply give up on all the big questions. We will always mull over “how things, in the largest sense of that word, hang together, in the largest sense of that word,” a phrase he quoted often from one of his favorite philosophers, Wilfrid Sellars. But he thought that philosophy’s perennial abstractions, distinctions, and problems—including Truth, human nature, and the Good—though they were once very much alive, had by now led Western thought into a dead end and should be retired.

    Source: Should Philosophy Retire? | Commonweal Magazine

Alan Woods, Marxist philosophical confusion and the idiocy of dialectical materialism:…socialists don’t have to be marxists…Time to move on

I will try to comment directly on this book when it comes out, assuming I can afford it after many many purchases this year.

I have read Woods’ Reason in Revolt, years ago.

But on the basis of this introduction, my initial criticisms here are more or less confirmed. Figures like Alan Woods are stuck in the past at a time when the issue of socialism needs a new framework. Woods’ intro here seems to make every mistake you can make on the subject and that we have criticized here. Use the search box on the sidebar for ‘Alan Woods’.

First, the issue of dialectical materialism is like an obsession for Woods who takes it as the summit of philosophy. It is hopeless junk and many faithful Marxists have thought so from the start. You cannot find a progressive public anymore with that idiotic mishmash from Engels, apparently. I do however think it has an accessory historical interest in another way, as discussed in my short essay Samkhya: Ancient and Modern. The question of dialectic has been one of confusion in Marxism and it usage borders on the fallacy, or, rather, triadic logic is by and large a mystery and a legacy of mistakes by Marxists. Put it to one side as a research project and keep its fallacies out of the way. Dialectic in the sense of a debate has a perfectly good usage. But the realm of Hegel from which the idea comes is that of a metaphysical quagmire, or so it seems. The question is not necessary for socialists trying to escape marxist swamp water. Let us note that many will disagree but that we enter the realm of rival mysticism and the brand of vicious reactionaries like Gurdjieff, itself controversial, makes mincemeat of the pseudo-triadic dialectical materialism which is a kind mysticism, that Woods wants to escape. The realm of Hegel is fascinating but in the Marxist context it sows confusion, and worse in the failure to start with Kant. It was Schopenhauer, the great antagonist to Hegel, who said that Hegel had confused the thinking of a whole generation. Witness Marxists in that regard. Hegel is a great thinker, maybe, but he confuses. Someone like Lukacs may be an exception. Again, who cares: socialism doesn’t need this, nor does it need the hopeless debate between idealism and materialism. Physics once highlighted materialism, now it seems like an idealist show.
Marx’s materialism is dated now and belongs to the early nineteenth century, and his reductionist scientism is a lost cause now. In the era of quantum field theory it makes no sense anymore. The result is to banish will, consciousness et al from a very narrow psychology. This again is of no use to a real socialist at this point. The idea was to escape from religious entanglement. But that problem seems irrelevant now, it is not mystical religion to speak or query consciousness and will (which admittedly are very tricky).
Kantian ethical socialism is a late nineteenth-century parallel socialist stream, neglected but far superior to the Marxist muddle.

We could go on and on here, and may do so later, but I think our current generation needs to abandon Marxism and start over. We have several versions here that resolve the confusions of Marx’s theories of history, and that attempt to discipline thinking with constructivist model of socialist or neo-communist social models. Marx’s thinking is far too complex and no one ever really understands it. Marx has a lot of other good material, but as a system it is a failure.
I fear that obsolete Marxism, which has failed in every case, has so much momentum plus an army of idiots that our hopes for postcapitalist society as socialist will be swamped in another Marxist fiasco.

I would offer Mr. Woods a cautious warning that the first of the ‘Revolution’ if it ever comes will be a battle to free the path to socialism from Marx jackknifed into different frameworks. Let’s get that over with now.

Woods Intro at marxmail

[marxmail] Video & Introduction to The History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective by Alan Woods
Date: Wed, Sep 29, 2021 10:50 am

Introduction to The History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective by Alan Woods

Alan Woods
14 September 2021

Image: Wellred Books

The latest title from Wellred Books, The History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective by Alan Woods will be out in only a few days. We publish below an excerpt from the Introduction to the book, explaining why revolutionary Marxists should study the history of philosophy, and the enormous debt that Marxism owes to earlier thinkers, and in particular to the giants of philosophy that lived in the revolutionary, youthful phase of the bourgeois epoch.

Watch Alan Woods’ introduction to ‘History of Philosophy: a Marxist Perspective’ – an important new work published by Wellred Books.

Pre-order your copy now so that you can read and study the book with peers, friends and comrades:

The starting point

I first started work on The History of Philosophy some twenty-seven years ago, when writing Reason in Revolt, a book that dealt with the relationship between Marxist philosophy and modern science. The book was a big success, but it turned out to be much longer than I had originally anticipated. Due to considerations of length, I was reluctantly obliged to omit the first part, which dealt with the history of philosophy, leading up to Marx’s great revolution, the theory of dialectical materialism.

The intention had been to publish The History of Philosophy as a separate work sometime in the future. But for different reasons, that decision was delayed to make way for more pressing tasks. For more than two decades, the manuscript was put to one side, left to the gnawing criticism of the mice, as Marx once said, referring to the unpublished text of the German Ideology. It was eventually published on our website, and was favourably received, but the original intention of publishing it as a book remained unfulfilled until now…