Monday, 1 August 2011

Dialectical Reason

by Richard Turner, Radical Philosophy, 1973

The concept 'dialectical reason', as used by 'marxist' theorists, contains buried within it a number of theoretical problems, problems which have significance for where why and how we may use dialectical reason. There are three issues, in particular, on which reflective clarity is both always needed and often lacking. Firstly, what precisely distinguishes 'dialectical reason' from 'analytical reason'? Secondly, how does one legitimise the use of dialectical reason - that is, are there 'laws' of dialectical reason, how are they discovered, and to what may they be applied? Thirdly, given that the central concept of dialectics is that of 'totality', and that it is therefore assumed that the observer is always part of the totality being observed, how, if at all, does one escape from historical relativism?

Click here to download this paper in pdf. There is an archive of papers by and on Rick Turner on the SA History Online site here.