Dialectical Social Theory and Its Critics: From Hegel to by Tony Smith

By Tony Smith

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Winfield was quite correct to insist that a category on the relatively advanced level of "civil society" cannot be re­ duced to a determination on the earlier level of "nature. " On the other hand, each later category also in some sense "sublates" those that have gone before. Even though the linearity of the theory forces us to con­ sider one category at a time, each categorial level is overdetermined. It is determined not just by the new categorial elements introduced, but also by the preceding déterminations incorporated in the new stage.

However when we examine the same category from the standpoint of a dialectical progres­ sion of categories things appear differently. It is possible that species that must be treated together qm instances of the same genus fall on different levels from a systematic standpoint. Some of these species may embody structures that are relatively abstract and simple, whereas others may manifest structures that are more complex and concrete. In Hegel's Phibsophy of'Sprit, for example, individual self-deception Ms on the level of Subjective Spirit.

The various species mentioned by Winfield are ail explicitly acknowledged in Capital. And there are good reasons for think­ ing that these species do not all M on the same level from a systematic perspective. The final area I would like to explore also involves a genus-species relation. It concerns both the central substantive argument in Winfield's book and the most important divergence between Hegel and Marx. The argument may be put as follows: 1. The just economy is characterized by civil freedom; that is, "each partidpant [acts] in view of his own interest in cooperation with others insoûr as his aim [can] only be achieved by simultaneously honoring their concordant exercise ofthat same freedom.

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