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On Methods of Inquiry: From Aristotle to Evald Ilyenkov with Arto Artinian

Much has been said about “dialec­tics” in the con­text of left­ist think­ing about pol­i­tics, yet often the con­ver­sa­tion is often vague on the specifics of what is it that dialec­tics in think­ing actu­al­ly means? What is gained by deploy­ing “dialec­ti­cal thought”? To counter this ten­den­cy, we will trace spe­cif­ic artic­u­la­tions of dialec­ti­cal move­ment in thought, with the aim of gain­ing a clear­er under­stand­ing of the fun­da­men­tal con­cepts, ideas and meth­ods that relate to this mode of thinking.

Our focus is on build­ing a ground­ing in think­ing about every­day life that seeks (rather than avoids) con­tra­dic­tions, and is capa­ble of sur­viv­ing (as Hegel said) the ten­sions that arise with­in it.

Read­ings will begin with a dis­cus­sion of sec­tions from Aristotle’s “Pri­or Ana­lyt­ics” and “Cat­e­gories”. We will then fol­low with a few excerpts from Hegel’s stud­ies of log­ic, while mak­ing explic­it Hegel’s con­ver­sa­tion with Aris­to­tle. We will con­clude with a close read­ing of Sovi­et philoso­pher Evald Ilyenkov’s pre­sen­ta­tion of dialec­ti­cal think­ing, in the con­text of the thread run­ning from Aris­to­tle, through Hegel and Marx.


James Bald­win High School
Room 317
351 West 18th St
New York, NY 10011 

(6:30–8:30pm): an eight week course begin­ning Octo­ber 16th, 2019 — $15 per ses­sion or $100 for all eight sessions.


Aris­to­tle: “Cat­e­gories 1–5, 7, 9, 10”, (“Aris­to­tle: Cat­e­gories and De Inter­pre­tione, Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2002).

Aris­to­tle: “The Syl­lo­gism and its Three Fig­ures: A1-A6” (“Pri­or Ana­lyt­ics”, Hack­ett, 1989).

Gisela Strik­er: “​Aris­totle’s Pri­or Ana­lyt­ics, Book 1: Trans­lat­ed with an intro­duc­tion and com­men­tary” (Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2009, A1-A6).

Hegel: “The Syl­lo­gism”, Sec­tions #181–193” (“Ency­clo­pe­dia of the Philo­soph­i­cal Sci­ences in Basic Out­line: Part I — Sci­ence and Log­ic”, Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2010).

Hegel: “Intro­duc­tion”, (“The Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy of Spir­it”, Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2018).

Evge­ny Pavlov: “Hegel’s Sci­ence of Log­ic”, (“Intel­li­gent Marx­ism”, Bill, 2018, pg. 59–98).

David L. Har­vey: “The Log­ic of Com­mod­i­ty Cir­cuits” (The Philo­soph­i­cal Forum Quar­ter­ly, Vol. XV, #3, Spring 1984, pg. 280–323).

Marx, selec­tions from “Cap­i­tal Vol. 2”.

Evald Ilyenkov: “Our Schools Must Teach How to Think”, (Jour­nal of Russ­ian and East Euro­pean Psy­chol­o­gy, vol. 45, no. 4, July–August 2007, pp. 9–49).

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