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INTRODUCTION xxvn

is as far removed from Benthamite superficiality as he is from the false


and reactionary 'profundity' of Romanticism. His purpose is rather to
grasp the true inner structure, the real motive forces of the present and of
capitalism and to define the dialectic of its movement.
It would be an error to search for evidence of this tendency of Hegel
ian philosophy only in those comments which expressly and directly
refer to the problems of capitalist society. His preoccupation with this
theme in fact determines the structure of his system and the particular
character of the dialectic as well as the greatness of his achievement. It is
at this point that we find one of the chief sources of his superiority as
philosopher and dialectician over his contemporaries.Our study aims to
show at least in outline how this process of interaction informed the de
velopment of the young Hegel. It will demonstrate that during one crisis
in his life, at a time when he had become estranged from the ideals of the
great contemporary revolution, he found his way out of the labyrinth
and back to dialectics with the aid of a compass provided by political
economy and in particular the economic condition of England. We shall
attempt to show in detail at this point just how crucial was his under
standing of economic problems for the emergence of a consciously dia
lectical mode of thought.
This interpretation of Hegelian philosophy is neither more nor less
than the attempt to apply to his early development the brilliant insight
formulated by Marx in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of I 844:
'The greatness of Hegel's Phenomenology is then ...that Hegel view
the self-creation of man as a process .. . and therefore that he grasps
the nature of labour and understands objective
. man, true, because real
man as the product of his own labour. '
Marx shows here the extent to which Hegelian philosophy forms an
analogue of English classical economics. Of course, in England the con
crete problems of bourgeois society appear in the form of concrete econ
omic laws, while Hegel can do no more than supply the abstract
(idealist) reflection of their general principles. As against this it may be
observed that Hegel is the only person who grasps the dialectical charac
ter of this movement and can advance from there to a general theory of
dialectics. (I must remind the reader once again that even so we have
touched on only one aspect of the origins of He g elian dialectics.)
From the foregoing it will be apparent to the reader that for all the
magnitude of this view of the dialectics of human society 1t still remains
an idealist dialectic with all the faults, limitations and distortions inevit
able in an idealist interpretation. And the task of this study is indeed to
throw light on the vital interaction of the valuable and the weaker sides
of Hegel's dialectics at the various stages of his development. The present
writer hopes that his work will shortly be followed by others which will