Smolny Beyond Borders

A Liberal Arts Initiative

Introduction to Dialectics


Course Schedule:

Fall 2023 | Wed 2.30 – 5.30 PM Berlin (UTC + 2)

Professor: Artemy Magun
Semester: Fall 2023
Course Level: 300
Subject: PHIL
Number of Bard Credits: 4
Course Title: Introduction to Dialectics
Max Enrollment: 22
Schedule: Wed 2.30 – 5.30 PM Berlin (UTC + 2)
Distribution Area: Meaning, Being, and Value
Cross-Listing(s): no
Language of Instruction: Russian

This course is devoted to the study of dialectics as a philosophical methodology that allows studying historical and social reality through the lens of logic. Common sense does a good job of defining phenomena and categorizing their qualities and quantities, but it is much less capable of grasping their fundamental, often revolutionary, transformations, such as the precipitous turns from liberalism to fascism, from fear to sadism, and from peace to war. Even if common sense notices such transformations, it encounters yet another barrier : one must perceive that the new phenomenon does not replace the old one but contains it within itself as an unconscious layer.

We will address dialectics as a theory of reflection, aiming to see how by reflecting themselves, ideas pass into life. Although one often thinks that dialectics was invented by Hegel, in fact it had existed earlier as one of the philosophical methodologies. We will be reading works by Plato, Aristotle, Proclus, Schelling, Hegel, Marx, Kojeve, Vygotsky, Adorno, Marcuse, Ilyenkov, Lacan, and Zizek, along with the contemporary scholarship which applies dialectics to social analysis.