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Sender: Michael Briand
Subject: Re: TRANSPARTISAN DEFINITION 1.0: Proposed April Conversation
Date: Fri, Apr 11, 2014
Msg: 100912

“Transpartisan (adj.): working to strengthen the relationship between political parties while seeking innovative solutions to policy issues that respect but transcend specific party positions.” Not to go all Hegelian on everyone, but it occurs to me that there might be something useful to glean from Hegel’s concept of “Aufhebung,” which implies both preserving and changing while moving forward. (“Aufheben” means to “cancel,” to “keep,” or to “lift” (pick up). The English translations, “sublate” and “supercede,” seem to me too esoteric to be of much use to us.) The basic idea is that something (e.g., an idea) is both preserved and changed as it interacts with another thing that “opposes” it.* Einsteinian physics “opposed” Newtonian physics, but enhanced our comprehension of the universe as it changed our mental models while preserving everything of value in the latter. What I find appealing is the implication that what has importance or value in each of the conflicting ideas is retained afterwards, albeit in altered form. This differs from mere compromise, and even from common ground, which are generated through interpersonal processes having different goals and methods than one, as yet unarticulated, that aspires to identify and preserve (conserve?) value. A variation on the theme of synthesis is the Jainist idea of incompleteness. (Think of the fable of the blind men and the elephant.) Every perspective is partial, hence incomplete. Each must be complemented by other (partial) perspectives. Important information is added when perspectives are synthesized, but nothing is lost in the originals, though each has now changed to reflect its previous incompleteness. Michael Briand * Thus, in Fichte’s (not Hegel’s) notion of dialectic, a “thesis” and “antithesis” interact, and both emerge preserved though changed in a “synthesis” that serves as a new thesis in the continuous dialectic of change. The idea of dialectical argument dates from classical Greece and elsewhere.


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