The development of the theory and ideals expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is passing through a deep crisis today. The enrichment and evaluation of Marxism through practice in the hands of Vladimir Lenin has on the one hand developed Marxist theory and on the other hand put it face to face with numerous new and fundamental questions and challenges. At the beginning of twenty first century a qualitative leap in the development of Marxist theory has become absolutely imperative.
As a world-outlook, Marxism, from the birth of First International under the direct leadership of Marx and Engels to the collapse of the Third International in the times of Stalin, has concluded a truly international journey. There is no denying the fact that Marxist theory to-day is not getting developed under the able supervision of any å£¯gnizedé®´ernational center. There is no Marxist theory with international character now active in class struggle. In fact, the communist-revolutionary centers across the globe are found weak and handicapped in reviewing the theories practised and in the face of contemporary (last 100 years) bourgeois theoretical attacks.
Amongst the people who subscribe to the view that the development of Marxism is going through a crisis, desire will surely be born to understand and follow in a consistent fashion the emergence and maturing of the Marxist theory. We, in á’˜IST INTELLECTIONà¢¥long to this school of thought. In the present article we shall confine ourselves to the discussion of the inter-relation of Marxist philosophy and the problem of development of Marxist theory. Before we enter into this particular discussion, we shall go through the various international challenges that the fundamental formulations of Marxism have been confronted with.
Is Marxist Theory based on a New Philosophy ?
The inter-relationship between Marxist theory and philosophy can be deemed as the most important premise in the course of development of Marxism. The following lines, taken from Karl KorschÑ�ARXISM AND PHILOSOPHYè±¹23) will help us to get along into this discussion:
ï¿½x and Engels, it is true, often, indicated with great pride that historically the German Workers movement had inherited the legacy of classical German philosophy in scientific socialism. But they did not mean by this that scientific socialism or communism were primarily è©¬osophiesÔ¨ey rather saw the task of their scientific socialism as that of definitively overcoming and superseding the form and content, not only of all previous bourgeois idealist philosophy, but theory of philosophy altogetherì¯³pan>
ä¨¥ manner in which they (Marx and Engels) dealt with the question of philosophy can best be described in the vivid terms in which Engels once described åµ²bachà¡´titude to Hegelian philosophy: åµ¥rbach simply è¯¶edé´ unceremoniously aside.é® fact many latter Marxist, apparently in highly orthodox compliance with the mastersî¢³p; instructions, dealt in exactly the same unceremonious way not only with Hegelian philosophy but philosophy as a wholeì¯³pan>
The first attempt to establish the fact that Marxist theory is not based on any new philosophical content was to pit the views of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels against each other on the question of philosophy. The main premise was that î”‰-DUHRINGá®¤ é�ŒECTICS OF NATUREà·²itten by Friedrich Engels, contradict Marxà°¨ilosophical views. Where Marx has used é¡¬ectical Materialismä¯ analyze the inter-relationship of human consciousness and the society in the context of the historical process of the development of human civilization, Engels, in his use of é¡¬ectical Materialismä¯ explain the nature-science interaction, has behaved as a á´µralist materialistà²¡ther, has been reduced to a å´¡physical materialistì¯³pan>
In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Italian philosopher duo Giovanni Gentile – Rudolfo Mondolfo and Polish philosopher Stanislow Berozowski for the first time tried to show the differences between the philosophical views of Marx and Engels. But this discussion came inside Communist movement first in the writings of Erwin Ban. This article was published in 1920, in the South-Eastern EuropeÃ¯mminternà¯uthpiece ïµmunismusÉ´ declared that the role of Engels in the development of Marxist philosophy is incorrect and detrimental. Ban considered Marx to be a successor of Classical German philosophy, whereas Engels is a positivist and a proponent of naturalist views. In his opinion, Engelsæ©¥ws and writings do not fit in the Marxian theoretical framework. This view gained further momentum in International circles with the writings of George Lukacs. In his é“”ORY AND CLASS CONSCIOUSNESSè±¹23), he laid prime importance on establishing the philosophical differences between Marx and Engels; é�ŒECTICS OF NATUREâ¹ Engels was targeted. To quote a few lines from Lukacsáˆ‰STORY AND CLASS CONSCIOUSNESSì¯³pan>
É may be permitted to devote a few words – as a set of excursus – to the view expressed by Friedrich Engels on the problem of thing-in-itself. In a sense they are no immediate concern to us, but they have exercised such a great influence on the meaning given to the term by many Marxists that to omit to correct this might easily give rise to a misunderstandingâ¼¯span>
Âµt Engelsä¥¥pest misunderstanding consists in his belief that the behavior of industry and scientific experiment constitutes praxis in the dialectical, philosophical sense. In fact, scientific experiment is contemplation at its purest. The experiments creates an artificial, abstract milieu in order to be able to observe undisturbed the untrammeled workings of the law under examination, eliminating all irrational factors both of subject and the object. He strives as far as possible to reduce the material substratum of his observation to the purely rational â¯¤uctä¯ the î´¥lligible matterï¦ mathematics.ì¯³pan>
Karl Korsch (1923) in his á’˜ISM AND PHILOSOPHYï¿½tions that:
Ô¨is is best shown by a sentence from Engelsá´´ack on Duhring, which is doubly conclusive because it is widely believed that the later Engels degenerated into a thoroughly naturalistic – materialist view of the world by contrast to Marx, his more philosophically literate companionâ’¼/span>
In the 1920s, the main reason behind such a reaction to the writings and views of Engels was the misinterpretation of his views to justify the revisionist politics of the å£¯nd InternationalÉ´ became apparent from the writings of Kautsky, Hilferding that Engels has described how Nature herself progresses in a dialectical materialistic process. Hence, by the laws of development of civilization, the capitalist society will collapse in due course of time. There is hardly any need of human conscious intervention in the destruction of capitalism and ascendancy of the rule of the working class. Kautsky writes:
á°©talist society has failed, its dissolution is a question of time; irresistible economic development leads with natural necessity to the bankruptcy of the capitalist mode of production. The erection of a new form of society in place of the existing one is no longer merely desirable; it has become something inevitable.ï³°an>
It is true that the emergence of a new society with the demise of the Capitalist society is not only a matter of mere desirability but of inevitability too. But, at the same time inevitable is, prior to the emergence of that new society, the emergence of Communist Party in the class-society, the development of class-conscious working class under the ideological leadership of that Party and paving the way towards the new society by the working class. Kautsky, in his writing, rejected in essence, this active and decisive role of the Communist Party, Working class and Consciousness. In that case the role of the Communist Party in the advent of the new society becomes actually nothing but of a far-sighted observer. Thus the wrong philosophical understanding of Kautsky gave birth to the revisionist politics of the 2nd International.
å ‰t…..incorrect… to identify Marxism and socialism. Considered logically, as a scientific system alone….Marxism is only a theory of the laws of motion of society….. To recognize the validity of Marxism … is by no means a task for value judgments, let alone a pointer to practical time of conduct. It is one thing to recognize a necessity, but quite another to place oneself at the service of that necessity…ì¯³pan>
Hilferding is ready to accept the å£¥ssityï¦ the new society but not in a position ï °lace oneself at the service of that necessity.è©³ philosophical and political position is very clear. The allegation against Engels is that, it is his philosophical understanding that gave birth to the revisionist political theory of Kautsky and Hilferding.
In 1930, Sidney Hook once again attacked Engelsä‰�LECTICS OF NATURE accusing Engels of transforming MarxÑ²evolutionary theoryé®´o a ï³©tivist ideologyá®¤ abasing his â©´ical historicismä¯ å¬§ar materialismÉ® fact, Engels has been at the center of criticism from leftist philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau and Henri Lefebvre of the 1950à¯² Althusser of the 1960î¼¯span>
Geoge Lichtheim, in his book á²¸ism: A Historical and Critical Studyç²©tes that instead of MarxÑƒritical vision of a critical theoryç¨¡t Engels offered was å¬¬ science of causal evolutionà¨¥ transformed Marxà¥¸traordinary historic creation of â¡³tic transvaluation of valuesé®´o a á³´ iron system of lawsccording to him, when Marx had consciously avoided research in the realm of á´µral-scienceÅ®gels had continuously treaded the path of ï³©tivismá®¤ ã©¥ntismì¯³pan>
In his book è¥ Evolution of Dialectical MaterialismÚ®A. Jordan tries to show that Marxà³´udy of natural science is some sort of á´µralistic activismï² î´¨ropological realismà·¨ich he never tried to explain with the help of é¡¬ectical materialismÉ® contrast, Engels has continuously tried to explain natural science with the help of dialectical materialism, which has resulted in degeneration of his philosophical ideas into mere å´¡physical materialismì¯³pan>
In his book è¥ Evolution of Dialectical MaterialismÚ®A. Jordan, gives a very î´¥restingå¸°lanation. He discusses, how their birth and socio-cultural surroundings in which they grew up had placed Marx and Engels poles apart with respect to their philosophical thinking. Marx was born in a well-to-do and educated family. His main object of interest was philosophy. That is why he was able to grasp and assimilate the essential elements from ì¡³sical materialismá®¤ ì¡³sical idealismé®´o his thoughts. On the other hand, Engelsâ©²th in a business family and daily grind that it entails had turned him into a âµ¤e materialistÔ¨is was clearly evident after Marxà¤¥ath when he published é¡¬ectics of NatureÄµe to his absence of command in philosophy, Engels had used the terminologies of Hegels as mere è´¥rnalá®¤ shallow words. Engels tried to fit the human society in the framework of a natural science methodology. According to Avineri, this robs ï®³ciousnessï¦ its due importance and thus establishes the fact that Engels was never a é¡¬ectical materialisté® his approach towards the history of evolution of human society.
Criticisms, similar in spirit and content can be found in Leszek KolakowskiÑ�ain currents of Marxismà©® Jeff Coulterà¡²ticle á²¸ism and the Engelsà¡²adoxà·¨ich appeared in è¥ Socialist Registerï¿½azine; in Alfred SchmidtÑ”he Concept of Nature in Marxì¯³pan>
In the last mentioned article, the author writes that Marx had a clear conception of nature and reference to nature appears in his discussion about the form of ï£©al labourç©´h respect to ï£©o-historic characterÉ® order to elaborate the evolution of human civilization and society, Marx discusses the role of nature. Schmidt writes that nature is â¥dialecticalà¯®ly in its role of transforming human beings into ï®³cious active subjectà¤¯es it play a é¡¬ecticalâ¯¬e. According to him, knowing the nature only is dialectical; nature itself does not follow the dialectical mechanism, there is no å§¡tivityé® nature. Since only the relationship between man and nature can be dialectical, it is necessary for âª¥ctivismä¯ be un-dialectical. Marxist philosophy, to Schmidt, is ï®ontological materialismÓ£hmidt disapproved of viewing Marxism as á´µralized Hegelianismà·¨ere only the ontological substratum can be changed, spirit replacing matter.
Lucio Coletti, in his book, á²¸ism and Hegelà£²iticizes Engels for increasing speculative bonds in science instead of setting science free of the former. Coletti explains this by Engelsá´´empt to thrust Hegelà©¤ea of è©¬osophy of natureï¶¥r natural science.
We would like to conclude this long list of criticisms with a small quote written by Althusser: ç¨¡t is new in Marxismà£¯ntribution in philosophy is a new practice of philosophy. Marxism is not a (new) philosophy of praxis, but a (new) practice of philosophyë†²om the article å®©n and Philosophyî¼¯span>
Marxist Theory and Marxist Philosophy
Many in the Marxist camp do believe that it is not at all necessary or meaningful to debate if á²¸ismé³ based on a å·’ philosophical theory. If there is no confusion in the question of establishment of é£´atorship of the proletariatà´¨en to debate or resolve whether dialectical materialism is at all applicable in natural science becomes devoid of any urgency or significance.
After the demise of Marx and Engels, on the one side Kautsky and Hilferding and on the other Karl Korsch, Lukacs, Gramsci, Althusser, all vehemently supported Marxà©¤ea of proletarian dictatorship in their first period of criticism, and did never dither to choose Marxà©mortal classic CAPITAL as a guide to look at socio-historical evolution. In spite of this, the eventuality of these schools is well known. Apart from them, if we look at Lenin-Stalin-Mao as the school of revolutionary practice of Marxism, we can find that this international debate did largely affect them in both implicit and explicit fashion. Lenin waged a valiant theoretical and ideological war against the second internationalists. However, we can hardly find any strong theoretical work by Stalin or Mao against Lukacs or Karl Korsch. The duty of giving Marxist theory the needed completion, which was taken up by Engels with due advice from Marx himself, did not find any continuity in the international communist movement after the fragmented efforts by Vladimir Lenin. From within the communist camp, there have been incessant attacks on Marxism, numerous misinterpretations of Marxist theory have been made – but there has been no follow up of the ï³°an>Materialism and Emperio-criticismÍ¡rxists have virtually backed out of continuing with Engelsç¯²k on natural science.
This debate has gained such immense importance because it now revolves upon the role of consciousness in the process of socio-historic evolution. If the philosophical thoughts of Engels boil down to the fact that just as in natural science, the evolution of society and civilization will, in its own mechanism, lead to the destruction of capitalism, then the role of consciousness or the communist party becomes insignificant. There remains no need to infuse any ä¶¡nced consciousnessæ²¯m outside to transform the working class from class-in-itself to the level of class-for-itself. According to Hegel, the role of consciousness can never go beyond the existing societal setup. Marx believed that in the process of destruction of capitalism and establishment of working-class dictatorship, the dialectical mediation arising out of dialectical unity between consciousness and existing society is the driving force of this necessary qualitative leap. In the process of socio-historic evolution, how the inter-relation between necessity and freedom will be transformed into the correct dialectical relation is neither a question of economics nor politics or history, but a question of philosophy. If there is no existence of Marxist philosophy, then any one of the two – necessity and freedom – will remain in consideration, or both will remain, but as mutually exclusive factor. In the process of revolutionary transformation of the society, determination of the role of consciousness is thus a philosophical question; only the relentless struggle against idealist and metaphysical materialist tendencies can enable the communist party to take the correct position in ever changing circumstances. Any lack of consciousness in this question not only makes taking a correct stand impossible, but ensures adopting a faulty one. That is why, for Lenin, Stalin, Mao and for the review of subsequent theoretical, ideological and political issues, the philosophical question will play the role of main theoretical foundation. In the establishment of working class dictatorship, the withering away of the state, how the gap of consciousness between the party and the class changes or evolves, what will the interrelation between subject (party) and object (working class) become, why, how and to what extent will the object transform itself, and how will the subject adapt itself to that change – to determine all this correctly is the historical duty of the communist party.
Marx-Engels and Marxist Theory
Keeping in mind the above mentioned debates, in order to understand the inception and development of the theory of dialectics in Marx and Engelsà¥²sonal life, we shall start with their early life theoretical studies. These are not much known, and all is not directly related to the debates of communist movement. Hence this discussion might become a little tiring. But it is important in order to take a clear stand with respect to the debates discussed here.
In their early life, before they met each other, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels penned two important essays. For his doctoral dissertation, Karl Marx prepared è¥ Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean philosophy of Natureæ®¢sp; Engels wrote ã¨¥lling on HegelÉ®cidentally both were published in the same year, 1841. Both were of the same age at that time, around 21-22. Both these essays were on å²¥ philosophy`detailed discussion of these essays is out of the scope of this write up. But we can entertain a small discussion in order to comprehend the initial tendencies of their thoughts and ideas.
MarxÓ”he Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Natureï³°an>
The important parts of the essay are:
- Opinions on the Relationship between Democritean and Epicurean physics.
- Difficulties concerning the Identity of the Democritean and Epicurean philosophy of Nature
- The Declination of the Atom from the Straight Line
The Qualities of the Atom.
The essay discusses Democritean and Epicurean physics and the philosophy behind it. Marx begins thus
Ç²eek philosophy seems to have met with something with which a good tragedy is not supposed to meet, namely, a dull ending. The objective history of philosophy in Greece seems to come to an end with Aristotle, Greek philosophylexander of Macedon, and even the manly-strong stoics did not succeed in what the Spartans did accomplish in their temples, the chaining of Athena to Heracles so that she could not flee.ï³°an>
Marx depicts Epicurean philosophy as a é®£retic combinationï¦ å¯critean physicsá®¤ é²¥naic moralityÓ´oicism is a combination of å²¡clitean speculationï® nature, é®©cal-ethical view of the worldá®¤ â©³totelian logicÓ£epticism is a å£¥ssary evilä¨¡t contradicts with all this ï§atismÍ¡rxà·²iting of this essay is an exploration of the source of the two eclectic systems of the ancient Greek philosophies. Of the two systems one is Epicurean stoic and Sceptic philosophy, and the other is Alexandrian Speculation. As a reason for his enthusiasm, Marx writes, æµ²thermore, is it not remarkable that after the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophies, which are universal in range, there appear new systems which do not lean on these rich intellectual forms, but look farther back and have recourse to the simplest schools to the philosophers of nature in regard to physics, to the Socratic school in regard to ethicsæ®¢sp;
In the part titled è¥ Qualities of the Atomï¿½x discusses Democritean and Epicurean physics in the context of constitution of atom. è²¯ugh the qualities the atom acquires an existence which contradicts its concept; it is assumed as an internalized being different from its essence. It is this contradiction which mainly interests Epicurus. Democritus, on the other hand, nowhere considers the properties in relation to the atom itself, nor does he objectify the contradiction between concept and existence which is inherent in them.ï³°an>
In the book å °lacitis philosophorumÍ¡rx finds that according to Democritus, atom has two characteristics ã©ºe and shape. Epicurus there adds a third characteristic ç¥©ght. However, from the writings of Aristotle, it is not clear what Democritusï°©nion is in this regard. He says,
ä¨µs none of the bodies will be absolutely light if they all have weight; but if all have lightness, none will be heavyî¼¯span>
Marx writes that in é§¨th book of Metaphysicsç¨©ch he read, he observed that according to Democritus all atoms are similar with respect to internal matter, but they can be distinguished when it comes to shape, position and arrangement. In this book there is no mention of weight as a characteristic of Democritean atom. In this book Marx also found from Aristotleà±µotes that according to Levcippus and Democritus, the individuality of an atom is in shape, arrangement and position.
From the above it is clear, according to Marx, that,
ä¥ocritus considers the properties of the atom only in relation to the formation of the differences in the world of appearances, and not in relation to the atom itselfì¯³pan>
ï®¬y the diversity of the figures is of interest to Democritus, since nothing more is contained in shape, position and arrangementì¯³pan>
Alternatively, to Epicurus, size, shape and weight are the three inherent and distinguishing characteristics of the atom (atom in itself possesses).
Hereafter, Marx discusses the opinion of Epicurus about determination of the properties of atom. Firstly Epicurus talks of size as a characteristic of atom, which he then negates. It is not the size of the individual atom, but the variation in sizes of the atoms that is the distinguishing factor. After this, Marx writes,
ì¯³pan>Now I shall not concern myself with the fact that according Eusebius, Epicurus was the first to ascribe infinite smallness to the atoms, whereas Democritus also assumed atoms of the largest size ã´¯baeus says even as large as the world. This, on the one hand, contradicts the testimony of Aristotle. On the other hand, Eusebius, or rather the Alexandrian bishop Dionysius, from whom he takes excerpts, contradicts himself; for in the same book we read that Democritus assumed as the principles of nature indivisible bodies perceptible through reason. This much at least is clear: Democritus was not aware of the contradiction; he did not pay attention to it, whereas it was the chief interest of Epicurusì¯³pan>
The second characteristic of Epicurean atom is shape. But this characteristic also contradicts the concept of atom. In fact, we need to appreciate the opposite. Marx writes, about the Epicurean theory, â³´ract individuality is abstract identity-to-itself and therefore without shapeì¯³pan> Thus, difference in shape amongst atoms á®®ot be determinedà¡¬though they are not â³¯lutely infiniteÉ® fact, this difference is of definite and finite number. According to Epicurus, it is certain that there are not as many distinct figures of atoms as there are different kinds of atoms. ä¨©s obviously relates again the determination of the shape, because a shape which no longer differs from another is not shapeì¯³pan>
Democritus thinks that atom has infinite number of figures.
There is a special significance of Epicurusã¯®sideration of weight as the third characteristic of atom. This is because, it is in centre of gravity that matter attains ideal individuality which is one principal determination of atom. But weight also directly contradicts the concept of atom as ä ©s the individuality of matter as an ideal point which lies outside matter. But the atom is itself this individuality, as it were the centre of gravity presented as an individual existence.ï³°an>
Hence, weight actually signifies different weight and atoms themselves, like heavenly bodies, are centres of gravity. When an atom is considered in å¬¡tion to the voidé®³tead of being compared to another atom, there is no existence of å´¥rmination of weightÔ¨us atoms, however different they may be in mass and shape, they move with áµ¡l speedé® ï¿½y spaceì¯³pan>
à©£urus thus applies weight only in regard to repulsion and resulting compositions.ï³°an>
á³³endi already praises Epicurus because, led purely by reason, he anticipated the experimentally demonstrated fact that all bodies, although very different in weight and mass, have the same velocity when they fall from above to below.ï³°an>
Marx concludes this section as below:
è¥ consideration of the properties of the atoms leads us therefore to the same result as the consideration of the declination, namely, that Epicurus objectifies the contradiction in the concept of the atom between essence and existence. He thus gave us the science of atomistics. In Democritus, on the other hand, there is no realization of the principle itself. He only maintains the material side and offers hypotheses for the benefit of empirical observation.ï³°an>
In the first part of the essay two philosophical tendencies are discussed: ä©¦ficulties Concerning the Identity of the Democritean and Epicurean philosophy of natureï³°an>
Marx writes, being confused and disgusted with philosophy, Democritus found his way into ï¿½rical observationsà¼¯span>å ´hrows himself into the arms of positive knowledgeì¯³pan> Democritus was erudite in physics, ethics, mathematics and many other fields of study. è©³ is the same man who, according to Cicero, wandered through half the world. But he did not find what he was looking for.ï³°an>
Epicurus possessed an opposite view point. à©£urus is satisfied and blissful in philosophy. ïµ mustà¨¥ says, å²¶e philosophy so that true freedom will be your lot è¥ who has subordinated and surrendered himself to it does not need to wait, he is emancipated at once. For, to serve philosophy is freedom itself.ï³°an>
Marx writes :
ï³°an>We consider finally the form of reflection which expresses the relation of thought to being, their mutual relationship. In the general relationship which the philosopher sees between the world and thought, he nearly makes objective for himself the relation of his own particular consciousness to the real world.ï³°an>
ï· Democritus uses necessity as a form of reflection of reality. Aristotle says of him that he traces everything back to necessity.ï³°an>
ï²¥ satisfactory explanations are given by the author of De placitis philosophorum: Necessity is, according to Democritus, fat and low, providence and the creator of the world.ï³°an>
Contrast this with Epicurus.
å£¥ssity, introduced by some as the absolute ruler, does not exist, but some things are accidental, others depend on our arbitrary will….. But it is chance, which must be accepted, not God, as the multitude believe.ä¼¯span>
Marx wrote :
Hence, this much is historically certain: Democritus makes use of necessity, Epicurus of chance. And each of them rejects the opposite view with polemical irritation. The principal consequence of this difference appears in the way individual physical phenomena are explained.ï³°an>
This writing of Marx is about inter-relation between physics and philosophy and unravelling the evolution of Greek philosophy.
First we shall try to know what Marxà©¤ea was about Hegelà°¨ilosophy in 1841, when his essay was published. Four years before this writing was published, in 1837, Marx writes to his father in a letter [Letter from Karl to his father in Trier, 1837]:
â¯ the idealism which, by the way, I had compared and nourished with the idealism of Kant and Fichte, I arrived at the point of seeking the idea in reality itself. If previously the gods had dwelt above the earth, now they became its centre.
I had read fragments of Hegelà°¨ilosophy, the grotesque craggy melody of which did not appeal to me. Once more I wanted to dive into the sea, but with the definite intention of establishing that the nature of the mind is just as necessary, concrete and firmly based as the nature of the body. My aim was no longer to practise tricks of swordmanship, but to bring genuine pearls into the light of day.ï³°an>
Marxà¤¥parture from Hegelà¶©ews is evident from the above. Was he then completely under the spell of Feuerbachà¥taphysical materialism? Had he still not been convinced by Hegelà´¨eory of dialectics? There is no denying the fact that in 1841 Marxist philosophy and Marxist theory had not yet attained maturity. Naturally, there is nothing exceptional if Marx still had Feuerbachà¥¦fect in his thinking. Even after accepting Hegelà´¨eory of dialectics, Marx had to struggle continuously against its idealist foundations. It was never an easy task to bring it from the hands of the creator of dialectics (although, even before this, dialectics came into the world of theoretical philosophy, albeit, half matured) into the framework of materialist philosophy. But in 1941, while writing the essay, Marx was slowly coming out of Feuerbachà©®fluence which can be understood from the above mentioned letter:
à·²ote a dialogue of about 24 pages: Cleanthes, or the Starting Point and Necessary Continuation of philosophy. Here art and science, which had become completely divorced from each other, were to some extent united, and like a vigorous traveler I set about the task itself, a philosophical- dialectical account of divinity, as it manifests itself as the idea-in-itself, as religion, as nature and as history.ï³°an>
Any attempt to write è©¬osophical-dialectical account of divinityã¡® never be deemed åµ¥rbachianÌ¥t us investigate the original writing.
In the essay Marx writes, è¥ contradiction between existence and essence, between matter and form which is inherent in the concept of the atom, emerges in the individual atom itself once it is endowed with qualities.ï³°an>
è¥ absolute form has now been degraded to absolute matter, to the formless substrate of the world of appearance.ï³°an>
The way in which the rules of dialectics have been presented here is exactly opposite to Hegelian dialectics. That is, by keeping the materialist foundation of Epicurean and Democretean philosophy, but negating the metaphysical overtones of necessity and chance. A dialectical unity has been established. This is neither a Hegelian theory nor a Feurbachian theory. This is Marxism in its inception. Degradation of â³¯lute formé®´o â³¯lute matterà£¯ntradiction of è©³tenceá®¤ ã³¥nceï² á´´erá®¤ ï²æ®¢sp; formulation of emergence of individual atom in itself – all these do not fit into any other philosophical framework.
In order to understand the development of the theory and philosophy of Marxism under the supervision of Marx and Engels, we need to take a look at the evolution of the philosophical thoughts of Engels as well.
Hegel died in 1831. For 10 years after his death, till 1841, Hegelian philosophy was looked upon as a revolutionary one in Germany. In 1841, at the age of 21 years, Engels wrote his important philosophical essay, ã¨¥lling on HegelÅ¶en then, he had not fully shed his ïµ®g Hegelianã¨¡racter. However, this writing at the age of 21 years does speak highly of his command over philosophy. Towards the end of 1930ì ´he ïµ®g Hegeliansç¥²e drifting away from Hegelian philosophy as a reaction to the crisis emerging out of the contemporary political mayhem. In å¤·ig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, Part Ià°µblished in 1880, Engels wrote,
ï·¡rds the end of thirties, the cleavage in the school became more and more apparent. The left wing, the so-called Young Hegelians, in their fight with the pietistic orthodox and the feudal reactionaries, abandoned bit by bit that philosophical-genteel reserve in regard to the burning questions of the day which up to that time had secured state toleration and even protection for their teachings. And when, in 1840, orthodox pietism and absolutist feudal reaction ascended the throne with Fredrick Wilhelm IV, open partisanship became unavoidable. The fight was still carried on with philosophical weapons, but no longer for abstract philosophical aims.ï³°an>
ä ´urned directly on the destruction of traditional religion and of the existing state. And while in the åµ´sche Jahrbucherä¨¥ practical ends were still predominantly put forward in philosophical disguise, in the Rheinische Zeitung of 1842 the Young Hegelian school revealed itself directly as the philosophy of the aspiring radical bourgeoisie and used the meagre cloak of philosophy only to deceive censorship.ï³°an>
Bruno Bauer was the leader of the group of the young Hegelian philosophers, of which Marx was also a member. Both Bruno and Strauss were about 8-9 years older than Marx-Engels. But around this time (1838-1843), they developed disagreement with Marx and Engels. The differences amongst the young Hegelians can be found in Engelsç²©tings. ä ´hat time, however, politics was a very thorny field, and hence the main fight came to be directed against religion; this fight particularly since 1840, was indirectly also political.StraussáŒ©fe of Jesusà°µblished in 1835, had provided the first impulse. The theory therein developed of the formation of the gospel myths was combated later by Bruno Bauer with proof that a whole series of evangelic stories had to be fabricated by the authors themselves. The controversy between these two was carried out in the philosophical disguise of a battle between å¬¦-consciousnessá®¤ å¢³tance.ì¯³pan>
At the time when a process of division had already set in amongst the young Hegelians, the newly appointed culture minister brought Friedrich Schelling to Berlin in December 1841, in an attempt to dismantle the Hegelian anti-establishment ideas, ï ¥xpunge the dragonà³¥ed of Hegelian pantheismæ²¯m the minds of the âµ³sian youthì¯³pan>
Friedrich Schelling was once a close friend of Hegel (though in the later half of his life he became a devout anti-Hegelian), and after the dismissal of Fichte, he was professor of philosophy at Jena. In 1841, he was the only living representative of the classical German philosophy. At that time he had abandoned his old theory of è©¬osophy of Natureá®¤ was propounding his newly conceived è©¬osophy of RevelationÅ®gelsá“£helling on Hegelç¡³ a critical essay on the famous anti-Hegelian speech delivered by Schelling in Berlin in 1841.
In this essay, Engels severely criticizes Schelling and stands in defence of Hegel.
The large quote from Schellingà³°eech that appears in Engelså³³ay can be summarized as follows: according to Schelling, Hegel had confused existence with essence. What was needed was à²¥turn to a philosophy of existencelso, Hegel had argued in favour of å§¡tiveã´¡ndpoint of reason; what was required was a ï³©tiveà¨©losophy of revelation.
Engels writes æ ´he latter (positive philosophy) we have not yet heard anything; the former (negative philosophy) appeared forty years ago in an inadequate form abandoned by Shelling himself, and is now being developed by him in its true, adequate expression. Its basis is reason, the pure power of cognition, which has its immediate content the pure power of being, the infinite ability to be. The necessary third element to be added here is the power over being, which can no longer alienate itself, and this the absolute, the spirit, that which is released from the necessity of transition into being and persists in eternal freedom in relation to being. The absolute can also be called the â°¨icå®©ty of these powers, as that outside of which there is nothing. When these powers come into contradiction with each other this mutual exclusiveness is finitenessì¯³pan>
Engels calls this theory î¥¯ Schellingianism.
Engels asks, what is now the new version of è©¬osophy of identityË¡nt had liberated á´©onal thinkingæ²¯m à¡£e and timeÓ£helling has liberated è©³tenceÔ¨en what remains there for us? Engels writes è©³ is not the place to prove against him that existence belongs indeed to thought, that, being is immanent in the mind and that the foundation of all modern philosophy, the cogito, ergo sum, cannot thus be stormed and overrun; but I may be permitted to ask whether a power which itself has no being can produce a being, whether a power which can no longer alienate itself is still power, and whether the trichotomy of the powers does not correspond in a remarkable manner with the trinity of Idea, nature and mind which emerges from HegelÑ…ncyclopediaï”¼/span>
We shall conclude this discussion by considering the later history of Schellingà¥¸istentialism. One of the audience in Schellingà¦¡mous Berlin speech was Soren Kierkegaard, one of the main proponents of existentialism. In the later phase, it was Soren Kierkegaard who was more active in establishing existentialism. Further down the line, the proponents of this theory were Friedrich Nietzsche, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Satre. Martin Heidegger was a politician and an active supporter of Hitler. Only after Hitlerà¤¥feat in the Second World War can we find some criticisms of Hitler in his writings. Both Derida and Michel Foucault extended the works of Heidegger.
Hegel, Feuerbach and Marxian Philosophy
In 1842-1843, the first product of Marxàª¯int research which declared departure from Hegelian and Feuerbachian philosophy was è¥ Holy FamilyÉ´ was published in September 1844. In the same year Marx published ã¯®omic and philosophical Manuscript of 1844Ì¡ter, with much more independence and completeness of Marxist philosophy was published Engelsá�®ti-Duhringá®¤ å¤·ig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German PhilosophyÈ¥re we shall begin with discussing ã¯®omic and philosophical Manuscript of 1844é® the chapter ï³°an>Critique of HegelÐ¨ilosophy in Generalì¯³pan>of this book, Marx started the discussion with his criticism to Bruno Bauer and Strauss, his senior friends of ïµ®g Hegelianç²¯up while discussing the approach towards HegelÑ¤ialecticÈ¥ wrote that Strauss and Bruno Bauer got stuck in Hegelian logic whenever they tried to define the relation between modern criticism with Hegelà°¨ilosophy and Hegelà¤©alectic, in particular. Straussà¡²guments are wholly confined within the Hegelian logic, Bruno Bauerà´¯o are at least implicitly so. For example, while criticising Straus, Bruno Bauer replaced substance of â³´ract natureç©´h self consciousness of abstract man.(In é®¯ptikeræ¡p; á³ entdeckte Christenthumï¦ Bauer)
According to Marx, none of them were ready to settle accounts with Hegelian dialectic, the mother of young Hegelianism.Whereas only Feuerback was able to reach a serious and critical position about Hegelian dialectic,and has establised genuine discoveries. Marx says, å ©s in fact the true conqueror of the old philosophyï³°an>
(1) To establish that philosophy is å¬©gion rendered into thought and expounded by thoughtì¯³pan>
(2) Laying the foundations of true materialism and real science by establishing social relation of á® to maná³ the basic principle of theory.
(3) To point out the error in viewing negation of negation as absolutive positive, the self supportive positive, positivity based on itself.
åµ¥rbach thus conceives the negation of the negation only as a contradiction of philosophy with itself á³ the philosophy which affirms theology (the transcendent, etc.) after having denied it, and which it therefore affirms in opposition to itself.ï³°an>
âµ´ because Hegel has conceived the negation of the negation, from the point of view of the positive relation inherent in it, as the true and only positive, and from the point of view of the negative relation inherent in it as the only true act and spontaneous activity of all being, he has only found the abstract, logical, speculative expression for the movement of history, which is not yet the real history of man as a given subject, but only the act of creation, the history of the origin of man.ï³°an>
In his critique of HegelÑ�henomenologyï¿½x wrote that Hegel has committed ïµ¢le errorccording to Hegel, wealth, state-power etc, are entities estranged from human being. These beings thought entities are merely estrangement of å²¥á¢³tract philosophy. Thus the entire process culminates in absolute knowledge. To be precise, these estranged objects depart from their origin of abstract thought and contradict with their presumption of reality. Philosopher himself/herself is abstract form of estranged human being, and accepts himself/herself as the criterion of estranged world. Thus the entire history of alienation process and the process of its withdrawal is nothing but the history of creation of abstract absolute. This estrangement is the opposition of in-itself and for-itself, consciousness and self-consciousness or object and subjectl. Actually the contradiction is between abstract thinking and real sensuousness of thought, not between thought and real sensuousness beyond. Marx wrote,
ì¬ other oppositions and movements of these oppositions are but the semblance, the cloak, the exoteric shape of these other, profane oppositions.ï³°an>
Secondly,Hegel considered only mind as the true essence of human being, where true form of mind depicts thinking mind, theological, speculative mind. On the other hand, objective world appears in some other way before human being .Man believes sensuous consciousness as humanly sensuous consciousness rather than abstract sensuous consciousness. Religion or wealth is considered as human objectification or only the estranged world of essential power of human being. Thus it becomes the only destiny of true human world. This realisation or insight, took shape in Hegelà´¨ought as sense, religion, state-power etc. being spiritual entities.
è¥ human character of nature and of the nature created by history-manà°²oducts- appears in the form that they are products of abstract mind and as such, therefore, phases of mind-thought-entities. The è¥®omenologyà¯¦ Hegel) is therefore, a hidden mystifying and still uncertain criticism; but inasmuch as it depicts manà¥³trangement, even though man appears only as mind, there lie concealed in it all the elements of criticism, already prepared and elaborated in a manner often rising far above the Hegelian standpoint. The å®¨appy consciousnessà´¨e ï®¥st consciousnessä¨¥ struggle of the ï¢¬e and base consciousnessà¥´c., etc.- these separate sections contain, but still in an estranged form, the critical elements of whole spheres such as religion, the state, civil life etc. Just as entities, objects appear as thought-entities, so the subject is always consciousness or self-consciousness; or rather the object appears only as abstract consciousness, man only as self-consciousness; the distinct forms of estrangement which make their appearance are, therefore, only various forms of consciousness and self-consciousness. Just as in itself abstract consciousness (the form in which the object is conceived) is merely a moment of distinction of self-consciousness, what appears as the result of the movement is the identity of self-consciousness with consciousness á¢³olute knowledge- the movement of abstract thought no longer directed outwards but proceeding now only within its own self: that is to say, the dialectic of pure thought is the result.ï³°an>
This is how Marx interpreted Hegel in 1844.
We find more comprehensive and consolidated view of Marx-Engels on Hegel in å¤·ig Feuerbach and End of classical German Philosophyâ¹ Engels. In the foreword of this book Engels wrote that in the preface of à£¯ntribution to the critique political Economyàµ¢lished in 1859 form Berlin, Marx wrote about how Marx and Engels started working together in 1845 ï ·ork out in common the opposition of our viewî¬¼/span>
è¥ materialist conception of history which was elaborated mainly by Marx-to the ideological view of German Philosophy, in fact to settle accounts with our erstwhile Philosophical conscience.ï³°an>
This great effort (The German Ideology) by Marx-Engels wasnà°µblished due to the political situation then and in the following forty years. Marx or Engels didnà´¡ke up any initiative to clarify their views on Hegel and Feuerbach as a whole. In the concluding portion of the foreword Engels wrote,
å¦¯re sending these lines to press, I have once again ferreted out and looked over the old manuscript of 1845-46 (The German Ideology).The section dealing with Feuerbach is not completed. The finished portion consists of an exposition of the materialist conception of history which proves only how incomplete our knowledge of economic history still was at that time. It contains no criticism of Feuerbachà¤¯ctrine itself; for the present purpose, therefore it was unusableï³°an>
According to Engels, Heinrich Heine was the first one to extract the revolutionary essence out of HegelÐ¨ilosophy, long ago in 1833. The words often quoted and appreciated by narrow minded government and liberals are – ì¬ that is real is rational and all that rational is real.ï³°an> This phrase was interpreted as every injustice, crime or unethical act in the existing society is rational because they are reality. The then German ruler, Frederich William III and his followers, to be precise, explained Hegel in such a way. å´” Engels wrote,
ã£¯rding to Hegel certainly not everything that exists is also real, without further qualification.ï³°an>
Hegel considered one be a reality only if it is simultaneously a necessity. In Hegelà·¯rds, î ´he course of its development reality proves to be necessity.ï³°an> Hegel himself cited an example. Say a govt. announces a certain tax regulation. It is meaningless to consider it a reality without considering the related factors. If it appears to be unnecessary, the tax regulation should be cancelled or changed in due time. Thus unreality remains hidden in reality too. Engelà·²ote,
è¡´ which is necessary, however, proves itself in the last resort to be also rational; and, applied to the Prussian state of that time, the Hegelian proposition,therefore, merely means: this state is rational,corresponds to reason, insofar as it is necessary ; and if it nevertheless appears to us to be evil, but still, in spite of its evil character, continue to exist, then the evil character of the government is justified and explained by the corresponding evil character of its subjects. The Prussians of that day had the government that they deserved.ï³°an>
Roman Republic is real, says Hegelæ®¢sp; thought, but Roman Empire that eliminated the Roman Republic was real. French Monarchy became so unreal in 1789, better to say so useless and irrational that it was to be demolished by a revolution.Hegel,thus spoke of a revolution with great enthusiasm and called it real contrary to monarchy being unreal. Anything real at some time, thus, loses its inevitability with due course of time, become irrational and unreal and ceases to exist. Viable reality replaces moribund reality peacefully if the ì¤¥râ¥¡lises that it has become useless and make room for the newer one. On the other hand revolution becomes forcible if the older denies the ascent of the å·¥rï®¥. Thus Hegelian dialectics shows how Hegelian dialectics shows how Hegelian proposition contradicts it self.Engels wrote:
î ¡ccordance with all the rules of the Hegelian method of thought, the proposition of the rationality of everything which is real resolves itself into the other proposition: All that exists deserves to perish.ï³°an>
Engels explained and dealt with Hegels Philosophy of dialectics with further precision. He wrote,
å³´ as knowledge is unable to reach a complete conclusion in a perfect, ideal condition of humanity, so is history unable to do so; a perfect society, a perfect ä¡´eà¡²e things which can only exist in imagination. On the contrary, all successive historical systems are only transitory stages in the endless course of development of human society from the lower to the higher.ï³°an>
Engels summarised é¡¬ecticsæ²¯m Hegelà°¨ilosophy and said,
ï² it ( dialectical philosophy ), nothing is final, absolute, sacred. It reveals the transitory character of everything and in everything; nothing can endure before it except the uninterrupted process of becoming and of passing away, of endless ascendancy from the lower to the higher. And dialectical philosophy, itself is nothing more than the mere reflection of this process in the thinking brain.ï³°an>
Naturally, Engelà§¯t rid of Hegelà¦²amework.
What did Hegel conclude? He could not lead his dialectical method to its conclusion as these changes in the society occur not because of any necessity of changes within society, but as a reflection of the necessity that emerges from thinking or à©²itÉ® Hegelà·¯rds, thinking mind realises the necessary change in society. Engels wrote,
è¥²efore, however much Hegel, especially in his ï§©cà¥phasized that this eternal truth is nothing but the logical, or, the historical, process itself, he nevertheless finds himself compelled to supply this process with an end, just because he has to bring his system to a termination at some point or other. In his ï§©cà¨¥ can make this end a beginning again, since here the point of the conclusion, the absolute idea- which is only absolute insofar as he has absolutely nothing to say about it- ì©¥natesà´¨at is, transforms, itself into nature and comes to itself again later in the mind, that is in thought and in history.ï³°an>
According to Engels, the limitations of Hegelian thought were expressed as:
è©¬e materialism conceives nature as the sole reality, nature in the Hegelian system represents merely the ì©¥nationï¦ the absolute idea. At all events, thinking and its thought-product, the idea, is here the primary, nature the derivative, which only exists at all by the condescension of the idea. And in this contradiction they floundered as well or as ill as they could.î¢³p;
FeuerbachÑ…ssence of Christianityç¡³ the first blow upon Hegelian philosophy on behalf of materialist philosophy. According to Feuerbach, nature exists irrespective of all philosophy. We are born and brought up amidst nature.Thereà®¯thing beyond nature and human being. The religious fantasies, evolved in our mind, are nothing but brilliant reflection of our own ã³¥nceï¦ thought. And what was the response to Feuerbachà´¨ought? ?Engels says,
è¥ spell was broken; the é³´emç¡³ exploded and cast aside, and the contradiction, shown to exist only in our imagination, was dissolved,ï³°an>
î´¨usiasm was general; we all became at once Feuerbachians. How enthusiastically Marx greeted the new conception and how much é® spite of all critical reservations è¥ was influenced by it, one may read in the ï¬¹ Familyä¼¯span>
In 1839, Feuerbach wrote his critique of Hegel in the book â©®ciples of the Philosophy of the Futureì¯³pan>
è¥ secret of the Hegelian dialectics lies, in the last analysis, only in the fact that it negates theology by philosophy and then, in turn, negates philosophy by theology.î¢³p;
According to Feuerbach, Hegelà§¯d was named ä¥¡êµ³t as Spinoza named it á´µreÆ¥uerbach agreed with Hegel regarding identity of thought and being; but Hegel proved this only within thought, concluded Feuerbach and said that human sense organs do reflect objects just as brain reflects the world in the concepts.Thus identity of thinking and being should be explained in terms of biology, not in terms of philosophy.
In ã³¥nce of christianityæ¥µerbach explained how the myths of christianity emerged from the lives of the common people. Feuerbachà¥¦forts, while showing that religion or philosophy has evolved from the daily life of people, were sucessful to drag object or nature to the elementary position.
Marx wrote ä¨¥ses on Feuerbachà±¸45 ), his small but explicit critique of the philosophical ideas of Feuerbach. This article was published as an appendix to EngelÑŒudwig Fenerbach…á¸¸3). The title è¥³es on Feuerbach was named by Engels, who edited the publication too. Here is the summary of the analysis on Feuerbach, put forward by Marx in 1845, in eleven short paragraphs.
Like all former materialists, Feuerbach also committed the same error of considering only the material existence or material shape of object, actuality or sensuousness, instead of subjectively accepting sensuous activity, practice of human being. This aspect of consciousness or activism of human being was rather brought in the forefront by idealism, but brought in an abstract way, as idealism doesnà´¡ke into account the true aspect of real sensuous activity. In è¥ Essence of Christianityà¯®ly the theoretical attitude is considered as true human attitude and practice is portrayed as é²´y-Jewishä¹°e à°¥aranceÔ¨us he failed to realise the significance of å¶¯lutionaryï² â¡£tical-criticalá£´ivities.
Materialist outlook, according to Marx, says that human being is created by the circumstances and upbringing he/she goes through; Hence a changed human being is obviously the product of changed circumstances and upbringing and it should be borne in mind that human being only can change the circumstances and a teacher himself/herself should be taught. To change the circumstances and coincidence of human activity or self change can only be considered rationally as å¶¯lutionary practiceì¯³pan>
Feuerbach wasnà³¡tisfied with abstract thinking. Although he desired sensuous judgement or acceptibility, but he denied to consider sensuousness as practical, human sensuous activity.
Feuerbach solved ã³¥nce of religioná³ essence of man (human nature). But essence of man doesnà¥¸ist in an individual in abstract form; instead, it is the concentrated form of the social relations. And so Feuerbach failed to read that religious sentiment itself is a social product and the isolated, abstract individual, according to Feuerbachà´¨ought, is categorised in a particular social form. Marx says, entire social life is practical. All mysteries, that lead theory to mysticism, find the rational solution in human practice and thus in the realisation and assimilation of the said practice.
The materialism which cannot consider sensuousness as a practical activity, as active events of human being, actually recognises isolated individual unit ; it recognises civil society. Old materialism gives consideration to civil society, whereas new materialism to human society or social humanity.
Thesis no. 11 was the world famous statement of Marx :
è©¬osophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.ï³°an>
Marx and Engels analysed jointly, in detail, the á´¥rialismï¦ Feuerbach in ä¨¥ German Ideologyì¯³pan>
They wrote :
ç¥ know only a single science, the science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it into the history of nature and the history of man. The two sides are, however, inseparable; the history of nature and the history of men are dependent on each other so long as men exist.ï³°an>
The inseparability and mutual dependence between natural science and the history of social evolution of man as we get in å²an Ideologyâ¹ Marx and Engels, were further explained by Engels later. We shall go into that discussion.
The most complex part of Feuerbachà·²iting is his idea, analysis and position about sensuous world. The Marxist standpoint, in this regard, should be discussed with great importance. Otherwise Feuerbachì °hilosophy will pretend to be a strong materialist philosophy, as Hegelà´¨ought did in Marxist disguise, and occupy undue space in Marxist domain, philosophical understanding and political decision making processes, degenerating it into metaphysical materialism.
In German ideology, we find,
åµ¥rbachà£¯nception of the sensuous world is confined on the one hand to mere contemplation of it, and on the other to mere feeling; he says á®’ instead of å¡¬ historic manÑ�ané³ really è¥ GermanÉ® the first case, the contemplation of the sensuous world, he necessarily lights on things which contradict his consciousness and feeling, which disturb the harmony he presupposes, the harmony of all parts of the sensuous world and especially of man and nature. To remove this disturbance, he must take refuge in a double perception, a profane one which only perceives the ì¡´ly obviousá®¤ a higher, philosophical, one which perceives the âµ¥ essenceï¦ things. He does not see how the sensuous world around him is, not a thing given direct from all eternity, remaining ever the same, but the product of industry and of the state of society; and, indeed, in the sense that it is an historical product, the result of the activity of a whole succession of generations, each standing on the shoulders of the preceding one, developing its industry and its intercourse, modifying its social system according to the changed needs. Even the objects of the simplest å®³uous certaintyá²¥ only given him through social development, industry and commercial intercourse. The Cherry-tree, like almost all fruit-trees, was, as is well known, only a few centuries ago transplanted by commerce into our zone, and therefore only by this of a definite society in a definite age it has become å®³uous certaintyæ¯² Feuerbach.ï³°an>
The materialist standpoint as seen by Feuerbach, in the context of social evolution, was explained by Marx-Engels (German Ideology) :
ä ©s also clear from these arguments how grossly Feuerbach is deceiving himself when by virtue of the qualification ïon manè¥ declares himself a communist, transforms the latter into a predicate of á®’, and thereby thinks it possible to change the word ïunistà·¨ich in the real world means the follower of a definite revolutionary party, into a mere category. Feuerbachà·¨ole deduction with regard to the relation of men to one another goes only so far as to prove that men need and always have needed each other. He wants to establish consciousness of this fact, that is to say, like the other theorists, merely to produce a correct consciousness about an existing fact; whereas for the real communist it is a question of overthrowing the existing state of things.ï³°an>
Philosophy, Science & Marxism
Engels divided philosophers in two groups, namely materialist and idealist in å¤·ig Feuerbach….á®¤ entered into a pivotal philosophical debate that continues to be central point of debate after death of Engels till date.
Leaving the question of relation between thinking and being apart, the other question is how our thinking make relationship between the visible world and its exact form. Is the image, that emerges from our thought regarding the world around true ? ?ä¥®tity of thinking and beingé³ the phrase used in philosophy to describe it.
In the discussions about Hegel and Feuerbach we find the views of Marx and Engels. On this topic. Kant and Hume shared an entirely different viewpoint. Engels pointed out that Hegel and Feuerbach opposed Kant and Hume however much was possible by their philosophy. But the true opposition and hence solution lies in the process of practice, or experiment and industry to be precise. We should go through the most important portion of Engels writing regarding this,
ï ´hem, among the more modern ones, belong Hume and Kant, and they played a very important role in philosophical development.ï³°an>
æ ·e are able to prove the correctness of our conception of a natural process by making it ourselves, bringing it into being out of its conditions and making it serve our own purposes into the bargain, then there is an end to the Kantian ungraspable è©®g-in-itselfÔ¨e chemical substances produced in the bodies of plants and animals remained just such è©®g-in-itselfå®´il organic chemistry began to produce them one after another, whereupon the è©®g-in-itselfâ¥£ame a thing for us- as, for instance, alzarin, the colouring matter of the madder, which we no longer trouble to grow in the madder roots in the field, but produce much cheaply and simply from coal tar. For 300 years, the Copernican solar system was a hypothesis with 100, 1000, 10000 to 1 chances in its favour, but still always a hypothesis. But then Leverrier, by means of the data provided by this system, not only deduced the necessity of the existence of an unknown planet, but also calculated the position in the heavens which this planet, must necessarily occupy, and when Galileo really found this planet [ Neptune, discovered in 1846, at Berlin observatory], the Copernican system was proved. If,nevertheless, the neo-Kantians are attempting to resurrect the Kantian conception in Germany, and the agnostics that of Hume in England ( where in fact it never became extinct), this is, in view of their theoretical and practical refutation accomplished long ago, scientifically a regression and practically merely a shamefaced way of surreptitiously accepting materialism, while denying it before the World.ï³°an>
It is more than a century that the debate on the above mentioned quote is continuing. Before entering into the discussion regarding this quote from é³´ory and class consciousnessâ¹ Lukacs(1923), we should observe the viewpoints shared by Lenin. In á´¥rialism and Emperio-criticismì¥®in participated in this debate with the Mach-ites, Bogdanov, Valentinov, Bazarov, Chernov etc. These people criticised the version of Plekhanov on è©®g -in-itselfà·¨ich can be considered as a explanatory note of Engels on the same topic. Victor Chernov, one of this clan and a Mach-ist and Narodnik in political affiliation, openly spoke against the idea of è©®g -in- itselfàµ´ forward by Engels.
In his book á²¸ism and Transcendental Philosophyá °art of Philosophical and sociological Studies (1907), V.Chernov tried to pit against Marx-Engels. In å¤·ig…å®§els wrote,
ã ¯ur thinking capable of the cognition of the real world? Are we able in our ideas and notions of the real world to produce a correct reflection of reality?ï³°an>
V.Chernov accused Plekhanov of faulty translation. He said that Engels wrote é²²or reflectioná®¤ not å¦¬ectionì¯³pan>
Lenin quoted ( in á´¥rialism and Emperio-criticismà¦²om V.Chernovà·²iting,
ï Žeo-Kantian will of course be surprised that from coal tar we can produce alizarinï¿½e cheaply and simplyÂµt that together with alizarin it is possible to produce from this coal tar and just as cheaply a refutation of the è©®g-in-itselfç©¬l indeed see a wonderful and unprecedented discovery á®¤ not to the Neo-Kantians alone.ï³°an>
î§¥ls, apparently, having learned that according to Kant the è©®g-in-itselfé³ unknowable, turned this theorem into its converse and concluded that everything unknown is a thing-in-itself.ï³°an>
Lenin wrote that both Plekhanov and Chernov dropped the word î§²aspableæ²¯m Kantian ungraspable è©®g-in-itselfç¨©le translating Engelà·²iting. Anyway, Lenin opposed Chernovà¡²gument and wrote:
î ´he first place it is not true that Engels ã °roducing a refutation of the thing-in-itselfÅ®gels said explicitly and clearly that he was refuting the Kantian ungraspable (or unknowable) thing-in-itself. Mr. Chernov confuses Engelsï¿½erialist conception of the existence of things independently of our consciousness. In second place, if Kantà´¨eorem reads that the thing-in-itself is unknowable, the ï®¶erseä¨¥orem would be: the unknowable is the thing-in-itself. Mr. Chernov replaces the unknowable by the unknown, without realizing that by such a substitution he has again confused and distorted the materialist view of Engels;ï³°an>
We can examine Chernovà°¯int of view. These reactionary philosophers could not understand that Engels cannot discard è©®g-in-itself.ç¨¡t did Engels reject then? ?He contradicts Kantà¶¥ry idea that è©®g-in-itself.ã µnknowable. What does it mean? It means, it is impossible to know the real truth about any object. First of all, being a materialist, Engels did not question about the existence of è©®g-in-itself.ç¨¥ther you know it or not, it is not possible to go into an argument regarding this. Chernov said,the way Engels placed the example of scientific invention of ì©ºarinsä¯ show the rejection of Kantà©¤ea of ungraspable è©®g-in-itself.à©´ became clear that the process of unknown object being known is, according to Engels, the rejection of the idea of KantÑ•nknowable-thing-in-itselfÔ¨is is mere misinterpretation of Kantà´¨ought. If Engels says that, there are several things unknown in nature and they become known through scientific quest; and thus unknown becomes known, hence there is nothing called unknowable or unknowable è©®g-in-itself – we should conclude that Engels didnàµ®derstand Kant.
But Engels didnà³¡y so. It is impossible for him to do so as it was a subject dealt long ago by him. Engels is not discussing it for the first time in 1877. He, with Marx put forward same argument in å²an Ideologyé® 1845.
The essence is, if you want to have a proof of whether you can correctly know the truth about an object, you have to use it, change it, and engage it in your own work in a manner you wish( not at random).
If it acts and exhibits the desired properties in social practice, if it is same in the views of lakhs and crores of people, then we are sure that we have identified the truth about the object; thing-in-itself is not unknowable in absolute sense. It is progressively revealing itself.
Engels wrote that, Alzarin being prepared from coal tar proves that we have identified Alzarin properly. If we go into further detail of Engels work, it reveals that, although we pointed out and understood the properties of the chemical substances generated in animals and plants, it is not guaranteed that thing in itself is known. But as soon as organic chemistry started producing these substances with complex process and reactions, and we started to use them, it ceased to remain as å³´ such things-in-themselves.ï³°an>
The 4th thesis on Feuerbachâ¹ Marx will be relevant here. If we consider unknowableness of things-in-itself as a mystery, then these words will become more appropriate :á¬¬ social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.ï³°an>
Engels thought that, the object which has been unveiled to observe the truth cannot be called è©®g-in-itselfá®¹ more. It changes to è©®g for us×¥ learn how to use the object .An object necessary for us, whose true self is known to us á”¨ing for usÆ²om then on a sharp debate is going on.
The debate did not end with LeninÑ�aterialism & Emperio-criticismï³°an>.
George Lukacs put his critique in é³´ory & class consciousnesses in this context. In è¥ Antinomies of Bourgeois Thoughtï¦ this book, he wrote:
ï² Hegel the terms î ©tselfá®¤ ï² usá²¥ by no means opposites, in fact they are necessary correlatives. That something exists merely î ©tselfï¿½ns for Hegel that it merely exists ï² usÔ¨e antinomies of ï² us or in itselfá²¥ rather ï² itselfà®¡mely that mode of being posited where the fact that an object is thought of implies at the same time that the object is conscious of itself.ï³°an>
It is thus evident that Lukacs didnà¡§ree with Lenin .We too, cannot keep away from the debate.
The inevitable question is whether î ©tselfá®¤ ï² usá²¥ necessary correlatives or something else? Is there any other difference among them? The context that Engelsç¡³ discussing was Kantàµ®knowable è©®g-in-itselfÉ´ is important to discuss, in brief, the difference between Kant and Humeà°¨ilosophy.
The essence of agnosticism of Hume is that, thing-in-itself doesnà¥¸ist at all in reality. Whatever our sense organs receive is mere sensuousness. Various forms of senses create a probability of any object in our brain. But it certainly doesnà°²ove the existence of the object in reality. The object is absent, whereas different sorts of senses exist. Agnosticism disagrees with the idea of existence of thing-in-itself, and is considered to be a separate philosophical thought apart from materialism and idealism. Kant asserts the existence of thing-in-itself. But it is impossible to know its real self and thus he called it unknowable thing-in-itself.
The basic question raised by Engels, in his discussion, is whether this thing-in-itself is unknowable to human being.
It is hard to understand why Lukacs expected Hegelian way of thought from Engels, while opposing Kantà©¤ea of unknowable. How is it possible for an inanimate object to become ï² itselfÔ¨e discussion is about unveiling of the essence of such object in human idea. Engels here did not put ï² usá³ the anti-thesis to î©tselfæ¯² the role and action of the object itself. The discussion is not at all about any external or internal change, rather about the object as placed in human idea. Whenever anybody or any class changes from î ©tselfä¯ ï² itselfà´¨e change is not only an apparent one, but also the structure and role change. So it is clear that Engels is not describing the change between î ©tselfá®¤ ï² usã´¡tes of an object, his explanation is about the two different reflections of the same (unchanged) object on human mind. In this context, Engels argues that we can acquire knowledge about an object or its true self through practice (he mentioned about experiment and industry as examples). Thing-in-itself doesnà²¥main unknowable or intangible. He used the phrases î ©tselfá®¤ ï² usä¯ explain this transformation of the reflection of the object in human idea. In Hegelà·²iting î ©tselfá®¤ ï² usé®¤eed is necessary correlative while describing any object, but why should the relation necessarily be the same in case of human idea about the state of an object ?
Why didnÌµkacs point out that Hegelà°¨ilosophy has nothing to do with practice? On the contrary, the keyword of Marxist philosophy is practice. Not only Hegel, none of the philosophical thoughts prior to Marx did place practice in that role, not even Feuerbach, at least according to Marx. The difference between î ©tselfá®¤ ï² usé® respect of knowing unchanged objects in human consciousness, can never occur in Hegelà°¨ilosophy. Practice is the basis of Marxà´¨eory of knowledge whereas transformation of object is in the absolute domain of ä¥¡é® Hegelà°¨ilosophy. So, it is only the dialectical mediation of consciousness inside the ä¥¡à·¨ich is required in Hegelian philosophy. Naturally in the interaction between unchanged object and ä¥¡È¥gelà°¨ilosophy doesnà¤¥al with any change in image of the object in the ä¥¡Ó¯ in our discussion about the difference of î ©tselfá®¤ ï² usâ¹ Hegel, dialectical interaction between consciousness and object should be laid upon the foundations of materialism. Otherwise, if we try to understand Marxian â¡£ticeâ¹ Hegelian dialectics, we will roam within world of confusion. So, å ust correct a terminological confusion that is almost incomprehensibleï³°an> ìµ«acså¦¦ort made the simple one too complex.
î ´hat case, it is a complete misinterpretation of Kantà¥°istemology to imagine that the problem of the thing-in-itself could be a barrier to the possible concrete expansion of our knowledge. On the contrary, Kant who sets out from the most advanced natural science of the day, namely from Newtonà¡³tronomy, tailored his theory of knowledge precisely to this science and to its future potential. For this reason he necessarily assumes that the method was capable of limitless expansion. His â©´iqueâ¥¦ers merely to the fact that even the complete knowledge of all phenomena would be no more than knowledge of phenomena (as opposed to the things-in-themselves). Moreover, even the complete knowledge of the phenomena could never overcome the structural limits of this knowledge, i.e., in our terms, the antinomies of totality and of content. Kant has himself dealt sufficiently clearly with the question of agnosticism and of the relation to Hume (and to Berkeley who is not named but whom Kant has particularly in mind) in the section entitled è¥ Refutation of Idealismä¼¯span>
This shows how Lukacs could not recognise the dialectics prevailing in nature. Nature is seen by him just in a Kantian way. And communist theoretical quest should have a deep insight to find out wherefrom this evolved è©³ understanding of philosophy or science?
Science, seen by Lukacs in the above mentioned context, has clearly become metaphysical. Firstly, complete knowledge of phenomena surely can be greater than î¯·ledge of phenomenaÓ¥condly it can overcome structural limits often. Thirdly, because of this very mechanical approach Kant has seen knowing thing-in-itself as merely a sensuous process and thing-in-itself as something beyond the tangible world. Lukacs doesnà¡§ree that dialectics exists in nature and thus got trapped by Kantian outlook of science very easily.
Engels, in his book Ludwig Feuerbach, has described how the progress of science had its impact on philosophy.
è¥ materialism of the last century was predominantly mechanical, because at that time, of all natural sciences, only mechanics, and indeed only the mechanics of solid bodies ã¥¬estial and terrestrial é® short, the mechanics of gravity, had come to any definite close. Chemistry at that time existed only in its infantile, phlogistic form. Biology still lay in swaddling clothes; vegetable and animal organisms had been only roughly examined and were explained by purely mechanical causes. What the animal was to Descartes, man was the materialist of the 18th century á achine. This exclusive application of the standards of mechanics to the processes of a chemical and organic nature é® which processes of chemical and organic nature é® which processes the laws of mechanics are, indeed, also valid, but are pushed into the backgrounds by other, higher laws ã¯®stitutes the first specific but at that time inevitable limitations of classical French materialism.
The second specific limitation of the materialism lay in its inability to comprehend the universe as a process, as matter undergoing uninterrupted historical development. This was in accordance with the level of natural science of that time, and with the metaphysical, that is, anti-dialectical manner of philosophizing connected with it. Nature, so much was known, was in eternal motion. But to the ideas of that time, this motion turned, also eternally, in a circle and therefore never moved from the spot; it produced the same results over and over again. The Kantian theory of the origin of the Solar system [ that Sun and planets originated from incandescent rotating nebulous masses ] had been put forward but recently and was still regarded merely as a curiosity. The history of the development of the earth, geology, was still totally unknown, and the conception that the animate natural beings of today are the result of a long sequence of development from the simple to the complex could not at that time scientifically be put forward at all. The unhistorical view of nature was therefore inevitable.ï³°an>
Although it is necessary for the Marxian theory to discuss the questions that have been raised later about Engelsïµ´look of science, but interrelation between Kantà¯µtlook of science and idea about thing-in-itself was clearly stated in the above discussion.
Lukacs criticized Engels that Engels categorised ã©¥ntific experimentá®¤ î¤µstryá³ practice (praxis) in a dialectical and philosophical sense.
Philosophy & practice (praxis)
In philosophy, â¡£ticeé³ no category based on unanimity. Idealism and materialism are divided here. Materialism too contains various opinions in this respect. So before going into Engelsã¯ment, we should find out the definition of â¡£ticeæ²¯m the viewpoint of dialectical materialism.
è©³ is the fundamental defect of idealism: it asks and answers the question of objectivity and subjectivity, of the reality and unreality of the world, only from the standpoint of theory.ï³°an>
According to Feuerbach theory is the sum total of human practice. But, FeuerbachÑ°racticeé³ not conscious sensuous activity of human being. He did not accept it subjectively. He did only include the inanimate objective side of this, in â¡£ticeì¯³pan>
Marx used â¡£ticeá®¤ å¶¯lutionary practiceé® many of his writings.
First of all, he asserted that â¡£ticeé³ the only source of entire knowledge of human being.
è¥ dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking which is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.ï³°an> (2nd thesis, Thesis on Feuerbach).
Here, practice means conscious, active, sensuous act by human being or act of consciousness on object, if said philosophically. This gradually gives better notion about object. This indeed is a process that makes è©®g-in-itselfá££essible to consciousness. Engels wrote, è¥ result of our action proves the conformity of our perceptions with the objective nature of the things perceivedì¯³pan>
Another one, according to Marx, is å¶¯lutionary practiceä¨¡t changes circumstances or depicts the coincidence of human activity or self change. Marx wrote:
è¥ materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.ï³°an> (3nd thesis, Thesis on Feuerbach).
What kind of practice did Engels talk about ? It is the same practice that Marx uttered in his Thesis No.4 Feuerbach) ã¨µman practice and in the comprehension of this practiceà¡¬l scientific experiments can obviously be classified under this. This is the cause why Marx said that all mysteries will reach a rational solution through human practice. Industry can be classified under human practice both ways. One due to the need felt for scientific and technological research and development and the other due to birth of theories of economics and class struggle owing to conscious participation of human being in commodity market.
Two yardsticks can be considered to judge anything as human practice ç¨¥ther the act has been subjectively taken up as conscious, active, sensuous act by human being and whether continuous use of it generates knowledge.
Scientific experiment and industry should thus be surely considered as practice. The criticism put by Lukacs and others is not correct in this context.
Study of Natural Science by Engels
If Capital by Karl Marx is the best creation among Marxian literature, next to it should be Anti-Duhring by Engels. Marxist theory and philosophy appears with all its comprehensiveness here. To discuss the significance and importance of Engelsã´µdy on natural science is very important a task for Marxist theory today. Opinion and outlook reflected in the writings of eminent scientist JBS Haldane in 1939 can be a starting point. Haldane wrote,
î§¥ls had tried to discuss the whole of science from the Marxist standpoint. He had been a student of science. Since 1861 he had always been in close touch with the chemist Schorlemmer at Manchester, and discussed scientific problems with him and Marx for many years. In 1871 he came to London and started reading scientific books and journals on a large scale. He intended to write a great book to show è¡´ in nature the same dialectical laws of movement are carried out in the confusion of its countless changes, as also govern the apparent contingency of events in history. If this book had been written, it would have been of immense importance for the development of science.ï³°an>
Haldane wrote these words while discussing on é¡¬ectics of Naturen important debate is about what was Marxà¯°inion about the study of science by Engels? Was Marx in agreement with Engelsæ©¥w?
Like other branches, their interaction about study of science too shows that their opinions were formulated by joint effort.
We quote here, a portion from a letter by Engels written to Marx on 30th may, 1873 :
è©³ morning while I lay in bed the following dialectical points about the natural sciences occurred to me: The subject matter of natural science ï¿½ter in motion, bodies. Bodies cannot be separated from motionî¼¯span>
î ®One cannot say anything about bodies without motion, without relation to other bodies. Only in motion does a body reveal what it is. Natural science, therefore, knows bodies by examining them in their relation to one another, and in motionä¼¯span>
There are so many evidences in the letters by Marx and Engels to prove that they had regular interaction during the long period of studying natural science by Engels. After going through DarwinÑ�rigin of speciesÅ®gels wrote to Marx,
Darwin, whom I am just reading, is magnificent ä¨¥re has never been until now so splendid an attempt to prove historical development in natureì¯³pan>
á²·inà¢¯ok is very important and it suits me very well that it supports the class struggle in history from the viewpoint of natural scienceî©´ not only deals the deathblow to teleology in the natural science for the first time, but also sets forth the rational meaning in an empirical way.ï³°an>
ì¡³s struggle in history from the viewpoint of natural scienceï³°an>
Marx clearly talks about relation between history and natural science. Anti-Duhring was initially published in the editions of ï²·artsà´¨e German social Democratic newspaper as an article titled å²² Eugen DuhringÒ¥volution in ScienceÔ¨is book can be called a complete handbook of Marxian philosophy, political economy and theory of scientific socialism.
It was a time when Engels was engaged deeply in studying natural science and Marx, when requested by Bebel, Bracke, Bernstein, Liebknecht ä¨¥ leaders of German Social Democratic Party, asked Engels to prepare a complete critique against Eugen Duhringà¥²roneous ideas. Engels mentions that Karl Marx went through Anti-Duhring, admired it and moreover wrote the portion of this book dealiang with economy.
If Anti-Duhring is the only complete book on Marxian theory and philosophy, then naturally comes the question, whether Marx had his agreement with the debatable portions of this book.
Practically Marx and Engels made a sort of division of work for their studying and writings. Marx concentrated on the portions of political economy which led to the creation of á°©talà·¨ereas Engels took up studying philosophy and natural science and answer the contemporary critics. Marx of June 22, 1867, wrote in a letter,
ïµ² satisfaction is more important to me than anything the rest of the world may say of it.ï³°an>
In the same letter, he wrote,
à±µote Hegelà¤©scovery regarding the law that merely quantitative changes turn into qualitative changes and state that it holds good alike in history and natural scienceì¯³pan>
On 19th December 1860, Marx wrote about â©§in of speciesé® a letter, è©³ is the book that contains the natural historical foundations of our outlook.ï³°an>
The early writings of Marx too carries the same essence. In 1844 manuscripts, Marx criticized the philosophers and philosophies for keeping apart from the vast resource of knowledge of natural science, which according to him is the foundation of all knowledge. Marx devoted himself to bridging the unity of nature and human being.
In Economic and philosophical manuscripts, Marx wrote,
á´µre taken abstractly for itself, nature fixed in isolation from man, is nothing for manï³°an> ã¯e interpret this to assert that á´µre in itselfï¿½ns nothing to Marx, but Marx, in the same book, wrote for them î¬¹ nature is somethingì¯³pan>
Marx wrote, in å²an Ideologyà¼¯span>î ¡ll this the priority of external nature is unassailed.ï³°an>
In Holy family,
á® has not created matter itself. And he cannot even create any productive capacity if the matter does not exist beforehandï³°an>,
à¡terial substratum is always left, which is furnished by nature without the help of manï³°an>.
Three scientific inventions were mainly discussed in é¡¬ectics of natureà¢¹ Engels è©© Invention of cell; (ii) law of conservation and transformation of energy and (iii) discovery of the evolution of species.
The first one signifies the identity of organic world, second one shows nature is actually a continuous process and third one proves the natural origin of human history.
Engels predicted two possibilities about the crisis prevailing in advancement of natural science è©© chaos and incoherence, (ii) achievement of order and coherence through dialectical synthetis.
è¥ revolution, which is being forced on the natural sciences by the mere need to set in order the purely empirical discoveries, great masses of which have been piled up, is of such a kind that it must bring the dialectical character of natural processes more and more to the consciousness even of those empiricists who are most opposed to it.ï³°an>
The significance of the discussion by Engels, about contemporary science, in é¡¬ectics of Natureà·¡s best interpreted by JBS Haldane, taking Marxist way of thought in consideration.
In the preface of Dialectics of Nature, he made a very valuable discussion. In 1939 he wrote, since the manuscript of Engels was written between 1872 and 1882, it is very difficult to follow the scientific analysis of 60 years back if one is not properly conversant with the history of scientific practice and theory. He wrote,
è¥ idea of what is now called the conservation of energy was beginning to permeate physics, chemistry and biology. But it was still very incompletely realized, and still more incompletely applied. Words such as ï²£eÑotioná®¤ é³ vivaç¥²e used where we should now speak of energy.ï³°an>
In the chapters titled á³©c forms of motionÑ”he measure of motion-worká®¤ å¡´å´£. Engels discussed about contemporary debate that arose from incomplete or faulty theory about heat. Engels used é³ vivaà·¨ich means double the kinetic energy. It is obsolete now and ï²£eé® physics is used in a specific context now-a-days. Haldane wrote,
î§¥ls would not have published them in their present form, if only because, in the later essay on tidal friction, he uses a more modern terminology.ï³°an> Haldane wrote, è¥ essay on electricity á´¥så¶¥n more. As a criticism of Weidemannà©®consistencies it is interesting, and it ends with a plea for a closer investigation of the connection between chemical and electrical action, which, as Engels said,ç©¬l lead to important results in both spheres of investigation.ä¨©s prophecy has, of course, been amply fulfilled. Arheniusé¯®ic theory has transformed chemistry, and Thomsonà¥¬ectron theory has revolutionized physics. Here again, the manuscript would certainly have been revised before publication. In a letter to Marx on November 23rd, 1882, he points out that Siemens, in his presidential address to the British Association, has defined a new unit, that of electric power, the Watt, which is proportional to the resistance multiplied by the current. He compares these with the expressions for momentum and energy, discussed in the essay on è¥ measure of motion – worká®¤ points out that in each case we have simple proportionality( momentum as velocity and electromotive force as current ) when we are dealing with transformation of one form of energy into another. But when the energy is transformed into heat or work the correct value is found by squaring the velocity or current.ï ©t is a general law of motion which I was the first to formulate.ç¥ can now see why this is so. The momentum and the electromotive force, having directions, are reversed when the velocity and current are reversed. But the energy remains unaltered. So the speed or the current must come into the formula as the square (or some even power) since (-X).(-X) = X2.ï³°an>
é® the essay on é¤¡l frictionå®§els made a serious mistake, or more accurately a mistake which would have been serious had he published itï³°an>
å¬³ewhere there are statements which are certainly untrue, for example in the sections on stars and Protozoa. But here Engels cannot be blamed for following some of the best astronomers and zoologists of his day.ï³°an>
The limitations of Engels, pointed out by Haldane, does no way reveal that Marxist theory is weakening. Rather application of Marxist theory in such a philosophical approach helps us to see nature clearly and approach the truth.
è¥® all such criticisms have been made, it is astonishing how Engels anticipated the progress of science in the sixty years which have elapsed since he wrote.ï³°an>
é³ insistence that life is the characteristic mode of behaviour of proteins appeared to be very one-sided to most biochemists since every cell contains many other complicated organic substances besides proteins. Only in the last four years has it turned out that certain pure proteins do exhibit one of the most essential features of living things, reproducing themselves in a variety of environments.ï³°an>
Haldane was basically a scientist. His comments on limitation of Engelsà¨©losophy may not be of high importance, but when one of the greatest scientists of the last century writes,
á¤ Engelsï¿½hod of thinking been more familiar, the transformations of our ideas on physics which have occurred during the last thirty years would have been smoother. Had his remarks on Darwinism been generally known, I for one would have been saved a certain amount of muddled thinkingì¯³pan>- it makes us eager to understand Engelsä©¡lectical materialism in explaining natural science.
Twentieth Century Science & Marxism
We need not discuss the entire gamut or various analyses of the twentieth century science here. The long-standing relation between philosophy and natural science, especially the way Marxism has viewed the natural science demonstrates that the course of development of this branch of knowledge is inextricably tied up with the development of Marxist philosophy. Some important scientific inventions can be drawn into our discussion in this context.
Say the î£¥rtainty principleï¦ Warner Heisenberg. In 1972, Heisenberg proposed his theory and went beyond the purview of natural science to explain its philosophical significance. He was awarded the Noble Prize in 1932 for é³´em of matrix mechanicsÔ¨is î£¥rtainty Principleá®¤ its philosophical interpretation by Heisenberg is the most significant anti-Marxist theorization that evolved after the demise of Engels.
HeisenbergÑµncertainty principleã´¡tes that the position and velocity of a particle canà¢¥ simultaneously determined with absolute correctness. The more precise is the position of the particle, the more uncertain will be the determining of momentum. The vice-versa is equally true.
How is the position of an electron determined? If we use a powerful microscope, we do hit the electron with a è¯´onà¡²ticle. Light here behaves like a particle and forces the electron to change momentum. Thus observation itself changes the momentum of the electron, a change that is unpredictable and uncontrollable. The magnitude and direction of the change of momentum of the electron is impossible to determine since existing quantum theory says that it is not possible to know or control the bombardment of light quantum upon lens in a precise angle.
Now, if we use a developed electron microscope? The answer is still negative, the problem canà¢¥ solved. As all sorts of energy come from å¡®taà·¨ich exhibits dual properties of wave and particle, the problem will remain the same in all cases.
On the contrary, for accurate determination of momentum, light quanta of low momentum is needed. Naturally it will be of greater wavelength resulting in larger angle of diffraction and thus determining position will be inaccurate.
Werner Heisenberg writes (Physics and Philosophy, 1958),
è¥ words ï³©tioná®¤ å¬¯cityï¦ an electron, E for instance, seemed perfectly well defined as to both their meaning and their possible connections, and in fact they were clearly defined concepts within the mathematical framework of Newtonian mechanics. But actually they were not well defined, as is seen from the relations of uncertainty. One may say that regarding their position in Newtonian mechanics they were well defined, but in their relation to nature they were not. This shows that we can never know beforehand which limitations will be put on the applicability of certain concepts by the extension of our knowledge into the remote parts of nature, into which we can only penetrate with the most elaborate tools. Therefore, in the process of penetration we are bound sometimes to use our concepts in a way which is not justified and which carries no meaning. Insistence on the postulate of complete logical clarification would make science impossible. We are reminded here by modern physics of the old wisdom that one who insists on never uttering an error must remain silentì¯³pan>
Basically, Heisenberg showed a bit more tilt towards idealism than even Kantàµ®knowable thing-in-itself. The truth revealed is just apparent and may not be correct, argued Heisenberg, in the spheres of physics and philosophy.
Heisenberg, in 1958, wrote :
è¥²efore, Kantà¡²guments for the à°²ioriã¨¡racter of the law of causality no longer apply. A similar discussion could be given on the a priori character of space and time as forms of intuition. The result would be the same. The a priori concepts which Kant considered an undisputable truth are no longer contained in the scientific system of modern physics.ï³°an>
We wonà¥®ter into a discussion in detail about Heisenbergà°¨ysics and philosophy, but some significance and essence of them is worth mentioning.
Heisenbergà´¨eory is not at all an isolated one; rather it was a part of the dominating reactionary theories that prevailed till first decade of 21st century in contemporary linguistics and philosophy. From the 2nd decade of 20th century, in all branches of knowledge, bourgeois ideology had a domineering presence and this, Heisenbergà°¨ilosophy, should be viewed as a related one, being most important and influential idealist thought in the world of science. If Heidegger carries the baton of Scheilling to Derrida, Heisenberg inherits the same school in the world of science. Heidegger and Heisenberg had a deep similarity in their political lives ä¨¥y both supported Hitler actively.
We wonà£¯mment on the Scientific aspect of physics in HeisenbergÑ•ncertainty principleà¢µt can talk a bit about its philosophical impact.
First of all, well before Heisenbergà´¨eory, we got the idea of Brownian motion in physics, where we knew about random movement of gaseous atoms. Dialectical materialism always opposed Laplaceà¤¥terministic theory, where it was tried to ascertain movement and causality of smallest particle in the theoretical framework of certainty. Dialectical materialism called it identity between necessity and chance, where particle movement can be explained or observed by causality (necessity as called in physics) to a greater extent; on the other hand another portion lie beyond this and we can call it chance. There is interpenetration in the identity between these two aspects of contradiction. That means, necessity changes into chance and chance too changes into necessity.
What does è¡®ceï¿½n? Is it that there is no cause-effect relation playing here? No, it is not so. In fact an infinite number of factors can exercise their influence on the motion and change of a matter. The nature, characteristic and degree of these factors vary infinitely. Thus it is not possible to bring it absolutely into account beforehand. The dominating, determing and the most important factors constitute causality for the motion or change of an object whereas the remaining innumerable factors, lying beyond consideration, unite to form è¡®cend this forms the randomness or uncertain portion of the movement. The factors lying beyond consideration can come into reckoning, through the plan or necessity of the experiment or practice and can add to the factors that form causality. Thus chance and necessity (causality) form an identity in an interpenetrated condition and the transformation of å£¥ssityé®´o è¡®ceá®¤ vice versa continues to occur.
In Marxism, when Kantian î«®owable thing-in-itselfé³ opposed, it does not stand for absolute knowability. Marxism does not consider any other knowledge as absolute except the existence, motion and change of matter (in a philosophical sense). Marxism opposes absolute truth.
The â³¯lute accuracyé® which Heisenberg spoke of knowing the position and motion of an object is considered in Marxist philosophy itself as impossible. Heisenberg didnà¥¸plain rationally how to interpret that è©®g-in-itself is absolutely unknowableÍ¯reover, he didnà¥¸plain how causality can be completely eliminated from his experiments.
Prof. J B S Haldane wrote (in the article è¥ Laws of Natureà±¹41)
ï³©tivists and idealists have made great play with the fact that many laws of nature, as formulated by scientists, have turned out to be inexact, and all may do so. But that is absolutely no reason for saying that there are no regularities in Nature to which our statements of natural law correspond. One might as well say that because no maps of England give its shape exactly, it has no shape.
What is remarkable about the laws of Nature is the accuracy of simple approximations. One might see a hundred thousand men before finding an exception to the rule that all men have two ears, and the same is true for many of the laws of physics. In some cases we can see why. The universe is organized in aggregates with, in many cases, pretty wide gaps between them. Boyleà¬¡w that the density of a gas is proportional to its pressure and Charlesà¬¡w that the volume is proportional to the temperature, would be exact if gas molecules were points which had no volume and did not attract one another. These laws are very nearly true for gases at ordinary temperatures and pressures, because the molecules occupy only a small part of the space containing the gas, and are close enough to attract one another only during a very small part of any interval of time. Similarly, most of the stars are far enough apart to be treated as points without much error when we are considering their movementsï³°an>
Í¥ndelà¬¡ws, according to which two types occur in a ratio of 1:1 in some cases and 3:1 in others, are theoretically true if the process of division of cell nuclei are quite regular, and if neither type is unfit so as to die off before counts are made. The first condition never holds, and the second probably never does. But the exceptions to the first condition are very rare. In one particular case a critical division goes wrong about once in ten thousand times. The effect of this on a 1:1 ratio or 3:1 ratio could be detected only by counting several hundred million plants or animals. Differences in relative fitness are more important. But even so the Mendelian ratios are sometimes fulfilled with extreme accuracy, and are generally a good rough guide.ï³°an>
Christopher Caudwell (The Crisis in Physics, 1939) explained causality and wrote:
è¥²e is a tendency in modern science to use áµ³alityà¯² principle of causaliyty as equivalent to å´¥rminisms Eddington correctly points out, so far from being equivalent, they are incompatible. The relation of cause and effect involves a flow of power from the cause to the effect, and therefore a certain freedom on the part of the cause. But if every event is completely and necessarily determined, then how can any event be regarded as a cause, since it is absolutely determined from the start by prior events?ï³°an>
While explaining the crisis of science and philosophy, Caudwell quoted Planck, the father of Quantum Physics:
å ¡re living in a very singular moment of history. It is a moment of crisis, in the literal sense of the word. In every branch of our spiritual and material civilization we seem to have arrived at a critical turning point. This spirit shows itself not only in the actual state of public affairs but also in personal and social life.
Formerly it was only religion, especially in its doctrinal and moral systems, that was the object of sceptical attack. Then the iconoclast began to shatter the ideals and principles that had hitherto been accepted in the province of art. Now he has invaded the temple of science. There is sincerely a scientific axiom that is not nowadays denied by somebody. And at the same time almost any nonsensical theory that may be put forward in the name of science would be almost sure to find believers and disciples somewhere or other.ï³°an>
That there is a crisis in the field of theory in general along with science was categorically expressed in the writing of Caudwell
ä¨¥ symptoms are precisely the same in all spheres of ideology.ï³°an>
We would like to conclude this discussion with a comment by Caudwell which is intended to clarify the magnitude of the challenge posed to the Marxists in respect of theoretical crisis in the world of science.
é®³tein is the father of relativity physics and Planck is the originator of quantum physics. Both were å¶¯lutionaryé® their they. Even Planckà¦¡ith and Einsteinà©®comprehension therefore have pulling power over the undecided. But the younger men include Heisenberg, Schrodinger, and Dirac whose technical achievements are of similarly å¶¯lutionaryã¨¡racter. There is no doubt that the new school is winning mass support in its struggle for a more mysterious universe.ï³°an>
Marxist Dialectics and the â©³isé® its interpretation
- Laws of Dialectics
We have discussed, in detail, about the emergence of the common understanding of Marx and Engels so far as the concept of Dialectical materialism is concerned. Here, we shall deal with the concept of é¡¬ecticsé´³elf and identify the misconceptions evolved in the international communist movement while practising the doctrine in the last 85 years.
Engels summed up the concept of é¡¬ecticsé® three laws, in his é¡¬ectics of NatureÈ¥ wrote:
ä ©s therefore, from the history of nature and human society that the laws of Dialectics are abstracted. For they are nothing but the most general laws of these two aspects of historical development, as well as of thought itself .And indeed they can be reduced in the main to three :
The law of transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa;
The law of interpenetration of opposites;
The law of the negation of the negation.ï³°an>
All of these three laws are developed by Hegel, but obviously with his idealist foundation. Engels wrote
ì¯³pan>All three are developed by Hegel in his idealist fashion as mere laws of thought: the first, in the first part of his Logic, in the Doctrine of Being; the second fills the whole of the second and by far the most important part of his Logic, the Doctrine of Essence; finally the third figures as the fundamental law for the construction of the whole system.ï³°an>
What was the mistake of Hegel ? Engels answered,
è¥ mistake lies in the fact that these laws are foisted on nature and history as laws of thought, and not deduced from them. This is the source of the whole forced and often outrageous treatment; the universe, willy-nilly, is made out to be arranged in accordance with a system of thought which itself is only the product of a definite stage of evolution of human thought. If we turn the thing round, then everything becomes simple, and the dialectical laws that look so extremely mysterious in idealist philosophy at once become simple and clear as noonday.ï³°an>
We will discuss here, in detail, the third law, which according to Engels, is ä¨¥ fundamental law for the construction of the whole systemï¦ Hegel.
The law of the negation of the negation
Engels opened the subject quoting Duhring, in his Duhringà£²itique to Marx. Here is a portion of that writing of Duhring :
è©³ historical sketch (of the genesis of the so-called primitive accumulation of capital in England) is relatively the last part of Marxà¢¯ok, and would be even better if it had not relied on the dialectical crutch to help out its scholarly crutch. The Hegelian negation of the negation,in default of anything better and clearer,has in fact to serve here as the midwife to deliver the future from the womb of the past. The abolition of î¤©vidual propertyà·¨ich since the sixteenth century has been effected in the way indicated above, is the first negation. It will be followed by a second, which bears the character of a negation of the negation and hence of a restoration of î¤©vidual propertyà¢µt in a higher form, based on the common ownership of land and of the instruments of labour. Here Marx calls this new î¤©vidual propertyá¬³o ï£©al propertyà¡®d in this there appears the Hegelian higher unity, in which the contradiction is supposed to be sublated, that is to say, in Hegelian verbal jugglery, both overcome and preservedî”¼/span>
The above quotation is a part of the attempt of Duhring to establish that Marx has nothing to prove the necessity of social revolution but the Hegelian concept of the negation of the negation. To answer this, Engels has quoted Marx himself. It is from the writings of Marx that he tried to explain what is negation of the negation and what is Marxist negation of negation. Marx wrote, in Das Capital :
é´ is the negation of the negation. This re-establishes individual property, but on the basis of the acquisitions of the capitalist era, i.e. on co-operation of free workers and their possession in common of the land and of the means of production produced by labour. The transformation of scattered private property, arising from individual labour, into capitalist private property is naturally, a process, incomparably more protracted, arduous, and difficult, than the transformation of capitalistic private property, already practically resting on socialised production, into socialised property.ï³°an>
Engels summarised and analysed:
ï ¡nyone who understands plain talk this means that social ownership extends to the land and the other means of production, and individual ownership to the products, that is, the articles of consumption. And in order to make the matter comprehensive even to children of six, Marx assumes on page 56,à£¯mmunity of free individuals, carrying on their work with the means of production in common, in which the labour-power of all the different individuals is consciously applied as the combined labour-power of the community.à´¨at is a society organised on a socialist basis, and he continues, è¥ total product of our community is a social product. One portion serves as fresh means of production and remains social. But another portion is consumed by the members as means of subsistence. A distribution of this portion amongst them is consequently necessary.ï³°an>
The property which is at once both individual and social, this confusing hybrid ì ¡nd as Marx does not do this to Herr Duhringà´¡ste, the latter has to fall again into his higher and nobler style, and in the interests of the complete truth impute to Marx things which are the products of Herr Duhring own manufacture.ï³°an>
The essence of the discourse of Marx and Engels is that the history of the development of society itself turned up at these cross-roads. Marx never thought of imposing the dialectical theory of negation of negation as necessary. Engels quoted Marx:
á¬¯ng with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolise all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organised by the very mechanism of the process of capitalistic production itself. Capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Concentration of the means of production and socialisation of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.ï³°an>
Thus, in a most rational fashion, in the unique theoretical creation of Karl Marx, the socio-historic progress had reached its logical culmination of history. And only after that, Marx highlighted the internal essence of this course in the words of philosophical materialism. Engels wrote:
ä ©s only at this point, after Marx has completed his proof on the basis of historical and economic fact, that he proceeds :[ Marx] ä¨¥ capitalist mode of production and appropriation, hence the capitalist private property, is the first negation of the individual private property founded on the labour of the proprietor. Capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a process of nature, its own negation. It is the negation of the negationà¡®d so on( as quoted above).ï³°an>
This is the concept of the negation of the negation, as it was formulated and used by Karl Marx to understand the history of man and nature. It is not a concept adopted or formulated by Engels. Marx himself seized the concept, as a part of the concept of dialectics, from Hegel and used it with an inimitable fineness to grasp the philosophical transcription of the transformation of the society to socialism and communism. To concretize and summarise the emergence and use of the concept of the negation of the negation:
The very concept of the negation of the negation was taken by Marx, from Hegel, as an integrated part of the concept of Dialectics and being separated from its idealist foundation, it has been turned into an inseparable part of Marxist World-outlook, the dialectical materialism.
Marx used the concept of the negation of the negation for the philosophical interpretation of socio-historic rationale of socialism, his most valuable contribution for the working class, in formulating the task for their emancipation.
Marx, in explaining the philosophical significance of abolition of private property (ownership of land and means of production), as the outcome of his materialist conception of history, used this very part of the law of dialectics.
So we can conclude that, for explaining the development of nature, society, and thought, from lower to higher order, in philosophical terms, è¥ negation of the negationé³ the principal law of dialectics.
Marx did not write any comprehensive article to explain è¥ negation of the negationÉ´ was accomplished by Engels. In his î´©-Duhringè¥ prepared a complete version of the concept. Engels wrote:
ä ©s the same in Mathematics. Let us take any algebraic quantity whatever: for example, a. If this is negated, we get à¨inus a). If we negate that negate, by multiplying à¢¹ ì ·e get + a square, i.e, the original positive quantity, but at a higher degree, raised to its second power.ï³°an>
ì¥´ us take a grain of barley. Billions of such grains of barley are milled, boiled and brewed and again consumed. But if such a grain of barley meets with conditions which are normal for it, if it falls on suitable soil, then under the influence of heat and moisture it undergoes a specific change, it germinates, the grain as such ceases to exist, it is negated, and in its place appears the plant which has arisen from it, negation of the grain. But what is the normal life-process of this plant ? It grows, flowers, is fertilized and finally once more produces grains of barley, and as soon as these have ripened the stalk dies, is in its turn negated. As a result of their negation of the negation we have once again the original grain of barley, but not as a single unit, but ten-, twenty- or thirtyfoldì¯³pan>
âµ´trtrflies, for example, spring from the egg by a negation of the egg, pass through certain transformations until they reach sexual maturity, pair and are in turn negated, dying as soon as the pairing process has been completed and the female has laid its numerous eggs.ï³°an>
ï² let us take another example : The philosophy of antiquity was primitive, spontaneously evolved materialism. As such, it was incapable of clearing up the relation between mind and matter. But the need to get clarity on this question led to the doctrine of a soul separable from the body, then to the assertion of the immortality of this soul, and finally to monotheism. The old materialism was therefore negated by idealism. But in the course of the further development of philosophy, idealism, too, became untenable and was negated by modern materialism. The modern materialism, the negation of the negation, is not the mere re-establishment of the old, but adds to the permanent foundations of this old materialism the whole thought-content of two thousand years of development of philosophy and natural science, as well as of the history of these two thousand years. It is no longer a philosophy at all, but simply a world outlook which has to establish its validity and be applied not in a science of sciences apart, but in the real sciences. Philosophy is therefore å¢¬atedè¥²e, that, ï´¨ overcome and preservedë „.K.G. 503]: overcome as regards its form, and preserved as regards its real content.ï³°an>
Engels, here, himself answered in positive to the question of negation of philosophy altogether by Marxist Doctrine. But it was just opposite to the interpretation of Karl Korsch, George Lukacs or Althussar. They interpreted Marxist Doctrine something less than a philosophy or rejection( and not negation ) of philosophy altogether. According to Althussar, it was a praxis (practice) of philosophy and not a philosophy of praxis. Karl Korsch wrote:
è¥¹ rather saw the task of their scientific socialism as that of definitively overcoming and superseding the form and content, not only of all previous bourgeois idealist philosophy, but theory of philosophy altogetherì¯³pan>
Engels put forward just an opposite view. To him, Marxist Doctrine is more than a philosophy. Here, Philosophy is overcome so far its form is concerned and preserved so far as its content is concerned. It is very much evident that Karl Korsch was wrong in explaining the nature and character of the emergence of Marxist World-outlook .To him content as well as the form of philosophy is overcome. But he fails to understand that content of the Marxist philosophy as a philosophy is preserved in Marxist world-outlook.He failed to understand the process of Marxist å§¡tion of the negationÈ¥re is the difference of rejection and negation in the philosophical sense of the term. In that sense, unlike the other philosophies, Marxist philosophy is not at all a mere instrument to explain the world. Moreover, it propagates that, the world can only be properly explained and understood when the process of changing it (society or object) is under-taken. So, Marxist philosophy, as opposed to all other philosophies, explains the world from the stand point of practice.
The history of man, i.e. the materialist conception of history is a living subject of å¶¯lutionary practice×©th time, history travels many a path of unforeseen and unanticipated twists and turns. Particularly, when the history takes the à©²alã¯µrse of its development, when the revolutionary practice shoves us to negate ourselves, the cruellest responsibility is bestowed upon us by the history. Then, sometimes, we forget that the route of development is a not a straight line but a spiral one; we fail to remember that there are leaps, catastrophes, breaks in continuity.
Now, Materialistic Dialectics, being the guiding world-outlook and reference frame for all re-evaluation and re-examination, cannot be an obscure and ambiguous concept. And, here is the crisis. Despite the revolutionary practice of the last one hundred years, a grave crisis in the interpretation of á·³ of Dialecticsâ¥ains. Let us examine whether any crisis exists at all or not in the interpretation of the laws of dialectics, at the present moment, in the international communist movement.
- î´¥rpretations of Dialecticsá®¤ the â©³isî¢³p;
We have discussed, at length, how the fundamental writings of Engels, which are foundation of Marxism too, have been attacked for the last one hundred years. And it was only Lenin, who with his entire burden of leading the intense class struggle, had endeavored to defend Engels, in his á´¥rialism and Emperio-criticismÂµt, we have already discussed, after the death of Lenin more intense and more inclusive attacks were directed from the popularly known á²¸ist Philosophersï® Marxist Doctrine, in the form of, mainly, attacking Engels. Here, in this article, we have not dealt with anti-Marxist theories like that of Heidegger or Derida. But no Heidegger, no Derida, no Karl Korsch, George Lukacs or Althusser had constituted any crisis in the î´¥rpretation of the Marxist World-outlooká®¤ in the å¶¥lopment of Marxist theory in generalÔ¨ese intellectuals, having no significant direct connection with the revolutionary practice of the communists world over, were not in a position at all to create any crisis or problem in the field of Marxist theory. It is the inner limitations, weaknesses and failures of the communists, which can only give birth to such a â¯¢lemé® the theory.
The weakness is felt from the late 30s of the last century. Neither of the two big Parties of the then International Communist movement made any endeavor to answer and react to the vehement attack on Marxist theory from Heidegger, Heisenberg, Lukacs, and Althusser etc.
Com. Stalin and Mao, the two main leaders of the international communist movement after the death of Lenin, had played no significant role in defending Marxist Doctrine from the attacks of bourgeois theorists. On the other hand, both of them propagated á´¥rialismï¦ different origin and implication, alien to Dialectical Materialism of Marx and Engels. This new interpretation of é¡¬ecticsï¦ Stalin and Mao had made serious confusion about the connotation and significance of the Marxist world-outlook as such in the international communist movement. Naturally, the guiding doctrine of all other Marxist theories being put into great questions in the last seventy years, in our view, the development of Marxist theory could not be effected with a dialectical method and foundation.
Com. Stalin denied accepting è¥ negation of the negationá³ a law of dialectics. In his article é¡¬ectical and Historical Materialismè¥ described á²¸ist Dialectical Methodá³ constituted of four â©®cipal featuresà´·o of which are á´µral Quantitative Change Leads to Qualitative Changeá®¤ ï®´radictions Inherent in Natureæ ´wo laws of the three formulated laws of Engels. He added two laws as principal features: á´µre connected and determinedî¢³p;and á´µre is a State of Continuous Motion and Changeî¢³p;.But he revoked, without assigning any reason and logic,the law of the negation of the negation, one of the è²¥e laws of dialecticsæ¯²mulated by Engels. Why he accepted Engels and quoted him in explaining the method of dialectics and why he excluded and thereby rejected one of the most vital and fundamental laws of dialectics, brilliantly used by Marx in reaching his greatest contribution to the mankind, the theory of socialism- is unknown to us; because nowhere, in any of his writing, he discussed about the concept of the negation of the negation.
Com Stalinàµ®derstanding of î©´y of oppositesç¡³ put into confusion when he wrote:
ï³°an>There can be no identity between war and peace, between the bourgeois and the proletariat, between life and death and other such phenomena, because they are fundamentally opposed to each other and mutually exclusiveà¼¯span>[Definition of Identity, Shorter Dictionary of Philosophy, Fourth Edition]
This is not a proper understanding of dialectics. He accepted only struggle and not the unity of the opposites; he recognised à°¯sitesá³ mutually exclusive but actually they exist in an interpenetrated state. And this was the primary teachings of Marx and Engels. Even, in the exposition, ï®´radictions Inherent in Natureà¯¦ Com. Stalin, one-sidedness was clearly expressed.
In this connection, it will be meaningful to quote Engels once again:
å§¡tion in dialectics does not mean simply saying so, or declaring that something does not exist, or destroying it in any way one likes. Long ago Spinoza said: æ¥²y limitation or determination is at the same time a negation.á®¤ further the kind of negation is here determined, firstly, by the general and, secondly, by the particular nature of the process. I must not only negate but also sublate the negation .I must therefore so arrange the first negation that the second remains or becomes possible. How? This depends on the particular nature of each individual case. If I grind a grain of barley, or crush an insect, I have carried out the first part of the action, but have made the second part impossible. Every kind of thing therefore has peculiar way of being negated in such manner that it gives rise to a development, and it is just the same with every kind of conception or idea. The infinitesimal calculus involves a form of negation which is different from that used in the formation of positive powers from negative roots. This has to be learnt, like everything else. The bare knowledge that the barley plant and infinitesimal calculus are both governed by negation of negation does not enable me either to grow barley successfully or to differentiate and integrate; just as little as the bare knowledge of the laws of the determination of sound by the dimensions of the strings enables me to play the violin. But it is clear that from a negation of the negation which consists in the childish pastime of alternately writing and cancelling â¬ or in alternately declaring that a rose is a rose and that it is not a rose, nothing eventuates but the silliness of the person who adopts such a tedious procedure.î¢³p;
After so clear and penetrating an analysis regarding the use of negation of the negation, we cannot expect silence or casual comments from at least our great leaders like Com. Stalin and Com. Mao. But this was the most unexpected and shocking event of international communist movement.
Com. Mao wrote:
Engels talked about the three categories, but as for me I donà¢¥lieve in two of those categories. (The unity of opposites is the most basic law, the transformation of quality and quantity into one another is the unity of the opposites quality and quantity, and the negation of the negation does not exist at all.) The juxtaposition, on the same level, of the transformation of quality and quantity into one another, the negation of the negation, and the law of the unity of opposites is â©°lismà®¯t monism. The most basic thing is the unity of opposites. The transformation of quality and quantity into one another is the unity of the opposites quality and quantity. There is no such thing as the negation of the negation. Affirmation, negation, affirmation, negation . . . in the development of things, every link in the chain of events is both affirmation and negation. Slave-holding society negated primitive society, but with reference to feudal society it constituted, in turn, the affirmation. Feudal society constituted the negation in relation to slave-holding society but it was in turn the affirmation with reference to capitalist society. Capitalist society was the negation in relation to feudal society, but it is, in turn, the affirmation in relation to socialist society.
While answering a question Com. Mao answered in the above words. The question was 🙁 Comrade Sheng:) ïµ¬d the Chairman say something about the problem of the three categories?ì¯³pan>[Talk On Questions Of Philosophy, August 18, 1964, Selected Works of Mao Tse Tung, IXth volume.
SOURCE: Mao chu-hsi tui Pî§¬ Hua-ng, Chang, Chou fan-tang chi-tá® ti pï¿½an.]
It is a mystery how and why a leader with a stature of Com. Mao handled the subject like å§¡tion of the negationç©´h such a casual manner- î¤ the negation of the negation does not exist at all×©thout criticizing and analyzing the use and acknowledgement of the very concept by Karl Marx, an unambiguous refutation of such an important portion of Dialectical method, is actually, tantamount to dismissal of the concept of dialectics altogether.
In the same article Com. Mao said:
è¥ weakness of philosophy is that it hasnà°²oduced practical philosophy, but only bookish philosophy.ï³°an>
Phrases like â¡£tical philosophyÑ¢ookish philosophyá²¥ something new in Marxist classics. Marxist world-outlook had overcome philosophy altogether as far as its form is concerned. It was overcome in a sense that all other philosophies only explained the world from the standpoint of theory and knowledge, but Marxism explained the world from the standpoint of practice, and at the same time, it determines a task of å¶¯lutionary practiceÂµt, Marxism is not and cannot be a â¡£tical philosophyï³°an>. So, the concept of popular or practical philosophy, philosophy for all is something unfamiliar and contrary to classical Marxism. Marx or Engels never applied philosophy in such a manner. Effort must be made to teach or communicate philosophy in easy language. But, that version of philosophy cannot be called a â¡£tical philosophyÐ¥rhaps Com. Mao tried to develop such a philosophy and the end result was dilution, error and even deviation in the very basic concept of é¡¬ecticsà¤©alects of Hegel, Marx and Engels.
In the most popular of his all philosophical writings, î ƒontradictionÃ¯m. Mao eliminated the concept of å§¡tion of the negationæ²¯m the á·³ of dialecticsâ¹ keeping absolute silence on this most vital aspect of dialectics. He emphasises only on ï®´radiction of the oppositesá®¤ said nothing about course of development of nature, society or thought to higher order. Whether it is spiral or straight, whether development rejects or negates the old, whether the old is overcome altogether, or something is preserved too ã¯. Mao remained silent on all these questions
If, this concept of é¡¬ecticsé³ to be acknowledged and be taken as a development of philosophy, the Marxist world-outlook itself is to be corrected in its foundation. And in that case, Marxà¡terialist conception of history is to be re-written, because it is based on the philosophical underpinning which includes the concept of å§¡tion of the negationá³ a very essential part of the é¡¬ectical methodæ¯² analysis of and investigation into the history of man on a philosophical plane.
On the other hand, Com. Mao was the most legendary revolutionary leader of the post second world war international communist movement. Moreover, at the present moment, the name of Com. Mao (as Maoism or Mao-thought)is attached with the revolutionism in every corner of the contemporary world .Consequently, in the documents of the Maoist revolutionaries, the concept of å§¡tion of the negationé³ almost eliminated while dealing with the concept of é¡¬ecticsÔ¨e document(Fundamental Documents)of PCP(Peruvian Communist Party) said :
î ´he content of Maoism, of its substance, we must point out the following basic issues:ï³°an>
î �arxist philosophy he developed the essence of dialectics, the law of contradiction, establishing it as the only fundamental law; and besides his profound dialectical understanding of the theory of knowledge,whose centre are the two leaps that make up its law(from practice to knowledge and vice versa, but with knowledge to practice being the main one).We emphasize that he masterfully applied the law of contradiction in politics; and moreover he brought philosophy to the masses of people, fulfilling the task that Marx left.ï³°an>
Visibly, PCP did not identify with the dialectics of Engels or Marx. There was no room of negation of the negation in their understanding of dialectics. Similarly, Com. Prachanda, Chairman, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) wrote in î �aoismì¯³pan>
á¯ has established the law of contradiction as the essence of dialectical materialism and as the fundamental law of dialectics in all the fields of nature, society and human knowledge. The analysis of universality of contradiction and the process and importance of determining principal contradiction has raised to new heights the development of understanding of dialectics. The important role played by fundamental law of contradiction in formulating the strategy and tactics of revolution is self-evidentì¯³pan>
Com. Prachanda made no comments on the rejection of å§¡tion of negationâ¹¦nbsp; Mao .
These disseminations regarding Marxist philosophy have already created serious problems and confusion in the field of development of Marxist theory.
In a sense, the ideological-theoretical potential and leaning of advancement of the Marxist theory, at present, is confronting with the â¡£ticeï¦ the mainstream contemporary revolutionism. This has accentuated, to a large extent, the problem of the development of Marxist theory.
The nature and task of the contemporary Theoretical Struggle
In this article we have discussed, in detail, on the role of the theoretical frame-work of é¡¬ecticsé® the transformation of á²¸ist philosophyé®´o á²¸ist world-outlook×¥ have endeavored to mark the inconsistencies of the explanations and applications of the largely accepted å¶¯lutionary theoryé® the field of philosophy, from both methodological and epistemological angle, which was expressed as Marxist theory so far,after the death of Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels.In the present article we will not enter into the various other sections of the Marxist theory including á²¸ist Political Economyá®¤ ã©¥ntific Socialismì¯³pan>
We are well aware of the fact that the most profound interpretation and application of the Marxist world outlook, i.e., dialectical materialism, were set by Karl Marx himself in his worthiest contribution to the world, in describing and analyzing the course of history of man, the materialist conception of history ; and so we have the responsibility to make effort to identify the impact of the erroneous concept of the á²¸ist Dialecticsà²¯mulgated and practiced by the later great revolutionary leaders of the International Communist Movement, in the å¶¯lutionary practiceï¦ the last century. We, in separate articles, must try to convey our views on those sections of the Marxist theory, in future, in this magazine.
We are ready to accept and appreciate the inconsistencies, if any, even in the philosophical-theoretical frame-work of é¡¬ecticsà¦¯rmulated even by Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels. But, so far as our knowledge and understanding are concerned, we are of the opinion that the understanding of materialist philosophy of the later Marxist leaders, after Marx and Engels, in comparison to that of the fathers of the theory, was too incomprehensive to explore or identify the á°’ or î£¯nsistenciesï¦ their world-outlook, if they exist at all .
Karl Marx burnt up most of his creative energy to write the worthiest book of the Marxist classics, Das Capital. In this book, he described the internal working of the Capitalist system as a whole and showed how the course of the ïµ²neyç©¬l be ended (å§¡tion of the negationé® the philosophical sense) in giving birth to another social system, where the forms of property will be both, individual (for the articles of consumption) and social (for the land and the means of production).
The revolutionary practice of the last one hundred years has given birth to a set of new theories of revolutionary practice too. In the history of the international communist movement, the å¶¯lutionary practiceç©´h the world outlook of Marx and Engels was uniquely continued and led by Vladimir Lenin. And in doing so he had evolved, formulated and introduced new theories of revolutionary practice, e.g. theory of the stage of revolution, theory of imperialism, theory of the military affairs, theory of organization etc.Some parts of these theories should be marked as î©¶ersal Teachingsá®¤ the others had laid foundation for more comprehensive and correct theories be evolved in the future through re-evaluation and re-formulation of the present state of the theory. The ïµ²neyæ²¯m the á³ Capitalä¯ ï¿½rialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalismã¨¯uld be reviewed thoroughly. The unprecedented events of the world history, i.e., the Russian and the Chinese revolutionary power-seizure, and the experience of the struggle to achieve ï£©alismã¨¯uld be re-evaluated with highest objectivity and endeavor in the light of á³ Capitalá®¤ î´© å¨²ingì¯³pan>
After the death of Marx and Engels, even in the early years of twentieth century, a vacuum was found in the field of Marxist theory in general, particularly in the comprehensive enrichment of the Marxist World Outlook. Though the situation was not at all comparable with the present state of things because of the intensive and extensive â¡£ticeï¦ the last one hundred years, still it will be helpful to us if we cast a glance at a relevant writing of Rosa Luxemnurg of 1903. In ä¡§nation and Progress of Marxismã¨¥ wrote:
ï¥³ this account for the stagnation in Marxist doctrine which has been noticeable for a good many years? The actual fact is that- apart from one or two independent contributions which mark a theoretical advance ã©®ce the publication of last volume of Capital and of the last of Engelsà·²itings there have appeared nothing more than a few excellent popularizations and expositions of Marxist theory.The substance of that theory remains just where the two founders of scientific socialism left it.ï³°an>
This was the realisation of Rosa, eight years after the death of Fredrick Engels. She discussed, whether it was the reason that, Marxism had built too rigid a framework for independent action of the consciousness of the later Marxists. She wrote:
ä £annot be said, then, that the rigidity and completeness of the Marxist edifice are the explanation of the failure of Marxà³µccessors to go on with the building.ï³°an>
Why she thought in this line?
She wrote :
ä©¬l, it is only where economic matters are concerned that we are entitled to speak of a more or less completely elaborated body of doctrines bequeathed us by Marx.The most valuable of all his teachings, the materialist-dialectical conception of history, presents itself to us as nothing more than a method of investigation, as a few inspired leading thoughts, which offer us glimpses into the entirely new world, which open us to endless perspectives of independent activity, which wing our spirit for bold flights into unexplored regions,ï³°an>
Contrary to Stalin and Mao, both Lenin and Rosa expressed in unequivocal terms that Marx and Engels – in the question of Marxist Philosophy, Maxist World Outlook ç¨©le fighting the wrong philosophical trends, had made their theory reach an unparalleled height. Lenin was much more concrete in expressing his opinion. In his opinion, the ï³´ cleará®¤ å¬¬y expoundedæ¥²sion of philosophical materialism is available from the writings of Engels, 1) Ludwig Feuerbach, the end of Classical German philosophy, 2) Anti-Duhring
á²¸ and Engels always defended philosophical materialism in the most determined manner and repeatedly explained the profound error of every deviation from this basis.Their views are most clearly and fully expounded in the works of Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and Anti-Duhring,which like the Communist Manifesto, are handbooks for every class-conscious worker.ï³°an>
It is very clear that, so far as the concept of é¡¬ectical materialismé³ concerned, Lenin fully accepted the explanation of Engels as the Marxist View.
We are, obviously, of the opinion that the interpretation of the á· of materialistic dialecticsà²¯pounded by the two great revolutionary leaders, Stalin and Mao, had given birth to deep crisis in comprehension and development of Marxist theory as such. But, that should not and must not generate any misconception that they are responsible for the present void in the devevelopment of Marxist theory for at least a period of last fifty years. The materialist conception of history of Marx, Engels and Lenin had tackled simultaneously the necessity of the civilisation to go forward and chances of various routes, which might set in to reach the î¤’, consistent with the necessity. Marxism is not astrology, having any å´¥rministicæ¯²mula to accomplish socialism or communism. While working out the plan of the revolutionary practice of their age Marxist leaders were compelled to have their own idea and assessment of those è¡®cesÍ¡ny of those assessments,of Marx,Engels,Lenin,Stalin and Mao have already been proved to be absolutely correct; at the same time, some were wrong. But, the transformation of almost all the major Communist parties of the world to bourgeois parties, non-existence of any international centre for the last sixty years and even non-existence of significant political agitation and movement of the working class in the capitalist world after the second world war have engendered ground for making serious search and review of the Marxist theory as a whole.
In the present context, some tasks to make a comprehensive programme of è¥¯retical Struggleá²¥:
- While fighting the contemporary reactionary bourgeois philosophical and ideological theories, to make dialectical materialism a living subject, in the proper sense, as a theory of å¶¯lutionary practiceé® the contemporary studies and research.
- To study, explain, debate and develop the theories of the last one hundred and fifty years, in the field of science (specially of Physics in general, astronomy, genetics, biotechnology, psychology ), linguistics, technological science, ecological studies, gender studies, anthropological studies, studies of ethnicity, caste and religion etc. from the standpoint of Marxist world-outlook.
- To review and identify the inconsistencies of the theories and elucidations, written and developed from the revolutionary practice of the international communist movement led by our great leaders, with reference to the standpoint of Marxist world-outlook.
- Уделять особое внимание анализу и тщательно разобрать: (а) диалектическая связь между é£atorship из Proletariatá®¤ âetarian Democracyé® в период перехода к социализму, (б) отношение между развитием производительных сил и социализации собственности на средства производства в собственном смысле, в переходный период к социализму с особым акцентом на революции в отсталых странах. и (III) взаимосвязь между продвижением революции отсталых стран к социализму с расширенным капиталистического мира, а также (IV) собственной природы и характера взаимопроникновения и трансформации å®ralismá®¤ âetarian Democracyé®о друг с другом при функционировании åcratic Centralismé® КПРФ, взаимосвязь между КПРФ и пролетариата в целом до и после захвата государственной власти, (в) особенности накопления капитала в 21 веке и пути развития империалистический государственный механизмов, а также природы и характера кризиса мирового капитализма в 21 веке, в общем.
Today, the necessity of a qualitative development in Marxist theory is being felt by all the serious communist activists, leaders, groups or Party all over the world. It is being expressed in the form of å¥³tionï² ï®¦usionà¥erging from or within all the serious communist organizations at the international level. Even, the Maoists are not the exception. On the contrary, the need for a serious theoretical development has been asserted and expressed, in the most clear and reflective manner, in the international communist movement by Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). In the article, ï¿½rialism and Proletarian Revolution in the 21st Century àµ¢lished in è¥ WorkerÎ¯. 11, July 2007] it was written:
é³´ory has posed many important questions to deal with. Why the dictatorship of the proletariat turned into their opposite without any bloodshed no later than the main leadership died? How could revisionist forces so smoothly overturn dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism without any resistance from the powerful red army, state apparatus and the revolutionary people? Why Comrade Stalin failed to curb the counter-revolutionary renegades to emerge from and sustain in the party he had led in spite of forceful suppression against them? Whether the counter-revolution in China was an overnight coup dä¡´ or there was a long process of degeneration that culminated in 1976?ï³°an>
ï²ade Lenin had defined imperialism as a moribund stage of capitalism. But why is imperialism not only sustaining but also developing? When the inter-imperialist contradiction, during 70s, had reached at the brink of the third world war, Mao had said é´¨er revolution will prevent war, or war will give rise to revolutionÂµt neither one has happened till date. Why? These and alike are some very important questions that our generation must answer correctly to advance proletarian revolution in the 21st century.ï³°an>
We are of the opinion that, the nature of the å¶¥lopmentï¦ Marxist theory at this moment is not of a character that any kind of addition to the existing theory will serve the purpose. Some arbitrary and lopsided new theories will not furnish any change in the situation. A set of consistent and comprehensive theories, in different fields of Marxism, is the need. In this connection we can reiterate Lenin, about the course of development of the society, as such:
î ¯ur times the idea of development, of evolution, has almost completely penetrated social consciousness, only in other ways, and not through Hegelian philosophy. Still, this idea, as formulated by Marx and Engels on the basis of Hegelà°¨ilosophy, is far more comprehensive and far richer in content than the current idea of evolution is . A development that repeats,as it were,stages that have already been passed, but repeats them in a different way ,on a higher basis (ä¨¥ negation of the negationì¯³pan>, a development, so to speak,that proceeds in spirals, not in a straight line ; a development by leaps, catastrophes,and revolutions ; â¥¡ks in continuityë ´he transformation of quantity into quality ; inner impulses towards development, imparted by the contradiction and conflict of the various forces and tendencies acting on a given body,or within a given phenomenon,or within a given society;ä ¼/span>( Lenin, chapter é¡¬ecticsï¦ á²¸ist Doctrineæ²¯m,V.I.Lenin, Selected works, in three volumes, Progress Publishers, 1967)
This being the clear understanding of Marxist world-outlook, it is applicable to the development of human thinking and human knowledge also. Many segments of the present status of Marxist theory are to be negated for the sake of its development itself. And while performing that, it should be clear that, a å§¡tioné³ needed, not a rejection or destruction, in the philosophical sense of the term.
We are passing through a à©²alç¡¹ of development ,not a straight line, of human knowledge- a development in human knowledge, é¦®bsp; leaps, catastrophes, revolutions and breaks in continuityì¯³pan>
This being the nature of the development, it is a journey to a higher order of human knowledge, where the theory believed and practised at the cost of millions of martyrs world over will be ï´¨ overcome and preservedæ®¢sp; in Hegelian words ( which was condemned as å§§lery of wordsâ¹ Duhring,but appraised with great honour and adopted by Karl Marx).Those sections and contents of the theories are to be overcome,which are inconsistent and invalid with respect to practice realized,to time and,and above all, to Marxist world-outlook; and, on the other hand the whole of the revolutionary spirit imbibed in the theories, its closeness to âµ´hà´¨e proper and objective reflection of material world incorporated in the theories, the rational and dialectical analysis of the class society integrated within the theories and obviously the è©¬osophical materialismà©´s inherent and inbuilt soul, are to be preserved.
- á²¸ism and the Philosophy of science: A Critical Historyâ¹ Helena Sheehan
2.á²¸ism and Philosophyè±¹23) by Karl Korsch
3.é³´ory and Class Consciousnessè±¹23) by George Lukacs
- á²¸ism and Hegelâ¹ Lucio Coletti
5.å®©n and philosophyâ¹ Louis Althusser
6.è¥ Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean philosophy of Natureâ¹ Karl Marx
7.ã¨¥lling on Hegelâ¹ Fredrick Engels
8.å´´er from Karl to his father in Trierà±¸37 by Karl Marx
- é¡¬ectical and Historical Materialismâ¹ J Stalin
10.å®©n before Hegelâ¹¦nbsp; Louis Althusser
11.è¥ Laws of Natureâ¹ J B S.Haldane
- â¥¦aceÅ®gelsá„©alectics of Natureâ¹ J B S Haldane
13.å¯® RosenfeldÍ¡rxist Defense of Complementarityâ¹ Anja Skaar Jacobsen
14.å¡³on in Revolt: Marxism and Modern Scienceâ¹ Alan Woods and Ted Grant
- å¤·ig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophyâ¹ Fredrick Engels
- è¥ Historical Fate of HegelÄ¯ctrineâ¹ Hegel-by-Hyper Text Resources
- á´¥rialism and Emperio-Criticismâ¹¦nbsp; Lenin
- î´©- Duhringâ¹ Engels
19.ä¨¥ Holy Familyâ¹ Marx and Engels
- è¥³es on Feuerbachâ¹ Marx
- è¥ German Ideologyâ¹ Marx and Engels
- è©³tentialism and Marxismâ¹ Doug Lorimer
23.å´²ograde Signs of the Timesâ¹ Engels
- ã¯®omic and Philosophical Manuscript of 1844â¹ Karl Marx
- á²¸-Engels Correspondence 1868â¹ Marx, Engels
26.á²¸ism, Science and Class Struggle: The Scientific Basis of the concept of the Vanguard Party of the Proletariatâ¹ Bahman Azad
27.â©³is in Physicsâ¹ Christopher Caudwell, 1939
28.è©¬osophical Notebookâ¹ Lenin
- è¹³ics and Philosophyâ¹ Werner Heisenberg, 1958
30.á¬« On Questions Of Philosophy, August 18, 1964, Selected Works of Mao Tse Tung, IXth volume.SOURCE: Mao chu-hsi tui Pî§¬ Hua-ng, Chang, Chou fan-tang chi- tá® ti pï¿½an] ï¿½ Tse Tung
- î ƒontradictionâ¹ Mao Tse Tung
32.ä¡§nation and Progress of Marxismâ¹ Rosa Luxemburg,1903
- á²¸ist Doctrineâ¹ V.I.Lenin
34.é¡¬ectical and Historical Materialismâ¹ Joseph Stalin
- ï¿½rialism and Proletarian Revolution in the 21st Century àµ¢lished in è¥¦nbsp; WorkerÎ¯. 11, July 2007]
36.å®¤amental Documents of PCP (Peruvian Communist Party)ï³°an>
- î �aoismâ¹ Com. Prachanda
38.é¡¬ectics of Natureâ¹ Engels.
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