Episode 3: Dialectics

In episode 2 we learned about materialism, but this is only half of Marx’s main philosophical approach.  The other half is the dialectical method?  What the heck is that?  Listen to this podcast to find out!  Episode 3 – Dialectics


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Marxism Today is podcast series designed for beginners and newbies to Marxist theory. The podcast will introduce you to certain topics and ideas central to Marxism and it will show you how Marxist theory can be applied to specific issues in order to understand them.
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8 Responses to Episode 3: Dialectics

  1. despicable says:

    I have always maintained that Marxism is a way to understand the way society changes “SCIENTIFICALLY!”
    My understanding of the “Scientific Method.” is that SCIENTISTS do not believe! They either “KNOW or they DO NOT KNOW!”
    “Belief” is the absence of knowing, and that is why BELIEVERS must rely on FAITH to eliminate doubt from what they believe in.
    Scientists do not have or need FAITH , because their understanding is determined by “EVIDENCE” and the more verifiable evidence that the scientists have, the more probability that the findings of those that use the scientific method is correct.
    Philosophy cannot be an objective understanding of OBJECTIVE REALITY.
    The product of a philosophers abstract thinking. It is primarily not based on the discovery of evidence, but is the inner workings of the philosophers brain. It is SUBJECTIVE NOT OBJECTIVE!
    “DIALECTICS is based on the “PHILOSOPHY of Hegel! But what MARX did with the philosophy of Hegel, was to turn HEGEL’S philosophy on it’s head and turn it into it’s opposite of what it formerly was.
    Marx turned Hegel’s “Dialectic,” from a subjective Metaphysical philosophy of “How many angels could dance on the head of a needle,” to a Objective Materialist Science. A science that became “DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM!”
    Dialectical Materialism is the understanding that Matter is PRIMARY and nothing exists outside of MATTER IN MOTION!
    It is impossible to destroy or create the matter that exists, so the only conclusion that can be scientifically arrived at is that MATTER ALWAYS EXISTED!
    Matter is constantly changing and the way it changes from one form to another form that is incidentally a more evolved form, …is by moving in a DIALECTICAL way that is forced to do so by the irreconcilable contradictions that exist inside of all forms of matter and everything that reflects “MATTER IN MOTION!” 

    When Hegel’s Dialectics was transformed by Karl Marx it was no longer a subjective philosophy. It became an objective SCIENCE!
    Qualitatively different from what it formerly was.

    All true scientists attempt to discover what is objectively true and they attempt to do so by approaching their subject matter with as much of an open mind as is humanly possible.
    To do otherwise would prejuidice their scientific findings and would contaminate what they were scientifically attempting to do.

    Because my understanding of Dialectical Materialism is objective and not subjective.
    It would not be rational for me to BELIEVE in Dialectical Materialism, because It is not an “IDEOLOGY! It is a SCIENCE!
    A Science of understanding of what occurred in the past and what is occurring in the present and consequently what will occur in the future.

    Because it is a scientific understanding. and it is not an “IDEOLOGICAL BELIEF, I cannot believe in what events will happen in the future! … I can SCIENTIFICALLY know what events will happen in the future!
    I know that ‘Socialism will follow Capitalism and that Communism will follow Socialism!
    This is not what I believe, this is what I know!
    SCIENCE is capable of predicting outcome. Science when it understands a particular cause can accurately predict the particular effect of that particular cause.
    Science using the scientific method can accurately predict the future!
    Those that enter the arena to argue that MARXISM is an IDEOLOGY or a PHILOSOPHY is dead wrong and does the science of Marxism a disservice!

  2. I think we are largely in agreement. I think the addition of materialism to dialectics helps make it more scientific. Of course, there will be others who find dialectical materialism to be non-scientific, and I will admit that it is not as perfect as a double blind experiment with a control blah blah blah, but we cannot run these experiments with the history of mankind, so we must use the best science available, dialectical materialism is that method.

    I have a hard time finding a clear line between science and belief. If we look at science closely enough we must eventually make some assumptions to even begin to use science. We must agree that the material world exists – although we cannot strictly prove this, etc. These assumptions are essentially beliefs.

    To be clear, I find science to be better than simple belief, but I am not as quick to dismiss belief, because even science itself requires a certain amount of belief to function.

    I also disagree that philosophy or anything purely mental is a belief and not a science. I can abstractly think about math. I can abstractly say 2+2 or (y=4x+10) with no material basis, but this thinking can still be sound and logical (and dare I say, scientific). Philosophies can be wrong and right. I would define philosophy as a collection of ideas which are supposed to have an internal logic and can be used to accurately understand the world.

    • despicable says:

      When I say that it is my understanding that the “scientific method” is that scientists so as to not contaminate the experiment of proving or disproving a hypothesis attempt to do so by attempting to start the experiment with as much a open mind as is humanly possible. This is what scientists do so that they will not contaminate the experiment with pre-judging the facts before all of the facts are in.

      All belief is based on subjective thinking. If it was based on objective thinking it would be objective scientific thinking not philosophical subjective thinking.

      When scientists argue that the world consists of only “matter in motion”
      and nothing exists that is not matter in motion, they do so because they can prove scientifically that matter exists and nothing outside of matter exists! This is what scientists know as a fact and cannot as yet prove otherwise.

      A hypothesis is something that scientists “DO NOT AS YET KNOW!” and falls into the Scientific Method of either “KNOWING or NOT KNOWING!”

      It is the diametric opposite of believing something is true because you have faith that it is so.

      “Philosophy” has to be a “Belief System,” and being so it will accept what is real and true on the basis of emotional faith, and can look the other way with regard to hard evidence that is indisputable.

      Their is much in science that is abstract but that what is abstract is a reflection of what is concrete in the world of matter in motion.
      If philosophers were objective in their thinking they would no longer be philosophers, they would be scientists!

      • Again, I think we are largely in agreement. Our difference of opinion on philosophy seem to be largely a semantic issue, so I’m not worried about it.

        Of course, I said this before, but I still recognize that science requires a certain amount of belief. The classic example is the old Descartes argument, something like “We only know the world through our perceptions, but sometimes our perceptions are wrong, so how can we know anything is real? Perhaps our entire lives are just dreams!”

        I think that there is a material world, but I cannot prove that my entire life isn’t just a dream and all the things in the world not figments of my imagination. I simply have to accept that as a belief if I am even going to employ science. That is why I say that even we who use science must have some belief.

  3. despicable says:

    Science either KNOWS, or it does NOT KNOW! It does not BELIEVE!

    What it knows it knows relative to the amount of physical evidence that exists relative to the hypothesis.

    The degree of scientific certainty of what is transformed from a theory to a scientific fact is determined by the amount of hard indisputable evidence that exists relative to the hypothesis that is examined.

    It is my understanding that science operates with the understanding that what is scientifically known is relatively known using the scientific law of “PROBABILITY.”

    The more concrete evidence that scientists have, the more the degree of probability that what the scientists say is a probable fact.

    It is very much probable that under the conditions of temperature change that water will dramatically change from a liquid form to a vapor form. It will do so under relatively the same temperature change and same surrounding conditions, over and over again.

    It could be scientifically said that the probability of this occurring under similar conditions in the near and distant future is so much probable that it can be safely PREDICTED that it is very probable that what happened in the past, about water turning into steam will under similar conditions, will be repeated in the present and into the future.

    The same could be said about “Capitalism” being the cause that creates the effect of “Socialism,” and that Socialism being the cause that creates the effect of Communism.

    It is a scientific certainty, because of what we know of the past and the present, that the probability of this social change taking place, falls into the scientific realm of scientific certainty, and can be PREDICTED, scientifically that it will happen in the future.

    It is the only possibility that exists for our future, using the scientific method!

    • I’m going to have to disagree with you to a certain extent. While I have mentioned before that we share an affinity for science, I also view human society dialectically. It is a sort of material dialog between opposing forces. The outcome is determined by our struggle, if we fail in our struggles, capitalism can persist. To even muddy the waters further, post-capitalist society need not be socialist. In fact, I see signs of the USA heading towards a planned but privatized corporate rule (maybe you want to qualify this as a new brand of capitalism, but I see the potential for an entirely new kind of exploitation here).

      I like your comments. I would like to think that socialism is inevitable, but thinking that way can cripple any socialist movement. If socialism is inevitable, then I do not need to fight for it. Socialism can only come through our struggles with capitalism, our dialog with workers, minorities, students, intellectuals, etc. We must form alliances and engage in material struggle if we hope to change society.

  4. I agree that struggle is a very necessary element for creating progressive change. Matter is always in motion. when it slows down the elements that make up a whole, separate and the whole falls apart. The only alternative for the parts that had distanced themselves from the whole, is to come back together in a new way, and according to the science of dialectics, the new way is a diametrical opposite that existed in the past.
    The amount of struggle to keep things as they are, or move backward the way it was in our no longer relevant past, or to move forward into a new untested future, are the options that we have, and had throughout world history from the beginning of time, to the present time. The amount of struggle will determine if we go temporarily backward into a past that is no longer relevant, stand still inside the present that may be out of step with the constantly changing conditions, or move forward into a future that is the diametrical opposite of what formerly existed in the past and the present.
    according to Marxists, this transformation is described as a dialectical leap, and what ever happens, and when it happens, is determined only by struggle.
    Although their are some Marxists, that disagree with me about the ability of science to predict the future, I am positive that the cause of Feudalism as it progressed created the effect of Capitalism. It was inevitable because it was the only option available to the system of Feudalism, was to change in the manner that it did.
    Capitalism inevitably will change into a system of Socialism, and will do so because the irreconcilable conditions that are a part of the foundation of the capitalist system will crumble, and the only possible alternative to capitalism is a system of socialism.
    Communism will be the effect caused by socialism. When socialism develops the productive forces that make it possible to end scarcity, and material insecurity, there will come a time when a new type of humanity will be born on the planet earth “A secure social scientific being, that will no longer need a state apparatus to force the people to be social. They automatically will know about their surroundings and will have no desire or need to harm the world community but only to improve the world environment by contributing in a social scientific way. These are the conditions of communism that will allow for the withering away of the political state apparatus and the establishment of an administration of things, not people.
    This is what I know will eventually happen, if we don’t destroy ourselves and the planet in the struggle against those that want to go backwards, and those that want to stand still.

  5. OOPS! … I forgot to make this point!
    Capitalism like everything evolves. Capitalism at this point in time is evolving into the stage of globalism. The nature and character of capitalism is predictably changing as it grows out of it’s Nationalist stage and into it’s Global stage.
    The Nation State is on it’s way out of existence as the foundation of the nation state that is capitalism, crumbles, as capitalism becomes a global force, and is no longer a nationalist force.
    Capitalism going global is a new advanced stage of capitalism and the consequences of this logical development is a contempt by this new global oligarchy for national work forces, national cultures and national boundaries.
    The world is their oyster and capitalism has outgrown the “Nation State, and they will attempt to call all of the shots and ignore all national interests as being no longer relevant to the new global interests of this global oligarchy.
    I am convinced that it would be wrong and reactionary to fight this “Globalism” by struggling for ‘Nationalism! It is my understanding that those that are and will be ignored and priced out of the marketplace by those that are only interested in grabbing for themselves the highest rate of profit in the quickest period of time, should engage their enemy, globally and not as a national entity.
    Workers of the world, unite!

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