Book Dialectical Materialism

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  • 8/3/2019 Book Dialectical Materialism


    Alexander Spirkin

    Dialectical Materialism

    First Published: 1983 by Progress Publishers;

    Transcribed: by Robert Cymbala.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction 3

    Chapter 1. Philosophy As A World-View And A Methodology 6

    1. What Is Philosophy? 6

    2. Philosophy as a World-View 15

    3. Philosophy as Methodology 26

    4. Philosophy and Science 33

    5. Philosophy and Art 41

    Chapter 2. The System of Categories in Philosophical Thought 48

    1. The Categories of Dialectics 48

    2. Matter as the Substance of Everything That Exists 50

    3. The Motion of Matter 59

    4. Space and Time 62

    5. The Principle of Universal Connection and Development 666. The Principle of Causality 70

    7. System and Structure 79

    8. Essence and Phenomenon 86

    9. Quality and Quantity 107

    10. Negation and Continuity 113

    11. Contradiction and Harmony 118

    Chapter 3. Consciousness of the World and the World of Consciousness 125

    1. The General Concept of Consciousness and Mental Activity 125

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    2. The Material and the Spiritual 139

    3. Consciousness and Language 148

    Chapter 4. The Theory of Knowledge and Creativity 159

    1. General Concept of Cognition 159

    2. Cognition and Practice 166

    3. What Is Truth? 172

    4. The Sensuous Image of the World 180

    5. Thought 182

    Chapter 5. On the Human Being and Being Human 207

    1. What Is a Human Being? 207

    2. The Human as the Biosocial 209

    3. Man in the Realm of Nature 214

    4. Man and Society 220

    5. Man as a Personality 225

    6. Man the Doer 240

    7. Destiny, Freedom and Responsibility 252

    8. Man and culture 267

    Appendix A. Request to Readers 287

    Appendix B. Front Matter 287

    Colophon 289


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    This book is a consideration of the essence of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, its central

    propositions and problems, its historical role and significance in the complex world of today.

    We are witnessing, and participating in, enormous changes, changes that affect the very

    foundations of human existence, that have drawn into the revolutionary process peoples who one

    after the other are freeing themselves from centuries of social and national oppression and attaining

    high levels of national and class consciousness. These revolutionary changes in society are moving

    in step with ever more frequent and breathtaking discoveries in various spheres of science and

    technology. Contemporary science has become a powerful and direct transforming force in

    production and spurred into life a great scientific and technological revolution.

    Socialist society, free from exploitation of man by man, is being built in accordance with a

    strictly scientific social theoryMarxism-Leninism, whose philosophical basis is dialectical

    materialism. Marxist-Leninist philosophy has throughout its history been inseparably and openly

    connected with the revolutionary struggle of the working class, of all working people for their

    intellectual, social and national emancipationin this sense it is a committed philosophy. The

    philosophy of Marx was a turning-point in the development of world philosophical thought. Its

    great innovation was to make philosophy into a science, to remould the very purpose of

    philosophical knowledge, which as it became established not only explained but helped to transformthe world. Marxist philosophy, as Lenin put it, has the integrity of something forged out of a single

    piece of steel. It is a harmonious, consistent system of materialist views on nature, society and the

    mind, on the general laws of their development.

    This system was formed by generalising the greatest achievements of human thought and the

    practice of the oppressed classes' revolutionary struggle against their oppressors as an effective

    instrument for establishing the highest ideals to which humanity had aspired throughout the ages.

    The foundations were laid by the great thinkers Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. It was they

    who formulated the basic propositions of the theory which was to become the banner of the struggle

    for socialism, for true humanism, for the free development of every individual as a condition for the

    free development of all members of society.

    In the new historical conditions, when capitalism had entered the stage of imperialism, the

    scientific feat of the founders of Marxism was continued by Lenin, who, proceeding from the

    creative principles of their theory, analysed hitherto unknown processes, drew general conclusions

    concerning their future course, and thus delineated the road into the future. Lenin's work signalled a

    new stage in the development of Marxist philosophy as an eternally living and creative theory.


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    Marxist-Leninist philosophy, though essentially partisan, committed, is at the same time

    consistently objective. Subjectivism, voluntarism and dogmatism are entirely alien to it. Its

    propositions are based on analysis of the objective laws of world development, of the essence and

    dialectics of social processes. It defends the highest human values in the interests of the progressive

    forces. The invincibility of its conclusions is implicit in objective social development.

    Communism's ideological opponents, expressing the class interests of the bourgeoisie, have

    tried to discredit Marxist-Leninist philosophy by presenting it as an obsolete, dogmatic and

    therefore allegedly impotent theory when faced with the crucial problems confronting modern man.

    In the final analysis these attacks are orchestrated to win space for a reactionary world-view

    justifying and defending the world of capitalism. Many of its ideologists, however, acknowledge

    that they are compelled to battle with an adversary armed with one of the greatest of world

    philosophies, derived from the deepest sources of contemporary life and thought. Today, when the

    struggle for democracy and socialism, for the peaceful coexistence of different social systems

    stands in the forefront of the confrontation between irreconcilable ideologies, a mastery of the

    scientific world-view helps us to gain an understanding of the complex and contradictory processes

    that are shaking the modern world, without which the basic practical problems facing mankind

    cannot conceivably be overcome.

    The significance of Marxist-Leninist philosophy further increases in a situation where the

    very existence of man, of mankind as a whole, of all civilisation is threatened. The 26th Congress of

    the CPSU proclaimed, "to safeguard peace no task is more important now on the international

    plane for our Party, for our people and, for that matter, for all the peoples of the world".1 The

    Congress formulated a concrete programme for the defence of peace, which expressed the essential

    needs of contemporary social development and which can be realised only on the basis of the

    creative application and development of the principles of Marxist-Leninist theory and its philosophy

    by the communist and workers' parties, by all the progressive forces.

    At various international forums, in outspoken dialogues between representatives of variousspheres of knowledge and trends in philosophy advocates of dialectical materialism speak from

    obviously more advantageous positions when discussing the fundamental scientific and social

    problems, the global problems of the struggle for peace and for overcoming the ecological, energy,

    demographic and other crises that threaten humanity.

    The realistic ways and means of establishing a just social order revealed by Marxist-Leninist

    philosophy make it a profoundly humane philosophy. It elevates the dignity and rights of man,

    1Documents and Resolutions. The 26th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Novosti Press Agency

    Publishing House, Moscow, 1981, p. 40.


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    uncovers the objective conditions, ways and factors that have to be considered to achieve his social

    emancipation and all-round, harmonious development. It defends humane ideals and provides a

    theoretical substantiation for the peoples' struggle for peace and for the peaceful coexistence of

    different social systems.

    The present book is an attempt to expound the basic principles and ideas of this philosophy in

    a compressed form. Its range encompasses philosophy and art, man and his existence in the world,

    the creative power of human reason, man and culture and many other problems that are not usually

    examined in similar courses on Marxist-Leninist philosophy.


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    Chapter 1. Philosophy As A World-View

    And A Methodology

    1.What Is Philosophy?

    The subject-matter of philosophy. When we set out to study philosophy we enter the

    fascinating realm of the theoretically thinking mind, of wisdom that has been accumulated over the

    centuries. The oldest definition of philosophy is attributed by legend to the famous Pythagoras. Too

    modest to wish to be called wise, he said that he was not a wise man, but only