Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction by Maurice Cornforth

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  • 8/10/2019 Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction by Maurice Cornforth


    Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction

    Volume One of the 3-volumeMaterialism and the Dialectical Method (By Maurice Cornforth 1960)

    Foreword The pre ent volume !eal "ith the #a ic i!ea of Mar$i t materiali m an! the !ialectical metho!% & fe" minorrevi ion have #een ma!e in the te$t for the econ! e!ition' an! t"o ne" chapter have #een a!!e! (Chapter

    ine an! Ten) in place of Chapter ine of the fir t e!ition% have trie! to confine my elf to a trai*htfor"ar! e$po ition of the lea!in* i!ea of !ialectical materiali m' o far a

    my elf have uccee!e! in un!er tan!in* them' "ithout #ur!enin* the e$po ition "ith !i*re ion into moretechnical +ue tion of philo ophy' or "ith !i cu ion a#out an! polemic a*ain t any of the more a# tru ephilo ophical theorie ' pa t an! pre ent' or "ith much of the ar*umentation a#out particular point "hich mi*ht #enece ary to !efen! them a*ain t philo ophical opponent %

    have !one my #e t to limit the u e of technical term to the minimum' an! to *ive an e$planation of the meanin* ofall uch term a an! "hen they occur%

    Maurice Cornforth' ,on!on%

    PART ONE: MATERIALISM 1 Part! Philoso"h! Part! Philoso"h! and #lass Philoso"h!

    very philo ophy e$pre e a cla outloo.% But in contra t to the e$ploitin* cla e ' "hich have al"ay ou*htto uphol! an! /u tify their cla po ition #y variou !i *ui e an! fal ification ' the "or.in* cla ' from it very clapo ition an! aim ' i concerne! to .no" an! un!er tan! thin* /u t a they are' "ithout !i *ui e or fal ification%

    The party of the "or.in* cla nee! a philo ophy "hich e$pre e a revolutionary cla outloo.% The alternativei to em#race i!ea ho tile to the "or.in* cla an! to ociali m%

    Thi !etermine the materiali t character of our philo ophy%

    ialectical materiali m ha #een !efine! #y talin a 2 The "orl! outloo. of the Mar$i t-,enini t 4arty%5 781

    Thi !efinition mu t appear a tran*e one' #oth to many politician an! to many philo opher % But "e "ill not #e*in toun!er tan! !ialectical materiali m unle "e can *ra p the thou*ht "hich lie #ehin! thi !efinition%

    ,et u a .' fir t of all' "hat conception of philo ophy lie #ehin! the i!ea e$pre e! in thi !efinition of party or ince aparty i al"ay the political repre entative of a cla cla philo ophy%

    By philo ophy i u ually meant our mo t *eneral account of the nature of the "orl! an! of man.in!: place an! !e tiny in it our "orl! outloo.%

    That #ein* un!er too!' it i evi!ent that every#o!y ha ome .in! of philo ophy' even thou*h he ha never learne! to

    !i cu it% very#o!y i influence! #y philo ophical vie" ' even thou*h he ha not thou*ht them out for him elf an! cannotformulate them%

    ome people' for e$ample' thin. that thi "orl! i nothin* #ut a vale of tear an! that our life in it i the preparation for a#etter life in another an! #etter "orl!% They accor!in*ly #elieve that "e houl! uffer "hatever #efall u "ith fortitu!e' not

    tru**lin* a*ain t it' #ut tryin* to !o "hatever *oo! "e can to our fello" creature % Thi i one .in! of philo ophy' one .in!of "orl! outloo.%

    Other people thin. that the "orl! i a place to *ro" rich in' an! that each houl! loo. out for him elf% Thi i another .in! ofphilo ophy%

    But *rante! that our philo ophy i our "orl! outloo.' the ta . ari e of "or.in* out thi "orl! outloo. y tematically an! in!etail' turnin* it into a "ell-formulate! an! coherent theory' turnin* va*uely hel! popular #elief an! attitu!e into more or

  • 8/10/2019 Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction by Maurice Cornforth


    le y tematic !octrine % Thi i "hat the philo opher !o%

    By the time the philo opher have "or.e! out their theorie ' they have often pro!uce! omethin* very complicate!' verya# tract an! very har! to un!er tan!% But even thou*h only a comparatively fe" people may rea! an! !i*e t the actualpro!uction of philo opher ' the e pro!uction may an! !o have a very "i!e influence% ;or the fact that philo opher have

    y tematie can only conclu!e from thi that the "or.in* cla ' if to!ay it inten! to ta.e over lea!er hip of ociety' nee! to e$preit o"n cla outloo. in philo ophical form' an! to oppo e thi philo ophy to the philo ophie "hich e$pre the outloo. an!!efen! the intere t of the e$ploiter %

    @The ervice ren!ere! #y Mar$ an! n*el to the "or.in* cla may #e e$pre e! in a fe" "or! thu 2 they tau*ht the"or.in* cla to .no" it elf an! #e con ciou of it elf' an! they u# titute! cience for !ream ' "rote ,enin%

    @ t i the *reat an! hi toric merit of Mar$ an! n*el that they prove! #y cientific analy i the inevita#ility of the collap e ofcapitali m an! it tran ition to communi m' un!er "hich there"ill #e no more e$ploitation of man #y man % % % that theyin!icate! to the proletarian of all countrie their role' their ta .' their mi ion' namely' to #e the fir t to rally aroun!them elve in thi tru**le all the toiler an! e$ploite!%5

    Teachin* the "or.in* cla to .no" it elf an! #e con ciou of it elf' an! to rally aroun! it elf all the toiler an! e$ploite!'Mar$ an! n*el foun!e! an! e ta#li he! the revolutionarytheory of "or.in*-cla tru**le' "hich illumine the roa! #y"hich the "or.in* cla can thro" off capitali t e$ploitation' can ta.e the lea!er hip of all the ma e of the people' an! O:free the "hole of ociety once an! for all of all oppre ion an! e$ploitation of man #y man%

    Mar$ an! n*el "rote in the perio! "hen capitali m "a till in the a cen!ant an! "hen the force of the "or.in* cla"ere fir t #ein* rallie! an! or*ani

  • 8/10/2019 Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction by Maurice Cornforth


    Mar$ an! n*el tau*ht that'"ithout it o"n party' the "or.in* cla certainly coul! not "in victory over capitali m' coul! notlea! the "hole of ociety for"ar! to the a#olition of capitali m an! the e ta#li hment of ociali m% The "or.in* cla mu thave it o"n party' in!epen!ent of all #our*eoi partie % ;urther !evelopin* the Mar$i t teachin* a#out the party' ,enin

    ho"e! that the party mu t act a the van*uar! of it cla ' the mo t con ciou ection of it cla ' an! that it i thein trument for "innin* an! "iel!in* political po"er%

    To fulfill uch a role' the party mu t evi!ently have .no"le!*e' un!er tan!in* an! vi ionA in other "or! ' it mu t #e e+uippe!"ith revolutionary theory' on "hich it policie are #a e! an! #y "hich it activitie are *ui!e!%

    Thi theory i the theory of Mar$i m-,enini m% &n! it i not /u t an economic theory' nor yet e$clu ively a political theory' #uta "orl! outloo. a philo ophy% conomic an! political vie" are not an! never can #e in!epen!ent of a *eneral "orl!outloo.% pecific economic an! political vie" e$pre the "orl! outloo. of tho e "ho hol! uch vie" ' an! conver ely'philo ophical vie" fin! e$pre ion in vie" on economic an! politic %


  • 8/10/2019 Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction by Maurice Cornforth


    $cept for the "or.in* cla ' all other cla e "hich have a pire! to ta.e the lea!er hip of ociety have #een e$ploitin*cla e % But every e$ploitin* cla ' "hatever it achievement ' ha al"ay to fin! ome "ay of !i *ui in* it real po itionan! aim ' #oth from it elf an! from the e$ploite!' an! of ma.in* out that it rule i /u t an! permanent% ;or uch a cla cannever reco*ni

  • 8/10/2019 Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction by Maurice Cornforth


    to impo e it rule an! it i!ea upon the ma e of the people' in or!er to .eep them in u#/ectionA #ut it i a philo ophy"hich erve the common people in their tru**le to thro" off all 8e$ploitation an! to #uil! a cla le ociety%

    Mar$i m-,enini m i a philo ophy "hich ee. to un!er tan! the "orl! in or!er to chan*e it% The philo opher have onlyinterprete! the "orl! in variou "ay ' "rote Mar$% The point' ho"ever' i to chan*e it%5 1381 Therefore' if "e coul! ay ofpa t philo ophy that it ha #een an attempt to un!er tan! the "orl! an! man: place an! !e tiny in it an attemptnece arily con!itione! #y the cla outloo.' pre/u!ice an! illu ion of the variou e$ploitin* cla philo opher "e haveto ay of Mar$i t-,enini t philo ophy that it i an attempt to un!er tan! the "orl! in or!er to chan*e the "orl! an! to hapean! reali

  • 8/10/2019 Dialectical Materialism: An Introduction by Maurice Cornforth


    % Materialism and Idealism Materialism and Idealism&O""osed 'a!s o( Inter"retin) E$er! *uestion

    Materiali m i oppo e! to i!eali m ince' "hile i!eali m hol! that the piritual or i!eal i prior to the material' materiali mhol! that matter i prior% Thi !ifference manife t it elf in oppo e! "ay of interpretin* an! un!er tan!in* every +ue tion'an! o in oppo e! attitu!e in practice%

    >hile i!eali m ta.e many u#tle form in the "ritin* of philo opher ' it i at #ottom a continuation of #elief in theupernatural% t involve #elief in t"o "orl! ' in the i!eal or upernatural "orl! over a*ain t the real material "orl!%

    n e ence i!eali m i a% con ervative' reactionary forceA an! it reactionary influence i !emon trate! in practice%Mar$i m a!opt a con i tent tan!point of militant materiali m%

    Our philo ophy i calle! ialectical Materiali m' ai! talin' #ecau e it approach to the phenomena 1781 of nature' itmetho! of tu!yin* an! apprehen!in* them' i !ialectical' "hile it interpretation of the phenomena of nature' it conceptionof the e phenomena' it theory' i materiali tic%5 178E

    Materiali m i not a !o*matic y tem% t i rather a "ay of interpretin*' conceivin* of' e$plainin* every +ue tion%

    The materiali t "ay of interpretin* event ' of conceivin* of thin* an! their interconnection '

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