Dialectical Materialism Cornforth

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)

Text of Dialectical Materialism Cornforth

  • 8/13/2019 Dialectical Materialism Cornforth



    Part One: Materialism

    1. Party Philosophy 42. Materialism and Idealism 133. Mechanistic Materialism 254. From Mechanistic to Dialectical Materialism345. The Dialectical Conception of Development41

    Part Two: Dialectics

    6. Dialectics and Metaphysics 47. Chan!e and Interconnections "#8. The $a%s of Development "9. The &e% and the 'ld ()10. The &e!ation of the &e!ation )511. Criticism and *elf+Criticism 212. Dialectical Materialism and *cience )

    Concl,sions 1#)

    -ilio!raphy 11#


  • 8/13/2019 Dialectical Materialism Cornforth


    Forward by M. Hyland

    This book was typed up from the International Publishers opy!

    ri"ht 19#$. %ediated& 'In (emory of %a)id *uest& +ho %ied in ,pain

    in the ,tru""le -"ainst asism./

    This tet is& in the opinion of the editorial board and a sur)ey ofa doen or so older omrades& the best 3n"lish lan"ua"e tet on %ialet!ial (aterialism a)ailable& perhaps best written to date. +e hope that

    you will find it informati)e and easy to approah. ornforth writes to themasses in the plain 3n"lish of his re"ion and time 41958 3n"land& and

    stiks to a strai"ht presentation of the theory and the fats& withoutdel)in" into detailed tehnial proofs not appropriate for introdutory

    readers of philosophy or (arism.

    It has been out of print for many years& likely due to the unfortu!nate and freuent referenes to the works of . ,talin& who has sine the

    ori"inal publiation beome a ontro)ersial fi"ure. It is the opinion of

    myself as well as the PP that we are as a ommunity smart enou"h to

    take the "ood and lea)e the bad& realie that e)en broken loks are ri"ht

    twie a day& and "ood or bad& the man knew his way around a dialeti

    well enou"h to be ited.

    It is not the intention of this forward or this republiation to

    rehabilitate ,talin& or e)en to disuss him at all beyond makin" it learthat lea)in" ornforth:s itations as they appear in the ori"inal tet wasan editorial deision to preser)e for posterity& and maintain the inte"rity

    of the tet as it was written. I will lea)e the rest of the eplanation to theauthor& "ood luk;

    eel free to send your uestions& and your hate mail to!


  • 8/13/2019 Dialectical Materialism Cornforth


    Forward by M. Cornforth, the Author

    The present )olume deals with the basi ideas of (arist materi!

    alism and the dialetial method. - seond )olume will deal with the fur!ther de)elopment of these ideas in their appliation to soiety and the

    "rowth of human onsiousness=historial materialism and the theoryof knowled"e.

    I ha)e tried to onfine myself to a strai"htforward eposition of

    the leadin" ideas of dialetial materialism& so far as I myself ha)e su!

    eeded in understandin" them& without burdenin" the eposition with

    di"ressions into more tehnial uestions of philosophy& or with disus!

    sions about the polemis a"ainst any of the more abstruse philosophial

    theories& past or present& or with muh of the ar"umentation about parti!

    ular points whih mi"ht be neessary to defend them a"ainst philosoph!ial opponents.

    I ha)e done my best to limit the use of tehnial terms to theminimum& and to "i)e an eplanation of the meanin" of all suh terms as

    and when they our.


  • 8/13/2019 Dialectical Materialism Cornforth


    Part One: Materialism

    . Party Philoso!hyEvery philosophy expresses a class outlook. But in contrast tothe exploiting classes, which have always sought to uphold

    and justify their class position by various disguises and falsi-

    fications, the working class, from its very class position and

    aims, is concerned to know and understand things just as they

    are, without disguise or falsification.

    The party of the working class needs a philosophy which

    expresses a revolutionary class outlook. The alternative is to

    embrace ideas hostile to the working class and to socialism.This determines the materialist character of our philosophy.

    arty hilosophy and !lass hilosophy%ialetial materialism has been defined by ,talin as 'The

    world outlook of the (arist!>eninist Party./1This definition must appear a stran"e one& both to many politi!

    ians and to many philosophers. ?ut we will not be"in to understand dia!letial materialism unless we an "rasp the thou"ht whih lies behind

    this definition.>et us ask& first of all& what oneption of philosophy lies behind

    the idea epressed in this definition of party or=sine a party is alwaysthe politial representati)e of a lass=lass philosophy.

    ?y philosophy is usually meant our most "eneral aount of the

    nature of the world and of mankind:s plae and destiny in it=our world

    outlook.That bein" understood& it is e)ident that e)erybody has some

    kind of philosophy& e)en thou"h he has ne)er learned to disuss it.

    3)erybody is influened by philosophial )iews& e)en thou"h he has not

    thou"ht them out for himself and annot formulate them.,ome people& for eample& think that this world is nothin" but 'a

    )ale of tears/ and that our life in it is the preparation of a better life inanother and better world. They aordin"ly belie)e that we should suffer

    whate)er befalls us with fortitude& not stru""lin" a"ainst it& but tryin" todo whate)er "ood we an to our fellow reatures. This is one kind of

    philosophy& one kind of world outlook.@ther people think that the world is a plae to "row rih in& and

    that eah should look out for himself. This is another kind of philosophy.

    1 oseph ,talin&"ialectical and #istorical $aterialism,A.B.& 1950.


  • 8/13/2019 Dialectical Materialism Cornforth


    ?ut "ranted that our philosophy is our world outlook& the taskarises of workin" out this world outlook systematially and in detail&

    turnin" it into a well!formulated and oherent theory& turnin" )a"uelyheld popular beliefs and attitudes into more or less systemati dotrines.

    This is what the philosophers do.?y the time philosophers ha)e worked out their theories& they

    ha)e often produed somethin" )ery ompliated& )ery abstrat and )ery

    hard to understand. ?ut e)en thou"h only a omparati)ely few people

    may read and di"est the atual produtions of philosophers& these pro!

    dutions may and ha)e a )ery wide influene. or the fat that philo!

    sophers ha)e systematied ertain beliefs reinfores those beliefs& and

    helps to impose them upon wide masses of ordinary people. Cene&

    e)eryone is influened in one way or another by philosophers& e)enthou"h they ha)e ne)er read the works of those philosophers.

    -nd if this is the ase& then we annot re"ard the systems of thephilosophers as bein" wholly ori"inal& as bein" wholly the produts of

    the brain!work of the indi)idual philosophers. @f ourse& the formulationof )iews& the peuliar ways in whih they are worked out and written

    down& is the work of the partiular philosopher. ?ut the )iews them!

    sel)es& in their most "eneral aspet& ha)e a soial basis in ideas whih

    reflet the soial ati)ities and soial relations of the time& and whih&therefore& do not sprin" ready!made out of the heads of the philosophers.

    rom this we may proeed a step further.

    +hen soiety is di)ided into lasses=and soiety always has

    been di)ided into lasses e)er sine the dissolution of the primiti)e om!

    munes& that is to say& throu"hout the entire historial period to whih the

    history of philosophy belon"s=then the )arious )iews whih are urrentin soiety always epress the outlooks of )arious lasses. +e may on!

    lude& therefore& that the )arious systems of the philosophers also alwaysepress a lass outlook. They are& in fat& nothin" but the systemati

    workin" out and theoretial formulation of a lass outlook& or& if youprefer& of the ideolo"y of definite lasses.

    Philosophy is and always has been lass philosophy. Philosoph!ers may pretend it is not& but that does not alter the fat.

    or people do not and annot think in isolation from soiety& and

    therefore from the lass interests and lass stru""les whih per)ade soi!

    ety& any more than they an li)e and at in suh isolation. - philosophy isa world outlook& an attempt to understand the world& mankind and man:s

    plae in the world. ,uh an outlook annot be anythin" but the outlook of

    a lass& and the philosopher funtions as the thinkin" representati)e of a

    lass. Cow an it be otherwiseD Philosophies are not imported from someother planet& but are produed here on earth& by people in)ol)ed& whether


  • 8/13/2019 Dialectical Materialism Cornforth


    they like it or not& in eistin" lass relations and lass stru""les. There!fore& whate)er philosophers say about themsel)es& there is no philosophy

    whih does not embody a lass outlook& or whih is impartial& as opposedto partisan& in relation to lass stru""les. ,earh as we may& we shall not

    find any impartial& non!partisan& non!lass philosophy.?earin" that in mind& then& we shall find that the philosophies of

    the past ha)e all& in one way or another& epressed the outlook of the so!

    alled 'eduated/ lasses& that is to say& of the eploitin" lasses. In "en!

    eral& it is the leaders of soiety w