Dialectical Materialism & The History Of Philosophy

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These essays on the history of philosophy deal, above all with methodology. They also examine world outlook because a Marxist study of the history of philosophy must analyze the relation of dialectical materialism to the philosophy that preceded it.

Text of Dialectical Materialism & The History Of Philosophy

--TheodoreOizer17lctn ESSAYSONTHEHISTORY OFPHILOSOPHY IElnl ProgrmP"bliIhmJ1[oscou n "Belial)s/.'Y 1 byMIn' fromt l(' 1I" dimKuiesl/Of) J)('siglll'dly, 1'.Oii3CPMflll '\IIAJlElml 'JECI{IWMATgPlIAJl1l3M I11 llCTOPJlHJlJ10COinfmitC'simalinmathemat-ics.Anotiwr,('venmnrrgraphicC'xamplcofahellristic concept--thatis,onedischarginganoperationalfunction- theid('ntiflcationahstract.ioninlogic.Thislistingo[ typesofconcf.'ptsisfarfl'omcomplC'lr,TTO\\'('Yf'r,itis (,lIollghtodemonstratethcconceptualnaturcoftheoretical thinkinganditsilH'yitahlrlinkswiththl'hist.oryofphilos-)l ophyanflwithth('crl'aliYrconc{'ptualrfrOl'l. TIlf'or('t.irnlthinkingisnotconflllC'd10rrudy-madrcon-cepts.Theactualstudypro('('ssdepelopsc.onccpts:itdif - hrtw('('nIh('01,hinds..themlOi.C.lh.c.l:,limitsand tlH'm,unite;;thC'mintodC'flllitcsystems,coordi -natt's,811hordI08(cs,anddcyclopc; them,pte,NorrIoescoglliti\"{'t1H'orl,ticalthinkingslop IH'rc.Rf'5rnrehdiscovC'rsIIf'Wphrllomrna,lawsandobjects of('(Ignition,anditlIu'rf'fol'('PJ"PSIIPIH1St'StIll'formulation ofncwralf.'goril'slIHlI('YI'IlIH'W oreatf'g'oril';'; (withinaSIlf'ciflr.lipidof)amspcakingher('ahoutthe(/rl'ciopnlclltofcO/lreplS 6 anrc('ssarylogicalofthC'historicaloft.hrdel'eiopment0/knowledge- onlybC'causrIam t.ryingtodC'fmct.hf'rolf'oft.hehistory0/philosophyintlH' ageolddl'vf'loplTIrntofthroreticalthinking.\Vcknow thatevC'nt.hrg('f'atC'!';to[thepre-Marxianphilosopherssaw nolinkbet.wcf'nthedcvrlopml'ntofknowledgeandthr deYf'lopmrnloftheabilitytothinkinconcepts.Forexam-ple,Kantsaidthattheabilitytoexercisejudgment(to makeempiricaldatafitthemoregeneralconceptsandcat-cgoriC's)wasaninbornquality,andthatnoeducation.or trainingcouldmakeupfortheahsenceofthatessC'ntlal tl'ait.Kant'svjl'Wfittedperfectlyinthrwayhissystem llmlel'C'slimatcdthC'roleofthe ofsciencc,part.icu-larlythC'historyorphilosophy.lIadKantiancriticism. becn capahlcofgraspingthehcmisticimporlanceofthehistory ofknowledge,Kantwouldprobablyhaveconcludedthat notonlytheahilitytoexercisejudgmentbutalso.the ductiyrPOW(>Toftheimagination(whoseroleIII lionhC'l'mphasized)couldbeconSCIOuslydevelorC'donl}, throughacriticalandsystematicofthehIstory01 sciencC'.b I.I vVhilradmillingthatinbol'Dintellectualaillir-:{o C'\ist,Engrls,unlikeKant,accords tothestudy ofthrhistol'vofculture,andpartICularlytothe consciousand soundstudyofthrhis-t.oryofcognitivclhinking,especiallythe,result::;of twoandahalfthousandyearsofphilosophy.DC\f.'l-opingthisconcC'ptinhis 0/ thatthestudyofthehIstoryorphdosoph,yt:(' ofthC'experience 111 t 1(' C0111.SOofphilosophy'sdeyrlopment-1stl'ulyasch?olof ...."nil"!' theMcticalthinking,Thelatter, heplltIt.,anI I< I'iaiistphilosophC'fs,turll N\tntht'pnnthC'IRI andrationalisttraditioninphilosophy.obviouslynndl'l"l'R' timnting(hrimpOl'tanceofphilosophic"il'mpiricismancl empiric,,1naturalSCiC'llCC, BC'causeofthC'irdistinctivecontentnndsocialgrflvita t.ion,philosophicaldoctrinesdiITC'1's ubst antiallyinth oir abilitycriticallytoanal yzct.hcresultsofthepreccding drH'lopmrnlofphilosophy.Thisrofutrsliegcl 'sassertion thatsincrthclatrstphilosophicaldoctrineisthC' l'C' sllltof I'H'Q,thingprn'iollSphilosophiesha\'cachicvcdunlilthC'H, yit"mnstthellcontainthoprinciplC'sofall;itisth erefore, whC'nitil') aphilosophy,themostdcvclopcd,thcrichcst, andth('mostconcrete".(64;6,21)ThatlinC'ofl'C'aSOll-ingwouldmeanthatsinceBcrkclryandHllmecameafter Bacon,Descartes,Spinoza,Leibniz,LockcandHobbes, tlll'irdoctrineswereasynthesisoftheprincipleslaid downIIYtheirpredeccssorsandlhrybuiltfullcrandmorc dpyC'loPl'dphilosophicalsystrms.Obviously,thi swasnotso. lIegC'1C'xaminedBcrkelC'yand1[UI11("harshlycriticized theirsubjC'ctivcidealismandskepticism,andshowedhow farremo\'C'dthoseoutstandingphilosopherswerefromany assimilationofc\'crythingphilosophyhadaCCOIll -plu.;hed. beforethem. andHumewerebytheir natu.reof assimilation;theirphilosophical lea,mngs,chOiceandrelationtoLh oprcccding philosophIcaldoctr1l1cswcrrclearlyone-sided. "TTegC'l's.rrr?riswiththefllndnml'ntalsof /"al1solulrIdcallsmwinchplcturcs asde\'cloping ontwoplanes.Ontheonehand,ItISanc.\tr3.lcmpOl'al IIIIherealmof .thC' idea".ITC'gcldescribes Ill(' asauthentIcphilosopillcalthinking,Inthis wherl'histol'icnidc\'clopmC'nt 19rl'pla('('(1by]ogu'alhytll('sr}fdcvl'1011menL ortlipCon:ppl,SlicceSSIVestagl'lH1CC'ssarilyincilHh's Ihl'pn'cNllJIglogl('alstagrsandsllbordinatl' sthemto1\t2 n .. w1\/111Hlfll'(,lIHlIIlliugflliIJlldanlf'lltlilprl'fept011till' flthl'l'hllllcl,lill!;1I:tualhistoryofphjJ()sol'hywhiehIIl'gt'l fiOl'snnt.III.ill!Igllllrrt"11atr'ntneeds,or pl'oduction,etc"workedfortheofequalityis,firstofall,totheantit.ln menofourcl'nturyforthf'menandthemeansofcarlll'r centuricsandtomisunderstandthehistoricalmovcment bywhichIheg'('IH'ratiflnstrans[orme(l I'csult:sacqui,'cdbyOwgCnl'rationsthatprcccdc(\thl'm' -, ,

, "organicsystC'lll,atotalit.y(,llInpl'i ... inJ.:'nwp.d,1I1firandmOJ}lpnl.l'iaiiSI IICnoIon!'a. worldoutlooki.'" whatJi('gl'ldual I dilllensionoftht'historyofphilosophymeanstoIg-'19 non'majorcontradictioJlsandoH'f8implify UD-dcr::;tandingoftherca Idt'H' ioplllt'nlorphi losophy,point espl'ciallyimportanthN'i\IISl'1I0tonlydivide, allll,cuntra:;l!:;, twoaSlIl'('ts hif'toryorphilosophy; he15cqUl' opposi testodialec ticalidentity.For,accordingtoHegel,thetaskofphiloso-phyistoro\'ealtheunityofthoIrans('.C'ndcntalandthe immanent.,divineandthehuman,thccvcrla::)ting andthetransIent ;tosecthero;\1astheidealandvice \"('1'5;\. Althoughitproceedsl'omessontiallytheological.thoroafCprofounddialecticalinsightsinthedifIer- betweenthetwomajoraspectsofthehistoryof There .aretwomethodsinthescientiftcstudy o[history:the.andthespecific-historical, thelauertakmgmtoaccountthedistinctiveindividual ofagivenprocessinagi\'encountry,inparticu-larclrc.umstances,. andsoon .. Hegelregardshi slogicas thelogiCoftheIllstoryofphilosophyinitsideal,extra-form.Asto .theactualhistoryofphilosophy,it ISanddistortedreproduclionofphilosophy's YrIOrI "Thesuccessionofphilosophical lDISthesameasthatinthelogicalar- defillitlOns?ftheidea,"Hegelwrites,andampli-hes..1assertthatIfwefreemajorconceptsernerinn the o[systemsfromeverythi;g WiththeIr form,theirspeciflcapplications Iwetakethemmtheirpure[arm,wewillhavethedefinitionofthoideailselfinits10i-eadloterpr.etatl?n.Onthecontl'aryifwetakelogIfg, "armotIOn10itselfwewU..Ica01-motiono[historical'0'I. md.InIttheforward hutofcourse,onemust IfitheH'.majormoments; ceptsinthecontentorthe t,',lCsecon-. Appliedrationally,the10ical-thorm.(64;13,43) clbc-historicalmethodso[ ,eoretlCaiandt hespe-mustgohandinhandBtyate. equal ly.necessaryand lionofthesemethods inapplica-phyisimpossiblewithintheU th\llistory ofphiloso-ophy.HegelsubordinatestheI .o[ philos-thehistoryofphilosophytoCIIC-studyof ,:roach.of.substantiatedIlhilosophiC!1 schematicap-contradictIOnbetweenhistheoryoftl mg.lIencethe IeIS loryofphi loso-pityUIl'\til!'fipf'cifH:itIllyofClf>developmentofphilc0 ph,v,\\hic1Iof tontlOI101I'llilltoI If'theor) III(:I)ltl,I.Itiltill'actllaldl'velOjlIDf'il01philogopliY, thl'P' !II)fitI'III(K'"willI!IheI111111 WIkdthetheoryr thehistoryIJfthat wIIahicrDrchy oflogi( .. 1 andCo.Iteg:Qries.Inimpersollal thestatt- itS11, lfl1I from,.andhe notintel'pstl'li1[1thnpast'(4", 2!iJAcllli 19to(,up)-ult,thepicturei:;: totallydirferentinphilosophyWHchnl waysfacmlitspastSW(:cbothancientIlndsubsequenlphI-losophiesrvlainthclr-igniflcaw'('today,theirauthc:are actuall yourcontempOI"arips.Hwoppositionoftlwpresent andtl lf'past,soobviollsillthphistnryofscience,is(it' scribedashavinglitt1!'inphilosophy."'Thtlill divisibilityor rringtothenumerical-:,fphilo sophicalmasterpiec{'s.TherewasnoHegelIIIKant sworld, buttherewasKantintheworldofHegel,andthatine\-j tablyaffectedOil'lattN'sphilo:-;ophy.,-\11thi:; plythatalloublamlingphilosophers noton In anyera,afactorparamountimportanceforthe'pllllo,,-ophyofthehistoryof Butifinterpr:tedfu11y thatfactcompletelyrt'ful(>.-:;tlu'ass(>thonthe('xtratrmporalesspncl'ofNehphilosophy.Intheir attemptsatsalvagingthatid(>alistprinciplet.headherent:-ofthetrendinquest ionclaimthatforreaders(orst u-dents)ofphilosophirfllworks,theirarccontem-porariesnoffiflUerWhl'lltheyactuallyIm.'d.Butthat sertionisalsogrouml1l'ss. 0} Regreltably.thi gdenigrationof of!Orience issharedby!'oml'hi!'t orian"ofthe ..Forexample: d"("'10"OndrcKo"rc"CopcrfllcanorNewtoman accorinA'o!\ , x.. ,.I td's j "no!Oll"olog'tily.tl 1,e subjectof"stlldy"isnotofthisworld,lanslatlelr TllllSG\lf!roultclaimsth"lphilosophyf(''tIfff fron;te\'('J'yrlayrealityIImllurns10quit;an ncl'sI,se0 :\forrow'r,onlythatisphilosoph v 1I1,del?lh tlwll'pality,Thp]l(.rcl'Jllihh',IHngiblt, .",1deals,Wlt,l! "yI'l'alitv, Uhjl'4',pdtoI ... It101 rritil'Slll CIlI',rolllt1ll8i,ntailllallhetl{ferenl e1amongJhilosfJ pilIP110JUI onnthpye;offl>verydavII.1(Ilonl,rIbvphilosophicalthought.-I hug II I'vf!l'yda vliltvIIld"]01phiioSOPI1:WnJrnu!tdl'enll iI:O:l'lfrel'OIi. dislo-;.5IRyreal ity(orI'1l1hl'l',ontbeothersideofit;its l'. seuee reality,Th/.:lattcr,uulikeo\wyllay rll1l1t,.-.IS.11l'i('piu,thlyJjnkl!dto(reebutnotrandomphil-o'iojlillralhC'cIISHal",i;lYsand tlmongirrtltionl'opOII('nlsofthe"philosophyofthehi:.-toryof ophy"rejectmat('riaJbtanddefend"Plato's lIne, i,l'" orcours('.thl"dor5notmeanthatthey adhere10Phlto'::;philosophy,Theidealismoftodaycannot acceptPIMo'sdoctrineascreated2,000year"ago,,\ndIht' "philo, a lit'll! of phC'llumcIlology,, PlaloIlsedmyt.hstoexplainthefundamC'ntalsof sy:o: f, tern,Someadherentsoftheor11If' nf , Iry10doIll('Fornampit"inhis,u'lid.. "Myth,"isloryaud\ly:->tl'TY",.\lht'rt,,'agnt'l'i1t'Hpyna, oneofthemorefollow('r5ofthat:->chool,maiH-tains,fullyinthespiritof(;hri:-;tiant.h('oIogy,that."myth isawordoftruth,becans('itisawordoftrust",(n7;2ft) Myth,h('asserts,"istru('inaslIluchasitdisc()yc'r5H'Cllitv , fromitspointof\iew".(97; 24)Thispaeantomythhas adefinitetheologicalconnotat.ion,Accordingtothiscon c('pt,amythisnot('venasymbolbutasignofcosmic mysterycomingtomanasare\'clation,Thecntiremean-ingcodedintoamythisincalculablygreaterthant