Refuting A Weak Attempt At Refutation -- Part Two

 

Preface

 

If you are using Internet Explorer 10 (or later), you might find some of the links I have used won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu); for IE11 select 'Compatibility View Settings' and then add this site (anti-dialectics.co.uk). I have as yet no idea how Microsoft's new browser, Edge, will handle these links.

 

 

For some reason I can't work out, Internet Explorer 11 will no longer play the video I have posted to this page. Certainly not on my computer! However, as far as I can tell, they play alright in other Browsers.

 

Quick Links

 

Anyone using these links must remember that they will be skipping past supporting argument and evidence set out in earlier sections.

 

If your Firewall/Browser has a pop-up blocker, you will need to press the "Ctrl" key at the same time or these and the other links here won't work!

 

I have adjusted the font size used at this site to ensure that even those with impaired vision can read what I have to say. However, if the text is still either too big or too small for you, please adjust your browser settings!

 

 

(1) Background

 

(2) Dogmatism

 

(3) Historical Materialism Versus Dialectical Materialism

 

(4) Unnecessary Dialectical Jargon

 

(5) Quantity Into Quality -- Again!

 

(a) Engels, MLT, And Mickey Mouse Science

 

(b) Dialectical 'Leaps'

 

(c) Gradual Descent Into Incoherence

 

(d) MLT's Rapid Melt-Down

 

(6) Notes

 

(7) Appendix

 

(8) Bibliography

 

Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism

 

Abbreviations Used At This Site

 

Return To The Main Index Page

 

Contact Me

 

Background

 

In 2015, I posted the following comment on a YouTube page which was devoted to introducing prospective viewers to a highly simplified version of DM:

 

Alas for this video, I have demolished this dogmatic theory (from a Marxist angle) at my site:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

Main objections outlined here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/Why%20I%20Oppose%20DM.htm

 

I have posted many similar comments on other pages at YouTube that are devoted to this theory and received little or no response. But, the producer of this film (whose on-screen name used to be Marxist-Leninist-Theory [MLT], but which has now changed to The Finnish Bolshevik -- henceforth, TFB) did respond (and to which I replied, here and here).

 

[All my debates and responses to TFB have now been collected together, here.]

 

Not long afterwards, a video appeared on YouTube, which was produced by MLT (and posted to his other site) -- entitled: "Refuting a Trotskyite Attack on Dialectics" -- although after being asked to drop the derogatory term "Trotskyite", MLT has agreed to stop using it:

 

 

Video One: The 'Case' For The Prosecution

 

I have now published Part One of my response to this surprisingly poor video -- as the title suggests, this is Part Two.

 

Dogmatism

 

In Essay Two at my site, I assert that, just like Traditional Philosophers and Metaphysicians, DM-theorists have imposed their dogmatic and a priori theory on nature and society. I have added a small selection of examples of their dogmatism to the Appendix.

 

This is despite what some of them tell us elsewhere:

 

"Finally, for me there could be no question of superimposing the laws of dialectics on nature but of discovering them in it and developing them from it." [Engels (1976), p.13. Bold emphasis added.]

 

"All three are developed by Hegel in his idealist fashion as mere laws of thought: the first, in the first part of his Logic, in the Doctrine of Being; the second fills the whole of the second and by far the most important part of his Logic, the Doctrine of Essence; finally the third figures as the fundamental law for the construction of the whole system. The mistake lies in the fact that these laws are foisted on nature and history as laws of thought, and not deduced from them. This is the source of the whole forced and often outrageous treatment; the universe, willy-nilly, is made out to be arranged in accordance with a system of thought which itself is only the product of a definite stage of evolution of human thought." [Engels (1954), p.62. Bold emphasis alone added.]

 

"The general results of the investigation of the world are obtained at the end of this investigation, hence are not principles, points of departure, but results, conclusions. To construct the latter in one's head, take them as the basis from which to start, and then reconstruct the world from them in one's head is ideology, an ideology which tainted every species of materialism hitherto existing.... As Dühring proceeds from 'principles' instead of facts he is an ideologist, and can screen his being one only by formulating his propositions in such general and vacuous terms that they appear axiomatic, flat. Moreover, nothing can be concluded from them; one can only read something into them...." [Marx and Engels (1987), Volume 25, p.597. Italic emphases in the original; bold emphasis added. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]1

 

[Again, I have added several more quotations of the same sort to Note 1.]

 

[DM = Dialectical Materialism/Materialist, depending on context.]

 

Often, on the same page, paragraph, or in some cases, in the very same sentence(!), DM-theorists proceed to do the exact opposite, and happily impose DM on the world.

 

[Proof can be found in the Appendix and the rest of Essay Two. Why they do this is explained in the aforementioned Essay and in Essays Nine Part Two and Twelve Part One.]

 

So, what has the above got to do with MLT's video?

 

This:

 

"Our Trotskyite claims to agree with and follow Historical Materialism [HM]...um, since it's the Marxist understanding of history, which is the analysis of history using materialist dialectics..., er, this cannot be. They don't even seem to understand even the Historical Materialism they claim to follow. [Quoting me:]

 

'Although I am highly critical of Dialectical Materialism [DM], nothing said here (or, indeed, in the other Essays posted at this site) is aimed at undermining Historical Materialism [HM] -- a theory I fully accept -- or, for that matter, revolutionary socialism. [Added in commentary by MLT: "Oh, yeah, of course, this is not meant to undermine those at all, even though you called Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao..., you just called them dogmatist idiots, but of course that's not meant to undermine them at all."] My aim is simply to assist in the scientific development of Marxism by helping to demolish a dogma [Added in commentary by MLT: "Like, oh, yes I'm sure you're just improving Marxism so much, here, by demolishing this 'dogma' (again, said with a slightly funny voice) by these fools, Marx and Engels"] that has in my opinion seriously damaged our movement from its inception....' [Italics restored.] 

 

"Well, thank god Marx and Engels have been so damaging to the movement; I'm so glad our Trotskyite here has come to save us." [Approx 12:04-13:08]

 

Once again, MLT prefers to make stuff up rather than quote me, for I nowhere call Marx, Engels and Lenin (and not even Mao or Stalin!) "dogmatist idiots" -- nor do I even imply it. Calling someone a "dogmatist" might, in MLT's book, imply he/she is an idiot, but he can't lay that particular accusation at my door.

 

I certainly criticise Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin and Trotsky (as well as Stalin and Mao) for importing an alien-class ideology into Marxism, an ideology based on the dogmatic, a priori ramblings of that Christian and Hermetic Mystic, Hegel (upside down or 'the right way up').

 

And, MLT needn't take my word for it; the evidence, of which there is plenty, can be found in the Appendix, and in Essay Two.

 

However, based on what MLT says in another of his videos, he interprets the word "dogmatic" and its cognates differently to me. I recognise this word has a specific use in Marxism (vaguely along the lines he suggests in that video, although from the way he phrases things, it seems his understanding of this word makes it almost synonymous with "opportunism"), but my use is more in line with the way it is employed in Philosophy, in particular, the way Kant understood this word:

 

"The 'sweet dogmatic dreams' of reason...arise from the 'presumption that it is possible to make progress with pure knowledge...from concepts alone'. For Kant, dogmatists believe that on the basis of pure reason it is possible to attain knowledge of the existence of God, of freedom in a world governed by necessity, and of the existence and even immortality of the soul. Dogmatic philosophers...were in danger of...pretending to knowledge which they could not legitimately possess...." [Caygill (1995), p.163.]

 

As we have seen, DM-theorists pretend to "knowledge which they could not legitimately possess", having derived this 'knowledge' from concepts and reason alone -- i.e., from Hegel, the Daddy of Dogmatism -- a classic example of which being Hegel and Engels's 'derivation' of the 'contradictory' nature of motion from 'reason' alone, based on what they thought was the 'real' meaning of words like "place" and "move". 

 

So, when I apply this word to the theses DM-theorists have imposed on the world, I have in mind their belief that (i) everything is inter-connected, that (ii) everything in the entire universe, for all of time, is subject to constant change, that (iii) every instance of change in the entire history of the universe is the result of "internal contradictions", that (iv) "truth is the whole", that (v) "truth is always concrete never abstract", that (vi) it is impossible to alter quality except by the addition or subtraction of matter and/or energy, that (vii) motion is a mode of "the existence of matter", that (viii) every instance of motion since the Big Bang (and possibly before) is 'contradictory', that (ix) there are such things as "interpenetrated opposites" in every object/process right throughout the universe, for all of time, that (x) the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that (xi) there is something called the 'Negation of the Negation', etc., etc.

 

All of these (and more) have been dogmatically imposed on the world.

 

[However, just because I seriously question these theses, that doesn't imply I accept or give credence to their opposites. The negation of non-sense is also non-sense. (I also hasten to add that I am using the word "non-sense" in a technical sense, which I have explained here.)]

 

Now, it is always possible that one or more of these dogmatic beliefs might, in a limited sense, be true, but given the way they have been formulated by DM-theorists, they remain far too vague and confused for anyone to be able to decide either way -- as, indeed, we will see later on in this response.

 

Be this as it may, these are empirical matters, to be decided on the basis of the available evidence (albeit, backed up by a scientific, not a philosophical theory), not by quoting the confused musings of assorted Idealists and Mystics, or by referring us non-believers to a handful of trite and anecdotal examples (which fail to support this theory anyway!).

 

But, I go further than Kant: the above theses were borrowed from Hegel (and a handful of other Mystics), who in turn obtained them solely from pure thought. Hence, I link dogmatism (in both Traditional Metaphysics and DM) with the attempt to derive truths about fundamental features of the universe from thought alone, or from the alleged meaning of a handful of specially-selected words (such as "Being", "Nothing", "Becoming", "contradiction", "quality", "change", "abstract", "essence", "mode", "opposite", etc.).

 

Of course, it is certainly possible that I am mistaken here, but it will take more than a few sarcastic remarks from MLT to demonstrate this. Indeed, one suspects MLT is out of his depth when it comes to Philosophy (which perhaps accounts for all his rambling videos (and now, this largely incoherent and garbled film) on the subject). In which case, sarcasm appears to work for him like some sort of metaphysical comfort blanket.

 

I also certainly think I have uncovered serious defects in DM, a theory that was imported into the workers' movement from the musings of a card-carrying Mystic and boss-class ideologue, and, if that is so, it is perfectly legitimate of me to point this out.

 

Again, as I noted at the beginning of the Essay for which this video purports to be a reply:

 

Some readers might wonder how I can claim to be both a Leninist and a Trotskyist given the highly critical things I have to say about philosophical ideas that have been an integral part of these two traditions from their inception. However, to give an analogy: we can surely be highly critical of Newton's mystical ideas even while accepting the scientific nature of his other work. The same applies here.

 

I count myself as a Marxist, a Leninist and a Trotskyist since I fully accept, not just HM (providing Hegel's baleful influence has been fully excised), but the political ideas associated with the life and work of Marx, Luxembourg, Lenin and Trotsky. Some might think that this must compromise HM itself, in that HM would then be like a "clock without a spring". The reverse is the case. As I aim to show below: if DM were true, change would in fact be impossible.

 

So, if I criticise Newton for wasting his time on Biblical Numerology and other forms of Esoteric Mysticism (dogmatically imposing some of these ideas on his theory of gravity), that doesn't mean I think he is a "dogmatist idiot". In relation to his other work, I recognise him for the genius he is.

 

Same here in relation to Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.

 

Finally, if we treat the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin as if they were infallible documents, that would be to spit on their graves. I am reasonably sure MLT agrees with me on this.

 

So, why all the sarcasm if I push this much further than he is prepared to do?

 

Historical Materialism [HM] Versus Dialectical Materialism

 

MLT then wonders how I can possibly claim to accept HM while rejecting DM:

 

"Historical Materialism means the application of Dialectical Materialism to the study of history and society therefore it is pretty hard for me to understand how one can oppose dialectics and yet support a method based on dialectics. But our Trotskyite explains:

 

'It could be objected that the distinction between DM and HM drawn at this site is completely spurious [editorialising comment by MLT omitted -- RL]; hence, the claims made in this Essay are hopelessly misguided.

 

'However, as will be argued in Essay Fourteen Part Two, [Added in commentary: "Like this is what I'm talking about. There is no way I am going to go through all that. I'm not going to go through Essay One through Fourteen, especially if they are multi-part Essays." -- MLT]  HM contains ideas that are non-sensical only when they are translated into DM-jargon. The eminent good sense made by the former theory [HM] -- even as it is perceived by workers when they encounter it (often in times of struggle) --, testifies to this fact.'

 

"So, this is like a long-running theme on this website. Our Trotskyite claims that basically dialectics means only using overtly difficult and confusing language. So, it's not because the issues that we are talking about are actually difficult it's because it's just...you know...overtly difficult jargon. I do not really...it's pretty difficult for me to comprehend this. Historical Materialism is using dialectics in the understanding of history. It seems to me that they're suggesting that it's not dialectical, so they can't think that it's actually using dialectics to understand history; it has to be something else. What [garbled so I'm not too sure this word is correct -- RL] they're still saying that all that dialectics is just Historical Materialism with jargon. So, I don't know.

 

"But, anyway, this claim that it's just difficult language for the sake of difficult language is just a huge strawman argument. But they proceed to explain it a little bit further. So, let's give him [sic] a chance:

 

'The clear distinction between these two theories isn't just a wild idea advanced at this site; it can be seen in the day-to-day practice of revolutionaries: No Marxist of any intelligence would use slogans drawn exclusively from DM to communicate with workers...

 

'Consider, for example, the following slogans: "The Law of Identity is true only within certain limits and the struggle against the occupation of Afghanistan!" Or "Change in quantity leads to change in quality and the defence of pensions!" ["..." omitted! -- RL] Slogans like these would be employed by militants of uncommon stupidity and legendary ineffectiveness.' [This is an edited quotation from Essay Nine Part One -- RL.]

 

"So, when Trotskyites (sic!) lack a valid argument -- which is most of the time -- they resort to idiotic nonsense like this. Basically they are just making a joke here. Their whole argument is basically a joke. Literally.

 

"Primitive communism will negate itself and turn into private property which in turn will be negated and give way to modern scientific communism. This is what's called the Negation of the Negation [NON -- RL], which is one of the laws of Materialist Dialectics [MD -- RL], and this law can be and has been used by communists countless times. So, it's not just difficult jargon. You don't have to make it difficult. Um...Engels actually explained things fairly clearly like...um...even though the terminology is difficult because it's Hegelian terminology. It's not that Engels invented these terms...it's [unintelligible]...you know Hegel is really difficult to understand, and Engels is using the terms that Hegel used, but...ah...unlike Hegel actually like gives examples and things (sic) which makes (sic) it easier to understand. And Stalin explains things even more...er...simplified and clearly and with more examples...um...which, and for some reason this Trotskyite has a bigger problem with that." [Approx 13:09-17:27.]

 

Of course, I could post an equally childish, point scoring remark here (to mirror MLT's 'inference' from what I have said to a conclusion about the way that all "Trotskyites" argue), perhaps along the lines that since MLT's language here, and elsewhere, is somewhat garbled (anyone who doubts this should check out this section of the video) -- and peppered with non-sequiturs, repetition, lies, "ums" and "ers" -- therefore, every Marxist-Leninist [M-L] uses garbled language, tells lies (etc., etc.), but I won't.

 

1) I think we are getting used to MLT making things up about my ideas, so it is no surprise to see him do likewise here. I nowhere say, assert or even hint that dialectics involves "using difficult...language" ("obscure" is not the same as "difficult"); hence, much of the above is wasted effort on MLT's part. What I do allege is that DM is far too confused for anyone to be able to tell whether or not its theorists use "difficult" or straight-forward language. As we have seen, DM-theorists and supporters (and this includes MLT) are decidedly unclear what they mean by "nodal change", "contradiction" (internal or external), "quality", the "addition of matter and energy", what a 'dialectical' body, system or process actually is or includes, and even what a "place" is! [On this, see here, here and here.] We might stand some chance figuring out what DM-supporters are banging on about if they would only tell us with some clarity what much of what they say actually means. No good looking to MLT for assistance here; he seems to think everything is hunky dory.

 

2) As Marx himself noted, HM was in fact invented by several theorists who lived and wrote before Hegel mystified their work. Here is what I have posted at in Essay Nine Part One (and at RevLeft) a few years ago:

 

As will soon become clear, the core HM ideas in Das Kapital owe much more to the dialectical method of Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish Historical School (of Ferguson, Millar, Robertson, Smith, Hume, and Steuart) than they do to Hegel. [On this, see Meek (1954). On Kant, see Wood (1998, 1999). On Marx and Aristotle, see McCarthy (1992), Meikle (1995). On Aristotle's conception of dialectic, see Reeve (2001).]

 

Marx made plain the influence of the Scottish School in the German Ideology (erroneously calling it "English"):

 

"The French and the English, even if they have conceived the relation of this fact with so-called history only in an extremely one-sided fashion, particularly as long as they remained in the toils of political ideology, have nevertheless made the first attempts to give the writing of history a materialistic basis by being the first to write histories of civil society, of commerce and industry." [MECW 5, p.42. Bold added.]

 

This is what I have posted at RevLeft on this topic (slightly edited):

 

It is not I who called them this (i.e., "The Scottish Historical Materialists"), but others, mainly Marx and Engels:


"Ronald Meek, 'The Scottish Contribution to Marxist Sociology' [1954; collected in his Economics and Ideology and Other Essays, 1967.] Such luminaries as Adam Ferguson and Adam Smith. This influence was actually acknowledged. In The German Ideology, right after announcing their theme that 'men be in a position to live in order to be able to "make history", they say "The French and the English, even if they have conceived the relation of this fact with so-called history only in an extremely one-sided fashion, particularly as long as they remained in the toils of political ideology, have nevertheless made the first attempts to give the writing of history a materialistic basis by being the first to write histories of civil society, of commerce and industry.'"] [Quoted from here. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]


[I ought to point out that the author of the above is in fact hostile to Marx and Engels, but there is little available on the Internet at present on this topic.]

Meek actually calls them the "Scottish Historical School" (p.35), but he attributes this phrase to
Roy Pascal (Communist Party member, friend of Wittgenstein and translator of The German Ideology), who used it in his article 'Property and Society: The Scottish Historical School of the Eighteenth Century', Modern Quarterly, March 1938.

The full passage reads as follows:


"Since we are dealing with the Germans, who are devoid of premises, we must begin by stating the first premise of all human existence and, therefore, of all history, the premise, namely, that men must be in a position to live in order to be able to 'make history.' But life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the production of the means to satisfy these needs, the production of material life itself. And indeed this is an historical act, a fundamental condition of all history, which today, as thousands of years ago, must daily and hourly be fulfilled merely in order to sustain human life. Even when the sensuous world is reduced to a minimum, to a stick as with Saint Bruno [Bauer], it presupposes the action of producing the stick. Therefore in any interpretation of history one has first of all to observe this fundamental fact in all its significance and all its implications and to accord it its due importance. It is well known that the Germans have never done this, and they have never, therefore, had an earthly basis for history and consequently never an historian. The French and the English, even if they have conceived the relation of this fact with so-called history only in an extremely one-sided fashion, particularly as long as they remained in the toils of political ideology, have nevertheless made the first attempts to give the writing of history a materialistic basis by being the first to write histories of civil society, of commerce and industry." [Quoted from here.]


In the Poverty of Philosophy, Marx also wrote:


"Let us do him this justice:
Lemontey wittily exposed the unpleasant consequences of the division of labour as it is constituted today, and M. Proudhon found nothing to add to it. But now that, through the fault of M. Proudhon, we have been drawn into this question of priority, let us say again, in passing, that long before M. Lemontey, and 17 years before Adam Smith, who was a pupil of A. Ferguson, the last-named gave a clear exposition of the subject in a chapter which deals specifically with the division of labour." [Marx and Engels (1976a), p.181. Spelling altered to conform to UK English.]


Marx refers to Ferguson repeatedly in his Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (Marx and Engels (1988), pp.264-306), as he does others of the same 'school' (e.g., Adam Smith and Dugald Stuart) throughout this work.

He does so, too, in Volume One of Das Kapital -- Marx and Engels (1996) pp.133, 359, 366, 367.

 

[He also refers to other members of that 'school', e.g., Robertson, on p.529, Stuart and Smith (however, the references to these two are far too numerous to list -- check out the index!).]

Indeed, throughout Marx's entire works, the references to Smith and Stuart are also too numerous to list.

Kant's influence is outlined in the following (I owe these references to
Philip Gasper):

Wood, A, (1998), 'Kant's Historical Materialism' in Kneller and Axinn, Chapter Five.

--------, (1999), Kant's Ethical Thought (Cambridge University Press).

Kneller, J., and Axinn, S, (1998), Autonomy And Community: Readings In Contemporary Kantian Social Philosophy (State University of New York Press).

 

[See also 'Ferguson and Hegel on the Idea of Civil Society' by Martha King -- as well as Kettler (2005).]

 

For Aristotle's comments on his dialectical method, see Appendix A to Essay Nine Part One.

 

Now, I have no particular problem with the pre-Hegelian understanding of 'the dialectic' (even though I think we now have far better methods of enquiry), so if the classical version of this method is used in HM, that is fine with me. The problem occurs when theorists import into Marxism the obscure and confused concepts and jargon from Hegel, mystifying HM in the process.

 

As I have already noted, Marx abandoned Philosophy root-and-branch by the late 1840s, and he moved away from Hegel all his life -- to such an extent that by the time he came to write Das Kapital, he had waved 'goodbye' to this dogmatic Mystic in his entirety. Of course, I realise that this is a highly controversial thing to say; the supporting evidence and argument in its favour has been added to Essay Nine Part One, here and here.

 

To be sure, Marx describes his method in Das Kapital as dialectical, the question is what he meant by this word. Well, we needn't speculate since he told us (in the only summary of 'the dialectic method' he published in his entire life, and which he added to the Postface to the 2nd edition of his masterpiece); here is part of it:

 

"After a quotation from the preface to my 'Criticism of Political Economy,' Berlin, 1859, pp. IV-VII, where I discuss the materialistic basis of my method, the writer goes on:

 

'The one thing which is of moment to Marx, is to find the law of the phenomena with whose investigation he is concerned; and not only is that law of moment to him, which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have a definite form and mutual connexion within a given historical period. Of still greater moment to him is the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of their transition from one form into another, from one series of connexions into a different one. This law once discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in which it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx only troubles himself about one thing: to show, by rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of successive determinate orders of social conditions, and to establish, as impartially as possible, the facts that serve him for fundamental starting-points. For this it is quite enough, if he proves, at the same time, both the necessity of the present order of things, and the necessity of another order into which the first must inevitably pass over; and this all the same, whether men believe or do not believe it, whether they are conscious or unconscious of it. Marx treats the social movement as a process of natural history, governed by laws not only independent of human will, consciousness and intelligence, but rather, on the contrary, determining that will, consciousness and intelligence.... As soon as society has outlived a given period of development, and is passing over from one given stage to another, it begins to be subject also to other laws. In a word, economic life offers us a phenomenon analogous to the history of evolution in other branches of biology. The old economists misunderstood the nature of economic laws when they likened them to the laws of physics and chemistry. A more thorough analysis of phenomena shows that social organisms differ among themselves as fundamentally as plants or animals. Nay, one and the same phenomenon falls under quite different laws in consequence of the different structure of those organisms as a whole, of the variations of their individual organs, of the different conditions in which those organs function, &c. Marx, e.g., denies that the law of population is the same at all times and in all places. He asserts, on the contrary, that every stage of development has its own law of population. ... With the varying degree of development of productive power, social conditions and the laws governing them vary too. Whilst Marx sets himself the task of following and explaining from this point of view the economic system established by the sway of capital, he is only formulating, in a strictly scientific manner, the aim that every accurate investigation into economic life must have. The scientific value of such an inquiry lies in the disclosing of the special laws that regulate the origin, existence, development, death of a given social organism and its replacement by another and higher one. And it is this value that, in point of fact, Marx's book has.'

 

"Whilst the writer pictures what he takes to be actually my method, in this striking and [as far as concerns my own application of it] generous way, what else is he picturing but the dialectic method?" [Marx (1976), pp.101-02. Bold emphases added; quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

In the above passage, not one single Hegelian concept is to be found -- no "contradictions", no change of "quantity into quality", no "negation of the negation", no "unity and identity of opposites", no "interconnected Totality", no "universal change" --, and yet Marx still calls this the "dialectic method", and says of it that it is "my method".

 

So, Marx's "method" has had Hegel completely excised --, except for the odd phrase or two, "here and there", with which he merely "coquetted".

 

In that case, and once more, Marx's "dialectic method" more closely resembles that of Aristotle, Kant and the Scottish School.

 

[I have replied to several rather obvious objections to the above conclusions, here.]

 

So, if by the 'dialectic', MLT means HM stripped of everything Hegelian (as we can see was the case with Marx) -- upside down or 'the right way up', --, then he and I are in agreement. But, I rather think he doesn't, and prefers the failed Engelsian tradition to accepting what Marx, not I, clearly tells us.

 

3) MLT (very) partially quotes one of my arguments aimed at distinguishing HM from DM, and he calls it a "joke". Well, the "joke" is on him, for my argument shows just how ridiculous it is to suppose that a single DM-concept can be used in the class war to agitate or propagandise workers. So, the distinction I draw is made by Marxists every day -- if they want to communicate with the proletariat. In which case, practice shows what a useless theory DM really is.

 

Other than describe my argument as a "joke" what does MLT offer by way of rebuttal? This:

 

"Primitive communism will negate itself and turn into private property which in turn will be negated and give way to modern scientific communism. This is what's called the Negation of the Negation [NON -- RL], which is one of the laws of Materialist Dialectics [MD -- RL], and this law can be and has been used by communists countless times."

 

Now, I have nowhere denied that Dialectical Marxists use obscure language like this when they communicate among themselves; indeed, I say the opposite (this has been taken from Essay Nine Part Two):

 

Even so, and in spite of constant claims to the contrary, DM in fact has no practical applications (other than the negative effects outlined above, and again below).

 

This doesn't mean that revolutionaries haven't continually toyed with dialectical phraseology in some of their practical deliberations. Certainly, DM-theorists can talk the talk; they are indeed expert jargonisers.

 

But, as we will see, it is impossible for them to walk the walk.

 

Admittedly, books outlining revolutionary theory are packed with analyses that seem to contradict the above allegations, and which purport to show that dialectics has played a central role in Marxist politics since its inception. However, what revolutionaries might want to claim about their practice and what they are actually capable of acting upon as part of that practice are two entirely different things.

 

These Essays have shown time and again that DM-theses make no sense at all, just as they have shown that Dialectical Marxism is to success what the US Military is to peace on earth. This means that while dialecticians may write, or, indeed, constantly intone DM-phrases, it isn't possible for them to form a single coherent DM-thought, and thus act upon it....

 

If a sentence purporting to express a thought is itself incoherent, then no one uttering or writing it can mean anything by it (over and above, perhaps, certain contingent or consequential effects; for example they might intend to amuse, impress, confuse, bamboozle, distract, or startle their interlocutors).

 

The words employed in such sentences can't represent anything that could become the content of a coherent thought, and hence motivate a corresponding set of actions (trivial examples excepted, of course).

 

To be sure, dialectical phrases can be, and have been wheeled out to 'justify' or 'rationalise' decisions that have already been taken for hard-headed political reasons (which means these phrases function rather like the empty rituals and incantations that assorted Priests, Bishops and Imams have uttered over the centuries to 'justify' war, royal privilege, exploitation, oppression, and gross inequality -- or, indeed, the nonsense phrases stage magicians utter to impress their audiences).

 

[We will encounter many examples of this phenomenon below -- this links to a later section in Essay Nine Part Two]

 

Furthermore, as noted in Essay Twelve Part One, because DM-theses are both non-sensical and incoherent they are incapable of 'reflecting' anything in the natural or social world, and, a fortiori, any processes underlying one or both.

 

In that case, they can't possibly help revolutionaries change society.

 

Except, of course, for the worse....

 

Now, MLT is perfectly at liberty to reject the above allegations and assertions (not that he needs my permission), but he can't do so on the basis of having read my reasons for saying what I have, since he has read (or, rather, skim-read) at best only 1% of my work. This means, of course, that if he genuinely wants to 'refute' my ideas, he is going to have to do a lot more than post lies, or publish rambling (and in places incoherent) videos on YouTube that rehearse the same lame-brained 'rebuttals' I have heard more times than he has slandered Trotsky (and Trotskyism) -- and to which lame-brained attacks I have already responded in sections of my work he is too lazy to read.

 

Unnecessary Dialectical Jargon

 

But, what does MLT say next?

 

"This brings us to the last of the three laws of dialectics that Engels defined, which is the unity and conflict of opposites. That is, that without two opposing classes there couldn't be a class system, which through the resolution of this contradiction between the classes turns into its opposite, a system without classes. All of these ideas are core principles of Marxism-Leninism and used in Historical Materialist theory and analysis without any kind of unnecessary "dialectical jargon" like our Trotskyist revisionist calls it." [Approx 19:15-19:51. Bold added.]

 

We have already seen (in an earlier transcript from this video) MLT refer to the "Negation of the Negation" [NON], and now he turns our attention to the "unity and conflict of opposites", as well as the alleged "contradiction" between the classes. Almost in the same breath, and without a hint of irony, he then tells us that these laws do not involve the use of "unnecessary 'dialectical jargon'", when he has just used several classic examples of this very jargon in order to inform us of this assumed fact!

 

Not only has he failed to justify this odd use of "negation" (let alone the phrase "negation of the negation", content merely to copy it uncritically from Engels without even a cursory attempt at justification), he then helps himself to "contradiction" (which he has also lifted from Engels -- and before him, from Hegel), again without any attempt to justify this, either. The same, more-or-less, can be said of that other confused phrase, "unity and conflict" (or is it "interpenetration"?) "of opposites". Unless he can justify this odd use of language, and with far greater clarity than has hitherto been shown by previous generations of DM-supporters and theorists (on this, see Essays Five, Seven Parts One and Three, Eights Parts One, Two and Three, and Eleven Part One), then these are indeed examples of "unnecessary 'dialectical jargon'" that HM can do well without.

 

Quantity Into Quality [Q/Q] -- Again!

 

Engels, MLT, And Mickey Mouse Science

 

Again, based on an Introductory Essay (deliberately aimed at novices), MLT now proceeds to 'examine' a summary of some of my criticisms of Q/Q:

 

"So, let's go over some other criticisms that our Trotskyite has to say about these three basic laws:

 

'This weak and superficial endeavour to substantiate Engels's 'Laws' resembles Creationist attempts to show that the Book of Genesis is scientific! ['...' omitted once again!] [Added by MLT in commentary: "Now, that's like incredibly insulting, calling...ha!...Marxism basically just, you know, a religion...and...er...and completely unscientific; but, anyway..."] Here is the First 'Law' -- the alleged change of quantity into quality.' [This has been partially quoted from here and here -- RL.]

 

"So, apparently our Trotskyite doesn't even believe in change of quantity into quality, which is...[pause]...surprising. Maybe I'm too...being too optimistic here. Then there's a quote from Hegel:

 

'but a transition from quality into quantity and vice versa, a becoming-other which is an interruption of gradualness and the production of something qualitatively different from the reality which preceded it. Water, in cooling, does not gradually harden as if it thickened like porridge, gradually solidifying until it reached the consistency of ice; it suddenly solidifies, all at once. It can remain quite fluid even at freezing point if it is standing undisturbed, and then a slight shock will bring it into the solid state.' Hegel [This has in fact been taken from Hegel (1999), p.370, §776 -- RL.]

 

"Then there's an Engels quote:

 

"...the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa. For our purpose, we could express this by saying that in nature, in a manner exactly fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes can only occur by the quantitative addition or subtraction of matter or motion (so-called energy)…. Hence it is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned." [Engels (1954), p.63.] [Closing bracket, omitted in the video, has been restored, as has the link -- RL.]

 

"And our Trotskyite:

 

'But, how could he possibly know it is "impossible" to change the quality of a body without the addition of matter or energy? In fact, he couldn't possibly know this.' [This has been taken from here -- RL.]

 

"So, does water boil without the addition of energy...er...that is heat? Does it freeze without the removal of energy...er...i.e., heat? Er..., no it doesn't, and if it did, it would be magic. Do chemical elements change into other elements without addition or removal of protons or other particles? No, they don't. Does a strategic stalemate turn into a victory without an increase in one's own power or the decrease in the enemy's power? No, obviously not. Does a socialist revolution happen without an increase in the political consciousness and activity of the masses? Of course, it doesn't.

 

"Er..., in general, objects in nature don't simply change without energy being introduced or taken away. I don't understand how that would happen. The Trotskyite here doesn't explain it they just say that....er...you know, somehow Engels's is wrong here." [Approx 19:52 -22:49.]  

 

Well, of course, MLT doesn't 'understand' my argument; he hasn't read it in its 'non-novice' form! Would he accept someone who said that they just can't understand the falling rate of profit in Marx's mature theory -- right after they had just refused to read Das Kapital?

 

[And, no I'm not comparing myself to Marx, merely making the point that if you pointedly refuse to read what another has written it should come as no surprise that you can't understand them.]

 

But, what of the more substantive points MLT makes?

 

1) MLT forgot to quote -- or he thought it prudent not to mention (hoping perhaps that no one would check) -- what I had written in the paragraphs preceding the first passage of mine that he actually quoted. Here it is (posted under the sub-heading "Engels and Mickey Mouse Science"):

 

This age-old tactic (of imposing theories on nature) can be seen in practice if we examine Engels's so-called 'Three Laws of Dialectics':

 

"Dialectics as the science of universal inter-connection. Main laws: transformation of quantity into quality -- mutual penetration of polar opposites and transformation into each other when carried to extremes -- development through contradiction or negation of the negation -- spiral form of development." [Engels (1954), p.17.]

 

All dialecticians who accept these 'Laws' impose them on nature in like manner (indeed, as did Hegel, from whom Engels copied them).

 

[Again, the evidence for this can be found here and here.]

 

What little evidence dialecticians have scraped-together in order to substantiate these 'Laws' is not only woefully insufficient, it is selective and highly contentious.

 

Anyone who has studied and practiced genuine science will know the lengths to which researchers have to go in order to alter even minor aspects of current theory, let alone justify major changes in the way we view nature. [For those who haven't had this background, I have posted examples of genuine science here.]

 

In stark contrast, and totally without exception, dialecticians offer their readers a few paragraphs of superficial, trite and constantly re-cycled examples in support of their 'Laws'. Hence, what we find are hackneyed references to boiling/freezing water, balding heads, seeds that 'negate' plants, Mamelukes fighting the French, a character from Molière who has spoken "prose all his life without knowing it", "Yea, Yea" and "Nay Nay", Mendeleyev's Table, wave/particle duality, and the like, all mind-numbingly repeated, year in, year out.

 

From such mantra-like banalities, dialecticians suddenly derive universal laws, valid for all of space and time!

 

Even at its best (for example, in Woods and Grant (1995 -- now 2007) -- which is one of the most comprehensive attempts to defend classical, hard-core DM -- and in Gollobin (1986) -- which is in many ways an up-market version of Woods and Grant, but written from a Maoist perspective), all we find are a few dozen pages of secondary and tertiary information, padded out with repetition and bluster (much of which has been taken apart here). Contrary evidence (of which there is plenty) is simply ignored. This is indeed Mickey Mouse Science at its best.

 

So, what does MLT offer us in response to the following challenge of mine -- here fully re-quoted?

 

In many ways this weak and superficial endeavour to substantiate Engels's 'Laws' resembles Creationist attempts to show that the Book of Genesis is scientific! What little evidence DM-theorists have dredged-up is highly selective and heavily slanted. More often than not, this 'evidence' is merely anecdotal, and is thus deeply contentious -- as we are about to see....

 

Notice how Engels feels he can derive an "impossible" from what little evidence he supplied his readers:

 

"...the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa. For our purpose, we could express this by saying that in nature, in a manner exactly fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes can only occur by the quantitative addition or subtraction of matter or motion (so-called energy)…. Hence it is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned." [Engels (1954), p.63. Bold emphasis alone added.]

 

But, how could he possibly know it is "impossible" to change the quality of a body without the addition of matter or energy? In fact, he couldn't possibly know this; in which case, he simply foisted it on nature. [Taken from here.]

 

Attentive readers will no doubt notice that at this stage I haven't called into question the truth of this law (the reason for that will soon become clear), but merely asked how Engels could possibly know that it is "impossible" to alter the quality of a body without the addition or subtraction of matter/motion/energy. So, this is about the source of Engels's confidence: how he knows this is an impossibility.

 

Had his comments been based on the available evidence in his day, he'd have said something like the following:

 

"...the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa. For our purpose, we could express this by saying that in nature, in a manner exactly fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes have only ever been seen to occur as a result of the quantitative addition or subtraction of matter or motion (so-called energy)…. Hence it seems safe to say that so far it seems that in order to alter the quality of a body the addition or subtraction of matter or motion --, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned -- is generally, possibly universally, required."

 

How does MLT reply? His initial response seems to be one of incredulity that someone would even think to question this vague and confused 'law', but apart from that, he does what I predicted he would -- he offers us yet more Mickey Mouse Science! Once again:

 

In stark contrast, and totally without exception, dialecticians offer their readers a few paragraphs of superficial, trite and constantly re-cycled examples in support of their 'Laws'. Hence, what we find are hackneyed references to boiling/freezing water, balding heads, seeds that 'negate' plants, Mamelukes fighting the French, a character from Molière who has spoken "prose all his life without knowing it", "Yea, Yea" and "Nay Nay", Mendeleyev's Table, wave/particle duality, and the like, all mind-numbingly repeated, year in, year out.

 

From such mantra-like banalities, dialecticians suddenly derive universal laws, valid for all of space and time!

 

 

This is indeed Mickey Mouse Science at its best. [Bold added.]

 

DM-supporters are so predictable!

 

Do any of the 'examples' that MLT offers his viewers (as some sort of 'proof') actually show how he, let alone Engels, knows it is "impossible" -- in the entire history of the universe, everywhere and always -- to alter the quality of a body in the way he alleges? Notice once again, I am not asking him how he knows this theory is true, but specifically how he knows it is impossible for a body to change in quality in the way he alleges. Quoting a million examples wouldn't show this, only that the law was at best well-confirmed. Unless, he were a minor deity of some sort, he couldn't possibly know this was impossible.

 

Unfortunately, this point sailed right over MLT's head.

 

What is more, I have given several examples where a body/process can undergo qualitative change even when no matter or energy has been added. [Readers are directed to my second response to MLT's other page at YouTube for more details.]

 

But, what of this aside?

 

"Now, that's like incredibly insulting, calling...ha!...Marxism basically just, you know, a religion...and..., er..., and completely unscientific...."

 

1) I nowhere attack Marxism, and I challenge MLT to find anywhere where I have done so. It is only because he equates DM with Marxism that he thinks he can throw this accusation at me. [Yet more distortion.] What I am critical of is Dialectical Marxism (as I repeatedly assert even in this Introductory Essay!), a monstrous hybrid that slowly came to life after Marx died.

 

2) I nowhere say that Dialectical Marxism is a religion. [Yet another distortion.] Nevertheless, my comparison with the way Creationists selectively use 'science' is once again confirmed by MLT's hackneyed response: Dialectical Marxists and Creationists both appeal to Mickey Mouse Science in order to support their odd ideas.

 

3) Perhaps more revealing are the examples MLT offers his viewers as some sort of 'proof' of the validity of this law; here are a couple of them:

 

"Does a strategic stalemate turn into a victory without an increase in one's own power or the decrease in the enemy's power? No, obviously not. Does a socialist revolution happen without an increase in the political consciousness and activity of the masses? Of course, it doesn't."

 

And later:

 

"Like, one might as well say the build up toward socialism is gradual and that the revolution..., the revolution is merely the end point of the transition and therefore it's reformism, or something -- gradual reformism.... A victory in battle, another victory, another victory, another victory, and finally the war is won."

 

But, precisely what matter and/or energy is being added here? According to Engels, mater/energy has to be added to a body:

 

"All qualitative differences in nature rest on differences of chemical composition or on different quantities or forms of motion (energy) or, as is almost always the case, on both. Hence it is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned. In this form, therefore, Hegel's mysterious principle appears not only quite rational but even rather obvious....

 

"But what is the position in regard to change of form of motion, or so-called energy? If we change heat into mechanical motion or vice versa, is not the quality altered while the quantity remains the same? Quite correct. But it is with change of form of motion as with Heine's vices; anyone can be virtuous by himself, for vices two are always necessary. Change of form of motion is always a process that takes place between at least two bodies, of which one loses a definite quantity of motion of one quality (e.g. heat), while the other gains a corresponding quantity of motion of another quality (mechanical motion, electricity, chemical decomposition). Here, therefore, quantity and quality mutually correspond to each other. So far it has not been found possible to convert motion from one form to another inside a single isolated body.

 

"In physics, bodies are treated as chemically unalterable or indifferent; we have to do with changes of their molecular states and with the change of form of the motion which in all cases, at least on one of the two sides, brings the molecule into play. Here every change is a transformation of quantity into quality, a consequence of the quantitative change of the quantity of motion of one form or another that is inherent in the body or communicated to it.... In short, the so-called physical constants are for the most part nothing but designations of the nodal points at which quantitative addition or subtraction of motion produces qualitative alteration in the state of the body concerned, at which, therefore, quantity is transformed into quality." [Engels (1954), pp.63-65. Bold emphases alone added.]

 

Well, what are the two bodies that are supposedly involved in the "stalemate" to which MLT refers? What energy passes between them? Indeed, the same questions can be asked about his other example, a socialist revolution: what are the 'two bodies' involved here? What energy/matter passes between them? These two supposed 'bodies' can't be the two main classes involved, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, since they comprise many bodies. But, even if they were the 'two bodies' concerned, what matter/energy passes from the proletariat to the ruling-class, and/or vice versa? And, what matter/energy enters the masses so that their 'consciousness' and activity both increase? And from which other body has this matter/energy originated? Furthermore, in a war, what are the 'two bodies' involved in each of the victories MLT mentions? And what matter/energy passes between them?

 

We are never told, nor are we even told what one of these bodies is, nor what constitutes adding energy/matter. [I have covered this point in more detail in my second response to MLT's other YouTube page.]

 

No wonder then that I made the following point:

 

In fact, the lack of definitional precision alluded to above 'allows' DM-theorists to see changes in "quality" (supposedly produced by changes in "quantity") whenever and wherever it suits them, just as it 'permits' them to ignore the many instances where this doesn't happen. That, perhaps, helps explain why this 'Law' has been left so vague for so long.

 

If this is difficult to believe, ask the very next dialectician you meet precisely how long a 'node'/'leap', for example, is supposed to last. You will receive no answer -- except you might find that your query is hand-waved aside. But, if no one knows how long a 'node' is supposed to be, then anything from a Geological Age to an instantaneous quantum leap could be 'nodal'! Plainly, this introduces a fundamental element of arbitrariness into what dialecticians claim is an objective law.

 

And, it really isn't good enough for dialecticians to dismiss this as mere "pedantry", or "semantics". Can you imagine a genuine scientist refusing to say how long a crucially important time period in her theory is supposed to be, and accusing you of "pedantry" -- or labelling it "semantics" --  for daring to ask? [Quoted from here. Bold added.]

 

Hence, we see yet again, because of Engel's terminally vague use of language, MLT feels he can apply this law subjectively, and only when it suits him.

 

Can you imagine a genuine scientists doing this?

 

[We will encounter the same selectivity and subjectivism in the next sub-section.]

 

 

Dialectical 'Leaps'

 

The next part of the video, between approximately 22:48 and 31:07, is perhaps the most garbled, confused, repetitive and rambling of the entire film. It begins with MLT fully confident that Engels's Q/Q law is quite simple and easy to understand (and that only 'sophists' will even think to criticise or question it), but it ends with this rather pathetic admission: "I know this is kind of...it's kind of confusing, but..., er..., I hope that makes sense to you", when his claim that water cannot exist partly as solid and liquid self-destructs before his eyes, and nature confronts his dogmatic theory with mixed-phases[More on this later.]

 

Indeed, as the quantity of MLT's repetitions steadily increases, the more the quality of his argument descends from bad to worse, amply confirming my allegation that this theory is far too confused for anyone to make sense of.

 

Judge for yourselves, as MLT's 'argument' limps along:

 

"But, the Trotskyite continues this time again resorting to nit-picking sophistry and distorting what Engels is really saying:

 

'Moreover, and contrary to what he asserted, not everything in nature changes in the way he says -- in sudden "leaps". Consider melting glass, rock, resin, metal, butter, toffee, and plastic. When heated, these change from solid to liquid slowly, with no 'nodal' points anywhere in sight. Who doesn't know that metals soften and then melt gradually?' [Quoted from here -- RL.]

 

"So, this is a huge confusion of ideas when it comes to quantity and quality; that is the fact that metals...that metal may melt gradually does not mean that there is no qualitative change, and this...there's a lot of...really like playing around with the term 'rapid, here. So, saying that it has to be rapid is semantics, besides you'll have to define what 'rapid' and 'gradual' are for this to make sense." [Approx 22:48-23:44.]

 

1) One of the problems I regularly encounter when debating with DM-fans over the years is that they seem not to be able to read plain and simple sentences. True to form, MLT follows on in this woeful tradition -- for the quotation above (from my Introductory Essay) nowhere says that the gradual melting of a metal means there is no change of "quality". The point it tries to make is quite clear: not every change of "quality" is 'nodal'. MLT drags in this irrelevant point (accusing me of confusion, when it is quite clear he has actually confused himself): "the fact that...that metal may melt gradually does not mean that there is no qualitative change". Check it out again, dear reader (this time I have restored the words MLT omitted):

 

"Moreover, and contrary to what he asserted, not everything in nature changes in the way he says -- in sudden "leaps". Consider melting glass, rock, resin, metal, butter, toffee, and plastic. When heated, these change from solid to liquid slowly, with no 'nodal' points anywhere in sight. Who doesn't know that metals soften and then melt gradually?

 

"[For anyone who doubts this, I have posted several videos here. More details, including my answers to various objections, can be found here.]" [Quoted from here.]

 

Can anyone see in there where I say (or even vaguely hint) the following: "And this shows that Engels was mistaken about change in quantity passing over into a change in quality"?

 

Now, MLT would like some sort of definition of "rapid" and "gradual", otherwise he says that my allegations wouldn't "make sense", but, as we will see, he is quite happy to use these words himself without supplying his viewers with any such definitions.

 

But, independently of this, is there any substance to his remark about "definitions"? Does he take Hegel, Engels, Plekhanov, and Lenin to task for their sloppy use of language? Not a bit of it. He is quite happy with their attempts to characterise this law with words that, as yet, make no "sense"."

 

Again, judge for yourselves:

 

"It is said, natura non facit saltum [there are no leaps in nature]; and ordinary thinking when it has to grasp a coming-to-be or a ceasing-to-be, fancies it has done so by representing it as a gradual emergence or disappearance. But we have seen that the alterations of being in general are not only the transition of one magnitude into another, but a transition from quality into quantity and vice versa, a becoming-other which is an interruption of gradualness and the production of something qualitatively different from the reality which preceded it. Water, in cooling, does not gradually harden as if it thickened like porridge, gradually solidifying until it reached the consistency of ice; it suddenly solidifies, all at once. It can remain quite fluid even at freezing point if it is standing undisturbed, and then a slight shock will bring it into the solid state." [Hegel (1999), p.370, §776. Bold emphases alone added. MLT even quoted this passage!]

 

"With this assurance Herr Dühring saves himself the trouble of saying anything further about the origin of life, although it might reasonably have been expected that a thinker who had traced the evolution of the world back to its self-equal state, and is so much at home on other celestial bodies, would have known exactly what's what also on this point. For the rest, however, the assurance he gives us is only half right unless it is completed by the Hegelian nodal line of measure relations which has already been mentioned. In spite of all gradualness, the transition from one form of motion to another always remains a leap, a decisive change. This is true of the transition from the mechanics of celestial bodies to that of smaller masses on a particular celestial body; it is equally true of the transition from the mechanics of masses to the mechanics of molecules -- including the forms of motion investigated in physics proper: heat, light, electricity, magnetism. In the same way, the transition from the physics of molecules to the physics of atoms -- chemistry -- in turn involves a decided leap; and this is even more clearly the case in the transition from ordinary chemical action to the chemism of albumen which we call life. Then within the sphere of life the leaps become ever more infrequent and imperceptible. -- Once again, therefore, it is Hegel who has to correct Herr Dühring." [Engels (1976), pp.82-83. Bold emphasis added.]

 

"[I]t will be understood without difficulty by anyone who is in the least capable of dialectical thinking...[that] quantitative changes, accumulating gradually, lead in the end to changes of quality, and that these changes of quality represent leaps, interruptions in gradualness…. That is how all Nature acts…." [Plekhanov (1956), pp.74-77, 88, 163. Emphases in the original.]

 

"The 'nodal line of measure relations'... -- transitions of quantity into quality.... Gradualness and leaps. And again...that gradualness explains nothing without leaps." [Lenin (1961), p.123. Bold emphasis alone added. Lenin added in the margin here: "Leaps! Leaps! Leaps!"]

 

"What distinguishes the dialectical transition from the undialectical transition? The leap. The contradiction. The interruption of gradualness. The unity (identity) of Being and not-Being." [Ibid., p.282. Bold emphasis added.]

 

Notice that Lenin tells us that the interruption of gradualness is just as fundamental to DM as Q/Q is; indeed, these ideas "distinguish...dialectical from undialectical transitions." Does MLT criticise the above DM-classicists for their use of words they failed to define? Not a bit of it -- and we will soon see why.

 

How has the above been understood by ML-Theorists ever since? Wonder no more:

 

"The transition from an old to a new quality involves a leap -- a break in the gradualness of development. The process of development combines a unity of the continuous and the discontinuous. Continuity in the development of a system indicates relative stability, its qualitative definiteness. Discontinuity in a system's development indicates its transition to a new quality.... This law has an objective and universal character admitting no exceptions." [Spirkin (1983), p.134. Bold added.]

 

"Quantitative modifications proceed more or less gradually and are often scarcely noticeable.... Subsequently, however, they accumulate and finally lead to a radical qualitative modification....

 

"The transition of a thing, through the accumulation of quantitative modifications, from one qualitative state to a different, new state, is a leap in development. This leap is a break in the gradualness of the quantitative change of a thing. It is the transition to a new quality and signalises a sharp turn, a radical change in development.

 

"Leaps, transitions from one quality to another are relatively rapid...." [Kuusinen (1961), pp.87-88. Italic emphasis in the original; bold emphasis added.]

 

"Quantitative changes occur slowly, latently, gradually, continuously, while qualitative changes occur abruptly, openly, in a leap-like manner, as a break in continuity....

 

"An explosive-type leap occurs rapidly, abruptly, often as a single blow." [Sheptulin (1978), pp.254-55. Bold added.] [See also Afanasyev (1968), p.111.]

 

"Quantitative changes are usually gradual, smooth-going and hardly noticeable, whereas qualitative transformations are always much faster, more resolute, and necessarily leap-like" [Krapivin (1985), p.178. Bold added.]

 

"Quantitative changes usually occur continuously, gradually, and take place over a long period. Qualitative changes, on the other hand, always mean a break in the continuity and gradual development... Thus a qualitative change in a thing should always be regarded as a kind of a leap in development, and the whole process of development and motion appears as the unity of continuity and discontinuity, gradualness and leaps." [Kharin (1981), p.144.]

 

"Everything is made up of internal contradictions. The old is breaking down while the new is being formed. As Engels outlines it, the process begins with the law of unity and the conflict of opposites. Then there is the slow accumulation of quantitative changes that appear over time, until there is a final breakdown; which are followed by rapid qualitative change and the birth of something new." [Quoted from this M-L site. Bold added.]

 

And, to cap it all, here is MLT himself!

 

"...The quantitative increase is in heat is gradual and the qualitative leap from solid to liquid is rapid." [Approx 26:30-26:36.]

 

[Perhaps even more annoying for MLT: Trotskyist Dialecticians say the same sort of things! (Details supplied on request.)]

 

So, it's a little rich of MLT asking me to provide definitions when I am simply using the confused language I found in DM-textbooks -- and especially when I have repeatedly made the following point:

 

In fact, the lack of definitional precision alluded to above 'allows' DM-theorists to see changes in "quality" (supposedly produced by changes in quantity) whenever and wherever it suits them, just as it 'permits' them to ignore the many instances where this doesn't happen. That, perhaps, helps explain why this 'Law' has been left so vague for so long.

 

If this is difficult to believe, ask the very next dialectician you meet precisely how long a 'node'/'leap', for example, is supposed to last. You will receive no answer -- except you might find that your query is hand-waved aside. But, if no one knows how long a 'node' is supposed to be, then anything from a Geological Age to an instantaneous quantum leap could be 'nodal'! Plainly, this introduces a fundamental element of arbitrariness into what dialecticians claim is an objective law.

 

And, it really isn't good enough for dialecticians to dismiss this as mere "pedantry", or "semantics". Can you imagine a genuine scientist refusing to say how long a crucially important time period in her theory is supposed to be, and accusing you of "pedantry" -- or labelling it "semantics" --  for daring to ask? [Quoted from here. Bold added.]

 

Does MLT tell us how long a 'node'/'leap' is supposed to last? Or, even what a dialectical 'quality' is?

 

Are you joking?!

 

Instead he points fingers at me, and demands I define these confused DM-words for him, while he blithely helps himself to these and other terms, leaving them in the same obscure state in which he found them, and in which condition they have remained for over 140 years!

 

2) Is it really "nit-picking" to point out that there are many things in nature and society that do not change in quality 'nodally' (or in a "leap-like" manner)? [A long list of examples was added to one of my previous replies to MLT; the reader is directed there for more details.] If I am right, then Engels's Q/Q law is no law. On the other hand, if I am wrong, then it is important to know this. But, in order show that I am mistaken here, MLT will have to do a lot more than hand wave my objections aside, and throw words out like "sophistry", "semantics" and "nit-picking". The question is: can he do this?

 

Alas, evidence so far suggests he is far too out of his depth even to see the problem, let alone provide some sort of a solution.

 

Gradual Descent Into Incoherence 

 

MLT now meanders somewhat aimlessly for the next few minutes:

 

"Er..., I don't understand why like [garbled and undecipherable] why is this rapidity aspect so important that they focus so much on that. I don't really understand ...but anyway let's roll with it.

 

"So, even like...let's assume they're perfectly correct. It's...of course it's gradual. Let's say it's gradual. Er..., what is..., how does that affect the theory at all? It's still correct. But I am not saying that it is actually gradual. So, let's explore this further. So, every material has its melting point. There is a temperature where it began...begins to not only get warm but to melt into liquid. Erm..., and I also think these examples are quite strange. Like, if you ask me, glass, butter they melt very quickly [rapidly? -- RL], actually. Er..., but this is again a question how you define 'rapid'. You would really need to explain what 'rapid' means if you think...if you, you know, think that butter doesn't rapidly melt. If you think it melts gr..., (sic) slowly. [MLT nearly said "gradually", here -- RL.] Erm..., really..., erm..., metals do melt very rapidly according to science if they have reached their melting point and prior to that they don't melt at all. So..., what's the..., er..., how I don't understand how they can claim they do.

 

"Er..., so the melting point is actually..., um..., is actually not a single point. It's a very narrow range called the melting range, which is the range between the point when the metal begins to melt and then the point when all its crystals are liquid [in other words, this range results in a 'mixed phase' -- RL]. Er..., but this range is very narrow and typically only one or two degrees. So, is that rapid enough for you, Trotskyist?

 

"Erm..., you could, of course..., you could heat a piece of iron for hours making it seem like it melts v...e...r...y [these dots indicate MLT very kindly illustrated for us what 'slowly' means by saying 'very', slowly -- RL] slowly, but really it's not about the time that it takes to heat it but the heat. As I am sure everyone with a functioning brain should realise. So..., yeah, huge confusion of ideas and terms here. Er..., so metal softening is also not a qualitative, but a quantitative change. Erm..., but their whole argument pretty much relies on the fact that metal softening is considered a qualitative change, which...which it isn't.

 

"Erm..., so, our Trotskyist says 'All metals go from hard to soft v-e-r-y slowly.' Er..., so whatever [garbled and undecipherable] say but we are talking about melting. Metal is solid it's not liquid. Erm..., I don't understand how it's so difficult to understand. Erm...,

 

'So, the "qualitative" transition of metals from solid to liquid is slow, not rapid. At the melting point, the above softening process ends, but the lead up to it is unquestionably slow.' [Quoted from here; the missing word, "unquestionably", which MLT omitted, has been restored. -- RL.]

 

"Er..., so again this is pure confused sophistry, like the quantitative increase is in heat is gradual and the qualitative leap from solid to liquid is rapid. How is that difficult to..., er..., understand?

 

"Science recognises that metals have a melting point and that there is a solid and a liquid metal, not a half liquid...not a half liquid, half solid metal..., or like 10% solid, 90% liquid metal, or anything like that. Like, one might as well say the build up toward socialism is gradual and that the revolution..., the revolution is merely the end point of the transition and therefore it's reformism, or something -- gradual reformism. Solid metal, even if it's warm, it's still qualitatively different from liquid metal, just like capitalism, even if on the brink of collapse, is still qualitatively different from socialism, even if only just emerging from civil war.

 

"So, no matter how you word the transformation process you can say whatever you want, but that doesn't change the way it is.

 

"And, really, this is the kind of sophistry that could be used to argue that when you die no sudden qualitative change has really happened. It's just..., you could..., you could use that to argue for..., argue about anything. It's nonsense.

 

"So, this demonstrates a very serious and complete lack of understanding of quantity versus quality. When you cross the threshold of solid to liquid that is when the qualitative change has happened. More heat, more breaking down of the ordering of the molecular entities; more heat more breaking down; more heat and melting and then 'Boom!' you've got liquid. A victory in battle, another victory, another victory, another victory, and finally the war is won.

 

"Er..., do you think that even because there's..., even though there's like this gradual build up then the..., er..., eventual like final change is not rapid, and..., er..., not qualitatively really different?" [Approx 23:44-28:26. Bold added.]

 

["The mountain laboured and brought forth a mouse" oddly comes to mind here.]

 

1) MLT seems not to be able to make up his mind. One minute we are told that the change in quality here is "rapid" (notice how he is quite at ease with his own use of this undefined term, as he is with "gradual"), taking place at the melting point, the next we are told this isn't actually a melting point, but a "melting range", wherein we have some liquid and some solid.

 

Which is it to be?

 

This admission clearly unnerved MLT, since he spent the next few minutes waffling on about this point/range (and, as we will soon see, his waffling became considerably worse in the next sub-section of the video, rendering much of it incomprehensible), trying to undo the damage.

 

Again, one minute he tells us that a metal "begins to melt into liquid" at the melting point, the next he talks about "the melting range, which is the range between the point when the metal begins to melt and the point when all its crystals are liquid", and then he back-tracks and tells us that metals are either solid or liquid, not half-and-half, or 10%-90% the one or the other. But, what is this 'new quality' that seems to appear when metals "begin to melt" at the start of the melting range? Are metals solid or liquid at this point and then throughout this range? Do, metals go from solid to liquid suddenly, perhaps in a in a nanosecond, or does this take a few seconds? If the former, why call it a "range"? If the latter, then, plainly, each metal is neither solid nor liquid; but then, what "quality" is it? We are never told.

 

[In fact, this is a "mixed phase" regime. I will return to this topic in the next section.]

 

Furthermore, what is the precise length of time for the following to take place: "this range is very narrow and typically only one or two degrees?" Once more, we are left in the dark.

 

DM, "vague and confused"?

 

Whatever was I thinking!?

 

Now, just as soon as MLT and his DM-buddies get their act together, and cobble-together something that is even a half-way decent theory -- as opposed to this Mickey Mouse Mess we have before us at present --, I will be able to answer his sarcastic question: "So, is that rapid enough for you, Trotskyist?"

 

2) When MLT says this: "Let's assume they're perfectly correct. It's...of course it's gradual. Let's say it's gradual. How does that affect the theory at all? It's still correct", he has clearly missed the point -- again! This part of DM is far from 'correct'; in fact it is impossible to say whether or not it is correct, since we have yet to be told how long a 'leap' is supposed to last. The other aspect of this theory (about "quantity passing over into quality") is a separate issue, which is why I tackled it in different subsections of my Essay.

 

Whether or not "quantity passes over into quality", the fact is that not all change in nature and society is 'nodal'.

 

Moreover, I was forced to use "rapid" (which word, as I have already indicated, I found in DM-textbooks) and that is because I had, and still have, no idea how long one of these 'nodes' actually is.

 

What is worse: since MLT failed to tell us (a) how long a 'node' is supposed to last, or (b) what a 'quality' is supposed to be, it is patently clear that he doesn't know either!

 

3) MLT says that (for him) glass and butter melt "very quickly". Once again, this underlines why I posted this comment:

 

In fact, the lack of definitional precision alluded to above 'allows' DM-theorists to see changes in "quality" (supposedly produced by changes in quantity) whenever and wherever it suits them, just as it 'permits' them to ignore the many instances where this doesn't happen. That, perhaps, helps explain why this 'Law' has been left so vague for so long.

 

If this is difficult to believe, ask the very next dialectician you meet precisely how long a 'node'/'leap', for example, is supposed to last. You will receive no answer -- except you might find that your query is hand-waved aside. But, if no one knows how long a 'node' is supposed to be, then anything from a Geological Age to an instantaneous quantum leap could be 'nodal'! Plainly, this introduces a fundamental element of arbitrariness into what dialecticians claim is an objective law. [Quoted from here; bold added.]

 

Hence, just as we saw above with the other vague terms we find in DM, this also 'allows' its supporters to see 'nodal' changes when and where it suits them, and to ignore the many cases in nature and society where change is slow and non-'nodal'. We can see this illustrated in yet another of MLT's subjective responses -- i.e., about what seems to him to be the case with melting glass and butter.

 

4) However, MLT's reliance on the dogmatic, a priori ideas Engels inflicted on Marxism has clearly let him down -- badly -- since amorphous solids (such as glass and plastics) do not have melting points.

 

 

[Most of the following material comes from my second reply to MLT's comments on his other YouTube page.]

 

This is, of course, just another way of making the same point that was made earlier: not all changes are unambiguously "nodal".

 

With glass, this is even clearer (no pun intended):

 

"It is sometimes said that glass in very old churches is thicker at the bottom than at the top because glass is a liquid, and so over several centuries it has flowed towards the bottom.  This is not true.  In Mediaeval times panes of glass were often made by the Crown glass process.  A lump of molten glass was rolled, blown, expanded, flattened and finally spun into a disc before being cut into panes.  The sheets were thicker towards the edge of the disc and were usually installed with the heavier side at the bottom.  Other techniques of forming glass panes have been used but it is only the relatively recent float glass processes which have produced good quality flat sheets of glass.

 

"To answer the question 'Is glass liquid or solid?" we have to understand its thermodynamic and material properties.'...

 

"Some people claim that glass is actually a supercooled liquid because there is no first order phase transition as it cools. In fact, there is a second order transition between the supercooled liquid state and the glass state, so a distinction can still be drawn. The transition is not as dramatic as the phase change that takes you from liquid to crystalline solids. There is no discontinuous change of density and no latent heat of fusion. The transition can be detected as a marked change in the thermal expansivity and heat capacity of the material...." [Quoted from here. Bold emphases alone added. Accessed 10/11/2008. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site. Some links also added.]

 

See also the following New York Times article:

 

"'It surprises most people that we still don't understand this,' said David R. Reichman, a professor of chemistry at Columbia, who takes yet another approach to the glass problem. 'We don't understand why glass should be a solid and how it forms.'...

 

"Scientists are slowly accumulating more clues. A few years ago, experiments and computer simulations revealed something unexpected: as molten glass cools, the molecules do not slow down uniformly. Some areas jam rigid first while in other regions the molecules continue to skitter around in a liquid-like fashion. More strangely, the fast-moving regions look no different from the slow-moving ones....

 

"For scientists, glass is not just the glass of windows and jars, made of silica, sodium carbonate and calcium oxide. Rather, a glass is any solid in which the molecules are jumbled randomly. Many plastics like polycarbonate are glasses, as are many ceramics....

 

"In freezing to a conventional solid, a liquid undergoes a so-called phase transition; the molecules line up next to and on top of one another in a simple, neat crystal pattern. When a liquid solidifies into a glass, this organized stacking is nowhere to be found. Instead, the molecules just move slower and slower and slower, until they are effectively not moving at all, trapped in a strange state between liquid and solid.

 

"The glass transition differs from a usual phase transition in several other key ways. Energy, what is called latent heat, is released when water molecules line up into ice. There is no latent heat in the formation of glass.

 

"The glass transition does not occur at a single, well-defined temperature; the slower the cooling, the lower the transition temperature. Even the definition of glass is arbitrary -- basically a rate of flow so slow that it is too boring and time-consuming to watch. The final structure of the glass also depends on how slowly it has been cooled." [New York Times, 29/07/2008. Accessed 10/11/2008. Bold emphases added. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

And finally, here is what we find in a recent article from Science Daily:

 

"Scientists fully understand the process of water turning to ice. As the temperature cools, the movement of the water molecules slows. At 32oF, the molecules form crystal lattices, solidifying into ice. In contrast, the molecules of glasses do not crystallize. The movement of the glass molecules slows as temperature cools, but they never lock into crystal patterns. Instead, they jumble up and gradually become glassier, or more viscous. No one understands exactly why." [Science Daily, 13/08/2007. Bold emphasis added.]

 

So, and once again, not all state of matter/phase changes are "nodal".

 

Indeed, the same points can be made with respect to other so-called amorphous solids.

 

"Amorphous materials are ubiquitous in natural and engineered systems. Granular fault gouge in earthquakes faults, thin film lubricants, and bulk metallic glasses are seemingly disparate systems which are similar in that they possess an amorphous structure. Colloids, emulsions, window glass, dense polymers, and even biological tissues are other examples.

 

"Other examples of amorphous materials include colloids and emulsions, foams, glass-forming molecular liquids, traffic jams...." [Quoted from here. Accessed 05/11/2011. See also here.]

 

"Melting Point: A crystalline solid has a sharp melting point, i.e., it changes into liquid state at a definite temperature. On the contrary an amorphous solid does not have a sharp melting point. For example, when glass is heated, it softens and then starts flowing without undergoing any abrupt or sharp change from solid to liquid state...." [Quoted from here; accessed 20/02/2015. Bold emphasis added.]

 

"In an amorphous solid, the local environment, including both the distances to neighbouring units and the numbers of neighbours, varies throughout the material. Different amounts of thermal energy are needed to overcome these different interactions. Consequently, amorphous solids tend to soften slowly over a wide temperature range rather than having a well-defined melting point like a crystalline solid." [Quoted from here; accessed 03/03/2015. Spelling altered to UK English. Bold added.]

 

In which case, this represents yet another nail in the coffin containing Engels's radically defective theory.

 

Nature and society are thus reassuringly non-dialectical.

 

5) Finally, what about this?

 

"...Their whole argument pretty much relies on the fact that metal softening is considered a qualitative change, which...which it isn't."

 

In fact, since I am still waiting for DM-theorists to tell us with some (any!) clarity what a "quality" is, this has absolutely nothing to do with my argument, let alone it being the "whole" of it. [Which is why I often put "quality" in quotes, or even in 'scare' quotes, when it appears in other sections of my argument.]

 

It is worth underlining, yet again, that in this part of my argument, I am merely questioning the alleged fact that such changes are always 'leaps', not whether they are "qualitative".

 

Once again, we can see that MLT prefers fiction to fact.

 

MLT's Rapid Melt-Down

 

The next sub-section of MLT's video is, to be honest, a garbled mess.

 

He begins by insulting us Trotskyists (fair enough, we know M-L's can't resist slandering and verbally abusing us), telling his audience that he will make things simple enough even for us to understand -- but by the end MLT's eminently successful attempt to waffle himself into a corner results in his having to admit that this topic (or as he has just mangled it) is "confusing".

 

When neutral observers listen to this part of the video, or read the following transcript, I think they will know where to pin the blame: on the Mystical Hegelian/DM-tradition in Philosophy -- which has plainly "confused" yet another unfortunate comrade.

 

[I have done my best to transcribe this section as accurately as I can, but it is so garbled that it is in fact impossible to follow in places. Readers will have to judge for themselves if I have got MLT's words 100% right.]

 

"So, let's make this even more simple. Now this is going to be scientifically inaccurate in terms, but I'm going to simplify the terminology so much that even a Trotskyist can understand.

 

"So, keep in mind that this is not the...really the way you should use these terms, but whatever...

 

"So, er..., would it be more understandable to you if I said that more heating..., er..., more melting..., er..., if I instead of saying more heating more...like if I...even though [this is an extremely garbled section! -- RL] it's not really melting, but just if if [sic] I said it like it's melting? If I said that once melting..., once 'melting' has accumulated, even though it's really heat, but let's just say that it's melting so that it's easier to understand. So, one..., once melting has accumulated we have a quantitay (sic), ...a quantity turning into a quality. Er..., enough melting quantity turns into solid goes ff... (sic) to liquid; quantitative change. Erm..., so qualitative change is a threshold, and quantitative change is the gradual approach toward the threshold. Erm..., I hope I have made this clear.

 

"And just to avoid this kind of semantic nonsense and playing with words [!! -- RL], let's take one more example where the wording is not as confusing.

 

"So, look at...look at a piece of ice. Then look at water. Are they qualitatively different? Well, yes they are. One is liquid and one is solid, clearly. Are they quantitatively different? Why yes they are. One has notice..., noticeably more heat than the other, because it's...you know...liquid. So, a qualitative leap has happened somewhere, has it not? Erm..., is there a category of (sic) between frozen, i.e., solid and liquid? No. Is there water that is half or perhaps 33% frozen? No.

 

"Even when, for example, a glass of water freezes and it's sort of kind of solidifies (sic) partially while still having some liquid in the glass, it's not half-frozen water. It's ice on top of liquid water. Same with melting icicles that have water dripping from them. They're not 90% frozen water, but it's ice with liquid water dropping..., er..., dripping from it.

 

"Er..., so this works the exact same way with metal. I hope that's clear enough. [Garbled and undecipherable] just ask questions if you don't..., er..., if it's confusing. I know this is kind of...it is kind of confusing, but..., er..., I hope that makes sense to you." [Approx 28:26-31:07. Bold added.] 

 

Perhaps the expression "Clear as mud" was invented to describe 'clarity' such as this?

 

There isn't much one can say about the above dialectical car crash, except perhaps the following:

 

1) Once again, MLT digs a non-dialectical hole for himself when he talks about ice and water. He half recognises the problems he has created for himself when he says

 

"[W]hen, for example, a glass of water freezes and it's sort of kind of solidifies partially while still having some liquid in the glass, it's not half-frozen water."

 

So, in one breath we are informed that this glass of water "solidifies partially" while "still having some liquid in the glass", the next we are told that it isn't "half-frozen water"! MLT rightly describes this as "confusing". He is forced to back-track and admit that typically, when water freezes, we have a "mixed phase" of ice and water, until it has all frozen! Indeed, we read this from the University of Manchester:

 

"Ice and Mixed Phase Clouds

 

"At temperatures below 0C cloud particles may be composed of either supercooled liquid water or ice. The processes involved in ice particle formation are more complicated and less well understood than for water droplet formation. When a cloud rises through the freezing level droplets do not instantaneously freeze, in fact, a pure water droplet may continue to exist as a supercooled liquid drop down to temperatures approaching -40C. However, ice particles do form at much warmer temperatures than -40C via a number of ice nucleation and multiplication processes, so it is not unusual to observe fully glaciated clouds at temperatures as warm as -10C. Ice particles may form either by freezing (a liquid droplet freezes to create an ice particle) or deposition (where material is deposited directly from the vapour phase to create an ice particle). In each case ice particle production may occur homogeneously (only water molecules involved) or heterogeneously (other solid material assists the process). In the atmosphere ice particles may be formed by three processes: homogeneous freezing; heterogeneous freezing and heterogeneous deposition. Homogeneous deposition does not occur under atmospheric conditions.

 

"Homogeneous freezing is the process by which a supercooled liquid drop freezes without the assistance of an ice nuclei. Homogeneous freezing becomes statistically more likely as temperature decreases such that below -39C all drops will freeze. The temperature at which homogeneous freezing occurs is affected by the presence of dissolved material in the droplet, especially when the droplet is a highly concentrated solution such as is the case for haze droplets.

 

"Heterogeneous freezing is the process by which a supercooled liquid drop freezes with the assistance of a solid aerosol particle which is able to act as an ice nuclei. Heterogeneous freezing is thought to operate via several different modes: immersion nucleation, here a solid particle within an existing drop acts as a nuclei for ice formation and the droplet freezes; condensation nucleation, here water vapour condenses onto a solid particle to form a droplet, the particle then acts as an immersion nuclei; contact nucleation, here a solid particle is in collision with an existing droplet and initiates freezing of that drop.

 

"Heterogeneous deposition is the process by which water vapour is deposited onto an ice nuclei and takes on a crystalline form directly without first being in the liquid phase. While this is considered to be theoretically possible in the atmosphere, there is no clear experimental evidence that this is an important atmospheric process.

 

"The exact properties required for an aerosol particle to act as an ice nuclei are not fully known and may well be different for each of the modes above. Also it is likely that the temperature at which each nucleation mode will become active is different even for the same type of particle. This is an area of considerable research effort in laboratory ice cloud studies. In general it is believed that ice nuclei are quite different to droplet nuclei, while droplet nuclei are soluble, ice nuclei are generally insoluble. Factors such as size shape and crystal structure are believed to be important for ice nuclei. Aerosol such as mineral particles (e.g. desert dust etc.), soot and certain bacteria have been observed to act as ice nuclei and these all have very different characteristics. Additionally droplets with certain alcohol monolayer coatings have been found to freeze at much warmer temperatures than would be expected for homogeneous nucleation. Measurements of ice nuclei concentrations in the atmosphere are rather difficult, but there is evidence that only a small fraction of the aerosol population are able to act as ice nuclei and that this fraction increases with increasing particle size. This fraction is much lower than the fraction of particles which are able to act as droplet nuclei, with typical ice nuclei concentrations being around 1-10/litre.

 

"Measurements of ice particle concentrations in cloud are often several orders of magnitude higher than ice nuclei concentrations. This is because there are several ice multiplication or secondary ice production mechanisms whereby more ice particles are produced from existing ice crystals in the cloud. Mechanisms which are currently thought to be important are mechanical fracturing of evaporating crystals; fragmentation of large drops during freezing and splinter formation during riming of ice crystals. Riming occurs when a liquid droplet is in collision with an existing ice crystal and freezes instantly, becoming part of the crystal. This last process is generally referred to as the Hallett-Mossop process. The ice splinters produced by these processes may initiate the freezing of additional drops by contact nucleation, or may grow into larger crystals by vapour deposition.

 

"Once crystals are nucleated they may grow rapidly by vapour diffusion, especially in the presence of super cooled water, as it is energetically more favourable for water to exist as ice rather than liquid at such temperatures. Thus ice crystals grow at the expense of droplets which evaporate; this is known as the Bergeron process. Under these conditions a 15µm ice particle may grow at a rate of up to 1µm/s.

 

"Ice crystals have a basic hexagonally symmetrical structure, but may grow into a number of different habits depending on the conditions (temperature, pressure and supersaturation) under which it has grown. Common habits found in clouds in the atmosphere include hexagonal plates, hollow and solid hexagonal columns, needles, stellar and branched habits. Often growth will begin independently from multiple points on the nuclei resulting in more complex structures which may be composed of several crystals of the same habit, or even mixtures of several habits. Additionally aggregate crystals may form as particles collide with each other within the cloud, and in mixed phase clouds particles often become rimed by collision with droplets. Many laboratory studies have been carried out over the years to determine which growth conditions produce which type of crystal, thus it is possible to infer the growth conditions which have been present within a cloud by examining the type of crystals present. Some common crystal habits are listed in the table below, illustrated with examples of the habit observed in the atmosphere using the Cloud Particle Imager. Some information is given about conditions of crystal formation, though studies are still ongoing to fully determine the conditions under which different crystals are formed, and there are still some differences between lab experiments carried out in this field. In addition to the mostly regular habits shown in the table, in many cases atmospheric clouds contain a very significant number of completely irregular ice particles of all sizes.

 

"Different crystal habits all interact with radiation differently to each other, and differently to water drops in warm clouds, thus radiative properties of ice clouds are dependant on the habit of crystals present. Regular habits also scatter differently depending on their orientation relative to incident light, if crystal orientation is random as may be expected then such effects cancel out. However under certain conditions crystals have been observed to all take on the same orientation, with a significant impact on the optical properties of the cloud. Some spectacular optical effects may be produced by ice clouds composed of orientated regular crystals." [Quoted from here; accessed 05/03/2015. Five links and bold emphases added.]

 

This is what "science says"; nature is far too complicated to squeeze into a dialectical boot it won't fit.

 

[Notice also the tentative nature of genuine science, for example: "The processes involved in ice particle formation are more complicated and less well understood than for water droplet formation." No dogmatism at all in there.]

 

2) It could be objected that the water spoken about above, and in MLT's example, is either liquid or solid; there is no half-way house between these two states.

 

But, no dialectician can afford to admit this.

 

Why? Well check out these words from the Godfather of Confusion, Hegel:

 

"Instead of speaking by the maxim of Excluded Middle (which is the maxim of abstract understanding) we should rather say: Everything is opposite. Neither in heaven nor in Earth, neither in the world of mind nor of nature, is there anywhere such an abstract 'either-or' as the understanding maintains. Whatever exists is concrete, with difference and opposition in itself. The finitude of things will then lie in the want of correspondence between their immediate being, and what they essentially are. Thus, in inorganic nature, the acid is implicitly at the same time the base: in other words, its only being consists in its relation to its other. Hence also the acid is not something that persists quietly in the contrast: it is always in effort to realise what it potentially is." [Hegel (1975), p.174; Essence as Ground of Existence, §119. Bold emphasis added. The serious problems this dogmatic and a priori diktat creates for Hegel, which he nowhere tries to justify, are detailed here.]

 

And, these from Engels:

 

"To the metaphysician, things and their mental reflexes, ideas, are isolated, are to be considered one after the other and apart from each other, are objects of investigation fixed, rigid, given once for all. He thinks in absolutely irreconcilable antitheses. 'His communication is "yea, yea; nay, nay"; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.' For him a thing either exists or does not exist; a thing cannot at the same time be itself and something else. Positive and negative absolutely exclude one another, cause and effect stand in a rigid antithesis one to the other.

"At first sight this mode of thinking seems to us very luminous, because it is that of so-called sound common sense. Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research. And the metaphysical mode of thought, justifiable and even necessary as it is in a number of domains whose extent varies according to the nature of the particular object of investigation, sooner or later reaches a limit, beyond which it becomes one-sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions. In the contemplation of individual things it forgets the connection between them; in the contemplation of their existence, it forgets the beginning and end of that existence; of their repose, it forgets their motion. It cannot see the wood for the trees." [
Engels (1976), p.26. Bold emphasis added. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

"For a stage in the outlook on nature where all differences become merged in intermediate steps, and all opposites pass into one another through intermediate links, the old metaphysical method of thought no longer suffices. Dialectics, which likewise knows no hard and fast lines, no unconditional, universally valid 'either-or' and which bridges the fixed metaphysical differences, and besides 'either-or' recognises also in the right place 'both this-and that' and reconciles the opposites, is the sole method of thought appropriate in the highest degree to this stage. Of course, for everyday use, for the small change of science, the metaphysical categories retain their validity." [Engels (1954), pp.212-13. Bold emphasis added. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site.]

 

Hence, if we are to believe the above dogmatists, if there is no "either-or" anywhere in the universe, we must abandon such rigid distinctions between -- oh, I don't know -- between liquids and solids --, or risk being accused of indulging in 'metaphysics', of capitulating to 'commonsense', or 'formal thinking'.

 

If we have to shape our ideas as these dogmatists tell us we should, then MLT had better hope that there is a 'category' between solid and liquid water/ice, or even metals, since, at present, he seems to have accepted just such a 'rigid distinction'.

 

[In an earlier exchange, I accused MLT of not knowing his own theory; here we are presented with yet more proof.]

 

Liquid or solid? If the answer is the one or the other, then there is an "either/or", after all! On the other hand, if we reject such rigid dichotomies, then there is a state of matter called 'solid and liquid'. Who or what do we reject? The Engels and the Hegel of the above quotations, or MLT with his 'metaphysical', rigid categories?

 

Or, all three at once for being radically confused?

 

Mmmm..., that's a tough one alright...

 

As I noted in Essay Seven Part One, Q/Q is clearly at odds with the doctrine of the 'Unity and Interpenetration of Opposites' (slightly edited): 

 

Despite this, it is quite clear that the '"nodal" aspect of the First 'Law' [Q/Q] is incompatible with the 'Unity and Interpenetration of Opposites' [UIO], or at least with the link between the UIO and the DM-criticism of the LEM.

 

[LEM = Law of Excluded Middle; FL = Formal Logic; DL = Dialectical Logic.]

 

To see this, consider object/process, P, which is just about to undergo a qualitative change (a "leap") from, say, state, PA, to state, PB. For there to be a "nodal" change here it would have to be the case that P is in state PA one instant/moment, and in state PB an instant/moment later (howsoever these "instants/moments" are understood). There is no other way of making sense of the abrupt nature of "nodal" change.

 

[To spare the reader, I will just refer to these as "instants" from now on.]

 

But, if that is so, then any state description of P would have to obey the LEM, for it would have to be the case that at one instant it would be true to say that P was in state PA at that instant but not in state PB at the same instant; i.e., it would not be true to say that P was in both states at once. That is, if we assume that PB is not-PA, then at any one instant, if this change is "nodal", the following would have to be the case: P is either in state PA or it is in state not-PA, but not both. In that case, these two states wouldn't interpenetrate one another (in the sense that both exist, or both apply to P at the same time), and the LEM would apply to this process over this time period, at least.

 

On the other hand, if these two states do in fact interpenetrate each other (in the sense that both exist or apply to P at the same time) such that the "either-or" of the LEM doesn't apply, and it were the case that P was in both states at once, then the transition from PA to PB would be smooth and not "nodal", after all.

 

This dilemma is independent of the length of time a "node" is held to last (that is, if we are ever told!). It is also worth noting that this inconsistency applies at just the point where dialecticians tell us DL is superior to FL --, that is, at the point of change.

 

So, once more, we see that not only can DL not explain change, at least two of Engels's three 'Laws' are inconsistent with each other (when applied to objects/processes that undergo change).

 

But, this is dialectics; it is supposed to be inconsistent!

 

I will deal with the last ten or so minutes of this video in the next Part of my reply.

 

Notes

 

1. Here are several more quotations from the DM-classicists (and one other DM-theorists) that show they understood the connection between dogmatism and Idealism:

 

"The criticism to which the idealism of the Deborin school has been subjected in Soviet philosophical circles in recent years has aroused great interest among us. Deborin's idealism has exerted a very bad influence in the Chinese Communist Party, and it cannot be said that the dogmatist thinking in our Party is unrelated to the approach of that school. Our present study of philosophy should therefore have the eradication of dogmatist thinking as its main objective." [Mao (1937), p.311. Bold emphasis and link added.]

 

"Our comrades must understand that we study Marxism-Leninism not for display, nor because there is any mystery about it, but solely because it is the science which leads the revolutionary cause of the proletariat to victory. Even now, there are not a few people who still regard odd quotations from Marxist-Leninist works as a ready-made panacea which, once acquired, can easily cure all maladies. These people show childish ignorance, and we should enlighten them. It is precisely such ignorant people who take Marxism-Leninism as a religious dogma. To them we should say bluntly, 'Your dogma is worthless.' Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin have repeatedly stated that our theory is not a dogma but a guide to action. But such people prefer to forget this statement which is of the greatest, indeed the utmost, importance. Chinese Communists can be regarded as linking theory with practice only when they become good at applying the Marxist-Leninist stand, viewpoint and method and the teachings of Lenin and Stalin concerning the Chinese revolution and when, furthermore, through serious research into the realities of China's history and revolution, they do creative theoretical work to meet China's needs in different spheres. Merely talking about linking theory and practice without actually doing anything about it is of no use, even if one goes on talking for a hundred years. To oppose the subjectivist, one-sided approach to problems, we must demolish dogmatist subjectiveness and one-sidedness." [Mao (1965b), p.42. Bold emphases added.]

 

"Idealism and metaphysics are the easiest things in the world, because people can talk as much nonsense as they like without basing it on objective reality or having it tested against reality. Materialism and dialectics, on the other hand, need effort. They must be based on and tested by objective reality. Unless one makes the effort, one is liable to slip into idealism and metaphysics." [Mao, quoted from here. Bold emphasis added.]

 

"Our party philosophy, then, has a right to lay claim to truth. For it is the only philosophy which is based on a standpoint which demands that we should always seek to understand things just as they are…without disguises and without fantasy….

 

"Marxism, therefore, seeks to base our ideas of things on nothing but the actual investigation of them, arising from and tested by experience and practice. It does not invent a 'system' as previous philosophers have done, and then try to make everything fit into it…." [Cornforth (1976), pp.14-15. Bold emphases added.]

 

"A consistent materialism cannot proceed from principles which are validated by appeal to abstract reason, intuition, self-evidence or some other subjective or purely theoretical source. Idealisms may do this. But the materialist philosophy has to be based upon evidence taken from objective material sources and verified by demonstration in practice...." [Novack (1965), p.17. Bold emphasis added.]

 

Appendix

 

Here is just a small fraction of the dogmatic things the DM-classicists have asserted -- again, I have confined myself to quoting only those theorists whom MLT will regard as authoritative, although those he wouldn't view this way say the same sorts of things, too (for example, Bukharin and Trotsky, follow these links to find out what they had to say):

 

Engels:

 

"Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, nor can there be…. Matter without motion is just as inconceivable as motion without matter. Motion is therefore as uncreatable and indestructible as matter itself; as the older philosophy (Descartes) expressed it, the quantity of motion existing in the world is always the same. Motion therefore cannot be created; it can only be transmitted….

 

"A motionless state of matter therefore proves to be one of the most empty and nonsensical of ideas…." [Engels (1976), p.74. Bold emphases and link added. Italic emphases in the original.]

 

"The law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa…[operates] in nature, in a manner fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes can only occur by the quantitative addition or quantitative subtraction of matter or motion….

 

"Hence, it is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion…. In this form, therefore, Hegel's mysterious principle appears not only quite rational but even rather obvious.

 

"Motion in the most general sense, conceived as the mode of existence, the inherent attribute of matter, comprehends all changes and processes occurring in the universe….

 

"Dialectics, so called objective dialectics, prevails throughout nature…. [M]otion through opposites which asserts itself everywhere in nature, and which by the continual conflict of the opposites…determines the life of nature….

 

"The whole theory of gravity rests on saying that attraction is the essence of matter. This is necessarily false. Where there is attraction, it must be complemented by repulsion. Hence already Hegel was quite right in saying that the essence of matter is attraction and repulsion….

 

"The visible system of stars, the solar system, terrestrial masses, molecules and atoms, and finally ether particles, form each of them [a definite group]. It does not alter the case that intermediate links can be found between the separate groups…. These intermediate links prove only that there are no leaps in nature, precisely because nature is composed entirely of leaps." [Engels (1954), pp.17, 63, 69, 211, 244, 271. Bold emphases added.]

 

Lenin:

 

"Dialectics requires an all-round consideration of relationships in their concrete development…. Dialectical logic demands that we go further…. [It] requires that an object should be taken in development, in 'self-movement' (as Hegel sometimes puts it)….

 

"[D]ialectical logic holds that 'truth' is always concrete, never abstract, as the late Plekhanov liked to say after Hegel." [Lenin (1921), pp.90, 93. Bold emphases added.]

 

"Flexibility, applied objectively, i.e., reflecting the all-sidedness of the material process and its unity, is dialectics, is the correct reflection of the eternal development of the world." [Lenin (1961), p.110. Bold emphasis added.]

 

"Nowadays, the ideas of development…as formulated by Marx and Engels on the basis of Hegel…[encompass a process] that seemingly repeats the stages already passed, but repeats them otherwise, on a higher basis ('negation of negation'), a development, so to speak, in spirals, not in a straight line; -- a development by leaps, catastrophes, revolutions; -- 'breaks in continuity'; the transformation of quantity into quality; -- the inner impulses to development, imparted by the contradiction and conflict of the various forces and tendencies acting on a given body, or within a given phenomenon, or within a given society; -- the interdependence and the closest, indissoluble connection of all sides of every phenomenon…, a connection that provides a uniform, law-governed, universal process of motion -– such are some of the features of dialectics as a richer (than the ordinary) doctrine of development." [Lenin (1914), pp.12-13. Bold emphases alone added.]

 

"[Among the elements of dialectics are the following:] [I]nternally contradictory tendencies…in [a thing]…as the sum and unity of opposites…. [E]ach thing (phenomenon, process, etc.)…is connected with every other…. [This involves] not only the unity of opposites, but the transitions of every determination, quality, feature, side, property into every other….

 

"In brief, dialectics can be defined as the doctrine of the unity of opposites. This embodies the essence of dialectics….

 

"The splitting of the whole and the cognition of its contradictory parts…is the essence (one of the 'essentials', one of the principal, if not the principal, characteristic features) of dialectics….

 

"The identity of opposites…is the recognition…of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature…. The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their 'self-movement', in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites. Development is the 'struggle' of opposites…. [This] alone furnishes the key to the self-movement of everything existing….

 

"The unity…of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitory, relative. The struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is absolute, just as development and motion are absolute….

 

"To begin with what is the simplest, most ordinary, common, etc., [sic] with any proposition...: [like] John is a man…. Here we already have dialectics (as Hegel's genius recognized): the individual is the universal…. Consequently, the opposites (the individual is opposed to the universal) are identical: the individual exists only in the connection that leads to the universal. The universal exists only in the individual and through the individual. Every individual is (in one way or another) a universal. Every universal is (a fragment, or an aspect, or the essence of) an individual. Every universal only approximately embraces all the individual objects. Every individual enters incompletely into the universal, etc., etc. Every individual is connected by thousands of transitions with other kinds of individuals (things, phenomena, processes), etc. Here already we have the elements, the germs of the concept of necessity, of objective connection in nature, etc. Here already we have the contingent and the necessary, the phenomenon and the essence; for when we say John is a man…we disregard a number of attributes as contingent; we separate the essence from the appearance, and counterpose the one to the other….

 

"Thus in any proposition we can (and must) disclose as a 'nucleus' ('cell') the germs of all the elements of dialectics, and thereby show that dialectics is a property of all human knowledge in general." [Lenin (1961), pp.221-22, 357-58, 359-60. Italic emphases in the original; bold emphases added.]

 

Plekhanov:

 

"According to Hegel, dialectics is the principle of all life…. [M]an has two qualities: first being alive, and secondly of also being mortal. But on closer examination it turns out that life itself bears in itself the germ of death, and that in general any phenomenon is contradictory, in the sense that it develops out of itself the elements which, sooner or later, will put an end to its existence and will transform it into its opposite. Everything flows, everything changes; and there is no force capable of holding back this constant flux, or arresting its eternal movement. There is no force capable of resisting the dialectics of phenomena….

 

"At a particular moment a moving body is at a particular spot, but at the same time it is outside it as well because, if it were only in that spot, it would, at least for that moment, become motionless. Every motion is a dialectical process, a living contradiction, and as there is not a single phenomenon of nature in explaining which we do not have in the long run to appeal to motion, we have to agree with Hegel, who said that dialectics is the soul of any scientific cognition. And this applies not only to cognition of nature….

 

"And so every phenomenon, by the action of those same forces which condition its existence, sooner or later, but inevitably, is transformed into its own opposite….

 

"When you apply the dialectical method to the study of phenomena, you need to remember that forms change eternally in consequence of the 'higher development of their content….'

 

"In the words of Engels, Hegel's merit consists in the fact that he was the first to regard all phenomena from the point of view of their development, from the point of view of their origin and destruction….

 

"[M]odern science confirms at every step the idea expressed with such genius by Hegel, that quantity passes into quality….

 

"[I]t will be understood without difficulty by anyone who is in the least capable of dialectical thinking...[that] quantitative changes, accumulating gradually, lead in the end to changes of quality, and that these changes of quality represent leaps, interruptions in gradualness…. That's how all Nature acts…." [Plekhanov (1956), pp.74-77, 88, 163. Bold emphases alone added.]

 

"Hegel goes on to show by a number of examples how often leaps take place in Nature and in history….

 

"This dialectical view of Hegel's as to the inevitability of leaps in the process of development was adopted in full by Marx and Engels….

 

"Thus [Engels] indicated that the transition from one form of energy to another cannot take place otherwise than by means of a leap…. Generally, speaking, he found that the rights of dialectical thinking are confirmed by the dialectical properties of being….

 

"Herzen was right in saying that Hegel's philosophy…was a genuine algebra of revolution….

 

"[W]e may say that this dialectic was the first to supply a method necessary and competent to solve the problem of the rational causes of all that exists….

 

"The motion of matter lies at the root of all natural phenomena. But motion is a contradiction. It should be judged in a dialectical manner…. Only the motion of matter is eternal, and matter itself is indestructible substance….

 

"'All is flux, nothing is stationary,' said the ancient thinker from Ephesus. The combinations we call objects are in a state of constant and more or less rapid change…. In as much as they change and cease to exist as such, we must address ourselves to the logic of contradiction….

 

"…[M]otion does not only make objects…, it is constantly changing them. It is for this reason that the logic of motion (the 'logic of contradiction') never relinquishes its rights over the objects created by motion….

 

"With Hegel, thinking progresses in consequence of the uncovering and resolution of the contradictions inclosed (sic) in concepts. According to our doctrine…the contradictions embodied in concepts are merely reflections, translations into the language of thought, of those contradictions that are embodied in phenomena owing to the contradictory nature of their common basis, i.e., motion….

 

"…[T]he overwhelming majority of phenomena that come within the compass of the natural and the social sciences are among 'objects' of this kind…[:ones in which there is a coincidence of opposites]. Diametrically opposite phenomena are united in the simplest globule of protoplasm, and the life of the most undeveloped society…." [Plekhanov (1908), pp.35-38, 92-96. Bold emphases alone added.]

 

"We know that Hegel called his method dialectical; why did he do so?

 

"In his Phänomenologie des Geistes he compares human life with dialogue, in the sense that under the pressure of experience our views gradually change, as happens to the opinions of disputants participating in a discussion of a profound intellectual nature. Comparing the course of development of consciousness with the progress of such a discussion, Hegel designated it by the word dialectics, or dialectical motion. This word had already been used by Plato, but it was Hegel who gave it its especially profound and important meaning. To Hegel, dialectics is the soul of all scientific knowledge. It is of extraordinary importance to comprehend its nature. It is the principle of all motion, of all life, of all that occurs in reality. According to Hegel, the finite is not only limited from without, but by virtue of its own nature it negates itself and passes into its own opposite. All that exists can be taken as an example to explain the nature of dialectics. Everything is fluid, everything changes, everything passes away. Hegel compares the power of dialectics with divine omnipotence. Dialectics is that universal irresistible force which nothing can withstand. At the same time dialectics makes itself felt in each separate phenomenon of each separate sphere of life. Take motion. At a given moment, a body in motion is at a given point, but at the very same moment it is also beyond that point too, since if it remained only at the given point it would be motionless. All motion is a living contradiction; all motion is a dialectical process. But the whole life of nature is motion; so that in the study of nature it is absolutely essential to adopt the dialectical viewpoint. Hegel sharply condemns those naturalists who forget this. But the main reproach he addresses to them is that in their classifications they put a wide and impassable gulf between things which in fact pass into one another in obedience to the irresistible force of the law of dialectical motion. The subsequent triumph of transformism in biology clearly demonstrated that this reproach had a quite sound theoretical basis. Exactly the same is being demonstrated by the remarkable discoveries in chemistry which are proceeding before our very eyes....

 

"The following, however, should be noted. Hegel's viewpoint was that of development. But development may be understood variously. Even now there are naturalists who reiterate with an air of importance: 'Nature does not make leaps.' Sociologists, too, frequently say: 'Social development is accomplished through slow, gradual changes.' Hegel, on the contrary, affirmed that just as in nature so also in history, leaps are inevitable...." [Plekhanov (1917), pp.601-02. Quotation marks altered to conform to the conventions adopted at this site. Bold emphases and link added. Italic emphases in the original.]

 

Stalin:

 

"Dialectical materialism is the world outlook of the Marxist-Leninist party....

 

"The dialectical method therefore holds that no phenomenon in nature can be understood if taken by itself....; and that, vice versa, any phenomenon can be understood and explained if considered in its inseparable connection with surrounding phenomena, as one conditioned by surrounding phenomena.

 

"Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that nature is not in a state of rest and immobility, stagnation and immutability, but a state of continuous movement and change, of continuous renewal and development....

 

"The dialectical method therefore requires that phenomena should be considered not only from the standpoint of their interconnection and interdependence, but also from the standpoint of their movement and change....

 

"Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that internal contradictions are inherent in all things and phenomena of nature, for they all have their negative and positive sides...; and that the struggle between these opposites, the struggle between the old and the new, between that which is dying away and that which is being born..., constitutes the internal content of the process of development, the internal content of the transformation of quantitative changes into qualitative changes....

 

"If there are no isolated phenomena in the world, if all phenomena are interconnected and interdependent, then it is clear that every social system and every social movement in history must be evaluated not from the standpoint of 'eternal justice'....

 

"Contrary to idealism..., Marxist philosophical materialism holds that the world and its laws are fully knowable, that our knowledge of the laws of nature, tested by experiment and practice, is authentic knowledge having the validity of objective truth, and that there are no things in the world which are unknowable, but only things which are as yet not known, but which will be disclosed and made known by the efforts of science and practice." [Stalin (1976b), pp.835-46. Bold emphases added.]

 

Mao:

 

"The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the basic law of materialist dialectics....

 

"As opposed to the metaphysical world outlook, the world outlook of materialist dialectics holds that in order to understand the development of a thing we should study it internally and in its relations with other things; in other words, the development of things should be seen as their internal and necessary self-movement, while each thing in its movement is interrelated with and interacts on the things around it. The fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal; it lies in the contradictoriness within the thing. There is internal contradiction in every single thing, hence its motion and development....

 

"The universality or absoluteness of contradiction has a twofold meaning. One is that contradiction exists in the process of development of all things, and the other is that in the process of development of each thing a movement of opposites exists from beginning to end....

 

"...There is nothing that does not contain contradictions; without contradiction nothing would exist....

 

"Thus it is already clear that contradiction exists universally and is in all processes, whether in the simple or in the complex forms of motion, whether in objective phenomena or ideological phenomena....

 

"...Contradiction is universal and absolute, it is present in the process of the development of all things and permeates every process from beginning to end...." [Mao (1937), pp.311-18. Bold emphases added.]

 

"The reason the dogmatist and empiricist comrades in China have made mistakes lies precisely in their subjectivist, one-sided and superficial way of looking at things. To be one-sided and superficial is at the same time to be subjective. For all objective things are actually interconnected and are governed by inner laws, but instead of undertaking the task of reflecting things as they really are some people only look at things one-sidedly or superficially and who know neither their interconnections nor their inner laws, and so their method is subjectivist." [Ibid., p.324. Bold emphasis added.]

 

There is no way that the above theorists could have known for a fact that any of the above were true. Even if they possessed evidence several orders of magnitude greater than we have today (never mind when they were alive), that still wouldn't justify the sorts of things they happily imposed on nature -- for example:

 

"Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, nor can there be…. Matter without motion is just as inconceivable as motion without matter. Motion is therefore as uncreatable and indestructible as matter itself; as the older philosophy (Descartes) expressed it, the quantity of motion existing in the world is always the same. Motion therefore cannot be created; it can only be transmitted…." [Engels.]

 

"Flexibility, applied objectively, i.e., reflecting the all-sidedness of the material process and its unity, is dialectics, is the correct reflection of the eternal development of the world." [Lenin.]

 

"All motion is a living contradiction; all motion is a dialectical process. But the whole life of nature is motion; so that in the study of nature it is absolutely essential to adopt the dialectical viewpoint." [Plekhanov.]

 

"dialectics holds that internal contradictions are inherent in all things and phenomena of nature." [Stalin.]

 

"There is nothing that does not contain contradictions; without contradiction nothing would exist...." [Mao.]

 

How could Engels possibly have known (as opposed to believing, or surmising) that "Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, nor can there be..."? Did he examine every particle of matter in the universe, past and present?

 

How could Lenin have known (as opposed to believing, or surmising) that dialectics was the "correct reflection of the eternal development of the world"? Had he examined the entire universe? How could he have known that "'truth' is always concrete, never abstract" -- especially since that statement is abstract itself, and hence can't be true!

 

Well, we needn't labour the point. None of the above could possibly have known any of the things they asserted with such confidence.

 

Before someone tries to locate the countless warehouses full of evidence that the DM-classicists must have amassed in support of these hyper-bold assertions, there is in fact no secret about where they found these super-truths. They carried out no original research themselves -- other than leaf through Hegel's work (and perhaps the work of other Mystics).

 

That is where these ideas came from, not from science.

 

[Sure, they then appealed to various forms of Mickey Mouse Science in order to try to substantiate a theory they had already been decided upon.]

 

Again as Cornforth and Novack noted:

 

"Our party philosophy, then, has a right to lay claim to truth. For it is the only philosophy which is based on a standpoint which demands that we should always seek to understand things just as they are…without disguises and without fantasy….

 

"Marxism, therefore, seeks to base our ideas of things on nothing but the actual investigation of them, arising from and tested by experience and practice. It does not invent a 'system' as previous philosophers have done, and then try to make everything fit into it…." [Cornforth (1976), pp.14-15. Bold emphases added.]

 

"A consistent materialism cannot proceed from principles which are validated by appeal to abstract reason, intuition, self-evidence or some other subjective or purely theoretical source. Idealisms may do this. But the materialist philosophy has to be based upon evidence taken from objective material sources and verified by demonstration in practice...." [Novack (1965), p.17. Bold emphasis added.]

 

The problem is that although the above two said this, their work shows that they, too, were happy to do the opposite: impose DM on nature and society.

 

Exactly why the above theorists did this (and all subsequent DM-supporters have emulated them) is explained here, here and here.

 

Had I included every dogmatic, a priori thesis the DM-Classicists saw fit to impose on the world, this response would have been double its present length. [In case anyone thinks this is an hyperbole, I have published another 6000 words of dogmatic assertions, taken from Anti-Dühring alone, here.]

 

Finally, I have also added to Essay Two tens of thousands of words (no exaggeration!) taken from the writings of 'lesser' DM-theorists (and from all wings of Dialectical Marxism, too), who, aping the Classicists, reveal that they, too, are quite happy to impose this theory on nature and society: here, here, and here.

 

Indeed, MLT's own videos (on DM) could well be (and will be) added to the above list.

 

Bibliography

 

Afanasyev, V. (1968), Marxist Philosophy (Progress Publishers, 3rd ed.).

 

Caygill, H. (1995), A Kant Dictionary (Blackwell).

 

Cornforth, F. (1976), Materialism And The Dialectical Method (Lawrence & Wishart, 5th ed.). [A copy of the 1968 edition is available here.]

 

Engels, F. (1888), Ludwig Feuerbach And The End Of Classical German Philosophy, reprinted in Marx and Engels (1968), pp.584-622.

 

--------, (1954), Dialectics Of Nature (Progress Publishers).

 

--------, (1976), Anti-Dühring (Foreign Languages Press).

 

Gentzler, J. (2001) (ed.), Method In Ancient Philosophy (Oxford University Press).

 

Gollobin, I. (1986), Dialectical Materialism. Its Laws, Categories And Practice (Petras Press).

 

Hegel, G. (1975), Logic, translated by William Wallace (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed.).

 

--------, (1999), Science Of Logic, translated by A. V. Miller (Humanity Books).

 

Kettler, D. (2005), Adam Ferguson: His Social and Political Thought (Transaction Books).

 

Kharin, Y. (1981), Fundamentals Of Dialectics (Progress Publishers).

 

Kneller, J., and Axinn, S, (1998), Autonomy And Community: Readings In Contemporary Kantian Social Philosophy (State University of New York Press).

 

Krapivin, V. (1985), ABC Of Social And Political Knowledge: What Is Dialectical Materialism? (Progress Publishers).

 

Kuusinen, O. (1961) (ed.), Fundamentals Of Marxism-Leninism (Lawrence & Wishart).

 

Lenin, V. (1914), 'The Marxist Doctrine', reprinted in Lenin (1970), pp.1-18.

 

--------, (1921), 'Once Again On The Trade Unions, The Current Situation And The Mistakes Of Comrades Trotsky And Bukharin', reprinted in Lenin (1980), pp.70-106.

 

--------, (1961), Philosophical Notebooks, Collected Works, Volume 38 (Progress Publishers).

 

--------, (1970), Karl Marx (Foreign Languages Press).

 

--------, (1980), On The Question Of Dialectics (Progress Publishers).

 

Mao Tse-Tung, (1937), 'On Contradiction', in Mao (1964), pp.311-47.

 

--------, (1964), Selected Works Volume One (Foreign Languages Press).

 

--------, (1965a), Selected Works Volume Three (Foreign Languages Press).

 

--------, (1965b), 'Rectify The Party's Style Of Work', in Mao (1965a), pp.35-51.

 

Marx, K. (1976), Capital Volume One (Penguin Books).

 

Marx, K., and Engels, F. (1968), Selected Works In One Volume (Lawrence & Wishart).

 

--------, (1976a), MECW Volume 5 (Lawrence & Wishart).

 

--------, (1976b), MECW Volume 6 (Lawrence & Wishart).

 

--------, (1987), MECW Volume 25 (Lawrence & Wishart).

 

--------, (1988), MECW Volume 30 (Lawrence & Wishart).

 

--------, (1996), MECW Volume 35 (Lawrence & Wishart).

 

McCarthy, G. (1992) (ed.), Marx And Aristotle (Rowman and Littlefield).

 

Meek, R. (1954), 'The Scottish Contribution To Marxist Sociology', in Meek (1967).

 

--------, (1967), Economics And Ideology And Other Essays (Chapman & Hall).

 

Meikle, S. (1995), Aristotle's Economic Thought (Oxford University Press).

 

Novack, G. (1965), The Origins Of Materialism (Pathfinder Press).

 

Plekhanov, G. (1908), Fundamental Problems Of Marxism (Lawrence & Wishart). [The Appendix to this work -- which in fact formed part of Plekhanov's Introduction to Engels (1888) -- can be found here, under the title 'Dialectic and Logic'. It can also be found in Plekhanov (1976), pp.73-82.]

 

--------, (1917), From Idealism To Materialism, reprinted in Plekhanov (1976), pp.600-43.

 

--------, (1956), The Development Of The Monist View Of History (Progress Publishers). This is reprinted in Plekhanov (1974), pp.480-737.

 

--------, (1974), Selected Philosophical Works, Volume One (Progress Publishers, 2nd ed.).

 

--------, (1976), Selected Philosophical Works, Volume Three (Progress Publishers).

 

Reeve, C. (2001), 'Dialectic And Philosophy In Aristotle', in Gentzler (2001), pp.227-52.

 

Sheptulin, A. (1978), Marxist-Leninist Philosophy (Progress Publishers).

 

Spirkin, A. (1983), Dialectical Materialism (Progress Publishers).

 

Stalin, J. (1976a), Problems Of Leninism (Foreign Languages Press).

 

--------, (1976b), 'Dialectical And Historical Materialism', in Stalin (1976a), pp.835-73.

 

Wood, A, (1998), 'Kant's Historical Materialism' in Kneller and Axinn, Chapter Five.

--------, (1999), Kant's Ethical Thought (Cambridge University Press).

 

Woods, A., and Grant, T. (1995/2007), Reason In Revolt. Marxism And Modern Science (Wellred Publications). [The version now available on the Internet appears to be the Second Edition.]

 

Latest Update: 06/01/16

 

Word count: 22,260

 

Return To The Main Index

 

Back To The Top

 

© Rosa Lichtenstein 2017

 

Hits Since 06/03/2015:

 

AmazingCounters.com