The Dialecticians' Dilemma


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As is the case with all my work, nothing here should be read as an attack either on Historical Materialism [HM] -- a scientific theory I fully accept --, or, indeed, on revolutionary socialism. I remain as committed to the self-emancipation of the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat as I was when I first became a revolutionary nearly thirty years ago.


The difference between Dialectical Materialism [DM] and HM, as I see it, is explained here.




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Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism


Abbreviations Used At This Site


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Below is the (slightly edited) text of a letter a supporter of this site sent to the editors of Socialist Worker, which they saw fit not to publish.


Dear Comrades,


Unfortunately, anyone who accepts dialectical materialism must disagree with what Alice concludes about the development of science. [This link is now dead!]

Here is why:

If nature is fundamentally contradictory, then dialecticians can't distinguish those contradictions that reflect nature accurately from those that are simply the product of a defective theory, the acceptance of which would hold up scientific development.

On the other hand, if dialecticians think nature is fundamentally contradictory (which they do), then why advise physicists to conduct more research in order to remove the contradictions in any given theory if it reflects the fact that nature is contradictory? Surely, the more true a theory is the more it should reflect the contradictions dialecticians think exist in nature. Hence, a true theory should contain more contradictions than one that isn't. But, if science progresses by removing such contradictions, then this should produce theories that tell us that nature isn't contradictory, after all!

Alternatively, if scientists do not remove such contradictions, perhaps on the grounds that a contradictory theory should reflect contradictory nature more accurately (if they take the advice on offer from dialecticians, or from Alice), then this would permanently hold up the progress of science.

We can call this The Dialecticians' Dilemma, for which there is no solution -- if, that is, we take advice on science and philosophy from Hegel and/or Engels.


On a side issue: we both know you'll not publish this letter, comrades.

More details here:


In solidarity,




[Name and address supplied.]


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Nemesis 2012


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