The Science Of Materialist Dialectics


The scientific approach of Dialectics considers the developmental context of processes and their contradictions, which lead to the transformation of reality and its aspects. Dialectics examines the elements of this reality as an aggregate. 

When examining humanity, Dialectics explores the natural, social and practical development of human activity and their basis and expression in the total development of greater processes. With a Dialectical approach, the partial forms of reality – individual phenomena – are explained and practically overcome by revealing the contextual substance which expresses itself in these partial forms. 

All human activity and thought has a basis in the greater conditions of material reality and society in its historical and practical development. Society develops through contradictions. The fulfillment of human needs is in constant contradiction with inherited environmental and social conditions. 

The various modes of production — the distribution of the roles, means and products of human labor across the world community – are attended by scarcity and surpluses, unevenness and organization, class struggle, crises and revolution. It is necessary to locate the development of a particular social phenomenon in the context of human development as a whole. 

The social-historical implications which stand behind events and originate thoughts, actions and circumstances must be examined. Social-historical and environmental determinations form the basis for expressions of reality in their first, emergent stage of development. 

The further development of these expressions as an aggregate of practical activity and prior development forms a second stage in which reality and expressions of reality are revolutionized. This transformation is itself to be succeeded upon realization. Reality so understood is a continuous proliferation of relationships and contradictions.

Human activity, in the course of its intellectual-practical engagement with society and historical conditions, transforms social reality. A dynamic determinism prevails, in which humanity, in its contradiction with nature and in its social conditions, is constantly posed with the necessity to overcome these contradictions. Social reality, as the development of material conflict, is both the product and creator of a revolutionary process of human struggle.


A phenomenon is only real and scientifically identifiable as a concrete aspect of reality inasmuch as it participates as a unity and sum of relationships between material processes. The opposing contradictions which are inherent in these relationships is the aspect of a thing which gives it life, motion and which spur its development.

A thing is the form of a conflict between contradictory processes, both a dislocation (appearance) and the concrete nexus (essence) of universalized conflict. The thing represents the striving of particular tendencies in developing reality and the resistance of all other tendencies, and vice versa. It is neither really one or another in true content but the sum of relationships which must be understood as a concrete whole, as a living, developing derivation of particular and universal processes.

The balance of forces in one specific setting makes phenomena temporarily apparent as a fixed thing. From a certain perspective (subjectively), in a given set of circumstances the thing features as an accidental attribute of reality or a perceptual consideration (an abstraction). Whereas the thing is actually (concretely) expressive of the developing relationships, contradictions and contextual material history, which makes the thing objectively necessary. These give the forms of the thing an explanation, an origin, tolerance and a termination, as well as a further development from one stage to another. Such that a form can actually be understood and not merely appear as something alienated from greater material processes. 

The characteristic development of a thing is that it holds – despite quantitative changes – a certain and meaningfully recognizable mode of existence for a time, in a certain context. However, a thing in its relationships and contradictions inevitably breaks the bounds of any coherent continuation of its temporary form and becomes something else entirely through what are ultimately qualitative changes in its essence. 

The seeming termination of one state of being, which is the temporary crystallization of contradictory relationships, is at the same time the enrichment of a process into a new and broader set of relationships. This proliferation of relationships is the overcoming of one state of being and its expression in turn by a newer and higher complex of relationships and contradictions. (The negation of the negation).

The objective development of reality passes, as a feature of its self-expression, through a cognizant stage. The unfolding of the objective conflicts in human society and between humanity and nature is accompanied by the subjective contradictions of cognition and human practice. Cognition is the process in which objective social conditions are practically transformed according to the material priorities of human life and the material framework of prevailing human technique. Determination in real processes is never pre-determination, but always the material overcoming of indeterminism through further, higher, extended development. There is a true, and not merely prefigured, interaction between antagonistic developments in reality that acts as a creative impetus in the material universe. Matter is not a dead, methodical elemental force, but a living thing in itself full of potentialities, not random, but not prefixed. In its highest, most acute forms, matter expresses itself as the conscious action of human beings and finds itself, not a free will as such, but a conscious, objectively developed will power all the same. Human practice constantly transforms and revolutionizes human society and the natural world.


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