Lenin: the recent revolution in natural science, and philosophical idealism – part fourteen

The silicon strip tracker of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) nears completion. Shown here are three concentric cylinders, each comprised of many silicon strip detetectors (the bronze-coloured rectangular devices, similar to the CCDs used in digital cameras). These surround the region where the protons collide. (Image from cds.cern.ch)

The silicon strip tracker of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN nears completion. Shown here are three concentric cylinders, each comprised of many silicon strip detetectors (the bronze-coloured rectangular devices, similar to the CCDs used in digital cameras). These surround the region where the protons collide. (Image from cds.cern.ch)

The Essence and Significance of “Physical” Idealism (continued)

Engels reproached the earlier materialists for their failure to appreciate the relativity of all scientific theories, for their ignorance of dialectics and for their exaggeration of the mechanical point of view. But Engels (unlike Stallo) was able to discard Hegelian idealism and to grasp the great and true kernel of Hegelian dialectics. Engels rejected the old metaphysical materialism for dialectical materialism, and not for relativism that sinks into subjectivism.

An engineer welds together the first cryomagnets for the Large Hadron Collider in 2005. 1,700 interconnections for the whole collider required 123,000 separate welding and assembly operations.

An engineer welds together the first cryomagnets for the Large Hadron Collider in 2005. 1,700 interconnections for the whole collider required 123,000 separate welding and assembly operations.

…Nature is infinite, just as its smallest particle (including the electron) is infinite, but reason just as infinitely transforms “things-in-themselves” into “things-for-us”.

A CMS detector event in 2012 showing characteristics expected from the decay of the Standard Model Higgs boson to a pair of Z bosons, one of which subsequently decays to a pair of electrons (green lines and green towers) and the other Z decays to a pair of muons (red lines). The event could also be due to known standard model background processes.

A CMS detector event in 2012 showing characteristics expected from the decay of the Standard Model Higgs boson to a pair of Z bosons, one of which subsequently decays to a pair of electrons (green lines and green towers) and the other Z decays to a pair of muons (red lines). The event could also be due to known standard model background processes.

…In short, the “physical” idealism of today, exactly like the “physiological” idealism of yesterday, merely signifies that one school of natural scientists in one branch of natural science has slid into a reactionary philosophy, being unable to rise directly and at once from metaphysical materialism to dialectical materialism. This step is being made, and will be made, by modern physics; but it is advancing towards the only true method and the only true philosophy of natural science not directly, but by zigzags, not consciously but instinctively, not clearly perceiving its “final goal”, but drawing closer to it gropingly, unsteadily, and sometimes even with its back turned to it. Modern physics is in travail; it is giving birth to dialectical materialism. The process of child-birth is painful. And in addition to a living healthy being, there are bound to be produced certain dead products, refuse fit only for the garbage-heap. And the entire school of physical idealism, the entire empirio-critical philosophy, together with empirio-symbolism, empirio-monism, and so on, and so forth, must be regarded as such refuse!

Science is burdened by the physical idealism of capitalist ideology - ‘the God particle’, ‘the hand of God’, ‘the mind of God’...

Science is burdened by the physical idealism of capitalist ideology – ‘the God particle’, ‘the hand of God’, ‘the mind of God’, ‘mind’ itself…

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 288-289

red-star

Part fourteen/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

Image sources: 1st/2nd/3rd/4th

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