The fundamental characteristic of materialism is that it starts from the objectivity of science, from the recognition of objective reality reflected by science, whereas idealism needs “detours” in order, in one way or another, to “deduce” objectivity from mind, consciousness, the “psychical”.
Sensation is an image of matter in motion. Save through sensations, we can know nothing either of the forms of matter or of the forms of motion; sensations are evoked by the action of matter in motion upon our sense-organs. That is how science views it.
“Matter disappears”, only equations remain. At a new stage of development and apparently in a new manner, we get the old Kantian idea: reason prescribes laws to nature.
Materialism and Empirio-Criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, 1908, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, pp. 275, 282, 288
The ‘indivisible’ atom. ‘With each epoch-making discovery even in the sphere of natural science, (materialism) has to change its form’ (Engels)
The destructibility of the atom, its inexhaustibility, the mutability of all forms of matter and of its motion, have always been the stronghold of dialectical materialism. All boundaries in nature are conditional, relative, movable, and express the gradual approximation of our mind towards knowledge of matter. But this does not in any way prove that nature, matter itself, is a symbol, a conventional sign, i.e., the product of our mind. The electron is to the atom as a full stop in this book is to the size of a building 200 feet long, 100 feet broad, and 50 feet high (Lodge); it moves with a velocity as high as 270,000 kilometres per second; its mass is a function of its velocity; it makes 500 trillion revolutions in a second – all this is much more complicated than the old mechanics; but it is, nevertheless, movement of matter in space and time. Human reason has discovered many amazing things in nature and will discover still more, and will thereby increase its power over nature. But this does not mean that nature is the creation of our mind or of abstract mind, i.e., of Ward’s God, Bogdanov’s “substitution”, etc.
V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, 1908, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, p. 262
Part Five/To be continued…