Engels on the exaltation of man

Michelangelo, ‘David’, marble, 1501-1504, Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze (Florence)

Michelangelo, ‘David’, marble, 1501-1504, Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze (Florence)

So much is certain: comparative physiology gives one a withering contempt for the idealistic exaltation of man over the other animals. At every step one is forced to recognise the most complete uniformity of structure with the rest of the mammals, and in its main features this uniformity extends to all vertebrates and even – in a less distinct way – to insects, crustaceans, tapeworms, etc. The Hegelian business of the qualitative leap in the quantitative series is also very fine here. Finally, among the lowest infusoria one reaches the primitive form, the simple, independently existing cell, which in turn is not to be distinguished by anything perceptible from the lowest plants (fungi consisting of single cells – the fungi of the potato and the vine diseases, etc.) or from the germs of the higher stages of development up to the human ovum and spermatozoon inclusive, and which also looks just like the independent cells within the living body (blood corpuscles, the cells of the epidermis and mucous membranes, the secretion cells of the glands, kidneys, etc.)…


Engels to Marx in London, Manchester, July 14, 1858, Marx Engels, Selected Correspondence, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1982, 102

Tardigrade or water bear (Macrobiotus sapiens) in moss. Colour enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water bear in its active state. Water bears are tiny invertebrates that live in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as lichen and damp moss. They require water to obtain oxygen by gas exchange. In dry conditions, they can enter a cryptobiotic state of desiccation, known as a tun, to survive. In this state, water bears can survive for up to a decade. This species was found in moss samples from Croatia. It feeds on plant and animal cells. Water bears are found throughout the world, including regions of extreme temperature, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. They can also survive high levels of radiation and the vacuum of space. Magnification: x250 when printed 10cm wide.

Tardigrade or water bear (Macrobiotus sapiens) in moss

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Reply to Jason – what is idealism? 2

Pieter Claesz, Still Life, 1643, oil on panel, Saint Louis Art Museum

Pieter Claesz, Still Life, 1643, oil on panel, Saint Louis Art Museum

Hi Jason,

You have motivated me to reconsider my definition of ‘idealism’.

By ‘inspiration’ I refer to a heightened emotional state that is conducive to creative activity in some way.

If I was lying in bed and heard something on the radio that motivated me to get out of bed (an ethical speech, music I think uplifting…), it would be to get up and do something productive – to ‘get on with the day’, to ‘get things done’.

Inspiration is an intensification of that feeling, hence the urge to productivity becomes more concentrated, more creative – I might start on that painting I had been thinking about or enrol in a photography course…

Idealism, as well as having a spiritual focus (a focus on ‘connectedness’, however one thinks of that – it may be to one’s team, to ‘God’, to the flag, to nature, to one’s community, to the world community…) is an orientation and commitment to a prolonged state of creative potential, realised to whatever degree.

The expression ‘felt to be “higher than”’ does two things – it points to and emphasises the emotional nature of what idealism is and leaves the manifestation of idealism open – it specifically avoids the containment of what idealism is by linguistic thought.

That linguistic thought both gives it direction and, in the case of philosophical idealism, appropriates it through definition, is secondary to this.

An improved definition of ‘idealism’ would then be that it is ‘the inspiration to that which is felt to be “higher than,” manifest as a prolonged and creative emotional state with a spiritual focus’.

Definitions, while most important in philosophical discussion are deceptive. Cusanus believed that our ‘minds’ (try defining ‘mind’ – after you’ve defined ‘reason’!) are the image of Divine Mind, that how the latter functions is modelled by ours.

He believed that just as we can never fully know the Divine Word and embody a complete knowledge of it in our ‘mental’ words, because the Divine Word is infinite while we are finite and therefore limited to perspectives, so too the words of the sensory world cannot fully ‘know’ and express the words of our ‘mental’ world.

And in the latter part of this, having been ‘stood on its feet’, he has a very good point.

I can give you a ‘working’ definition of any word, but there will always be much more in our thought (including memory) regarding what that word symbolises for you and me, which completes our perspectival definition of the word.

Of ‘cat’ I can say that it is ‘a small domesticated carnivorous mammal with soft fur, a short snout, and retractile claws.’ But my experience of cats inevitably completes my perspectival definition of the word.

Words dealing with the emotions further complicate the issue. Exploring what lies beyond a ‘working definition’ of words and how those perspectival ‘definitions’ inter-relate is fundamental to poetry, just as exploring what ‘lay beyond’ the material reality of a madeleine had so much potential for Proust.

Logical atomism took the drive to define and control in philosophy to a ridiculous extreme (for which Wittgenstein was well-suited).

Donald Phillip Verene countered this:

‘…we have so little experience in taking metaphorical speech seriously as a carrier of philosophical meaning that we read right past it. …we have become so accustomed to the monotone hum of the abstract concept and the category, the fluorescent buzz of the argument, that we have lost track of the dimensions of philosophical language. We have forgotten its secrets and cannot recollect its manner of eating bread and drinking wine.’ (Donald Phillip Verene, Hegel’s Recollection: A Study of Images in The Phenomenology of Spirit, State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, 1985, 34-35)

Regards,

Phil

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Reply to Jason – what is idealism? 1

Adolf Hitler makes keynote address at Reichstag session, Kroll Opera House, Berlin, 1939

Hi Jason,

thank you for your interest. I define ‘idealism’ as ‘the inspiration to that which is felt to be “higher than”.’

My definition places emphasis on the emotions and brain functions ‘below’ (possibly more primitive than) conscious thought because I think of idealism as an emotional orientation (‘Sarah is an idealistic girl’) or potential (just as we can love or hate), without a specific focus.

That focus is given to it – it could be spiritual, religious (organised spirituality), political or in a personal relationship (‘I love you absolutely’).

The Nazis (German capitalism in extremis) exploited it with skill (appealing to a primal mythology) as other governments aspire to do and those who achieve power.

The manipulation of idealism is essential to the practice of power.

In the US, developing on Winthrop’s ‘We shall be as a city upon a hill’ speech, idealism came to be focused on the flag. In Australia, because of the convict origin of white domination (Phillip’s words after landing reportedly included the instruction that ‘Men are not to go into the womens’ tents at night’) it has been very difficult for the bourgeoisie to find that focus, as they search and stumble from one symbol of loss, failure and defeat to another.

The military disaster at Gallipoli in the first world war – in a far-away country and in the service of the dominant power has finally been turned into some success, ideologically. The requisite amount of gore should silence all criticism.

Idealism is the source of an immense and immensely creative energy (Plato and Plotinus fully understood this) and large amounts of it (together with many of those who embody it) are consumed in every revolution, after which there is the slow but inevitable re-accumulation of its depleted reserves as idealism, having attained far short of perfection, goes into retreat to lick its wounds and prepare to dare again.

And this is my point – we are animals, and idealism is an expression of our animality.

Philosophical idealism’, beloved of cobweb-spinning academics, is the appropriation of idealism by and to linguistic thought (what is known simplistically in academic philosophy as ‘reason’) – ‘philosophical idealism is the belief that…’ It is the harnessing of, the attempt to control and constrain, the horse drawing the chariot.

Philosophical idealism is not simply the placing of consciousness and its products before objective reality – one never has to go looking too far in its manifestation before one comes upon ‘God’ or another expression for ‘higher than’.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Best regards,

Phil

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Aristotle, theology, contemplation and matter

Plato and Aristotle in Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens’, 1509-11, fresco, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

Plato and Aristotle in Raphael’s ‘The School of Athens’, fresco, 1509-11, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

*   *   *

Russell wrote that philosophy lies between science and theology. Aristotle wrote in the Metaphysics that first philosophy is the science of theology. I would like to make a couple of points before discussing Aristotle’s theology in that book and some points regarding Aristotle on contemplation.

It has been argued that the central doctrine of the Metaphysics is that the foundation of the world is natural ‘substance’ and not some separate and ideal entity, whether mathematical or other. For Aristotle, the subject of his book was those things that lie beyond process and change, the science of things transcending what is physical or natural. In my view, the central doctrine of the Metaphysics is that the foundation of the world is an eternal substance beyond process and change.

Nothing lies beyond process and change.

Nothing transcends what is physical and natural.

Lenin wrote that the scholastics took all that was dead in Aristotle and left what was questioning, what was living. An example of brilliance in Aristotle’s thought is the following quotation:

‘It is…impossible that movement should either come-to-be or be destroyed. It must always have been in existence, and the same can be said for time itself, since it is not even possible for there to be an earlier and a later if time does not exist. Movement, then, is also continuous in the way in which time is – indeed time is either identical to movement or is some affection of it. (There is, however, only one continuous movement, namely spatial movement, and of this only circular rotation.)’

Yet he denied the heart of dialectics and the engine of movement: ‘it is not possible for the same thing both to be and not to be at one and the same time, or indeed harbour any other such pair of contraries.’ Again, for Aristotle, nothing that has matter can be eternal.

More than referring to what can be seen, heard, etc., ‘matter’ indicates what exists independently of us, of our consciousness and ability to think – and of which we are its products. Matter, space, time and motion are inseparable.

Aristotle’s theology and the role that contemplation plays in relation to it is at both the core and the pinnacle of his Metaphysics – they cannot be passed off while we get into the meat of the text. He wrote that divinity is ‘the primary and fundamental principle.’ God or the Unmoved Mover, the ‘eternal actual substance’, not subject to process of any kind, is the object of desire and the focus of memory for the world and everything in it. As such the Unmoved Mover is the final cause of the world. Because of it there is motion in the world.

It is essential to understand the most significant place that theology plays in philosophy in general. Aristotle did not understand its place in Plato’s philosophy. He wrote, amongst his numerous criticisms of Plato in the Metaphysics: ‘it was perceptible particulars that the Forms were postulated to explain.’

I disagree – the Forms were postulated to justify Plato’s theology. In his criticism of the Forms, Aristotle gave the appearance of having been blind to their theological purpose – he has analysed them ‘logically’ – the very criticism he made of Plato, that he thought ‘logically’. This also points to the weakness of his metaphysics – that they, like Plato’s Forms, are built on contemplative reason, reason divorced from testing in practice.

Aristotle believed that contemplative philosophy brings a philosopher as close as possible to a divine state – that philosophy nurtures the divine fragment in us. He wrote that ‘contemplative study is to be chosen above all other sciences, but it is this First Science of Theology that we must prefer to all other kinds even of contemplation.’ He drew on his ethical theory to argue that the highest form of life is contemplative thought.  The prime mover enjoys that life, necessarily.

For Aristotle, God is permanently engaged in the contemplation of contemplation (noesis noeseos), in thinking about thinking. In activating thought, God activates life (compare this with John 1:1 ‘In the beginning was the word [my emphasis], and the word was with God and the Word was God.’).

Contemplation (matter reflecting on matter, objective reality reflecting on itself) and its determinations, divorced from testing in practice, is the greatest, most pernicious failure of philosophy.

Its etymology, appropriately, traces to a place apart, for the observation of auguries – con-templum.

It has always played into dominant ideologies, been used by the ideologues of dominant classes to guide away from the world, as their masters exploit it.

As Lenin wrote: ‘from living perception to abstract thought and from this to practice, such is the dialectical path of the cognition of truth, of the cognition of objective reality.’

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Lenin: Empirio-criticism and historical materialism – part fourteen

Democritus, Johannes Moreelse, oil on canvas, c. 1630, Centraal Museum, Utrecht

Democritus, Johannes Moreelse, oil on canvas, c. 1630, Centraal Museum, Utrecht

Ernst Haeckel and Ernst Mach (continued)

Imagine the bitter lot of a Machist when his favourite subtle constructions, which reduce the categories of natural science to mere working hypotheses, are laughed at by the scientists on both sides of the ocean as sheer nonsense! Is it to be wondered at that Rudolf Willy, in 1905, combats Democritus as though he were a living enemy, thereby providing an excellent illustration of the partisan character of philosophy and once more exposing the real position he himself takes up in this partisan struggle? He writes: “Of course, Democritus was not conscious of the fact that atoms and the void are only fictitious concepts which perform mere accessory services (blosse Handlangerdienste), and maintain their existence only by grace of expediency, just as long as they prove useful. Democritus was not free enough for this; but neither are our modern natural scientists, with few exceptions. The faith of old Democritus is the also the faith of our natural scientists” (op. cit., S. 57).

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919)

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919)

And there is good reason for despair! The “empirio-criticists” have proved in quite a “new way” that both space and atoms are “working hypotheses”; and yet the natural scientists deride this Berkeleianism and follow Haeckel! We are by no means idealists, this is a slander; we are only striving (together with the idealists) to refute the epistemological line of Democritus; we have been striving to do so for more than 2,000 years, but all in vain! And it only remains for our leader Ernst Mach to dedicate his last work, the outcome of his life and philosophy, Knowledge and Error, to Wilhelm Schuppe and to remark ruefully in the text that the majority of natural scientists are materialists and that “we also” sympathise with Haeckel… for his “free-thinking” (S. 14).

Ernst Haeckel with Nicholai Miklukho-Maklai, his assistant, in the Canary Islands, 1866

Ernst Haeckel with Nicholai Miklukho-Maklai, his assistant, in the Canary Islands, 1866

And there he completely betrays himself, this ideologist of reactionary philistinism who follows the arch-reactionary Schuppe and “sympathises” with Haeckel’s free-thinking. They are all like this, these humanitarian philistines in Europe, with their freedom-loving sympathies and their ideological (as well as political and economic) captivity to the Wilhelm Schuppes. Non-partisanship in philosophy is only wretchedly masked servility to idealism and fideism.

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 333-334

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Part fourteen/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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Dialectical materialism and the constraint of capitalist ideology

Magnet

Hi Tach,

I agree with Morawski who wrote that belief systems are delimited by interests. My focus for the last thirty two years has been on understanding and exposing how those limitations function in the philosophy of capitalist ideology and on going beyond them. This is why I have had so much difficulty with and rejection by time-serving academics – all the more so because of Australia’s authoritarian, anti-intellectual, shame-based and servile culture.

In his Materialism and Empirio-criticism Lenin wrote of the brilliant development of materialism by Marx and Engels from mechanical to dialectical (significantly in response to scientific developments, a point lost on contemporary Western scientists whose work is increasingly stunted by capitalist ideology and its philosophical idealism), but I disagree with him when he wrote that in doing this, Marx and Engels brought the development of materialism to its culmination.

Firstly, such a statement is un-dialectical (it is amazing that, in theorising ‘end-points’, some of the greatest dialecticians – Hegel, Marx and Lenin – could make such a basic error). Secondly, developments in brain science are more and more showing an appreciation of how the brain functions wholistically (I think this relates to your point, because they are just steps to go from the brain as a unit to the brain in a body and that body in a social world) and in the process better understanding what ‘reason’ is, its rich and dynamic nature – the same ‘reason’ philosophers not only believe they engage in (which Lenin superbly exposed and mocked in his Materialism and Empirio-criticism) but also, in its manifestation, utterly take for granted – exemplified by Descartes’ ‘cogito ergo sum’.

This is why I argue that mysticism (its perspective and methods) and its profound relationship with materialism must be thoroughly examined. Capitalist ideology, its philosophy and epistemology, are nothing but a mounting impediment to this, to our engagement with the world and our knowledge of it.

Phil

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Lenin: Empirio-criticism and historical materialism – part eleven

Peering out of the windows of the International Space Station (ISS), astronaut Tracey Caldwell Dyson takes in the planet on which we were all born, and to which she would soon return.

Peering out of the windows of the International Space Station (ISS), astronaut Tracey Caldwell Dyson takes in the planet on which we were all born, and to which she would soon return.

*   *   *

Ernst Haeckel and Ernst Mach (continued)

Especially noteworthy in all this tragicomedy1 is the fact that Haeckel himself renounces materialism and rejects the appellation. What is more, far from rejecting religion altogether, he has invented his own religion (something like Bulgakov’s “atheistic faith” or Lunacharsky’s “religious atheism”), and on grounds of principle advocates a union of religion and science. What is the matter then? What “fatal misunderstanding” started the row?

The point is that Haeckel’s philosophical naïveté, his lack of definite partisan aims, his anxiety to respect the prevailing philistine prejudice against materialism, his personal conciliatory tendencies and proposals concerning religion, all this gave the greater salience to the general spirit of his book, the ineradicability of natural-scientific materialism and its irreconcilability with all official professorial philosophy and theology. Haeckel personally does not seek a rupture with the philistines, but what he expounds with such unshakeably naïve conviction is absolutely incompatible with any of the shades of prevailing philosophical idealism. All these shades, from the crudest reactionary theories of a Hartmann, to the positivism of Petzoldt, who fancies himself up-to-date, progressive and advanced, or the empirio-criticism of Mach – all are in accord that natural-scientific materialism is “metaphysics”, that the recognition of an objective reality underlying the theories and conclusions of science is sheer “naïve realism”, etc. And to this doctrine, “sacred” to all professorial philosophy and theology, every page of Haeckel gives a slap in the face. This scientist, who undoubtedly expressed the very firmly implanted, although ill-defined opinions, sentiments and tendencies of the over-whelming majority of the scientists at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, instantly, easily and simply revealed what professorial philosophy tried to conceal from the public and from itself, namely, the fact that there is a foundation, growing ever wider and firmer, which shatters all the efforts and strivings of the thousand and one little schools of philosophical idealism, positivism, realism, empirio-criticism and other confusionism. This foundation is natural-scientific materialism. The conviction of the “naïve realists” (in other words, of all humanity) that our sensations are images of an objectively real external world is the conviction of the mass of scientists, one that is steadily growing and gaining in strength.

The cause of the founders of new philosophical schools and of the inventors of new epistemological “isms” is forever and hopelessly lost. They may flounder about in their “original” petty systems; they may strive to engage the attention of a few admirers in the interesting controversy as to who was the first to exclaim, “Eh!” – the empirio-critical Bobchinsky, or the empirio-monistic Dobchinsky; they may even devote themselves to creating an extensive “special” literature, like the “immanentists”. But the course of development of natural science, despite its vacillations and hesitations, despite the unconscious character of the materialism of the natural scientists, despite yesterday’s infatuation with fashionable “physiological idealism” or today’s infatuation with fashionable “physical idealism”, is sweeping aside all the petty systems and artifices, again and again bringing to the forefront the “metaphysics” of natural-scientific materialism.

Note

1. The tragic element was introduced by the attempt made on Haeckel’s life this spring (1908). After Haeckel had received a number of anonymous letters addressing him by such epithets as “dog”, “atheist”, “monkey”, and so forth, some true German soul threw a stone of no mean size through the window of Haeckel’s study in Jena. – Lenin

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 328-330

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Part eleven/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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Lenin: Empirio-criticism and historical materialism – part ten

Tardigrade or water bear (Macrobiotus sapiens) in moss. Colour enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water bear in its active state. Water bears are tiny invertebrates that live in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as lichen and damp moss. They require water to obtain oxygen by gas exchange. In dry conditions, they can enter a cryptobiotic state of desiccation, known as a tun, to survive. In this state, water bears can survive for up to a decade. This species was found in moss samples from Croatia. It feeds on plant and animal cells. Water bears are found throughout the world, including regions of extreme temperature, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. They can also survive high levels of radiation and the vacuum of space. Magnification: x250 when printed 10cm wide.

Tardigrade or water bear (Macrobiotus sapiens) in moss. Colour enhanced scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a water bear in its active state. Water bears are tiny invertebrates that live in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats such as lichen and damp moss. They require water to obtain oxygen by gas exchange. In dry conditions, they can enter a cryptobiotic state of desiccation, known as a tun, to survive. In this state, water bears can survive for up to a decade. This species was found in moss samples from Croatia. It feeds on plant and animal cells. Water bears are found throughout the world, including regions of extreme temperature, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. They can also survive high levels of radiation and the vacuum of space. Magnification: x250 when printed 10cm wide.

Ernst Haeckel and Ernst Mach (continued)

The storm provoked by Ernst Haeckel’s The Riddle of the Universe in every civilised country strikingly brought out, on the one hand, the partisan character of philosophy in modern society and, on the other, the true social significance of the struggle of materialism against idealism and agnosticism. The fact that the book was sold in hundreds of thousands of copies, that it was immediately translated into all languages and that it appeared in specially cheap editions, clearly demonstrates that the book “found its way to the people”, that there are masses of readers whom Ernst Haeckel at once won over to his side. This popular little book became a weapon in the class struggle. The professors of philosophy and theology in every country of the world set about denouncing and annihilating Haeckel in every possible way. The eminent English physicist Lodge hastened to defend God against Haeckel. The Russian physicist Mr. Chwolson went to Germany to publish a vile reactionary pamphlet attacking Haeckel and to assure the respectable philistines that not all scientists now hold the position of “naïve realism”. Innumerable theologians joined the campaign against Haeckel. There was no abuse not showered on him by the official professors of philosophy. It was amusing to see how – perhaps for the first time in their lives – the eyes of these mummies, dried and shrunken in the atmosphere of lifeless scholasticism, began to gleam and their cheeks to glow under the slaps which Haeckel administered them. The high-priests of pure science, and, it would appear, of the most abstract theory, fairly groaned with rage. And throughout all the howling of the philosophical die-hards (the idealist Paulsen, the immanentist Rehmke, the Kantian Adickes, and the others, and their name is legion) one underlying motif is clearly audible: they are all against the “metaphysics” of natural science, against “dogmatism”, against “the exaggeration of the value and significance of natural science”, against “natural-scientific materialism”. He is a materialist – at him! at the materialist! He is deceiving the public by not calling himself a materialist directly! – that is what particularly drives the worthy professors to fury.

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 327-328

The Butterfly Nebula

The Butterfly Nebula

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Part ten/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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Lenin: Empirio-criticism and historical materialism – part six

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 7.09.44 PM

Parties in Philosophy and Philosophical Blockheads (continued)

Here is another example of how the widespread currents of reactionary bourgeois philosophy make use of Machism in practice. Perhaps the “latest fashion” in the latest American philosophy is “pragmatism” (from the Greek word “pragma” – action; that is, a philosophy of action). The philosophical journals speak perhaps more of pragmatism than of anything else. Pragmatism ridicules the metaphysics both of materialism and idealism, acclaims experience and only experience, recognises practice as the only criterion, refers to the positivist movement in general, especially turns for support to Ostwald, Mach, Pearson, Poincaré and Duhem for the belief that science is not an “absolute copy of reality” and… successfully deduces from all this a God for practical purposes, and only for practical purposes, without any metaphysics, and without transcending the bounds of experience (cf. William James, Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking, New York and London, 1907, pp. 57 and 106 especially1). From the standpoint of materialism the difference between Machism and pragmatism is as insignificant and unimportant as the difference between empirio-criticism and empirio-monism. Compare, for example, Bogdanov’s definition of truth with the pragmatist definition of truth, which is: “Truth for a pragmatist becomes a class-name for all sorts of definite working values in experience” (ibid., p. 68)2.

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 321

Notes

1. From the pages referred to by Lenin in the 1907 edition of James’ Pragmatism:

p. 57 ‘The laws (of science) themselves, moreover, have grown so numerous that there is no counting them; and so many rival formulations are proposed in all the branches of science that investigators have become accustomed to the notion that no theory is absolutely a transcript of reality, but that any one of them may from some point of view be useful. Their great use is to summarise old facts and to lead to new ones. They are only a man-made language, a conceptual short-hand, as some one calls them, in which we write our reports of nature; and languages, as is well known, tolerate much choice of expression and many dialects.

Thus human arbitrariness has driven divine necessity from scientific logic.’

pp. 106-107 ‘…the true objection to materialism is not positive but negative. It would be farcical at this day to make complaint of it for what it is, for ‘grossness.’ Grossness is what grossness does – we now know that. We make complaint of it, on the contrary, for what it is not – not a permanent warrant for our more ideal interests, not a fulfiller of our remotest hopes.

The notion of God, on the other hand, however inferior it may be in clearness to those mathematical notions so current in mechanical philosophy, has at least this practical superiority over them, that it guarantees an ideal order that shall be permanently preserved. A world with a God in it to say the last word, may indeed burn up or freeze, but we then think of him as still mindful of the old ideals and sure to bring them elsewhere to fruition; so that, where he is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution not the absolutely final things. This need of an eternal moral order is one of the deepest needs of our breast.’

2. Some more examples of the idealist maudlin mush of James’ philosophy:

p. 68 ‘…pragmatism may be a happy harmoniser of empiricist ways of thinking with the more religious demands of human beings.’

william-james-philosopher-why-should-we-think-upon-things-that-are

Clever-Quotes-35109-statusmind.com

The-Varieties-of-Religious-Experience-William-James-A-Study-in-Human-Nature-LECTURES-XVI-AND-XVII-–-MYSTICISM

WilliamJames

William James in a séance with medium Mrs. Walden. n.d.

William James in a séance with medium Mrs. Walden. n.d.

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Part six/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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Lenin: Empirio-criticism and historical materialism – part three

China’s Chang’e 3 with rover Jade Rabbit landed on lunar surface 14.12.13

Parties in Philosophy and Philosophical Blockheads (continued)

Entirely in the spirit of Marx, and in close collaboration with him, Engels in all his philosophical works briefly and clearly contrasts the materialist and idealist lines in regard to all questions, without, either in 1878, or 1888, or 1892, taking seriously the endless attempts to “transcend” the “one-sidedness” of materialism and idealism, to proclaim a new trend – some kind of “positivism”, “realism”, or other professorial charlatanism. Engels conducted his whole fight against Dühring completely under the watchword of consistent adherence to materialism, accusing the materialist Dühring of verbally confusing the issue, of phrase-mongering, of methods of reasoning which involved a concession to idealism and adoption of the position of idealism. Either materialism consistent to the end, or the falsehood and confusion of philosophical idealism – such is the formulation of the question given in every paragraph of Anti-Dühring; and only people whose minds had already been corrupted by reactionary professorial philosophy could fail to notice it. And right until 1894, when the last preface was written to Anti-Dühring, revised and enlarged by the author for the last time, Engels continued to follow the latest developments both in philosophy and science, and continued with all his former resoluteness to hold to his lucid and firm position, brushing away the litter of new systems, big and little.

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 317

Dust storm activity over Northern Hemisphere of Mars, captured by Mars Colour Camera on-board Indian Mars Orbiter Spacecraft from altitude of 74500 km on 28.09.14

Dust storm activity over Northern Hemisphere of Mars, captured by Mars Colour Camera on-board India’s Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter Spacecraft from altitude of 74500 km on 28.09.14

Gliese 832c: the closest potentially habitable exoplanet

Gliese 832c: the closest potentially habitable exoplanet

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Part three/to be continued…

Full text at Marxists Internet Archive

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