Dialectical Materialism and the Problem of Change in 20th Century PhilosophyDecember 25, 2019
Materialism is the common name of the understanding that sees matter on the basis of being.
The idea of materialism has been put forward by different thinkers since the First Age and the fact that matter is the basis of existence has been advocated in different ways. Marx and Engels , based on materialist thought , described Hegel ‘s dialectics as being upside down because it began in spirit . According to them, Hegel has made the right idea in determining the dialectic method with thesis-antithesis-synthesis processes; however, he made a mistake by starting the thesis stage with tin. The thesis stage should begin with matter, namely nature. Marx and Engels put forward the idea of dialectical materialism. According to them, the whole process of being consists of qualitative leaps that are composed of quantitative accumulations of nature. Qualitative accumulations also allow to change the quantitative.
In general, Engels used the dialectical method to explain the movements and changes of thought and nature and Marx’s society. Engels tried to explain the nature and the dialectics of nature by considering the scientific knowledge of the period. He argued that thought and nature are in harmonious structures and that the functioning of thought is shaped according to the laws of nature. In this case, besides being a dialectical method, it is an epistemological-ontological view.
Marx examined the social changes in history and tried to explain the historical transformation by linking it to the processes of production. According to him, people are subject to different classes as those who produce and have produced in the economic process. Economic production relations in society constitute the infrastructure (material) as material elements, while institutions such as politics and law constitute the superstructure. According to Marx, the infrastructure determines the superstructure. Marx argues that the economic elements (infrastructure) of a society constitute phenomena (superstructure) such as culture and law. According to him, changes in infrastructure and superstructure affect each other and create new economic systems. Marx’s orientation is also called historical materialism. Dialectical materialism is one of the main philosophical movements of the 20th century.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade Giriş Introduction to Philosophy ”and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Tarihi History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook