Essay Sixteen -- Summary Of The Main Ideas Presented At This Site
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As is the case with all my Essays, nothing here should be read as an attack either on Historical Materialism [HM] -- a theory I fully accept --, or, indeed, on revolutionary socialism. I remain as committed to the self-emancipation of the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat as I was when I first became a revolutionary nearly thirty years ago.
The difference between Dialectical Materialism [DM] and HM, as I see it, is explained here.
Phrases like "ruling-class theory", "ruling-class view of reality", "ruling-class ideology" (etc.) used at this site (in connection with Traditional Philosophy and DM) aren't meant to imply that all or even most members of various ruling-classes actually invented these ways of thinking or of seeing the world (although some of them did -- for example, Heraclitus, Plato, Cicero and Marcus Aurelius). They are intended to highlight theories (or "ruling ideas") that are conducive to, or which rationalise the interests of the various ruling-classes history has inflicted on humanity, whoever invents them. Up until recently, this dogmatic approach to knowledge had almost invariably been promoted by thinkers who either relied on ruling-class patronage, or who, in one capacity or another helped run the system for the elite.
However, this will become the central topic of Parts Two and Three of Essay Twelve (when they are published); until then, the reader is directed here, here, and here for more details.
Several readers have complained about the number of links I have added to these Essays because they say it makes them very difficult to read. Of course, DM-supporters can hardly lodge that complaint since they believe everything is interconnected, and that must surely apply even to Essays that attempt to debunk that very idea. However, to those who find these links do make these Essays difficult to read I say this: ignore them -- unless you want to access further supporting evidence and argument for a particular point, or a certain topic fires your interest.
Others wonder why I have added links to subjects or issues that are part of common knowledge (such as recent Presidents of the USA, UK Prime Ministers, the names of rivers and mountains, films, or certain words that are in common usage). I have done so for the following reason: my Essays are read all over the world and by people from all 'walks of life', so I can't assume that topics which are part of common knowledge in 'the west' are equally well-known across the planet -- or, indeed, by those who haven't had the benefit of the sort of education that is generally available in the 'advanced economies', or any at all. Many of my readers also struggle with English, so any help I can give them I will continue to provide.
Finally on this specific topic, several of the aforementioned links connect to web-pages that regularly change their URLs, or which vanish from the Internet altogether. While I try to update these links when it becomes apparent that they have changed or have disappeared, I cannot possibly keep on top of this all the time. I would greatly appreciate it, therefore, if readers informed me of any dead links they happen to notice.
In general, links to 'Haloscan' no longer seem to work, so readers needn't tell me about them! Links to RevForum, RevLeft, Socialist Unity and The North Star also appear to have died.
If your Firewall/Browser has a pop-up blocker, you will need to press the "Ctrl" key at the same time or the links here won't work, anyway!
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Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism
Abbreviations Used At This Site
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Essay Sixteen began life as a much longer summary of the main ideas published at this site. However, it became far too long, so it was divided up into much shorter sections, many of which are under eight thousand words in length. Most of the supporting evidence and argument presented in each of the main Essays has been omitted. Anyone wanting more details or who would like to examine my arguments and evidence in full should consult the original Essay for which of the following each is merely a précis. The Main Index for the longer Essays can be found here.
These Summaries are introductory Essays, and have been written for those who find the main Essays either too long, or too difficult. They do not pretend to be comprehensive since they are simply summaries of some of the core ideas presented at this site.
In that case, they haven't been written for experts or more knowledgeable comrades.
Summary of Essays Two And Three
16-02 -- Summary Of Essay Two: Dialectics -- Imposed On Nature, Not Read From It
16-03-01 -- Summary Of Essay Three Part One: How Abstractionism Undermines Both Science And Language
16-03-02 -- Summary Of Essay Three Part Two: Abstraction -- Science On The Cheap
Essay Two demonstrates how and why Dialectical Materialism [DM] and 'Materialist Dialectics' [MD] have been imposed on nature (which means both are Idealist theories), in spite of the fact that dialecticians deny they have done this. [Essays Nine Part Two and Twelve Part One explain why they do this.]
Essay Three Parts One and Two address fatal weaknesses of DM-Epistemology, revealing the real nature of the 'process of abstraction'. This helps set-up the conclusions of Essays Nine and Twelve.
Summary of Essays Four, Five and Six
16-04-01 -- Summary Of Essay Four Part One: Formal Logic Can Cope With Change
16-05 -- Summary Of Essay Five: Engels Was Wrong -- Motion Isn't Contradictory
16-06 -- Summary Of Essay Six: How Both Trotsky And Hegel Misconstrued Identity
These summaries demolish (1) The baseless and absurd allegations dialecticians make about Formal Logic, (2) Engels's superficial and misguided 'analysis' of motion, and (3) Trotsky's (and hence indirectly Hegel's) ill-advised attack on the 'Law of Identity'.
Summary of Essays Seven and Fourteen
[The Summary Of Essay Fourteen has not been re-written yet; the latter is a link to an older version.]
Essay Seven completely demolishes Engels's Three 'Laws of Dialectics', and Essay Fourteen establishes the mystical and Hermetic origins of DM/MD, branding it as an inferior form of ruling-class thought unwittingly smuggled into the workers' movement by comrades who, alas, had a tenuous grasp of the issues involved. Dialectics is thus fourth-rate Metaphysics. [Again, how and why this theory has been imported into the workers' movement is explained in Essay Nine Parts One and Two. Why I call DM/MD a form of ruling-class thought is explained here, here and here.]
The following have now been published:
16-07-01A -- Summary Of Essay Seven Part One A: Quantity Into Quality -- Busted
16-07-01B -- Summary Of Essay Seven Part One B: Interpenetration Of Opposites -- Demolished
16-07-01C -- Summary Of Essay Seven Part One C: The Negation Of The Negation -- Trashed
Summary of Essay Eight
This Essay examines in extensive detail the doctrine of change through 'internal contradictions'.
16-08-01 -- Summary Of Essay Eight Part One: Change Through 'Internal Contradiction' -- Refuted
16-08-02 -- Summary Of Essay Eight Part Two: Why Opposing Forces Aren't 'Contradictions'
These show that (1) The thesis that change occurs through 'internal contradictions' and that (2) The equation of 'dialectical contradictions' with opposing forces are thoroughly misguided, continuing the analyses presented in Essays Five, Six, and Seven.
Summaries of Essays Nine, Ten And Eleven
Essay Nine reveals just why dialecticians cling on to DM/MD like grim death, even though they themselves have effectively refuted it in practice over the last hundred years or so. It also seeks to show how and why the class origin (and class position) of leading DM-theorists and this theory have damaged revolutionary socialism (possibly fatally) over the same period. They also show how this aggravates (but does not cause) sectarianism, guaranteeing Marxist parties stay small, divisive and ineffective. Essay Nine Part One argues that because dialectics is in fact a ruling-class theory, workers in general will always ignore/reject it. Dialectics is in fact the ideology of substitutionist elements in Marxism. Why this is so is also explained.
16-09-01 -- Summary Of Essay Nine Part One: Dialectics: A Ruling-Class Theory
16-09-02 -- Summary Of Essay Nine Part Two: The Damage Petty-Bourgeois Theorists And Dialectical Materialism Have Inflicted On Marxism
16-10-01 -- Summary Of Essay Ten Part One: Dialectics Refuted Both By Practice And History
In Essay Ten Part One, the link between practice and truth has been severed. It is also argued that even if truth were tested in practice, as dialecticians claim, practice has in fact refuted their core theory (DM).
16-11-01 -- Summary Of Essay Eleven Part One: The Mysterious "Totality" -- WTF Is It?
In the above Essay I show that dialecticians have been hopelessly unclear what they mean by this nebulous entity, as well as its mysterious "interconnections".
16-11-02 -- Summary Of Essay Eleven Part Two: DM-Wholism -- Full Of Holes
This Essay demolishes the Wholist metaphysic dialecticians unwisely appropriated from Hegel and other mystics -- i.e., the idea that "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; the parts make the whole and the whole makes the parts" (etc.).
Summary of Essay Twelve, Parts One to Seven
Essay Twelve rehearses the most general and fundamental criticisms of both dialectics and Traditional Philosophy found at this site.
Its various parts reveal (1) Why philosophical theses (and in particular those concocted by dialecticians collapse into non-sense and incoherence, (2) How and why Traditional Philosophy/Metaphysics arose in Ancient Greece (as the most abstract form or ruling-class ideology), (3) How Metaphysics reflects a boss-class view of the world (modified to suit each Mode of Production), and (4) How these class-compromised ideas were been imported into Marxism.
Essay Twelve also exposes Hegel's logical and philosophical incompetence, thus depriving dialectics of what little rationale it might otherwise seem to have had.
16-12-01 -- Summary Of Essay Twelve Part One: Dialectical Materialism -- A Metaphysical Theory
16-12-05 -- Outline of Hegel's Logical Blunders
A general summary of the rest of Essay Twelve has now been written -- it can be accessed here.
I have now added an even shorter summary of the key ideas of Essay Twelve Part One: 'Why All Philosophical Theories Are Non-Sensical'.
Summaries of Essay Thirteen
Summary Of Essay Thirteen Part One: Lenin Undermines Materialism
This shows that, far from defending materialism, Lenin in fact managed (rather fittingly) to do the opposite.
Summary of Essay Thirteen Part Three.
This will be published sometime in 2020.
The Complete Version Of Essay Sixteen
The above is an older version of Essay Sixteen in all its non-dissected glory. It is far too long and now badly out-of-date, so visitors should consult the shorter and more recent summaries listed above.
Latest Update: 23/01/20
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