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You Cannot Swim Twice in the Same River: The Genesis of Dialectical Materialism

Pillai N., Vijayamohanan (2013): You Cannot Swim Twice in the Same River: The Genesis of Dialectical Materialism.

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Abstract

This constitutes a chapter of a book on ‘Poverty of Communism: The Game of Filling in the Marxian Blanks’. Dialectical materialism is the world outlook of Marxism; it is so called, because its approach to the phenomena of nature is dialectical, and its interpretation of these phenomena, its theory, is materialistic. Though the term ‘dialectical materialism’ owes its origin to Plekhanov and Lenin, its first expositor was Engels, who simply called it ‘modern materialism’ and asserted that it was essentially connected with the name of Marx. The present paper traces out the historical development of dialectical materialism, starting with its Greek philosophical origin in Heraclitus, who stressed the unity of opposites in a world of change, and passing through the dialogues of Socrates, and logic of Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Chalybäus (famous for his exegetical characterization of Hegel’s dialectics in terms of thesis-antithesis-synthesis triad) and Feuerbach, all culminating in Marxism. The paper also discusses the experimental games of Lenin and his followers in filling in the Marxian blanks in dialectical materialism.

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