Chapter 2: Dialectics or Disputation
In classical logic, 'disputation' meant a specific method of discussion and' a certain manner of debate in which contradictory ideas and opposite points of view are presented. Every one of such points of view attempts to show the weakness and falsity of its opposite, in light of the knowledge already admitted and the propositions already acknowledged.
By virtue of this, conflict between negation and affirmation develops in the field of discussion and disputation, until a conclusion is reached in which one of the points of view at odds is asserted, or a new point of view reconciling all views evolves from the intellectual struggle between the contradictories, after casting their contradiction aside and showing the weakness of every one of them.
However, disputation in the new dialectic or the new disputation is no longer a method of discussion and a certain manner of exchanging opinions. Instead, it has become a method of explaining reality and a general law of the universe applicable to the various realities and kinds of existence.
Thus, contradiction does not only lie between opinions and points of view. Rather, it is fixed in the heart of every reality and truth. Therefore, there is no proposition that does not involve in itself its own contradiction and negation. (p. 222)
Hegel was the first to establish a complete logic on the basis of this [notion of dialectics]. Thus, the dialectical contradiction was the central point in his logic and the main principle on which a new understanding of the world is based and by means of which a new theory about the world is constructed - a theory that is completely different from the classical theory that mankind had adopted ever since they were made to know and to think.
Hegel was not the first to formulate the principles of the dialectic. These principles are deeply rooted in a number of ideas that had appeared intermittently on the stage of human thought.
However, these principles were not formulated in light of a complete logic which is clear in its explanation and view, and which is determined in its designs and rules, except at the hand of Hegel who constructed his whole idealistic philosophy on the basis of this kind of dialectic. He considered it a sufficient explanation of society, history, the nation and all aspects of life. After him, Marx adopted this dialectic and cast his materialistic philosophy in a purely dialectical form.
According to the claims of the dialecticians, the new dialectic is a law of thought and reality alike. That is why it is a method of thought as well as a principle on which the existence and development of reality is based.
We are told the following by Lenin:
If there are some contradictions among people's ideas, it is because the reality that our minds reflect involves contradictions. The dialectic of things produces the dialectic of ideas, and not vice versa.1 (p. 223)
Marx also says:
The movement of thought is nothing but a reflection of the movement of reality, transmitted to, and transformed in the human mind.2
Hegelian logic, with the dialectic and contradiction on which it rests, is considered at the exact opposite end of the classical logic or the general human logic. This is because general logic accepts the principle of non-contradiction, and considers it a primary principle on the basis of which every knowledge must be based, and a necessary principle by which everything in the realm of existence abides, and without which no truth can be proved.
Hegelian logic, on the other hand, completely rejects the principle of non-contradiction. Further, it is not satisfied with emphasizing the possibility of contradiction. Rather, it views contradiction, instead of its opposite, as the primary principle for all true knowledge of the world, and the general law that explains the whole universe by means of a group of contradictions.
Every proposition concerning the world is considered as an affirmation; while at the same time, it forms its own negation. Affirmation and negation are synthesized in a new affirmation. Thus, the contradictory method of dialectics or disputation that governs the world involves three stages, called the thesis, the antithesis, and the synthesis - that is, the affirmation, the negation and the negation of the negation. In accordance with the requirements of this method of disputation, everything unites with its contradictory. It is at the same time affirmed and denied, existent and nonexistent.
Hegelian logic claims that, by the disputation it attributes to existence, it has abolished the main points of classical logic. According to Hegelian logic, these points are the following. (p. 224) The first is the principle of non-contradiction, which asserts that a thing cannot be simultaneously qualified by a certain attribute and by its contradictory.
The second is the principle of identity. This is the principle that states that every quiddity is what it is by necessity; that is, a thing cannot be stripped of itself. The third is the principle of rest and frozenness in nature. This principle asserts the negativity and fixedness of nature, and denies that the realm of matter is dynamic.
In the new logic, there is no room for the first principle, since everything pertaining to the reality of this logic is based on contradiction. If contradiction prevails as a general law, it is then also natural to drop the other principle of classical logic, the principle of non-contradiction. Everything loses its identity exactly at the moment of the affirmation, since it is in a continuous becoming.
As long as contradiction is the main foundation, it will not be surprising that truth always means two contradictory things. Since this kind of contradiction, which lies at the heart of every reality, produces a continuous conflict in all things, and [since] 'conflict' means movement and progression, therefore nature is continuously active and developing, constantly moving forward and becoming. These are the blows that dialectical logic claims to have directed against general human logic and the familiar notion of the world, on which metaphysics rested for thousands of years.
The new method of understanding existence can be summed up in the assumption of a primary proposition that it views as a fundamental. Later, this fundamental converts to its contradictory by virtue of the conflict among the contradictories of the internal content. After that, the two contradictories are synthesized in a unity. This unity, in turn, becomes a fundamental and a new point of departure. Thus, this tri-progression is repeated (p. 225) endlessly and without limit. It moves with existence and extends as far as the phenomena and events of existence extend.
Hegel began with the general notions and categories, applying the dialectic to them, and inferring them in a disputational method based on the contradiction represented in the thesis, antithesis and synthesis. His best known and first triad in this area is that which begins from the simplest and most primary of chose notions: the notion of existence.
Thus, existence is. This is the affirmation or thesis. However, it is not a thing, because it can be everything. The circle, for example, is. The same is true of the square, the white, the black, the plant, and the stone. Existence, therefore, is nothing determined.
Consequently, it is not. This is the antithesis which the thesis produces. It is in this way that contradiction occurs in the notion of existence. This contradiction is resolved in the synthesis of existence and non-existence which produces an existent that does not fully exist, that is, becoming and movement. Hence, the conclusion to be drawn is that real existence is becoming.
We gave this example in order to show how the master of modern disputation moves in inferring the general notions from the more general to the more particular and from the more empty and weaker to the richer and closer to the external reality.
According to him, this kind of dialectic in inferring notions is nothing other than a reflection of the dialectic of actual things in themselves. Thus, if a certain idea causes an idea which is its opposite, that would be because the reality that the former idea represents requires an opposite reality.
A short glance at the thesis, the antithesis and the synthesis in the issue of existence, which is the best-known Hegelian triad, indicates clearly that Hegel did not really understand the principle of non-contradiction when he cancelled it and replaced it by the principle of contradiction. Further, I do not know (p. 226) how Hegel can explain to us contradiction, or negation and affirmation that unite in the notion of existence.
No doubt, the notion of existence is a general notion. That is why it can be everything - it can be a plant or an inorganic thing, a white thing or a black thing, a circle or a square. But does this mean that these contradictories and opposite things unite in the notion of existence, such that it becomes the meeting point for contradictories and opposites? Of course not.
The union of opposite things in one subject is one thing, while the possibility of the applicability of one notion to these things is something else. Existence is a notion that does not involve anything black or white, plant-like or inorganic. Rather, it can be either this or that. But it is not this and that at the same time.3
The basic points are four: the movement of development, the contradictions of development, the leaps of development, and the assertion of general linkage. (p. 227)
Stalin declares that:
Contrary to metaphysics, the dialectic does not consider nature as a state of rest, frozenness, stagnation, and stability. Rather, it considers it as a state of constant motion, change, and uninterrupted renewal and development. In nature, there is always something generating and developing, and something disintegrating and perishing. That is why we wish [to establish] the dialectical method, so that one would not be satisfied with viewing events from the perspective of their relations to one another and from the perspective of their mutual adaptation to one another, but also from the perspective of their motion, change, development, appearance, and disappearance.4
Further, Engels says:
We must not view the world as if it were composed of complete things. Rather, we must view it as if it were composed in our minds. This passage (to the mental composition) indicates a continuous change of becoming and disintegration, where at last the light of progressive growth shines, in spite of all the apparent coincidence and temporary relapses.5
Thus, everything is subject to the laws of development and becoming. There is no limit at which this development or becoming ceases. (p. 228) For motion is the unlimited preoccupation of the whole existence.
The dialecticians claim that they alone consider nature in a constant state of motion and change. Further, they reproach metaphysical logic, or the traditional method of thinking for its procedure of studying and comprehending things, as this logic or method supposes nature in a state of absolute rest and frozenness.
Therefore, it does not reflect nature in its moving and progressive reality. Thus, according to the dialecticians, the difference between the dialectical logic, which attributes to nature a constant motion and a continuous progression, and the formal logic is like the difference between two persons each of whom wishes to explore the innermost structure of a living being in its various roles.
Each of them carries out his experiments on this being; then one of them stops to observe the continuous development and motion of this being and to study this being in light of its whole development; whereas the other is satisfied with the first experiment, thinking that this being is static in its structure and stable in its identity and reality. Nature as a whole is similar to this living being, [whether as] a plant or as an animal, in development and growth. Thus, the mind does not accompany nature except if is resembles nature in its motion and development.
In fact, the law of dialectical development, which modern disputation considers one of its own basic features, is not something new in human thought. Rather, what is new is its dialectical character of which it must be stripped, as we will know later.
In its proper limits, this law is in agreement with the general logic and has no relation to dialectics, nor was it discovered by dialectics. Thus, in order for us to accept this law and to know that metaphysics realized is before [the dialectic], we need only to strip this law of the form of contradiction and the ground of disputation on which the dialectic bases it.
According to the claims of the dialectician, the metaphysician believes that nature is frozen, characterized by rest, and fixed, stable and unchanging in all its aspects. It is as if (p. 229) the poor metaphysician were deprived of any kinds of knowledge and stripped of both consciousness and sensation. Thus, he became unperceptive and unaware of the kinds of changes and transformations in the realm of nature, of which all human beings, including children, are aware.
It is clear to everyone chat the acceptance of the presence of change in the realm of nature is a matter that does not require prior scientific study, and is not the subject of controversy or dispute.
Rather, what is worthy of study is the nature of this change and the extent of its profundity and generality. For change is of two kinds: one of them is pure succession, and the other motion. The history of philosophy relates a sharp struggle, not with regard to change in general, but with regard to its essence and its precise philosophical explanation. The struggle centers on the answer to the following questions.
Is the change that occurs to a body, when that body traverses a certain distance, nothing but numerous poses that quickly follow one another in numerous places, thus forming in the mind the idea of motion? Or, can this change be attributed to a single gradual advance in which there is neither pose nor rest?
Further, does the change that occurs to water, when the water's temperature is doubled and intensified, mean an assembly of successive temperatures that follow one another? Or is it one temperature that becomes more complete, and that alters and becomes of a higher degree? We face these questions with regard to every kind of change that requires a philosophical explanation in one of the two ways offered by these questions.
Greek history relates that some philosophical schools denied motion and adopted the other explanation of change - that which attributes change to the succession of motionless things. One of the proponents of such schools is Zeno,6 who asserted that the motion of a traveler from the farthest point on earth to the farthest opposite point is nothing but a series of successive rests. (p. 230) Zeno did not see the gradual (motion) and process of completion of existence.
Rather, he believed that every phenomenon is static, and that change occurs by the succession of static things, and not by the development and gradual [motion] of one thing. With this, the motion of a human being over a certain distance becomes an expression of his rest at the first point of the distance, then at the second point and after that at the third point, and so on.
If we see two individuals, one of whom is standing at a certain point, while the other is walking in a specific direction, both individuals, according to Zeno's view, are standing at rest. The first, however, is constantly at rest in a specific point; while the other has as many rests as the points he covers.
At every moment, he is in a specific space, but at no moment does he differ at all from the first individual who stands at a specific point. Both individuals are at rest, even though the rest of the first is continuous, while the rest of the second quickly changes to another rest at another point of the distance. Hence, the difference between the two rests is the difference between a short rest and a long rest.
This is what Zeno as well as some other Greek philosophers attempted [to show]. He demonstrated his point of view by his four well-known proofs that did not meet with progress and success in the field of philosophy. This is because the Aristotelian school, the greatest philosophical school in the Greek age, accepted motion. It rejected and falsified those proofs and demonstrated the presence of motion and development in the neural phenomena and attributes.
This means that a natural phenomenon may not fully exist at one moment. Rather, it exists gradually, and exhausts its possibilities step by step. This results in the occurrence of development and the completion of existence. When the temperature of water is doubled, this does not mean that at every moment water receives a specific degree of temperature that fully exists, then perishes, and then another degree of temperature is freshly produced.
Rather, the essence of this doubling (p. 231) consists in that one temperature had existed in the water yet not fully, in the sense that it did not exhaust in its first moment all its powers and possibilities. Due to this, it began to exhaust its possibilities gradually, and to advance and develop later on.
In philosophical terminology, it is a continuous progressive motion. It is clear that the process of completion or the developmental motion cannot be understood except in this sense. As for the succession of numerous phenomena- of which each one exists after the previous one and, by its own perishing, opens the way for a new phenomenon - it is not growth and completion. Consequently, it is not a motion, but a kind of general change.
Motion, therefore, is the gradual advance of existence and the development of a thing to the level permitted by its possibilities. That is why the philosophical notion of motion is defined as the gradual actualization of the potentiality of a thing.7
This definition rests on the idea of motion presented earlier. Motion, as we have already learned, is not the absolute perishing of a thing and the existence of another new thing. Rather, it is the progression of a thing in the order of existence.
Therefore, from the time it begins to the time it ceases, every motion must contain one continuous existence. It is this-existence that moves, in the sense that [it progresses] step by step and continuously becomes more enriched. Every step is one of the stages of this one existence. These stages exist only by virtue of motion.
Thus, a thing that moves or an existence that develops does not possess these stages before its motion; otherwise, there would not be any motion.8 Rather, at the starting point, that thing or existence is represented to us as potentialities and possibilities. It is by motion that those possibilities are exhausted. At every step of the motion, possibility is substituted by reality and potentiality by actuality.
Thus, before water is placed on the fire, it possesses nothing of the perceptible temperature other than (p. 232) its possibility. Further, this possibility that it possesses is not the possibility of a certain degree of temperature, but includes all the degrees of temperature that, in the last analysis, lead to the vapor state. When water begins to be acted upon and influenced by the heat of fire, its temperature begins to change and develop.
This means that the potentialities and possibilities that water enjoyed changed into a reality. At every stage of the motion, water proceeds from possibility to actuality. For this reason, potentiality and actuality are tied together in all the stages of the motion. At the point at which all possibilities are exhausted, motion ceases. Motion, therefore, is of two kinds at every stage. In one respect, it is actual and real. This is because the step registered by a stage exists in a real and an actual manner.
In another respect, it is a possibility and a potentiality of the other progressive steps that motion is expected to register in its new stages. Thus, if we observe the water in our example at a specific point of motion, we find that it is actually hot at 80 degrees (centigrade), for instance. However, at the same time, it involves the possibility of exceeding this degree and the potentiality of advancing to a higher degree. Hence, the actuality of every step in its specific stage is linked to the potentiality for its perishing.
Let us take a more profound example of motion. This is the living being that develops by a gradual motion. It is (at first) an ovum, then a zygote, then a fetus, then an infant, then an adolescent, and finally an adult. Indeed, at a specific stage of its motion, this being is an actual sperm. However, at the same time, it is something else opposite the sperm and superior to it.
That is, it is potentially an infant. This means that motion in this being is such that both actuality and potentiality are combined in it. If this living being does not have potentiality and possibility for a new stage, it will not have any motion. Further, if it is nothing in actuality, it will be pure non-existence; and hence, it will not have any motion.
Development, therefore, always consists of something actual and something potential. Thus, motion continues as long as a thing combines both actuality and potentiality, existence and possibility. If possibility is exhausted, and no capacity for a new stage remains in the tiring, the life of motion ends. (p. 233)
This is the meaning of the gradual actualization of the potentiality of a thing, or the entanglement or union of potentiality and actuality in motion. This is also the precise philosophical sense that metaphysics gives to motion.
Dialectical materialism has adopted this sense without understanding it and knowing it as it is. Thus, it claimed that motion is not completed except through the continuous contradiction at the heart of things, as we will soon learn.
After this, Islamic philosophy played its role at the hands of the great Muslim philosopher, Saar ad-Din ash-Shirazi.9 He posited the theory of general motion, and demonstrated philosophically that motion, in the precise meaning that has been presented above, does not only touch the phenomena of nature and its accidental surface, but the motion of such phenomena is just an aspect of the development that discloses a deeper aspect: that is, the development at the heart of nature and the substantial motion of nature.
This is. so, because since the outermost motion of the phenomena means renewal and perishing, its direct cause must be a renewable thing whose essence is also unfixed; for the cause of what is fixed is fixed, and the cause of what is alterable and renewable is alterable and renewable. Thus, the direct cause of motion cannot be a fixed thing; otherwise, the parts of motion would not perish, but would become stagnation and rest.10 (p. 234)
The philosopher ash-Shirazi did not only demonstrate substantial motion, but also showed clearly that the principle of motion in nature is one of the necessary philosophical principles (p. 235) of metaphysics. In light of this principle, he explained the connection of the new with the old,11 as well as a number of other philosophical problems, such as the problem of time,12 the issue of the separability of matter, and the relation of the soul to the body.13
After all this, can one accuse theology and metaphysics of asserting the frozenness and rest of nature? Actually, there is no reason for this accusation other than the fact that dialectical materialism does not understand motion in the proper philosophical sense. What then is the difference between motion and its general law in our philosophy and the theory of dialectical motion in dialectical materialism? The difference between the two kinds of motion is summed up in two basic points.
The first point is that motion in the dialectical sense is based on (p. 236) the contradiction and strife among contradictories. Such contradiction and strife are the internal power that causes motion and produces development. In our philosophical view of motion, the reverse of this is true.
According to our view, motion is considered as a progression from one step to an opposite step, without the union of those opposite steps in one of the stages of motion. For the purpose of clarifying this point, we must distinguish between potentiality and actuality and analyze the Marxist fallacy which rests on the consideration of potentiality and actuality as contradictory units.
Motion is composed of potentiality and actuality. Potentiality and actuality are tied up together in the various stages of motion. It is impossible for the nature of motion to exist without either of these two elements. Thus, existence in every stage of its progression toward completion involves a specific actual rank and a higher rank than that in' potentiality. At the moment at which it adapts itself to the [specific actual] rank, it progresses in an ascending fashion and supersedes its present rank.
Marxism has imagined chat this is a kind of contradiction, that the progressive existence involves the thing and its contradictory, and that the contradiction between the two contradictories is what produces the motion. We quote from Engels:
The situation would be completely different if we see the existents while in the state of their motion, change, and mutual influences on one another; for at the beginning of such a site, we find ourselves immersed in contradictions.
Motion contradicts the fact that the simplest mechanical change in place cannot, in the last analysis, occur except by means of the presence of a certain body in a certain place at a certain moment, and in (p. 287) another place at that same moment. In other words, it’s being and nonbeing are simultaneously in one place. The continuous succession of this contradiction and the temporary reconciliation of this contradiction with this succession is what is called motion.14
Reflect on how nonsensical the idea of motion is in dialectical materialism! Engels explains this idea on the basis of contradiction, not knowing that if two ranks of motion actually existed in a specific stage of the motion, development would not be possible; and consequently, motion would be frozen. The reason for this is that motion is a transposition of the existent from one rank to another rank and from one limit to another limit.
Thus, if all limits and points were actually united, there would not be any motion. Therefore, it is necessary not to explain motion except in light of the principle of non-contradiction; otherwise, if contradiction were permissible, then it would be appropriate for us to ask whether or not motion involves a change in the ranks of the progressive thing, and a substitution of the limits and quality of that thing. If motion does not involve any change or renewal, then it is not motion.
Rather, it is frozenness and fixedness. If Marxism admits the renewal and change of motion, [then the question is] this: for what purpose is this renewal if all contradictions are actually present and have no opposition among themselves? The simplest analysis of motion shows us that motion is one of the phenomena that prevent and make impossible the union of contradictories and opposites, something that imposes on the progressive existent a continuous change in its rank and limit. The alleged contradiction or dialectic in motion is only due to the confusion between potentiality and actuality.
Hence, at no stage does motion involve two ranks or two actual contradictories. Rather, it involves a specific rank in actuality and another rank in potentiality. For this reason, (p. 288) motion is a gradual actualization of potentiality. However, incomplete philosophical awareness was the cause of the falsification of the idea of motion.
This makes it clear that the law of contradicting non-contradiction (naqd an-naqd) and the explanation of motion in terms of this law, as well as all the confusion and clamor surrounding this law, and the displeasure with, and ridicule of the metaphysical notions that adopt the principle of non-contradiction are attributed to the philosophical idea of motion that we have already presented and that Marxism misunderstood.
Thus, Marxism considered the entanglement of actuality with potentiality or their union in all the stages of motion as a union of actual opposite things, a continuous contradiction and a strife among the contradictories. For this reason, Marxism rejected the principle of non-contradiction and put down the whole general logic.
This Marxist attempt is not the first of its kind. Some metaphysicians in the history of ancient philosophy had also attempted something similar, but with one difference between the two: Marxism wished to justify contradiction by this attempt; whereas those ancient metaphysicians had attempted to demonstrate the negation of the possibility of motion because motion involves contradiction.
Al-Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi15 had also made a similar attempt in which he mentioned that motion is a gradual progression - that is, a gradual existence of a thing. He claimed that the gradual progression of existence is unlikely, since it leads to a kind of contradiction. Scholars of philosophy have shown that [this idea of motion] was the product of misunderstanding the meaning of gradual progression and gradual existence.
Since we now know with clarity that motion is not a strife among actual things that are always in contradiction, but an entanglement of potentiality with actuality, and the gradual departure of a thing from one of these two states to the other, we can know that it is impossible for motion to be self-sufficient or without an [external] cause, that the progressive existence does not depart from (p. 239) actuality except due to an external cause, and that strife among contradictories is not the internal cause of that departure, since motion does not involve a union of contradictories or opposites from whose strife it can result.
As long as at the beginning of the motion, the progressive existence is empty of ranks or kinds, which it acquires throughout the stages of the motion, and as long as it does not internally involve anything except the possibility of those ranks and the readiness for them, there must be a cause for bringing that existence from potentiality to actuality, in order that its possibility which is fixed in its innermost being be converted into a reality.
We learn from this that the general law of motion in nature proves by itself the necessity of the existence of a principle external to the material limits of nature. The reason is that motion, according to this law, is the manner in which nature exists. Thus, the existence of nature is another form of the motion and gradual progression of nature, as well as its continuous departure from potentiality to actuality. The theory of the self-sufficiency of motion due to its internal contradictions whose strife among each other produces motion, according to the claim of the Marxists, has already collapsed, since there is no contradiction and no strife.
Therefore, there must be causation, and causation must be by something external to the limits of nature. For everything existing in nature is such that its existence is motion and gradual progression, since there is no fixedness in the realm of nature according to the law of general motion. Hence, in searching for the [primary] cause, we cannot stop at something natural.
The second point is that motion, according to the Marxist view, does not stop at the limits of the objective reality of nature. Rather, it is also common to human truths and ideas. As the external reality of matter develops and grows, so also do the truths and mental perceptions submit to the same laws of development and growth that apply to the realm of nature. On the basis of this, there are no absolute truths according to the Marxist view of ideas. (p. 240)
We are told by Lenin: 'Therefore, the dialectic, in the view of Marx, is the science of the general laws of motion, whether in the external world or in the human mind.'16
According to our opinion, however, the law of general motion is the opposite of this. It is a natural law common to the realm of matter and does not extend to the realm of thought and knowledge. Truth and knowledge do not involve and cannot involve development in the precise philosophical sense, as we pointed out with clarity in the first investigation (the theory of knowledge).
Our present purpose of studying the alleged dialectical motion of knowledge and truth is to present the main attempts that Marxism adopted for demonstrating the dialectic and the movement of thought. These attempts are summed up as three. The first attempt is that thought and knowledge are reflections of the objective reality. In order for them to correspond to this reality, they must reflect its laws, its development and its movement. Nature develops and changes continuously in accordance with the law of motion.
Truth could not portray nature in the human mind if truth were frozen and at rest. Rather, truth exists in our thoughts, only if these thoughts are such that they grow and develop dialectically, so that our thoughts of things match the things themselves.
In this respect, we should pay attention to the following texts: (p. 241)
Reality grows, and the knowledge chat results from this reality reflects it, grows as it grows, and becomes an effective element of its growth. Thought does not produce its subject. Rather, it reflects and portrays objective reality by disclosing the laws of the growth of this reality.17
The difference between formal logic and dialectical logic is confined to the fact that both of them face in different ways the basic issue of logic, i.e. the issue of truth. From the point of view of dialectical logic, truth is not something given once and for all. It is not something complete, determined, frozen, and at rest. Rather, it is the opposite of this. Truth is a process of the growth of a human being's knowledge of the objective world.18
The Marxist dialectical logic treats the thing that it studies from a historical point of view inasmuch as that thing is a process of growth and development. It agrees with the general history of knowledge and the history of science.19
There is no doubt that thought and knowledge portray objective reality in some form. But this does not mean that the motion of objective reality is reflected in them and, therefore, that they grow and move in accordance with its [growth and motion]. The reason is this.
The realm of nature - that is, the realm of change, renewal and motion necessarily involves fixed general laws. No logic can deny this, except if it denies itself. For a logic cannot be a logic, unless it establishes (p. 242) its method of thinking and its understanding of the world on fixed, specific laws. Even the dialectic itself asserts that a number of laws are in control of nature and always govern it. One of these laws is that of motion.
Therefore, the realm of nature -whether subject to the general human law or to the law of dialectics or disputation - involves fixed laws chat reflect fixed truths in the realm of thought and the area of human knowledge. With regard to this objection, the dialecticians have to choose between the following two considerations.
They either consider the law of motion as fixed and constant, thus there would be constant truth; or that the same law is re-evaluated. This would mean that motion is not constant, that it may be transformed into rest, and that truths become fixed after they had been moveable. In either case, the dialectic would be forced to admit the presence of a third truth.
Thought, knowledge and truth do not reflect the actual properties of nature. We have already pointed out in 'the theory of knowledge' that the human mind comprehends the notions and natures of objective things. The notions of those things that are reflected in the mind are different from the external realities in existence and properties.
Thus, the scientist is able to form a precise scientific idea about the microbe, its composition, its specific activity and its interaction with the human body. However, no matter how precise and detailed an idea may be, it does not involve the properties of the external microbe and cannot play the same role played by its own objective reality.
The physicist may acquire a precise scientific notion of the radium atom and may determine its atomic weight, the number of electrons it carries, its negative and positive charges, the quantity of radiation it emits, and the exact scientific proportion of this radiation to the radiation emitted by the uranium atom, as well as other information and details.
However, (p. 243) regardless of the depth of this notion or its profound disclosure of the mysteries of the radium element, it will not acquire the properties of objective reality - namely, the properties of the radium - nor will it emit the radiation emitted by the atoms of this element. Consequently, our notion of the atom will not develop into radiation, as do some atoms in the external world.
Thus, it becomes clear that the laws and properties of objective reality are not present in the idea itself. Motion is one of those laws and properties. Thus, even though it is a general property of matter and one of its fixed laws, the truth in our minds or the idea that reflects nature does not involve this property. A true idea need not reflect objective reality in its properties and various kinds of activities; otherwise, none of our ideas would be true.
In spite of the fact that metaphysics considers nature as a realm of continuous motion and development, yet it differs from the dialectic in rejecting the application of the law of motion to mental notions, for such notions do not involve all the properties of objective reality.
This does not mean that if the metaphysicians form a notion about nature in one of its stages, therefore, they freeze their ideas, stop their research, and consider this notion sufficient for disclosing the innermost secrets of nature in all its stages. We do not know any reasonable person who would be satisfied, for example, with the scientific notion that he forms about the ovum, thus discontinuing the progression of the living being in its second stage, and contenting himself with the scientific notion that he had formed about it in that specific stage.
Thus, we .believe that nature develops, and we find it necessary to study it in every stage of its growth and motion, and to form a notion about it. This is not something restricted to the dialectic. What metaphysics rejects is (p. 244) the existence of a natural dynamic motion in every mental notion.
Therefore, metaphysics calls for a distinction between the ovum and our scientific notion of the ovum. The ovum develops and grows naturally. It becomes a zygote and then a fetus. But our notion of it is fixed. It cannot under any circumstance become a sperm. Rather, for knowing what a sperm is we must form another notion in light of observing the ovum in a new stage.
Thought about the development of the ovum is like a movie film that takes a number of successive pictures. The first picture in the film is not the one that develops and moves. Rather, it is the succession among the pictures that constitutes the movie film.
On the basis of this, human knowledge would not reflect reality, except inasmuch as the movie film reflects the kinds of motion and activity that it includes. Thus, knowledge does not develop or grow in a dialectical manner, in accordance with the reflected reality. Rather, it is necessary to form a fixed knowledge of every stage of reality.
Let us take as another example the element of uranium that exhibits the alpha wave, the beta wave and the gamma wave, and gradually changes to another element lighter than it in its atomic weight - this is the radium element that, in turn, gradually changes to an element lighter than it, and passes through [various] stages, until it becomes lead.
This is an objective reality explained by science. In light of it, we form our specific notion about it. What then does Marxism mean by the dialectical development of the mental notion or truth in accordance with the development of reality? If it means by this that our very scientific notion about uranium develops dialectically and naturally in accordance with the development of the uranium - thus emitting the specific waves of uranium and transforming, in the last analysis, into lead - this will be closer to a charming, humorous chat than to a reasonable philosophical discourse.
If, on the other hand, Marxism intends [by this] that human beings must not view uranium as a frozen, motionless element, (p. 245) but as something that continues its progression, and about every stage of which human beings form a notion, this will close the discussion; [for] it does not mean a dialectical motion in truths and notions. Every notion we form about a specific stage of the development of uranium is fixed and does not develop dialectically to another notion. Rather, a new notion is added to it.
At the end of this process, we possess a number of fixed notions and truths, every one of which portrays a specific level of the objective reality. Where then is the disputation or dialectic of thought? Also, where is the notion that develops naturally in accordance with the external development? This is all that relates to the first Marxist attempt and its refutation.
The second attempt made by Marxism to demonstrate the dialectic and development of thought is that thought or knowledge is one of the natural phenomena and a superior product of matter. Consequently, it is part of nature. Therefore, it is governed by the same laws that administer nature. It alters and grows dialectically, as do all the phenomena of nature.
We must warn that this demonstration is different from the abovementioned demonstration. In the previous demonstration, Marxism attempted to show that motion is present in thought due to the thought's character as a reflection of the moving reality. The reflection is not complete if the moving reality is not reflected in thought in its motion and growth. In the present attempt, however, Marxism endeavors to show that the dialectical motion of thought is due to the thought's character as a part of nature.
Thus, the laws of the dialectic apply to both matter and knowledge, and extend to reality and thought alike, since each of them is an aspect of nature. Thought or truth develops and grows, not only because it reflects a reality that develops and grows, (p. 246) but also because it itself is a part of the realm that develops in accordance with the laws of the dialectic. As the dialectic dictates the existence of dynamic motion, which is grounded on the basis of internal contradiction in the innermost being of every objective phenomenon of nature, it also dictates the existence of dynamic motion in all the phenomena of thought and knowledge.
Let us go over what is related to this subject in the following texts:
Being is the motion of matter which is subject to laws. Since our knowledge is nothing but a superior product of nature, it cannot but reflect these laws.20
If we inquire about the nature of thought, the nature of awareness, and their source, we will find that human beings are themselves the product of nature. They grow in a certain community and with the growth of that community. At this point, it becomes evident that the products of the human mind which are also, in the last analysis, products of nature, are not in contradiction, but in agreement with the rest of the interconnected nature.21
The basic point on which this demonstration rests is the adoption of the purely materialistic explanation of knowledge that imposes on knowledge a sharing with all the laws and decrees of nature, including the law of motion. We will analyze this basic point in an independent chapter of this investigation.
At the present, however, we are attempting to inquire from the Marxists whether the materialistic explanation of thought or knowledge is reserved for the thoughts of the dialecticians in particular. Or does it also pervade the thoughts of others who (p. 247) do not accept the dialectic? If it pervades all thoughts - as the materialistic philosophy necessitates - then all thoughts must be subject to the laws of the general development of matter.
But because of this, it becomes curiously contradictory for Marxism to accuse other thoughts of frozenness and stationariness, and to consider its thought as the only one that develops and grows due to the fact that it is a part of the progressive nature, even though all human thoughts, according to the materialistic notion, are nothing but a product of nature. All that there is to this matter is that the proponents of the general or formal logic, as they claim, do not accept the dialectical development of thought, as the Marxists do.
However, when was the acceptance of a natural law a condition for the existence of that law? Do not the body of Pasteur,22 the discoverer of the microbe, and the body of Ibn Send, who did not know anything about the microbe, both share reaction to germs, in accordance with the specific natural laws governing germs? The same holds true for every natural law. Thus, if the dialectic is a natural law common to both thought and matter, then it must apply to [all] human thoughts alike. If there is anything to its discovery, it is only the speed of the developmental motion.
The third attempt is the exploitation of scientific development and wholeness in the various fields, and the consideration of this as an empirical evidence for the dialectic and development of thought. The history of sciences, according to the Marxist claim, is itself the history of the dialectical movement of the human thought that becomes more complete with the passage of time.
Here is a citation from Kedrov:
The absolute truth which results from relative truths is a historical movement of development. It is the movement of knowledge. It is precisely for this reason that the Marxist dialectical logic treats the thing that it studies from a historical point of view, i.e. from the point of view of that thing's being a process of growth and development.
This logic (p. 248) is in agreement with the general history of knowledge and the history of science. By using as examples the natural sciences, economics, politics, and history, Lenin shows that the dialectic derives its conclusions from the history of thought, while at the same time, he asserts that the history of thought in logic must agree, in part and in whole, with the laws of thought.23
No two persons disagree on the fact that the history of human knowledge and science is full of advances and completion of knowledge in the various fields and in the different types of life and experience.' Casting one glance on science in its present and past makes us fully believe the extent of the fast development and the remarkable completion that science has attained in its latest races. But this scientific development is not a kind of motion in the philosophical sense intended by Marxism.
Indeed, it is nothing more than a decrease in the quantity of errors and an increase in the quantity of truths. Science develops, not in the sense that scientific truth grows and becomes complete, but in the sense that its truths multiply and are increased in number, and its errors are reduced and decreased in number, in accordance with the enlargement of the experimental scope, the deeper plunge into experimentation, and the precision of the means of experimentation.
In order to clarify this, it is necessary to give an idea about the procession of the scientific development and the method of gradual progression and completion in the scientific theories and truths, so that we can see clearly the difference between the alleged dialectic of thought, on the one hand, and the historical development of the human sciences, on the other hand.
Scientific truths begin with a theoretical procedure, such as with a research hypothesis that occurs to the natural scientist due to a number of previous pieces of information and scientific or simple observations. A hypothesis is the first stage that the scientific theory crosses in its developmental procession.
After that, the scientist begins a scientific investigation and an experimental study (p. 249) of that hypothesis. He performs all kinds of tests by means of precise scientific observations and various experiments in a field related to the hypothesis. If the results of the observations or experiments agree with the hypothesis and are in harmony with its nature and with the nature of its phenomena, the hypothesis acquires a new character: that is, the character of a scientific law.
Subsequently, the theory enters the second stage of its scientific procession. But this development that transfers the theory from the level of a hypothesis to that of a law does not mean that the scientific truth has grown and altered. Rather, it means that a specific idea was the subject of doubt, but has attained the level of scientific trust and certitude.
Thus, Pasteur's theory concerning microbic living beings, which he posited on an intuitive basis, was then confirmed by careful observations through modern scientific means. Also, the theory of general gravity, the hypothesis for which was evoked in Newton's mind by a simple scene (the scene of the fall of an apple on the ground), made Newton inquire as to why it is that the force that made the apple fall on the ground is not itself the force that preserves the moon's balance and guides its motion? Later, experiments and scientific observations confirmed the applicability of gravity to the celestial bodies, and considered it a general law based on a specific relation.
The same is true of the theory stating that the difference in the speed of the fall of bodies is attributed to the resistance of air, and not to the difference in their mass, which was introduced as an [important] scientific event whose truth was later proved by science through experiments on various bodies in a place void of air - thus demonstrating that all bodies share a certain degree of speed - I say chat such a theory and thousands of other theories, which have all passed through the above-mentioned stage of development by crossing the level of a hypothesis to the level of a law.
They do not express by this crossing and development of a growth in the same truth, but a difference in the level of its scientific acceptance. The idea is the same idea, but it has passed scientific examination. (p. 250) Due to this, is became clear as a truth, after is had been the subject of doubt.
When this theory attains its proper position among scientific laws, it plays its role of application, and acquires the property of scientific reference for explaining the phenomena of nature that appear in observation, experimentation or disclosure of new truths and secrets. The more such a theory can discover unknown truths, whose soundness is later confirmed by experiments, the more established and the clearer does it become in the scientific mentality.
For this reason, the scientists' discovery of the planet Neptune in light of the law of gravity and its mathematical formula was considered a great victory for the theory of general gravity. The existence of this planet was then confirmed by scientific observations. This, too, is nothing but a kind of strong scientific confidence in the truth and soundness of the theory.
If the theory is constantly accompanied by success in the scientific field, it is then confirmed for good. If, on the other hand, it begins to shift from corresponding to the reality that is scientifically scrutinized, after carefully examining the systems and tools, and after making penetrating observations and tests, the theory begins at that point the stage of adjustment and renewal.
In this stage, new observations and experiments may be required to complete the previous scientific theory by means of new notions that are added to the previous theory, so that a unified explanation of the whole experimental reality will be attained. Pieces of scientific evidence may reveal the falsehood of the previous theory. Thus, in light of experiments and observations, this theory collapses and is substituted by another.
In none of this can we understand scientific development in a dialectical fashion or imagine the truth as it is supposed by the dialectic - that is, that it grows and alters in accordance with the contradictions that it involves internally; thus, taking on in every stage a new foot, while in all those forms it is a complete scientific truth.
This is quite different from the scientific reality (p. 251) of human thought. Rather, what happens in the area of scientific adjustment is the attainment of new truths that are added to the fixed scientific truth, or the discovery of the falsehood of the previous truth and the truth of another idea for explaining reality.
What occurred to the atomic theory (the theory of atomism) falls in the first category: the attainment of new truths that are added to the fixed scientific truth. This theory was first a hypothesis, and then, in accordance with experiments, it became a scientific law. Later, in light of experiments, physics was able to reach [the conclusion] that the atom is not the primordial unit of matter, but that it itself also consists of parts.
This is how the atomic theory was completed by a new scientific notion of the nucleus and the charges of which the atom is composed. The truth did not grow, but the scientific truths were increased in number. However, the quantitative increase is other than the dialectical growth and the philosophical movement of truth.
What occurred to the theory of general gravity (the mechanical explanation of the world in Newton's theories) falls in the second category (the discovery of the falsehood of a previous theory and the truth of another idea). The disagreement of this explanation with a number of electric and magnetic phenomena has been noticed. The same is true of the inappropriateness of this explanation for explaining the manner in which light forms and propagates as well as similar points that were taken by later physicists to constitute an evidence of the falsehood of the Newtonian notion of the world.
On the basis of this, Einstein put forth his theory of relativity that he cast in a mathematical explanation of the world that differs completely from that of Newton. Can we then say that Newton's theory for explaining the world and that of Einstein are both true, and that the truth has developed and grown such that it took the form of the relativity theory after it had been in the form of (the theory of) general gravity?
Further, is time, space, and mass,24 the absolute fixed triad in Newton's explanation, the scientific truth that (p. 252) grew and altered in accordance with the law of dialectical movement, and was then transformed into the relativity of time, space and mass?25 Or has the force of gravity in Newton's theory developed into a curvature in space [time]; thus, the mechanical force by motion is a property of the geometry of the world,26 by means of which the motion of earth around the sun and other motions are explained, as is the bending of nuclear radiation?
The only reasonable [interpretation] is that careful or numerous experiments have led to the manifestation of error [of incompleteness] in the previous theory, the absence of truth (or generality] in it, and the evidence of the presence of truth [or generality] in another explanation.27
At last, our assertion becomes clear; namely, that scientific development does not mean that the truth grows and comes into being gradually. Rather, it means the completion of knowledge inasmuch as knowledge is a whole; that is, inasmuch as it is an assembly of theories and laws. Further, its completion means a quantitative increase of its truths and a quantitative decrease of its errors.
Finally, we wish to know what Marxism seeks in the development of the truth. Indeed, Marxism seeks two things in the assertion of the development of the truth and the application of the dialectic to the truth.
First, it seeks a negation of absolute truth. If the truth continuously moves and grows, then there is no fixed and absolute truth. Consequently, the metaphysical fixed truths, for which Marxism condemns theology, will be destroyed. Second, it seeks to deny absolute falsity in the march of scientific development.
Scientific development, (p. 253) in the dialectical sense, does not mean that the previous theory is absolutely false, but that it is a relative truth. This means that it is a truth at a specific stage of development and growth. By means of this, Marxism placed the security of truth in the various stages of scientific completion.
These two aims collapse in light of the sound and reasonable explanation of scientific development that we have presented above. In accordance with this explanation, the scientific development is not a growth of a specific truth, but new discoveries of truths not known before, as well as corrections of previous errors. Every corrigible error is an absolute error, and every discoverable truth is an absolute truth.
Add to this that Marxism fell into a basic confusion between truth, in the sense of thought, and truth, in the sense of independent objective reality. Metaphysics asserts the presence of absolute truth in the second sense. It accepts a fixed objective reality beyond the limits of nature. This is not incompatible with the negation of truth in the first sense and the continuous development of truth.
Suppose that truth in the human mind is in a constant and a continuous development and movement. What harm would this cause the metaphysical reality admitted by theology, as long as we accept the possibility of an objective reality independent of consciousness and knowledge? Marxism can fulfill its wish if we pursue idealism and say that reality is the truth that exists in our minds only. Thus, if the truth in our minds develops and changes, then there will be no room for belief in an absolute reality. If, on the other hand, we distinguish between thought and reality, and accept the possibility of the existence of a reality independent of consciousness and thought, then there will be no harm to the existence of an absolute reality external to the limits of knowledge, even though there may not be any absolute truth in our minds. (p. 254)
The following passage is taken from Stalin:
Contrary to metaphysics, the starting point of the dialectic is the view which rests on the fact that all natural events and things involve contradictions, since all of them involve a negative aspect as well as a positive aspect in the past and in the present.
Further, they all have elements that disintegrate or develop. Thus, the strife of these opposites lies in the internal content responsible for transferring the quantitative changes to qualitative changes.28
Again, Mao Tse-Tung says:
The law of contradiction in things, i.e. the law of the union of opposites, is the basic and most important law in dialectical materialism.
Lenin tells us: 'The dialectic, in the precise sense, is a study of the contradiction in the innermost essence of things.'
Lenin often called this law 'the essence of the dialectic', as he called it 'the heart of the dialectic'.29 (p. 255)
This is the basic law that the dialectic alleges to be capable of explaining nature and the world, as well as justifying linear movement and the developments and leaps that this-movement involves.
When Lenin discarded the notion of the first principle from his philosophy, and considered as totally improbable the assumption of a cause external to, and beyond [to nature], he found himself required to provide a justification and an explanation of the continuous march and the constant change, in the realm of matter, in order to show how matter develops and cakes on different forms; that is, in order to determine the source of motion and the primary cause of the phenomena of existence.
He assumed that this source is in the internal content of matter; hence, matter contains a continuous replenishment of motion. But how does matter contain this replenishment? This is the main question regarding this issue. Dialectical materialism answers this question by saying that matter is a union of opposites and an assembly of contradictories. If all opposites and contradictories melt in a specific unity, it will be natural then that they struggle among each other for the acquisition of knowledge. Development and change result from this struggle.
Consequently, nature attains the stages of its completion by way of this method. On the basis of this, Marxism abandoned the principle of non-contradiction. It considered it a characteristic of metaphysical thought and one of the fundamentals of formal logic chat succumb to the sharp pickax of the dialectic.
This is confirmed by Kedrov in the following statement:
By the expression 'formal logic' we understand the logic that rests on nothing other than the four laws of thought: the law of identity, the law of contradiction, the law of conversion, and the law of demonstration. This logic stops at this point. But we consider the dialectical logic, on the other hand, as the science of thought which rests on the Marxist method which is characterized by the following main points: admission of (1) the general linkage, (p. 256) (2) the movement of development, (8) the leaps of development, and (4) the contradiction of development.30
Thus, we see that the dialectic discarded from its field most of the intuitive human thoughts. It rejected the principle of non-contradiction; instead, it assumed contradiction as a general law of nature and existence. In this rejection and assumption, the dialectic unconsciously applied the principle of non-contradiction.
When the dialectician admits the dialectical contradictions and the dialectical explanation of nature, he finds himself obliged to reject the principle of non-contradiction and its metaphysical explanation. Clearly, this is only due to the fact that human nature cannot reconcile negation and affirmation.
Rather, it essentially feels an absolute opposition between the two. If this is not so, then why did Marxism reject the principle of non-contradiction and assert its falsehood? Is it not because it accepted contradiction and could not accept its negation, as long as it had already accepted its affirmation?
Thus, we know that the principle of non-contradiction is the general basic principle of which human thought was never free, even at the point of enthusiasm for disputation and dialectics.
Dialectical contradiction also resulted in the elimination of the principle of identity (a is a) from the dictionary of disputation. A thing was permitted to be other than itself. Indeed, the general dialectical contradiction makes this necessary, for everything involves its contradictory and expresses its own negation at the time of its affirmation.
Thus 'a is a' is not so absolutely. Rather, every being is the contradictory and the negation of itself, as it is an affirmation of it. This is so, because its being is essentially contradictory and involves negation and affirmation that are always in conflict and that, by their conflict, erupt (p. 257) in motion.
The Marxists have not attempted to prove the contradiction of things- that is, the law of dialectics and its disputational basis - except by a group of examples and phenomena, by means of which they tried to show the contradiction and disputation of nature.
Thus, [to them], contradiction is just one of the laws of dialectical logic, since nature itself is contradictory and dialectical. This is made evident by the kinds of contradiction given by the senses or revealed by science, which destroy the principle of non-contradiction and make it inconsistent with the reality and laws of nature that govern the various fields and areas of nature.
We have alluded earlier to the fact that Marxism did not find a way to the dynamism of nature and to making the forces that are active by motion as the internal content of the same progressive matter, except by starting from contradiction and accepting the union of contradictories in a progressive unity, in accordance with the struggle and strife of these contradictories.
The issue, according to Marxism, is only two sided. First, we either form our idea about the world on the principle that asserts non-contradiction. Thus, there would neither be negation and affirmation at the heart of things, nor would such things involve the strife of contradictories.
Consequently, we must search for the source of motion and development in a cause superior to nature and to its developments. Or else, second, we establish our logic on the belief that contradiction penetrates to the heart of things, and that in every being, opposites or negation and affirmation unite.31 (p. 258) With this, we find the secret of development in the internal contradiction.
Since, according to the claims of Marxism, nature provides in every opportunity and in every field testimony and evidence for the confirmation of contradiction and the union of contradictories and opposites, one must, therefore, adopt the second point of view.
In fact, the principle of non-contradiction is the most general law and the most common to the various fields of application. No phenomenon of existence or being is an exception to it at all. Any dialectical attempt seeking to reject it or to show nature as contradictory is a primitive attempt that rests on the misunderstanding of the principle of non-contradiction or on some misguidance.
Therefore, let us at the outset explain the principle of non-contradiction in its necessary sense, which general logic considers as a main principle of human thought. After that, we will take up the phenomena of the alleged contradiction in nature and existence. It is on these phenomena that Marxism relies for establishing its dialectical logic, and for destroying the principle of non-contradiction and the principle of identity.
We will show that those phenomena are harmonious with these two principles, and that chose phenomena are empty32 of dialectical contradictions. With this, the dialectic loses its support in nature and its material evidence. Consequently, we determine the extent of the dialectic's failure to explain the world and to justify its existence. (p. 259)
The principle of non-contradiction states that contradiction is impossible. Thus, negation and affirmation cannot agree under any circumstance. This is clear; but what is the contradiction that this principle rejects and that the mind cannot accept? Is it any negation and affirmation? The answer is no, for not every negation contradicts every affirmation, and not every affirmation is incompatible with every negation. Rather, an affirmation is contradictory to its own negation, and not to the negation of another affirmation.
Thus, the existence of a thing is basically contradictory to the non-existence of that thing, and not to the non-existence of another thing. What is meant by their incompatibility is that it is impossible for both of them to unite or to come together. For example, a square has four sides. This is a fixed geometrical truth. A triangle, on the other hand, does not have four sides. This is also a fixed sound negation.
There is no contradiction at all between this negation and that affirmation, for each of them deals with a specific subject that is different from the subject with which the other deals. The four sides are fixed in a square and are negated in a triangle. Hence, we have not negated what we have affirmed, nor affirmed what we have negated. There would be contradiction only if we affirm and also negate that a square has four sides; or if we affirm and at the same time negate that a triangle has four sides.
By virtue of this consideration, the metaphysical logic dictates that contradiction exists only between the negation and the affirmation that agree in circumstances. Thus, if the circumstances of negation differ from the circumstances of affirmation, negation and affirmation will not be contradictory. Let us take a number of examples of negation and affirmation that differ in their circumstances.
'Four is even.' 'Three is not even.' Negation and affirmation in these two propositions are not contradictory due to the fact that each of them is different from the other in the subject with which it deals. Affirmation is related to 'four', and negation is related to 'three'. (p. 260)
'In infancy, a human being is quick to believe.' 'At the stage of youth and maturity, a human being is not quick to believe.' Negation and affirmation in these two propositions are related to 'human beings'. However, each of them has its own time that differs from the time of the other. Therefore, there is no contradiction here between the negation and the affirmation.
'An infant does not know in actuality.' 'An infant knows in potentiality; that is, it is possible that he knows.' Here, too, we are confronted with a negation and an affirmation that are not contradictory. This is because in the first proposition, we do not negate the same affirmation involved in the second proposition. The first proposition negates the attribute of knowledge in an infant. The second proposition does not affirm this attribute.
Instead, it affirms its possibility - that is, the capacity of the infant and his proper readiness for acquiring it. Therefore, it is the infant's potency for knowledge that the second proposition affirms, and not the infant's actual knowledge.
Thus, we know that contradiction between negation and affirmation is attained only if both share the subject with which each deals, and agree with regard to spatial and temporal conditions and circumstances, and the like. But if negation and affirmation do not agree in all these conditions and circumstances, then there will be no contradiction between them. There is no person or logic that can assert the impossibility of the truth of both in this case.
After having studied the notion of contradiction and the content of the main principle of general logic - the principle of non-contradiction - we must shed some light on the Marxist understanding of this principle and on the justification to which Marxism resorted in its rejection of this principle. It is not difficult for one to realize that Marxism was not able to or did not care to understand this principle in the proper sense.
Thus, it rejected it for the sake of attaining its own materialism. (p. 261) It gathered a number of examples chat it claimed are inconsistent with this principle. Consequently, it posited contradiction and strife between contradictories and opposites as a principle of its new logic. It filled the world with noise about this principle and boasted to the general human logic about constructing this principle and discovering contradiction and strife between contradictories and opposites.
In order for us to see the extent of error in which Marxism fell and which led it to reject the principle of non-contradiction and the other principles that are based on it, such as the metaphysical logic, we must distinguish with clarity between two things: the first is strife between external opposites and contradictories; the second is strife between opposites and contradictories that come together in a specific unity.
It is the second that contradicts the principle of non-contradiction. As for the first, it has no relation to contradiction at all. This is because it is not concerned with the union of two contradictories or two opposites. Rather, it is referred to the independent existence of each of them. The presence of strife between them leads to a specific result.
The shape of the shore, for example, is the result of a mutual action between the waves and currents of water, on the one hand, that collide with the land (thus making the bank recede) and, on the other hand, the steadfastness of the land in the face of the currents and its pushing back those waves to some extent.
Further, the shape of a clay bottle is the result of a process that takes place between a quantity of clay and the hand of a potter.
If dialectical materialism intends this kind of strife between external opposites, this would not be at all incompatible with the principle of non-contradiction, and would not call for accepting contradiction which human thought has rejected from the beginning of its existence. The reason is that opposites never come together in a unity. Rather, each of them exists independently in its own sphere.
They share in a mutual action by means of which they achieve a certain result. Moreover, this principle does not justify self-sufficiency and the dispensing with an external cause. The shape of the shore or the shape of the bottle is not determined and does not exist through a development based (p. 262) on internal contradictions.
Rather, it is the result of an external process achieved by two independent opposites. This kind of strife between external opposites and their shared processes is not something discovered by materialism or the dialectic. Rather, iris something clear and affirmed by every logic and by every philosopher, whether a materialist or a theologian, since the oldest times of materialism and theology, and until today.
For instance, let us take Aristotle, the leader of the school of metaphysics in Greek philosophy. We choose Aristotle in particular, not only because he is a theology philosopher, but also because he has put forth the rules, principles and foundations of general logic which the Marxists call 'formal logic'.
Aristotle believes that there is strife between external opposites, even though he erects logic on the basis of the principle of non-contradiction. It did not occur to him that hundreds of years later, somebody will emerge to consider this strife as a proof for the collapse of this necessary principle.
Here are some of Aristotle's texts concerning strife among external opposites:
Put briefly, something of the same genus may be actually accepted by something else of the same genus. The reason for this is that all opposites are of the same genus, and opposites act upon one another and accept one another from one another.33
It is in accordance with the forth, and hoc in accordance with matter that a certain thing is added to every part in just any manner. In spite of this, the whole becomes greater, for something is added to it. This thing is what is called 'nourishment'. It is also called 'opposite'.
However, this thing is nothing but a change in the very kind [of the whole]. For instance, when the damp is added to the dry, (p. 268) it changes by becoming itself dry. In actuality, it is both possible chat that which is similar grows by that to which it is similar, and on the other hand, by that to which it is not similar.34
Thus, it becomes clear that the common operations of external opposites do not reveal the dialectic, nor refute the metaphysical logic, nor constitute something new in the philosophical field. Rather, they are truths determined with clarity in all philosophies from the beginning of the history of philosophy. They involve nothing that helps attain the Marxist philosophical aims that Marxism seeks to achieve in light of the dialectic.
But if Marxism intends 'contradiction' in the real sense of the term, which attributes an internal source to motion - something that is rejected by the main principle of our logic - contradiction then will be something that no healthy mind can accept. Marxism does not have any example whatsoever of contradiction in this sense from nature or the phenomena of existence. All the alleged contradictions of nature that Marxism offers us are not related to the dialectic in any way.
Let us present a number of such examples by means of which Marxism intended to prove its dialectical logic, so that we can see the extent of its weakness and failure to demonstrate its own logic.
The following is a passage from Georges Lefebvre:35
When nothing goes on, then there is no contradiction. Conversely, when there is no contradiction, nothing happens, nothing exists, no appearance of any activity is noticed, and nothing new emerges. (p. 264) Whether the matter is related to a state of stagnation, to a temporary equilibrium, or to a moment of flourishing, the being or thing that is not self-contradictory is temporarily in a state of rest.36
Also, we quote from Mao Tse-Tung:
A proposition with general contradiction or with the absolute existence of contradiction has a dual meaning. The first is that contradiction exists in the process of the development of all things. The second is that from the beginning to the end of the development of everything, there is a movement of opposites. Engels says that movement itself is contradictory.37
These texts make it clear that Marxism upholds the existence of opposition between the law of development and completion and the law of non-contradiction. It believes chat development and completion are not achieved except on the basis of continuous contradiction As long as development and motion are realized in the realm of nature, one must put aside the idea of non-contradiction and take up the dialectic, which will explain to us motion in its various forms and kinds.
Previously (when we studied the movement of development), we touched upon the fact that development and completion are not at all incompatible with the principle of non-contradiction, and that the idea that asserts incompatibility between the two rests on the confusion between potentiality and actuality. At every stage, motion is an affirmation in actuality and a negation in potentiality.
Thus, when the germ of a living being develops in the egg until it becomes a chick, and the chick becomes a chicken, this development does not mean that the egg is not in its first stage an egg in actuality. (p. 265) Indeed, it is an egg in actuality and a chicken in potentiality; that is, it can become a chicken.
Therefore, the possibility for a chicken and the character of an egg, and not both the character of the egg and the character of the chicken, unite in the essence of the egg. In fact, we know more than this, namely, that the movement of the development cannot be understood except in light of the principle of non-contradiction. If it were truly possible for contradictories to come together in the essence of a thing, there would be no change, and the thing would not be transformed from one state to another. Consequently, there would be no change and no development.
If Marxism wishes to show us that the process of motion involves contradiction that is truly incompatible with the principle of non-contradiction, let it then provide an example of development that involves and does not involve motion - that is, in which both negation and affirmation are applicable to the development.
Is it permissible for Marxism, after it had rejected the principle of non-contradiction, to assert that a thing develops and does not develop at the same time? If this were permissible, let Marxism then show us an instance of it in nature and existence. If, on the other hand, this were not permissible, it would be nothing but an admission of the principle of non-contradiction and of the rules of the metaphysical logic.
[Concerning this,] Georges Lefebvre tells us the following:
In spite of this, it is not clear that life is birth, growth, and development? Still, a living being cannot grow without changing and developing, i.e. without ceasing to be what he was. In order for him to become a man, he must abandon and lose adolescence. Everything that necessarily accompanies rest declines and falls behind . . . Every living being, therefore, struggles against death, for he carries his death within himself.38 (p. 266)
We also quote the following passage from Engels:
We have seen earlier chat the essence of life is chat a living body is ac every moment itself; while at the same moment, it is not itself, i.e. it is something other than itself. Life, therefore, is a contradiction fixed in the beings and processes themselves.39
There is no doubt that a living being undergoes two renewable processes: life and death. As long as these two processes perform their function, life continues. But this does not involve any contradiction. The reason is that if we analyze these two processes, and, to begin with, add them to one living being, we know that the process of death and that of life do not meet in one subject.
A living being receives new cells at every stage and leaves behind disintegrated cells. Death and life partition the cells [of that being]. The cell that dies at one moment is other than the cell that exists and lives at that particular moment. This is how the living being at large remains held together; for the process of life replaces in him the dead cells with new cells. Thus, life continues until its possibilities are exhausted and its light is extinguished.
Rather, contradiction obtains if death and life cover all the cells of the living being at a specific moment. But this is not what we know about the nature of life and living beings. A living being does not carry within himself other than the possibility of death, and the possibility of death does not contradict life. Rather, what contradicts life is actual death.
In his presentation of the principle of contradiction in the dialectic (p. 267), Engels says:
As we have seen, contradiction, for example, between the genuine and unlimited human capacity for knowledge and the actual realization of this capacity in people who are restricted by their external circumstances and mental receptivity finds its resolution in the indefinite succession of generations in the endless advance, at least with respect to us and, according to the practical point of view.40
In this, we find a new example, not of the principle of contradiction, but of the Marxist misunderstanding of the principle of non-contradiction. If it were true that people are capable of full knowledge, and of acquiring such knowledge by themselves, this will not confirm the dialectic, nor will it be a phenomenon that constitutes an exception to the metaphysical logic and to the basic principle of this logic.
Instead, it will be similar to our assertion chat the army is capable of defending the country, and that no member of the army has this ability. Is this contradictory, and is this something on whose rejection the metaphysical logic is based? Indeed, no. Contradiction obtains between negation and affirmation if their subject is one.
However, if affirmation deals with humanity as a whole, while negation deals with every individual independently - as in the example given by Engels - then there is no incompatibility between negation and affirmation.
41This alleged contradiction involves two errors. The first is the consideration of the positive charge and the negative charge as belonging to the categories of existence and non-existence, (p. 268) affirmation and negation [respectively] ; due to the fact that the scientific term for the former is 'positive charge' and for the latter 'negative charge', even though we know that these expressions are just technical physical terms.
This does not mean that both are two contradictories, as are non-positiveness and positiveness, or negation and affirmation. Thus, the positive charge is similar to the charge produced in the glass stick that is touched by a piece of silk. The negative charge is similar to the charge produced by the ion that is couched by the cat skin. Each of the two charges is a specific kind of electric charge. Neither of them is the existence of a thing, while the other the non-existence of that thing.
The second error is the consideration of attraction as a kind of union. On the basis of this, the relation of attraction between the positive charge and the negative charge was explained as one of contradiction. This contradiction was considered one of the dialectical phenomena, even though, in fact, the negative and the positive charges are not united in one charge.
Rather, they are two independent charges attracting each other, as the two different magnetic poles attract each other, without indicating the existence of one charge that is both positive and negative at the same time, or the existence of one magnetic pole that is both north and south. Thus, attraction between different charges (or repulsion between similar charges] is a kind of interaction among external opposites that are independent in existence from one another.
We learned earlier that interaction among external opposites is not at all dialectical and has no relation to the contradiction that is rejected by the metaphysical logic. The issue is one of two powers each influencing the other, and not an issue of a power involving contradiction in its internal content, as the dialectic claims.
According to Marxism (and to Newton) 42, the mechanical law that asserts that for every action, there is a reaction equal to it in quantity, and opposed to it in direction: [for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction] is one of the phenomena of dialectical contradiction (p. 269)
Once again, we find ourselves in need of emphasizing that this Newtonian law does not in any way justify dialectical contradictions; for action and reaction are two powers that exist in two bodies, and not two contradictories united in one body. Thus, the two rear wheels of a car push against the ground with force; this is the action. The ground, on the other hand, pushes the two car wheels with another force that is quantitatively equal and directionally opposite the first force; this is the reaction. By means of this, the car moves. Hence, the one body does not involve two contradictory forces, nor does its internal content undergo a struggle between negation and affirmation or between one contradictory and another.
Rather, the car pushes the ground in one direction, while the ground pushes the car in another direction. The dialectic attempts to explain a thing's growth and movement by two internal repelling forces or two internal contradictories at strife. Each struggles against the other, overcomes it and forms the thing [containing them] in accordance with itself.
Is this not different from two external forces of which one produces a specific action and the other a reaction? We all know that the two opposite forces produced by the action and the reaction are present in two bodies, and that it is impossible for them to be present in one body; they oppose and negate one another. This is so, only by virtue of the principle of non-contradiction.
Actually, in war, attack and defense, advance and retreat, victory and defeat are all contradictory phenomena. Neither one of the two [in any pair] can be present without the other. These two extremes struggle [against each other], as they unite with each other - thus forming the totality of war, imposing their development, and solving the problems of war.43 (p. 270)
The truth is that this text is the strangest of all the above-mentioned texts. In it, Mao Tse-Tung considers war as a real living being involving the two contradictories, victory and defeat, even though this notion of war is inappropriate except to a primitive mentality that is accustomed to viewing things in a general framework.
War, in philosophical analysis, is nothing but a multiplicity of events united in the manner of expression only. Victory is other than defeat, a victorious army is other than a defeated army, and the methods or points of strength that prepare for victory are other than the methods or points of weakness that lead to defeat. The decisive results to which war leads are not due to a dialectical struggle and united contradictories, but to a struggle between two external forces of which one overcomes the other.
The contradictions of judgements discussed by Kedrov in what follows:
Regardless44 of the simplicity of a judgment and regardless of the ordinariness of that judgment, it contains seeds or elements of dialectical contradiction which move and grow in the sphere of all human knowledge.45
Lenin emphasizes this point saying:
Beginning with any proposition, even with the simplest proposition or with the most ordinary and most common proposition, etc., such as: 'The tree leaves are green,' 'Ivan is a man,' 'Zhuchka is a dog,' and so on, also involves a dialectic. The particular is the general; that is, opposites (the particular is the opposite of the general) are identical.
But even here, there are primary principles, necessary notions, and an objective relation to nature, etc. The accidental, (p. 271) the necessary, the appearance, and the substance are all present here. Thus, when I say: 'Ivan is a man,' 'Zhuchka is a dog,' 'This is the leaf of a tree,' etc., I just reject a series of symbols, since they are accidental, I separate the surface from the substance, and I affirm opposition between the two. Similarly, in every proposition and in every cell, we can disclose all the elements of the dialectic.46
But it is our right to ask Lenin about the attribute of generality that he ascribes to the meaning of the term 'man'. Is it an attribute of the idea that we form in our minds about the word 'man', or of the objective reality of this word? This question does not require much reflection, in order for one to attain the correct answer, which is as follows.
Generality is an attribute of thought and not of reality. Our idea of the word 'man' constitutes a general notion that expresses many particulars having this name. Thus, Ivan is a man, Kedrov is a man, and Lenin is a man, in the sense that the idea that we have of the expression 'man' is the mental product that is common to these individuals. The objective reality of man; on the other hand, is always something determined and limited.
If we take this remark into consideration, we can then know that the contradiction in our statement: 'Ivan is a man' obtains only if we wish to judge our specific idea of Ivan as being the same as the general idea that we have of man. This is a clear contradiction and cannot be true at all. The reason is that the specific idea of Ivan cannot be the same general idea of man; otherwise, the general and the particular would be the same thing as Lenin thought.
Thus, if we take Ivan as a specific idea and man as a general idea, we will find ourselves in contradiction when we try to unite the two ideas. (p. 272) However, our statement, 'Ivan is a man', does not actually mean a union between the two ideas, but a union between the objective reality of the word 'Ivan' and the objective reality of the word 'man', in the sense that the two expressions are one objective reality. It is clear that the reality of man does not contradict the external reality of Ivan; rather it is one and the same with it. Therefore, the union between the two does not involve a contradiction.
Hence, it becomes clear that the contradiction, which is claimed by Marxism to exist in the proposition 'Ivan is a man' is based on a false interpretation of this proposition, which considers this proposition as a union between two ideas, one of which is general and the other particular, and not between two objective realities.
Once again, we inquire about this alleged contradiction in the proposition 'Ivan is a man'. What is its consequence, what is the struggle produced by it, and what is the development resulting from it? According to Marxism, the internal contradictions ignite the struggle and are considered as fuel for the development. How then can Marxism explain to us the manner in which the proposition: 'Ivan is a man' develops? Further, is it reduced to another form due to its contradictions?
The conclusions we reach as a result of our study of the alleged dialectical contradictions is that all the contradictions mentioned by Marxism in the fields of philosophy and science or in the general, ordinary sphere are not of the kind of contradiction rejected by the basic principle of the metaphysical logic.
Moreover, such contradictions cannot be considered as an evidence for refuting this principle. Rather, they are nothing but the 'opposites' of the Maltese Chrysippus47 (2,000 years ago) to the principle of non-contradiction. Chrysippus48 responded to this principle as follows. If your father comes to you veiled, you do not recognize him. Therefore, you know your father and you do not know him at the same time.
But it is intuitive that these kinds of simple opposites cannot destroy the general necessary principle of human thought: the principle of non-contradiction. (p. 273)
The truth that was evident to us from a number of examples of dialectical contradiction is the struggle and the interaction between external opposites. We have already learned that this kind of interaction between opposites is not one of the attributes of the dialectic. Rather, it is one of the assertions of metaphysics, as we have learned from Aristotle's texts.
If we wish to overlook the errors of Marxism in understanding contradiction, and its failure in the attempt to demonstrate the law of dialectics, we will still find that the dialectical contradiction does not give us an acceptable explanation of the world, nor can it offer a sound justification, as we will point out in Chapter 4 of this investigation, 'Matter or God'.
It is interesting to point to an example of contradiction offered by one of the modern writers49 for the purpose of falsifying the principle of non-contradiction. He says that the principle of non-contradiction asserts that every quantity is either finite or infinite. It cannot be both finite and infinite at the same time due to the impossibility of contradiction.
If this is the case, then half a finite quantity is always finite. It cannot be infinite; otherwise, the sum of two infinite quantities would be finite. But this is impossible. Thus, the chain containing the following quantities:
1; 1/2; 1/4; ⅛; 1/16; 1/32
(where each quantity has half the previous quantity), every part of this chain must be finite, regardless of the length of the chain. If the chain is infinite, we will have an infinite succession of quantities every one of which is finite. Thus, the sum of the parts of the chain (p. 274) would then be the sum of an infinite number of finite quantities. That is why it must be infinite. However, a little knowledge of mathematics shows us that it is finite, since it is 2.50
Thus, this writer wishes to conclude that the contradiction between the finite and the infinite permits the two contradictory poles to unite in one quantity. But he misses the point that the infinite quantity in his example is other than the finite quantity. Thus, there is no contradiction. It is not the case that one quantity is both finite and infinite in spite of the principle of non-contradiction, as this modern writer attempts to conclude.
We can consider the quantities that he supposes in this chain, of which each has half the previous quantity, inasmuch as they are units, and count them as we would count the units of nuts, or as we would count the rings of a long iron chain. In this case, we will face an infinite number of units. Thus, the complete number (1) is the first unit; while the fraction (1/2) is the second unit. Further, the fraction (1/4) is the third unit. In this way, the sum is increased one by one to infinity. Therefore, while adding these numbers, we are not faced with something like the units of (2). Rather, we are faced with an enormous, infinite number. If, on the other hand, we wish to add the quantities symbolized by these numbers, we will then get (2) only.
This is because the mathematical sum of those deficient quantities is just that. The infinite, therefore, is the quantity of the same numbers that can be added inasmuch as they are units that we add to each other, as we add a pencil to a pencil or a nut to a nut. But the finite is not the quantity of the numbers that can be added inasmuch as they are units and things that can be added, but the quantities that are symbolized by those numbers.
In other words, there are two quantities. One of them is the quantity of the same numbers inasmuch as they are units; while the other is the quantity of what is mathematically symbolized by them, due to the fact that every number in the chain symbolizes a certain quantity. The first is infinite, and it is impossible that it be finite. The second is finite, and it is impossible that it be infinite. (p. 275)
Movement and contradiction, the two dialectical points that we have criticized in detail, together constitute the law of dialectical movement or the law of contradictory movement whose development is based, constantly and always, on the dialectical principles.
Marxism has adopted this law as an eternal law of the world. Its purpose was to exploit this law in the political sphere for its own interest. Thus, political action was the first goal that required Marxism to cast this law in a philosophical form that helps it construct a new policy for the whole world. This was stated by Marx somewhat carefully: 'Philosophers have done nothing other than interpreted the world in various ways. But the issue is one of its development.'51
The issue, therefore, is the suggested political development that must find a logic to justify it and a philosophy on whose principles it rests. That is why Marxism put forth the law that agrees with its political plans, and then sought for evidence for this law in the scientific fields, convinced in advance and before any evidence that it is necessary to adopt this law, as long as this law sheds some light on the path of action and struggle.
On this occasion, we must listen to Engels discussing the research he carried on in his book, Anti-Duhring:
Needless to say, I had resorted to a quick and brief presentation of the subjects (p. 276) of mathematics and natural science for the purpose of acquiring peace of mind regarding the details of what I had not doubted in general, [namely] that the same dialectical laws of movement that govern the apparent spontaneity of events in history also pave their way in nature.52
In this text, Marxism summarizes for us its method in its philosophical attempts, the manner of its confidence in discovering the laws of the world and accepting them before it realizes the extent of their actuality in the scientific and mathematical fields.
After that, it was careful to apply these laws to those fields and to subjugate nature to the dialectic in a quick presentation, as Engels says, regardless of the cost that this may incur, and despite the protest of mathematicians and natural scientists themselves that this may cause. This is admitted by Engels in a phrase close to the text quoted above.
Since the basic aim of constructing this new logic is to arm Marxism with a mental weapon in its political battle, it was, therefore, natural for Marxism to begin -primarily and before anything else - by applying the dialectical law to the political and social spheres, thus, it explained society, including all its parts, in accordance with the law of contradictory movement or the moving contradiction.
It subjugated society to the dialectic that it claims to be the law of both the mind and the external world. Therefore, it assumed that society develops and moves in accordance with the class contradictions that are internal to society. At every stage of development, society takes on a new social form that agrees with the dominant class in society.
Subsequently, struggle begins again on the basis of (p. 277) the contradiction is involved in that form. As a result of this, Marxism concluded that the analysis of the social content of capitalistic society is struggle between the contradictories that this society involves - that is, between the working class on the one hand and the capitalistic class on the other hand.
This struggle provides society with the developmental movement that will dissolve the capitalist contradictions when the leadership is handed to the working class represented by the party that was established on the basis of dialectic materialism that can adopt the interests of the working class with a composed scientific method.
At the present, we do not wish to discuss the Marxist dialectical explanation of society and its development, an explanation that collapses naturally, so that we can criticize and falsify the dialectic as a general logic, as has been determined in this study. We will reserve a detailed critical study of historical materialism in Our Society or in Our Philosophy.53
Rather, what we intend at the present is to clarify an important point in this social application of the dialectic that relates to the dialectic itself in general. This point is that the social and political application of the dialectic in the manner pursued by Marxism leads to an immediate refutation of the dialectic.
If the developmental movement of society derives its necessary fuel from the class struggle between contradictories contained in the general social structure, and if this contradictory justification of motion is the only explanation of history and society, then, in the last analysis, motion would inevitably come to rest.
Also, the differences between contradictories and between the motion spans of contradictories come to rest and frozenness; for Marxism believes that the stage which is produced on the basis of such contradictories, and to which it seeks to lead the march of the human race, is the stage (p. 278) in which classes are abolished and society becomes one class. If the variety of classes in the suggested socialist society is abolished, the blaze of conflict is extinguished, the contradictory movements completely disappear, and society reaches a fixed stability from which it does not diverge.
The reason for this is that the only fuel for social development, according to Marxism, is the myth of class contradiction that the development invents. Thus, if this contradiction is removed, that would mean the liberation of society from the influence of the dialectic; and thus, disputation would abandon the position of controlling and governing the world.
We know, therefore, that the Marxist explanation of social development on the basis of class contradiction and dialectical principles leads to a complete halt of this development. But the contrary holds true if we place the blaze of development or the fuel of movement in awareness or thought, or in anything other than class contradiction that Marxism considers as a general source of all development and movement.
Is it not appropriate after all this to describe the dialectical explanation of history and society as the only explanation that imposes frozenness and fixedness on mankind, and not the explanation that places the source of development in a resource that never dries up - namely, awareness in its various kinds?
Add to this the frozenness that Marxism itself produced and that afflicted the human mental dialectic of which Marxism is proud, when the dialectic and the infinity of the world were taken as absolute truths, and when the state adopted the dialectic as an official doctrine above any discussion and debate, and as a final reference to which all science and knowledge must be subjugated. Any thought or mental effort that is not in harmony with it and that does not begin with it must be stopped.
Thus, human thought in the various fields of life fell captive to a specific logic. All the intellectual talents and capacities were pressed into the circle that was designed for mankind by the official philosophers of the state. (p. 279)
In future chapters, God willing, be He exalted, we will discuss how we can abolish the myth of class contradiction, how we can lift the curtain to show the fallacies of the Marxist disputation in specifying the contradictions of ownership, and how we can give a sound explanation of society and history.54
Stalin tells us the following:
Contrary to metaphysics, the dialectic does not consider the movement of development as a simple movement of growth in which quantitative changes do not lead to qualitative changes. Rather, it considers it as a development that moves from small and hidden quantitative changes to expressed and basic changes, i.e. to qualitative changes.
These qualitative changes are not gradual; but fast and sudden. They happen by leaps from one stage to another. It is not [only] possible that these changes occur; they are necessary. They are the result of an accumulation of non-sensible and gradual quantitative changes. That is why, according to the dialectical method, it is necessary to understand the movement of development, not inasmuch as it is a circular movement or a simple repetition of the same procedure, but inasmuch as it is a linear progressive movement and a transmission from a previous qualitative stage to a new qualitative stage.55
The dialectic asserts in this point that the dialectical development of matter is of two kinds: (p. 280) one of them is a gradual quantitative change that occurs slowly. The other is a sudden qualitative change that occurs at once as a result of the gradual quantitative changes. This means that when the qualitative changes reach the point of transition, they are then transformed from a certain quantity to a new quality.
This dialectical development is not a circular motion of matter in which matter returns to its same source. Rather, it is a motion of completion that is constantly and continuously ascending.
If one objects to Marxism at this point, saying that nature may have circular motion, as in the fruit which develops into a tree, and consequently goes back to being a fruit as it was, Marxism responds as follows: This motion is also one of completion; and is not circular, as the motions that are drawn by the compass.
However, the completion in it is due to the quantitative and not to the qualitative aspect. Thus, even if the fruit goes back in its linear march to being a fruit once again, still it will achieve a quantitative completion. The reason is that the tree that was produced by one fruit branches out into hundreds of fruits. Thus, there is never a return to the [original] motion.56
To begin with, we must notice the purpose that lies behind this new dialectical point. We had learned that Marxism posited the practical plan for the required political development, and then sought for the logical and philosophical justification of that plan. What then is the plan for which this dialectical law was constructed?
It is very easy to answer this question. Marxism saw that the only thing that can pave the way for its political control or for the political control of the interests it adopts is a conversion. Thus, it went on to search for a philosophical justification of such a conversion. It did not find this justification either in the law of motion (p. 281) or in the law of contradiction. This is because these two laws require society to develop in accordance with the contradictions that unite in it.
The principle of contradictory motion is not sufficient for clarifying the method and immediacy of development. That is why it became necessary to posit another law on which the notion of conversion rests. This was the law of the leaps of development that asserts the immediate transformation of quantity into quality.
On the basis of this law, conversion became not only possible, but necessary and unavoidable in accordance with the general laws of the universe. Thus, the gradual quantitative changes in society are converted in great historical turns to a qualitative change. Hence, the old qualitative form of the general social structure is destroyed and changed into a new form.
Therefore, it becomes necessary, and not only good, that the contradictions of the general social edifice result from a sweeping principle of conversion, according to which the class that was previously in control, and that became secondary in the contradiction process, be removed and sentenced to destruction, so that the new contradictory that has been nominated by the internal contradictions to be the main side in the contradiction process will have the opportunity to be in control.
Both Manx and Engels say:
Communists do not come close to hiding their views, intentions, and plans. They declare with frankness that their purposes cannot be attained and realized except through the destruction of the whole traditional social system by violence and force.57
Also, Lenin says: (p. 282)
The proletariat revolution is not possible without destroying by violence the bourgeoisie system of the state.58
After Marxism posited the law of the leaps of development, it had to give a number of examples, 'presenting them in a quick manner', as Engels says, so that it can demonstrate by means of them the alleged law in its general and particular cases. This is exactly what Marxism did; it gave us a number of examples on which it based its general law.
One of the examples that Marxism gave of this law is that of water when placed on the fire. The temperature rises gradually. Due to this gradual rise, slow quantitative changes occur. At first, these changes do not have any effect on the state of the water inasmuch as it is a fluid. However if its temperature rises to 100 degrees [centigrade], then at that moment, it will shift from the state of fluidity to that of vapor.59 Quantity is changed to quality. Similarly, if the temperature of water falls to zero [centigrade], the water will immediately change to ice.6061
Engels presents other examples of the dialectical leaps from the organic acids in chemistry, of which every one has a specific degree [of temperature] at which it melts or boils. By virtue of reaching that degree, the fluid leaps to a new qualitative state.
Thus, formic acid, for example, boils at 100 degrees [centigrade]. But it melts at (p. 283) 15 degrees [centigrade]. Acetic acid boils at 118 degrees [centigrade]. Its melting point, on the other hand is 17 degrees [centigrade], and so on.62 Thus, in boiling and melting, the hydrocarbonic compounds operate in accordance with the law of immediate leaps and transformations.
We do not doubt that the qualitative development of a number of natural phenomena happens by instantaneous leaps, as does the development of water in the previously mentioned scholastic example or the development of the organic or carbonic acids in the two states of boiling and melting, as well as (the development of] all other compounds whose nature and qualities are dependent on the proportions from which each is composed.63
But this does not mean that it is always necessary in all fields that the development take a leap in specific stages, so that it be a qualitative development. Giving a number of examples is not sufficient for demonstrating scientifically or philosophically the necessity of these leaps in the history of development, especially when Marxism selects such examples and neglects those examples that it used for clarifying another dialectical law, only because they are not in agreement with this new law.
Marxism had represented the contradictions of development in the living germ inside the egg that tends to become a chick,64 and in the seed that involves its contradictory, thus developing and becoming a tree due to its internal conflict.
Is it not our right to ask Marxism to reconsider these examples, so that we would know how it can explain for us the leaps of development in these examples? Is the seed's becoming a tree or the germ's becoming a chick (the development of the thesis into an antithesis) or the chick's becoming a chicken (the development of the antithesis into a synthesis) produced by one of the dialectical leaps, thus changing the germ at once into a chick, the chick into a (p. 284) chicken, and the seed into a tree, and that such transformations occur by a gradual linear motion?
Even in the chemical elements that are liable to melt, we find both kinds of changes together. As change occurs in these elements by a leap, it may also occur in a gradual manner. We know, for example, that the crystal elements change from the state of solidity to the state of fluidity suddenly, such as the ice that melts at a temperature of 80 degrees [centigrade]. At that point, the ice changes immediately into a fluid.
The non-crystal elements, such as glass and honey wax are the converse of this; they do not melt and do not change qualitatively at once. Rather, their melting occurs gradually. Thus, the temperature of the wax, for example, rises during the process of melting, so that if it reaches a certain degree, the solidity of wax is weakened. The wax begins to become, gradually and independently of other things, more flexible and malleable. In the state of flexibility, it [changes] gradually; it is neither solid nor fluid. This continues until it becomes a fluid element.
Let us take another example from social phenomena - namely, language as a phenomenon that develops and changes and that is not subject to the law of the dialectic. The history of language does not tell us anything about the immediate qualitative changes of language in its historical march.
Instead, it expresses gradual transformations of language with respect to quantity and quality. If language were subject to the law of leaps, and if the gradual quantitative changes were transformed into a decisive and immediate change, we would have been able to grasp decisive points in the life of language, in which language changes from one form to another due to the slow quantitative changes. But this is something not true of any language that people have adopted and employed in their social life.
Therefore, in light of all the natural phenomena, we are able to know that a leap and immediacy are not necessary for qualitative development. Further, as development may be immediate, it may also be gradual. (p. 285)
Let us now take the previously mentioned scholastic example - of water in its freezing and boiling [states]. We notice the following. First, the developmental movement in the example is not dialectical, for experimentation does not demonstrate that this development is a result of the internal contradictions of water, as the contradictions of the dialectical development require. We all know that were it not for the external temperature, water would remain water and would not change to vapor. Thus, the conversional development of water is not achieved in a dialectical fashion. If we wish to consider the law that governs the social conversions as the same law according to which the immediate conversion of water or of all chemical compounds occurs (as Marxism assumes), this would lead to a result different from that intended by Marxism.
The reason is this. The developmental leaps in the social system become conversions caused by external factors, and not. by the mere contradictions contained in the same system. The attribute of inevitability would no longer pertain to those leaps. Those leaps would not be necessary if the external factors are unavailable.
It is clear that as we can preserve the state of the fluidity of water, and distance the water from the factors that make it leap to the state of vapor, we can also preserve the social system and distance it from the external factors that necessitate its destruction. Therefore, it becomes clear that the same application of the law of tire dialectic to the immediate development of water in its boiling and freezing, and to society in its conversions, registers conclusions contrary to those expected by the dialectic.
Second, the developmental movement of water is not linear. Rather, it is a circular movement in which water changes into vapor and vapor returns to its original state, without producing a quantitative or a qualitative completion. If this movement is considered (p. 296) dialectical, this would mean that it is not necessary for the movement to be linear and always progressive. Also, is would rust be irritable that the dialectical development in the natural or social realm be ore of completion and progression.
Third, the same leap of water to vapor achieved by the temperature's reaching a certain degree must not cover all the water at once. Every human being knows that various quantities of the waters of the seas and oceans evaporate gradually. It is not the case that all of such waters make a one-time leap to the state of vapor.
This shows that the qualitative development in the areas in which this development is immediate does not necessarily cover the developing being as a whole. Rather, this development may begin in the parts of that being leaping with them to the state of vapor. The leaps follow consecutively, and the drives are repeated until the whole is transformed. The qualitative transformation may not be able to cover the whole, thus remaining limited to ate parts in which the external conditions of the conversion are met.
If this is all that is meant by the dialectical law with respect to nature, why then should the leap in the social sphere be imposed on the system as a whole? Also, why should it be necessary, according to the natural law of society, to destroy the social structure at every stage through a comprehensive and an immediate conversion?
Further, why should it be that the alleged dialectical leap in the social sphere cannot adopt the same method is adopts in the natural sphere - thus not affecting anything other than the aspens in which the conditions of the conversion are met, and then moving gradually, until the general transformation is at last achieved?
Finally, the charge of quantity into quality cannot be faithfully applied to the example of the water chat is transformed into vapor or ice, in accordance with the rise or fat in the degree of the temperature of water, as Marxism thought. This is because Marxism considered temperature as a quantity and vapor and ice as qualities. Thus, it affirmed that quantity in this example changes into quality.
This Marxist notion of temperature, vapor and ice has no (p. 287) foundation, for the quantitative expression of temperature used by science in its assertion that the temperature of water is 100 degrees or 5 degrees, (for example,) is not the essence of temperature. Rather, it is an expression of the scientific method for reducing the natural phenomena to quantities, in order to facilitate their regulation and determination.
Thus, on the basis of the scientific method of expressing things, it is possible to consider temperature as a quantity. But the scientific method does not only consider temperance as a quantitative phenomenon.
Rather, the transformation of water into vapor, for example, is also expressed quantitatively. It is exactly like temperature in being a quantitative phenomenon in the scientific language. This is because science determines the transformation from the state of fluidity to that of vapor by a pressure that can be measured quantitatively, or by relations and properties of atoms that can also be measured quantitatively, as is the case with temperature.
Therefore, from the point of view of science, the above example does not have anything but quantities that change to one another. From the empirical point of view, on the other hand - that is, the idea of temperature that sense perception provides when we immerse our hand in water, or the idea of vapor that sense perception provides when we see water change into vapor -temperature is a qualitative state as is vapor, this state disturbs us when the temperature is high. Hence, quality changes into quality.
Therefore, we find that water in its temperature and evaporation cannot be given as an example of the transformation of quantity into quality, except if we contradict ourselves, thus considering temperature from the scientific point of view, and the state of vapor from the empirical point of view.
Finally, it is appropriate for us to close this discussion of the leaps of development with the example of this kind of development given by Marx in his book Capitalism. Marx mentions that not every quantity of money can be transformed haphazardly into capital. Indeed, in order for such transformation to occur, it is necessary that the individual owner of the money had acquired prior to that point a minimum amount of money that gives him the opportunity for a life twice [as comfortable as] that of the ordinary worker.
This depends on his ability to employ eight workers. (p. 288) Marx cried to clarify this point in light of his main economic notions of the surplus value, the transformable capital and the fixed capital. Thus, he took as an example the worker who works eight hours for himself - that is, for producing the value of his salary - and, subsequent to that, works four hours for the capitalist to produce the surplus value that the owner of the money gains.
The capitalist is necessitated under such a circumstance to have at his disposal a certain amount of money sufficient to enable him to supply two workers with the raw material, tools for work and salaries, so that he can make a daily surplus value sufficient to enable him to have the same kind of food that one of his workers has.
However, since the purpose of the capitalist is not only to have food but also to increase his wealth, this producer with two workers remains a non-capitalist. In order for him to have a life twice [as comfortable as] that of the ordinary worker, he must be able to employ eight workers in addition to transforming half the resulting surplus value into capital.
Finally, Marx comments on this, saying that in this, as in the natural science, the soundness of the law discovered by Hegel - namely, the law of the transformation of quantitative changes into qualitative changes - is confirmed when the quantitative changes reach a certain limit.65
This Marxist example shows clearly the extent of tolerance exhibited by Marxism in presenting examples of its alleged laws. Even though tolerance in every area is a good and a virtue, it is an unforgivable shortcoming in the scientific field, especially when the purpose is to discover the secrets of the universe, in order to construct a new world in light of such secrets and laws. (p. 289)
Indeed, we do not wish at the present to discuss the actual economic issues on which the above example rests, such as the issue that is related to the surplus value and the Marxist notion of the capitalist profit. Rather, we are concerned with the philosophical application of the law of leaps to capital. Let us, therefore, close our eyes to other aspects, directing our attention to a study of this aspect [only].
Marx holds that money passes through simple and gradual quantitative changes. If the capitalist profit reaches a certain limit, an essential conversion or a qualitative transformation occurs immediately. The money becomes capital. This limit is twice as much as the salary of the ordinary worker, after half [the surplus value] is transformed once again into capital.
Unless the money reaches this limit, it will not have the basic qualitative change, nor will it be capital. 'Capital', therefore, is an expression given by Marx to a specific amount of money. Every human being is completely free to have his own application and usage [of language].
Thus, let us take this Marxist usage as correct. Still, it is incorrect and does not make sense philosophically to consider the money's attainment of this specific limit as a qualitative change of the money and a leap from one quality to another. The money's attainment of this limit does not mean anything other than a quantitative increase. No qualitative transformation of the money is produced other than what is always produced by the gradual quantitative increases.
If we wish, we can go back to the previous states of the development of the elements of money in its consecutive quantitative changes. If the individual owner has had the money that would make it possible for him to supply seven workers with their equipment and salaries, then what would his profit be according to Marx?
According to the Marxist calculations, his profit would be a surplus value equal to the salaries of three-and-a-half workers; that is, what is equal to twenty-eight hours of work. Because of this, he is not a capitalist, for if half the surplus value is transformed into capital, not enough of it remains that can secure for him twice the salary of one of the workers.
If we suppose an increase in the simple value of the money that the owner has, such that it becomes within his ability to purchase, in addition (p. 290) to what he had already owned, the efforts of half a day of a worker who works for him six hours, and for somebody else another six hours, he would then gain from this worker half what he gains from the work of every one of the other seven workers. This means that his profit will be equal to thirty hours of work and will enable him to have a salary better than what he had before.
Again, we repeat the assumption. We can imagine the owner, who can as a result of the new additional amount of his money, purchase from the eighth worker three-quarters [of an hour], thus leaving the worker with no relation to another employer, except in the amount of three hours. Do we face at this point any increase in the amount of profit and in the owner's living standard other than what we had faced at the point of the occurrence of the above quantitative change?
Suppose that the owner is able to enlarge his money by adding a new amount that allows him to purchase from the eighth worker all his daily input. What would happen then to the increase in the surplus value and living standard other than what used to happen as a result of the previous quantitative increases? Indeed, one thing occurs to the money that had not occurred on the previous occasions.
This is something related only to the aspect of utterance - namely, that Marx had not given this money the name of capital. But now it is appropriate to call it by this name. Is this the change in kind and the transformation in quality that occurs to the money? Further, is the whole distinction between this stage of the money and the previous stages a point of pure utterance, such that if we had applied the expression 'capital' to a previous stage, then a qualitative change would have occurred at that time?
Stalin asserts the following:
Contrary to metaphysics, the dialectic does not consider nature as an accidental accumulation (p. 291) of things or events, of which some are separate, isolated, or independent from some others. Rather it considers nature as one firm whole in which things and events are linked together organically and dependent on one another. Some of these things and events serve as mutual conditions for some others.66
Nature, with its various parts, cannot be studied in accordance with the dialectical method when these parts are separated from one another and stripped of their circumstances and conditions, as well as of any past or present thing that pertains to their reality, contrary to metaphysics that does not view nature as a net of linkage and conjunction, but from a purely abstract perspective. Thus, according to the dialectical notion, no event makes sense if isolated from the other events that surround it, and if studied in a purely metaphysical fashion.
Indeed, if unjustified accusations against a certain philosophy were sufficient to eliminate that philosophy, then the accusations that Marxism makes against metaphysics in this new point would suffice to destroy metaphysics and refute its isolationist view of nature that contradicts the spirit of firm linkage among the parts of the universe.
But let Marxism tell us who is in doubt about this linkage, and which metaphysics does not accept it, if it is stripped of the points of weakness that represent it as having a dialectical character, and if it rests on a firm philosophical basis of the principle of causality and its laws, for the study of which we have reserved the third chapter of this investigation.
According to the general view of the universe, events cannot be except one of three kinds:
First, they are either an assembly of accumulated coincidences, in the sense that every event occurs by pure chance, without there being (p. 292) any necessity that requires its existence. This is the first perspective. Second, the parts of nature are essentially necessary. Every one of them exists by virtue of its own essential necessity without need for, or influence, by anything external. This is the second perspective. Neither of the above perspectives is in harmony with the principle of causality, according to which every event is linked in its existence to its specific causes and conditions. The reason is that this principle rejects the coincidence and chance of events, as it rejects their essential necessity.
Consequently, according to this principle, there is another perspective of the world. It is this. Third, the world is considered as completely linked together in accordance with the principle and laws of causality. Every part of the world occupies the specific place in the universe required by the conditions of its existence and the assembly of its causes.
This is the third perspective that establishes metaphysics on the basis of its own understanding of the world. That is why it is asked: 'Why does the world exist?' This is one of four questions67 the proper answer to which is required, according to the metaphysical logic, for the scientific knowledge of anything. (p. 293)
This clearly means that metaphysics does not at all admit the possibility of isolating the event from its environment and conditions, or not extending the question to the event's relations to other events.
The assertion of general linkage is not, therefore, dependent on the dialectic. Rather, it is one of those things to which the philosophical principles established by metaphysics in the investigation of causality and its laws necessarily lead.
The designs of this linkage among the parts of nature and the disclosure of its details and secrets are matters that metaphysics leaves for the various kinds of science. The general philosophical logic of the world lays out the main point only. It establishes its linkage theory on the basis of causality and its philosophical laws. It remains for science to explicate the details of the fields that are accessible to the scientific methods, and to clarify the kinds of actual linkage and the secrets of these kinds, thus giving every point its due.
If we wish to be just to both the dialectic and metaphysics, we must point out that the novelty that the Marxist dialectic introduced is not the general law of linkage itself, of which metaphysics had already spoken in its own way and which is at the same time clear to all and is not subject to discussion; rather, Marxism was the first to advocate the political aims or the political applications of that law which gave Marxism the possibility of carrying out its plans and designs. Thus, the point of innovation is related to the application and not to the law, with respect to its logical and philosophical aspect.
On this occasion, let us read what was written by the Marxist author Emile Burns68 concerning the linkage according to the Marxist view.
He says: (p. 294)
Nature or the world, including human society, was not formed out of distinct things that are completely independent of one another. Every scientist knows this and finds it extremely difficult to determine the causes even of the main factors that affect the specific things chat he studies. Water is water; but if its temperature is raised to a certain degree, then water is transformed into vapor. If, on the other hand, its temperature is lowered [to a certain degree], then it becomes ice. There are also other factors that affect water.
Further, every common person realizes, if he or she experiences things, that there is nothing which is completely independent by itself, and that everything is influenced by other things.
This linkage among things may appear intuitive, such that every cause that turns one's attention to it is evident. However, the truth is this. People do not always apprehend the linkage among things, nor do they apprehend that what is real under specific circumstances may not be so under other circumstances.
They always apply notions that they have formed under specific circumstances to other circumstances that are completely different from the former circumstances. The best example that one can give in this regard is the point of view concerning the freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in general serves the purpose of democracy and helps people express their will. That is why it is useful for the development of society.
However, the freedom of speech of fascism (the foremost principle that attempts to suppress democracy) is something very different, since is stops the progress of society. Regardless of the repetition in calling for the freedom of speech, what is true of it under normal circumstances with respect to the parties that seek democracy, (p. 295) is not true with respect to the fascist parties.69
This Marxist text admits that the general linkage is understood by every scientist, indeed by every common person who has experienced things, as Emile Burns asserts, and is not something new in the general human understanding.
Rather, the novelty is what Marxism sought from this (linkage], by virtue of the extent of the solid linkage between the issue of the freedom of speech and other issues that it considered. The same is true of a number of other similar applications that we can find in a group of other Marxist texts. Where then is the powerful logical disclosure of the dialectic?
In pursuing this discussion about the theory of general linkage in metaphysics, it is necessary to point out two important points. The first is that, according to the metaphysical view, the linkage of every part of nature or the universe to the causes, conditions and circumstances relevant to it does not mean that one cannot notice it in an independent manner, or posit a specific definition of it.
That is why definition is one of the subjects with which metaphysical logic is concerned. Most likely, this is what led Marxism to accuse metaphysics of not accepting the general linkage and of not studying the universe on the basis of such linkage.
The reason is chat Marxism found that a metaphysician takes up one thing, and tries to identify it and define it independently of other things. Owing to this, Marxism thought chat the metaphysician does not accept the linkage among things and does not study things except when some of them are isolated (p. 296) from others.
Thus, when the metaphysician defines 'humanity' as 'life and thought', and 'animality' as 'life and will', he has isolated 'humanity' and 'animality' from their circumstances and attachments and viewed them as independent.
However, in face the definitions that the metaphysical logic is accustomed to give to any specific thing are not at all incompatible with the principle that asserts the general linkage among things, nor are they intended to indicate the disentanglement among things or the sufficiency of studying these things by giving them those specific definitions.
When we define 'humanity' as 'life and thought', we do not seek by this a denial of the linkage of humanity to the external factors and causes. Rather, by this definition, we intend to give an idea of the thing that is linked to those factors and causes, in order for us to investigate the factors and causes that are linked to that thing.
Even Marxism itself considers definition as a method for achieving the same purpose. Thus it defines the dialectic, matter and so on. Lenin for example, defines the dialectic as 'the science of the general laws of motion'.70 He also defines matter as 'the objective reality which is given to us by the senses'.71
Can one understand from these definitions that Lenin isolated the dialectic from the other parts of human scientific knowledge, and did not accept the linkage of the dialectic to such parts? Similarly, can one understand that he viewed matter as independent, and studied it without attention to its links (p. 297) and interactions? The answer is no.
A definition does not mean, either as a whole or in part, bypassing or disregarding linkage among things. Rather, it determines for us the notion whose various links and relations we attempt to discover, so that it facilitates the discussion and study of those links and relations.
The second point is that linkage among the parts of nature cannot be circular. By this we mean that the two events, such as warmth and heat that are linked cannot each be a condition for the existence of the other. Thus, since heat is a condition for the existence of boiling, boiling cannot also be a condition for the existence of heat.72
In the records of the general linkage, every part of nature has its own rank that determines for it the conditions that affect its existence and the phenomena whose existence it affects. But if each of the two parts or events is a cause for the existence of the other and at the same time indebted to the other for its own existence, this will make the causal linkage circular, returning to the point of its departure. But this is impossible.
Finally, let us study for a moment Engels' statements about general linkage and the abundance of scientific proofs for it. He says:
In particular, there are three discoveries that helped advance (p. 298) the steps of giant thinkers with regard to our knowledge of the linkage of the natural progressive processes.
The first is the discovery of the cell as the unit from which the whole organic plant and animal element grows by way of multiplicity and distinctiveness. We had not known that the development of all the primary organic elements and what resembles them follow one another in accordance with one general law only.
But also the capacity of the cell to change points to the way according to which the organic elements can change their kinds. By means of this, they achieve a larger development than that which every one of them can achieve separately.
The second is the discovery of the transformation of energy which shows that all 'the forces having primary influence on nature are other than the organic elements. This indicates that all such forces are different manifestations of a general motion. Every one of these manifestations passes to the other by specific quantitative proportions.
The third is the comprehensive proof of which Darwin73 was the first to speak and which states that all the products of nature, including people, that surround us at the present time are nothing but products of a long process of development.74
In fact, the first discovery is one of the scientific discoveries in which metaphysics scored a victory, because this discovery proved that the source of life is the living cell (the protoplasm). Thus, it removed the delusion according to which it is possible to have life in any organic element in which specific material factors are available.
It also drew a distinction between living beings and non-living beings, by virtue of the fact that the specific germ of life is alone responsible for carrying its own great secret.75 Therefore, the discovery of the living cell, which pointed to a unified origin of living beings, also showed us at the same time the degree (p. 299) of difference between living and non-living beings.
The second discovery is also considered a great victory for metaphysics since it proved scientifically that all the forms that energy takes, including the material quality, are accidental qualities and characteristics. Thus, they are in need of an external cause, as we will point out in the fourth chapter of this investigation. Add to this that the present discovery is incompatible with the laws of the dialectic.
It assumes that energy has a fixed and a limited quantity not subject to the dialectical motion that the Marxist disputation claims to be true of all the aspects and phenomena of nature. If science proves that a certain aspect of nature is an exception to the laws of the dialectic, then the necessity and absolute character of the dialectic is discarded.
Darwin's theory of the development of species and the evolution of some of them from some others is also not consistent with the dialectical laws. It cannot be taken as a scientific support of the dialectical method of explaining events. Darwin and others who contributed to the construction and emendation of this theory explained the development of a species into another on the basis that some individuals of the former species acquire attributes and characteristics, either by mechanical coincidence or by defined external causes, such as the community and environment.
Every attribute that an individual acquires remains fixed in him and is transferred by heredity to his offspring. With this, a strong generation76 is produced due to such acquired attributes. The law of the struggle for survival fulfills its function in the midst of a struggle for food and survival between the strong members of this generation and the weak individuals77 of the species who have not acquired such attributes.
The weak individuals are destroyed, while the strong survive. The characteristics are gathered by having every generation transmit to the succeeding generation by way of heredity the characteristics it had acquired due to the circumstances and community in which it had lived. This goes on, until a new species is formed that enjoys all the characteristics that its ancestors had acquired with the passage of time. (p. 300)
We can clearly see the extent of contradiction between this Darwinian theory and the general dialectical method. The mechanical character of this theory is made clear in Darwin's explanation of the animal's development due to external causes. The individual characteristics and differences which the strong generation of the individuals of a species acquires are not the result of a developmental process nor the fruit of an internal contradiction.
Rather, they are the product of a mechanical occurrence or of external factors, such as the community and environment. It is the objective circumstances which the strong individuals live that provide them with the elements of their strength and the characteristics that distinguish them from others, and not the internal struggle in their innermost being, as the dialectic assumes.
Further, the characteristic that the individual acquires mechanically- chat is, by means of external causes that are of the [environmental] circumstances he lives -does not develop by a dynamic motion and does not grow by an internal contradiction, so that it transforms the animal into a new kind. Rather, it remains fixed, and is transferred by heredity and without development. It continues by a fixed and simple form of change.
After this, another characteristic is added to the previous one that, in turn, is produced mechanically by means of objective circumstances. Thus, another simple change takes place. This is how the characteristics are produced mechanically. They continue their existence in their offspring by way of heredity. They are stable and fixed. When they are gathered, they finally constitute a loftier form of the new kind.
There is also a big difference between the law of the struggle for survival in Darwin's theory and the idea of the struggle of opposites in the dialectic. The idea of the struggle of opposites, according to the dialecticians, expresses a struggle between two opposites that, in the last analysis, leads to their union in a loftier composition consistent with the triad of the thesis, antithesis and synthesis. (p. 301)
In the class struggle, for example, the battle is waged between two opposites in the internal structure of society, these two opposites being the capitalistic class and the working class. The struggle ends with the absorption of the capitalistic class by the working class. The two classes are united in a classless society, all of whose individuals are owners and workers.
On the other hand, the struggle for survival or the strife between the strong and the weak in Darwin's theory is not dialectical, since it does not lead to the union of opposites in a loftier composition. Instead, it leads to the destruction of one of the two opposites and the retention of the other.
It completely eliminates the weak individuals of the species and retains the strong. Further, it does not result in a new composition in which both the weak and the strong (the two opposites in struggle) are united, as the dialectic assumes in the triad of the thesis, antithesis and synthesis.
If we discard the idea of the struggle for survival or the law of natural selection as an explanation of the development of the species, replacing it by the idea of the struggle between the animal and his community, a struggle which helps form the organic system in accordance with the conditions of the community, and if we say that the latter kind of struggle (instead of the struggle between the weak and the strong) is the source of development, as Roger Garaudy asserts78 - I say that if we develop this theory and explain the progress of the species in light of the struggle between the animal79 and his environment, we will not reach a dialectical conclusion either.
This is because the struggle between the community and the organic system does not result in the meeting and union of the two in a loftier composition. Rather, the thesis and the antithesis remain separate. In this case, even if the two opposites in struggle - that is, the animal80 and the environment -remain in existence at the end of the struggle, with neither of them being destroyed in the conflict, still they do not unite in a new composition, as the capitalistic and the working classes unite in a new social composition. (p. 302)
Finally, where is the Darwinian immediacy and biological perfection? The dialectic asserts that the qualitative transformations occur immediately in contrast to the quantitative changes that occur slowly. Further, it asserts that motion is continously heading in the direction of perfection and ascent.
Darwin's theory or the biological idea of development demonstrates the possibility of the exact opposite. Biologists have shown that in the living nature, there are cases of gradual motion, as there are cases of motion by sudden leaps.81
Moreover, the interaction that Darwin points out between a living being and nature need not secure the perfection of the developing being. Rather, due to it, the living being may lose some of the perfection that it had acquired, in accordance with the laws specified by Darwin in his theory of interaction between life and nature. This is exemplified in the animals who had a long time ago to live in caves and to abandon the life of light.
Thus, according to Darwin, they lost their sight due to their interaction with their specific environment and their disuse of the organ of sight in the fields of life. For this reason, the development of their organic composition led to regression. This is contrary to the Marxist view that asserts that the developmental processes that are interconnected in nature and that arise from internal contradictions always seek perfection, since they are linear progressive processes.
- 1. AI-Maddiyya wal-Mithaliyya fi al-Falsafa, p. 83.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. Add to this that the alleged contradiction in the triad of existence rests on another confusion between the idea of a thing and the objective reality of that thing. The notion of existence is nothing but the idea of existence in our minds.
It is other than the objective reality of existence. If we distinguish between the idea of existence and the reality of existence, the contradiction will disappear. The reality of existence is determined and limited. One cannot at all strip it from the attribute of existence. Our idea of existence, on the other hand, is not a real existence. Rather, it is a mental notion taken from the real existence.
- 4. AI-Maddiyya ad-Dialaktikiyya wal-Maddiyya at-Tarikhiyya, p. 7.
- 5. Hadhih Hiya ad-Dialaktikiyya, pp. 97-98.
- 6. Zeno of Elea, Greek philosopher (490-430 B.C.). A student and a defender of Parmenides. He is known for his paradoxes of space, time, motion and change. Some fragments of his work in which he presented his paradoxes are still extant.
- 7. Potentiality is the possibility of a thing, while actuality is the real existence of a thing.
- 8. In other words, motion is for the sake of acquiring these stages of development or completion. Therefore, when such stages are attained, motion, ceases.
- 9. Sadr ad-Din ash-Shirazi, better known as Mulla Sadra (A.D. 1572-1641). He was born in Shiraz where he held a teaching position at a religious school. He is said to have made the pilgrimage to Mecca on foot seven times. He believed that ancient philosophy combined with revealed truth gives the highest form of truth.
He wrote commentaries on as-Suhra Wardi's wikmat al-Ishraq and on parts of Ibn Sina's ash-Shifa'. He also wrote a number of original works, the best of which is Kitab al-Hikma al-Muta'aliya, the other title of thin work is Kitab al-Asfar al-Arba'a (The Four Journeys, i.e. of the soul).
- 10. The main evidence for the substantial movement may be summed up in the following two points. First, the direct cause of the accidental and outermost motion of bodies - whether mechanical or natural - is a specific power in the body.
This idea is true, even of the mechanical motion that at first appears as if proceeding from a separate power. For instance, if you force a body in a horizontal or a vertical line, the primitive notion of this motion is that it is an effect of the external force and the separate agent. But this is not true. The external agent is just one of the conditions for the motion. As for (p. 234) the real mover, it is the power that exists in the body. Because of this, the motion continues after the separation of the moving body from the external force and the separate agent; and the moveable mechanical system continues moving for a while, after the moving instrumental agent seizes. On this basis, modern mechanics posited the law of essential limitation (ganun al-qusur adhdhatiyy).
This law states that if a body is moved, is continues moving, unless something external stops it from continuing its moving activity. However, this law was misused, since it was considered as a proof that when motion begins, after that, it does not need a specific reason or a particular cause. It was taken as a means for rejecting the principle of causality and its laws. But the truth is that scientific experiments in modern mechanics show only that the separate external agent is not the real cause of motion; otherwise, the motion of a body would not continue after that body is separated from the independent external agent. Due to this, the direct cause of [continued] motion must be a power existing in the body [known as momentum], and the external agents must be conditions for, and influences on that power.
Second, the effect must be appropriate to the cause in stability and renewability. If the cause is stable, the effect must also be stable; and if the effect is renewable and progressive, the cause must also be renewable and progressive. In light of this, it is necessary that the cause of motion be moveable and renewable, in accordance with the renewal and progression of the motion itself. For, if the cause of motion is stable and fixed, anything it produces will be stable and fixed. Thus, motion becomes rest and fixedness. But this contradicts the meaning of motion and development.
On the basis of the above two points, we conclude the following, First, the power that exists in a body and that moves it is a moveable and progressive power. Owing to its progression, this power is a cause of all the accidental and outermost motions. Further, it is a substantial power, since it inevitably leads to a substantial power; for an accident exists by virtue of a substance. This demonstrates the existence of substantial motion in nature.
Second, a body is always composed of a matter made evident by motion, and a progressive substantial power by virtue of which the outermost motion occurs in the phenomena and accidents of the body.
At the present, we cannot touch upon the substantial motion and its proofs at greater length.
- 11. The problem of the relation of the new to the old is this. Since the cause is old and eternal, it must be a cause of what is appropriate to it and agrees with it in oldness and eternity. On the basis of this, a number of metaphysicians imagined that belief in the Eternal Creator philosophically necessitates belief in the oldness and eternity of the world, so that the effect will not be separated from its cause.
Ash-Shirazi solved this problem in light of the substantial motion, according to which the following holds. The realm of matter is in a continuous state of renewal and development. Thus, on this ground, the world's coming into being was a necessary effect of its own renewable nature, and not the effect of the coming into being and the renewal of the First Creator.
- 12. Ash-Shirazi offered a new explanation of time, in which time is attributed to the substantial motion of nature. Thus, time becomes in this philosophical view of ash-Shirazi a constitutive element of the body, and no longer separate and independent from it.
- 13. We will discuss the separability of matter and the relation of the soul to the body in the last chapter of this investigation.
- 14. Did Duharnak al-Falsafa, p. 202.
- 15. Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi, Muslim theologian and philosopher of religion (1149-1209). He was an Ash'arite and had many debates against the mu'tazilites. However, at the end of his life he saw no value in the dialectic method. Early in his career, he wrote Lubab al-Isharat (a commentary on Ibn Sina's al-Isharat wat-Tanbihat. This commentary was the subject of criticism by Nasir ad-Din at-Tusi). Other early works are: al-Mabahith al-Mashriqiyya and a somewhat autobiographical work, Munazarat al-'allama, Fakhr ad-Din (a description of his encounters with certain scholars). His most important theological work is a commentary on the Qur'an, Mafatih al-Ghayb. Another important work is Manaqib al-Imam ash-Shafi'i.
- 16. Marx, Engels wal-Marxiyya, p. 24.
- 17. Ma Hiya al-Madda, p. 56.
- 18. AI-Mantiq ash-Shakliyy wal-Mantiq ad-Dialaktikiyy, p. 9.
- 19. Ibid., p. 12.
- 20. See p. 172 [of the original text].
- 21. See p. 172 [of the original text].
- 22. Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist (1822-95). Pasteur showed that fermentation and certain diseases are caused by microorganisms. He was a pioneer in the use of vaccines. He was the first, for example, to use a vaccine for rabies. He is said to have saved the wine, beer and silk industries of a number of European countries. To him we owe our knowledge of pasteurization. His principal publication is Studies on Beer (1876). In 1879, this was translated into English under the title Studies on Fermentation.
- 23. Al-Mantiq ash-Shakliyy wal-Mantiq ad-Dialaktikiyy pp. 12-13.
- 24. Text: ath-thiql (weight).
- 25. Text: ath-thiql (weight).
- 26. Fa-asbahat al-quwwa al-mikanikiyya khassat handasa lil-'alum.
- 27. Compare what we have mentioned with the Marxist explanation of transformation in the mechanical sciences. This explanation was offered by Dr Taqi Arni in his book, Materialism Diyalaktic, p. 28. He bases this explanation on the presence of truth in both Newton's mechanics and relativity mechanics, and on the development of the truth in both of these mechanics, in accordance with the dialectic.
- 28. Al-Maddiyya ad-Dialaktikiyya wal-Maddiyya at-Tarikhiyya, p. 12.
- 29. Hawl at-Tanaqud, p. 4.
- 30. Al-Mantiq ash-Shakliyy wal-Mantiq ad-Dialaktikiyy, p. 9.
- 31. One notices that all Marxist texts misuse the terms 'contradiction' and 'opposition'. Thus, Marxism considers both of these terms in the same sense, even though they are not synonymous in philosophical traditions. Contradiction is the state of negation and affirmation; while opposition means two contrary affirmations.
The straightness and the non-straightness of a line are contradictions, since they are an affirmation and a negation [respectively]. However, the straightness of a line (p. 258) and the curvature of a line are two opposites. Contradiction in the philosophical sense is not applicable to the last pair, for neither of them is a negation of the other. Rather, it is an affirmation parallel to the affirmation of the other.
Similarly, Marxism misunderstood opposition, or misused the term 'opposition'. It considered a thing which is different from another as its opposite. Thus [according to it], a chick is the opposite of an egg, and a chicken is the opposite of a chick, even though opposition in the philosophical sense is not just a difference among things. Rather, opposition is an attribute which cannot unite with another attribute in one thing. In this work, we [use these terms] in accordance with the Marxist sense for the purpose of facilitation and clarification.
- 32. Text: wa-khuluwwihima (the emptiness of these two principles).
- 33. Al-Kawn wal-Fasad, pp. 168-9.
- 34. Ibid., p. 154.
- 35. Georges Lefebvre, French historian (1874-1959). His contribution is mainly in the socio-economic field. He studied the agrarian history of the French Revolution. His main writings are: The Agrarian Question during the Reign of Terror (translated into Russian in 1936), The French Revolution and A Study of the French Revolution.
- 36. Karl Marx, p. 58
- 37. Hawl at-Tanaqud, p. 13.
- 38. Karl Marx, p. 60
- 39. Did Duharnak, p. 203.
- 40. Ibid., pp. 203-4.
- 41. Hawl at-Tanaqud, p. 14
- 42. Ibid., pp. 14-15.
- 43. Ibid.
- 44. Ayyam.
- 45. Al-Mantiq ash-Shakliyy wal-Mantiq ad-Dialaktikiyy, pp. 20-1.
- 46. Ibid.
- 47. Text: Ubulidas. We have not been able to identify any author by this name. We suspect though that the reference here is to Chrysippus who is said by Diogenes to have given the argument of the veiled father (Life of Diogenes, VII, ch. 44 and 82).
- 48. Text: Ubulidas.
- 49. Al-Mas'ala al-Falsafiyya, Muhammad 'Abd ar-Rahman Marhaba, p. 103.
- 50. It never reaches 2, it approaches 2.
- 51. Karl Marx, p. 21; Hadhih Hiya ad-Dialaktikiyya, p. 78.
- 52. Did Duharnak: al-iqtisad as-siyasiyy, p. 193.
- 53. Our Economics has already been issued. It includes one of the most extensive studies of historical materialism, in light of the philosophical principles and the general course of human history in real life.
- 54. See Our Economics, by the author.
- 55. Al-Maddiyya ad-Dialaktikiyya wal-Maddiyya at-Tarikhiyya, pp. 8-9.
- 56. i.e., to the original state.
- 57. Al-Bayan ash-Shuyu'i, p. 8.
- 58. Usus al-Lininiyya, p. 66.
- 59. It must be mentioned that this is so only under normal pressure (76 centimeters of mercury).
- 60. i.e., only if water is not completely pure and is under constant normal pressure.
- 61. Did Duharnak, pp. 211-12; al-Maddiyya ad-Dialaktikiyya wal-Maddiyya at-Tarikhiyya, p. 10.
- 62. Did Duharnak, p. 214.
- 63. But these phase changes from solid to liquid to vapor are not strictly we in any of the compounds cited.
- 64. Hadhih Hiya ad-Dialaktikiyya Mabadi' al-Falsafa al-Awwaliyya, George Politzer, p. 10.
- 65. Did Duharnak, p. 210.
- 66. AI-Maddiyya ad-Dialaktikiyya wal-Maddiyya at-Tarikhiyya, p. 6.
- 67. The four questions are as follows: 'What is it?' 'Does it exist?' 'What is it like?' 'Why is it?' For the sake of clarification, we will apply these questions to one of the natural phenomena.
Let us take heat and apply these questions to it. 'What is heat?' By this question, we seek an explanation of the specific notion of heat. Thus, we answer this question, for example, (by saying) that heat is a form of power. 'Does heat exist in nature?' Our answer is of course in the affirmative. 'What is heat like?' In other words, what are the phenomena and properties of heat?
The answer to this question is given by physics. Thus, it is said, for example, that among the properties of heat are warming, expanding, contracting, changing some natural characteristics of matter, etc. Finally, 'Why does heat exist?' This question is attributed to an interest in understanding the factors and causes that lead to heat, and the external conditions on which heat depends. The answer, for example, is that the earth derives the power of heat from the sun, and then emits it, etc.
With this, you know that the metaphysical logic places the issue of the linkage of a thing to its causes and circumstances in the same class as the other main issues concerned with reality, existence, and properties of this thing.
- 68. Emile Burns, British Marxist (1899- ).
- 69. Ma Hiya al-Marxiyya, pp. 75-6.
- 70. Marx, Engels wal-Marxiyya, p. 24.
- 71. Ma Hiya al-Madda, p. 29.
- 72. One cannot take the interaction between external opposites as a proof for the possibility of this, for the interaction between external opposites does not mean that each of these opposites is a condition and a cause for the existence of the other. Rather, this interaction is actually due to the fact that each opposite acquires an attribute which it did not have and which pertains to the other opposite. Thus, the negative and the positive charges interact, not in the sense that each of the two charges comes into existence as a result of the other, but in the sense that the negative charge produces a specific state of attraction in the positive charge. The converse of this is also true.
- 73. Charles Robert Darwin, English naturalist (1809-82). One of the strongest and best-known defenders of organic evolution. His most important work is The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859).
- 74. Ludwig Feuerbach, p. 88.
- 75. It must be noted, though, that this distinction is no longer recognized.
- 76. i.e., an adapted generation.
- 77. i.e., unadapted.
- 78. Ar-Ruh al-Hizbiyya fi al-'Ulum, p. 43.
- 79. Text: al-bi'a (community)
- 80. Text. al-bi'a (community).
- 81. Ibid., p. 44.