IS MARXISM A HISTORICAL MATERIALISM?

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Abstract


The paper proves that a historical method in Marxism is not identified to a dialectical method. The logic of history and the logic of its analysis in Marxism do not always coincide. The Logical coincides with the Historical only in eternity as it actually occurs in the works by G.V.F. Hegel. Eternity which has already witnessed everything does not know history any more. In the same way, history also begins there where the eternity comes to an end. Therefore, artificial identification of the Logical with the Historical in Marxism led sometimes to actual mistakes. It is no wonder that it has always caused discussions in Marxism. They are mainly explained by the fact that the deductive, abstract-to-concrete method in which the “General” appears before the “Concrete” is an anti-historical method in its Nature. In real human history the “General” which is generalization of many “Concrete” could not appear before the latter in any way. For this reason, the real historical materialism needs an inductive method of knowledge. Only in that case historical materialism will cease to remain the soviet “histmat” and becomes the real form of a new world outlook. The author is of the opinion that the Party spirit of the Soviet philosophy promoted preservation of the anomalies mentioned in Marxism. The open discussion could help to find valid but not inherited from Hegel relation of historical and logical methods in Marxism.


An Existing Problem The question in article heading is not so simple, as it can seem. At least because of the fact that K. Marx never used the term “historical materialism”. He argued about “materialist conception of history”, about the fact that “social being” of a man defines his “public consciousness”. The term “historical materialism” was put into circulation by F. Engels (1). And in favour of the new self-name of Marxism it has not been furnished by any proof. And nevertheless already from the end of the 19-th century these terms became actual synonyms and continue to remain synonyms till now. Marxism and a Method From the point of view of F. Engels: “But Marx’s whole way of thinking [Auffassungsweise] is not so much a doctrine as a method” [2. P. 461]. This feature of Marxism was underlined also by Vladimir I. Lenin. As he said, “...Marx and Engels laid the emphasis in their works rather on dialectical materialism than on dialectical materialism, and insisted on historical materialism rather than on historical materialism” (Italics of Vladimir I. Lenin - А.А.) [3. P. 329]. And the unity of dialectic and a historical materialism in Marxism is also provided by the unity of their methods. After all according to F. Engels: “The logical method of approach was therefore the only suitable one. This, however, is indeed nothing but the historical method, only stripped of the historical form and of interfering contingencies” [4. P. 475]. Such an identity of a system and method as well as identity of logical and historical forms is perceived till now in philosophy as locus classicus Marxism. Identity of logical and historical methods as anomaly in Marxism However, do the logic of history and the logic of the analysis in Marxism always coincide? Let's consider, for example, process of emergence of the industry as it is presented in the “Capital”. Concerning working on the “Capital” K. Marx wrote himself that “What was of great use to me as regards method (K. Marx's italics - A.A.) of treatment was Hegel's Logic at which I had taken another look by mere accident...” [5. P. 249]. But in George Gegel's dialectic logic “abstract” form always precedes “concrete”, one therefore the subsequent form does not simply reveal but, as a matter of fact, defines the substance of the previous one. We see that the same scheme, actually, is also present in K. Marx's “Capital”. The industrial capital appears after the trade capital, later than, - hence internal “logic” of development of the trade capital is generation of the industrial capital. That is why K. Marx classifies this process as an epoch of “primitive accumulation”. And meanwhile, accumulation of the capital in itself cannot automatically cause emergence of the industrial capital. According to Pierre Brizon, after discovery of America “Annually over 300.000 kilograms of silver and about 7.500 kilograms of gold was brought to the European markets” [6. P. 103]. However it has only brought down the prices, and did not give birth to the industry in this space of time. K. Marx represents business in such a way as though usurers and merchants as the most important economic figures of early capitalism have only dreamed to be engaged in the industry, but they lacked money for this purpose. However, it is unclear what reasons could force merchants and usurers all at once to be engaged in the industry which is in all respects more troublesome and expensive than trade and usury. In our country, experience of initial accumulation of the capital in “dashing nineties” demonstrated the fact that it is easier to get the profit in trade than in the industry. However, since a certain historical moment the merchants and usurers began investing money in the industry. The reason is that they were just forced to do it because of the fall of profit out of their old business. Trade development creates the industry not because of the fact that, eventually, accumulates money for this purpose. But due to the circumstances that is why that three-mast galleons and caravels have made mass consumption, of goods unused before. Henceforth only those goods become exclusive, that is superprofitable, which can not be found in as finishest articles: that was reason manufactories development. And “primitive accumulation of capital” has simply just speeded up this process. For the same reason the big money received by Europe from trade with America has been spent on development of plantations of exotic agricultural crops, such as tobacco or coffee, but not all on the organization of manufactories. One more example. From the point of view of historical materialism should also speak economic relations of the primitive society for themselves. But K. Marx, being guided by the same Hegelian logic, considers them in substance as “value in itself”. Eventually, they generated value, i. e. their essence. It is more than that. On the basis of the “value in itself” existing in the primitive relations K. Marx builds all the classification of society. However nobody of Marxists in the world has this paid attention that we deal with just a “negative” definition of the primitive economic relations. As we know, this is true but insufficient. It is all the same if the name the leaves on trees to name “not black”. Identity of logical and historical methods as source of discussions in Marxism To be fair, it is necessary to state that in the most Marxist literature the identity of dialectic and historical methods always raised the doubts. Already in discussion of 1895 between K. Kautsky and E. Belfort-Baks's English socialist last said that acts not against economic materialism and its method “...and only hyperbolic overview about it workability...” [7. P. 74]. In this E. Belfort-Baks saw even a withdrawal from the doctrine of classics from generation younger marxians as which it ranked K. Kautsky, G.V. Plehanov and F. Mering. However K. Kautsky has easily proved that it is a position of the Marxism. Later dispute round applicability of dialectics to history has flared with new force. Already A.A. Bogdanov asserted that: “It is sufficient to state this for it to become clear that the dialectic is not at all something universal and that it cannot become a universal method of cognition” [8. P. 196]. According to A.A. Bogdanov, the dialectics as a method taken from sphere of thinking, due to its non-universality, just cannot explain all the organizational phenomena. But by then the Marxist philosophy in Russia became already party. According to V.I. Lenin: “From this Marxist philosophy, which is cast from a single piece of steel, you cannot eliminate one basic premise, one essential part, without departing from objective truth, without falling a prey to bourgeois-reactionary falsehood” [9. P. 326]. Thereby, any criticism of Marxism, by itself, turned to “obviously false fabrications”. It is no wonder, as A.A. Bogdanov for the sights incompatible with Marxism in July, 1909 has been was expelled from structure of edition of the newspaper “Proletarian”, and in January, 1910 - and from Central Committee RSDRP. But, fortunately, the Marxism always was the international phenomenon. That is why also discussion about identity dialectic with historical after the Second World War was developed already in France. In particular, in it has joined such known marxian as Lui Althusser who asserted that the problem with Hegel's dialectics in Marxism cannot be solved its simple “inversion”. At least because: “A man on his head is the same man when he is finally walking on his feet” [10. P. 73]. If, according to L. Althusser, the Marxist dialectics “...is contrast Hegel's dialectics, / ... / that this radical distinction should be shown in its essence, i.e. in its own definitions and structures” (Italics L. Althusser - А.А.). (“So I think that, in its approximation, this met aphorical expression - the 'inversion' of the dialectic - does not pose the problem of the nature of the objects to which a single method should be applied (the world of the Idea for Hegel - the real world for Marx), but rather the problem of the nature of the dialectic considered itself; that is, the problem of its specific structures; not the problem of the inversion of the 'sense' of the dialectic, but that of the transformation of its structures”) [11. P. 93]. However, L. Althusser has considered that K. Marx has already solved this problem as in its “Capital” the logic sequence of economic categories often contradicts real sequence of their historical occurrence. Because of this L. Althusser even named logic of “Capital” “antihistorical”. It was to be expected that this statement has caused indignation of the Soviet philosophers. Besides ideological counterattacks on duty, on behalf of Marxist philosophy, L. Althusser has objected E.V. Ilyenkov. He has paid attention that at all distinctions “...between logic and historical /.../ the history is that protoimage on which /.../ logic development” equals [12. P. 300]. It is necessary to distinguish only, what this historical “protoimage”. If it is “uncertain” set of the facts it is not clear “...what right we have to compare the generalisations received on the basis of one facts, with any other facts which were not covered by these generalisations and could not be covered” at all [12. P. 297], as have historically appeared later. If to our look something appears integral “...as developing “historical totality”, in this case, “...we have the right to say that theorists of the past dealt the with the same whole, only on another, on the lowest phase of its historical maturity” [12. P. 298]. And as that is a question about same, it is obvious that “the Higher stage of a historical maturity personally shows “pure and true” the lowest stages of development. “Human anatomy - a key to anatomy of a monkey”. Rather the reverse, as it is represented at first sight...” [12. P. 209]. It is possible to be surprised only that such outstanding logician as E.V. Ilyenkov has not paid attention that in the conditions of dialectic “inversion”, to define that there is the higher and that - the lowest, is possible only when development is already finished. Otherwise, from ascertaining of that “the doll” anatomy is a key to caterpillar anatomy, all of us equally learn nothing about the nature of the butterfly. We measure any previous “totality” from positions of today. Therefore, why do we believe in the fact that the past conducts us to a today's condition? Whether we “remove” the past how to us will like? At G.V.F. Gegel the reliable criterion for distinction is, - he knows, than the history will come to an end. That is why considers its any piece as a part of the whole. At the historical researcher of such possibility is not present. E.V. Ilyenkov has decided that the history itself eliminates all casual. But so can be only in the conditions of eternity. In a real history the reason of a today's condition could disappear simply as, for example, in the all-European fairy tale “Soup from an axe” where an axe as superfluous throw out, and, meanwhile, without it there would be no also a soup. Besides, E.V. Ilyenkov recognises himself that the past in general can be not known to us. In that case that at us it turns out: we define any today's relation as “the developed true” last relation, we overturn this relation back, - and in the past we find something similar which we declare the beginning. And, outwardly all look like the ends at us converge quite with the ends. Here only, building this scheme, E.V. Ilyenkov has not considered that logic identically historical only in the conditions of really known end. We should to foreknow, than all will come to an end, before we will have an opportunity to tell that only this way logically conducts by such the certain end. That is why, protecting K. Marx from L. Althusser, and recognising that “...logic there is not that other, as truly understood historical” [12. P. 307], E.V. Ilyenkov, more likely, approaches us to G.V.F. Gegel, rather than to true. That else can mean “truly understood” with reference to history - as not understood from the point of view of “Absolute” that is its end, whether is it finality G.V.F. Gegel's system or learnt laws of historical development Marxism. In a word, E.V. Ilyenkov as anybody another, has shown that the materialistic understanding of history in Marxism, eventually, regenerates in its dialectic understanding. Later the discussion about identity of the logical and the historical in Marxism arose in connection with researching forms of value in K. Marx's “Capital” on economics department of MSU (2). In a word, debates on identity of two methods in the Soviet philosophy have never stopped. It would seem, in days of soviet rearrangement together with Marxism these problems should leave for ever. However the question on relations logic with historical in social studies, still, excites imagination of researchers. In particular, not so long ago the new decision of this problem was offered to V.O. Lobovikov. As he said, dialectic and historical methods do not need each other at all. “From this that the Marxism-Leninism philosophy is dialectic materialism, logically does not follow that the dialectic materialism is Marxism-Leninism philosophy”. And, hence, to rescue rational grain of dialectics, it is necessary faster “...to accept abstraction from history and to refuse a historicism principle as methodological principle of philosophising” [14. P. 128]. Conclusions We see that, eventually, discussion about identity dialectic and historical in Marxism, anyway, V.O. Lobovikov has led to a conclusion about necessity of rupture between two these methods. But, if for rescue of dialectics V.O. Lobovikov suggests to refuse a historicism as philosophising principle with even big basis for rescue of a historical method it is necessary to cease to subordinate history to dialectics. And not because one of these principles is pleasant to someone more, and someone - has less. That is why that G.V.F. Gegel's dialectics, what paradox it would not seem for marxians, inherently, is anti-historical. Where, in what space and time “becoming” Gegel's “being” is carried out? It was still Ludwig Feuerbach who paid attention that “Development without time is as much as development without development” [15. P. 163]. After all it only in eternity everything that is possible is valid. And it only in eternity everyone “anything” if it can become “concept”, - to it will be obligatory. The history begin only there where the eternity comes to an end. Hence, the logic of eternity of G.V.F. Gegel has no relation to history. Not for nothing, V.I. Lenin wrote that “Hegel’s logic cannot be applied in its given form, it cannot be taken as given” [16. P. 264]. That is why also G.V.F. Gegel's “logic” method, contrary to F. Engels's assurances be simple cannot essence of a method “historical”. In Gegel's dialectics and in the Marxism which adopted it “general” will always precede “general” whereas in a real human history, being generalisation of all of “general”, “general” never could appear before these last. Then that, between logical and historical not simply is absent to F. Engels's identity, but there is even an obvious antagonism: the dialectic method is deductive by its nature whereas an originally historical method can be only an inductive method. It follows from this that the historical materialism as just should be created new type of outlook by means of an inductive method adequate to the history. The dialectic materialism has given to philosophers only logic of history. Whereas original, instead of buried a dialectic method the historical materialism has to start with providing philosophie with history of the logic which can be only inductive. In any case, a long-term discussion about identity of the historical and the logical in Marxism is, by no means, not finished yet. And therefore, in our opinion, it is to be continued.

A. V. Antonov

Perm National Research Polytechnic University

Author for correspondence.
Email: akvizit@yandex.ru
Komsomolsky prospekt, 29, Perm, Perm krai, Russia, 614990

кандидат философских наук, доцент кафедры философии и права Пермского национального исследовательского политехнического университета

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