defining dialectics

KDean75206 at KDean75206 at
Mon Oct 18 17:19:57 MDT 1999


I've been looking for a good, yet simple definition of "dialectics" as meant
by Marx.  I was wondering if this definition was generally correct.  It's
from American Heritage:

"dialectics. (used with a sing. or pl. verb). The Marxian process of change
through the conflict of opposing forces, whereby a given contradiction is
characterized by a primary and a secondary aspect, the secondary succumbing
to the primary, which is then transformed into an aspect of a new

Also, (and one can go into more detail here) what are the major distinctions
between Hegelian dialectics and Marxian?  Can someone give a simple example
of the dialectic process?

And a few more questions...
What is meant by "Historical Materialism"?  Do you feel that Engles concept
of it is not true to what  Marx originally meant as suggested by Paul Thomas'
essay in "...Cambridge Companion..."?

And finally.  When one speaks of "Scientific" socialism--what is so
"scientific" about it?  Some people have told me that when Marx said
"scientific" he really meant "knowledge based" rather than a "science" as
defined in the classical sense.
When I hear the word "Scientific" I have images of any group of people acting
independantly in the world applying Marx's analysis and drawing the same
conclusions from that analysis.  This doesn't seem to be the case, however.

I'm pretty sure I understand these concepts but I would like a little help.
Its hard these days to find courses on Marxism (they do exist at my school
but not in recent semesters) so we all need a little help now and again.

Kevin Dean | Buffalo, NY
Western New York Socialist Party:
Personal Homepage:
"A nation cannot be free and at the same time continue to oppress other
-Fredrick Engles

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