[Marxism] Do you agree or disagree with the following proposition

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Mon Mar 27 09:36:51 MST 2006

Rod Holt  

I question that necessity is the basis for the scientific nature of 
historical materialism. M & E strove to extract laws from an examination of
history. These laws they believed could be verified (or falsified) by
further examination of history, and in particular, by searching out and
indentifying the forces producing the history (and the forces producing the
changes in those forces, and the changes in those changes, etc.) It was this
process -- most distinctly a process -- that justified the use of the words
"scientific socialism."

CB; I'm thinking that these laws, yes empirically found and confirmed, are
explained by finding necessary human activities, or the laws are rooted in ,
but not entirely shaped by, physical necessities, natural necessity.

In _The German Ideology_, Marx and Engels asserted an elementary
anthropological or "human nature" rationale for this conception. In a
section titled "History: Fundamental Condtions" they say:

... life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation ,
clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the
production of material life itself. And indeed this is an historical act a
fundamental condition of all history, which today, as thousands of years
ago, must daily and hourly be fulfilled merely in order to sustain human

Production and economic classes are the starting point of Marxist analysis
of human society, including in the Manifesto, because human life, like all
plant and animal life must fulfill biological needs to exist as life at all.


As far as biological necessity goes, Darwin opened the door to the 
notion that when the necessary collapses for one life form, it often is the
opportunity for another life form. I can't imagine M & E questioning this
line of thinking.

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