[Marxism] Commentary on Woods-Grant "Reason and Revolt

yossi schwartz ssschwartz8 at gmail.com
Sat Jun 21 00:31:06 MDT 2008


 The main problem  with Peter Mason's criticism of Woods book, is that it is
based on a different  subject matter. When woods defines the universe, he is
clear that he does not mean earth,  or the observed space, but the entire
space to which as a materialist he attribute  no beginning and no end.

Woods knows enough dialectics to understand the dialectical relations
between the final forms and in final matter( every thing that exists outside
our consciousness) .

"Woods repeats many times, claiming the support of dialectical materialism,
that the universe is infinite in space and time: "Dialectical materialism
conceives of the universe as infinite." (Reason in Revolt, p189")

Peter Mason can not attack this statement  that matter always exists and
will exists without stopping being a materialist. Thus  to criticize Wood's
book he is using the term "Universe" not as earth nor as the  existing
space, but a third portion which is the observed space, which has a
beginning and will have an end.

"So now, when we say 'the universe' we may not mean everything that exists,
but only 'our universe' as opposed to possible other universes. To most
physicists the term 'the universe' tends to refer to our* *universe, the
universe we can observe. The Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, who adopts the
term "our universe" in this way, writes:

What's conventionally called 'the universe' could be just one member of an
ensemble. Countless others may exist in which the laws [of physics] are

This new concept is, potentially, as drastic an enlargement of our cosmic
perspective as the shift from pre-Copernican ideas to the realisation that
the Earth is orbiting a typical star on the edge of the Milky Way, itself
just one galaxy among countless others...

Once both are speaking about two different phenomenon it is not a real
debate on science and philosophy but about what is  subject matter under
observation. Is it the final forms or the in finality of matter.

Now. every form that exists came to be and perish and this include earth, or
the Milky Way.  In this sense Woods statement : Time, space and motion are
the mode of existence of matter, which can neither be created nor destroyed.
..(Reason in Revolt, pp198-9) is wrong..

However wile every form comes to be and perish is elementary so is the
 that matter itself in all its changing forms is indefinite.

Thus it is true that Woods is poor in science  as Mason is pointing out
through his book , at the same time Peter Mason criticism is simply a play
on definitions of the subject matter.

Materialists do not have any problem with the finding that the age of earth
is about 4.5 billion years , the sun is about 5 billion the Milky Way about
10 billions. Thus that they have not  exists nor would exist for eternity.
What we reject is that the final existence of the parts  of the universe and
 all the final forms are the same as the existence of matter in the sense of
every thing that exists outside of our consciousness which  is final in
forms and  in final  as a material essence.

The question of Wood's book is a very different question. For whom was it
written? Is it to  teach  dialectical materialism to scientists? If this is
the case it is not different than trying to convince the capitalist class
their system is defected. Reflection of reformism.

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