Dialectical materialism

Dialectical materialism ( dialectical materialism ) is a form of philosophical belief. They used the method of dialectics - of thinking in contradictions, to explain the world on a material basis. He distinguishes itself significantly from the dialectical idealism of Hegel from Friedrich. Dialectical Materialism was founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The main idea is that the unity of the world is in matter, which is eternal and infinite, justified. This makes it possible to recognize the differences of consciousness and being, of living and nonliving things and still at a common origin - the matter - to be recorded. Dialectical materialism is often seen as the philosophical basis of Marxism, where it is used to derive Entwicklungsgesetzmäßigkeiten in nature and society.


Dialectical materialism uses the Hegelian dialectic, intellectual teacher of Karl Marx. Hegel assumes that reality consists of ( dialectical ) contradictions which inevitably generate and determine their own change and the future. According to this theory the Spirit comes into contradiction with itself, thus generating the Will of objective reality. Marx turns Hegel's dialectic to now ( makes them " from the head to the feet") and postulates that the world, the objective reality, can be explained from their material existence and their development, and not as the realization of a divine absolute idea or the human thinking, as assumed in idealism. In place of the divine Absolute in Hegel, Marx joins the substantive economic Absolute of the production process or the work than anything causative reality. " Objective reality exists outside and independently of human consciousness. To summarize these ideas in Marx's famous statement: " Social being determines consciousness ". This set is a basis of Marx's thinking. Marx chooses the opposite to Hegel sequence of cause and effect.

Four basic rules underlying the theory of dialectical materialism.

  • The universe must be viewed as a whole.
  • This whole thing is made up among themselves related, inter-dependent and ligand is located in constant motion matters ( objective link ).
  • This movement is in ascending order, from simple to complex progressive and runs through certain levels; each level correspond to certain qualitative changes.
  • The actual development of a certain level does not result from a harmonic progression, but is caused by the conflict and the updating of the respective, corresponding phenomena inherent contradictions, the " basic contradictions ".

These principles are based on three fundamental laws of development.

The materialist dialectic - called by Marx my dialectical method - was initially developed by the re-interpretation of history, later of Marx by the description of the production of capital and by Friedrich Engels in a " dialectics of nature".

Engels stated to later theorists, that, according to Marx and his conception Material ideational processes of course, " only in the last instance " lays down and affecting.

Construction of society

According to Marx, man is first a "victim" of his needs, and the company is in a constant struggle with nature, with the aim to satisfy the needs of the people. This fight is only possible with the help of a certain material and economic basis: the so-called infrastructure or the substructure.

The so-called substructure consists of two, is also opposed, but a unit -forming elements:

A) The productive forces, so all forces involved in the production process. This refers to Marx, the workers on the one hand and the means of production (natural resources, available technology, etc. ) on the other. The productive forces are changing over time - a certain development of the productive forces is a specific type of production relations.

B ) The relations of production, the social division of labor on the one hand and the distribution of wealth on the other.

This particular material conditions of the " base " for its part, the so-called " superstructure". This is the social consciousness of the dominant classes at any given time. Superstructure to include the political system, education, language, legal system, religion ( theology ), the sciences, the arts.

Stalin modified this theory to the effect that he made reflections on the substructure for a particular stage of development of society. He also tried the natural sciences, the arts and linguistics, to bring the dialectical materialism in accordance with the theory. The advocacy of false biological theories of Lysenko were a result of its related mistakes.


Dialectical materialism was continued as part of the political ideology of the scientific bodies of the political leadership of the GDR and the USSR. Theory of relativity, quantum mechanics and other recent scientific findings made ​​an adaptation and extension with respect to the orthodoxy required. New findings were evaluated by the followers of dialectical materialism as a vindication of its own foundations and, based on evolving.

Critics argue that the dialectical materialism in the east was systematically used mainly to criticize comparable states in the West sharply, the celebrated elegiac in the east. Wolfgang Leonhard describes the dialectical materialism in Stalinism as mere empty words to legitimize the ruling states.

In the West, the dialectical materialism was developed further, particularly by writers who felt the Hegelian Marxism committed (as opposed to dogmatic and the Soviet ideology committed readings of the texts of Marx). Relevant theoretical texts come about by Henri Lefebvre.