Dialectical Materialism

Hub Zwart*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Although Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels strictly speaking never used the term, “dialectical materialism” refers to the philosophy of science and nature developed in (and on the basis of) their writings, emphasising the pivotal role of real-world socio-economic conditions (e.g. labour, class struggle, technological developments). As indicated by their correspondence (Marx & Engels, 1983), their collaboration represented a unique intellectual partnership which began in Paris in 1844 and continued after Marx’s death, when Engels took care of Marx’s legacy, notably the sprawling mass of manuscripts which he managed to transform into Volume II and III of Capital. While their joint effort (resulting in no less than 44 volumes of collected writings known as the Marx Engels Werke, published by Dietz Verlag Berlin) began as co-authorship, they eventually decided on a division of labour (with Marx focussing on Capital), although reading, reviewing, commenting on and contributing to each other’s writings remained an important part of their research practice. As a result of this division of labour, while Marx focussed on political economy, Engels dedicated himself to elaborating a dialectical materialist philosophy of nature and the natural sciences, resulting in works such as the Anti-Dühring and his unfinished Dialectics of Nature (published posthumously), although Engels (a voracious intellectual) wrote and published on may other topics as well, so that his output can be regarded as a dialectical materialist encyclopaedia in fragments. Again, although I will start with an exposition of dialectical materialism, my aim is not to contribute to scholarly discussions on dialectical materialism. My focus is on the how and now, and my aim is to explore how to practice dialectical materialism of technoscience today (cf. Žižek, 2014/2015, p. 1; Hamza, 2016, p. 163).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Engineering and Technology
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

SeriesPhilosophy of Engineering and Technology

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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