Dialectics of nature: Marxism and modern science


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The great philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel led a revolution in philosophy by breaking with the mechanical bourgeois materialism, dominant in the Europe of his day, in favour of a worldview that embraced contradiction and constant change. Marx and Engels’ scientific socialism placed Hegel’s ideas on a materialist basis, culminating in the highest accomplishment of philosophy: dialectical materialism.

Today, the most-advanced discoveries and theories in science continually validate Marx and Engels’ ideas. Rather than a world consisting of fixed, discrete, static entities moving in a predictable way for all eternity, or even a gradual shift from one state to another, science increasingly uncovers a cauldron of revolutionary transformation.

From chaos and complexity theory in mathematics, to the Gouldian theory of punctuated equilibrium in evolutionary zoology, to quantum mechanics in physics, the limits of formal logic are being exposed by the march of discovery. Scientists have to reckon with a world where particles behave like waves and vice versa, where matter and energy are equivalent, and species undergo sudden and dramatic flourishes and extinctions. In other words: nature is defined by motion, change and revolution!

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