Dialectical Materialism definition/Characteristics/Fundamental principles

Dialectical materialism is a philosophy that originated in Europe based on the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It is a philosophical theory whose concept defends that the reality of society is defined by material means based on studies that can be carried out, for example, in the scope of economics, geography, science, etc.  Dialectical Materialism definition

Marx and Engels found, through this theory, a way to understand the social processes that took place throughout history.

Characteristics of dialectical materialism

Check below the main characteristics of dialectical materialism.

  • It considers that material and not concrete means define social reality.
  • It is based on dialectics to understand social processes.
  • Does not agree with the concept that history is static and definitive.
  • It is totally opposed to idealism.
  • Study historical facts based on contradictory elements.
  • It defends that any analysis must evaluate a whole and not just the object of the study in question.

Fundamental principles of dialectical materialism

Dialectical materialism is subdivided into four fundamental principles . Dialectical Materialism definition

Are they:

  • The history of philosophy encompasses a process of conflict between the idealist principle (which is based on ideas, thoughts and the abstract as a whole) and the materialist principle (which is based on concrete materials, facts and studies).
  • Every human being is responsible for determining his own conscience and not the other way around.
  • Matter is dialectical and not metaphysical, that is, it is constantly changing and not static.
  • Dialectics is the study of contradiction in the essence of things; she bases her studies on comparing contradictions by analyzing a whole.

Difference between materialism and idealism

Materialism emerged as opposition to idealism .

Marxist materialism defends that ideas have a physical origin and that, for this reason, they are based on data, results and advances in science.

Philosophical idealism, in turn, attributes the concept of reality to the spirit and argues that ideas are divine creations or that they obey the will of deities or other supernatural forces.

Materialism is totally opposed to idealism and the main difference between them is that, while for the first, reality is material and consequently concrete, for the second it is based on factors such as thoughts and supernatural forces, ie, it is abstract.

Difference between dialectical materialism and historical materialism

Although both were developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, dialectical materialism and historical materialism are completely different concepts. Dialectical Materialism definition

While dialectical materialism consists of a Marxist method of reasoning that considers that all analysis must be done in a general way, without considering only the object of study itself, but also facts, ideas and data that contradict it, historical materialism is the form Marxist way of interpreting history with regard to the struggle of social classes.

According to historical materialism, society evolves through clashes between different social classes.

The Marxist Dialectic

Karl Marx resorted to dialectics to address historical issues.

One of the foundations of historical dialectics is that nothing can be considered perpetual because everything is in constant evolution and change. Thus, Marx considers the natural evolution of history, not admitting that it is static.

The Marxist dialectic was based on the dialectic defended by Friedrich Hegel, but with some disagreements.

Marx agreed with the concept of the Hegelian dialectic with regard to the fact that nothing is static and that everything is in a constant process of change. According to this foundation, A can become B or even be replaced by C.

However, Hegel’s fundamental principle is that human experience depends on the perceptions of the mind, which goes completely against what Marx defended.

For Marx, this concept was too abstract to address issues such as social inequalities, economic and political alienation, exploitation and poverty. Dialectical Materialism definition

Marxist dialectics considers that reality must be analyzed as a whole, through contradiction. To analyze a concept, for example, not only must it be studied, analyzed and taken into account, but also another concept that contradicts it.

In this way, a confrontation will be made between the two opposing concepts in order to reach a conclusion.

Relationship between materialism and dialectics

The logic of the concept of dialectical materialism can be explained by the designation itself:

Materialism : the foundation of the theory is based on material means rather than abstract means such as thoughts and ideas.

Dialectic : the theory was characterized as dialectic because its logic consists in the interpretation of processes as an opposition of forces that, in general, culminates in a solution.

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