Marxist Philosophy Dialectics Opposed to Metaphysics

QUESTION: Marxist Philosophy – Dialectics Opposed to Metaphysics

ANSWER:

Dialectics is a means of understanding the processes of life. Marxism took this system of thought and applied it to its own philosophy, which is foundational for its entire worldview. Marxists hasten to point out, however, that dialectics is a method directly opposed to metaphysics, which they claim is an outdated mode of viewing the world.

Marxist Philosophy – The Nature of Reality
Yet in making this delineation, Marxists define metaphysics in a peculiar way. Normally understood, metaphysics is “the branch of philosophy that deals with first principles and seeks to explain the nature of being or reality (ontology) and of the origin and structure of the world (cosmology),”1 questions that every philosophy must confront sooner or later. Marxists, however, attempt to dodge this branch of philosophy by claiming that metaphysics assumes that nature and being are stagnant and unchanging, while dialectics views life as a constant process, and that metaphysics views reality in disjointed parts, while dialectics views reality as an interconnected whole.

If we grant the Marxists their definition of metaphysics, then we cannot argue with their conclusion that dialectics is directly opposed to it. In the strict sense of the word, however, Marxists most definitely do maintain metaphysics, and they are not shy about articulating it. Because understanding any philosophy’s beliefs about the nature of being and the origin and structure of the universe is crucial to understanding the philosophy as a whole, we will now examine Marxist metaphysics (in the traditional sense of the word), beginning with its cosmology and moving on to its ontology.

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd ed., unabridged (New York, NY: Collins & World, 1977), 1132.

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