Philosophical Investigations in the USSR [4]

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Philosophical Investigations in the USSR [4]

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ff 4231 .P5










Donald A . Gallagher Norman J . Wells Thomas J . Blakeley John P. Rock Richard T. Murphy Oliva Blanchette

D edicated to PROFESSOR 0. G. D R O B N I T S K II one of our contributors, who met an untiniely death in an airline catastrophe before this volume appeared.






I97 5



S . J.


I 97 5

© I975 by Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands All rights reserved, including the right to translate or to reproduce this book or parts thereof in any form ISBN

90 247 1724





Foreword . .











The Universal . .


BATISHCHEV The Problem of the Universal: its HistoricoCultural Meaning . . . . . . . . .


Determinism, and Freedom

52 70

0. DROBNITSKII The Problem of Conscience in Moral Philosophy


The Meaning of Semiotic Expressions and the Criteria Validating the Introduction of HigherLevel A bstractions ( Universals) into Science




This volume i s the fourth o f a series o f the Boston College Studies in Philosophy. The series has attempted to publish articles on a more or less common theme, affecting contemporary problems in philosophy. The first volume entitled: The Quest for the A bsolute, was comprised of articles showing the relevance of classical, patristic and medieval thinkers to the God problem. The second volume entitled : Demytholo­ gizing Marxism, presented articles revolving around the theme of the Christian-Marxist dialogue. The third volume entitled : A uthority, offered articles analyzing this notion from a philosophical point of view. In the present volume, there is hope of furthering dialogue by pre­ senting views on certain key topics from the Marxist point of view. Many philosophers would agree that basic to dialogue, is some kind of necessary agreement on the epistemological question of realism versus idealism. Marxist philosophers are firmly rooted in the realist tradition and, to my mind, this point should be stressed in our philo­ sophical discussions. Thus the topics discussed in the present volume emphasize the realism of contemporary Marxists as opposed to a trend toward subj ectivity that is manifested in much that emanates from existential and analytical schools. It is this emphasis that, in my opinion, forms the unity of this volume as will be realized from the authors' discussions of such topics as universal ideas, theory of meaning, freedom and conscience. Readers in the West, especially here in the United States, do not usually become acquainted with developments in Soviet philosophy. However, the American reader does have at his disposal the "Soviet Studies in Philosophy, " a periodical edited by Professor John Somer­ ville as well as a wide range of other publications, among them Papers of the various philosophical congresses. Thus a considerable part of the Proceedings of the XIII, XIV, and XVth International Congress of Philosophy includes publications by Soviet authors. The same may



be said of the publications of the International Kantian Society, the International Hegelian Society, etc. In fact some of the contributors to this volume, have written articles elsewhere, that have been trans­ lated into English, German, French and Italian. In a recently published volume, entitled: Dialogues on the Philosophy of Marxism, edited by Professors Somerville and Parsons, there are three articles contributed by prominent philosophers from the Soviet Union . 1 Since my own interest in dialogue with Marxist philosophers dates back over a decade, I made efforts to discuss philosophical matters with the Soviet representatives at academic meetings and became person­ ally acquainted with several prominent philosophers from the Soviet Union. In fact, in 1970 Professor Mshveniersdze of the Soviet Union presented an informative and interesting lecture here at Boston College. Thus, it developed that when I was in Moscow in 1971, I suggested the possibility of publishing in this series a collection of essays by prominent philosophers from the Soviet Union on topics that I thought were at the basis of any continuing dialogue. Happily, in later correspondence with Professors Yermolenko and Oizerman of the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, my offer was accepted and the present volume is its felicitous result. Needless to say, I have been delighted with the out­ come. As Professor Mitrokhin so clearly n otes in his excellent intro­ duction, we have here not only a discussion of interesting philosophi­ cal problems from the Marxist point of view but theses from some of the best philosophical minds at work today within the Soviet Union . There is always difficulty about reading translations and, if anything this difficulty is increased with respect to technical philosophical treatises. Hence, it is to be expected that this presentation will not be devoid of similar difficulties for the reader. These articles were origi­ nally translated in the Soviet Union by academicians who were profi­ cient in both the Russian and English languages, but who concentrated more on literal translation than the technicalities of philosophical expression. Hence there was need on the editor's part to go over the text in order to clarify the style but at the same time to remain true to the intentions of the authors. This work was greatly abetted by the assistance of Professor V. A. Kuvakin of the Soviet Union who hap­ pened to be here at Boston College. Together we worked on clarifying the text and we hope that the reader will understand the difficulties 1 Dialogues on the Philosophy of Marxism. Edited by John Somerville and Howard L. Parsons, West port, Conn., Greenwood Press, 1974.



involved in trying to remain true to philosophical expressions and at the same time provide a clear translation. As far as I know this enterprise is a first in many respects : (r) all these articles were written in the Soviet Union and there translated into English ; (2 ) there is a unity of the proj ect due to my submitting the topics as fundamental to future dialogue ; ( 3 ) this volume has not been published elsewhere and so we present an original publication ; (4) not only is this undoubtedly the first time that a group of Soviet philosophers have published an original contribution in the West, but even more uniquely, it appears under the aegis of the Boston College Studies in Philosophy. As editor, my role has been minimal, consisting mostly in clarifying the translations here and there and writing this Foreword. The volume then, stands on its own merits, and no one, I feel, will be disappointed. I wish to thank the contributors and all who helped to further the proj ect in any way. A special debt of gratitude is due Professor V. A. Kuvakin of the Department of Philosophy at the State University in Moscow for assisting me with the editorial work. Also, a note of thanks is due to Mrs. Katherine O 'Berg and to Mrs. Helen Fitzgerald for their help in the typing ; and to Thomas N en on, Brian Hennessey, Thomas F. Fleming, S . J. , Walter J. Feeney, S .J. , Arthur A . MacGillivray, S.J. , Richard Stevens, S.J. , John P . Rock, S .J. , Joseph H. Casey, S.J. , Thomas J. Blakeley, Oliva Blanchette, S .J. , Anthony J. Forte, S.J. for many valuable suggestions. My hope now is that these articles will be avidly read and analyzed ; that they may inspire further discussion from other philosophers, and that, perhaps, we may in the future publish a subsequent volume containing articles stimulated by the ideas exposed here. At any rate, I feel that a great work has been accomplished toward understanding and that this volume is a harbinger of that peace for the world which depends to such a large extent on ideas. J. ADELMANN Professor of Philosophy Editor


Boston College Chestnut Hill, Mass. U. S.A. July



For many reasons for which there is no opportunity to speak here, modern philosophical knowledge is represented by various directions, schools and currents of thought which offer not only different solutions to the philosophical problems but often formulate the same problems in a different way. Narrow, "closed" systems of philosophical language, some kind of " argots" have appeared, being comprehensible only to the initiate . An existentialist has difficulty in understanding a logical positivist, the latter regards with disbelief all sorts of "humanistic" problems which he has hastily listed in the category of "pseudo­ problems." It is not by chance that the need of mutual contacts, discussions, and disputes between proponents of various philosophical trends has been very often emphasized of late. Such appeals are of especially urgent importance when regarding the relations between the Soviet (Marxist) and Western (bourgeois) philosophy. There are serious reasons - they are not within the frame­ work of philosophy - which have conditioned the radical dissimilarity between the Soviet and Western philosophy in social and political pathos, in general ideological aims, in the means of interpretation, etc. All this has naturally pre-determined the state of continuous confron­ tation and mutual polemics. The philosophical theories in this case represent fragments of rival ideologies and, generally speaking, there is nothing surprising in that. However, if the situation does not depend on philosophers, the latter are quite responsible for their personal participation in it . And there is much ground for rather bitter words. At any rate, it is believed that a large number of works on Soviet philosophy appearing in the West have not a direct bearing on the search for truth or on the norms of scientific controversies. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain the extent of bias and tendentiousness and the complacent ignorance which we so often find in them. I am not speaking about the degree of criticism - it might be extreme - but about the unattractive manner in which the purely political and ideo-



logical motives are being passed off as the results of "pure , " " aca­ demic" science. As a self-criticism, it might be admitted that some of our authors in the past also confined their criticism to making hasty and nervous comments on phrases taken out of the general context. I do not mean to put a veto on mutual disputes ; they, I repeat, are inevitable, natural and fruitful. But the starting point and the neces­ sary prerequisite for them should lie in the understanding of mutual points of view, in the ability to explain the mechanism of forming these different views and, consequently, to put forth adequate arguments. Otherwise such an activity becomes purely magical, ritualistic, or devoid in itself of any meaning. This can only be attained in arranging frequent meetings and discussions which, for that matter, largely contribute to clarifying and renovating problems, to assimilating new heuristic schemas and concepts, to improving the general philosophical culture. In a word, the dialogue between philosophers of various schools is regarded as most opportune in an era when one realizes the common destiny of mankind inhabiting this not very large planet. I say all this because I regard this special edition represented by a number of articles written by Soviet philosophers as an extremely useful and symptomatic matter. Soviet philosophy has greatly changed during the past decade. New talented scholars have appeared intro­ ducing their individual style, problems and ways of thinking. The range of problems under discussion has considerably widened and the ways of handling them has become incomparably more interesting and meaningful. Much progress has been made, for instance - I speak about the field which is most familiar to me - in the research into Western philosophical doctrines, first of all, existentialism and logical positivism. However, the Western reader, as a rule, is not acquainted with these works which could convincingly demonstrate the power and vitality of the Marxist principles of research. As far as I know, the present articles have been selected according to the suggested topics, and therefore only a few patterns of Soviet philosophical activity have been reflected in them. For example, no articles interpreting the problems of man, science, culture or problems of the history of philosophy, or evaluating Western philosophy, reli­ gion, esthetics, etc. are included in the collection. But on the whole, the selection has turned out to be rather good and gives us an idea of specific features of our philosophy. This doesn't mean that I completely agree with all the authors - what is important for me here is the significance of the collection. Though it has turned out to be different



in its own way, each article in it represents certain trends, or definite fields of knowledge, or different groups of specialists. And since the authors are my colleagues working with me at the Institute of Philoso­ phy, Soviet Academy of Sciences, I should like to introduce them briefly to the Western reader in order to help him understand their place in the context of our philosophical life. E. Il' enkov has made a considerable contribution into constructive philosophical interpretation of the Das Kapital of Marx, as well as to the study of epistemological problems of dialectical materialism in general. His book Dialectics of the A bstract and the Concrete (1959) was a noticeable and symptomatic phenomenon in Soviet philosophical literature. Having concentrated his efforts on systematically analyzing Marx's philosophical heritage, he has shown new and rather promising ways in developing the problems of the theory of knowledge and dialectical logic. At any rate, that book opened the way for a series of works in that field. Groups of philosophers have been formed (for instance, in Alma-Ata) to study these problems. Since then Il'enkov has often written on problems of the history of philosophy (Spinoza, Hegel, Marx) and on problems of the theory of knowledge and logic. Of late he has become inclined toward humanistic problems. Evidence of this is his recent book On Idols and Ideals written in the form of a philosophical pamphlet. The book deals with the relation of man to the developing science and technology, art and morality. It is written in a vivid style, with a conscious polemical fervor, and it has quickly found both admirers and antagonists. So he is an established author of orginality who has his own pupils and followers. H. S . Batishchev is often named among these followers. This is j ustified to some extent, though Batishchev follows his own course. In this connection he is undoubtedly unique in his ability to elucidate the highlights of controversy - from complete negation to unrestrained de­ light. Each of his works is passionately discussed, stirring up disputes and sometimes contradictory judgements. The critical attitude toward his writings can be partially explained by his style - solemn, ornate, not easy to comprehend. He primarily works at problems of dialectics and man. In particular he often has recourse to Marx's early works, to the problem of " alienation, " the active essence of man, etc. Generally speaking, he is one of the most distinguished and stimulating authors among our younger generation. There is hardly any need to introduce T. I. Oizerman, corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, one of our leading and



widely known philosophers. People of my generation (of late it has often been termed the " middle" generation) willingly recollect the brilliant lectures delivered by Oizerman on the history of philosophy and, above all, on the history of Marxist philosophy in which he is regarded as an authority. In recent years he has devoted a great deal of attention to contemporary Western philosophy, and he has often participated in various international congresses, meetings, symposia and conferen­ ces, and also he has given lectures in many countries. It is always difficult to outline Oizerman's range of interests - there are but a few who can be compared to him in the number of published works. It seems to me that only certain special fields of philosophy, such as symbolic logic and special problems of the philosophy of natural science, have not been dealt with in his writings. I n recent times he has been writing a maj or work of which the first two volumes have already been published. The fact that during twenty-five years Oizer­ man has been a lecturer, a professor and held a chair in the philosophy department of the Moscow State University, has rendered his style clear and logical. It should be noted that the problem of freedom and necessity is one of his favourite topics ; even his post-graduate thesis has been devoted to it. I am glad that the present collection includes an article by 0. G. Drobnitskii who is, in my opinion, the most interesting and promising writer on the problems of ethics in our country. Generally speaking, many Soviet philosophers work on the problems of morals. In most cases, however, they are concerned with the theory of moral education and generalizations about actual moral educational practices rather than the traditional problems of axiology and moral philosophy. Drobnitskii's approach is somewhat broader. Working from a sound knowledge of the history of philosophy and contemporary Western literature on the problems of morals, he approaches ethics, above all, as an historian of philosophy. He has published several books and many articles. Comparing them, one can clearly see the significant evolution that this author has made during the last decade. The manuscript of his book, The Concept of Morals, published in 19 74, made a pro­ found impression on me. As far as I know, the article in the present collection is the first one in which he specifically considers the pro­ blem of conscience. 1 1 I am profoundly grieved to write that after these words were written, Professor O. G. Drobn itskii trag ically died in an airline catastrophe on March 3, 1973. In o ur e yes, th is loss is irreparable.



I n the context of the present collection D . P. Gorskii can be con­ sidered a representative of a rather numerous and powerful group of specialists who are concerned with problems of the methodology of science and mathematical logic, which combines the positive work with a critical analysis of neo-positivist doctrines. Of these Gorskii enj oys the reputation of a serious and competent author (it should be noted that he has written a widely known popular textbook on formal logic) . At present he is the head of the department of research into the theory of reflection, and a number of interesting books on the problem have been published by this department under his super­ v1 s 10n. Finally, many of our specialists work on philosophical problems connected with the development of contemporary natural science, and a number of cardinal problems and categories, in particular: "matter," "motion, " "time," "space. " etc. There exists a voluminous literature in this field. It is represented in the collection by L. Bazhenov whose article gives an idea of the manner in which these problems are inter­ preted. I repeat : these are but a few fragments that have come to the surface in the vast expanse of our philosophical knowledge. But even these articles included in the collection give an idea of the present state of Soviet philosophical thought. Philosophers need neither flowers, nor enthusiastic admirers ; they can be quite pleased if they are only understood. It seems to me that the present collection of articles may render a noticeable help in this respect. Therefore, on behalf of my colleagues, I would like to express deep gratitude to Professor Frederick J. Adelmann, who has contributed so much of his personal time and effort to the arduous task of preparing this volume. L. MITROKHIN , Head, Department of Contemporary Western Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy Soviet Academy of Sciences.





The Concept of Matter in Dialectical Materialism

The problem of matter has at all times been central in philosophy and natural sciences. As the progress of human thought surged forward it touched off the early attempts to get through to the heart of things, to try to discover beneath the diversity given us through our senses, some basic of basics, the prime substance of which everything is made up. Thale's water, Heraclitus' fire, Democritus' atoms, etc. , - were all but varied and many attempts to identify this proto-foundation of all being. The concept of matter, conceived in the womb of the ancient Naturphilosophie denoted, above all, this primordial stuff understood as some absolute source material of which all things under the sun are constructed. The material is not in terms of the Aristotelian counter­ position of passive material and active form, but rather material in the sense of proto-matter, proto-substance underlying all and sundry. At the dawn of natural science and philosophy both sought, first of all, to define the proto-matter and describe its properties ; or, as we should put it today, they sought to reveal the structure of matter leaving in the background the properly philosophical problem areas concerned with the opposition of Materialism and Idealism-of the relationship of matter and consciousness, the basic question of philoso­ phy.1 That the problem of the structure of matter was focal was, in the author's opinion, historically inevitable and progressive, for it stimu­ lated the scholars in the field to approach matter from the viewpoint of natural science and promoted the emergence of natural science from i See F. Engels, " Lu dwig Feuerbach an d the End of Classical German Philosophy": "The great basic question of all philosophy, especially of more recent philosophy, is that con ­ cerning the relation of thinking and being . . . The answers which the philosophers gave to this question sp lit them into two great camps." ( K. Mar x and F. Engels, Selected Works, i n two v ol umes, vol . I I , Mos cow 1958, pp. 369-70.) (Cf . Russian edition) .



the bonds o f Naturphilosophie. B y the same token, it conditioned the metaphysical (in the sense of being anti-dialectical) 2 n ature of the concept of matter, then in the making, as the primitive construction material or - which is the same (in the sense used here) , the concept of matter as proto-matter. If matter is conceived as the absolute primitive construction material, this pre-supposes precisely the latter's limited, finite character, qualitatively speaking. Human cognition, as it probes deeper into essence, must get through sooner or later to the ultimate basis of all things, to matter as such, which goes to make up these things and which displays a certain finite sum of properties of which it is possible to educe the entire qualitative diversity of the world perceived through the senses. It is only natural that philosophy and n atural science sought to describe matter per se in terms of some finite sum of its inherent properties. The structure of such a definition appeared to be roughly as follows : matter is all that and only that which possesses properties P 1 , P 2 . . . Pn, where n may be large but necessarily finite. To reveal these P 1 . . . Pn properties, appeared to be the basic obj ective of natural science, and the science-based materialist philosophy. Merely having recognized the possibility of defining matter as such, one came to understand this matter as some proto-matter possessed of some finite set of properties which can be discovered by the human mind where upon the latter reaches its absolute end. While this occurs, materialist philosophy, of course, approaches matter as something extraneous to consciousness and opposed to the spiritual. Thus, as early as the r8th century, the noted French materialist P. Holbach declared when giving his description of matter : "Thus, as concerns ourselves, matter in general is all that which affects in any way our senses. "3 One can say that to try to discover the relation of matter and mind has always been central to philosophy ; it was tacitly implied in the realization that the answer to the question "what is matter ? " was 2 The term "meta physics " is used u nder various mea nings i n Mar xist and non-Mar xist philoso phical literature, as a rule. The latter, vie ws meta physics as an e xtra-em pirical conce ption of the innermost basics, of the princi ples of the u niverse, beyond the reach of natural science (or physics in the broad sense of the word) . Mar xist literature regards meta­ physics as the world outlook (and, accordingly, the frame of thought) o pposed to dialectics. I n the following presentation the terms "meta physics " or " meta physical" will be used e x ­ clusive ly in that latter sense. 3 P. Holbach, The System of Nature, Mosco w, 1940, p. 25. (cf. Russia n edition) .



different from the solution of the basic issue of philosophy, i.e., was it to be precisely the understanding of the true character of matter as such, apart from its relation to consciousness ? Until the end of the 19th century the metaphysical concept of proto­ matter had never entered into a too obvious conflict with the progress of science. Yet at the turn of the 19th-20th century, there came about the "modern revolution in physics." It was as if proto-matter once caught by physicists was quickly eluding their grasp. What had been hitherto called matter was vanishing, only to be replaced by what was then known as electricity, ether, etc. The phrase "Matter has disap­ peared" became fashionable among physicists. In the physical parlance of the day the phrase meant in fact that what featured such and such properties and had thus far been known as matter was no longer there. Instead, something new became known, with new unusual properties, and no longer answering the previous definition of matter (matter is that and only that which displays properties P 1 . . . Pn) . The newly­ emerged something possessed the properties Pn+l, etc. , but n o longer possessed some of the properties P1 . . . Pn previously ascribed to matter. From the viewpoint of Dialectical Materialism what disappeared was not matter, but the limit indicating the extent of our knowledge until then. But in order to make this deduction, it was necessary to change the very concept of matter and delimit clearly the properly philosophical purport of the concept of matter and the concept natural science has about the latter's structure. The error was precisely a lack of delimitation underlying the statements of idealist philoso­ phers about the disappearance of matter, though no longer in the sense physicists had meant it. In the parlance of idealist philosophy "the disappearance" of matter meant a disappearance of objective reality, a disappearance of objective content from our scientific theories, a collapse of philosophical Materialism, "dematerialization of matter, " etc. These assertions have been repeated with unparalleled zeal for more than half a century, thus showing demonstrably the importance and significance of developing a new, dialectico- materialistic concept of matter. As is known, Lenin's definition, to become classical in Marxist philosophy, reads : "Matter is a philosophical category de­ noting the obj ective reality which is given to man by his sensations, and which is copied, photographed and reflected by our sensations, while existing independently of them. " 4 4

V. I. Le ni n, Coll. Works, vo l. 14, Moscow, 1 962,


130. ( C f. Russ ia n e di t io n) .



I t should not b e forgotten that this was not at all the first time that the recognition of matter as obj ective reality was declared in so many words in Dialectical Materialism. Unless we recognize "obj ects beyond the mind" and obj ective reality, any materialism would be unthinkable. A basically new point, brought forth by Dialectical Materialism, is the contention that this is exactly the philosophical definition of the concept of matter and there can be no other philosophical definition of matter whatsoever ( "per se, " apart from its relation to conscious­ ness, i.e., apart from the solution of the basic issue of philosophy) . Some opponents of Dialectical Materialism contend that the definition of matter as obj ective reality independent of consciousness, comprises nothing specifically materialistic in itself, thus obj ective Idealism, together with the more recent philosophical teachings, such as neo­ Realism or Critical Realism, also recognize the presence of reality totally independent of consciousness. I would argue that this state­ ment is pointless because it admits tacitly the opposition i nevitable about matter for objective Idealism and thus something vastly at odds with Dialectical Materialism. The dialectico-materialistic definition of matter should not be understood as though matter were neither atoms, nor electrons, molecules, protons, etc., but only obj ective reality independent of consciousness. On the contrary, atoms, electrons and all other forms of existence of matter represent obj ective reality which exists apart from, and independently of, consciousness. Conse­ quently, Dialectical Materialism insists that all properties of matter, both familiar and hitherto unfamiliar to us, exist apart from , and independently of, the mind. This implies that the philosophical defi­ nition of matter by Lenin indicates the unchallenged epistemological baseline of any conceivable science-based description of matter, that is to say, it characterizes the latter's relation to mind which remains intact throughout all transformations of matter and its inherent properties. And if you go out to challenge my definition, will you please take the bother to prove the possibility of those properties of matter which could be inherent apart from, and independently of, mind ? The maj or outcome of the revolution in physics at the turn of the 20th century, under the aspect of interest to me now, lies in proving the qualitative inexhaustability of matter and its in-depth infinity. The dialectical proposition about the inexhaustability of matter is incompatible with the metaphysical concept of proto-matter which it rej ects unequivocally. The inexhaustability of matter makes no sense, on principle, of the attempt to define matter as such, apart from its relation to consciousness.



The above is not to imply that Dialectical Materialism fails to see any rationale in the concept of proto-matter. Methodologically, the concept has proved to be extremely fruitful in history. It always prodded human thought to search after some intrinsic single basis of all per­ ceptible diversity of the world, a basis judged to have an essentially "intrinsic, " natural, rather than " extrinsic" and supernatural, character. This stimulating impact of the concept of matter is not solely a possession of history; now, too, it is obvious in research about the single field theory or the theory of elementary particles, etc. The thesis concerning the advance of cognition toward a more and more pro­ found essence is a key thesis of Dialectical Materialism. Dialectical Materialism liberates the concept of proto-matter from a metaphysical interpretation and presumably, admits it as some relative proto-matter and the recognition of the latter's various structural levels of which none is final and definitive. It is exactly the level of the structure of matter, such as was attained by the mind in each particular epoch, that constitutes the relative proto-matter. N atural science has been, is and will be using the term "proto­ matter ," but from the dialectical viewpoint, so that it will never b e anything but relative proto-matter. It could be argued, o f course, that by the very primitive sense of the word "proto-matter", is meant exactly prime matter, so it hardly makes sense speaking about rela­ tive proto-matter. It will be noted, however, that in theoretical notions, terms may have other meaning than an etymological one; there is, for example, the meaning they acquire during the course of development of these concepts. Proto-matter did denote at first this original (absolutely original) matter. As the process of cognition surged forward, the inexhaustability of matter was discovered and made impossible the further preservation of this former meaning. However, whatever real content is incorporated into the concept of proto-matter, is not to be thrown overboard, but is to be kept in the concept of relative proto-matter to designate the knowledge attained at any given stage of cognition, concerning the level of the structure (structural organization) of matter given as objective reality in our sensations. Absolute proto-matter could be identified (and so it was) with matter as such, "matter in general. " Apparently, this is impossible for relative proto-matter, for it is not "matter in general" but matter at the given level of insight into its structure. The concept of "matte r



in general" i s to be described now through an indication o f the level of its structure presently attained since no level will be final. Conse­ quently, "matter in general" cannot be defined per se, in terms of matter as such ; rather, to define it, one inevitably has to discover its relation to consciousness, i.e., to provide a solution to the basic issue of philosophy . 5 But doesn't such a definition of matter signify a vicious circle ? Indeed, we define the concept of matter in terms of the basic issue of philosophy, while to formulate the latter one must already have available some concept of matter. Similar situations of apparently vicious circles characterize much of scientific investigation . In sciences, too, we define fundamental concepts in terms of appropriate laws. For instance, the concept of energy in contemporary physics presupposes the availability of the law of its conservation, whereas the law of conservation of energy pre-supposes with certainty having available the concept of energy. This kind of "cyclization" is no longer a vicious circle once we take into account the progress of cognition . At first some presupposed notion is formed, using some sort of ostensive definition, and then a law is formed within the limits of which this notion attains a deeper interpretation worked out from its more accurate definition. This definition includes a reference to a given law. Like so many concepts fundamental to natural sciences and defined in terms of a particular law, the definition of matter constitutes a definition in terms of a philosophical "law, " i.e., the basic issue of philosophy. In connection with the dialectico-materialist concept of matter, I find it desirable to discuss here an issue now being widely debated in Marxist literature. The issue concerns the properties to be included in the concept of matter. Some philosophers propose to extend the limits of the concept of matter enumerating here actually all categorical characteristics : matter is that which is characterized by quantitative and qualitative determinateness ; that which has its inherent contra­ dictions; that which is characterized by possibility and actuality, etc. 6 This extension of the concept of matter seems to me unjustifiable 5 I will note that eve n grante d the existe nce of absolute proto-matter a nd the possibility to defi ne matter as such (i.e., precisely as this absolute proto -matter), it woul d be a defi nitio n i n terms of natural scie nce, rather than philoso phy. If so, there woul d be two defi nitio ns of matter : that of natural scie nce, in terms of absolute proto -matter; a nd that of philoso phy, in terms of the solution to the basic issue of philoso phy. The negatio n of absolute prot o ­ matter leaves the philoso phical defi nition the o nl y o ne at ha nd. 6 See, for exam ple, V. P. Bra nskii, Filosofskoie znachenie problemy nagliadnosti v sovremen­ noi fizike, Le ni ngra d State U niversity Press, 1962. (Tr. The Philosophical Meaning of the

Problem of Evidence in Contemporary Physics.).



and emanates from a misunderstanding of the essence and significance of the concept of matter. In defining matter through its relation to consciousness, the inseparability of the epistemological and ontological aspects of Marxist philosophy receives special prominence. Neverthe­ less, the supporters of the extension of the content of the concept of matter are seeking to describe matter in a somewhat purely ontological manner, regardless of its relation to consciousness or, in any case, in addition to its relation to consciousness. In so doing, they neglect the fact that even including within the concept of matter categorical characteristics, yet in any case this does not make the latter purely ontological. For, as a matter of fact these very categories are viewed in Dialectical Materialism not only as characteristics of reality, but also as "stages of cognition ." Yet someone may obj ect : do not motion, the spatio-temporal deter­ minateness and the necessary structure of any material obj ect, con­ stitute also the very universal properties of matter ? Why not include these in the concept of matter ? I think that we are confusing two points here : the concept of matter and the theory of matter. The dialectico-materialist concept of matter expresses, in the first place, the opposition between Materialism and Idealism, and solves this task completely, for : r. Contrary to Subj ective Idealism, it affirms positively the exis­ tence of obj ective reality. 2. Contrary to Agnosticism (maintaining that even should the obj ective reality exist, we can never attain any knowledge of it) , it affirms positively that obj ective reality is given to us in our sensations. 3 . Contrary to Obj ective Idealism, it affirms positively that the obj ective reality given us by sensations, is the only reality, and there is no other reality either hidden behind the former or basically different from it. Thus, the concept of matter constitutes an essential philosophical category and an aid in solving the basic issue of philosophy (which V . I. Lenin also called the issue about the source of our knowledge) . Obj ective reality is the source of our knowledge, and the concept of matter has been developed specifically to designate it. Yet another related issue is the one about the properties of obj ective reality and whether or not it possesses some universal categorical characteristics and, if so, what is the way in which these become revealed in the process of cognition. The answer to these questions is provided by philosophy, (with a foundation in the data of concrete sciences), in its teaching



about matter. Philosophy analyzes here motion as a means o f the existence of matter in its spatio-temporal certainty. But to treat these attributes of matter on the same level as a "property" synonymous with objective reality, (which happens unavoidably whenever the above-mentioned attributes are integrated into the concept of matter in addition to this "property"), 7 means to overshadow the specific role the category of matter plays in philosophy, or to understate willy­ nilly the importance of the basic epistemological question. 2.

The Unity of JVIatter and Motion. Criticism of Substantialism and Relativism

In the context of the basic issue of philosophy matter is described in terms of its relation to mind, as obj ective reality given us by our sensations. Among further categorical characteristics of this obj ective reality the problem of motion is one of primary importance. Motion is the mode of existence of matter. This all-important pro­ p0sition of Dialectical Materialism sums up the quintessence of the problem of inter-relationship between matter and motion, and com­ mands far-reaching significance, methodologically. For motion re­ presents precisely the mode of existence of matter, rather than an external, even though omni-present, property of mat€�rial obj ects. The concept of motion as the mode of existence of matter implies that no material obj ect can be conceived of, even though in one's mind, in terms other than those of motion, so that anything we can say about an object in the final analysis is a disclosure of its typical movements or characteristic modes of behavior. "Bodies cannot be separated from motion," Engels averred, "their forms and kinds can only be known through motion, apart from motion, apart from any relation to other bodies, nothing can be asserted. Only in motion does a body reveal what it is . . . The knowledge of the different forms of motion is the knowledge of bodies. " s To counter this dialectico-materialist conception, the metaphysical school of thought advances two equally one-sided viewpoints. 9 First, 7 Quotation marks make sense here because "to be ob jective reality'', "to exist indepen ­ dently of mind," is not a property in the usua l sense of the word. In other words, it is not an attribute of matter as such but precisely the cha racteristic of its relation to mind. 8 K. Marx and F. Engels, Correspondence, Martin Lawrence Ltd., London, 1934, p. 322 (Russian tex t : K. Marx i F. Enge ls, Izbrannye pis'ma, Moskva, 1 948, p. 2 8 3 . ) . 9 I would like to reiterate that t h e term "metaphysical" is used in the sense o f " anti ­ dialectical." The metaphysical thinking so understood is a kind of thinking which absolutizes opposites, whereas dial ectical thinking insists on the relativity of opposite categories, and their unity.



an obj ect has a meaning by itself, apart from its characteristic move­ ments. We can, at least in principle, disregard the obj ect's particular behavior and arrive consequently at some remaining description of the obj ect as such. Consequently, motion is understood here as an externality super-imposed upon the obj ect which is conceived in principle as possessing some content independent of its mode of be­ havior. This viewpoint may be called metaphysical substantialism. It was common for the old metaphysical Materialism and found its justification in the 1 7 th-18th century level of scientific development. Indeed, as motion was understood solely as a mechanical motion, i.e., a simple displacement in space of immutable bodies, it seemed reason­ able to consider the essence of these bodies as not being determined by motion, but only taking part in it. So, metaphysical substantialism has a view of a thing or obj ect as the vehicle of motion principally ex­ ternal to it, as a substance possessed of some content independent of motion. This opinion enters into an irreconcilable conflict with the data of natural ;sciences, commencing in the latter half of the 19th and espe­ cially in the 20th century. It becomes increasingly clear that whatever natural sciences may have to say about their obj ects comes down to a manifestation of their characteristic forms of motion or modes of behavior. Metaphysical thinking, previously inclined to absolutize substance, was beginning to absolutize motion, with the result that there came about a trend which can be designated, on the whole, as idealistic Relativism. IO Science has proved the absence of any substance that was understood metaphysically, i .e., substance with content independent of motion. And so relativism comes to a total denial of substance i.e., to the statement about pure motion which, allegedly, exists without any possessor. As an illustration, it will be worthwhile to discuss a rather character­ istic way of reasoning which belongs to P . Dirac, one of the leading theoretical physicists of modern times. In a 1956 Moscow public lecture entitled "Electrons and Vacuum," Dirac posed the question : " What is an electron" ? and gave the answer, "An electron is a particle carrying an elementary negative electric charge. " "But if now," he 1 0 I don't claim that the title is felicitous without reservation, let alone singular. The conce pt discusse d can be e qually describe d as dynamism (force without matter) or as phenomenalism ( phenomenon without essence). I am concerned only with the latter 's content, not the title.



went on, "someon e asks me, "What is an elementary negative electric charge" ? " I shall be unable to say anything , except that it is what is transferred by an electron. There is a tautology which implies that we are not likely to progress by asking such questions. " " In fact, " Dirac sums up, "it is quite unimportant to know what an electron is, but only how it moves, interacts, etc. It seems analogous with the game of chess where it is altogether unimportant what the pieces are made of or what they look like, etc . , it is the laws governing their moves that matter." 11 What is right and what is wrong in this discourse ? Dirac is certainly right in pointing out the futility of any attempts to find out what an electron is, from the standpoint of metaphysical substantialism, apart from, and over and above, what the knowledge of the laws governing the movement of electrons can yield. But Dirac is wrong to assert, as when he lapses into the relativist position, that we are unable to find out what an electron is, but merely to discover the laws of its movement. This is precisely the kind of opposition rej ected in dialectics. Both Metaphysical Substantialism and Relativism (worthy to be called in this sense "inverted Substan­ tialism") proceed in fact from a common basis, namely, that a thing is substance possessing motion, independent of its content. They diverge in that the former recognizes the existence 0f such things, while the latter, rej ecting as it does substance so understood, that is, substance in general, proclaims pure, non-substantial motion to be the only existant. Without counter-opposing the questions "what is an electron ? " and "how does an electron move ? , " Dialectical Materialism maintains that the answer to the latter gives also the answer to the former. Substance, if dialectically understood, does not exist apart from motion, nor does it have any content independent of the latter ; motion is the mode of existence of substance. In attempting to solve the problem of the feedback of substance as the vehicle of motion, and motion as the mode of existence neither can be regarded as primary and the other as secondary. Here, there is no cause-and-effect relationship but one of two mutually comple­ mentary aspects of reality which permanently change places with the historic progress of man's knowledge of inexhaustible matter. The problem of the primacy of matter or motion "before each other" was approached in a well-argued fashion awhile ago by I. B. Novik '


See P. Dirac, Electrony

i vakU1tm,

Moskva, " Znanie" 1956. (Electrons and Vacuum).



and A . I . Uemov, though from a different categorical angle, namely , the angle of the categories "thing" and "relation. " 1 2 This difference is irrelevant in our case, for, if seen in the light of the problem of primacy with regard to each other, the categories of matter (material obj ect) and motion, and thing and relation are quite similar. I. B . Novik quite j ustly sums up his analysis : "Both propositions : the primacy of relations before things, or the primacy of things before relations are erroneous and represent but metaphysical extremities. While the former proposition suits to some extent the findings of natural science for it does grasp (and absolutizes) some single diminu­ tive trait of the cognitive process of today's science . . . the proposition of the primacy of thing before relation grasps and absolutizes a diminu­ tive trait of the cognitive process of the science of olden times (r8th century) when science was taking cognizance of things not yet rising to the cognition of relations." 1 3 The problem of the inter-relationship of a material obj ect (thing) and motion (behavior, relation) involves a fascinating aspect having to do with cybernetics and mathematical simulation in which the pro­ blem discussed presents itself as the issue of the relationship between the study of obj ects on the levels of their behavior (functioning) , structure (constitution) and material (substratum) . 14 Here we come to deal with the unj ust opposition of the "function­ alistic" versus "substratum-structural" approaches to the study of obj ects, especially biological ones. It is sometimes misrepresented as if there were a special method of functional research proceeding from the analysis of behavior, and another, independent of the latter, method of "substratum-structural" cognition which proceeds from the analysis of substratum and structure. A look at the history of human thought reveals that the maj or trend in n atural science in the 1 7 th, r8th and even rgth centuries was from structure to behavior. A system's structure was understood as capable of being studied per se, apart from its behavior, and it was believed that only with a foundation of the knowledge of structure and its elements could one go one step further and account for the i 2 I. B. Novik, "0 kategoriiakh 'veshch' i 'otnoshenie," (" Concerning the Categories Thing and Relation" ) , " Voprosy filosofii," 1 9 5 7 , No. 4 , p. 2 2 I . A. I. Uemov, Veshchi, svoistva, otnoshenia, ("Things, Properties, Relations" ) , Moscow, 1 9 6 3 . 1 3 I . B. Novik, ibid. 14 Further p ages ( 1 4-1 8 ) reproduce (with editorial alterations) the author's article with B.V. Biryukov "O nekotorykh gnoseologicheskikh aspektakh modelirovaniia," ("Concerning some Gnoseological Aspects of Modelling" ), Coll. "M atematicheskoe modelirovanie zhiznemiykh processov, " (" Mathematical modelling of the Process of Life" ) , Moscow, 1 9 6 8 .



behavior of the system as a whole. As was to be expected, one ex­ treme generated another. For the early 20th century saw the emer­ gence of behaviorism which set itself the task to investigate behavior exactly. As this went on, extreme behaviorists would not infrequen tly discard completely the investigation of structure. However, the controversy with behaviorism very often involves unnecessary simplifications and, if one may say so, a peculiar kind of "inverted behaviorism." In its extreme forms behavio rism absolut­ izes behavior, yet it is far from the truth to absolutize structure and support the possibility of studying it apart from the investigation of the singularities of behavior. My basic thesis is that the opposition of modelizations on levels of behavior and structure to the material is invalid. A break-down of modelization into these three levels may be feasible only within the bounds of a particular concrete research but in a broader epistemological sense it is necessary to take into account, above all, the relative character of this break-down and an intimate inter-relationship in the knowledge of the three model levels. It strikes me as dramatically inconsistent to try to remove the investigation of structure from that of behavior. The real process of scientific knowledge would demand a start from a general idea about the system and its behavior, then from the fullest pe>ssible study of this behavior and then a subsequent shift to the disclosure of structure. Mathematical models are aimed, first of all, toward the study of behavior, of the functioning of the systems being studied. However, the study of behavior assists mathematical simulation to reveal (or make a maj or contribution to revealing) what is viewed at the given stage of knowledge within the framework of the given system of abstractions as having to do with either structure or material. It should be noted that in specific case-studies there has been and will be an independent "structural" approach, proceeding from a structure already known and forecasting its basic behavior (known as the micro-approach in cybernetics) . Where the preliminary know­ ledge of structure is not available (or poor) the only possible way to know the obj ect is to investigate its behavior (cybernetically termed the macro-approach) . It follows that in the general epistemological sense the study of behavior and the subsequent disclosure of structure on the basis of this study is primary. For mankind approaches the study of any new obj ect with no preliminary knowledge about the latter's structure.



This dialectics of structure and behavior, along with the conception of motion as the mode of existence of material obj ects becomes ex­ tremely clear and pronounced in contemporary elementary particle physics. While in terms of non-relativist quantum mechanics elemen­ tary particles were thought of as something rather independent of their characteristic movements, in relativist quantum mechanics a particle cannot be presented even in thought apart from motion, apart from permanently recurrent transformations. The very structure of elementary particles is describable in terms of the relation "to transform to . . . " and appears to be something like a selection of probable behavioral modes. Gellman, Rosenfeld and Chew sound quite blunt about it : strongly interacting particles (adrons) are the off-spring of strong interaction. 1 5 This is to say that the properties of the particles, their "substantial determinateness" so to say, is determined by their characteristic strong interaction, the specific pattern of their motion. This inference is highly instructive for it gives yet another vivid proof that the spirit of dialectics is finding its way into comtemporary physics ! Incompatible though they are with Metaphysical Substantialism, these profoundly dialectical ideas set off, however, a danger of a new metaphysical absolutization emanating from Idealistic Relativism. This makes it necessary to elaborate in more detail the doctrine of Energetism, an essential variety of Idealistic Relativism. As a special philosophical trend that acts as a parasite on physics, Energetism took shape in the latter half of the rgth century, due to some special features of scientific development. In the mid-rgth century the principle of energy conservation, one of the key-principles of physics, became well-established. After the concept of energy had been developed and its conservation affirmed, it became possible to describe in fairly general terms many physical processes previously held to be vastly different from, or independent of, one another. Under this approach it became possible to abandon all attempts to study the inner mechanism of the processes then going on and describe them as processes of energy conversion. As a result, there came up in physics an extremely effective method which was termed energetic and which was soon to demonstrate its full might, first of all, in descriptive (phenomenological) thermo-dynamics, a swiftly developing science in is M. Gellman, A Rosenfeld, G. Chew, "Strongly Interacting Particles," Scientific z, p. 93. See the Russian text for this quote : " Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk," Vol. 83, part 4, p. 723. A merican 2 10, 1 964, No.


the latter half o f the rgth century. 16 It was the metaphysical absolut­ ization of the latter method which brought forth the philosophical Energetism of vV . Ostwald and E. Mach. I shall deal with this point to some length. S. I. Vavilov, in discussing the methods of theoretical physics, pointed out the three general methods according to which it operates : those of simulation hypo­ theses, of principles and of mathematical hypotheses. 1 7 For the purpose of this paper I shall discuss only the former two methods. Essentially, the method of simulation hypotheses consists in making a suggestion about some internal mechanism of the area of phenomena studied and the laws governing the component parts of this "internal mechanism , ' ' whereupon the basic characteristics o f the phenomena under study are deduced. Perhaps no better instances of the application of this method can be cited than the molecular kinetic theory (classical statistical mechanics) or electron theory (microscopic electric dynamics) both of which rest on the hypotheses of the "internal mechanism" (atomic or electron) underlying the facts observed. The method of principles involves no hypothesizing about the in­ ternal mechanisms of the phenomena being studied. It relies directly on an empirical body of facts. The latter are generalized upon and held to be principles. " In so doing the generalization is confined to an extension of the established empirical fact to a broader group of phenomena. The specific statement of the principle contains only a presentation of experience in the adequate mathematical form . " 1 8 The principles can be instanced by the law of energy conservation, the principle of permanence of the velocity of light, etc. Typical disci­ plines, built on the method of principles include, for example, phenom­ enological thermal dynamics or Maxwell's electrodynamics (macro­ scopic electrodynamics) . The great advantage attached to the method of principles is the immense staying power of the propositions it helps to attain . "The physics of principles, ' ' S. I . Vavilov pointed out, "is unassailable, for principles can be generalized, changed somewhat, or complemented but they cannot crumble completely, coming as they do from direct experience." 19 The development of physics has shown beyond doubt how fruitful are 1 6 Under somewhat different aspects the method may be termed also thermodynamic or phenomenological or, finally, the method of principles. 1 7 See S. I. Vavilov, Sobranie sochinenii. (Coll. Works), published by USSR Acad. of Sciences, 1 95 6, Vol. 3, pp. 1 5 6-67. 18 S. I. Vavilov, ibid., p. 1 5 6. 19 Ibid., p. 385.



the methods described above. The theories built o n the suggestions about the internal structure or internal mechanism of processes probe deeply into the corresponding phenomenological disciplines, so in the actual history of physics the methods of principles and hypotheses complement each other and prove equally indispensable for the sucessful development of science. Clearly, at different periods and in different research areas, either method may and often does play the leading role but this is no reason at all for absolutizing one or other of them. Paraphrasing somewhat Engels' words about the relationship of deduction and induction one can say : instead of extolling to the skies one of the methods (that of principles or of hypotheses) at the expense of the other, one would do well to learn to apply either where it belongs. Coming as it did from the absolutization of the method of principles (emergent at the time in the form of the energetic thermodynamical method) , Energetism led toward quite definite philosophical con­ clusions. The energetists spoke strongly against the recognition of the existence of atoms and declared the only obj ective of physics was to establish and describe energy correlations. Thus, Mach compared the recognition by physicists of the real existence of atoms to the medieval obscurants' belief in witches and referred to the atomistic hypothesis as a witches' sabbath. Together with atoms, Energetism rej ected the possibility of any vehicle of material energy, for energy was proclaimed as existing in itself, and, therefore, it required no vehicle whatsoever. Surprisingly, the energetists never considered themselves idealists : Energetism , they reiterated, stood above Materialism and Idealism as though bridging the gap between them. V. I. Lenin laid bare the flagrant inconsistency and falsity of these contentions. 2 0 To be sure, Lenin noted, both materialistic and ideal­ istic lines are describable in energetist terms (with greater or lesser consistency) . If we declare all being to be but energy and proclaim energy to be but substance and recognize that the substance exists apart from, and independent of, consciousness, we remain still on the grounds of Materialism, though of a desultory and inconsistent kind of Materialism. The well-defined term designating obj ective reality the term "matter" - we have changed to the term "energy," ambiguous in this particular usage. However, when the energetists admitted the concept of energy to philosophical usage, they did so by no means in order 2 0 V. V ol 14,


I. Lenin, Materialism and E mpirio-criticism, Chapter Moscow, 1 962.




Collected Works,



to have it designate an obj ective source of knowledge but only i n order to confuse, under a plausible pretext, the question as to whether or not such a source exists. Thus they postulated with metaphysical hypertrophy the impossi­ bility, that was evidently revealed by science with increasing depth, of obj ects existing apart from motion. The energetists declared motion to be the only thing that exists, thus claiming to have over­ come the opposition between Materialism and Idealism. In his critique of W. Ostwald, one of the founders of Energetism, V. I. Lenin noted "Ostwald endeavored to avoid this inevitable philosophical alternative (Materialism or Idealism) by an indefinite use of the word "enc gy, " but this very endeavor only goes to prove once again the futi1ity of such artifices. If energy is motion, you have only changed the question, does matter move ? into the question, is energy material ? D JeS the transfo_-mation of energy take place outside my mind, ind epe'ndently of man and mankind, or are these only ideas, symbols, conventional signs, and so forth ? " 21 Thus, the attempt by the energists to present energy as a fundamental philosophical category serves little purpose and doesn't deserve criti­ cism from either the philosophical, or physical viewpoint. The concept of energy fails to overcome the opposition of matter versus conscious­ ness ; it represents, in effect, every ill-conceived . attempt (using ungainly means) to entangle and camouflage the divergent views. Equally incorrect, from a viewpoint of physics, are the attempts to propose energy as the one and only obj ect of physical research because as we have seen these attempts have their source in the meta­ physical absolutization of the role assigned to the energy method in physical studies. Energetism as a special philosophical trend that came about in the late rgth-early 20th century suffered a complete fiasco. The progress of physics surged forward in a way that made its leaders admit the futility of their claims. As was noted earlier, the rej ection of matter by energetists found its specific expression in the rej ection by them of the real existence of atoms and molecules and, accordingly, in their unyielding resistance to the molecular kinetic theory and statistical mechanics based on this theory. The splendid works of A . Einstein and M . Smolukhovsky on the Brownian movement proved with unchal­ lenged finality the real existence of atoms and molecules. 21 V.

I. Lenin, ibid.,

pp. 2 70-7 1 .



Nowadays, any talk of Energetism as an integral philosophical doctrine would be an essay in futility. All one can speak of are the prejudices of Energetism, whether arising from a misunderstanding or philosophically ill-defined terminology, or as a manifestation of the general tendency of idealistic Relativism of which Energetism was but a representation at the turn of the 20th century. 3.

The Concept of the Forms of the Motion of Matter

The consistent conception of motion as the mode of existence of matter would dema11d of necessity an overcoming of the simplified meta­ physical views of motion as only a displacement in space, which came about in the 17th-18th centuries through the rapid progress of mechan­ ics. The view of motion as only a mechanical motion renders impossible the conception of motion as the mode of existence of material obj ects. It can be asserted that any material obj ect moves and that motion and matter are actually always interconnected, yet this interconnection will still be understood as an externality in relation to a material ob­ j ect whose most fundamental properties will be considered as capable of being also conceived independently of a recurrent movement in space. The conception of motion as the mode of existence of matter necessarily pre-supposes, therefore, the recognition of the qualitative diversity of motion itself and the recognition of the existence of qualitatively distinct kinds or forms of motion. "Motion in the most general sense, " Engels said, "conceived as the mode of existence, the inherent attribute of matter, comprehends all changes and processes occurring in the universe, from mere change of place right up to thinking. ' ' 2 2 F. Engels, for the first time in the history of philosophical and scien­ tific thought, developed the concept of forms of motion of matter, and worked out the general problems of their interrelations and attempted to bring them under some classification, based on the data of his contemporary science. The key-idea permeating F. Engels' concept is the recognition of the qualitative distinction of various forms of motion of matter and the discovery of their genetic and structural relations with one another. This fundamental idea did and does have a fundamental methodological significance, and hence, further on, I shall concern myself precisely with it. 22 K. Marx-F. Engels, ( Collected Works) . (cf. Russian text : K. Marx i F. Engels, Sochineniia, 2nd ed. Vol. 20, p. 39i.)



The essence of the dialectical solution to the problem of the inter­ relationship between the higher and lower forms of motion lies in recognizing the unity of the opposites : the qualitative distinctio n of a higher form, and an unbreakable liason of a higher with a lower form. The dialectical concept of the forms of motion appears here, (the same as in other similar problem areas) , against metaphysically lop-sided tendencies which absolutize one of the opposites and rej ect their unity as well. In the problem now being reviewed these metaphysical tenden­ cies are : I . Denial of the qualitative distinction of the higher form of motion and "reduction" of the higher form to the lower one. 2. Absolutization of the qualitative distinction of the higher form of motion and the latter's alienation from its associated lower forms of motion. The former tendency became known as Mechanicism or Reductionism (without drawing a distinction between them) ; the latter as anti­ reductionism. I propose to discriminate between Reductionism and Mechanicism by approaching the latter as the denial of the qualitative distinction of more complex material formations, and a "reduction" of the more complex to simple elements. This occurs when one factually denies the distinction of the more complex, i . e . , a "reduction" of the whole to a sum of its component parts, and so on. It is reasonable to distinguish the "reduction" from the theoretical deduction (explanation) of the qualitative specificity of complex formations ("higher forms of motion") on the basis of the fundamental laws of the lower levels ("lower forms of motion") . The doctrine that puts forth a thesis which does not at all deny the qualitative specificity of more complex formations is one that well-deserves the name of Reductionism. The distinction of Mechanicism and Reductionism makes necessary a more differential approach to the critique of Mechanicism. In our philosophical literature one often comes across a simplified character­ istic of Mechanicism when the tag is hung on any attempt to account for the specific regularities of more complex forms of motion in terms of more simple ones. First of all, this mode of explanation begins to reduce, and to deny the qualitative features to its corresponding higher form. But this point of view comes close to yet another metaphysical tendency, namely, the absolutization of qualitative specificity, and thus closes the door to the latter's scientific elucidation. For example, one can read in a philosophical paper : " Smart's Mechanicism," wherein this point is clearly shown by the following



contention : " Of course, chemistry is not a fundamental science like physics because we hope to have all chemical laws explained away, eventually, in terms of physics, much like the quantum theory pro­ vided an account for the chemical bond. " 2 3 But there is not a shred of Mechanicism seen in Smart's inference cited above. Without rej ecting chemical laws, he shows his assurance that they can be explained "in terms of physics." Further, to support his idea, Smart instances the explanation of the chemical bond through the quantum theory. But is it not apparent that this explanation, far from rej ecting the chemical bond as a qualitatively specific phenomenon of nature, seeks to ex­ plain it, to reveal its inherent character ? The progress of natural science over the past two decades has made very acute the necessity to go a step further. From an oversimplified critique of mechanicism, as a number of our philosophers or natural scientists used to do under the banner of guarding the qualitative distinction of the higher forms of motion, they fall actually into the metaphysical absolutization of this distinction. I will note also that the opposition to new scientific theories, not infrequently recurrent under the banner of fighting against Mechani­ cism, engenders among some natural scientists a tendency to rej ect the dialectical concept of the forms of the motion of matter. So, the further progress of both philosophy and natural science demands a serious analysis into the relationships of the higher and lower forms of the motion of matter. In order to clarify the point at issue, it is necessary to examine historically Mechanicism and the part it played in the course of the development of knowledge. It should not be forgotten that dialectics is not only opposed to Mechanicism, but also to the other, equally dangerous, metaphysical concept of anti-reductionism which ab­ solutizes the qualitative distinction of more complex material forma­ tions. In the context of animate and inanimate nature, (where both metaphysical extremities come in to their own) , this latter concept is known as Vitalism. It postulates that life is so specific that it renders physical and chemical laws totally incapable of shedding any light whatsoever upon vital phenomena, with the result that the latter's essence cannot be fathomed, except through an entirely new system 2 3 A. A. Glukhova, A. M. Dzhigaev, Znachenie leninskogo analiza revolutsii v fizike dlia bor'by protiv "fizicheskogo idealisma i mechanitsisma," Moscow, 1962, p. 204. (Tr. : The Meaning of Lenin's A nalysis of Revolution in Physics in the struggle against " Physical Idealism and M echanicism.").



o f concepts. Such a system is based on the concept of some vital force which acts against the laws of physics and chemistry. In order to assess properly the comparative contribution of Mecha­ nicism and Vitalism in the progress of science, it should be pointed out that at a certain stage of scientific progress the role of Mechanicism was historically progressive. The dialectico-materialist teaching about the forms of the motion of matter declares that the higher forms of motion of matter, though featuring a qualitative distinction, always contain inside themselves elements of lower forms. With regard to mechanical motion, Engels said bluntly that every higher form of the motion of matter involves a moment of mechanical displacement. And, therefore, this is the first-priority goal of science but, however, only its first-priority goal. And there has always been a revelation of this moment of mechanical displacement in more complex areas of nature. Hence, the initial step of genuinely scientific cognition has always consisted and will consist in science seeking to reveal in more complex forms, instead of a purely verbal emphasis of the qualitative distinc­ tions of these formations, those elements of simple forms which are necessarily inherent in them. Hence, we note the progressive role of Mechanicism compared with Vitalism in the historical progress of science since it demanded an investigation into the physico-chemical fundamentals- underlying vital processes. In lieu of the plausible explanation which Vitalism was soon to provide, using the vital force and other similar notions, Mechanicism came forward with a real explanation. However it is true that this explanation failed to comprehend all vital phenomena. Mechanicism erred inasmuch as it pushed forward its explanations as all-embracing, but yet, it did grasp really rather than fictitiously some actual occur­ rences which it explained through facts, and not exclusively by words. Therefore, at the early developmental stages of a particular science Mechanicism had, indeed, a progressive role to play, though sooner or later the actual progress of the content of science is bound to enter into a conflict with this constricted point of view, and to lead to a revelation of the qualitative distinction which cannot be fitted into the rigid framework of the mechanistic outlook. From that moment onward, it is the opposition of Reductionism versus Anti-Reductionism which comes to the fore. The basic question arising for Reductionism, as I understand it, is not a question about the existence of the qualitative specificity of more complex material formations (the l atter's recognition is the point of departure and the



initial premise o f both Reductionism and Anti-Reductionism) , but rather about the nature of this specificity. It is either something primary, original and inferrable from nowhere (Anti-Reductionism) or else it requires an explanation, and ought to be "reduced," (not in the sense of being dismissed, but in the sense of being theoretically de­ duced) , to the lower and more fundamental levels. Reductionism con­ stitutes the precise doctrine which teaches that the qualitative distinc­ tion of complex material formations should not be merely postulated, nor introduced at will on the strength of shallow observations. This position manifests a shallow declaration of the difference of one obj ect area from another. But, this position should be properly understood as a result of the legitimate process whereby more simple material formations add up to complexity, as a result of the dialectical process of change of quantitative into qualitative distinctions. The successful solution of the problem of relations of the higher and lower forms of motion pre-supposes a true comprehension of one more proposition not often emphasized enough in our literature. The point at issue is the so-called principal and subsidiary forms of motion. F. Engels notes in the Dialectics of Nature: . . . the higher forms of motion simultaneously also produce other forms, and . . . chemical action is not possible without change of temperature and elect ic changes, organic life without mechanical, molecular, chemical, thermal , electric, etc . , changes. But the presence of these subsidiary forms docs not exhaust the essence of the main form in each case.' ' 2 4 This p u­ position by F. Engels is interpreted by and large in such a way that, for example, the chemical form of motion appears to have principal content independent of the physical form and its regularities, (of the laws of quantum mechanics in the given case) . On the other hand, the physical form and its regularities (those of quantum mechanics ) possesses some subsidiary content of the chemical form of motion. Again there is a principal content in the biological form of motion which is independent from the physico-chemical laws, and the latter is some subsidiary element in the vital processes. Such a stand is signally at odds with the actual content of science. The laws of quantum mechanics by no means constitute the subsidiary content of chemical processes, for it is on the basis of these laws that the latter's distinctions are to be accounted for. Nor do the physico-chemical regularities constitute the subsidiary content of vital processes, bu t again provide the basis for explaining the essence of life. "

24 K. Marx i F. Engels, op. cit. , p. 5 6 3 .



The approach to the relation of the higher and lower forms of the motion in nature as that of the principal versus subsidiary is contrary to fact, nor does it belong to F. Engels but is in fact a distortion of his actual views. None other but Engels himself, as he revealed the inter-relationship of chemistry and biology, argued, " . . . chemistry leads to organic life, and it has gone far enough to assure us that it alone will explain to us the dialectical transition to the organism. " 2 5 In my view it is very difficult to interpret Engels' statement as pro­ claiming that chemical regularities are the subsidiary content of biological processes. I maintain that the customary interpretation of Engels' thesis about the principal and subsidiary form does not correspond with the actual content of his concept of the forms of motion . There must be two, clearly distinguishable aspects to the relation of the higher and lower forms of motion. Under the first aspect, the lower forms of motion simultaneously appear also as fundamental, and the higher forms as derivative, to be developed from, and explained through, the funda­ mental forms. This aspect can be called the aspect of fundamentality­ derivation. The conception of the relation of the higher and lower forms of motion in nature (under this aspect) as that of the principal and subsidiary forms will be a profound error. Such a mistake appears as a metaphysical anti-reductionist absolutization of. the qualitative distinction of the higher forms. For the biological form of motion, it will be a mistake which Vitalism makes. Furthermore, there is another aspect which can be called the aspect of coexistence of the higher and lower forms of motion. It consists, largely, in that the higher form of motion, besides its peculiar actions (making up precisely its chief content) , produces also some individual, relatively independent effects characteristic of the corresponding lower forms. These effects, viewed precisely as relatively independent are, of course, subsidiary and "do not cover in full the essence of the chief form in each case under review." Thus, in chemical processes, besides 25 Ibid., p. 564 . I should like to refer to I. V. Kuznetsov who holds a similar position toward the question of principal importance discussed herein. He says "lower forms are those of which higher forms are made up or constructed and without which it h ardly makes sense to speak at all about the existence of the higher forms . . . The basic physical forms of motion, far from being 'subsidiary,' are fundamental, basic to all matrial processes without exception." (" Uchenie Engel'sa o formakh dvizheniia materii i sovremennoie estest­ voznanie ' Voprosy filosofii, ' " r970, No . 2, p. 7 r ) . Somewhat objectionable is I. V. Kuznetsov's solution of a non-principal question : " Is the term 'subsidiary form of motion' to be preserved ?" I. V. Kuznetsov decides to give it up. To my mind, in the context of co-existence of the higher and lower forms the term "subsidiary form" can be maintained.



the chief result of producing new substances, there will always be present some relatively independent effects in the form of some thermal changes, e .g. , temperature changes, heat emission, etc. and also some mechanical occurrences, volumetric changes, mass transfer, etc. Certainly, these effects per se fail to reveal the specific character of chemical processes. They are the latter's side-effects. But it is equally certain that the relation of the principal, specific content and the side­ effects is but one, and not even the non-principal, aspect in the inter­ relationships of the higher and lower forms. It gives me great satisfaction to note the "rehabilitation" of Re­ ductionism now occurring. In addition to the above-mentioned article of I . V. Kuznetsov, it will be of great interest to consider in this con­ text Academician V.A. Engelgardt's address to the Second All-Union Conference on the Philosophical Issues of Contemporary Natural Science. V. A . Engelgardt, in my view, noted quite j ustly, " Reductionism, at the present time, requires no defense or argumentation to prove its validity. These proofs are given by the entire totality of contemporary biological research which represents, in effect, none other but the triumphant passage of the reductionist principle. " 26 V . A. Engelgardt goes on to formulate the doctrine of integratism, its foremost goal being " a transition from Reductionism which rests on the dismemberment of the complex and the study of the simplest components, to the knowledge of the regularities of biological organi­ zation. " 27 It will be pertinent to note here that V. A. Engelgardt never s eparates Integratism from Reductionism but .. on the contrary, emphasizes that " Integratism is to be evolved from Reductionism, proceeding from the latter's results. " 2 8 Nevertheless, it seems doubt­ less to me that V. A. Engelgardt's usage of the term " Reductionism" operates essentially in two different senses. Reductionism as the " dismemberment of the complex and the study of the simplest components" is not the reductionist principle whose "triumphant passage" he lauded above. Reductionism as a methodo­ logically fruitful doctrine never confined itself to "the study of the simplest components. " In fact, this study constitutes the first ste p along the road of Reductionism, whereas its chief obj ective consists 2 6 V. A. Engelgardt, lntegratism - put'ot prostogo k slozhnomu v poznanii iavlenii zhizni• Moscow, 1 970, p. 9. (Tr. : Integratism - From Simple to Complex Modes of Cognition in the Phenomena of Life.) . 21 Ibid., p . 2 I . (Italics mine 2s Ibid.




in the theoretical reconstruction of a more complex obj ect area on th e basis of the previously revealed laws of a more simple area. Reduc­ tionism sets out to deditce theoretically the complex from the simple with the result that it simply cannot have its limit in the "study of the simplest components." Whatever is called " Integratism" by V. A. Engelgardt is the necessary (and the staple) proposition of the re­ ductionist doctrine. Of course, no one can forbid the use of the word " Reductionism" in the narrow sense either, as is the case in V. A. Engelgardt's words which I italicized, but then any talk of its "triumphant passage" would be far-fetched. Where Reductionism passes triumphantly, it does so as the program of explanation for the most intimate and specific regularities of life, and on the basis of the fundamental physical laws, and not as "the study of the simplest components. " The doctrine o f Reductionism, a s I attempted t o describe it, con­ stitutes the basic, methodological content of the materialist concept of the forms of the motion of matter and is intimately linked with the eternal urge of human knowledge toward unity. Of course, abstractly speaking, there is nothing as impossible as this in the principal non-uniformity of scientific cognition . However, throughout the entire history of human knowledge there has been in the forefront the ideal of the unity of knowledge ; and this ideal has played a highly productive part, methodologically. The doctrine of Reductionism (if dialectically, not mechanistically understood) is a doctrine, I presume, most con­ sistent with the aspiration toward the unity of scientific knowledge. The anti-reductionist proposition which recognizes the equal foun­ dation of physics and biology, to my mind, would be hard to dovetail into the trend toward the unity of knowledge. The issues discussed above lead to some conclusions. r . The dialectico-materialist conception of matter continues to be the principal tradition of the materialist trend in philosophy, and simultaneously overcomes the approach to matter, characteristic of it in the past, through an absolute proto-matter. It is exactly the philosophical content of "proto-matter" that one singles out in the dialectico-materialist concept of matter. At the same time it rej ects on principle (because of the inexhaustability of matter) any attempt to present properties previously discovered by science (and con­ sidered fundamental at the present-day level of knowledge) as being universal to matter in general. This is a vivid manifestation of the



essence of dialectico-materialist philosophy which has always taken a stand against imposing any dogmatic schemes on developing science. z . The dialectico-materialist proposition of the unity of matter and motion as the mode of existence of matter, levelled against the meta­ physically lop-sided concepts of Substantialism and Relativism, lies in the basic tendencies of contemporary scientific knowledge, represent­ ing the latter's foremost methodological principle. 3 . The dialectico-materialist concept of the forms of the motion of matter, once it is interpreted, as I have attempted to do here, namely, as the doctrine of dialectically conceived Reductionism, allows one to gain a clear view of the problem of the inter-relationship of physics and biology, a staple of modern natural science, and charts the ways for their further progress that are most consistent with the trend toward the unity of scientific knowledge.


E. V.

I L' E N K O V

What is the "universal" ? What should one understand by this word if vagueness and misunderstanding are to be avoided at least while reading two adjacent paragraphs ? In the literal sense of the word "vseobshchee" (universal) means "obshchee vsem" (common to all) . "Vsem" (all) stands for the individuals whose infinite multitude makes up the first-glance impression of the world we live in or speak about. But this is perhaps all that is indisputable and similarly understood by one and all about the "universal. " Leaving aside for now the properly philosophical controversies about the "universal," it will be noted that the very term "obshchee" (universal) is applied rather haphazardly in living language because it has among its "denotations" not only differ­ ent or non-coincident, but directly opposite and mutually exclusive, obj ects and designations. The Dictionary of the Modern Russian Lan­ guage recounts twelve such meanings, with two hardly compatible ones found at the extremes of the spectrum. "Common," even though to some two, not to mention "all, " is that which belongs to the com­ position of either, as does the quality of being bipedal and mortal to Socrates and Caius or velocity to electron and train, and cannot exist separately from these two individuals. Also understood as " common" is that which exists apart from these two individuals, precisely as a thing or yet another individual, like common ancestor, common - one for two (for all) , field, common motor-car or kitchen, common friend or acquaintance, and so on, and so forth. Apparently, the same word, the same "sign" does not serve in these cases to designate at all the same thing. Whether this should be re­ garded as one of the "imperfections" of the natural language or, con­ trariwise, the advantage of flexibility that the natural language has over the rigid definitions of artificial languages, this remains a fact and a fairly typical one, and, therefore, calls for an explanation . In the case of the absolute non-ambiguity of a term, the definition



(and application) is assumed for the ideal of the " language of science. " The science which seeks an accurate definition o f universal logical cate­ gories is duty-bound to come to terms with this "ambiguity" of the term "common" in the living language, - at least, in order not to be misunderstood whenever the "common" and "general" come under discussion. Of course, the fact of ambiguity can be merely brushed off by as­ suming one of the opposite meanings for the initial one and declaring the other as illegitimate and, subsequently, discarding it on account of the "non-scientific character" of the natural language. But then one would have to coin another term, another "sign" to designate this "il­ legitimate" meaning and thereupon try to clarify the relationship of the newly-devised sign to the term "common, ' ' i . e . , to revive, even though in a different verbal form, the former problem. Let us make an assumption and grant that one can use "common" as connoting solely the abstract oneness, the identical, or the "invariant" which can be revealed in the composition of two (or more) sensuously perceived individual "facts" ("extra-lingual facts") . Let us further assume that it has been agreed upon not to use (nor to imply) the mean­ ing that the word has in the word combinations "common field,'' "common ancestor," "common friend (foe) , ' ' and so on. Then, the word is quite plainly used to define a solitary obj ect (individual) which exists and is conceived apart from, and independently of, the indivi­ duals to which it presents itself as something "common. " Assuming further that w e have also ruled out o f "scientific language" expressions such as "Zhuchka is a dog,'' "logic is a science, ' ' where the common (in the sense we made legitimate) appears also as the direct definition of an i ndividual (particular) thing or obj ect presented in contemplation (in "sensation, " in imagination, in fact , anywhere but in the language) and we will go on to use the cumbersome verbal con­ structions invented for this purpose by "relational logic." Then it would seem as if the difficulties concerned with the relationship of the "common" to the "individual" would vanish from our language, and would no longer be expressed in it . And j ust that. For they all will remain and reappear under a somewhat different cloak, as difficulties concerning the relationship of "language in general" to "extra-lin­ guistic facts. " And this admission wouldn't make them any easier to handle or solve. Once again they would arise in "language" striving to express ' 'extra-linguistic facts. ' ' W e shall not analyze i n more detail those innumerable and fruitless



attempts to settle the logical problem (of defining the "common") through its replacement by another one concerned with the techniques of expression in a "language" of "extra-linguistic facts" : the techniques capable, allegedly, of sparing the intellect the difficulties concerned with the inter-relationship of the "common" and the "individual," and from the "ambiguities" and "dubieties" of the natural language. The entire lengthy and rather ill-famed case-history of neo-positivism comes down to a kind of reciprocal refutation and back-biting. This belated attempt to refurbish nominalism with all its metaphysics (and the interpretation of the obj ect of thinking as an unbound sea of "at­ omized facts,") rejecting (on grounds totally unknown) the obj ective reality of the common and the universal, has proven with sufficient clarity that the solution sought-for cannot be found along these lines. The "natural language, " in any case, does not exclude the reality of the "common" outside the language ; as a result, Plato's or Hegel's metaphysics is expressible in this language in no less correct terms than the metaphysics of neo-positivism. Natural language at least allows us to express in words the problem which the "language of science" is vainly attempting to rule out by declaring it "inexpressible." Yet the "language of science" comes back to it continually in round-about ways by formulating it inadequately or transporting it to the plane of pure psycho-physiology or linguistics, - as a problem· of the relation­ ship of the verbal sign to its "meaning . " For example, the proponents of the language of science try to express the sum-total of the individual, the once-given and unique "experiences," i . e . , the fleeting "states" of the psychophysiology of the human individual. If so formulated, the issue of the essence of the "common" (universal) becomes irrelevant, but this would be merely to surrender to the prob­ lem, not to resolve it. In real life (not least of all the life of a theorist) and, therefore, in the living language called upon to express this life, the problem of the universal and its relationship to the individual by no means disappears. But then it is pertinent to ask : is it possible to find out anything about the two extreme - and mutually exclusive - meanings of the word " common," equally valid by virtue of their presence in the living language, and to discover what they have in common, i . e . , to find out the source of this difference of meanings ? The way that the word's interpretation has been proclaimed as "singularly correct" in the tradition of formal logic makes this impos­ sible ; in other words, no such "common feature" in the definition of



either meaning of the term " common" can be discovered. It is clear nevertheless, and even to neo-positivists, the staunchest supporters of the above tradition, that in the latter case, just as in so many others, we are dealing with relative words, much like human relatives, which may have nothing in common, and still bear - with equal right - the same family name. Such a relationship between the terms of the "natural language" was recorded by L. Wittgenstein as fairly typical : Churchill-A has with Churchill-B the family likenesses a, b , c ; Churchill-B shares with Churchill-C the features b, c, d ; Churchill-D has as few as one single feature in "common" with Churchill-A while Churchill-£ and Church­ ill-A have not even one feature, nothing whatever in common, except their name, and their common ancestor, we should add. I n this case it is crystal-clear that the character of the common an­ cestor and the founder of the Churchill family will be hard to recon­ struct by abstracting those - and only those - "common features" which were genetically conserved by all his descendants. These com­ mon features are simply non-existent. Meanwhile the common name, the proof of the common origin, is there. Much the same is true of the very term "common." The original meaning of the word cannot be reconstructed through a purely formal j uncture of "features" into one family, or bringing into one "kin" all descendant terms, for, by way of expanding the analogy, Churchill­ Alpha would have to be portrayed as an individual both fair- and dark­ not fair-haired) ; big and little ; snub- and hook-nosed and haired ( so on. But this is where the analogy ends up in all likelihood, for at the sources of the kin-family there are always two genetical lines, so that Churchill-Alpha is not to blame for more than 50 per cent of the family likenesses in his direct descendants. Which ones in particular ? That is the question which purely formal means will perhaps fail to answer. The situation with relative terms is somewhat different. For the ancestor, as a rule, hardly ever dies but continues his life side-by-side with his descendants, as does an individual with other individuals ; the question here boils down to finding out, among the available partic­ ular individuals, the one who preceded in birth all the others and was able, therefore, to give birth to the rest. This comes about without any contribution on the part of the second, extraneous genetical line and one which could be held responsible for the emergence of "common features" incompatible in any one person ; and so their relation to one another will be that of a purely logical negation. =



Among the " features" o f the common ancestor who continues alive amidst his posteriors, one is bound to suggest an ability to generate something contrary to himself - the ability to generate both, a big man (relative to himself) and, on the contrary, a little man (again relative to himself) . Logically, this leads one to infer that the "common ancestor" may well be visualized as an individual of medium height, with a straight nose and light grey hair, i.e., one who "combines, " even though potentially, contrasting definitions ; or who contains inside himself as though in a state of solution or mixture - this trait and that, its di­ rect opposite. Thus, grey color can be easily thought of as a mixture of black and white, i.e., as black and white simultaneously, in the same person, and at the same time to boot. There is virtually nothing here incompatible with the "good sense" which positivists like to recruit as their ally in their attacks against dialectical logic. Nevertheless, this is the one point about which there appears to be two distinctly incompatible viewpoints in logic, especially in trying to understand the "common" (universal) . One is that of dialectics, and, the other that which stipulates the ultimately formal conception of the problem of the "common" and is unwilling to admit into logic the idea of evolution as being organically linked to the concept of substance both in essence and in origin. I stress an evolution linked to the concept of substance, i.e., the principle of the genetic similaFity of phenomena which at first glance one puts down as basically heterogeneous, be­ cause of the failure to find any abstract common "features" between them. This fact accounts for the inimical, not to say spitefully annoyed, attitude of the neo-positivist leaders to this respectable category. Precisely this proposition was seen by Hegel, for one, as the point of divergence, the parting of the ways between dialectical (or "specula­ tive" in his terms of reference) and purely formal thinking. It was this kind of understanding that he identified as the profound and ample advantage of Aristotle's mind over the minds of those of his followers in the field of Logic who have presumed and are presuming themselves to be the singularly legitimate heirs of Aristotle in the field of Logic while declaring invalid the line of development of Spinoza, Hegel and Marx : "Was nun das Verhaltnis dieser drei Seelen ist, wie man sie nennen kann, indem man sie j edoch mit Unrecht so scheidet, so bemerkt Aristoteles hieriiber ganz richtig, dass nicht eine Seele zu suchen sei, welche das Gemeinschaftliche derselben sei und in keiner bestimmten und einfachen Form einer j ener Seelen gemass sei, - als Teile verschiedener Wesen . Dies ist eine tiefe Bemerkung, wodiirch sich das wahrhaft spekulative Denken unterscheidet vom bloss logisch-



formellen Denken . . . ' Wie unter den Figuren auch rmr y through the definitio n : x > y 3z(x y + z) , we are able thereupon to substitute in the appropriate con­ texts for the expression 3 z (x y + z) the expression x > y. Following substituti on in the theorem's formulations of 3z(x y + z) by x > y we can go on to apply them to other objects introduced by definitions . The justification of the sense and validity of a hypothetical obj ect after it has been introduced by an E-operator (procedure /c/) suggests proving its existence or proving the Gilbert E-theorem in relation to the obj ect introduced with the aid of an E-operator. With the proof in hand, we can make certain that this obj ect may not be necessary and, consequently, it may as well be introduced. The theorem, the same as the definition with the sign - , contains simultaneously the Intro­ duction and Elimination procedures of an abstract obj ect. To give an instance of elimination of higher-level abstractions and their corresponding terms (procedure /d/) , one can refer to the reduc­ tion of abstraction Sin to function Sin x, i . e . , to a definite context with a variable. The resultant expression of the function's expansion into the corresponding series may be substituted for the expression Sin x ; or pre-assigned by a table together with the tabulation procedures. The abstraction of a class, a multitude of objects that comes about through an identification abstraction, may be eliminated by exemplification . I ndeed, this is exemplified by the corresponding object being converted into a class element in the course of abstraction. Accordingly, the meaning of the term for the abstraction is reduced to that of some names for individuals. Furnishing examples has been found to be notably effective in clari­ fying the meanings of higher-level abstraction. In these instances, the case is built on the familiar obj ects of a lower level of abstraction. I n order to clear up the meanings of the terms corresponding to the primitive concepts and objects of a theory, it is necessary to go beyond the limits of the theory and to analyze the construction techniques of abstractions and idealizations, taking as a basis, in the last analysis, immediate experience and practice. In order to j udge the degree of similarity of various abstraction elimination techniques, one has to depend on a sequence of typical examples, for which primitive examples are those taken to describe the properties and methods of operating with material obj ects. Thus, for the purpose of elucidating the meanings of figures corresponding to the natural series of numbers, we can turn t o the case-history of counting, with its reliance, throughout its develop=






ment, on the establishment of a one-to-one corresponden ce between sets of material obj ects. With an interpretation readily available (procedure /e/) , the formal system begins to make sense or acquires meaning. This implies that the formal system, far from being a futile game of symbols, provides media in which to fix rigidly the firmly-set constructive essence of some theo­ ries containing content. Sometimes, in order to clear up the meanings of terms, one has to eliminate not only a given term alone, but the entire context which provides the introduction media for the given term (procedure /f/) . Thus, it is impossible directly to eliminate abstraction + , Sin, unless these are made easily eliminable after they have been introduced into the context of variables ( + , Sin x) ; it is impossible to calculate the sum a + b for any natural numbers a and b unless we substitute natural numbers for the former. We can compute the function Sin x for any x (even though approximately in some cases) , thus reducing the expres­ sion Sin x to different numbers. The problem herein i s to identify the context types and take them as a basis for formulating a limited num­ ber of their Elimination Procedures. Procedure /g/ appears as the most general and primitive of all (in the epistemological sense) , though perhaps not sufficiently constructive. As one particular abstract theory is applied to solve the problems of another, less abstract theory and, in the long run, as theory is applied to practice, this involves respectively either a reduction of the abstrac­ tion level or an all-out elimination of abstractions and idealizations (universals) . In the latter case, we make the most of it by validating the universals that have been introduced and, what is more, penetrating to the meaning of their corresponding terms. Thus, after an abstract theory has been applied to them, objects, exemplify immediately the meaning of the corresponding terms. Already in making drawings, diagrams or graphs, the points without extension come to be identified with areas having some extension, moments with intervals, and so on . Let us note that theprocess of the effective application of a mathemati­ cal theory for findingsolutions to various problems (and the importance of this application is to achieve immediate practical ends) is not in it­ self sufficient for its comprehension . As a result, one is compelled to go into the theory's interpretation, specification of its basic notions, abstractions and idealizations on the basis of the once accepted inter­ pretation. Notwithstandin g, for example, that the differential calculus of Newton and Leibnitz lent itself to the solution of a great variety of



problems, 0 . Cochi outlined and executed an extensive program to j ustify and update the basic concepts of mathematical analysis, and developed a sound interpretation of these, which involved an ascription of rational meanings to some abstractions, like an infinitesimally small value limit, etc. Similarly, the introduction into mathematics of im­ aginary numbers was carried somewhat further than merely stating their utility for working out some problems, previously thought to be unworkable, and yet, induced mathematicians to delve into their inter­ pretation (ascription of rational sense to them) . It is our feeling that in the process of reduction of the obj ects inductively introduced, or of con­ cepts introduced by means of clear definitions, some part of the latter's content is lost, at least as regards the effectiveness of the operation pro­ cedures �ith the obj ects whose formulations incorporate them. We included these complex obj ects and concepts into the contexts to be eliminated for the elementary obj ects of which they are built up. This may be the reason why the condition of the inter-translatability of the terms Dfd and Dfn in any contexts of theory is irrelevant to the concepts clearly introduced (Dfd Dfn) . Assume that given below is the definition of the relation "less" 't/x't/y(x < y) 3z (z "* o " y = x + z) . Once this expression is true for any x and y, so it is also for some a and �· Then : a < � 3 z (z "* o " � = a + z) . Assume there is the context, "The expression a < � contains three signs, a, < , � . " Substitution of Dfn for Dfd in such a context is hardly conceivable because the substitution will result not in a genuine con­ text, but in a false one : "3z(z "* o " � = a + z) contains three signs a, < , �" is false. It will be desired, therefore, to formulate the concept of the "standard" context in which the rule of translatability for Dfd and Dfn is properly met. A function so computable in the common case is not generally, but only partially, recursive, i.e. , sometimes incalculable. Accordingly, a definite algorithm, with a fairly general (formulation) , may not lead to the ultimate result at some values of its parameters, nor can the algorithm's application be completed on all occasions. The concept of a calculable function includes within itself the constraint indicated above. Thus, it is not in any context that some function f (x1, . . . , Xn ) is defini­ tive and permits substitution by its meaning (for we are unable to: reduce the sense of the corresponding expression to an obj ect exemplifying the sense) . Therefore, the condition of elimination or reduction of higher-level =





abstractions, and conversion of complex objects to simpler ones in all contexts is too rigid. In order to clear up the sense of semiotic expres­ sions and justify universals it is enough to have available the instances where the latter's elimination is accomplished. There is an established trend in mathematics which attempts as its basic goal the attenuation of the level of primitive abstractions and idealization s. Such is constructive mathematics in which the abstrac­ tion of actual infinity gives place to that of potential feasibility. This provides a basis for giving new interpretations to the abstractions of a point, infinitesimally small, etc. This involves assigning more rational meanings to the corresponding terms, makes possible their interpreta­ tion in a more natural fashion and leads to attaining constructive feasibility of those objects which mathematics has to operate with. Let us note that the very concept of Introduction and Elimination Pro­ cedures is made more precise in mathematic al logic . In some theories, In­ troduction and Elimination Procedures receive a clear formulation (e.g. , G. Henzen's natural calculus or the conversion calculus of A. Church) . Given below are some general comments concerning the sense com­ prehension of semiotic expressions in scientific theories. (4,4) I n t r o d u c t i o n P r o c e d u r e s of semiotic expressions in scientif­ ic theories are varied and many. At the empirical leve_l the introduction of new semiotic expressions has as an aim to shorten the description of experimental results (observation and experiment) , or, on some occa­ sions, to curtail the description of a known totality of measuring opera­ tions with obj ects, which enable a distinction to be drawn with varying degrees of uniqueness and in the context of theory between the obj ects of interest and all others. A complex description of an experimental fact is "shrunk" by the introduction of a new term ; term Dfd is brought in to replace term Dfn . O n the basis o f terminology, semiotic expressions are also introduced to fix the corresponding situations and inter-relations of the studied obj ects. The formulation of general regularities follows upon the com­ pilation and analysis of tables (those of qualitative characteristics, statistics and functional tables) . Measurement results are first entered into statistical and functional tables and then "smoothed-over" to provide a base for the formulation of empirical equations, a description of the interrelation of experimental data in the language of formulae. (Empirical equations are normally distinct from the semi-empirical ones so-called ; the latter are validated by citing theoretical statements while some of its coefficients are determined from experience) .



( S A) E l i m i n a t i o n P r o c e d u r e s in relation to terms so introduced are those of consecuti ve reduction of terms Dfd to Dfn, eventually, to empirical exemplific ations of the corresponding descriptions and classes. (6,4) E l i m i n a t i o n P r o c e d u r e s of terms (and thus a substantia­ tion of their sense and comprehensibility) will also be the Elimination Procedures of the correspondi ng contexts (for example, law-fixing pro­ positions) comprising these terms. The Elimination Procedures of con­ texts to the level of description of immediate empirical situations will be the procedures by which the meaning of the corresponding proposi­ tions is established. (Thus, in propositional functions a term may ap­ pear as well in the context of variables ; e.g. , "a causes b," "a is simul­ taneous with b," and so on) . ( 7A) A n E l i m i n a t i o n P r o c e d u r e of semiotic expressions is the application procedure of the resultant propositions (for example, equations) for the purpose of prediction . Where the predictions arising from an equation fit in \vell with the direct measurements of the char­ acteristics being predicated, it means more than a mere test or valida­ tion of our statements, but an explication of the farmer's sense, as well as the sense of the corresponding terms, to be eliminated during the process by a mediated procedure. Already on the level of empirical analysis, the elimination process of previously introduced semiotic expressions is always relative. Thus, introducing familiar expressions for a situation makes it "crude, " one example being the "smoothing-over" of empirical data in formulating equations. \Vhere the empirical level of research presupposes an avail­ able theory, the descriptions of situations and objects employ those simplifications of the obj ects (like idealizations) which are commonly found in scientific theories in general. As a result, their exemplification will never be fully adequate to the content as fixed in the corresponding semiotic expressions. What is more, while establishing the meanings of general propositions, some individual exemplifications are all one has to go on . Yet, it is quite enough for meeting practical requirements. As soon as a theory fails to be satisfactory, an effort is made to develop change, improve and create new theories. Science, however, even at the empirical research stage, is never satisfied with describing empirical data and establishing the descrip­ tive value of the semiotic expressions introduced. Rather, it seeks to give empirical data the status of scientific facts (physical, chemical, biological, etc.) . The means to ward this end include interpretations, explication s, simulation s, etc . , such as are developed in appropriate '



theories. To give an example, normally no physicist is prepared to stop short at a mere statement of properties, their inter-relations and the descriptions of meter readings. In addition, he will seek to explain and tally them into a unity, on the basis of an interpretation or description of that sphere in reality which is not immediately given in the:experi·­ ment. This amounts, so to say, to an ascription of physical, chemical, etc. values to empirical data. The semiotic expressions to describe an experiment are never thought to be completely understood, unless properly interpreted or explained. This interpretation component of the meaning of semiotic expressions is extremely complex. On some occasions, it may have to do with the pragmatic aspect of language. In one way or in another, the introduction procedure of the interpreta­ tion components involves the positing and realization of certain goals, viz . , the establishment of a semantic liason between the multitude of empirical data and the enhancement of the heuristic power of theory. (8,4) E l i m i n a t i o n P r o c e d u r e here represents a process of realiza­ tion of the goals once posited. The interpretation value acquires the status of a factual descriptive value when the primitive interpretation, essentially hypothetical in character, acquires the nature of a proven scientific theory (e.g. , conversion of the interpretation of empirical data by postulating the existence of atoms into the atomic:-molecular theory of the structure of matter) . The general interpretation thus created provides a base for the crea­ tion of some general, intuitively-comprehensible language in which one can discuss vastly different problems of empirical knowledge. A rather frequent complement to an interpretation of a general n ature will be additional conceptions stemming from it and which rest on one's ideas about the immediately observable obj ects. Let us take the example of some specific weightless liquids as being illustrative of thermogene, or of a particular kind of matter with some hypertrophic properties estab­ lished to some extent in the immediate experience as being illustrative of ether. In regard to atoms, molecules and elementary particles, they are also exemplified by the models whose components are assigned some properties otherwise observable in macro-world obj ects. Hence it becomes possible to translate the language of micro-cosmic physics into that of macro-cosmic physics, and the language of physics into that of routine experience, and attain thereby (in any event, at the level of didactics, at the level of mastering the content of science) a greater intuitive comprehensibility of the meaning of the language of formulae, equations, graphs, etc. Now the time is opportune for accomplishing a


12 5

partial immersion of the language of mathematical science into the ordinary language, thus assuring a higher efficiency in mastering the contents of sciences, making them a possession of a broad spectrum of people and promoting their heuristic potencies. Together with the inter­ pretation , there comes a break-through into the science of the world outlook of scientists. Since there are several interpretations that can be proposed at a time, and since these are (at least, for the time being) hypothetical in character, they not infrequently enkindle unrelenting disputes (e.g. , the disputes around the interpretation to be given to quantum mechanics) . At the theoretical level the meanings of some semiotic expressions are introduced via some other, and syntactical links are established between them. Whatever the proposition, it is never considered fully comprehensible at this level unless its logical (syntactical) relation with other theoretical propositions has been established. Whenever syntac­ tical meanings are available, and as soon as the eliminability of some restricted part of semiotic expressions has been ascertained, this makes eliminable great fragments of theory. Thus, Elimination Procedures are represented either by the reduc­ tion procedures of terms to those, whose meanings are already known, or by the reduction procedures of terms to empirical data, and to their interpretations, and the models with a rather concrete content. The Elimination Procedures for context (propositions and theoretical frag­ ments) may consist likewise in the latter's reduction to immediate empirical data or interpretation, or prediction-making applications or, finally, practical applications. Here, major difficulties are encountered in clearing up the meanings of terms and, accordingly, in their validation with respect to the primi­ tive abstractions and idealizations (such as inertia, ideal gas, material point, absolute solid body, etc.) . The idea behind their introduction is to ensure success in applying mathematic apparatus to theory and to achieve the simplicity of theory and the maximum conceivable general­ ization of the propositions formulated. Also this introduction promotes the heuristic value and productivity of theory and the effectiveness of theory applications. The means toward this end will constitute precisely the latter's validation procedures. Their Elimination Procedures will include, inter alia, the elimination of those Introduction Procedures which reduce them to their material prototypes. To be eliminated in the course of practical application of theories and their fragments, are



the contexts inclusive of the above-mentioned abstractions and ideal­ izations. (9,4) . An essential factor in grounding the abstractions and idealiza­ tions of theory (universals) is a reduction of more general to less general theories on the principle of consistency. Thus, the principle of consis­ tency between classical mechanics and relativity theory has permitted taking the latter as a basis, the further refinement and concretization of a number of concepts and propositions in classical physics, and the clearing-up of the conditions for their application (e.g., concepts of mass, simultaneity, space, time, relationship of heavy and inert mass, and so on) , thus giving additional profundity and clarity to the mean­ ings of the corresponding semiotic expressions. The Introduction and Elimination Procedures thus formulated con­ tain implicitly a variety of means and methods to set down the meanings of such semiotic expressions as were put forward and absolutized in various theories of meaning. These procedures pre-suppose : ( r . ) the practical verification proce­ dures through the application of theory and its fragments to practice (Pragmatical Theory of Meaning) ; (2 .) and the definition of terms for abstractions on the basis of measurement operations (Operationalistic Theory of Meaning) ; ( 3.) and the reduction of terms introduced by clear definitions to the primitive terms, with the subsequent substantiation of the latter's empirical meanings and elimination of contexts by their reduction to empirical data through an empirical verification of the corrollaries inferrable from these (different versions of the Empirical Theory of Testability) ; (4.) and the procedures to substantiate the meanings of propositions by establishing their logical relationships, subordinations (Syntactical Theory of Meaning) , and so forth. Simultaneously, we have to use variegated Introduction and Elimi­ nation Procedures in order to j ustify the significance and comprehensi­ bility of particular semiotic expressions and their corresponding ab­ stractions and idealizations. When in theories (both mathematical and scientific) one runs into a semiotic expression to be neither eliminated nor weeded out through the application of the above-mentioned rules, this indicates that this expression is devoid of meaning. Such semiotic expressions (the same as their corresponding abstractions) are to be eliminated from science. This is attained by changing and up-dating scientific theory so as to give a meaning to these semiotic expressions within the scope of the science in question . Where these non-eliminable expressions find their way



into mathematical theories, they display paradoxical inconsistencies, tautologies in definitions (as is sometimes the case in applying the so­ called predicative definitions / 3 /) , and other logical and methodological difficulties . Some of the author's assumptions as to the theory of meaning, may lead one to believe that a. satisfactory theory of meaning is not to be contemplated as are, for example, in the author's view, different varia­ tions of the Neo-Positivist Empirical Theory of Testability. Of the many and varied arguments to support the inference formu­ lated above only one will be selected for further treatment. The fact of the matter is that whatever knowledge we firmly rely on with a view to furthering science or practical activity, it is not uni­ form from the viewpoint of its relation to material reality. There are concepts isomorphically related to one or another fixed aspect of the reality they reflect, which pre-suppose also a similarity between the elements of the reflected and reflection . These are the concepts (and, accordingly, the meanings of their terms) that can be reduced to the data of immediate experience. There may also be concepts introduced by a definition , which are no longer related immediately to material reality, but to some areas of abstract objects (e.g. , ideas of various numbers, figures and operations) . It is the latter's reduction that ex­ tends normally to the level of these abstract objects. vVhile for the natural numbers and the operations with them, there is a model available in material reality and easily identifiable - such a model is non-existent in the case of imaginary numbers (as was noted decades ago by F. Engels) . s Small wonder then, that notions about these kinds of obj ects command no models in objective reality. The latter's validity cannot be proven , except through a successful applica­ tion of the theory concerning such objects to particular incidents of problem solving. This is the way to establish the meaning of semiotic expressions corresponding to those obj ects or notions in the first place. Between these extremes of the spectrum of relations of our knowledge to reality there is a vast expanse of relations which represent in a varying proportion the relations identified with the two extremes. So, too, the validation of their correspondi ng semiotic expressions calls for the use of ( r . ) methods which establish isomorphism and a certain measure of identity between the reflection and reflected on an empirical basis ; (2 . ) methods of practical application in the broadest sense ; ( 3 .) methods of s

K. Marx, K. Marx

tex t :


Collected Works, Mosco w, Vol . 20, p. 37. (Cf. Sochineniia, 2 nd ed. Vol. 20, p. 3 7 . )


i F. Engels,




interpretation in terms of the system of obj ects of another theory ; (4.) the ways and means to review the genetical process which has neces­ sitated the introduction of such obj ects and notions ; (5 .) the methods to assess the heuristic value of the theories based on these obj ects and notions, and so on . Similarly, between the analytical and synthetical j udgements, (5) there is a vast spectrum of j udgments inclusive of elements of both syntheticity and analycity /b/. The reason for this, as V. I. Lenin pointed out, is to be sought in the complexities and inconsistencies involved in the process of the reflec­ tion of reality. While gaining new knowledge man uses abstractions, idealizations, schematizations, assumptions, etc. Also, this involves those "crude" or "benumbed" representations of reality which, never­ theless, constitute tremendous assets for the progress of our knowledge. 9 Thus, the theory of meaning, built on Marxist-Leninist philosophy, should have the support of practical ideas as being fundamental to the cognitive and reformative activity, and also should be based on the ideas about the genetical and controversial character of our knowledge, and also on the latter's intentionality, such as occurs in heuristics and in a high degree of efficacy in practical applications. Failing this, the theory of meaning will never develop the property of being sufficiently general or effectively applicable ; i . e . , will neither bec ome constructive in part or in whole, nor provide the basis on which to formulate the validation criteria for the introduction of universals into science.

General References

V. I . Lenin, Works, vol . 29. K. Marx, F. Engels, Work s, vol . 20.

D. P. Gorskii, "O vidakh opredelenii i ikh znachenii v nauke, " Coll. Problemy

logiki nauchnogo poznaniya, Moscow, 1 964. R. Carnap, Meaning and Necessity, Moscow, 1 959· E. D . Smirnova, "K probleme a1: aliticheskogo i si�teticheskogo, " ( "Con­ . cernmg the Problem of the Analytical and the Synthetical" ) , Coll. Filosofskiye

voprosy sovremennoi formalnoi logiki, Moscow, 1962. T. I. Hill, Modern Theories of Knowledge, Chaps. 1 4-15, Moscow, 1 965 .

A. Schaff, Introduction to Semantics, Moscow, 1 963 .

A. Church, Introduction to Mathematical Logic, Moscow, 1 960. W. Quine, From a Logical Poin t of View, Cambridge ( Mass . ) , 1953 · M . Marcovic, Dijalecticka teorija znachenja, Belgrad, l 96 r . 9 V . I. Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow, Vol. 29' Moscow, Vol. 38, p. 29.).


233. (Cf. Russian text : S ochineniia,

This fourth volume of The Boston College Studies in Philosophy, entitled

Philosophical Investigations in the USSR, offers a unique study of contem­ porary Marxism for the historian, economist and sociologist interested in Marxism today, but especially for the philosopher. As can be seen from the Table of Contents, it deals with themes of epistemology and ethics . More­ over, its primary i nterest for the scholar lies in the fact that these articles are based on a strong commitment to Marxism-Leninism that pervades all of the discussions, especially those dealing con�emporary problems. This volume probably represents the first time that a group of Soviet Philo­ sophers have written expressly for a series published in the West. It is an original project in which the articles, on topics suggested by the Editor, were translated into English in tlie Soviet Uni on. The words of Professor Mitrokhin in the Introduction give the reader


clue to the value of these contributi ons : 'But on the whole, the selection has turned out to be rather good and gives us an idea of specific features of our philosophy. This doesn't mean that I completely agree with all the authors what is important for me here is the significance of the collection. Though i t has turned out to b e different in i ts own way, each article in i t represents certain trends, or definite fields of knowledge, or different groups of spe­ cialists. And since the authors are my colleagues working with me at the Institute of Philosophy, Soviet Academy of Sciences, I should like to intro­ duce them briefly to the western reader in order to help him to understand t heir place in the context of our philosophical life'.


90 247 1 724 8