A Marxist Philosophy Site
Essays, articles, and reviews on philosophy from the Marxist perspective
This is a site devoted to philosophy, especially Marxist philosophy. Marxist philosophy, or at least its core, is also known as dialectical materialism after its two most central components—dialectics and materialism. However there are also many additional areas of Marxist philosophy, including ethics and aesthetics.
This site is just getting started and a lot more material will be added later. To begin with, many of the items are written by the host of this site, Scott H. To make suggestions, comments or criticisms, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Some of the documents and essays below are fairly long and are much easier to read and consider if you print them out first. That will also give you the margins you’ll need to write down your criticisms!
Philosophy - General
- [To be added.]
The Theory of Knowledge (Epistemology)
- “Can We Really Understand the World?” [S.H.] (3/20/89) — Discusses questions such as: “Could the world be such that we might not be able to understand how it really works?”
- “Do We Know For Certain that the Earth Goes Around the Sun?” [S.H.] (11/14/97) — Opposes “epistemological agnosticism”, the view that says we can never know anything (or at least that we can never know anything for sure).
- “Studying a Totally Unknown Language” [S.H.] (10/6/08) — A letter to friends together with an article about a graduate class at U.C. Berkeley studying an almost unknown African language. PDF Version [59 KB]; MS Word Version [37 KB]
- Connections and Interconnections:
- “Engels’s Confusion of Logical Contradiction with Dialectical Contradiction” [S.H.] (11/19/18) — An essay occasioned by a study of chapters 12 & 13 of Engels’s great work, Anti-Dühring, 7 pages. Searchable PDF format [78 KB]
- Antagonism and Non-Antagonism:
- “Antagonistic and Non-Antagonistic Contradictions”, by Ai Siqi, a 4-page excerpt from his book Lecture Outline on Dialectical Materialism (1957) in which he discusses the concept of antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions as expounded in several works by Mao Zedong. [From the valuable MARXISTPHILOSOPHY.ORG website.] PDF format [107 KB]
- “An Attempt to Discuss ‘Antagonism’ and ‘Antagonistic Contradictions’”, by Shan Hong, translated from the Chinese journal Philosophical Research, 1957, #2, pp. 128-132. [From the MARXISTPHILOSOPHY.ORG website.] PDF format [108 KB]
- Negation of the Negation:
- “Musings on Dialectics - 1” [S.H.], a letter to friends written on Sept. 25, 2010, 7 pages. Argues that there are many laws in dialectics (though just one central one), and that the “negation of the negation” is a useful and rational concept if correctly understood. PDF Version [164 KB]; MS Word Version [49 KB]
- “Nick Knight’s Discussion of Mao’s Supposed Rejection of the Concept of the ‘Negation of the Negation’”, an excerpt from Knight’s Introduction to his edition of Mao’s philosophical writings, Mao Zedong on Dialectical Materialism (M.E. Sharpe, 1990), 6 pages plus end notes. Knight gives a pretty convincing argument that Mao did not really reject the concept of the “negation of the negation”, but merely that in later years he preferred to call it by an alternate name: “affirmation and negation”. PDF Version [214 KB]; MS Word Version [64 KB]
Materialism & the Philosophy of Mind
- “On the Analogy Between Mind/Brain and Software/Hardware” [S.H.] (12/4/92) — Defends a dialectical materialist version of functionalism.
- “Mental Decisions and Physical Effects” [S.H.] (2/9/10) — A letter to a friend explaining how it is that my body can raise my arm when my mind decides to do so, and how somebody can use their mind to move a cursor on a computer screen. PDF Version [161 KB]; MS Word Version [42 KB]
- “Inverted Color Spectrums” [S.H.] (2/23/10) — A letter to friends disputing the possibility that there might be “inverted color spectrums”, and commenting on recent brain research relevant to the topic. PDF Version [104 KB]; MS Word Version [40 KB]
- “Brain Scanners and Free Will” [S.H.] (4/13/08) — A letter to friends discussing recent brain research that shows that when you make a decision the initial process is unconscious and that you are only afterwards consciously aware of your own decision. Explains why this does not show that free will is an “illusion”. PDF Version [151 KB]; MS Word Version [168 KB]
- “Brief Review of: Stanislas Dehaene: Consciousness and the Brain (2014)” [S.H.] (1/22/16) — About an excellent book on consciousness, but with a couple critical comments. PDF Version [118 KB]; MS Word Version (.docx) [30 KB]
Philosophy of Science & “Metaphysics”
- “Chopping Onions and Pragmatism” [S.H.] (April 2007) — Applying the scientific approach to an everyday task.
- “A Scientific Philosophy of Science: Some Comments on Keith Campbell” [S.H.] (June 1986) — Some fundamental points about the nature of science and “metaphysics”.
- “The Impossibility of Infinitely Small Particles” [S.H.] (3/5/89) — Argues that no physical particle is ever really a “point”.
- Review by Scott H. of: Michio Kaku, Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension  (9/11/95)
- Review notes by Scott H. of: Robert B. Laughlin, A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down  (11/10/06)
- “Scientific Theories” [S.H.] (1/2/09) — A response to a friend who raised the question “Why can’t I put my hand through the top of the table if it is mostly made up of empty space?”, and a couple other interesting issues. PDF Version [147 KB]; MS Word Version [34 KB]
- “Mysticism and Modern Physics” [S.H.] (10/11/88) — Comments on Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics and Ken Wilber’s Quantum Questions.
- The Censored Marxist Philosophical Introduction to Mathematics: Its Essential Nature and Objective Laws of Development, by Alexander Danilovitch Aleksandrov, 21 pages. [In 1963 the American Mathematical Society translated and published at MIT a classic 3-volume work entitled Mathematics: Its Content, Methods, and Meaning edited by the famous Russian mathematicians A. D. Aleksandrov, A. N. Kolmogorov and M. A. Lavrent’ev. But they deleted (censored) the portion of the Aleksandrov’s introduction which put forth the Marxist philosophy of mathematics, including quotations from Engels and Lenin. This is that censored portion, which was later translated by others from the 1956 Russian edition, and published in the short-lived but very interesting journal Science and Nature: A Journal of Marxist Philosophy for Natural Scientists, #3, 1980.] Searchable PDF format [1,816 KB]
Philosophy of Religion
- “Ethics and Religion” (10/10/12) — An email discussion between Scott and a friend about the relevance of religion to ethics. PDF Version [63 KB]; MS Word Version [40 KB]
- “Physics and Atheism” [S.H.] (10/20/09) — Response to a letter from Scott’s friend Kirby about a book by Victor Stenger. PDF Version [208 KB]; MS Word Version [52 KB]
- “How to Disprove the Existence of God” [S.H.] (02/07/10) — A short exchange between Scott and his friend Kirby, which is sort of a follow-up to the above item. PDF Version [104 KB]; MS Word Version [38 KB]
- “Logical Puzzles and the Concept of God” [S.H.] (March 24-25, 2010) — A short discussion between Scott and three friends about paradoxes and the question of the existence of God. PDF Version [298 KB]; MS Word Version [59 KB]
- Review of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion [S.H.] (6/25/07)
- “The ‘Higher Criticism’ Revisited” (3/22/98) — A review by Scott H. of: Charles Pellegrino, Return to Sodom & Gomorrah .
- “On the ‘Spiritual Aspect of Reality’ and Pantheism” [S.H.] (6/12/02) — Letter arguing that even the most abstract forms of religion are unscientific.
- The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Class Interest Theory of Ethics, [S.H.] (As of 6/9/08) — The beginning portion of a book in progress. (Draft of the first two chapters only, in PDF format or in Microsoft Word format.)
[Other excerpts from the draft of this book:]
- “The Origin of Classes and the Origin of War” — From chapter 4 of the book, in both PDF format and Microsoft Word format.
- “A ‘Family Tree’ of Ethical Theories” — Section 10.10 from chapter 10 of the book, in both PDF format and Microsoft Word format.
- “Alain Badiou: A Pseudo-Maoist Obscurantist” — A brief discussion of Alain Badiou’s book Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. This is section 12.10, in both PDF format and Microsoft Word format.
- “The Origin of Morality, and the Morality of Revolutionary Violence” [S.H.] (12/17/08) — A letter about two topics not yet included in the posted portions of the book in progress on MLM ethics.
- “The ‘Problem of Altruism’” [S.H.] (12/27/93) — Opposes the view that “really” there is no such thing as altruism, and discusses some recent examples of heroic altruism.
- A letter from Robyn Olsen, in memory of the courageous altruist Michael Stuckey who was murdered while saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker.
- Review by Scott H. of Bob Avakian’s “We Need Morality, But Not Traditional Morality” (1/23/96) — Includes some comments on Marxist-Leninist ethics in general.
- “Report on a Discussion Between Bill Martin and Raymond Lotta of Martin’s and Avakian’s book Marxism and the Call of the Future” [S.H.] (4/29/07) — Includes some comments critical of Kantian ethics.
- “Principles: The Hobgoblin of Little Minds?” [S.H.] (05/24/10) — A letter to friends on the issue of principles in morals and politics, and whether absolute consistency is appropriate in upholding such principles. PDF Version [125 KB]; MS Word Version [46 KB]
- “Some Questions on Ethics, Religion and Politics” [S.H.] (12/19/08) — A letter to an overseas friend on some questions he raised. PDF Version [105 KB]; MS Word Version [38 KB]
- “Notes on Notes on Political Economy” [S.H.] (2/25/00) — A critique of an RCP document about the errors they made in their “1980s analysis” and their current views on the world economic situation. Focuses on philosophical and methodological issues.
- “The Phony ‘Marxist’ Windbag Zizek” [S.H.] (11/20/07) — An exchange of letters discussing the academic “leftist” superstar Slavoj Zizek. PDF Version [231 KB]; MS Word Version [69 KB]
- “A Virtual Debate With Gandhi About Non-Violence” [S.H.] (12/11/88) — About 35 Gandhi quotations critically analyzed.
- “Are Cops Really That Bad?” [S.H.] (11/24/01) — Letter discussing the nature of the police.
- “Social Pressure as a Moral & Political Tool” [S.H.] (6/12/98) — Defends the use of social pressure when it advances the cause of the people.
- “Why Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a Science” [S.H.] (2/6/97) — Explains why Marxism is properly considered a science.
- [To be added.]
Other Topics in Philosophy
- Philosophical Doggerel Home Page — Limericks, clerihews, ditties and other doggerel on philosophic themes.
MASSLINE.ORG Home Page