Marxist Philosophy and Other Sciences
The laws of dialectical materialism, as we now know, are of a general, universal nature. They operate everywhere: in inorganic nature, in living organisms, in man and in his thought. The universality of the laws of Marxist philosophy is of tremendous importance, because thanks to it they can be used to cognise the most diverse phenomena in the world. Hence the enormous significance of dialectical materialism for the development of other sciences. Having arisen in intimate association with the experience and progress of concrete sciences and being a generalisation of their conclusions, dialectical materialism promotes their development and equips them with a scientific method of study.At the same time dialectical materialism by no means makes it unnecessary for man to master concrete sciences and assimilate mankind’s scientific, social and historical experience. Since dialectical materialism emerged and is developing on the basis of scientific advances and practical experience it is essential to know these advances in order to master and correctly apply the laws of dialectical materialism.
Some contemporary non-Marxist philosophers (the so-called positivists) deny the importance of philosophy, of a scientific world outlook for the development of science and distort the essence of the interconnection of science and philosophy. As exponents of “positive” (applied) scientific knowledge they divorce philosophy from science and endeavour to prove that science needs no philosophy whatsoever, that “science is itself a philosophy”.
The history of philosophy and science overturns these primitive views, and conclusively proves that the two are inseparable. The great Russian thinker Alexander Herzen compared philosophy with a mighty tree trunk, and science and its innumerable fields, with its branches. Just as there can be no tree without a trunk and branches, so science and philosophy are inconceivable one without the other. “Cut off the branches,” he wrote, “and what remains is a dead log. Remove the trunk and the branches will wither away.” As it develops, natural science strengthens its links and interaction with philosophy. These links have become especially close in our day when natural scientists are solving such complicated problems as the character of elementary particles of matter, the origin of life, the development of cosmic bodies and many others. Profound philosophical generalisations are absolutely essential in our age of momentous scientific advances; the tremendous progress of natural science and the deep revolutionary changes that are taking place in it require the closest union of philosophy and science. In these circumstances, Lenin noted, a natural scientist must be a dialectical materialist.
Hence, it is not accidental that an increasing number of natural scientists in capitalist countries are turning into conscious adherents of Marxist philosophy. It helps them to find their bearings in the objective, material world and to reveal the dialectics of nature in their concrete scientific studies.