Cognizability of the world and its patterns

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  Cognizability of the world and its patterns
K. Y. Andreev

Classics of Marxism-Leninism on practice as the basis of knowledge

The greatest world-historical merit of Marx and Engels lies in the fact that for the first time in the history of social thought they revealed the decisive role of socio-historical practice in the process of man's cognition of objective reality. Marx and Engels, and after them Lenin and Stalin, comprehensively developed the doctrine of social practice, which is the most important basis for achieving truth, i.e., discovering the true essence of objects and phenomena of the material world. 

The classics of Marxism-Leninism for the first time established that our sensations, perceptions, ideas, as well as all the mental activity of people are inextricably linked with their practical activities, with experience, that the source and basis of the empirical and rational moments of all our knowledge is ultimately socio-historical, first of all industrial practice of people. 

“We see,” said Marx, “that the solution of theoretical opposites is possible only in a practical way, only thanks to the practical energy of man, and that therefore the solution of them is by no means a task of only knowledge, but a really vital task, which philosophy could not solve precisely because she saw in it only a theoretical task. (K. Marx and F. Engels. Works, vol. III, p. 628.) 

Dialectical materialism proceeds from the fact that social production activity plays the most important, determining role in cognition. It is in the process of material production practice that a person cognizes the objects and phenomena of objective reality, its laws, cognizes the relationship of a person to nature and people to each other. 

Engels' proposition that labor created man himself applies entirely to the formation of his cognitive abilities. Man stood out from the world of other animals from the moment he began to produce means of subsistence, to create tools of production. Unlike animals, a person perceives the world not only in the process of biological adaptation to it, but mainly in the process of active practical influence on it. Engels pointed out that human thinking developed in proportion to how man learned to change nature. This active productive activity of ancient man, his struggle with the forces of nature determined the form of his thinking and were the first decisive moments that contributed to the knowledge of the reality surrounding him. 

Man would not be able to actively influence nature, to subordinate its forces to his interests, if he did not know how to cognize the properties of things and the laws of development of the objective world. Therefore, the production of material goods is the most important factor in the development of human cognitive abilities. Expanding and improving the production process, involving in it an ever wider range of objects, a person inevitably improves his consciousness, and the developing consciousness, in turn, has a beneficial effect on the development of the production process. Engels wrote that by radically changing the surrounding reality in the process of material production, people at the same time also change their thinking. But “the development of the brain and the feelings subordinated to it, the more and more clearing consciousness,(Friedrich Engels. Dialectic of Nature, p. 136). Only in the process of repeated repetition of material production operations over the centuries does a person acquire certain labor skills, fix them in the mind in the form of more or less stable ideas and concepts about things and phenomena of the objective world, acquire and develop the ability to correctly reflect the natural connections and relations of the objective world. The entire development of human cognitive abilities is closely connected with the development of production, with the progress of people's practical activities, because thanks to social revolutionary practice aimed at changing the world, a person enters into a comprehensive interaction and universal connection with things and phenomena of the objective world and not only remakes them, puts them at the service of his interests, but in the process of interacting with them he changes and develops comprehensively. 

The production activity of people serves as the basis and necessary prerequisite for the emergence of new ideas, theories, new concepts, and ideas. Judgments about things and phenomena appear in the process of labor, in the process of social production. 

“In order to understand,” teaches V. I. Lenin, “it is necessary to empirically begin understanding, study, to rise from empiricism to the general. To learn how to swim, you have to get into the water.” (V. I. Lenin. Philosophical Notebooks, p. 178.) 

The regularities of phenomena, the qualities, and internal, hidden properties of things in the objective world, their connections and relationships can be more fully and deeply cognized and verified precisely in the process of people's labor production activity, in the process of a person's constant active influence on objective reality. 

However, practice is not limited to production activities, but also includes all the diverse and versatile activities of people. It includes the developing scientific-experimental, social-revolutionary, social-domestic, cultural-educational, and other activities of people. It can act in the form of a natural-scientific experiment, observation, scientific and technical discoveries, in the form of class struggle, revolution, wars, etc. This allows socio-historical practice to become the basis of all natural and social sciences. 

History shows that great scientific discoveries, like scientific knowledge in general, become possible and grow precisely out of continuously developing human practice and are determined by the vital, practical needs of people. Thus, the emergence and development of mathematics was originally caused by the needs of measuring areas, angles, volumes; the development of navigation gave rise to the science of astronomy; social sciences were generated by the desire of people to restructure the life of society; agrobiology emerged as a result of people's needs to increase agricultural productivity, etc. 

Being the basis and reason for the emergence of new sciences, new branches of knowledge, the practical social production needs of society also cause the development, deepening and improvement of existing knowledge. 

The vast majority of scientific discoveries were made after the social practice of man had developed accordingly, after life demanded this or that discovery. In a letter to Starkenburg, Engels wrote: “If, as you say, technology largely depends on the state of science, then science depends to a much greater extent on the state and needs of technology. If a society has a technical need, then it advances science more than a dozen universities. (K. Marx, F. Engels. Selected works, vol. II, p. 484.) 

When Galileo created the theory of the fall and motion of bodies, he did it not only in order to formulate the laws of the fall of bodies, the oscillations of pendulums, and the motion of metal projectiles, i.e., not from purely academic considerations. The need to discover these laws arose in the process of development of production, in particular the development of mining and artillery. 

The invention of the steam engine by Polzunov, the invention of the radio by Popov, and other great discoveries were also dictated by the needs of social production, the needs of human practice. 

This means that scientific theories and the need to solve certain problems arise in connection with the needs of practice and production. Therefore, science, if it is really a science, deals with the objectively existing material world, which is revealed to people in the course of their socio-historical activity. The main goal of science is the subordination of the forces of nature to the interests of people, the revolutionary transformation of reality. But this can be achieved only on the basis of knowledge of the laws of development of the objective world and, above all, the material basis of the life of society. 

Convincingly proving that true science arises from the urgent practical needs of material production, that social practice directs scientific thought and often even outstrips science, K. A. Timiryazev wrote that “ordinary farmers, including our Moscow peasants, as court chronicles testify, in one complex issue ahead of science. By direct observation, they are independently and long before science discovered the fact of the transition of rust from barberry to cereals - a fact, together with others like it, laid the foundation for the doctrine of the polymorphism of microscopic fungi, which the science of the fifties and sixties was so rightly proud of. (K. A. Timiryazev. Soch., vol. V, p. 66. Selkhozgiz. 1938.) 

In our country, the practical tasks of developing socialist agriculture have been a tremendous stimulus for the development of theoretical questions of Michurin biology (the problem of the species, the question of intraspecific and interspecific relations of individuals, etc.). This, in turn, made it possible to solve in a new way such practical problems as breeding new varieties of cereals, fruits, new animal species, weed control, increasing productivity, the rapid planting of forest belts in the steppe regions, etc. “The close connection of science with Collective-farm and state-farm practice, says Academician Lysenko, “creates inexhaustible possibilities for the development of the theory itself for better and better knowledge of the nature of living bodies and soil.” 

All this fully applies not only to all the particular sciences, but also to philosophy. Rejecting the view that the driving force in the development of philosophy is the desire of people to achieve the so-called "pure thinking", Engels wrote: 

“However, during this long period, from Descartes to Hegel and from Hobbes to Feuerbach, philosophers were not driven forward by the force of pure thought alone, as they imagined. Against. In fact, they were pushed forward mainly by the powerful, faster, and more rapid development of natural science and industry. (K. Marx, F. Engels. Selected works, vol. II, p. 352.) 

This means that knowledge arises from the social production practice of people, and the growth of knowledge, in turn, contributes to the growth and improvement of social practice. 

The enormous significance of practice as the initial starting point and the basis of knowledge can be especially clearly seen in examples from social life. 

The scientific theory of the new communist society, created by Marx and Engels, was the result of a profound scientific analysis of the history of the development of human society, a critical revision of all previous knowledge, a generalization of the gigantic experience of the world revolutionary movement and, above all, the practice of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Without this generalization and the discovery on its basis of the real laws of social development, Marx and Engels could not have armed the international proletariat with a new, truly scientific theory, made a brilliant prediction about the advent of a new era in the development of human society - the era of communism. 

In a new historical era, the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions, V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin, having studied and generalized the practice of the revolutionary struggle of the working people of all countries, the latest experience of social development, having analyzed the essence of the economy of imperialism, further developed all aspects of the teachings of Marx, Engels, armed the international proletariat with an invincible fighting ideological weapon in its struggle against capital, for the triumph of socialism. 

V. I. Lenin discovered the law of uneven development of capitalism and created on its basis the theory of the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country, precisely because he deeply revealed and analyzed all the contradictions of imperialism - the last, decaying stage in the development of capitalism, when capitalist oppression is especially intensified, when The indignation of the masses against capitalism is growing with particular force, and there is a rapid growth of revolutionary forces within the capitalist countries. V. I. Lenin further showed that the uneven development of capitalism under imperialism leads to an aggravation of the revolutionary crisis in the colonial and dependent countries, gives rise to an intensification of the struggle for markets for goods and the export of capital, for colonies, for sources of raw materials. 

As a result of the uneven development of capitalism, imperialist wars take place, which weaken the forces of imperialism and make it possible for imperialism to break through where it is weakest. “Based on all this, Lenin came to the conclusion that it is quite possible for the proletariat to break through the imperialist front somewhere in one place or in several places, that the victory of socialism is possible initially in several countries or even in one country taken separately, that the simultaneous victory of socialism in all countries, due to the uneven development of capitalism in these countries, it is impossible ... ” (History of the CPSU (b.). A short course, p. 162.). A deep analysis of the mode of production of modern capitalism, the experience of the revolutionary struggle of the international proletariat in the period of imperialism, was the main basis that led Lenin to this brilliant discovery. 

In the well-known article "Lenin as the Organizer and Leader of the Russian Communist Party," Comrade Stalin wrote that genuine Marxist-Leninists draw directives and instructions not from historical analogies, but from parallels, but from the study of the surrounding conditions. In their work, they rely not on quotes and sayings, but on practical experience. (See I. Stalin. About Lenin, p. 6. Gospolitizdat. 1951.) 

Developing further Lenin's teaching on the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country, generalizing the practice of creating a new mode of production, JV Stalin developed a doctrine on specific ways of building socialism in the USSR. 

The successful implementation by the Soviet people, under the leadership of the Communist Party, of the Leninist-Stalinist plan for building socialism in our country is clear proof of the vitality and strength of Marxist-Leninist science. 

Having discovered the fundamental law of socialism and summarizing the experience of building socialism in our country, I. V. Stalin, in his brilliant work “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR,” outlined the paths for building communism in the Soviet Union, thereby enriching Marxism-Leninism with new propositions, generalizations, conclusions, raising it to a new, even higher level. 

The whole multifaceted, versatile activity of Comrade Stalin is a brilliant example of how one should study and generalize the latest achievements of science and revolutionary practice, how one should use them in one's daily practical activity. 

"AND. V. Stalin knows how no one can generalize the revolutionary, creative experience of the masses, pick up and develop their initiative, learn from the masses, and teach the masses, lead them forward to victory. (Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. Brief biography, p. 238.) 

Comrade Stalin's work "The Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR" is a brilliant example of the creative study and scientific generalization of the latest practice. It was thanks to the study and generalization of the practical activities of the working people of the USSR and the countries of people's democracy in reorganizing public life, the practice of the world revolutionary movement, that Comrade Stalin in this work advanced Marxist-Leninist political economy, creatively developed the most important questions of dialectical and historical materialism, enriched Marxism-Leninism new discoveries and conclusions about the basic preliminary conditions for the transition from socialism to communism, about the dialectics of the development of productive forces and production relations, about the elimination of essential differences between town and country, between mental and physical labor, about the objective nature of the laws of science, as well as many other questions of dialectical and historical materialism.

All this suggests that social practice in its entirety plays an exceptional role in achieving the truth. It permeates the entire process of cognition, constituting its true basis. 

At the same time, the gigantic practical measures for the progressive reorganization of nature and human society, carried out by the Soviet people on the basis of the open laws of science, are a mortal blow to agnosticism. They show that man is not only capable of knowing the objective laws of reality, but also of using them to change natural conditions, to revolutionize social life.