[OPE-L:5071] Re: RE: Re: Reply to Andrew on "Proof" [Lenin]

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sun Feb 25 2001 - 09:47:01 EST

"Drewk" <Andrew_Kliman@msn.com> said, on 02/25/01:

>In reply to OPE-L 5061.

>"The reference to Lenin was to his *Materialism and Empirio-Criticism* in
>which he argues that science operates AS IF there is an absolute truth
>which can never be reached but we work relatively toward it.  In other
>words, we struggle for objective truth but never reach it
>absolutely, only relatively."

>Thanks for the clarification, Paul, but I'm still not completely clear
>about it.  Are you endorsing this view or opposing it?  

Remember that I said "Lenin comes to mind".  I wasn't endorsing, but
recalling, his views.

>I like it all except for the "as if" part, which I don't understand.

I was working from memory.  Lenin wrote "The materialist dialectics of
Marx and Engels certainly does contain relativism, but is not reducible to
relativism, that is, it recognizes the relativity of all our knowledge,
not in the sense of denying objective truth, but in the sense that the
limits of approximation of our knowledge to this truth are historically
conditional" -- toward end of Section 5, Chp. 2,  in whatever edition you
have.  Also, "by following the *path* of Marxist theory we shall draw
closer and closer to objective truth (without ever exhausting it)" -- end
of Chapter 2.

>The last sentence may contradict the first, because it holds that there 
>*is* an objective, absolute truth, that it isn't a
>convenient fiction (which may be what the "as if" indicates). Everything
>but the "as if" sounds to me like it is straight out of Hegel -- perhaps
>Lenin got this through Plekhanov and he through Hegel.  Does anyone know?

Probably I shouldn't have used "as if" in trying to capture Lenin's
thought.  Sorry.

Don't see why Hegel is necessary for the rest, as if no other
philosophical approach could motivate the same conceptualization.

Paul Z.

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