Re: [OPE-L] Where "dialectical materialism" really comes from

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sun Jan 28 2007 - 09:19:27 EST

In November, '06, Jurriaan wrote about this topic:

As a footnote to that brief thread, you might find the following
(also brief) recent discussion by 2 others on the hegel-marx
yahoogroup (which has public archives, btw) to be of interest. The
first post, titled "Three origins of the phrase 'dialectical
materialism'", is an inquiry but provides some interesting references:

I noticed in my old Penguin edition (1977) of Marx Early writings
Lucio Colletti writes in the Introduction that Engels "was the first
to employ" the term "dialectical materialism". He doesn't say when or

I hadn't heard that before, always thinking it originated with
Plekhanov, having come across it certainly 1891 in his 'For the 60th
Anniversary of Hegel's Death', but I think earlier somewhere.

So then I noticed the MIA encyclopedia says Kautsky first used the
term, but again no reference, although it is in his 'Frederick
Engels', dated 1887.

The wikipedia says the term "was probably invented in 1887 by Joseph
Dietzgen, a socialist tanner who corresponded with Marx."

I must admit to a suspicion that if the term suddenly sprang into use
in 1887 by Dietzgen, Kautsky and perhaps Plekhaniov, all of whom were
in close contact or worked with Engels, one wonders whether there is
some justice in Colletti's assertion. Or is Colletti perhaps satified
with Engels' phrase "materialist dialectic" from somewhere or other -
with some justification, after all?

Perhaps the wikipedia is right, but Dietzgen died only a year later.
But certainly, some references would help!

JL: The second post suggested that:

George L. Kline explains all of this in "The Myth of Marx's
Materialism," in Philosophical Sovietology: The Pursuit of a Science,
edited by Helmut Dahn, Thomas J. Blakeley, and George L. Kline
(Dordrecht: Reidel, 1988), pp. 158-203.


JL: I haven't read  the Kline article so can't say anything about
its contents.

In solidarity, Jerry

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