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Vitor Sartori, « Notes on Dialectics and History in Friedrich Engels », 2020

Vitor Bartoletti Sartori, Notes on Dialectics and History in Friedrich Engels, Engels @ 200 (Jacob 2020) p. 25-48.

There were “fundamental laws of dialectical thought,” which “do not exclude but rather imply that the systematic knowledge of the external world in its totality could progress with giant steps generation after generation.”16


With this intonation, one could, at times, fall into the temptation of believing that it would be a matter of “correctly applying” a “method” in order to reach a way of apprehending effectiveness that would be real and effectively dialectical.19

Friedrich Engels, Do socialismo utópico ao socialismo científico & Ludwig Feuerbach e o fim da filosofia clássica alemã, transl. by José Severo de C. Pereira (São Paulo: Fulgor, 1962), 60. [Je trouve ce qui suit :]

… the fundamental law of dialectic reasoning. This law, indeed, by no means excludes, but, on the contrary, includes the idea that the systematic knowledge of the external universe can make giant strides from age to age.

MECW 24, p. 303.
en français :

… les lois fondamentales de la pensée dialectique ; ce qui toutefois n’exclut nullement, mais implique, au contraire, que la connaissance systématique de l’ensemble du monde extérieur puisse marcher à pas de géant de génération en génération

Marx was clear when he said “the materialist method becomes its own anti-thesis when it is utilized not as a thread conducting historical research but rather as a finished model to which one must adapt historical facts” (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Cultura, arte e literatura: textos escolhidos, transl. by José Paulo Netto (São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2010), 119.) [Je trouve ce qui suit, d’Engels et non de Marx :]

I should say first of all that the materialist method turns into its opposite if, in an historical study, it is used not as a guide but rather as a ready-made pattern in accordance with which one tailors the historical facts.

Engels to Paul Ernst, 1890. MECW 48, p. 503
p. 19, p. 30.

We should note that it is not that nature ought to be considered in a static way, or that there is a tight opposition between the spirit sciences and the natural sciences, […]. It happens, however, that its movement could not, as Engels sometimes implied,23 be quasi-deduced from the “laws of dialectics”. Engels had a very peculiar way of dealing with dialectics, searching for the “laws of dialectics” (“interdependency of opposites”, “quantitative leap”, and “negation of negation”) at the same time as he criticized a way of thinking marked by “the intellectual solution in the discovery” of “what are called absolute truths”, which shelter a “compact universal system”.

Engels, Dialética.
P. 31.