In this talk from Revolution Festival 2019, Ben Curry (of the Socialist Appeal editorial board) discusses the Marxist philosophy of dialectical materialism and its application to the natural world.
Dialectics is a philosophy of change, explaining that all matter is in a state of motion and flux. But how does this change take place?
Using a number of examples from science – from thermodynamics, to evolution, to chaos theory – Ben demonstrates one of the basic principles of dialectics: that change occurs through a process of ‘quantity and quality’.
In other words, the gradual accumulation of small quantitative changes eventually leads to the qualitative transformation of a system to a new equilibrium state.
Such ‘tipping points’ are seen all around us in nature – and, Ben stresses, in society also, in the form of capitalist crises and revolutions.
This is why an understanding of dialectics is so vital for all Marxists and revolutionary activists today.