Engels’ Fourfold Revenge: On the Implications of Neglecting Engelsian Dialectics in Science, Philosophy, Ecology, and Revolutionary Practice

Rogney Piedra Arencibia
Pages 13-35| Published online: 27 Jan 2022

Piedra Arencibia, Rogney . 2022. “Engels’ Fourfold Revenge: On the Implications of Neglecting Engelsian Dialectics in Science, Philosophy, Ecology, and Revolutionary Practice.” Marxism & Sciences 1(1):13–35.


This paper confronts the familiar prejudice in Western Marxism that Engels’ thought, as articulated in Anti-Duhring and the Dialectics of Nature, is of margin-al interest and should be excised from Marxist theory. I argue that this view is mistaken.  If we do not take seriously his insights about science, philosophy, nature, and history, his insights will take a fourfold revenge upon us. Natural science takes its revenge by unleashing technology that subjugates us in ways we cannot anticipate, understand or control. Philosophy, in turn, takes revenge on science for neglecting the philosophical presuppositions of its own worldview. Nature itself takes its revenge upon those who consider it to be some formless and passive matter, deprived of history and negativity, responding to our productive activity in surprising ways that, without a rational form of regulation, could lead to our own extinction. Lastly, history takes revenge on those ‘well intentioned’ actors who try to impose their will upon it without a scientific knowledge of its internal, necessary, and objective forces.

Keywords: Engels, Marx, Marxist philosophy, ecology, natural sciences, history.


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