Materialism of the Enlightenment

Date: Sunday 31st October
Time: 13:15 - 15:00
Location: William Penn Suite
Speaker: Ben Curry

Engels described the period of the ascent of the modern bourgeoisie as "a time that called for giants and produced giants". In the course of several centuries, an uninterrupted struggle took place – a struggle fought by means of both the pen and the sword.

In many respects, it was a period not unlike our own, in which an old social order was dying on its feet yet refusing to step aside, whilst a new social order was struggling to be born. The period produced a galaxy of the most brilliant and profound thinkers who prepared the minds of the masses for the great revolutionary struggles that would finally bury the old system.

First among the tasks that these thinkers set themselves was the liberation of thought from the suffocating grip of the church. In place of blind faith, they regarded human reason and the investigation of nature as the road to genuine knowledge. They laid the basis for the rise of modern materialism and the scientific method, which in turn have spurred the phenomenal advances in science, as well as for the development of Marxism.

Marxists today have a great deal to learn from the tremendous insights of these great thinkers who lived through one of the most revolutionary periods in human history.

 

Recommended reading: Introduction to Dialectics of Nature, by Friedrich Engels

Recommended watching: Dialectics, Science, and Nature