Shigeyoshi Matsumae: Materialism in Search of a Soul

argues that since historical materialism is based on Newtonian science, modern science renders Marxism redundant.

Relativity, probability and uncertainty have replaced nineteenth century determinism. Were he alive today, Marx would have accepted the change and adapted his system to accommodate it.

Matsumae shows how Western science suffered under the hostility of the church during “the age of faith”. Then faith gave way to doubt. Materialism backed by scientific progress came to dominate European thought and ushered in “The Age of Determinism”. In its turn, materialistic determinism has been replaced by scientific indeterminism and a renewed appreciation of things spiritual.

Key Quotations

  • Materialism was rooted firmly in the science of the time, and this gave an impressive weight of logical development to Marx’s historical dialectics. With the dawn of a new era, with new conceptions of the world accompanying new advances in science, the apparently unshakable foundations of materialism and historical dialectics were swept away. (p. 105)
  • …the universe cannot admit of material representation, and the reason, I think, is that it has become a mental concept. (p. 124)

Shigeyoshi Matsumae (1901-1991)