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Special Issue 67 of SHAPE on Holistic Materialism and Dialectics

The Team

Jim Schofield - Author / Editor

Physicist, Philosopher, Marxist, Multimedia Expert, Mathematician, Author, Sculptor.

Dr. Peter Mothersole -
Advisor / Editor

Senior Lecturer in Computing, Physicist, Photographer, Constructivist, Software Developer, Philosopher.

Dr. Mick Schofield -
Art Director / Editor

Writer, Researcher, Photographer, Artist, Designer

Special Issue 67
Holistic Materialism Addendum

Preface: What is Holistic Materialism? (Addended)

The Roots of Dialectical Materialism
by Ernst Mayr

The Origin of Dialectical Materialism
within the History of Human Thinking
by Jim Schofield

Dialectics: Fixed and Variable

Example of Holistic Materialism:
I - The Theory of Emergences

Example of Holistic Materialism:
II - The Double Slit Experiment

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Welcome to Special Issue 67 of SHAPE Journal, this is an addendum to the original two part series entitled Holistic Materialism published last year.

In this additional set of papers we address Ernst Mayr’s contribution to this area directly, including his full paper The Roots of Dialectical Materialism as part of this publication.

Jim Schofield’s initial conspectus (also included here) is critical of Mayr’s positioning of early Naturalists as instrumental in the development of Marxist theory, but also acknowledges Mayr’s work as potentially very valuable to the further development of Marxism, philosophically, and in aiding the difficult progression towards a holistic scientific method.

The World Socialist Web Site, published by the International Committee of the Fourth International, certainly considered Mayr’s work important to Marxism, publishing a detailed obituary of this great thinker upon his death in 2005. In this piece Walter Gilberti writes:

“Mayr’s life-long interest in the fundamental questions that continue to animate the biological sciences, combined with his exceptional longevity as a working and thinking scientist, engendered in him a profound appreciation of its history. In particular, he stressed the importance of a study of MAYR the history of scientific concepts (natural selection, e.g.). He wrote: “Preoccupation with this sort of conceptual history of science is sometimes belittled as a hobby of retired scientists. Such an attitude ignores the manifold contributions which this branch of scholarship makes” (1982). He stated further: “One can take almost any advance, either in evolutionary biology or in systematics, and show that it did not depend as much on discoveries as on the introduction of new concepts.... Those are not far wrong who insist that the progress of science consists principally in the progress of scientific concepts” (1982).”

This is certainly similar to Schofield’s view and the approach taken by this retired scientist, also trying to better understand how science works, and how it fails to work, through theory. Scientific Concepts are vital here, as Mayr suggests. However objective one’s data may seem to be, it is only through the frame of key concepts that interpretation and understanding begin.

Holistic Materialism is just such a concept - a frame for understanding our scientific findings by adopting the much wider view that is necessary, in such a complex and interconnected world.

Mick Schofield