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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 5. May 7, 1946

Marxist Influence

Marxist Influence

Marxism is today one of the main influences in French intellectual life. A generation ago the commonest philosophy among French scientists was probably Positivism—roughly speaking the philosophy which Lenin attacked in "Materialism and Empirio-Criticism." Today Marxism is taking its place. I do not mean that every French scientist is a Marxist. Still less do I mean that any attempt is made to thrust Marxism down people's throats. But non-Marxists are beginning to know what Marxism means and to criticise it in an intelligent manner. For example, a colleague of mine argued that the contradictions in the world are really expressions of our ignorance, and will be resolved when we know more.

This may be true in a few cases; but one can often show that a contradiction is the sign of real struggle leading to development: for example, the struggle between mountain building and erosion, or between bacterial virulence and immunity.

Marxists are tackling the theoretical problems of science, art, and literature as well as economics and politics, in a very thorough manner. "La Pensee," the Marxist quarterly revue, keeps up a higher intellectual level than any similar journal in our language. This is largely because it can call on a great number of scientists who can write on their own subject, whether it be evolution, dramatic criticism, or coastal shipping with special knowledge is well as a Marxist approach.

J. B. S. Haldane