By Engels Friedrich
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Extra resources for Anti-Duhring
The limitedness of the material world leads no less to contradictions than its unlimitedness, and every attempt to get over these contradictions leads, as we have seen, to new and worse contradictions. It is just because infinity is a contradiction that it is an infinite process, unrolling endlessly in time and in space. The removal of the contradiction would be the end of infinity. Hegel saw this quite correctly, and for that reason treated with well-merited contempt the gentlemen who subtilised over this contradiction.
The materialists before Herr Dühring spoke of matter and motion. He reduces motion to mechanical force as its supposed basic form, and thereby makes it impossible for himself to understand the real connection between matter and motion, which moreover was also unclear to all former materialists. And yet it is simple enough. Motion is the mode of existence of matter. Never anywhere has there been matter without motion, nor can there be. Motion in cosmic space, mechanical motion of smaller masses on the various celestial bodies, the vibration of molecules as heat or as electrical or magnetic currents, chemical disintegration and combination, organic life -- at each given moment each individual atom of matter in the world is in one or other of these forms of motion, or in several forms at once.
Herr Dühring seems to think his readers are infants. The establishment of individual transitions and connections between the tiniest links in the chain of existence is precisely the content of natural science, and when there is a hitch at some point in its work no one, not even Herr Dühring, thinks of explaining prior motion as having arisen out of nothing, but always only as a transfer, transformation or transmission of some previous motion. But here the issue is admittedly one of accepting motion as having arisen out of immobility, that is, out of nothing.
Anti-Duhring by Engels Friedrich