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a The Motive-Force of Material Change: Dialectics or Selectionism Maria da Luz Alexandrino University of Southern California Joseph B. Morrow California State University, Sacramento This paper does not question the notion of materialism. All is matter. Words about non-matter do not represent or name nature. They merely reify or name other words. This paper does not suggest that matter is necessarily mechanical or unchanging. On the contrary, nature is in constant change and new things develop from old things. What this paper would like to discuss is the mechanism by which nature changes. We would argue that an understanding of this mechanism is crucial to those who would themselves attempt to change the world that nature and society has put in front of us. We wholeheartedly endorse Engels’ dictum that freedom is not the escape from necessity but the understanding of natural laws and making those laws work toward definite ends. We believe that Engels and Marx were wrong in their conclusion that the Hegelian theory of dialectics represents the motive force for change. Instead, we believe that a closer examination of nature argues for a process called selectioniam as the motive force for change and development. We would argue that changes that occur are not the outcome of opposing tendencies or contradictions. It is instead a process whereby a natural event occurs and produces or is followed by consequences, and it is these consequences that determine change and new development We believe this is a crucial difference. Probably in all scientific fields and certainly in ours, behavioral psychology and public administration, the laws of dialectics: the unity and contradiction of opposites, the negation of the negation, and qualitative changes as a result of an undetermined number of quantitative changes, do not resemble the processes we observe unfolding. They contradict the empirical data. To engineer change from the dialectical standpoint an attempt must be made to provide an opposite or contradiction for that part of nature one would change. The contradiction or opposite, and even the concept of quality, are often obscure in any objective sense. Perhaps it is easy in retrospect to label things as opposites or as a quality change in a post hoc analysis, but we would suggest that the terms "opposite" and "quality" do not lend themselves very well to empirical studies or prescriptive action. On the other hand nature has provided us with abundant examples of how consequences select development. A contemporary of Marx was Charles Darwin (1809-1882). He too was interested in the mechanism of change. Darwin's goal was nothing short of understanding the origin of species. Rejecting the mechanism of God, Darwin sought in an inductive endeavor to observe what nature said to him about the question. 3 In 1859 he published what he believed was the answer to the origin of species. Species developed via the mechanism he called “natural selection": organisms have descendants that vary somewhat from themselves. Those that are best suited to live in the environment into which they are born are more likely to survive and have descendants who resemble them. This is called ‘survival of the fittest". That is, those who best "fit" the requirements of their specific environment are more likely to survive. For example, insects that more closely resemble their background “fit” better, i.e., they are less likely to be seen and eaten by predators and hence survive and have descendants who resemble them. Those descendants will vary in physical characteristics and some will likely resemble their backgrounds even more than their predecessors. Thus the consequences of more closely resembling their background was a greater likelihood of survival and hence, such structures are “selected naturally". Selection by consequences serves as the causal mode or motive force for the development of species and biological structures. Darwin reasoned that this natural "selectionism" was the mechanism for the development of all physical characteristics of species. A dialectical explanation of the development of species leaves much to be desired when compared with a selectionist one. To discuss next the role of selectionism in the development of individual behavior, it is necessary to assert the notion of continuity of species. This is not the place to argue this point