Category Archives: Science

Outline of Raymond Williams

Outline: Raymond Williams, Marxism and Literature pp 75-89

I. Base & Superstructure

Two propositions:

  • Determining base and determined superstructure
  • Social being determines consciousness

Drawn from Marx’s Preface:

In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Continue reading

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On the Scientific Method

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ~Einstein

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.” ~Marie Curie

“Being a scientist requires having faith in uncertainty, finding pleasure in mystery, and learning to cultivate doubt.” ~Stuart Firestein

And from Neil Degrasse Tyson:

i. Test ideas by experiment and observation.
ii. Build on those ideas that pass the test. Reject the ones that fail.
iii. Follow the evidence wherever it leads.
iv. Question everything.