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[Xmca-l] Engels on Laws of evolution and laws of history

"Speak to history" could mean anything to me, Jessica. There are two very definite statements being made here which have been mixed up in translation. I'd now like to figure out when the meaning got changed. I am assuming that the English translation on p. 517 of v. 25 of MECW is a good translation of the original German, because this version is very reliable. It says: "The eternal laws of nature also become transformed more and more into historical ones" going on as David Ke noted to talk simply about the *variability* of all "laws of nature" as opposed to *eternal laws of nature.* That's all.- nothing about human history or it's supposed "laws". Hegel never talked of "laws of history", regarding them as belonging to "appearance" and he was in agreement with Kant on that point. Marx never talked of "laws of history" either, talking only of what has happened in the past and the possibilities pregnant in the present. Stalin did talk about "laws of history". In "Dialectical and Historical Materialism" (1938) he talks repeatedly about "laws of history" and what's more the Party knows them, so watch out, and he is always citing Marx and Hegel to prove his point. So we have in the English translation of "History of the Development of the Higher Mental Functions" the epigram: "More and more eternal laws of nature are turning into laws of history. - F. Engels" and the editors tell us in a footnote that this comes from the "Russian Marx-Engels CW, v. 20, p. 553," which actually says:

/Вечные законы природы /также превращаются все более и более в исторические законы.

for which MicroSoft translator gives me: "/Eternal laws of nature/ also are converted ever more and more into historical laws," which to me is *ambiguous*. What are "historical laws"? Are they changeable laws or laws of change?

David Ke: what does the epigram say in the Russian edition of HDHMF?
Mike C or Natalia G: can you make an unambiguous translation of that Russian from the Russian MECW?

My interest is only this: did the translators of LSV's Collected works mess up the translation of the epigram, or did Vygotsky read a distorted translation in his copy of "Dialectics of Nature" in Russian translation?


*Andy Blunden*

Kindred, Jessica Dr. wrote:
Does it mean thaqt nothing remains constant, or that everything depends on conditions... which does surely speak to history.
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Andy Blunden [ablunden@mira.net]
Sent: Saturday, January 17, 2015 8:37 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Laws of evolution and laws of history

And I found the Engels he was quoting, in the Russian translation:

    /Вечные законы природы /также превращаются все более и более в
    исторические законы.

The English translation says:

    The eternal laws of nature also become transformed more and more
    into historical ones.

but then it goes on to say:

    That water is fluid from 0°-100° C. is an eternal law of nature, but
    for it to be valid, there must be (1) water, (2) the given
    temperature, (3) normal pressure.

So this does NOT mean what it appeared to mean. Engels simply means
"nothing remains constant" It is not saying anything about "laws of

*Andy Blunden*

mike cole wrote:
Thanks David -- That is certainly where I must have encountered the phrase
often enough for it to stick in my mind. And thanks to Jessica and Andy we
see versions of the idea in many places.

Double the pleasure.

On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 11:36 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>


See Vol. Four of the Collected Works in English: the quote you refer to is
the epigraph to HDHMF. It's from Dialectics of Nature, and Vygotsky keeps
coming back to it again and again, throughout the whole text of HDHMF,
which is one reason why I am assuming (against what Anton Yasnitsky has
written) that HDHMF is a whole book, one of the very few that Vygotsky
completedly completed (and also his longest work).