Historical Materialism Journal by Various authors

By Various authors

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Is subject to rules . . it is . . a fact . . that there is order in this world and that knowledge of this world comes by way of knowledge of its ‘laws’ . . 73 At least two points are made here. (i) Though there are no laws (formulations of necessities) which explain the coming-to-be of a world, once the world has come about, there are, contingently, stabilities in its working, laws which may be said to be necessary and used in explanations of particular features of it. The existence of order in the world is not a result of the existence of laws; rather, the converse is the case.

And their ‘works’, and the great figures of the world to which the original ‘throw of the dice’ of the aleatory has given their form, the great figures in which the world of history has ‘taken form’. . This makes it all too clear that anyone who took it into his head to consider these figures, individuals, conjunctures or states of the world as either the necessary result of given premises or the provisional anticipation of an end would be mistaken, because he would be neglecting the fact (the ‘Faktum’) that these provisional results are doubly provisional, not only in the sense that they will be superseded, but also in the sense that they might have never come about [advenir], or might have come about only as the effect of a ‘brief encounter ’, if they had not arisen on the happy basis of a stroke of good fortune which gave their ‘chance’ to ‘last’ to the elements over whose conjunction it so happens (by chance) that this form had to preside.

There is no significant sense in which it can be said to be somehow a part or aspect of the world of real objects, for it is never true of the latter. 97 The latter has cognitive value to the extent that a ‘fit’ can be demonstrated, through various procedures, between it and real systems. This is why a certain terminological exactitude is very important here, specifically, to speak of a ‘law of a tendency’ and not a ‘tendential law’, as Penguin edition, p. 319/MEW 25: p. 223. The idea of a ‘pure case’ has roots in everyday thinking, in particular in the idea of what is ‘normal’.

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