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histor'ical mate'rialism




(in Marxist theory) the doctrine that all forms of social thought, as art or philosophy, and institutions, as the family or the state, develop as a superstructure founded on an economic base; that they reflect the character of economic relations and are altered or modified as a result of class struggles; that each ruling economic class produces the class that will destroy or replace it; and that dialectical necessity requires the eventual withering away of the state and the establishment of a classless society: the body of theory, in dialectical materialism, dealing with historical process and social causation. Cf. economic determinism.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

historical linguisticshistorical method
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