Discussion:
O, Dialectics!
(too old to reply)
Nestor Gorojovsky
2005-05-11 12:47:08 UTC
Permalink
Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 19, Issue 31"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:10 May 2005, a las 21:04
as long as there is US capitalism, there will be US imperialism
And as long as there is US imperialism, there will be US capitalism.

Perhaps this is a suitable introduction to:

Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 19, Issue 31"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:10 May 2005, a las 21:04
The distinctive character of the antiwar demonstrations during
Vietnam was not their narrowly single-issue or still less
single-slogan character, but their FOCUS ON THE WAR. The refusal
to retreat from the fight to get the US rulers out of Vietnam,
whether the retreat was to the liberal right or the "revolutionary"
left.
I hope I don't incur in Mr. Rubinelli's rage (whose knowledge and
wisdom on class struggle at the railroads I always read with an
interest as great and delighted as deep and bitter are the
differences that separate us on other, certainly more substantial,
points).

But it might be useful to remember that this particular "single
issue" condensed _every other issue_ in the sense that the Viet Nam
war was _the ultimate imperialist war_ and that all the
contradictions of American society were carried to an unprecedented
level of tension by the fact of the war itself. And that this was
the result of the national liberation character of the war as fought
on the Viet Namese side.

Thus, as seen from far away and somehow from outside (can you ever be
really "outside" US in Latin America, even in Cuba, today?), what
happened during the anti-Viet Nam war period in USA was that for a
single glorious moment all of the struggles against American
bourgeoisie and American establishment, which arose here and there as
threads in the air, were woven into a single, strong and hanging
rope, and that this kind of situations can certainly not appear
because some genius has imagined it. In a sense, they were the
result of stubborn resistence by a proud and unbending semicolonial
people in Asia which put all of the progressive brains in America to
question the worthiness of everything they had been believing at
least since the end of World War II. Would I surprise too many
people on this list, or lose too much money, if I put some bucks to
the idea that most of those who were anti-Viet Nam in, say, 1969,
were (or would have been) pro-imperialist liberals in 1959 or even
1964?

Thus, it is unfair to darken the individual contribution of those who
saw the trend first. There was something in the wind, indeed. But
some could smell it before others, and acted accordingly. In my own
humble opinion they deserve respect for that.


N?stor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Nestor Gorojovsky
2005-05-11 12:47:10 UTC
Permalink
Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 19, Issue
Nestor Gorojovsky
2005-05-11 12:47:10 UTC
Permalink
Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 19, Issue 31"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:10 May 2005, a las 21:04
The distinctive character of the antiwar demonstrations during Vietnam
was not their narrowly single-issue or still less single-slogan
character, but their FOCUS ON THE WAR. The refusal to retreat from
the fight to get the US rulers out of Vietnam, whether the retreat was
to the liberal right or the "revolutionary" left.
I hope I don't incur in Mr. Rubinelli's rage (whose knowledge and
wisdom in class struggle at the railroads I always read with an
interest as great and delighted as deep and bitter are the
differences that separate us on other, certainly more substantial,
points).

But it might be useful to remember that this particular "single
issue" condensed _every other issue_ in the sense that the Viet Nam
war was _the ultimate imperialist war_ and that all the
contradictions of American society were carried to an unprecedented
level of tension by the fact of the war itself.

As seen from far away and somehow from outside (can you ever be
really "outside" US in Latin America, even in Cuba, today?), what
happened there was that for a single glorious moment all of the
struggles against American bourgeoisie and American establishment,
which arose here and there as threads in the air, were woven into a
single, strong and hanging rope, and that this kind of situations can
certainly not appear because some genius has imagined it.

But it is also unfair to darken the individual contribution of those
who saw the trend first. There was something in the wind, indeed.
But some could smell it before others, and acted accordingly. In my
own humble opinion they deserve respect for that.

N?stor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-11 14:19:20 UTC
Permalink
I agree with that broad analysis, but surely we can dispense with the
language of 'dialectics'?

For instance, you describe the 'contradictions' of US society, but
contradictions involve two propositions which make one another impossible.
There aren't contradictions in reality, only conflicts, interfaces of
struggle and tension.

Actually, the fact that you do by and large dispense with 'dialectics' in
your analysis is suggestive. Historical materialism has no need for the
'dialectic' which, at the most generous assessment, is a style of thought
rather than something to be 'deduced' (pace Engels) from reality...
From: "Nestor Gorojovsky" <nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Subject: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 09:47:08 -0300
Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 19, Issue 31"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:10 May 2005, a las 21:04
as long as there is US capitalism, there will be US imperialism
And as long as there is US imperialism, there will be US capitalism.
Respuesta a:"Marxism Digest, Vol 19, Issue 31"
Enviado por:marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu
Con fecha:10 May 2005, a las 21:04
The distinctive character of the antiwar demonstrations during
Vietnam was not their narrowly single-issue or still less
single-slogan character, but their FOCUS ON THE WAR. The refusal
to retreat from the fight to get the US rulers out of Vietnam,
whether the retreat was to the liberal right or the "revolutionary"
left.
I hope I don't incur in Mr. Rubinelli's rage (whose knowledge and
wisdom on class struggle at the railroads I always read with an
interest as great and delighted as deep and bitter are the
differences that separate us on other, certainly more substantial,
points).
But it might be useful to remember that this particular "single
issue" condensed _every other issue_ in the sense that the Viet Nam
war was _the ultimate imperialist war_ and that all the
contradictions of American society were carried to an unprecedented
level of tension by the fact of the war itself. And that this was
the result of the national liberation character of the war as fought
on the Viet Namese side.
Thus, as seen from far away and somehow from outside (can you ever be
really "outside" US in Latin America, even in Cuba, today?), what
happened during the anti-Viet Nam war period in USA was that for a
single glorious moment all of the struggles against American
bourgeoisie and American establishment, which arose here and there as
threads in the air, were woven into a single, strong and hanging
rope, and that this kind of situations can certainly not appear
because some genius has imagined it. In a sense, they were the
result of stubborn resistence by a proud and unbending semicolonial
people in Asia which put all of the progressive brains in America to
question the worthiness of everything they had been believing at
least since the end of World War II. Would I surprise too many
people on this list, or lose too much money, if I put some bucks to
the idea that most of those who were anti-Viet Nam in, say, 1969,
were (or would have been) pro-imperialist liberals in 1959 or even
1964?
Thus, it is unfair to darken the individual contribution of those who
saw the trend first. There was something in the wind, indeed. But
some could smell it before others, and acted accordingly. In my own
humble opinion they deserve respect for that.
N?stor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_______________________________________________
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Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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_________________________________________________________________
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Carlos A. Rivera
2005-05-11 16:07:07 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
I agree with that broad analysis, but surely we can dispense with the
language of 'dialectics'?
For what reason?

I mean, your comments seem to approach the question from a purely semantic
point of view. You were using dialectics but not naming them as such.

Hence, why the fetish against the word?

sks
Steve Olson
2005-05-11 18:07:50 UTC
Permalink
Nestor Gorojovsky <nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar> wrote:


But it might be useful to remember that this particular "single
issue" condensed _every other issue_ in the sense that the Viet Nam
war was _the ultimate imperialist war_ and that all the
contradictions of American society were carried to an unprecedented
level of tension by the fact of the war itself.


The war condensed contradictions within the imperial fabric, but that did not justify a single focus; rather, each struggle was an anti-war struggle. Between anti-war and anti-imperialism lies an unbridged chasm.



---------------------------------
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www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-11 18:48:41 UTC
Permalink
Well, Carlos, you are at liberty to change the meaning of words to suit
yourself, but I'm interested to know in what sense you think I was using
dialectics. I have total disdain for diamat, particularly as conceived by
Engels & Trotsky, since the claims for it almost always involve dreadful a
priori reasoning that does not survive the slightest scrutiny. Are all
things in nature really in a state of perpetual change? And at what level,
and when does it count? Do opposites really interpenetrate (and does such a
claim contain any sense)? Why can't Trotsky tell the difference between
identity and equality?

Those are just some of the questions I have about the dialectic.
From: "Carlos A. Rivera" <cerejota at optonline.net>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 12:07:07 -0400
----- Original Message ----- From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com"
<leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
I agree with that broad analysis, but surely we can dispense with the
language of 'dialectics'?
For what reason?
I mean, your comments seem to approach the question from a purely semantic
point of view. You were using dialectics but not naming them as such.
Hence, why the fetish against the word?
sks
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Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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Carlos A. Rivera
2005-05-11 20:02:00 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
Are all things in nature really in a state of perpetual change?
WTF?

Even matter becomes energy and vice versa.

I am not knowlegeable enough in philosophy as academic pursuit, but I think
that every single field of knowledge, from Theology to Engineering to
Physics to Medicine have shown, unequivocally, that reality is constantly
changing.

I mean, if you can't see this simple, common sense, obvious thing, I do
understand why dialectics are so hard for you to swallow.

sks
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-11 20:39:23 UTC
Permalink
I'm not surprised that I've astonished you so, although it reminds of St
Augustine's quip that "ignorance is the mother of amazement".

I doubt that you, or Trotksy, or anyone else has examined every corner of
the universe, at every atomic and subatomic level, and discovered incessant
change. It was once believed that the proton was self-identical for at
least ten to the power of 38 years. When Lenin wrote, it was widely
believed (and so he accepted) that there was such a thing as 'ether' -
actually that belief is becoming more fashionable. But it is simply
unscientific a priori reasoning to insist as a matter of one's philosophical
foundation that all nature is in a perpetual state of change. Societies
mutate, change and implode largely along the trends delineated by Marx. But
that process does not require a notion of the 'dialectic', merely the
ordinary terms of language that we have to describe change.

On the more substantive point of identity being confused with equality,
which you don't engage with, I would say this: In maths, when we write:
2x+1=7, we are saying that for x=3 this is true. Here we have equality. No
one supposes that x is identical to 3. If it were it could never be any
other number. In contrast, 1/2 is equal to and identical with 0.5. Earlier,
x was equal to 3 but not identical with it. Not all that difficult to grasp,
no?
However, when we write: cos3?? + sin?? ?? 4sin??cos2??
we advert to the fact that these two functions are identical, and they yield
the true for all values of ?? . Moreover, they are identical even though, in
linguistic form, they do not look typographically the same on the page. So
in that respect (typographically) they are unequal, even while they are
functionally identical. There are countless examples of this sort of thing
in maths (and hence in the sciences), and also in day to day language. Now,
this ordinary bit of understanding causes a jarring sensation when one reads
Trotsky: "all bodies change uninterruptedly in size, weight, colour etc.
They are never equal to themselves... For concepts there also exists
??tolerance?? which is established not by formal logic??, but by the
dialectical logic issuing from the axiom that everything is always
changing...."
From: "Carlos A. Rivera" <cerejota at optonline.net>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 16:02:00 -0400
----- Original Message ----- From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com"
<leninology at hotmail.com>
Are all things in nature really in a state of perpetual change?
WTF?
Even matter becomes energy and vice versa.
I am not knowlegeable enough in philosophy as academic pursuit, but I think
that every single field of knowledge, from Theology to Engineering to
Physics to Medicine have shown, unequivocally, that reality is constantly
changing.
I mean, if you can't see this simple, common sense, obvious thing, I do
understand why dialectics are so hard for you to swallow.
sks
_______________________________________________
Marxism mailing list
Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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Carlos A. Rivera
2005-05-12 03:49:35 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
On the more substantive point of identity being confused with equality,
which you don't engage with, I would say this: [...] Not all that
difficult to grasp, no?
[...]. So in that respect (typographically) they are unequal, even while
they are functionally identical. There are countless examples of this sort
of thing in maths (and hence in the sciences), and also in day to day
language.
Again, I am no expert in philosophy and logic, yet even by formal logic, you
argument against dialectics is wrong, and if we use diamat on it, it becomes
ludicrous.

Math is in itself an abstraction used to quantify, not qualify, reality. In
other words, it is completely and absolutely divorced from any subjective
value. "1" is not "1 banana" or "1 genetically engineered banana" or "1
organic, fair trade banana". "1" is *just* a single quantity of *anything*,
and hence of *everything*. Math and mathematical logic are wholly unuseful
to study things qualitatively. It is indeed useful to perform functions that
allow for what engineers title "black boxing", that is, to study things
whose subjective content is irrelevant to the task or exercise at hand.

Your error, and this is a profound but common one among critics of
dialectics and diamat, is to see a contradition between "identity" and
"equality" as mathematical logic concepts and the dialectical (that is,
social) logic. Mathematical logic exist *within* dialectical logic, not in
direct counterposition of it. When dealing with abstract, quantifying,
tasks, mathemtical logic is quite useful, when dealing with subjective,
qualitative things, such as love, biology or class struggle, it proves
insufficient.

The interesting is that mathematical logic itself is continually changing:
at one point in *history* (that is, in human society) "x=3" as explained in
your example, was simply NOT possible. It resulted from an specific social
need, at an specific point in human history, and was the reuslt of previous
social developments. As Goedel starts to point out, but refuses to follow
through with the obvious conclusion, math itself cannot be proven by math.
Yet, dialectical materialism does indeed seem to prove math in that it is a
social product to satisfy a particular historical need. The scientific
method establishes that if something can't prove itself, it must be proven
from without. Diamat proves math but not by mathematical logic.

When you say that you have a problem with diamat because "the claims for it
almost always involve dreadful a
priori reasoning that does not survive the slightest scrutiny". Ironically,
math suffers from the same thing (re Godel) yet you fail to find this same
fault in math. Which tells me, dialectically, that your opposition to diamat
is rooted not in intellectual curiosity and inquiry, but rather some sort of
idealist fetish with, possibly, the Engelian/Trotskyite connection with
diamat.

Got news: diamat itself predicts and *stuggles against* that tendency for
"a priori reasoning", this is what is termed in classic Marx as "old
materialism". It is true that errors of falling into this "old materialism"
have plagued diamatists.

Your counter-position of Historical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism
is the mother of all false dichotmies. Historical Materialism is nothing but
the application of Diamat to the class struggle, in other words, to human
history. That our efforts at that have not been successful is function of
the falibility of humanity than a problem of philosophy.

Diamat is a *social* logic, and hence, cannot be divorced, abstracted,
beyond the social. A dialectical mathematics will indeed fail, because math
is by definition abstract. But a dialectical teaching of mathematics, that
is, a social math, will not.

I know it is harder to understand that you simple "x=3" example, yet it
would be an incredible error, even in formal logic, to establish that diamat
is not true simply because it is complex.

Since my knowledge of this is at best rudimentary, I'll let others correct
me. Yet I think your knowledge is even more rudimentary than mine...

Needless to say, diamat is a theory, and as such, it is subject to being
disproven, and you can actually be a useful scientist without subscribing to
it. The whole "Aether" fiasco shows that incredible scientific leaps can be
done even under erroneous assumptions about nature (after all, Einstein
brought upon General *and* Special Relativity without *directly* questioning
"aether", not to mention Newtonian physics were completely built upon the
belief in the existense of Aether, and the bulk of thos elaws remain true to
this day).

Your example of Lenin believing in "aether" (something that is buried deep
in "Empirocriticism") actually helps prove diamat: Lenin was a child of his
time, and adopted what was the higher stage of scientific knowledge of that
time. Yet, in a matter of a few years, Aether was abandoned for "better"
theories. Science behaved dialectically.

sks
Les Schaffer
2005-05-12 20:35:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
I doubt that you, or Trotksy, or anyone else has examined every corner
of the universe, at every atomic and subatomic level, and discovered
incessant change. It was once believed that the proton was
self-identical for at least ten to the power of 38 years.
i cannot get into this thread till tmw, but in the meantime, here is
something i just got in email this afternoon. i've marked the section
relevant to this discussion in '{{{ }}}'. the current theoretical
framework for a proton, as a triplet quarks, is in fact a picture of a
seething effervescent sea of dynamic interchanges between fundamental
particles via force field particles. the gross result giving the proton
an apparent unchanging (or nearly unchanging) reality. this picture is
true whether or not the proton itself decays or is "self-identical".

the news item is itself an announcement that a computational strategy
called lattice QCD is allowing testable predictions for proton
constituents, i.e. quark masses (err energies) which themselves depend
on this seething vacuum sea.

more later.

les schaffer





PHYSICS NEWS UPDATE
The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 731 May 12, 2005 by Phillip F. Schewe, Ben Stein

MOST PRECISE MASS CALCULATION FOR LATTICE QCD. A team of
theoretical physicists have produced the best prediction of a
particle's mass. And within days of their paper being submitted to
Physical Review Letters, that very particle's mass was accurately
measured at Fermilab, providing striking confirmation of the
predicted value. How do the known particles acquire the mass they
have? The answer might come from lattice QCD, the name for a
computational approach to understanding how quarks interact.
Imagine quarks placed at the interstices of a crystal-like
structure. Then let the quarks interact with each other via the
exchange of gluons along the links between the quarks. The gluons
are the designated carriers of the strong nuclear force under the
general auspices of the theory called quantum chromodynamics (QCD).
From this sort of framework the mass of the known hadrons
(quark-containing composite particles such as mesons and baryons)
can be calculated. Until recently, however, the calculations were
marred by a crude approximation. A big improvement came only in
2003, when uncertainties in mass predictions went from the 10% level
to the 2% level (see Davies et al., Physical Review Letters, 16
January 2004). The mass of the proton, for example, could be
calculated within a few percent of the actual value. Progress has
come from a better treatment of the light quarks and from greater
computer power. {{{ Together the improvements provide the researchers
with a realistic treatment of the "sea quarks," the virtual
quarks whose ephemeral presence has a noticeable influence over the
"valence" quarks that are considered the nominal constituents of a
hadron. A proton, for example, is said to consist of three valence
quarks---two up quarks and one down quark---plus a myriad of sea
quarks that momentarily pop into existence in pairs. }}} Now, for the
first time, the mass of a hadron has been predicted with lattice
QCD. Andreas Kronfeld (ask at fnal.gov, 630-840-3753) and his
colleagues at Fermilab, Glasgow University, and Ohio State report a
mass calculation for the charmed B meson (Bc, for short, consisting
of an anti-bottom quark and a charmed quark). The value they
predict is 6304 ? 20 MeV---the remarkable precision stems not only
from the improvements discussed above, but also from the
researchers' methods for treating heavy quarks. A few days after
they submitted their Letter for publication, the first good
experimental measurement of the same particle was announced 6287 ?
5 MeV. This successful confirmation is exciting, because it
bolsters confidence that lattice QCD can be used to calculate many
other properties of hadrons. (Allison et al., Physical Review
Letters,6 May 2005, Lattice QCD website at http://lqcd.fnal.gov/ )
rrubinelli
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
As long as I don't get lumped in with death squads, Kissinger, finance capitalists, etc.,
no offense will be taken, and no offense given. Actually, I'm considered quite a fun
person to be around.

rr

-----Original Message-----
From: Nestor Gorojovsky <nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar>
Sent: May 11, 2005 8:47 AM
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Subject: [Marxism] Not "single issue", but THE "single issue"

I hope I don't incur in Mr. Rubinelli's rage (whose knowledge and
wisdom in class struggle at the railroads I always read with an
interest as great and delighted as deep and bitter are the
differences that separate us on other, certainly more substantial,
points).
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-12 07:08:27 UTC
Permalink
I'd be more impressed if that consisted of an argument rather than a series
of extravagant claims, poorly supported.

For instance, the fact that mathematics is an abstract practise dealing with
quantities and not qualities (although I'd even dispute that mathematics
cannot designate qualities - the old 'quantity into quality' problem), is
not relevant to whether identity and equality are the same thing. In
ordinary language, they are not, and I provided instances of this.

You say diamat is a social logic - it isn't, unless you think Engels, Lenin
and Trotsky were using their examples from nature not to express something
about the structure of nature itself, but as metaphors to discuss social
change. I think you'd have a hard time proving that. Diamat involves the
supposition that there is a dialectic *in* nature that can be deduced *from*
it - and to claim it can be applied solely to the social world immediately
embarks upon a kind of dualism.

You say mathematical logic exists within dialectical logic - aside from the
fact that I doubt the existence of the latter (although arguably, Zizek
provided the means for establishing such a thing by replacing the triadic
form with n+1), I fail to see how you justify this anywhere in what you've
written. You say that at one point "x=3" is not possible, whereas at the
next it is, and therefore the dialectical view of history is embodied in
mathematical logic (a strange inversion). But x=3 is *always* possible
where x=3 - I know that's a tautology, but it is you who is leading the
discussion in circles. x=3 is not temporally delimited. It is a logical
proposition which, as Wittgenstein showed, has nothing to do with any
particular 'state of affairs'. It doesn't designate change - we have all
sorts of words in ordinary language to help us do that, without relying on
the wooden language of Hegelianism, in which verbs are frozen into nouns...

If diamat itself struggles against a priori reasoning, then it is its own
grave-digger. How can one dispense with a priori reasoning when one is
committed to a series of propositions which involve claims about nature that
eventually prove immune to empirical evidence?

The point about Lenin and the ether was aimed at the naive scientific
realism that underpinned his diamat - as you have Materialism and
Empiriocritism to hand, you'll know what I mean. To say that it shows how
'science behaved dialectically' demands explanation more than it explains.
Are you saying that the concept of the ether was interpenetrated by its
opposite, or that quantity changed into quality? Thomas Kuhn, whatever else
was wrong with him, provided a far better model for understanding the
'paradigm-shifts' that occur within science than diamat (albeit you could
argue that his institutional analysis was itself dialectical)...

I'll be back with more (got to go to work).
From: "Carlos A. Rivera" <cerejota at optonline.net>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 23:49:35 -0400
----- Original Message ----- From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com"
<leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
On the more substantive point of identity being confused with equality,
which you don't engage with, I would say this: [...] Not all that
difficult to grasp, no?
[...]. So in that respect (typographically) they are unequal, even while
they are functionally identical. There are countless examples of this sort
of thing in maths (and hence in the sciences), and also in day to day
language.
Again, I am no expert in philosophy and logic, yet even by formal logic,
you argument against dialectics is wrong, and if we use diamat on it, it
becomes ludicrous.
Math is in itself an abstraction used to quantify, not qualify, reality. In
other words, it is completely and absolutely divorced from any subjective
value. "1" is not "1 banana" or "1 genetically engineered banana" or "1
organic, fair trade banana". "1" is *just* a single quantity of *anything*,
and hence of *everything*. Math and mathematical logic are wholly unuseful
to study things qualitatively. It is indeed useful to perform functions
that allow for what engineers title "black boxing", that is, to study
things whose subjective content is irrelevant to the task or exercise at
hand.
Your error, and this is a profound but common one among critics of
dialectics and diamat, is to see a contradition between "identity" and
"equality" as mathematical logic concepts and the dialectical (that is,
social) logic. Mathematical logic exist *within* dialectical logic, not in
direct counterposition of it. When dealing with abstract, quantifying,
tasks, mathemtical logic is quite useful, when dealing with subjective,
qualitative things, such as love, biology or class struggle, it proves
insufficient.
at one point in *history* (that is, in human society) "x=3" as explained in
your example, was simply NOT possible. It resulted from an specific social
need, at an specific point in human history, and was the reuslt of previous
social developments. As Goedel starts to point out, but refuses to follow
through with the obvious conclusion, math itself cannot be proven by math.
Yet, dialectical materialism does indeed seem to prove math in that it is a
social product to satisfy a particular historical need. The scientific
method establishes that if something can't prove itself, it must be proven
from without. Diamat proves math but not by mathematical logic.
When you say that you have a problem with diamat because "the claims for it
almost always involve dreadful a
priori reasoning that does not survive the slightest scrutiny". Ironically,
math suffers from the same thing (re Godel) yet you fail to find this same
fault in math. Which tells me, dialectically, that your opposition to
diamat is rooted not in intellectual curiosity and inquiry, but rather some
sort of idealist fetish with, possibly, the Engelian/Trotskyite connection
with diamat.
Got news: diamat itself predicts and *stuggles against* that tendency for
"a priori reasoning", this is what is termed in classic Marx as "old
materialism". It is true that errors of falling into this "old materialism"
have plagued diamatists.
Your counter-position of Historical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism
is the mother of all false dichotmies. Historical Materialism is nothing
but the application of Diamat to the class struggle, in other words, to
human history. That our efforts at that have not been successful is
function of the falibility of humanity than a problem of philosophy.
Diamat is a *social* logic, and hence, cannot be divorced, abstracted,
beyond the social. A dialectical mathematics will indeed fail, because math
is by definition abstract. But a dialectical teaching of mathematics, that
is, a social math, will not.
I know it is harder to understand that you simple "x=3" example, yet it
would be an incredible error, even in formal logic, to establish that
diamat is not true simply because it is complex.
Since my knowledge of this is at best rudimentary, I'll let others correct
me. Yet I think your knowledge is even more rudimentary than mine...
Needless to say, diamat is a theory, and as such, it is subject to being
disproven, and you can actually be a useful scientist without subscribing
to it. The whole "Aether" fiasco shows that incredible scientific leaps can
be done even under erroneous assumptions about nature (after all, Einstein
brought upon General *and* Special Relativity without *directly*
questioning "aether", not to mention Newtonian physics were completely
built upon the belief in the existense of Aether, and the bulk of thos
elaws remain true to this day).
Your example of Lenin believing in "aether" (something that is buried deep
in "Empirocriticism") actually helps prove diamat: Lenin was a child of his
time, and adopted what was the higher stage of scientific knowledge of that
time. Yet, in a matter of a few years, Aether was abandoned for "better"
theories. Science behaved dialectically.
sks
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Louis Proyect
2005-05-12 14:21:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
The point about Lenin and the ether was aimed at the naive scientific
realism that underpinned his diamat - as you have Materialism and
Empiriocritism to hand, you'll know what I mean. To say that it shows how
'science behaved dialectically' demands explanation more than it explains.
Are you saying that the concept of the ether was interpenetrated by its
opposite, or that quantity changed into quality? Thomas Kuhn, whatever
else was wrong with him, provided a far better model for understanding the
'paradigm-shifts' that occur within science than diamat (albeit you could
argue that his institutional analysis was itself dialectical)...
I would urge Leninology and others to check Helena Sheehan's website, where
excerpts from her "Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical
History" can be found: http://www.comms.dcu.ie/sheehanh/mxphsc.htm. This
book sheds light on the creative intersection between science and Marxist
philosophy in the USSR, including--most interestingly--the 1930s.

Here's something from her discussion of Christopher Caudwell, who was a
casualty of the Spanish Civil War and whose "Notes on a Dying Culture" is
must reading:

The new categories required could not be formed within the bounds of
physics alone, however. No real solution was possible unless the most basic
and fundamental categories common to all domains were to be radically
refashioned. What physics needed was a new philosophy.

Einstein and Planck were the last physicists adhering to the old
metaphysics of physics, whereas Jeans and Eddington represented the most
extreme swing in the opposite direction, the most extreme tendency for
physical theory to fly away from physical experiment. Einstein stood out as
a larger figure than the rest in his aspiration to an all embracing
philosophy. Although he did manage to bring together a wide domain of
physics, he was still unable to encompass the whole complexity of modern
physics. Nor was anyone else able.

With the breakdown of traditional categories and no new ones to take their
place, physicists were becoming inclined to call God back in again to
sanction the physicists belief in unity, to assure him of a worthwhile end
to his labours. But it was a God from the other side. Unlike Newton's God
who was Matter, this God was Mind, a mind remarkably like that of the
physicist's own. All such introjections of the physicist's mind behind
phenomena to take the place of a deleted matter represented a certain
falling off and disorientation as compared with earlier physicists' more
robust viewpoint.

The state of physics amid all the confusion was disturbing, not only to the
physicists, but to the general public as well. Taking up the various
problems perplexing to the popular consciousness in relation to physics,
Caudwell first examined the problem of the relation of physics to
perception. The world of physics seemed to be deviating further and further
from the world of perception. The world of relativity physics seemed to be
taking physics further and further from reality as directly experienced. In
answer to the question of whether the world of physics could be restored to
the world of experience, his answer was yes, that it must, for physics was
built up and validated from the results of perception, even relativity
physics. The discrepancy between Newton and Einstein was settled after all
on the basis of the Michelson-Morley experiment. The perceived world,
Caudwell insisted, was primary and gave status to only certain of the
various self-consistent possible worlds.

An even stickier question in physics was that surrounding the status of
concepts of causality and determinism that had become particularly
problematic with the development of quantum physics and had brought many
physicists to deny causality and to assert a radical indeterminism in
nature. Responding particularly to the conclusions being drawn by Jeans and
Eddington from Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty, to the effect that
causality and determinism were no longer principles of physics and that it
was therefore possible to guarantee the freedom of the human will, Caudwell
analysed the issue on a number of levels.

Basically his argument was that the fundamental bourgeois illusion, in its
false notion of the nature of freedom, had penetrated even into physics.
The bourgeois understanding of causality was equivalent to predeterminism,
the only sort of determinism that bourgeois could understand. It was the
bourgeois nightmare. It was the dread of a class that did not want to be
tied to nature by any relation except that of private property, a relation
entered into by the individual by virtue of his own free will. Freedom, for
the bourgeois, seemed to lie in arbitrary subjectivity, with all causality
concealed, hidden in the shadow of the free market.

Those, such as Jeans and Eddington, who seized upon Heisenberg's principle
to launch a full-scale attack on determinism in physics, picturing the
movements of the particles as indeterminate and the particles themselves as
unknowable, supposed that this at last secured the menaced free will of the
bourgeois. By this bizarre stratagem, they thought they had freed man from
the determinism of nature by eliminating the determinism of nature
altogether. Even nature was now seen to exhibit bourgeois free will.

On one level, Caudwell analysed the way this played itself out within the
realm of physical theory, tracing it back to the subject-object dichotomy
and the separation of the basis of freedom from the basis of necessity in
the 17th century. He seemed to have very definite ideas about how the
resolution of his dichotomy provided the way out of the anarchy engulfing
physical theory. His argument at this level was not fully developed,
however, as it came only in the draft notes for the chapters of The Crisis
in Physics, which were left in a very rough state, far from ready for
publication, when he went off to Spain.

Roughly, he seemed to be indicating that the apparent antinomies of
physical theory between quantum and wave, discontinuity and continuity,
freedom and determinism, accident and necessity, would find their
resolution when thought ceased to move back and forth between mutually
exclusive polar opposites. It was necessary to see freedom within the
framework of determinism. Otherwise, each was abstracted from the other,
distorted and scarred. Determinism and necessity became crystalline and
incapable of evolution. Freedom and accident floated about without roots.
It was the universal interweaving of domains and not the concept of strict
determinism as such that made it possible to speak of the universal reign
of law. Part of Caudwell's argument seemed to rest on a distinction between
causality as an active subject-object relationship and predeterminism as a
passive one.*

*Determinism, as it emerged at the end of The Crisis in Physics is the more
general category. Within it, he distinguished between causality and
probabilistic determinism on the one hand and strict Laplacean
predeterminism on the other.

For Caudwell, then, the crisis in physics was not due to the mystical and
contradictory nature of the phenomena discovered, but to the attempt of the
bourgeois to keep the world of physics closed and to preserve his own
freedom outside it, to keep himself at all costs immune from causality.

--

www.marxmail.org
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-12 09:01:03 UTC
Permalink
Incidentally, on the alleged inadequacy of ordinary logic and language with
respect to describing change, here is a greatly shortened list of ordinary
words (restricted to modern English) that enable the depiction of changes of
unbounded complexity:

vary, alter, adjust, mutate, develop, expand, flow, differentiate, fast,
slow, rapid, melt, harden, drip, cascade, is, was, will be, will have been,
had, will have had, went, go, going, gone, lost, age, flood, crumble, erode,
tumble, fall, rise, spin, oscillate, rotate, wave, quickly, slowly,
instantaneously, suddenly, gradually, rapidly, sell, buy, lose, win, ripen,
rot, grow, decay, push, pull, jump, break, mend, loosen, tighten, undo,
fasten, unfasten, rip, sew, sow, plant, till, cut, dig, split, join, divide,
smash, fight, picket, transform, return, leave, modify, slight, miniscule,
massive, microscopic, tiny, great, small, overturn, abrogate, cancel,
defeat, strike, revolt, march, charge, assault, kick-out, remove, overthrow,
expropriate, dismantle, replace, hour, minute, second, instant, destroy,
boil, freeze, liquefy, evaporate, solidify, condense, protest, challenge,
demonstrate, rebel, campaign, agitate and organise.

Naturally, it would not be difficult to extend this list until it contained
literally tens of thousands of words all capable of depicting countless
changes in the greatest of detail...
From: "Carlos A. Rivera" <cerejota at optonline.net>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 23:49:35 -0400
----- Original Message ----- From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com"
<leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
On the more substantive point of identity being confused with equality,
which you don't engage with, I would say this: [...] Not all that
difficult to grasp, no?
[...]. So in that respect (typographically) they are unequal, even while
they are functionally identical. There are countless examples of this sort
of thing in maths (and hence in the sciences), and also in day to day
language.
Again, I am no expert in philosophy and logic, yet even by formal logic,
you argument against dialectics is wrong, and if we use diamat on it, it
becomes ludicrous.
Math is in itself an abstraction used to quantify, not qualify, reality. In
other words, it is completely and absolutely divorced from any subjective
value. "1" is not "1 banana" or "1 genetically engineered banana" or "1
organic, fair trade banana". "1" is *just* a single quantity of *anything*,
and hence of *everything*. Math and mathematical logic are wholly unuseful
to study things qualitatively. It is indeed useful to perform functions
that allow for what engineers title "black boxing", that is, to study
things whose subjective content is irrelevant to the task or exercise at
hand.
Your error, and this is a profound but common one among critics of
dialectics and diamat, is to see a contradition between "identity" and
"equality" as mathematical logic concepts and the dialectical (that is,
social) logic. Mathematical logic exist *within* dialectical logic, not in
direct counterposition of it. When dealing with abstract, quantifying,
tasks, mathemtical logic is quite useful, when dealing with subjective,
qualitative things, such as love, biology or class struggle, it proves
insufficient.
at one point in *history* (that is, in human society) "x=3" as explained in
your example, was simply NOT possible. It resulted from an specific social
need, at an specific point in human history, and was the reuslt of previous
social developments. As Goedel starts to point out, but refuses to follow
through with the obvious conclusion, math itself cannot be proven by math.
Yet, dialectical materialism does indeed seem to prove math in that it is a
social product to satisfy a particular historical need. The scientific
method establishes that if something can't prove itself, it must be proven
from without. Diamat proves math but not by mathematical logic.
When you say that you have a problem with diamat because "the claims for it
almost always involve dreadful a
priori reasoning that does not survive the slightest scrutiny". Ironically,
math suffers from the same thing (re Godel) yet you fail to find this same
fault in math. Which tells me, dialectically, that your opposition to
diamat is rooted not in intellectual curiosity and inquiry, but rather some
sort of idealist fetish with, possibly, the Engelian/Trotskyite connection
with diamat.
Got news: diamat itself predicts and *stuggles against* that tendency for
"a priori reasoning", this is what is termed in classic Marx as "old
materialism". It is true that errors of falling into this "old materialism"
have plagued diamatists.
Your counter-position of Historical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism
is the mother of all false dichotmies. Historical Materialism is nothing
but the application of Diamat to the class struggle, in other words, to
human history. That our efforts at that have not been successful is
function of the falibility of humanity than a problem of philosophy.
Diamat is a *social* logic, and hence, cannot be divorced, abstracted,
beyond the social. A dialectical mathematics will indeed fail, because math
is by definition abstract. But a dialectical teaching of mathematics, that
is, a social math, will not.
I know it is harder to understand that you simple "x=3" example, yet it
would be an incredible error, even in formal logic, to establish that
diamat is not true simply because it is complex.
Since my knowledge of this is at best rudimentary, I'll let others correct
me. Yet I think your knowledge is even more rudimentary than mine...
Needless to say, diamat is a theory, and as such, it is subject to being
disproven, and you can actually be a useful scientist without subscribing
to it. The whole "Aether" fiasco shows that incredible scientific leaps can
be done even under erroneous assumptions about nature (after all, Einstein
brought upon General *and* Special Relativity without *directly*
questioning "aether", not to mention Newtonian physics were completely
built upon the belief in the existense of Aether, and the bulk of thos
elaws remain true to this day).
Your example of Lenin believing in "aether" (something that is buried deep
in "Empirocriticism") actually helps prove diamat: Lenin was a child of his
time, and adopted what was the higher stage of scientific knowledge of that
time. Yet, in a matter of a few years, Aether was abandoned for "better"
theories. Science behaved dialectically.
sks
_______________________________________________
Marxism mailing list
Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/marxism
_________________________________________________________________
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Charles Brown
2005-05-12 15:50:40 UTC
Permalink
www.leninology. :

-clip-

I doubt that you, or Trotksy, or anyone else has examined every corner of
the universe, at every atomic and subatomic level, and discovered incessant
change. It was once believed that the proton was self-identical for at
least ten to the power of 38 years. When Lenin wrote, it was widely
believed (and so he accepted) that there was such a thing as 'ether' -
actually that belief is becoming more fashionable. But it is simply
unscientific a priori reasoning to insist as a matter of one's philosophical

foundation that all nature is in a perpetual state of change.



^^^^^^^
CB: How about as a posteriori reasoning as a presumption ? Because, all past
experience is that nothing stays the same forever, there is no Rock of Ages
or God , no eternally constant anything, we presume for the future that
everything changes.

How do you get around the claim that if you think there is something that
doesn't change , then you think that God exists ?

In other words, dialectics is identical with atheism.
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-12 16:01:16 UTC
Permalink
"How do you get around the claim that if you think there is something that
doesn't change , then you think that God exists?"

I don't, I just dismiss it as illogical nonsense. First, it engages with
what I don't say (I never said that there was something that did not change,
only that not everything is always changing). Second, it is not a valid
argument: because there may be something in the universe that never changes
(and this is a very real possibility) does not mean that it was created by a
supernatural being.

"we presume for the future that everything changes"

That may sound like a safe assumption for most ordinary experience, but what
if there are some levels at which things do not change - ie: stay exactly
the same?

And how do you get round the fact that ordinary language is enormously
better at describing and delineating change than the language of dialectical
materialism?
From: "Charles Brown" <cbrown at michiganlegal.org>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist
tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 11:50:40 -0400
-clip-
I doubt that you, or Trotksy, or anyone else has examined every corner of
the universe, at every atomic and subatomic level, and discovered incessant
change. It was once believed that the proton was self-identical for at
least ten to the power of 38 years. When Lenin wrote, it was widely
believed (and so he accepted) that there was such a thing as 'ether' -
actually that belief is becoming more fashionable. But it is simply
unscientific a priori reasoning to insist as a matter of one's
philosophical
foundation that all nature is in a perpetual state of change.
^^^^^^^
CB: How about as a posteriori reasoning as a presumption ? Because, all
past
experience is that nothing stays the same forever, there is no Rock of Ages
or God , no eternally constant anything, we presume for the future that
everything changes.
How do you get around the claim that if you think there is something that
doesn't change , then you think that God exists ?
In other words, dialectics is identical with atheism.
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Carlos A. Rivera
2005-05-12 18:05:50 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
That may sound like a safe assumption for most ordinary experience, but
what if there are some levels at which things do not change - ie: stay
exactly the same?
Name me one. Just one.

sks
steve heeren
2005-05-12 18:25:09 UTC
Permalink
change itself.

steve heeren


The weight of this sad time we must obey.
Speak what you feel, not what you ought to say.

Shakespeare (King Lear)
----- Original Message ----- From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com"
<leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
That may sound like a safe assumption for most ordinary experience,
stay exactly the same?
Name me one. Just one.
sks
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Carlos A. Rivera
2005-05-12 18:37:36 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "steve heeren" <tzsche at shaw.ca>
Post by steve heeren
change itself.
Do a hear a drum roll, or you care to elaborate?

sks
Carrol Cox
2005-05-12 19:34:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
----- Original Message -----
From: "steve heeren" <tzsche at shaw.ca>
Post by steve heeren
change itself.
Do a hear a drum roll, or you care to elaborate?
Change is not a "thing" but the mode of existence of 'things.' It is
incoherent to speak of it as either changing or not changing -- like
furious green ideas swimming in the of.

Carrol
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
sks
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steve heeren
2005-05-12 20:39:04 UTC
Permalink
funny but my dictionary says CHANGE /n/ -- that makes it a thing in my
book. besides a "mode of existence" itself is also a thing, but not
tangible (physical) in the everyday sense of "thing".

i was only trying to remind Carlos of the old truism "the only thing
that doesn't change is change itself", one of those nice little paradoxes.

steve heeren
Post by Carrol Cox
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
----- Original Message -----
From: "steve heeren" <tzsche at shaw.ca>
Post by steve heeren
change itself.
Do a hear a drum roll, or you care to elaborate?
Change is not a "thing" but the mode of existence of 'things.' It is
incoherent to speak of it as either changing or not changing -- like
furious green ideas swimming in the of.
Carrol
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
sks
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Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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Shane Mage
2005-05-13 04:12:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
"How do you get around the claim that if you think there is
something that doesn't change , then you think that God exists?"
I don't, I just dismiss it as illogical nonsense. First, it engages
with what >I don't say (I never said that there was something that
did not change, >only that not everything is always changing).
Second, it is not a valid >argument: because there may be something
in the universe that never >changes (and this is a very real
possibility) does not mean that it was >created by a supernatural
being.
It is the notion that there can exist anything unchanging in a universe
(ours) where anything at all is changing that is illogical nonsense. Our
universe is structured in at least four (three spatial and one temporal)
dimensions. The most minimal change involves change of position
in at least one of these dimensions (up-down, forward-backward,
left-right, younger-older). If the position of any object changes,
then the position relative to it of absolutely every other object is
changed correspondingly (if you move further from me then I have
changed by becoming further from you). The essence of the dialectical
view of the universe is the interdependence of everything within it.

Shane Mage

"Heeding not me but the logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one."
-Heracleitos of Ephesos
paul illich
2005-05-12 16:48:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Incidentally, on the alleged inadequacy of ordinary logic and language with
respect to describing change, here is a greatly shortened list of ordinary
words (restricted to modern English) that enable the depiction of changes
<snip>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Naturally, it would not be difficult to extend this list until it contained
literally tens of thousands of words all capable of depicting countless
changes in the greatest of detail...
Can't comment on the language side of the equation, but so far as the logic
goes...

I thought the basic argument was that traditional logic was bipolar, is that
you deal with Either and Or. This reflected the pernicious law of the
excluded
middle, which denies the validity of any but polarised and thus extreme
arguments.

Dialectics would call any given Either a thesis, the concomitant Or an
anti-thesis and would then argue that progress is made through a
process that - rather than deny one over the other - creates a new
argument, the Synthesis, which combines elements of both thesis and
anti-thesis, presenting a new thesis for the next, evolved, stage of
the argument.

Logic of this sort is reflective and responsive in a way that aristotelian
logic is not.

Such a logic allows progress in thought, and it is in this sphere that
nothing is fixed. The argument that this is a social process, not a
material process, seems wholly cogent to me. I can't see why this
model of logic is problematic at all. What alternative do you have to
offer?

Paul
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-12 20:51:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
Name me one. Just one.
sks
I'll do better than that. The charge on an electron is pretty steady, as
are most of the physical constants (like G, the universal gravitational
constant). However, in science we deal with evidence. In diamat, theorists
assert that everything is changing all the time, and forever. They cannot
possibly know this, and have to impose it on nature.

And as to protons, which I also mentioned, the thing is that even if they do
change (which is controversial), then they change as a result of the
operation of quarks, which do not change.

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www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-12 21:07:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by steve heeren
funny but my dictionary says CHANGE /n/ -- that makes it a thing in my
book. besides a "mode of existence" itself is also a thing, but not
tangible (physical) in the everyday sense of "thing".
That's an interesting point, Steve, but if it is a 'thing', one should be
able to distinguish one such thing from two such things.

More importantly, 'change' is an abstract noun - it doesn't refer to a
thing, but what happens *to* things. There are all sorts of words that do
not designate things: tomorrow, the past, freedom, justice etc.

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steve heeren
2005-05-12 21:57:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Post by steve heeren
funny but my dictionary says CHANGE /n/ -- that makes it a thing in
my book. besides a "mode of existence" itself is also a thing, but
not tangible (physical) in the everyday sense of "thing".
That's an interesting point, Steve, but if it is a 'thing', one should
be able to distinguish one such thing from two such things.
i don't follow you here.
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
More importantly, 'change' is an abstract noun - it doesn't refer to a
thing, but what happens *to* things.
i don't agree. change is the thing that constitutes all things, since
all things come into being and pass away. it is the underlying ground
of all reality (sometimes called "becoming", especially by Hegel). (hey
-- at this rate we will soon be working our way up to Heraclitus! - "All
is flux.")
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
There are all sorts of words that do not designate things: tomorrow,
the past, freedom, justice etc.
again, i would call these "things" too. they are not things in the crass
empiricist sense (the "this here now") but they are certainly objects of
study and contemplation, which makes them things, in my view. the
important thing is to be sensitive to the use of the word "thing" in
everyday language.

this notion that all is change is a real threat to bourgeois ideology
which tries to convince us, on ever-shifting grounds, that its
underlying social formation (capitalist society) is somehow eternal and
NOT subject to change. you could say that bourgeois ideology is every
changing (to meet current historical conditions) and yet never changes,
i.e., ALWAYS has its task as justifying the current system. it changes
and yet it doesn't change. now, that's dialectic!

steve heeren

p.s. don't get me going on "things" and "relations", hegel's specialty.
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-12 22:22:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by steve heeren
i don't follow you here.
Well, things ought to be quantifiable. That is part of thingness of things.
Post by steve heeren
i don't agree. change is the thing that constitutes all things, since all
things come into being and pass away. it is the underlying ground of all
reality (sometimes called "becoming", especially by Hegel). (hey -- at this
rate we will soon be working our way up to Heraclitus! - "All is flux.")
I'm afraid that argument doesn't move me - in large part because there is
not enough argument in it. You assert that change is the 'thing' which
constitutes all 'things' (still don't understand why you think it is a
'thing'), and go on to say it is the underlying ground of all reality.
Sure, in Hegel, change is subsumed into a dialectical form, a triadic
process of Being -> Nothing -> Becoming. And that process is overdetermined
by negation. However, this only works because Hegel is an idealist,
believing the Absolute to be a product of the workings of our minds. If
we're materialist about it, then we have to dispense with these kinds of a
prior claims. Imposing a triadic form on reality is not a materialist
procedure (which is why Engels argued, futilely, that the dialectic had to
be 'deduced' from nature). And that means we return to the question of
whether in fact change does 'constitute all things'. I am dubious. As a
Marxist, I say there is change in the world, and historical materialism
explains social and political change very well. But I'm afraid diamat looks
to me like a poor confection of Hegelianism and very very bad science from
Engels onward.
Post by steve heeren
again, i would call these "things" too. they are not things in the crass
empiricist sense (the "this here now") but they are certainly objects of
study and contemplation, which makes them things, in my view. the important
thing is to be sensitive to the use of the word "thing" in everyday
language.
I agree with the comment about change in bourgeois societies, certainly we
have had enough 'revolutions' that proved in fact to be adjuvants to capital
(the sexual revolution providing new markets and a new kind of political
subject oriented around narcissism and gratification, for instance). But I
cannot agree that justice, equality, tomorrow etc are 'things' or 'objects'
in any meaningful sense. Remember Wittgenstein - FACTS ARE NOT THINGS.

Anyway, I regret dragging you down into this pedantic mess, since I know
perfectly well what you mean, even if I don't agree.

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www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-13 06:31:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shane Mage
It is the notion that there can exist anything unchanging in a universe
(ours) where anything at all is changing that is illogical nonsense. Our
universe is structured in at least four (three spatial and one temporal)
dimensions. The most minimal change involves change of position
in at least one of these dimensions (up-down, forward-backward,
left-right, younger-older). If the position of any object changes,
then the position relative to it of absolutely every other object is
changed correspondingly (if you move further from me then I have
changed by becoming further from you). The essence of the dialectical
view of the universe is the interdependence of everything within it.
Shane Mage
I have already provided real examples of things that are not in perpetual
change in the universe, so what more do you want? You seem to think that by
re-asserting diamat shibboleths you can defeat the facts and while that may
convince hardline DM adherents it isn't likely to persuade anyone else. I
repeat, we ought to drop a priori reasoning.

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Paul H. Dillon
2005-05-13 07:17:06 UTC
Permalink
To my understanding, the central category of dialectics isn't change but
becoming. There is a difference. Cars change speeds. Seeds become plant.
Both can be represented as objects to a knowing subject. But historical
experience implies a subject that is also its own object. Formal logic
handles the first kind of situation just fine but can't account for the
situation where A both is and is not as when a subject is its own object --
the ontological primacy of history for any subject, the dimension of
becoming is what allows this to happen -- the temporal dimension cannot be
accounted for in formal logic although the universe as a fixed set of units
of some kind or other, whose relative positions can be vary, this can be
accounted for just fine but doesn't really resemble historical
xperience -- in which a projected future calls forth the elements in the
present, rearranges their meanings as the apparent historical process of
its own realization, as a social subject far beyond the province of a logic
that fits in one brain alone.

Paul Dillon


----- Original Message -----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2005 11:31 PM
Subject: RE: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Post by Shane Mage
It is the notion that there can exist anything unchanging in a universe
(ours) where anything at all is changing that is illogical nonsense. Our
universe is structured in at least four (three spatial and one temporal)
dimensions. The most minimal change involves change of position
in at least one of these dimensions (up-down, forward-backward,
left-right, younger-older). If the position of any object changes,
then the position relative to it of absolutely every other object is
changed correspondingly (if you move further from me then I have
changed by becoming further from you). The essence of the dialectical
view of the universe is the interdependence of everything within it.
Shane Mage
I have already provided real examples of things that are not in perpetual
change in the universe, so what more do you want? You seem to think that
by re-asserting diamat shibboleths you can defeat the facts and while that
may convince hardline DM adherents it isn't likely to persuade anyone
else. I repeat, we ought to drop a priori reasoning.
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Carrol Cox
2005-05-13 13:52:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
diamat
If you can't conduct your argument without resort to this silly slang,
you probably don't have much of an argument to give.

Arguments against change are incoherent, since to exist _means_ to
change.

Carrol
Shane Mage
2005-05-13 15:53:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Post by Shane Mage
It is the notion that there can exist anything unchanging in a universe
(ours) where anything at all is changing that is illogical nonsense. Our
universe is structured in at least four (three spatial and one temporal)
dimensions. The most minimal change involves change of position
in at least one of these dimensions (up-down, forward-backward,
left-right, younger-older). If the position of any object changes,
then the position relative to it of absolutely every other object is
changed correspondingly (if you move further from me then I have
changed by becoming further from you). The essence of the dialectical
view of the universe is the interdependence of everything within it.
Shane Mage
I have already provided real examples of things that are not in
perpetual change in the universe, so what more do you want?
Of course "Leninology" provided no such "real examples," nor
could he. What he wrote was "I never said that there was something
that did not change, only that not everything is always changing."
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
You seem to think that by re-asserting diamat shibboleths you can
defeat the facts...
What has "diamat" to do with a perfectly Platonic argument whose
terms would already have been familiar to Parmenides and
Heracleitos?

Shane Mage

"Heeding not me but the logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one."
-Heracleitos of Ephesos
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-13 07:30:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul H. Dillon
To my understanding, the central category of dialectics isn't change but
becoming. There is a difference. Cars change speeds. Seeds become plant.
Both can be represented as objects to a knowing subject. But historical
experience implies a subject that is also its own object. Formal logic
handles the first kind of situation just fine but can't account for the
situation where A both is and is not as when a subject is its own object --
the ontological primacy of history for any subject, the dimension of
becoming is what allows this to happen -- the temporal dimension cannot be
accounted for in formal logic although the universe as a fixed set of units
of some kind or other, whose relative positions can be vary, this can be
accounted for just fine but doesn't really resemble historical xperience
-- in which a projected future calls forth the elements in the present,
rearranges their meanings as the apparent historical process of its own
realization, as a social subject far beyond the province of a logic that
fits in one brain alone.
Paul Dillon
I see. Unfortunately, many of Hegel's terms are useless for materialists,
and what I've just read is a series of assertions that don't bear up to
critical scrutiny. If the term 'Becoming' has any meaning, then we ought to
be able to say what it is, and at any rate I fail to see how it differs from
change. Saying seeds 'become' plants is no different in effect to saying
seeds go through a process of *change* in interaction with soil, moisture
and light to become plants. Notice that the word 'become' is perfectly
adequate here in its normal usage, whereas for Hegel the verb must be frozen
into an abstract noun - a strenuously capitalised one at that.

Further, do you know of any situation where a thing both is and is not?
True, if your 'is' refers to a time period of about five minutes, then I
both am and am not at home. Similarly, if your assessment spans a few
months, then it both is and is not Summer. On a long enough time-span, I
both and am not alive. If this is what is meant by 'becoming', then I'm
fairly certain it can be accounted for with the use of ordinary language and
that we can dispense with Hegel's cumbersome jargon. If it isn't, or if you
are hinting at some transcendental supposition, or if you are in fact
reiterating Hegel's idealism, then I'm going to need some help.

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Paul H. Dillon
2005-05-13 12:51:50 UTC
Permalink
What a laugh! You appropriate "materialism" to yourself? That's ridiculous
and simply laughable. You eliminate what you don't understand. It's a good
thing for us that Marx didn't follow your example. You are quite simply a
philosophical nominalist which is fine but absolutely inadequate for a
revolutionary philosophy. Furthermore, in your opinion, what exactly is
matter?? For Marx, the point is that history itself is the matter. That's
why it's called historical materialism. But history, as matter, has a
different ontological status than other forms of matter (organic, inorganic)
and follows laws distinct from those of those forms of matter. Ontology,
BTW, is not a Hegelian term. But what really gets me is the fact that you
have the audacity to use "leninology" as your blog name when Lenin extolled
Hegel's virtues far more than I have and have every use for Hegel as he
repeatedly states in V 38 of the collected works. Quite simply, for Lenin,
if you don't understand Hegel's Logic, you don't understand Capital. Maybe
in a spirit of revolutionary honesty, you'll change your blog name.

Finally, all forms of subjectivity are characterized as both being and
not-being at the same time. Say the word "now". No, say it again, again,
maybe one of these moments, maybe your word will catch up with time. What
d'ya think? It will won't it?

Paul Dillon


----- Original Message -----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 12:30 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Post by Paul H. Dillon
To my understanding, the central category of dialectics isn't change but
becoming. There is a difference. Cars change speeds. Seeds become plant.
Both can be represented as objects to a knowing subject. But historical
experience implies a subject that is also its own object. Formal logic
handles the first kind of situation just fine but can't account for the
situation where A both is and is not as when a subject is its own object --
the ontological primacy of history for any subject, the dimension of
becoming is what allows this to happen -- the temporal dimension cannot
be accounted for in formal logic although the universe as a fixed set of
units of some kind or other, whose relative positions can be vary, this
can be accounted for just fine but doesn't really resemble historical
xperience -- in which a projected future calls forth the elements in the
present, rearranges their meanings as the apparent historical process of
its own realization, as a social subject far beyond the province of a
logic that fits in one brain alone.
Paul Dillon
I see. Unfortunately, many of Hegel's terms are useless for materialists,
and what I've just read is a series of assertions that don't bear up to
critical scrutiny. If the term 'Becoming' has any meaning, then we ought
to be able to say what it is, and at any rate I fail to see how it differs
from change. Saying seeds 'become' plants is no different in effect to
saying seeds go through a process of *change* in interaction with soil,
moisture and light to become plants. Notice that the word 'become' is
perfectly adequate here in its normal usage, whereas for Hegel the verb
must be frozen into an abstract noun - a strenuously capitalised one at
that.
Further, do you know of any situation where a thing both is and is not?
True, if your 'is' refers to a time period of about five minutes, then I
both am and am not at home. Similarly, if your assessment spans a few
months, then it both is and is not Summer. On a long enough time-span, I
both and am not alive. If this is what is meant by 'becoming', then I'm
fairly certain it can be accounted for with the use of ordinary language
and that we can dispense with Hegel's cumbersome jargon. If it isn't, or
if you are hinting at some transcendental supposition, or if you are in
fact reiterating Hegel's idealism, then I'm going to need some help.
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Marc Mulholland
2005-05-13 13:04:23 UTC
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Paul H. Dillon
2005-05-13 14:25:16 UTC
Permalink
Yes.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Marc Mulholland" <marc.mulholland at st-catherines.oxford.ac.uk>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 6:04 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
I've never really got my head around 'dialectics', nor had much
inclination to
try, but my uderstanding was that the application of dialectics to nature
was
due to Engels' misunderstanding of what Marx was on about (I can
sympathise).
Marx used dialectics only to understand social-pychology as far as I can
it describes a philosophy of history, not a philosophy of everything.
--
Dr Marc Mulholland
CUF, St Catherine's College, Oxford
Phone: (01865) 271695
Website: http://marcmulholland.tripod.com/homepage/index.html
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Carlos A. Rivera
2005-05-13 14:53:11 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul H. Dillon" <illonph at pacbell.net>
Yes.
Which seems to be the point that Leninology misses. Diamat and Histmat are
mainly SOCIAL, and relate to nature only as far as SOCIETY relates to
nature. Interestingly, things such as the "uncertainity principle" and other
such great advances in modern physics are perceptual, that is, social. And
all of them show dialectical materialist relationships. I can't see better
examples of dialectics than "uncertainity" (which is actually quite certain)
and

Engels attempt at applying Diamat/Histmat to the natural sciences has much
more to do with a deduced hypotheses that science in his time was extremely
limited, than with an attempt at a serious, final, answer. It was a
provocation, and all out attack on that time's orthodoxy, intended as so,
and should hence be seen as such.

Leninology is being disingenious in this respect. His objections to Engels
are like negating Newton simply because his model of physics is no longer
valid. He takes, ta-da, an anti-dialectical view of Engels.

He also brings up the question of language. That is an interesting thing,
because he fails to explain "dialectic" as a word. Dialectic is basically
"conversation" (related to "dialog"), and it implies, quite simply, that
objects converse as *subjects* when they encounter each other, and are
*transformed* by this conversation, while the anti-dialectical view thinks
that when to objects meet, they either blow each other to smithereens,
bounce off like billiard balls, or one crushes the other. If you find a
better word to describe this process, then we can also use it, but the
underlying dynamic would remain the same: a horse by a different name is
still a horse.

Ironically, Derrida when "inventing" the term "deconstruction" did such a
semantic thing. It turns out "analysis" *is* "deconstruction": "an"="de"
"lysis"="construction". So his "new" way of calling thing is actually good
old idealist "analysis!!!

sks
paul illich
2005-05-13 11:17:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
That may sound like a safe assumption for most ordinary experience, but
what if there are some levels at which things do not change - ie: stay
exactly the same?
Name me one. Just one.
sks
1] Death
2] Taxes

I know, just kidding...
Paul
www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-13 13:36:31 UTC
Permalink
Condescension is never a sign that a strong argument is on the way - and,
predictably, it never arrives. I'll take your points ordinally, since that
is all they deserve:

1) You kindly define my position and are right to the extent that I reject
the Platonic legacy.

2) History is a material process, or the accounting of that process - and
what of that?

3) I am aware that ontology is not a Hegelian term (Becoming, in your usage,
is), so that invidious point gets no particular props.

4) Re: Leninology. The word is used with deliberate sarcasm - you may
recall how it was deployed by Hal Draper in his "What they have done to
'What is to be done?'".

5) I so call my blog because I am a Leninist in my political alignment, (and
also because it turns the liberal stomach). I accept the vast bulk of what
Lenin wrote, just not the awful nonsense he wrote about philosophy, and in
particular not the naive scientific realism that sporadically attended it.
Lenin's insistence that one understands Hegel is fair enough, although
accepting Hegel is something quite separate.

6) This: "Finally, all forms of subjectivity are characterized as both
being and not-being at the same time." is the kind of meaningless sentence
that earns the apostles of diamat a bad name. It lacks sense, as with so
much in DM.
Post by Paul H. Dillon
What a laugh! You appropriate "materialism" to yourself? That's
ridiculous and simply laughable. You eliminate what you don't understand.
It's a good thing for us that Marx didn't follow your example. You are
quite simply a philosophical nominalist which is fine but absolutely
inadequate for a revolutionary philosophy. Furthermore, in your opinion,
what exactly is matter?? For Marx, the point is that history itself is the
matter. That's why it's called historical materialism. But history, as
matter, has a different ontological status than other forms of matter
(organic, inorganic) and follows laws distinct from those of those forms of
matter. Ontology, BTW, is not a Hegelian term. But what really gets me
is the fact that you have the audacity to use "leninology" as your blog
name when Lenin extolled Hegel's virtues far more than I have and have
every use for Hegel as he repeatedly states in V 38 of the collected works.
Quite simply, for Lenin, if you don't understand Hegel's Logic, you
don't understand Capital. Maybe in a spirit of revolutionary honesty,
you'll change your blog name.
Finally, all forms of subjectivity are characterized as both being and
not-being at the same time. Say the word "now". No, say it again, again,
maybe one of these moments, maybe your word will catch up with time. What
d'ya think? It will won't it?
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Paul H. Dillon
2005-05-13 15:20:51 UTC
Permalink
Tell me how exactly you distinguish history from the reporting of it? I'm
not talking about what historians do when they make books, I'm talking about
how a people (any group from a women's club to what Marx called the
"workers of the world") understands itself in time and how that becomes the
basis of their actions. The history that lives as memories and orientations
and predispositions. Marx was about discovering principles for
understanding historical process. He found dialectics indispensable for
this undertaking. Ilyenkov's history of dialectics would be a useful
corrective for any failure to understand this.


----- Original Message -----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 6:36 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Condescension is never a sign that a strong argument is on the way - and,
predictably, it never arrives. I'll take your points ordinally, since
1) You kindly define my position and are right to the extent that I reject
the Platonic legacy.
2) History is a material process, or the accounting of that process - and
what of that?
3) I am aware that ontology is not a Hegelian term (Becoming, in your
usage, is), so that invidious point gets no particular props.
4) Re: Leninology. The word is used with deliberate sarcasm - you may
recall how it was deployed by Hal Draper in his "What they have done to
'What is to be done?'".
5) I so call my blog because I am a Leninist in my political alignment,
(and also because it turns the liberal stomach). I accept the vast bulk
of what Lenin wrote, just not the awful nonsense he wrote about
philosophy, and in particular not the naive scientific realism that
sporadically attended it. Lenin's insistence that one understands Hegel
is fair enough, although accepting Hegel is something quite separate.
6) This: "Finally, all forms of subjectivity are characterized as both
being and not-being at the same time." is the kind of meaningless sentence
that earns the apostles of diamat a bad name. It lacks sense, as with so
much in DM.
Post by Paul H. Dillon
What a laugh! You appropriate "materialism" to yourself? That's
ridiculous and simply laughable. You eliminate what you don't understand.
It's a good thing for us that Marx didn't follow your example. You are
quite simply a philosophical nominalist which is fine but absolutely
inadequate for a revolutionary philosophy. Furthermore, in your opinion,
what exactly is matter?? For Marx, the point is that history itself is
the matter. That's why it's called historical materialism. But history,
as matter, has a different ontological status than other forms of matter
(organic, inorganic) and follows laws distinct from those of those forms
of matter. Ontology, BTW, is not a Hegelian term. But what really gets
me is the fact that you have the audacity to use "leninology" as your blog
name when Lenin extolled Hegel's virtues far more than I have and have
every use for Hegel as he repeatedly states in V 38 of the collected
works. Quite simply, for Lenin, if you don't understand Hegel's Logic, you
don't understand Capital. Maybe in a spirit of revolutionary honesty,
you'll change your blog name.
Finally, all forms of subjectivity are characterized as both being and
not-being at the same time. Say the word "now". No, say it again,
again, maybe one of these moments, maybe your word will catch up with
time. What d'ya think? It will won't it?
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www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-13 14:40:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carrol Cox
If you can't conduct your argument without resort to this silly slang,
you probably don't have much of an argument to give.
I see...
Post by Carrol Cox
Arguments against change are incoherent, since to exist _means_ to
change.
I am not arguing against change, I am arguing that ordinary language is
perfectly capable of capturing its dimensions. The dialectic is an
impoverished confection of bad science and worse philosophy.

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acpollack2
2005-05-13 16:05:48 UTC
Permalink
If by yes you mean dialectics is only about history, not nature, then NO.
See most recently the piece in the current Monthly Review on the 20th anniversary of The Dialectical Biologist.
And you can't understand galaxy clusters without dialectics either....

-- "Paul H. Dillon" <illonph at pacbell.net> wrote:
Yes.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Marc Mulholland" <marc.mulholland at st-catherines.oxford.ac.uk>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 6:04 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
I've never really got my head around 'dialectics', nor had much
inclination to
try, but my uderstanding was that the application of dialectics to nature
was
due to Engels' misunderstanding of what Marx was on about (I can
sympathise).
Marx used dialectics only to understand social-pychology as far as I can
it describes a philosophy of history, not a philosophy of everything.
--
Dr Marc Mulholland
CUF, St Catherine's College, Oxford
Phone: (01865) 271695
Website: http://marcmulholland.tripod.com/homepage/index.html
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Paul H. Dillon
2005-05-13 17:01:44 UTC
Permalink
Although that might be true, I don't believe Marx ever attempted to explain
all of nature from that perspective. Marxist theory is social, not physical
theory. My only argument here being that Marxism is unthinkable without the
dialectic. If other sciences are also unthinkable without the dialectic,
that's a different issue.

Paul Dillon


----- Original Message -----
From: <acpollack2 at juno.com>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:05 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Post by acpollack2
If by yes you mean dialectics is only about history, not nature, then NO.
See most recently the piece in the current Monthly Review on the 20th
anniversary of The Dialectical Biologist.
And you can't understand galaxy clusters without dialectics either....
Yes.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marc Mulholland" <marc.mulholland at st-catherines.oxford.ac.uk>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 6:04 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
I've never really got my head around 'dialectics', nor had much
inclination to
try, but my uderstanding was that the application of dialectics to nature
was
due to Engels' misunderstanding of what Marx was on about (I can
sympathise).
Marx used dialectics only to understand social-pychology as far as I can
it describes a philosophy of history, not a philosophy of everything.
--
Dr Marc Mulholland
CUF, St Catherine's College, Oxford
Phone: (01865) 271695
Website: http://marcmulholland.tripod.com/homepage/index.html
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www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-13 16:25:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Shane Mage
Of course "Leninology" provided no such "real examples," nor
could he. What he wrote was "I never said that there was something that
did not change, only that not everything is always changing."
No, I think you'll find I said "the charge on an electron is pretty steady,
as are most of the physical constants" and I also mentioned that it has
generally been believed that the proton does not change, which is
controversial. But even if it does, it changes as a function of quarks,
which do not change.

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Shane Mage
2005-05-13 17:00:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Post by Shane Mage
Of course "Leninology" provided no such "real examples," nor
could he. What he wrote was "I never said that there was something
that did not change, only that not everything is always changing."
No, I think you'll find I said "the charge on an electron is pretty
steady, as are most of the physical constants"
"pretty steady" means only slightly changing--therefore *changing*
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
and I also mentioned that it has generally been believed that the
proton does not change, which is controversial. But even if it
does, it changes as a function of quarks, which do not change.
All of which are conceived scientifically as being in constant motion,
ie., *changing*
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
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www.leninology. blogspot.com
2005-05-13 16:29:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by acpollack2
And you can't understand galaxy clusters without dialectics either....
Oh really? And how do you reach this conclusion? I mean, in the whole
course of this thread and this discussion, there seems to be an awful lot of
assertion about the unique capacities of dialectical logic, but little back
up provided. Surely, if people are serious about the dialectic, the answer
is not to defensively re-assert the claims that are being contested, but to
seriously scrutinise the basis upon which one accepts the dialectic?

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rrubinelli
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
I've avoided this discussion for as long as I could, but no I can't so let me first say:

You (plural) are all wrong. Or all of you are wrong. Whatever.

What Marx does is quite literally an end to philosophy, not the creation of a new philosophy,
a new world outlook, a pre-Einsteinian unified force theory.

How does Marx do this: He extracts from Hegel the real kernel driving Hegel's writings
on phenomenology and logic, by locating the real content of human life in history, and
locating the real fabric of that history in the social organization of labor. The dialectic that
Marx extracts is that social relation between labor and property.

Thus the notions of spirit, becoming, interpenetrations are identified as alienated
representations of alienated labor. And what Marx does is not actually standing Hegel on
his head, as it is standing him right side up on his feet, after of course, making those feet
wade through the brook of fire.

Consequently, the transition is not from the Phenomenology to the Dialectics of Nature,
but to Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, to The Class Struggle in France 1848-1850,
to The Eighteenth Brumaire...

rr

-----Original Message-----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
Sent: May 13, 2005 12:29 PM
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
Paul H. Dillon
2005-05-13 17:39:28 UTC
Permalink
Actually, Marx starts with the Critique of the Philosophy of Right.
Post by rrubinelli
Consequently, the transition is not from the Phenomenology to the Dialectics of Nature,
but to Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, to The Class Struggle in France 1848-1850,
to The Eighteenth Brumaire...
rr
-----Original Message-----
From: "www.leninology. blogspot.com" <leninology at hotmail.com>
Sent: May 13, 2005 12:29 PM
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!
_______________________________________________
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rrubinelli
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
Permalink
I was citing the "sweep" of transition, not the actual starting point of Marx's work of
extraction.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Paul H. Dillon" <illonph at pacbell.net>
Sent: May 13, 2005 1:39 PM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] O, Dialectics!

Actually, Marx starts with the Critique of the Philosophy of Right.
Charles Brown
2005-05-13 19:29:20 UTC
Permalink
www.leninology.

"How do you get around the claim that if you think there is something that
doesn't change , then you think that God exists?"

I don't, I just dismiss it as illogical nonsense. First, it engages with
what I don't say (I never said that there was something that did not change,

only that not everything is always changing).

^^^^^
CB: Such flippant dismissals suggest you aren't serious about the issues you
raise.

Dialecticians don't claim that everything is always changing. So, you aren't
arguing against dialectics.

^^^^^^



Second, it is not a valid
argument: because there may be something in the universe that never changes
(and this is a very real possibility) does not mean that it was created by a

supernatural being.


^^^^^
CB: It would have one of the characterisics of God, eternally unchanging.

^^^^^


"we presume for the future that everything changes"

That may sound like a safe assumption for most ordinary experience, but what

if there are some levels at which things do not change - ie: stay exactly
the same?

^^^^^^
CB: Hasn't come into our experience yet. So, we proceed with life on the
presumption, rebuttable yes, that everything eventually changes.

^^^^




And how do you get round the fact that ordinary language is enormously
better at describing and delineating change than the language of dialectical

materialism?

^^^^^

CB: Dialectical materialists don't claim that dialectical materialism can't
be stated in ordinary language. Although, you will have to demonstrate,
rather than just baldly assert , that "ordinary language" is so "enormously
better".
Charles Brown
2005-05-13 19:40:04 UTC
Permalink
Yes, and physics now holds that there is no ether, i.e. no absolute rest.
Everything is moving. All motion is relative to other motions.
Engels maxim that there is nothing but matter and its mode of existence is
motion is confirmed by physics.

As far as I know, Michelson and Morely were not dialecticians; that is they
had no philosophical bias to reach this conclusion.

Charles

^^^^^^^

Shane Mage .

It is the notion that there can exist anything unchanging in a universe
(ours) where anything at all is changing that is illogical nonsense. Our
universe is structured in at least four (three spatial and one temporal)
dimensions. The most minimal change involves change of position
in at least one of these dimensions (up-down, forward-backward,
left-right, younger-older). If the position of any object changes,
then the position relative to it of absolutely every other object is
changed correspondingly (if you move further from me then I have
changed by becoming further from you). The essence of the dialectical
view of the universe is the interdependence of everything within it.

Shane Mage

"Heeding not me but the logos, it is wise to agree that all things are
one."
-Heracleitos of Ephesos
Carlos A. Rivera
2005-05-14 01:32:11 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles Brown" <cbrown at michiganlegal.org>
Post by Charles Brown
Yes, and physics now holds that there is no ether, i.e. no absolute rest.
Everything is moving. All motion is relative to other motions.
Engels maxim that there is nothing but matter and its mode of existence is
motion is confirmed by physics.
Even in the absolute zero (ie complete lack of motion on the atomic level)
molecules become an Einstein-Bose condensate, hence transforming into
another thing!!!

I mean, Leninology does have valid preocupations, and he seems to pretty
much describe all that is wrong with dogmatic pseudo-dialecticians, but he
is being willfully blind to the overwhelming evidence that all is flux!

sks
Les Schaffer
2005-05-14 06:05:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
Even in the absolute zero (ie complete lack of motion on the atomic
level) molecules become an Einstein-Bose condensate, hence
transforming into another thing!!!
you've done a little condensing of your own, but you're correct in spirit.

there are two effects here.

one is that at absolute zero temperature there is a little energy in
molecular motion. the uncertainty principle in this case actually gives
you a little heuristic device to work with: if motion ceased completely,
you would know both the position and velocity of the molecule. since
that's a no-no, molecules at absolute zero have to jiggle a little. this
would be true even for a single molecule, its lowest energy state is not
sitting still at a point.

even before you get to absolute zero there is another effect, this time
a collective effect amongst a large number of cold molecules. if the gas
is dense enough, as its cooled, each molecule's wave function starts to
spread out and overlap others (the uncertainty smear gets larger than
the distance between the molecules). then for molecules that obey
bose-einstein statistcs (another story), this overlapping allows a kind
of bonding together, in spite of a lack of a classical force field
between the particles. the point is reached where you effectively have a
single, spatially extended macro-particle: all comrades in a united
front acting coherently, if you will.

needless to say, such a coherent state has unusual properties.

in a similar spirit, Leninology misses something when he says protons
are made of quarks, which are unchanging even if the proton decays. in
fact, the opposite would be true. IF the proton does decay, this means
the triplet of quarks bound so tightly together to form said proton
have to undergo interactions leading to a transformation of at least one
quark into other fundamental particles. If Leninology would look a
little closer at quantum field theory (or perhaps s/he is a physicist
and is familiar already with these things), s/he would see (or admit
there are) endless such transformations taking place between fundamental
particles and the vacuum background (yet another long story).

that there are invariant quantities in nature, say the energy of an
isolated proton, does not in any way preclude these endless
transformations. in fact, the possible transformations can depend on
invariant quantities such as energy. from a relativistic point of view,
this makes sense. as the energy E of a particle increases from zero, by
equivalence of mass and energy, transformations with other fundamental
particles with a given mass m can take place when E >= m * c^2.

having said all this, i do like Leninology's spirit. nowhere above did i
use the term "dialectical", yet many would see dialectical-like
principles at work. the question is, is a dialectical philosophy of
nature capable of "changing the world"? that is, starting from a
dialectical principle, can we formulate new theories or discover new
domains of behavior. it would be interesting to try. there is precedent
for taking a philosophical principle and running with it, with
surprising results, Heisenberg's transition to a quantum mechanics comes
to mind. but the story has a funny ending, see below. funnier still,
because for now, Heisenberg was right; that is, with his naive
philosophy, he helped change the world.

les schaffer

==========

Einstein-Heisenberg dialogue

a 1926 dialogue presented in Werner Heisenberg "Encounters with
Einstein" ? 1983

For the first time, therefore, I now had the opportunity to talk with
Einstein himself. On the way home, he questioned me about my background,
my studies with Sommerfeld. But on arrival, he at once began with a
central question about the philosophical foundation of the new quantum
mechanics. He pointed out to me that in my mathematical description the
notion of "electron path" did not occur at all, but that in a cloud
chamber the track of the electron can of course be observed directly. It
seemed to him absurd to claim that there was indeed an electron path in
the cloud chamber, but none in the interior of the atom. The notion of a
path could not be dependent, after all, on the size of the space in
which the electron's movements were occuring. I defended myself to begin
with by justifying in detail the necessity for abandoning the path
concept within the interior of the atom. I pointed out that we cannot,
in fact, observe such a path; what we actually record are frequencies of
the light radiated by the atom, intensities and transition
probabilities, but no actual path. And since it is but rational to
introduce into a theory only such quantities as can be directly
observed, the concept of electron paths ought not, in fact, to figure in
the theory.

To my astonishment, Einstein was not at all satisfied with this
argument. He thought that every theory in fact contains unobservable
quantities. The principle of employing only observable quantities simply
cannot be consistently carried out. And when I objected that in this I
had merely been applying the type of philosophy that he, too, has made
the basis of his special theory of relativity, he answered simply:
"Perhaps I did use such philosophy earlier, and also wrote of it, but it
is nonsense all the same."... ...He pointed out to me that the very
concept of observation was itself already problematic. Every
observation, so he argued, presupposes that there is an unambiguous
connection known to us, between the phenomenon to be observed and the
sensation which eventually penetrates into our consciousness. But we can
only be sure of this connection, if we know the natural laws by which it
is determined. If, however, as is obviously the case in modern atomic
physics, these laws have to be called into question, then even the
concept of "observation" loses its clear meaning. In that case, it is
the theory which first determines what can be observed.
Jim Farmelant
2005-05-14 04:16:29 UTC
Permalink
It looks like that we are getting on Marxmail, reprisals of some of
the great debates concerning Marxist philosophy. In this
case, debates over the nature and scope of dialectics
and whether or not there is such a thing as the dialectics
of nature. Certainly, we have seen from both sides, arguments
more than a little reminiscent of the ones featured in
the debates of the German Social Democrats of the late
19th century, when Engels and Duhring were duking it out,
as well as later on when Lenin and Bogdanov fought over
the compatibility of Marxism with Machism, and later when
the Mechanists and the Dialecticians fought it out in the
Soviet Union during the 1920s
(http://www.mail-archive.com/marxism-thaxis at lists.econ.utah.edu/msg00529.
html).

It is interesting to note that the logical empiricist
physicist/philosopher,
Philipp Frank proposed a rapproachment between Machism
and dialectical materialism in his 1940s book, *Modern Science
and Its Philosophy.* He was certainly critical of diamat as a
philosophy of science, regarding it as inferior to his own logical
empiricism. On the other hand, like Otto Neurath before him, he was not
unsympathetic towards Marxism, at least in its
Austro-Marxist form. In *Modern Science
and Its Philosophy*, he had a chapter, "Logical
empiricism and the philosophy of the Soviet
Union," in which he presented a surprisingly
sympathetic account of diamat; basically treating
it as an allied philosophy with logical empiricism.
Indeed, he seemed to think that dialectical materialists
had always overstated their differences with Machism
and that: "In reality, Lenin took issue with Machism
because it is in many respects related to diamat, and
he considered it especially suitable for him to
bring out his own teachings very sharply by
means of a polemic against it."

In Frank's view, the two-sided war that the
dialectical materialists were carrying out
against both idealism and mechanistic
materialism was the very same one that
the logical empiricists were engaged in
at the same time. In his view, the dialectical
materialists were hampered in this
war by their embracing of Engels'
three laws of dialectics, which in
Frank's view carried the "germ of
idealism," and which led necessitated,
even within the Soviet Union, a perpetual
struggle against "idealistic deviations."

In Frank's opinion a rapproachment between
diamat and logical empiricism was possible
to the extent that dialectical materialists
would be willing to deemphasize the
three laws of dialectics and to the extent
that they would be willing to avoid describing
matter as something that exists objectively,
as opposed to instead of speaking in terms
of intersubjective propositions. Likewise,
logical empiricists, in Frank's view ought to be willing to
admit the usefulness of dialectical thinking.
Both dialectical materialists and logical
empiricists should, for Frank, be willing
to endorse what he called the "doctrine
of concrete truth," in which the truth of
propositions is judged in terms of the
practical conclusions that follow from them,
with their validity being assessed in terms
of their consequences for practical life.
Frank noted the similarities of the "doctrine of
concrete truth" to the doctrines of the
American pragmatists, and so he suggested
that logical empiricism, pragmatism, and
dialectical materialism ought to be regarded
as allied philosophies.

Of course it should be noted that there was
a history between Frank and Lenin. When
Frank was only about 24 years old, Lenin singled
him out for criticism in his *Materialism
and Empiriocriticism*, when he attacked
him as a Kantian, for having embraced Poincare's
conventionalism.
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1908/mec/three3.htm

(There is a story, that decades later during the McCarthy
period, when Frank came under investigation by the FBI
for his support for progressive causes, Frank pointed
out this passage to the special agents who were assigned
to speak with him, and that seemed to leave them satisfied).
-----------------------------------------------------------

On the other hand, it seems to me that the dialectical
materialist tradition addressed certain issues that
were not necessarily dealt with in the most satisfactory
manner in the logical empiricist and analytical philosophy
traditions: for example the issue of emergentism versus
reductionism. I remember Ralph Dumain pointing out
on his marxistphilosophy list, that most of the anglophone
literature on this issue neglects the contributions of
Hegel, Engels and indeed of the Soviets, while focusing
most of its attention to the British emergentists.


Jim F.


On Fri, 13 May 2005 07:30:35 +0000 "www.leninology. blogspot.com"
Post by Paul H. Dillon
Post by Paul H. Dillon
To my understanding, the central category of dialectics isn't
change but
Post by Paul H. Dillon
becoming. There is a difference. Cars change speeds. Seeds become
plant.
Post by Paul H. Dillon
Both can be represented as objects to a knowing subject. But
historical
Post by Paul H. Dillon
experience implies a subject that is also its own object. Formal
Jim Farmelant
2005-05-16 00:31:19 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 14 May 2005 02:05:19 -0400 Les Schaffer <schaffer at optonline.net>
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
Even in the absolute zero (ie complete lack of motion on the
atomic
Post by Carlos A. Rivera
level) molecules become an Einstein-Bose condensate, hence
transforming into another thing!!!
you've done a little condensing of your own, but you're correct in
spirit.
there are two effects here.
one is that at absolute zero temperature there is a little energy in
molecular motion. the uncertainty principle in this case actually
gives
you a little heuristic device to work with: if motion ceased
completely,
you would know both the position and velocity of the molecule. since
that's a no-no, molecules at absolute zero have to jiggle a little.
this
would be true even for a single molecule, its lowest energy state is
not
sitting still at a point.
Yah, the famous quantum harmonic oscillator model:
See: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/hosc4.html
for a simple derivation.
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
even before you get to absolute zero there is another effect, this
time
a collective effect amongst a large number of cold molecules. if the
gas
is dense enough, as its cooled, each molecule's wave function starts
to
spread out and overlap others (the uncertainty smear gets larger
than
the distance between the molecules). then for molecules that obey
bose-einstein statistcs (another story), this overlapping allows a
kind
of bonding together, in spite of a lack of a classical force field
between the particles. the point is reached where you effectively
have a
single, spatially extended macro-particle: all comrades in a united
front acting coherently, if you will.
needless to say, such a coherent state has unusual properties.
in a similar spirit, Leninology misses something when he says
protons
are made of quarks, which are unchanging even if the proton decays.
in
fact, the opposite would be true. IF the proton does decay, this
Which would be the case if one of the Grand Unification Theories (GUTs)
is true.
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
means
the triplet of quarks bound so tightly together to form said proton
have to undergo interactions leading to a transformation of at least
one
quark into other fundamental particles. If Leninology would look a
little closer at quantum field theory (or perhaps s/he is a
physicist
and is familiar already with these things), s/he would see (or admit
there are) endless such transformations taking place between
fundamental
particles and the vacuum background (yet another long story).
that there are invariant quantities in nature, say the energy of an
isolated proton, does not in any way preclude these endless
transformations. in fact, the possible transformations can depend on
invariant quantities such as energy. from a relativistic point of
view,
this makes sense. as the energy E of a particle increases from zero,
by
equivalence of mass and energy, transformations with other
fundamental
particles with a given mass m can take place when E >= m * c^2.
having said all this, i do like Leninology's spirit. nowhere above
did i
use the term "dialectical", yet many would see dialectical-like
principles at work. the question is, is a dialectical philosophy of
nature capable of "changing the world"? that is, starting from a
dialectical principle, can we formulate new theories or discover new
domains of behavior. it would be interesting to try. there is
precedent
for taking a philosophical principle and running with it, with
surprising results, Heisenberg's transition to a quantum mechanics
comes
to mind. but the story has a funny ending, see below. funnier still,
because for now, Heisenberg was right; that is, with his naive
philosophy, he helped change the world.
Well Stephen Jay Gould thought that dialectics could provide
a heuristic for biological research. His own work on punctuated
equilibrium seems to have been inspired in part by dialectics,
and Gould noted that many Soviet scientists found inspiration
in dialectics for their research.
http://www.marxmail.org/archives/january99/gould.htm
Post by www.leninology. blogspot.com
les schaffer
==========
Einstein-Heisenberg dialogue
a 1926 dialogue presented in Werner Heisenberg "Encounters with
Einstein" ? 1983
For the first time, therefore, I now had the opportunity to talk
with
Einstein himself. On the way home, he questioned me about my
background,
my studies with Sommerfeld. But on arrival, he at once began with a
central question about the philosophical foundation of the new
quantum
mechanics. He pointed out to me that in my mathematical description
the
notion of "electron path" did not occur at all, but that in a cloud
chamber the track of the electron can of course be observed
directly. It
seemed to him absurd to claim that there was indeed an electron path
in
the cloud chamber, but none in the interior of the atom. The notion
of a
path could not be dependent, after all, on the size of the space in
which the electron's movements were occuring. I defended myself to
begin
with by justifying in detail the necessity for abandoning the path
concept within the interior of the atom. I pointed out that we
cannot,
in fact, observe such a path; what we actually record are
frequencies of
the light radiated by the atom, intensities and transition
probabilities, but no actual path. And since it is but rational to
introduce into a theory only such quantities as can be directly
observed, the concept of electron paths ought not, in fact, to
figure in
the theory.
To my astonishment, Einstein was not at all satisfied with this
argument. He thought that every theory in fact contains unobservable
quantities. The principle of employing only observable quantities
simply
cannot be consistently carried out. And when I objected that in this
I
had merely been applying the type of philosophy that he, too, has
made
"Perhaps I did use such philosophy earlier, and also wrote of it,
but it
is nonsense all the same."... ...He pointed out to me that the very
concept of observation was itself already problematic. Every
observation, so he argued, presupposes that there is an unambiguous
connection known to us, between the phenomenon to be observed and
the
sensation which eventually penetrates into our consciousness. But we
can
only be sure of this connection, if we know the natural laws by
which it
is determined. If, however, as is obviously the case in modern
atomic
physics, these laws have to be called into question, then even the
concept of "observation" loses its clear meaning. In that case, it
is
the theory which first determines what can be observed.
_______________________________________________
Marxism mailing list
Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/marxism
Les Schaffer
2005-05-16 20:15:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jim Farmelant
See: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/hosc4.html
for a simple derivation.
although for the BEC case, the gas particles are free.
Post by Jim Farmelant
Which would be the case if one of the Grand Unification Theories (GUTs)
is true.
so, is gauge symmetry a dialectical principle? i forgot to mention that
to Leninology in his discussion of the conservation of electric charge.
Post by Jim Farmelant
Well Stephen Jay Gould thought that dialectics could provide
a heuristic for biological research. His own work on punctuated
equilibrium seems to have been inspired in part by dialectics,
and Gould noted that many Soviet scientists found inspiration
in dialectics for their research.
i've read that many Sov. scientists argued that Einstein's theories were
dialectical, at a time when they were under attack from some of Stalin's
ideological cadres.

at this point though i am more interested in seeing if the principle of
dialectics can be used from scratch, so to speak, in physics. i don't
really mean from a clean slate, but could there be a formulation that
would be useful for some problems that are open today? i would be
curious to see how Gould suggested its use, if you have reference, pass
it along.

les schaffer
Jim Farmelant
2005-05-16 21:02:32 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 16 May 2005 16:15:27 -0400 Les Schaffer <schaffer at optonline.net>
Post by Les Schaffer
Post by Jim Farmelant
See: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/hosc4.html
for a simple derivation.
although for the BEC case, the gas particles are free.
Post by Jim Farmelant
Which would be the case if one of the Grand Unification Theories
(GUTs)
Post by Jim Farmelant
is true.
so, is gauge symmetry a dialectical principle? i forgot to mention
that
to Leninology in his discussion of the conservation of electric
charge.
Post by Jim Farmelant
Well Stephen Jay Gould thought that dialectics could provide
a heuristic for biological research. His own work on punctuated
equilibrium seems to have been inspired in part by dialectics,
and Gould noted that many Soviet scientists found inspiration
in dialectics for their research.
i've read that many Sov. scientists argued that Einstein's theories
were
dialectical, at a time when they were under attack from some of
Stalin's
ideological cadres.
at this point though i am more interested in seeing if the principle
of
dialectics can be used from scratch, so to speak, in physics. i
don't
really mean from a clean slate, but could there be a formulation
that
would be useful for some problems that are open today? i would be
curious to see how Gould suggested its use, if you have reference,
pass
it along.
Offhand, Gould's main applications of dialectics would include
the working out of his notion of punctuated equilibrium in
evolution, and his opposition to what he saw as
reductionist understandings of Darwinism. Gould
was insistent on the existence of a plurality of
mechanisms that underlaid evolution. Natural
selection was of prime importance, but other
mechanisms like genetic drift were also very
important. He also argued, (contrary to
the genocentric view of natural selection,
propounded by people like William
Hamilton, George Williams, John
Maynard Smith, and Richard Dawkins)
that natural selection operates on
several different levels. Its not just
genes or individual organisms that
constitute the "units of selection,"
rather, natural selection, in Gould's
view also operated on the species
level. He attempted to formulate
a hierarchical theory of natural selection
for which punctuated equilibrium would
be one of its corollaries.
Post by Les Schaffer
les schaffer
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