Thread: What about metaphysics?

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    Default What about metaphysics?

    Mao and other Marxist-Leninists, and especially those under the balloon term of cultural relativists hammer on the futility of metaphysical thinking, but Kant seems to be the foundation of modern cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Does this mean there are a priori judgments that can be made about reality, or is such a question even considered worthwhile today? Are there any assessments that can be made about human thought and our ability to understand and interact with reality that can be made using metaphysical thinking? ie, that something is true because it is necessary (apodeictic truth), or that space and time are objective, etc.? Where is contemporary metaphysics going in the face of the onslaught from subjectivism and moral/cultural relativism?
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    It's highly unlikely that "modern cognitive science" owns much of anything to Kant. Their methods are empirical, not based on apriori methodology.

    Also, you assume that a metaphysical position can only be justified through apriori methods. If that were so, then I'd have to say there's not much hope for any form of metaphysics. But it's in fact possible to justify metaphysical views through empirical methods. See John Post's little book "Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction".
    The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the workers themselves.
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    Paradoxically, Kant attempt aided more the destruction of metaphysics than its construction. hye wanted to dispell with "silly metaphysics" in order to start with sober inquiry, but after he did this nothing esle was actually left.
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    It's highly unlikely that "modern cognitive science" owns much of anything to Kant. Their methods are empirical, not based on apriori methodology.
    I agree with you here. I was told last week by a metaphysician/epistemologist that it was the case that Kant is the "Grand daddy" of modern neuroscience. I was skeptical. Hence, the post. What does our inability to come up with working formulas for human thought say about the nature of thought? It seems to me that this is one to chalk up with the biological/evolutionary interpretation of thought, ie. thought/language as a very highly advanced adaptive mechanism. I'll assert that I don't agree with a priori notions of thought (ideas like apodeictic truth and abstact categories like "the Understanding" or "conceptions" & categorical imperatives, etc.) I will surely check out the book you recommended. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Also, you assume that a metaphysical position can only be justified through apriori methods. If that were so, then I'd have to say there's not much hope for any form of metaphysics. But it's in fact possible to justify metaphysical views through empirical methods.
    Isn't this what Heidegger tries to do in works like Being and Time? It would seem to me that any empirical analysis of "thought"(whatever that is) would outweight a priori asserions, because of the fact that they are verified by experience. How can you contest research done on the computation of neurons with (absurd) notions compiled through "necessity" or based upon assumptions that are not necessarily true or verifiable? It seems to me that this would be a contradiction of methods.


    Paradoxically, Kant attempt aided more the destruction of metaphysics than its construction. hye wanted to dispell with "silly metaphysics" in order to start with sober inquiry, but after he did this nothing esle was actually left.
    I've heard this is the case. In undoing the mistakes of past metaphysicians, he in essence pulled out the rug from under metaphysics as a legitimate science. Plus, much of his observations--particularly the Transcendental Logic in the Critique of Pure Reason-- has been outmoded by modern theories. Who is to say there is an absolute science of thought? It would seem to me that as thought and human beings evolve, what constitutes a "thought" shifts and changes. For instance, the Egyptians and Greeks used to think that the soul and mind were in the heart, and that has been disproven through modern physiology and anatomy (biology). Seems like a failed project from the outset.
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    Thanks, Rosa. I find your posts insightful and intelligent. I lower my hat to you. What do you do professionally that allows you so much time to read and write, if you don't mind me asking?
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    Those posts are extracts from essays at my site, and I have been writing those essays since July 1998.

    I do not have a profession; I am now an ordinary worker. However, I was a part-time university Philosophy lecturer in the 1980s, for a while.
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    You say in your other post "Language is not a container." What do you mean by this? How can you say what language is not? What if I were to say "Language is a shoe", or conversely, "language is not a shoe", or anything else. How could I prove that this is the case without resorting to a priori arguments?

    In contrast, understanding "Tony Blair has a copy of Das Kapital" is independent its confirmation or refutation -- indeed, it would be impossible to do either if "Tony Blair has a copy of Das Kapital" had not already been understood. However, the truth/falsehood of "Tony Blair has a copy of Das Kapital"-type propostions follows from the way the world is, not solely from meaning.
    The sentence "Tony Blair has a copy of Das Kapital" is valid because I know who Tony blair is, I know what Das Kapital is, and I know what to have x is. Whether this says anything about anything actually existing is another matter, the point is that I understand the proposition itself. As Bertrand Russell argues,
    "There is no state of mind in which we are directly aware of x; all our knowledge of x is really knowledge of truths, and the actual thing which is x is not... known to us at all. We know a description, and we know that there is just one object to which this descrption applies, though x itself is not directly known to us."
    Now, in order not to immediately dismiss this claim, it seems to me that we have to have a working definition of to know, and this gets us back to the primary problem of the Theaetetus: what is it to know? And to answer this is to solve the mind/matter riddle--whether there is an objective world for us to know at all, and what that world constitutes, ie. is it an idea or derivation of the mind, or does it hold some objective status outside the mind? How can we have true and proper knowledge of anything that exists outside the mind?

    I have more questions but I don't have much time.

    Long live the revolution.
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    GB:

    You say in your other post "Language is not a container." What do you mean by this? How can you say what language is not? What if I were to say "Language is a shoe", or conversely, "language is not a shoe", or anything else. How could I prove that this is the case without resorting to a priori arguments?
    The point of that comment is to remind readers to distrust a certain metaphor (or as Wittgenstein used to put it "To free oneself from a certain picture"), that is, that language dictates to us what it means, that there is an a priori structure to language which tells us how to use it.

    It's not a case of proving anything, it is more one of knowing how to use language and seeing that this metaphor is inappropriate.

    The sentence "Tony Blair has a copy of Das Kapital" is valid because I know who Tony blair is, I know what Das Kapital is, and I know what to have x is. Whether this says anything about anything actually existing is another matter, the point is that I understand the proposition itself. As Bertrand Russell argues,
    Well, a sentence cannot be valid, but an argument can. And the point of my argument was to highlight the difference between empirical propositions and metaphysical ones.

    For example, if someone thought language was a shoe, then that would reveal they had some odd ideas about shoes, or that they did not know how to use this word.

    However, why we hold certain empirical propositions true was of no concern to me in that essay -- it's a separate issue.

    And I reject this dichotomy of Russell's:

    "There is no state of mind in which we are directly aware of x; all our knowledge of x is really knowledge of truths, and the actual thing which is x is not... known to us at all. We know a description, and we know that there is just one object to which this descrption applies, though x itself is not directly known to us."
    But we can debate that another time.

    You will, however note that Russell asserts several a priori 'truths' here dogmatically.

    Now, in order not to immediately dismiss this claim, it seems to me that we have to have a working definition of to know, and this gets us back to the primary problem of the Theaetetus: what is it to know? And to answer this is to solve the mind/matter riddle--whether there is an objective world for us to know at all, and what that world constitutes, ie. is it an idea or derivation of the mind, or does it hold some objective status outside the mind? How can we have true and proper knowledge of anything that exists outside the mind?
    I think it's more important to see how we actually use the verb 'to know' than it is to listen to Plato tell us how we must use it.

    And, there is no mind/matter riddle; this is just another confusion -- another pseudo-problem -- based on the systematic misuse of language we have inherited from Descartes and the Christians.

    These patterns of thought have dominated the 'west' since ancient Greek times, as Marx noted: "The ruling ideas are always those of the ruling class".

    Here is how I explained this in an earlier thread on why dialectical materialism is a world view:

    There are two interconnected reasons, I think.

    1) The founders of this quasi-religion weren't workers; they came from a class that educated their children in the classics and in philosophy. This tradition taught that behind appearances there is a hidden world, accessible to thought alone, which is more real than the material universe we see around us.

    This way of seeing things was invented by ideologues of the ruling class, who viewed reality this way. They invented it because if you belong to, benefit from or help run a society which is based on gross inequality, oppression and exploitation, you can keep order in several ways.

    The first and most obvious way is through violence. This will work for a time, but it is not only fraught with danger, it is costly and it stifles innovation (among other things).

    Another way is to persuade the majority (or a significant section of "opinion formers" and administrators, at least) that the present order either works for their benefit, is ordained of the 'gods', or that it is 'natural' and cannot be fought, reformed or negotiated with.

    Hence, a world-view is necessary for the ruling-class to carry on ruling in the same old way. While the content of this ruling ideology may have changed with each change in the mode of production, its form has remained largely the same for thousands of years: Ultimate Truth is ascertainable by thought alone, and it can therefore be imposed on reality dogmatically.

    So, these non-worker founders of our movement, who had been educated to believe there was just such a hidden world that governed everything, looked for principles in that invisible world that told them that change was inevitable, and part of the cosmic order. Enter dialectics, courtesy of the dogmatic ideas of a ruling-class mystic called Hegel.

    2) That allowed the founders of this quasi-religion to think of themselves as special, as prophets of the new order, which workers, alas, could not quite grasp because of their defective education and their reliance on ordinary language and 'common sense'.

    Fortunately, history has predisposed these prophets to ascertain the truth about reality for the rest of us, which means that they are our 'naturally-ordained' leaders. That in turn meant these 'leaders' were also teachers of the 'ignorant masses' and who could thus legitimately substitute themselves for the unwashed majority -- in 'their own interests', you understand. This is because the masses are too caught up in 'commodity fetishism' to see the truth for themselves.

    And that is why DM is a world-view.

    It is also why dialecticians cling on to this theory like grim death (and become very emotional (and abusive!) when it is attacked by yours truly), since it provides them with a source of consolation that, despite outward appearances to the contrary, and because this hidden world tells them that Dialectical Marxism will one day be a success, everything is in fact peachy, and nothing in the core theory needs changing -- in spite of the fact that that core theory says everything changes! Hence, it is ossified into a dogma, and imposed on reality. A rather nice unity of opposites for you to ponder.

    So, this 'theory' insulates the militant mind from the facts; it tells such comrades that reality 'contradicts' outward appearances. Hence, even if Dialectical Marxism appears to be a long-term failure, those with a the equivalent of a dialectical 'third eye' can see the opposite is in fact the case: Dialectical Marxism is a ringing success!

    In that case, awkward facts can either be ignored or they can be re-configured into their opposite.

    In that case:

    Dialectics is the sigh of the depressed dialectician, the heart of a heartless world. It is the opiate of the party. The abolition of dialectics as the illusory happiness of the party hack is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.

    Unfortunately, these sad characters will need (materialist) workers to rescue them from themselves.

    I stand no chance...
    Hence, the fondness for a priori dogmatics among ruling-class hacks (like Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Anselm, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Hegel...) and Dialectical Marxists alike.
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    Those posts are extracts from essays at my site, and I have been writing those essays since July 1998.

    I do not have a profession; I am now an ordinary worker. However, I was a part-time university Philosophy lecturer in the 1980s, for a while.
    Sounds alot like that Bob Dylan lyric: "20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift." I can sympathize.
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    Great song...!
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    re: empirical basis for metaphysics:

    Isn't this what Heidegger tries to do in works like Being and Time? It would seem to me that any empirical analysis of "thought"(whatever that is) would outweight a priori asserions, because of the fact that they are verified by experience. How can you contest research done on the computation of neurons with (absurd) notions compiled through "necessity" or based upon assumptions that are not necessarily true or verifiable? It seems to me that this would be a contradiction of methods.
    It's impossible to say. Heidegger is impenetrable, in my opinion. I'm generally suspicious of his entire orientation to constant neologisms and obscure expressions. It makes it hard to figure out what would make his sentences true.
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    The best thing to read on Heidegger is this:

    Paul Edwards (2004), Heidegger's Confusions (Prometheus Books).
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    Rosa you have quite clearly not studied enough philosophy to give an informed explanation of Dialectical Materialism. First, Dialectics was established by finding the flaws in traditional/absolutist logic and positivism:

    Having thus drawn the boundaries of logic (‘that logic should have been thus successful is an advantage which it owes entirely to its limitations, whereby it is justified in abstracting indeed, it is under obligation to do so from all objects of knowledge and their differences....’), Kant painstakingly investigated its fundamental possibilities. Its competence proved to be very narrow. By virtue of the formality mentioned, it of necessity left out of account the differences in the views that clashed in discussion, and remained absolutely neutral not only in, say, the dispute between Leibniz and Hume but also in a dispute between a wise man and a fool, so long as the fool ‘correctly’ set out whatever ideas came into his head from God knew where, and however absurd and foolish they were. Its rules were such that it must logically justify any absurdity so long as the latter was not self-contradictory. A self-consistent stupidity must pass freely through the filter of general logic.
    From an Introduction to Soviet Psychology.

    Next it was discovered no system of thought can escape contradictions:

    Fichte tried in that way to deduce the whole system of logical axioms and categories, in order to understand them as the universal schemas, consistently taken into practice, for uniting of empirical data, as degrees or phases of the production of concepts, for concretising the initial, still undivided concept into a number of its universal and necessary predicate-definitions. There is no need here to explain why Fichte did not succeed in his programme of deducing the whole system of logical categories, why he did not succeed in turning logic into an exact science, into a system. In this case it was important to have posed the problem. Let us merely note that the ensuing criticism of his conception was directed precisely at explaining the reasons for his failure, and at analysing the premises that hindered his idea of reforming logic, of deducing its whole content from an investigation of actual thinking, and in that way of uniting within one and the same system categories that stood in a relation of direct negation of one another (formal contradiction), and that had seemed to Kant to be antinomically uncombinable, and not includable within one non-contradictory system.
    After Schelling the problem consisted in uniting dialectics as the true schema of developing knowledge and logic as the system of rules of thinking in general. What was the relation of the rules of logic to the real schemas (laws) of the development of understanding? Were they different, mutually unconnected ‘things’? Or was logic simply the conscious and deliberately applied schema of the real development of science? If it was, it was all the more inadmissible to leave it in its old, so primitive form. At this point the torch was taken up by Hegel.
    Next Hegel admitted the contradictions as real, and not just illusions that we will one day see past:

    That, incidentally, was where Kant’s illusion originated, the illusion that logic as a theory had long ago acquired a fully closed, completed character and not only was not in need of development of its propositions but could not be by its very nature. Schelling also understood Kant’s logic as an absolutely precise presentation of the principles and rules of thinking in concepts.

    Hegel had doubts about the proposition that it was the rules of logic that prevented understanding of the process of the passage of the concept into the object and vice versa, of the subjective into the objective (and in general of opposites into one another). He saw in it not evidence of the organic deficiency of thought but only the limitations of Kant’s ideas about it. Kantian logic was only a limitedly true theory of thought. Real thought, the real subject matter of logic as a science, as a matter of fact was something else; therefore it was necessary to bring the theory of thought into agreement with its real subject matter.

    Hegel saw the need for a critical reconsideration of traditional logic primarily in the extreme, glaring discrepancy between the principles and rules that Kant considered absolutely universal forms of thought and the real results that had been achieved by human civilisation in the course of its development. ‘A comparison of the forms to which Spirit has risen in the worlds of Practice and Religion, and of Science in every department of knowledge Positive and Speculative - a comparison of these with the form which Logic, that is, Spirit’s knowledge of its own pure essence - has attained, shows such a glaring discrepancy that it cannot fail to strike the most superficial observer that the latter is inadequate to the lofty development of the former, and unworthy of it.’


    Thus the existing logical theories did not correspond to the real practice of thought, and thinking about thought (i.e. logic) consequently lagged behind thinking about everything else, behind the thinking that was realised as the science of the external world, as consciousness fixed in the form of knowledge and things created by the power of knowledge, in the form of the whole organism of civilisation. In functioning as thinking about the world, thought had achieved such success that beside it thinking about thought proved to be something quite incommensurable, wretched, deficient, and poor. To take it on faith that human thought had really been and was guided by the rules, laws, and principles that in the aggregate constituted traditional logic was to make all the progress of science and practice simply inexplicable.


    Hence there arose the paradox that the human intellect, which had created modern culture, had come to a standstill in amazement before its own creation. Schelling had also expressed this amazement of the ‘spirit’, and it was just at this point that Hegel began to differ with him.
    Next Marx/Engels (mostly Engels) showed that materialism was superior to idealism because it is more coherent. You do not have an idealistic theory of medicine or gravity. [/quote]



    Dialectical Materialism was thus established by a series of arguments within philosophy itself, it was not just presented ex nihilo. All points of the philosophy can be justified with logical argument. It is not a matter of faith.


    If you believe:


    1- There are real contradictions. i.e. contradictory thoughts, opposing forces.



    2- Reality is material.


    You are a Dialectical Materialist.


    For more extensive arguments I suggest reading Christopher Caudwell's "Reality: A Study in Bourgeoisie Philosophy" available online. I will share some excerpts:


    A-B do not exist as eternally discrete entities. The Universe is a becoming, a development. The becoming is primary. Reality does not become in time and space, but time and space are aspects of its becoming. Becoming is change. If a thing is changed, it manifests an unlike, a hitherto non-present quality. If change is real, and by our premises it is primary, such a quality does not come into existence either by the gradual decrement of a known quality to nothing, or the gradual increment of a very faint quality to something. Before, it was not, not in any way. Now it is, in every way. There has therefore been a ‘jump’. To deny this is to deny the reality of change, and to suggest that the quality was already there, but so faintly we did not ‘notice it’. But nothing new would then have come into being. There would therefore have been no change, and reality is, by our definition, change.
    Note that Caudwell accepted General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, as both true, while they were still controversial and predicted that they would not be united into a unified theory for some time.



    Last, you note Marx/Engels were not working class (the founders of Dialectical Materialism were not working class)- that makes sense. You would expect a more educated person with more resources and a liberal education in philosophy to develop Dialectical Materialism. The point of the left is to make it so there is no working class- not to romanticize the working class.


    I would not take the statement of a fast food worker over a physicist, or biologist or psychologist in the relevant fields of expertise just because he or she was a worker. See my thread on the "Labor Theory of Value as a Prescriptive" in the "Theory" forums.
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    Mao and other Marxist-Leninists, and especially those under the balloon term of cultural relativists hammer on the futility of metaphysical thinking, but Kant seems to be the foundation of modern cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Does this mean there are a priori judgments that can be made about reality, or is such a question even considered worthwhile today? Are there any assessments that can be made about human thought and our ability to understand and interact with reality that can be made using metaphysical thinking? ie, that something is true because it is necessary (apodeictic truth), or that space and time are objective, etc.? Where is contemporary metaphysics going in the face of the onslaught from subjectivism and moral/cultural relativism?
    Marx made no judgments on psychology, and if he did he was probably wrong.

    As for Kant's a priori knowledge, that is very different then cognitive mechanisms found in evolutionary psychology and modern day neuroscience. That is dealing more with instincts, which may be matters of prescription nor just knowledge. Likewise, you are not conscious of instincts like you are knowledge.

    As for objective/subjective truth, the Dialectical response is that both exist. Ultimately the subjective exists as a material entity within an objective world. Saying everything is objective, or everything is subjective is one sided and inaccurate and ridiculous.

    As for moral/cultural relativism, the idea of any weird sort of "pure" relativism is in fact anti-Marxist insofar as it implies people can be conditioned to just enjoy being slaves in a capitalist system. Or that barbaric practices like murder, rape, thievery, etc, are okay and just dismissed as cultural constructs.

    Again I do not know of anywhere Marx wrote on this matter, and if he wrote anything like human behavior is 100% determined by environmental factors he is very clearly wrong. I do know he made statements about morality, implying there is a bourgeoisie and proletariat morality, and those statements may have been in error as is evident by modern day evolutionary psychology and the evidence for instinctive altruism.
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    Rosa you have quite clearly not studied enough philosophy to give an informed explanation of Dialectical Materialism.
    I'm not to sure telling someone with a PhD in Philosophy they haven't studied enough philosophy is the best way to disagree with someone. Now I'm no Philosopher, but I'll take a crack at this.

    First, Dialectics was established by finding the flaws in traditional/absolutist logic and positivism:

    Having thus drawn the boundaries of logic (‘that logic should have been thus successful is an advantage which it owes entirely to its limitations, whereby it is justified in abstracting indeed, it is under obligation to do so from all objects of knowledge and their differences....’), Kant painstakingly investigated its fundamental possibilities. Its competence proved to be very narrow. By virtue of the formality mentioned, it of necessity left out of account the differences in the views that clashed in discussion, and remained absolutely neutral not only in, say, the dispute between Leibniz and Hume but also in a dispute between a wise man and a fool, so long as the fool ‘correctly’ set out whatever ideas came into his head from God knew where, and however absurd and foolish they were. Its rules were such that it must logically justify any absurdity so long as the latter was not self-contradictory. A self-consistent stupidity must pass freely through the filter of general logic.
    From an Introduction to Soviet Psychology.
    It looks like this whole thing looks at logic before Frege. From that point on formal logic has grown significantly. So Kant, Leibniz and Hume aren't the best people to look to for information on logic. In fact, they only knew of Aristotolean Logic and nothing of anything like Predicate Logic etc.

    Next it was discovered no system of thought can escape contradictions:

    Fichte tried in that way to deduce the whole system of logical axioms and categories, in order to understand them as the universal schemas, consistently taken into practice, for uniting of empirical data, as degrees or phases of the production of concepts, for concretising the initial, still undivided concept into a number of its universal and necessary predicate-definitions. There is no need here to explain why Fichte did not succeed in his programme of deducing the whole system of logical categories, why he did not succeed in turning logic into an exact science, into a system. In this case it was important to have posed the problem. Let us merely note that the ensuing criticism of his conception was directed precisely at explaining the reasons for his failure, and at analysing the premises that hindered his idea of reforming logic, of deducing its whole content from an investigation of actual thinking, and in that way of uniting within one and the same system categories that stood in a relation of direct negation of one another (formal contradiction), and that had seemed to Kant to be antinomically uncombinable, and not includable within one non-contradictory system.
    After Schelling the problem consisted in uniting dialectics as the true schema of developing knowledge and logic as the system of rules of thinking in general. What was the relation of the rules of logic to the real schemas (laws) of the development of understanding? Were they different, mutually unconnected ‘things’? Or was logic simply the conscious and deliberately applied schema of the real development of science? If it was, it was all the more inadmissible to leave it in its old, so primitive form. At this point the torch was taken up by Hegel.
    Once again, the Logic you speak of is pre-modern logic.

    None of these statements support the idea that contradictions exist everywhere.

    Finally, your premise that all forms of thought can escape contradictions is in no way supported by psychology, cognative science or any other form off study.

    Next Hegel admitted the contradictions as real, and not just illusions that we will one day see past:

    That, incidentally, was where Kant’s illusion originated, the illusion that logic as a theory had long ago acquired a fully closed, completed character and not only was not in need of development of its propositions but could not be by its very nature. Schelling also understood Kant’s logic as an absolutely precise presentation of the principles and rules of thinking in concepts.

    Hegel had doubts about the proposition that it was the rules of logic that prevented understanding of the process of the passage of the concept into the object and vice versa, of the subjective into the objective (and in general of opposites into one another). He saw in it not evidence of the organic deficiency of thought but only the limitations of Kant’s ideas about it. Kantian logic was only a limitedly true theory of thought. Real thought, the real subject matter of logic as a science, as a matter of fact was something else; therefore it was necessary to bring the theory of thought into agreement with its real subject matter.

    Hegel saw the need for a critical reconsideration of traditional logic primarily in the extreme, glaring discrepancy between the principles and rules that Kant considered absolutely universal forms of thought and the real results that had been achieved by human civilisation in the course of its development. ‘A comparison of the forms to which Spirit has risen in the worlds of Practice and Religion, and of Science in every department of knowledge Positive and Speculative - a comparison of these with the form which Logic, that is, Spirit’s knowledge of its own pure essence - has attained, shows such a glaring discrepancy that it cannot fail to strike the most superficial observer that the latter is inadequate to the lofty development of the former, and unworthy of it.’


    Thus the existing logical theories did not correspond to the real practice of thought, and thinking about thought (i.e. logic) consequently lagged behind thinking about everything else, behind the thinking that was realised as the science of the external world, as consciousness fixed in the form of knowledge and things created by the power of knowledge, in the form of the whole organism of civilisation. In functioning as thinking about the world, thought had achieved such success that beside it thinking about thought proved to be something quite incommensurable, wretched, deficient, and poor. To take it on faith that human thought had really been and was guided by the rules, laws, and principles that in the aggregate constituted traditional logic was to make all the progress of science and practice simply inexplicable.


    Hence there arose the paradox that the human intellect, which had created modern culture, had come to a standstill in amazement before its own creation. Schelling had also expressed this amazement of the ‘spirit’, and it was just at this point that Hegel began to differ with him.
    Hegel here isn't admitting that contradictions are real. All this says is that Hegel, through pure thought alone came up with his dialectic. No scientific analysis, just sitting on his ass and thinking.

    Dialectical Materialism was thus established by a series of arguments within philosophy itself, it was not just presented ex nihilo. All points of the philosophy can be justified with logical argument. It is not a matter of faith.
    None of what you wrote above supports this, other than that it came out of philosophical arguementation. You have yet to show that logic supports dialectical materialism.

    If you believe:


    1- There are real contradictions. i.e. contradictory thoughts, opposing forces.



    2- Reality is material.


    You are a Dialectical Materialist.
    I don't believe the first. Guess I'm not a Dialectical Materialist

    For more extensive arguments I suggest reading Christopher Caudwell's "Reality: A Study in Bourgeoisie Philosophy" available online. I will share some excerpts:
    A-B do not exist as eternally discrete entities. The Universe is a becoming, a development. The becoming is primary. Reality does not become in time and space, but time and space are aspects of its becoming. Becoming is change. If a thing is changed, it manifests an unlike, a hitherto non-present quality. If change is real, and by our premises it is primary, such a quality does not come into existence either by the gradual decrement of a known quality to nothing, or the gradual increment of a very faint quality to something. Before, it was not, not in any way. Now it is, in every way. There has therefore been a ‘jump’. To deny this is to deny the reality of change, and to suggest that the quality was already there, but so faintly we did not ‘notice it’. But nothing new would then have come into being. There would therefore have been no change, and reality is, by our definition, change.
    Well this just reads like a whole bunch of nonsense to me. It would seem that it assumes that everything is ever changing, without having ever measured everything changing. There is no possible way to know that everything is constantly changing (becoming, as philosophers stupidly call changing).

    Also, reality is not by definition change. In life reality is used as a word to distiguish between what we believe to be true and what we imagine. It is not used to mean change.

    Note that Caudwell accepted General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, as both true, while they were still controversial and predicted that they would not be united into a unified theory for some time.
    So what?

    Last, you note Marx/Engels were not working class (the founders of Dialectical Materialism were not working class)- that makes sense. You would expect a more educated person with more resources and a liberal education in philosophy to develop Dialectical Materialism. The point of the left is to make it so there is no working class- not to romanticize the working class.


    I would not take the statement of a fast food worker over a physicist, or biologist or psychologist in the relevant fields of expertise just because he or she was a worker. See my thread on the "Labor Theory of Value as a Prescriptive" in the "Theory" forums.
    But their more liberal education had them learning traditional philosophy, which was done through pure thought experiments, a priori reasoning. A priori reasoning assumes the universe is dialectical without measuring how it is. Why people believe this without proof is amazing.
    Free Rosa

    The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself- Karl Marx

    Socialist Worker
    Anti-Dialectics
    The Dialectical Dialogues
    The RedStar2000 Papers
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    It looks like this whole thing looks at logic before Frege. From that point on formal logic has grown significantly. So Kant, Leibniz and Hume aren't the best people to look to for information on logic. In fact, they only knew of Aristotolean Logic and nothing of anything like Predicate Logic etc.
    Does predicate logic admit to contradictions or does it primarily measure consistency? Recall Kant's entire point was that logic primarily measures consistency. To my knowledge, there is no logic yet that measures anything but consistency. That's why you can't know today's weather by means of logical deduction.

    So correct me if I'm wrong, maybe I am, but let's say I am debating a creationist, and for odd reason, have decided to eschew all empirical data and instead go by pure logic. How am I supposed to win this argument exactly? Am I 100% supposed to look for a contradiction, and if I cannot find one, do I then admit the creationist is correct just because he or she has remained consistent?

    Or let's say I am trying to study Big Bang Theory, or the Origin of the Universe in general, but this time instead of doing research I am going to use pure predicate logic. Tell me, without background radiation, red shift detection, or measurements of primordial elements how I am going to establish Big Bang Theory over Steady-State or a Monotheist myth.

    If you can that would be amazing. It would be the first time ever someone proved real-world empirical truths with pure logic. If you cannot, which I am assuming (again correct me if I'm wrong), you will have to admit that logic is a matter of measuring consistency and Kant's argument still applies.

    I do look forward to your response.
    Last edited by Dermezel; 2nd March 2010 at 03:17.
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    Does predicate logic admit to contradictions or does it primarily measure consistency?
    It does not admit to these so-called contradictions. Why would it? Hell, why should it?
    Free Rosa

    The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself- Karl Marx

    Socialist Worker
    Anti-Dialectics
    The Dialectical Dialogues
    The RedStar2000 Papers
    BiteMarx
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    Also, Predicate logic is one example of the vast expansion of logic in the last century.
    Free Rosa

    The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself- Karl Marx

    Socialist Worker
    Anti-Dialectics
    The Dialectical Dialogues
    The RedStar2000 Papers
    BiteMarx
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    None of these statements support the idea that contradictions exist everywhere.
    I don't think you know what a contradiction is. Here is the dictionary definition:

    –noun1.the act of contradicting; gainsaying or opposition.

    2.assertion of the contrary or opposite; denial.

    3.a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous.

    4.direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency.

    5.a contradictory act, fact, etc.






    Finally, your premise that all forms of thought can escape contradictions is in no way supported by psychology, cognative science or any other form off study.
    I actually said the opposite, no systems of thought can escape contradictions, primarily because perception cannot be completely reduced to cognition.

    As for whether this is supported by psychology, I will not say psychologists generally take a stand on matters of philosophy. According to your reasoning psychology doesn't support any philosophy at all, even the conclusion that philosophy is meaningless or worthless.

    However if you go by an actual definition of contradiction, you can note that we see material contradictions everywhere in modern psychology, particularly evolutionary psychology. Contradictions between man's instincts developed during our ancestral evolutionary environment, and their maladaptive nature in the modern era. Contradictions with respect to how our body evolved to work no more then 4 hours a day of relatively easy work, and now we must work roughly 8 hours of very stressful work. Contradictions between the sexes. Contradictions in sibling relations. Between shared and non-shared environmental influences, between primary soiciopaths, secondary sociopaths, regular people and moralists. There are all kinds of material contradictions in psychology.

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