Thread: A Beginners Guide to Anti-Dialectics

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  1. #61
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    If there was more motion, the average kinetic energy would increase. A container full of atoms going 2 km/s is twice as hot as the same container full of the same atoms going 1 km/s. (and by PV = nRT, it also has twice the pressure).
    Unlike kinetic energy, motion is not a quantity. Whereas it makes sense to say "one Joule of kinetic energy" or "two Joules of kinetic energy" it doesn't make sense to say "one unit of motion", "two units of motion" etc. Motion is associated with certain quantities - but the average kinetic energy is just one of them. Total kinetic energy, impulse (average, total etc.), velocity etc. are also associated with motion.

    Incidentally, the last sentence is only true for gases that can be treated as ideal. Yes, I'm petty.

    Originally Posted by argeiphontes
    "Contradiction" we've already defined as "anything", e.g. any inherent tendency to change over time[...]
    No, and to be quite honest you don't seem to be reading my posts at all (which is fine, I mean, I doubt I would've read them if I hadn't written them myself, but then don't try to respond to something you haven't read). In diamat, contradiction entails the existence of multiple tendencies whose end-results are incompatible (and in this sense, dialectical materialism is not only compatible with the law of non-contradiction, it depends on it - as does Hegelian dialectics to a lesser degree, no matter what impressionistic nonsense Hegel might have written in response to "A=A" philosophizing of people like Fichte).

    Originally Posted by argeiphontes
    [B]ut you said: "Given that people regularly talk about electric charges, for example, as quantities". So, those are quantities just because people regularly talk about them that way? A theory of nature should be objective.
    The meaning of words is determined by their use in particular contexts (being materialists, we do not expect the world to come with little human-readable labels - in English, no less!). In the context of diamat, "contradiction" is used in a different sense than in formal logic, and to an extent in common speech. That is unfortunate, but it can't be helped at this point. "Quantity", on the other hand, is used precisely in the everyday sense (or at least the sense in which the term is used in scientific texts etc.) ChristoferKoch wants to redefine the term. Well, alright. But we aren't speaking the same language anymore, and translated into the language Marxists use, his objections make no sense.

    Originally Posted by argeiphontes
    I meant the three terms of the X->Y->Z dialectical progressions, which I referred to as a triad because I'm lazy.
    Yeah, my point still stands. The existence of that sort of "dialectical progression" is disputable even in the case of Hegel (the greater logic seems to be organized in sets of three terms, probably parroting Kant and Fichte, but in the lesser logic, written later, the sets of three are rarer). And it is not found in dialectical materialism (it seems that people need to be reminded that diamat is not Hegelianism every now and then) at all.

    Originally Posted by argeiphontes
    My criticism doesn't depend on a precise knowledge of what space or gravitation are. The problem is that, in the case of hydrogen or matter, something about the star has to be caused by the hydrogen. I maintain that it's caused by *external* forces, whereas diamat requires internal forces.
    Scientific pedantry is its own reward. More to the point, many of your "counterexamples" to diamat rest on very dodgy science. More on that later.

    As for hydrogen, the gravitational forces that cause contraction are very much internal to the material phenomenon of a particular hydrogen cloud. Perhaps you mean that "gravity" as a concept does not inhere in the concept of "hydrogen". But, for the hyperbollilionth time, diamat does not concern concepts but material bodies.

    Originally Posted by argeiphontes
    Space is an empty something, whatever it is. It is being created as the universe expands.
    That is simply not the case. You seem to be treating "empty space" as some kind of receptacle - as a box you can place things in. But if things need this receptacle if they are to occupy a particular space, and empty space itself occupies a particular space (i.e., you say that empty space exists in a particular place), does the receptacle need a receptacle? It's all very incoherent. What happens when the universe expands is that distances between objects increases in specific manner.

    Originally Posted by argeiphontes
    How can revolutionary socialism based on diamat work if it has never created a socialist society? I also don't see what's specifically diamat about any socialist group or movement I've ever heard about. They're just doing what people have always done when they wanted to create change.
    Obviously the tactics of the modern socialist movement are not the same as the tactics of the, for example, Blanquist republicans or Narodniks. And history demonstrates that those who abandon dialectics - Bernstein, de Man, Burnham, etc. etc. - also abandon the notion of revolutionary change in favor of some kind of gradualism (since, as this thread demonstrates, mechanicist materialism can't comprehend the interplay between gradual quantitative additions - reforms, movement-building etc. - and sudden qualitative change - a revolution).

    As for the Marxist movement, it, in addition to winning most of the reforms that are being eroded today, now that "death of communism" has become a dogma in pseudo-socialist circles, has resulted in dictatorships of the proletariat in at least three instances.

    Originally Posted by argeiphontes
    For diamat to be a theory, it has to be able to predict the future. You can't just arbitrarily pick and choose changes in the historical past. So what are some of the predictions made by diamat? Can it predict the next president of the US or when Egypt will become a functional democracy? When will capitalism fall? A really interesting question, is what will the system after communism be?
    This is an arbitrary request. Seismology can't predict when earthquakes are going to happen; that doesn't mean that seismology is not a science, although it does mean that the solid Earth system is very complex. Thermodynamics, in addition to eliminating time altogether, doesn't track each individual molecule. That doesn't mean that it isn't a science.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Sarcasm. More making the point that you seem to be using "Cliffite" as a pejorative when one of your allies in this debate is one. In fact, most of them are against me too.
    Well, what other terms are there? "Cliffist" sounds ugly. "State capitalist", in addition to being horribly misleading, is vague, since leftcoms and councilists also think the Soviet Union was "state capitalist". "Trotskyist new class theorists" could refer to the Shachtmanites as well, and who would want to be associated with that? Finally, I don't know if Rosa is from the US, the UK, or Karaganda, so I couldn't say "IS-er" or "ISO member".

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Competing forces doesn't change anything. These material forces still have to change into their opposite, which I have already shown cannot happen.
    You mean that jumble with O and O*****? Do you honestly think word games like that prove anything?

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Actually, I was thinking about when Lenin said that in order to understand Capital one has to completely understand Hegel's Logic.
    Well, yes, generally understanding the historical context of a text allows for greater comprehension of a work itself. Likewise one has to be at least familiar with Ricardo, but this doesn't mean Marx was a Ricardian.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    You have basically said that Lenin is thoroughly confused by what he is saying.
    Well, he could be - for example when he talked about the "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry". However, all I have said is that he used a phrase that is misleading to those who focus on formal logic, but was common in Russian Marxist at the time.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    So what is the correct context to understand this? And of course he didn't mean that contradictory tendencies can't exist in the same phenomenon. He meant that contradictory tendencies are both mutually exclusive and exist at the same time in the same phenomenon.
    What do you suppose Lenin meant by "mutually exclusive", then? Because you admit he can't have meant "unable to exist in the same phenomenon", but your previous argument hinges on precisely that (very uncharitable) reading.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Additionally, as I mentioned in my last post, if you reject mutual exclusivity, then you reject Hegel's solution to Hume's objection to causation.
    Which is a good thing, because "solutions" to nonsensical "problems" are also nonsense.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    In this case, how do these tendencies struggle with one another the way the classics claim they do?
    They "pull the system in different directions", so to speak (struggle is the unfolding of dialectical contradiction), and a change in one results in changes in other tendencies. E.g. stars have both a tendency to contract (due to gravity) and expand (due to pressure). These tendencies struggle (i.e. gravity "pulls" the system in one direction, pressure "pushes" it in another), and coexist in the same system (obviously).

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Also, if they do, then you have two tendencies T* and T** which must struggle and change into one another as according to the classics. But they cannot change into one another since they already exist.
    I have to ask - are you even reading my responses, or just posting a random selection of claims every time? This little word game presupposes that tendencies turning into one another literally means that an entity called Tendency 1 turns into an entity called Tendency 2. But as per my previous post, which I have no intention of repeating, this is not what tendencies turning into one another means, not in diamat, and not in common speech.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Right, during the period that he was so chronically ill that he couldn't work on Capital II, when both his wife and daughter died, dialectics was at the very forefront of his thought.

    Also, if we accept that Engels read Anti-Durhing to Marx, then it would have taken quite a few hours to read (being 130,000 words it should take more than half a day to read), which means that Marx was listening to all that, it is easy to assume a sick person would not have listened too well.

    Engels leaves us with many questions in this regard. Why did he read it to Marx instead of having him read the proofs? Why did Marx not object to Engels horrible work on mathematics in the book? Why did Engels only mention this after Marx had died?
    It was all the work of the Illuminati, of course. Seriously, is it more plausible to suppose that a man who was intellectually active to the end of his life would read at least an overview of a work that he was associated with, or that Engels painstakingly hid the dialectical portion of the work from Marx - even though he mentioned dialectics in his letters to Marx all the time (as did Marx for that matter) - doubtlessly twirling his mustache with an evil grin?

    No historical exegesis can be based on what is effectively a conspiracy theory.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Except that the classics teach us that this change is occurring all the time in an object. My cat has stayed a cat this whole time. Besides, this would mean that my cat has a "dead cat tendency" within it already that it is struggling with. Is my cat now both dead and alive?
    No, "the classics" do not "teach us" that qualitative change happens in objects at every point in time (they might say something like "change happens all the time" - by which, as everyone who approaches the text without preconceptions about O and O************ should understand, they mean that change is ubiquitous). And yes, your cat unfortunately has tendencies that will result in its death (not "dead cat tendencies", dialectics isn't teleological).

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Wrong on both counts.
    Well, your depiction of Wittgenstein's method is a matter of public record; as for the forms of life, see my next post.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    While I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about Chinese philosophy to comment on the last two, the first two have certainly abstracted ordinary words to create truths as set out in the following books[...]
    Then surely you can provide a brief summary instead of expecting me to buy a book. As for Chinese philosophy, I heartily recommend it, particularly the two schools I mentioned. Whatever misconceptions people might have about "oriental" philosophy, mohist and legalist pragmatism is closer to modern thought than the obnoxious "but how do you know that you know?" philosophizing characteristic of European (and to a lesser extent Indian) thought.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    You are basically sweeping their philosophical engagements under the rug, even though these are among the greatest mathematicians and physicists of their day. They don't fit your generalization, so you throw out the evidence. Also, you have not proven that philosophy is sneered at by scientists and mathematicians.
    Well, I don't "throw out the evidence", I'm pointing out that these were exceptions to a general trend. An honest question: how many scientists and mathematicians of the period from, maybe, the thirties to the present are you familiar with? I'm asking because all I can really appeal to is a preponderance of evidence.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Funny, both Heisenberg and Pauli wrote books on the philosophy of science. Also, Mayr, the great biologist, wrote numerous works on the philosophy of science.
    Mayr and Monod are the only two examples I can think of - unless you want to count Dawkins. As for Heisenberg and Pauli, which of their works are you referring to?

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Transfinite numbers do not. I did not say they did. I said that Wittgenstein is ignored because he rejected philosophical notions that justify the status quo.
    What. Philosophical. Notions.

    I will respond to the rest later.
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    I completely reject all philosophical theories.
    Well, if we think science is an important thing, then we need a theory of knowledge; else how do we know the difference between science and pseudo-science? Now, if such theory of science is "scientific", then we have a problem of petitio principii. If it is not scientific, then it either is a philosophic theory, or a third kind of theory (in which case I would like to learn what would that third kind of theory be).

    I do not accept an empiricism rooted in any form of "knowledge". What I advocate is historical materialism understood as history advancing through class struggle.
    But of course historical materialism, "understood as history advancing through class struggle" is not an epistemological theory, but an ontological one (it tells us something about, uh, "reality", if I may use such a word; it doesn't tell us how do we know something about such reality). And of course there are very philosophical problems with the notion of "class", not to talk about "class struggle", or "history" and its supposed "advancement" (a notion that sounds very much Hegelian, if you ask me). Starting with whether "classes" exist, continuing with how they would be able to "struggle", and going further into why on earth should their struggle be the (main) mobile of "history". Of course we can choose to ignore such problems, and decide that the important thing is "history" and our intervention in it; but then we are certainly open to the criticism that our categories are arbitrary...

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    But of course historical materialism, "understood as history advancing through class struggle" is not an epistemological theory, but an ontological one (it tells us something about, uh, "reality", if I may use such a word; it doesn't tell us how do we know something about such reality). And of course there are very philosophical problems with the notion of "class", not to talk about "class struggle", or "history" and its supposed "advancement" (a notion that sounds very much Hegelian, if you ask me). Starting with whether "classes" exist, continuing with how they would be able to "struggle", and going further into why on earth should their struggle be the (main) mobile of "history".
    OK, to try and disentangle some of these questions and what seem to be confusions surrounding them, focusing on the part about the very notion of social class.

    The question whether classes exist, part of the philosophical problem, is best tackled in my opinion through a two part procedure. First, to point out that social class is a concept which doesn't denote an object, but that it is used to refer to the shared position in production which can be easily falsified (or more precisely, the claim of class position of specific groups can be falsified). This is obviously related to the second, empirical part - to actually point out that these and these people engage in production on a specific basis - as workers' or capitalists. This is a functional differentiation which can be observed easily. Any objection that runs along the lines of there are no classes only individuals with their aspiration is moot as it misses the point completely (for reasons that should be obvious to communists; this is not only an innocent mistake in reasoning).

    This is why what you allege here, that there are philosophical problems with the notion of social class, seems really vague to me. For one thing, it seems that philosophical problems are brought forward and constructed within the broader aim and process of ideological legitimation. Maybe it would be best if you specified these philosophical problems.

    And just to be clear, in this case I do use the term philosophical problem as implying that it is a false problem, or better yet, a pseudo-problem.
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    Concerning the non-linguistic nature of the forms of life, consider for example PI 206:

    Originally Posted by Wittgenstein
    206. Following a rule is analogous to obeying an order. We are trained to do so; we react to an order in a particular way. But what if one person reacts in one way and another in another to the order and the traning? Which one is right?

    Suppose you came as an explorer into an unknown country with a language quite strange to you. In what circumstances would you say that the people there gave orders, understood them, obeyed them, rebelled against them, and so on?

    The common behaviour of mankind is the system of reference by means of which we interpret an unknown language.
    The paragraph doesn't contain the the term "form of life" (in fact, as I recall it, the term turns up in the PI less than ten times), but the "common behavior of mankind" obviously plays the same role in PI 206 that forms of life play elsewhere. Therefore the most natural assumption is that this "common behavior" is itself a form of life.

    (This should have been in the previous post, apologies.)

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Also, please provide proof of Wittgenstein's quietism. I bet I can guess what your proof would be.
    PI 126-128:

    Originally Posted by Wittgenstein
    126. Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything. Since everything lies open to view there is nothing to explain. For what is hidden, for example, is of no interest to us. One might also give the name "philosophy" to what is possible before all new discoveries and inventions.

    127. The work of a philosopher consists in assembling reminders for a particular purpose.

    128. If one tried to advance theses in philosophy, it would never be possible to debate them, because everyone would agree to them.
    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Precise measurements are not the way we determine our scientific theories. The history of science proves this:

    [...]
    I don't see the relevance of the quoted text. Of course, theories are under-determined by measurements (otherwise science would be trivial). This does not mean that measurements do not influence the selection of scientific theories - or that thought experiments do. Again, consider the actual history of relativity - general relativity in particular was only fully accepted after very precise measurements (and note that scientists can only select among existing theories, not hypothetical alternative theories).

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Indeed it is confused. That is why Einstein did away with it by postulating relative space and time.
    "Absolute space-time" is confused terminology because, one, most people who use it are not familiar with the manner in which Newton used it, the ontological commitments this term implied etc., and two, it is not the same as Newtonian space-time. The latter is by no means incoherent - it can't be, since it emerges as a particular limit of general relativity. Cartan was able to describe space-time in Newtonian mechanics in a particularly pleasing way.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Not really. It is still a non-sense that one infinite is greater than another infinite.
    It's amazing, then, that this nonsense can be explained to high-school children using concepts they are familiar with, and in fact can be formulated in a very precise manner in mathematical logic.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    What are they then?
    Mathematical structures that are useful in describing certain material systems on a very high level of abstraction.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    This is known as an ad populum. How many people questioned Ptolemy back in the day? We don't establish truth by vote.
    Well, no, but the consensus of the specialist communities concerned is usually (with caveats, of course) a good indication of what we are justified in believing. And indeed, if we had lived in the Middle Ages, we would have been justified believing in Ptolemaic cosmology, given its great success in predicting celestial phenomena.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    That is an explanation. I listed the material conditions that lead to a revolution.
    All of those material conditions were fulfilled in Poland, Finland and Bulgaria as well.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    March 1917 resulted in the formation of the Constituent Assembly, which was in effect a capitalist government.
    How was the Provisional Government different from, say, the preceding government of prince Golitsyn? The point is that, if the Russian Revolution happened in two stages, the theory of permanent revolution, the cornerstone of Trotksyism, is bunk.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    He provides those as guesses. If I recall, he actually says that he can't be certain of that. I'll get back to you on that since my copy is inaccessible to me at the moment.
    That doesn't matter. One does not need absolute certainty to advance a theory, otherwise most people who advances theories would be idiots.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Determining if you believe someone and having a theory of knowledge are two completely different things. A theory of knowledge would posit what it is the know something. Determining if you believe someone is a social practice based on communication.
    A social practice that is based on certain, explicit or implicit, theories, unless you think that people decide which propositions are true at random. As for "what it is to know something", what does that even mean? It seems like gibberish to me, worse than "what it is like to be a bat", and in any case it does not describe all epistemological theories.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Proof please.
    Well, both Occam and Philopponus held theories that were in the Peripatetic tradition but differed sharply from Aristotle's physics - Philopponus due to the theory of impetus and Occam due to his relativistic definition of position. There are more examples - I think Duhem gives a good overview.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    You miss the point. If temperature is not a quantity, then any change in quality from it does not follow dialectical rules.
    But I never said that temperature is not a quantity, only that it is not an "amount of motion".

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Given that an electrical charge is a thing a fail to see how that contradicts me.
    Really now. What kind of thing is an electrical charge? Where can I get a box of electrical charge?

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Maybe I am not being clear. My position is not that change cannot be sudden. My position is that dialectics cannot account for sudden change.
    Well, you can try to backtrack, but you clearly stated that you think the French Revolution was gradual in your previous post. And that is plainly counter-revolutionary.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    I am not denying nodal points. I am point is that dialecticians fail to tell how long a nodal point lasts for. This is not unreasonable of me since I expect scientists to be able to tell me exact times that are essential to their theories.
    Well, you're bound to be disappointed then, since for example particle physicists won't tell you how long the scattering of a beam of charged particles against a target lasts, people who work in thermodynamics won't tell you how long it takes to establish equilibrium etc. etc.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    Doesn't really matter. Hegel is dealing with "Being" in his definition, which is pure metaphysics.
    Alright, but the rational kernel of the definition can be separated from the metaphysics quite easily - in fact you did so in paraphrasing the definition.

    Originally Posted by ChristoferKoch
    He is saying that quality is identical with Being and if it loses this thing, it is no longer itself. What is essential to water that makes it water? In a Hegelian interpretation (since he followed Aristotle), physical properties and geometric are accidental. What is essential then? The answer is its chemical make up since H2O is what makes water water.
    All of this is irrelevant given that dialectical materialists are neither Hegelians nor Aristotelians.
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    Once again you miss the point. The point is that there is a change in quality simply by a different placement of a molecule. They have the same chemical composition, same quantity and same motion, but there is still a difference in quality.
    Isomers are substances which are qualitatively different, but have the same chemical formula; the arrangement of the molecules are different in each isomer. Two isomers are as different as water and carbon dioxide. One isomer is not changed into another isomer by changing the structure of the molecules. The isomers are different substances from the time they are produced or synthesized. On the other hand, a liquid isomer can be heated until it changes into a vapor. That is the change in quality.

    The isomer argument does not apply to dialectics.

    So you abandon nodal points then. Remember, Lenin said that all change is sudden and results from an end of gradualness.
    Whether something is gradual or sudden is entirely a matter of your position as an observer.



    You've played right into their hands. A heap is not a definite term, while an ounce is a definite term. By acknowledging that something must be at least 1000 grains of sand to be a heap, you accept a nodal point to the change from mass of sand to heap, but at the same time take a heap of 999 grains of sand and refuse to call it a heap, even though it is also a heap.
    Not sure what this means.



    It seems like you need to actually learn a little logic. If you are interested, here is a link to Carnegie-Mellon's free open course on propositional logic (to learn predicate logic they ask for a fee).
    No thanks on bourgeois logic.


    Anyway if A is never equal to A we can have some fun.

    P1: A is never equal to A, so A is equal to not-A.

    It follows that:

    P2: Not-A is never equal to not-A, so not-A is equal to not-not-A.

    It follows that:

    P3: Not-not-A is never equal to not-not-A, so not-not-A is equal to not-not-not-A.

    It follows that:

    P4: Not-not-not-A is never equal to not-not-not-A, so not-not-not-A is equal to not-not-not-not-A.

    And so on and so forth. It seems the notion that A is never equal to A is unwieldy.
    You don't have to go so far. not-A is equal to not-not-A is just another way of saying that not-A is equal to A. Which is where you started. And, unknowingly, you may have stumbled upon the negation of the negation.
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    See? Everything is either in balance, or its being acted upon by a force to bring it into balance.

    Just like how physics easily translates into social psychology and predicts historical phenomena, this Balance Materialism easily predicts the outcomes of social phenomena as well. Every NSA will cause a Snowden. The Tea Party causes a Progressive backlash. Balance is the name of the game, not contradiction. It's all so obvious.
    This sounds like neo-liberal market equilibrium. Dialectics shows that market imbalances occur because of class contradictions.
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    No thanks on bourgeois logic.

    ...

    And, unknowingly, you may have stumbled upon the negation of the negation.
    You do realize that the so called laws of dialectics were directly lifted from Hegel, with no alleged "materialist turn"? So, unless you'd argue that Hegel's ideas represented an anticipation of the theory of workers' revolution, it seems that you've swallowed some tasty bits of bourgeois logic (actually, it's dubious to even call it bourgeois since the whole enterprise was reactionary to the bone).
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    If this thread is going to be about a dialectic of nature, can someone please explain to me the dialectic of empty space? The antithesis of empty space is full space. But full of what? Well, I suppose we'll be able to derive that from space itself, since the antithesis somehow inheres in the thing, right?
    DM is about things, material things, particles, and the process under which the things change. The big bang created a lot of particles, sub-atomic particles. After a few billioneths of a second the universe began to cool down (change in quantity, like water cooling to ice!!). With the change in quantity the sub-atomic particles began changing quality, into, among other things, hydrogen atoms. Particles were also created which mediated or carried forces: electro-magnetism, the weak force, nuclear force, and now they believe gravity. As the universe continued to cool down (quantity) hydrogen atoms began to cluster together until gravity took over and stars began to form.

    We know that space is not empty, it contains a lot of dark energy and dark matter.

    I would say that all forces, concepts, ideas, etc. are mediated by material particles. Class development and history are mediated by material things, like money, production, etc. In the same way that electro-magnetism is mediated, or carried by, the photon. I don't think the analogy is too much of a stretch. Who would have thought 100 yrs ago that one sub-atomic particle was responsible for all the electro-magnetism in the universe?
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    You do realize that the so called laws of dialectics were directly lifted from Hegel, with no alleged "materialist turn"? So, unless you'd argue that Hegel's ideas represented an anticipation of the theory of workers' revolution, it seems that you've swallowed some tasty bits of bourgeois logic (actually, it's dubious to even call it bourgeois since the whole enterprise was reactionary to the bone).
    Hegel certainly represented the reverse of the workers' revolution. Marx turned him right side up. Oh, the only kind of logic they teach where I went to school is bourgeois logic. I've been trying for the last 20 yrs or so to escape it. Marx and Engels showed how morality, reason, the enlightenment, freedom, equality, culture, government, etc. etc. are really just bourgeois ideas. They stopped short, I think, in declaring logic the same bourgeois concept. Engels says in Ludwig Feuerbach: "...there remains only the realm of pure thought, so far as it is left: the theory of the laws of the thought process itself, logic and dialectics." I wonder if Engels made a mistake here with his "realm of pure thought."
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    Hegel certainly represented the reverse of the workers' revolution. Marx turned him right side up. Oh, the only kind of logic they teach where I went to school is bourgeois logic.
    There is zero textual evidence that indicates that Marx ever employed these philosophical - in the tradition sense of the word, as understood by Hegel for instance (all of philosophy being idealism, or having idealism as its core) - schemas in his analyses of the capitalist social formation. This is a completely irrelevant point, as I'm referencing Engels' treatment of the said laws of dialectics - which are lifted from Hegel, as I've said, without any turning the right or the wrong side up or down.

    I've been trying for the last 20 yrs or so to escape it. Marx and Engels showed how morality, reason, the enlightenment, freedom, equality, culture, government, etc. etc. are really just bourgeois ideas.
    Completely irrelevant to my point.

    Though, it's convenient to think of reason as merely a bourgeois idea. That way you can claim that a cat is a cat and a non-cat (corpse of a cat? after all, the whole project of the dialectics of matter as it is carried through by Hegel bears some marks of, let's say, facing unavoidable developments such as death - maybe it wouldn't be so misplaced to suggest a psychological factor in such a formation of worldview) at the same time, as well as that when John is walking to the grocery store, he's being super contradictory (non-John at one place and another place at the same time, jeez isn't this complicated; wonder what would be the primary contradiction here).
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    And yes, your cat unfortunately has tendencies that will result in its death (not "dead cat tendencies", dialectics isn't teleological).
    Not mine. He just has short telomeres.
    "This is my test of character. There you have the despotic instinct of men. They do not like the cat because the cat is free, and will never consent to become a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do." — Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

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    This sounds like neo-liberal market equilibrium. Dialectics shows that market imbalances occur because of class contradictions.
    You see what I'm saying by my comparison, right? You can just as easily create a system called "Dialectics of Balance" using the same techniques used to create Dialectical Materialism. You can't say something is incorrect just because it serves politics that you don't like.
    "This is my test of character. There you have the despotic instinct of men. They do not like the cat because the cat is free, and will never consent to become a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do." — Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

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    "Our blight is ideologies — they are the long-expected Antichrist!" — Carl Gustav Jung
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    We know that space is not empty, it contains a lot of dark energy and dark matter.
    Obviously ALL space isn't empty, but it has empty regions. Those regions should have some tendency to turn into their contradiction. And the only contradiction of empty space is full space. So eventually, as more space is created by the expanding universe, it should become full. Right?
    "This is my test of character. There you have the despotic instinct of men. They do not like the cat because the cat is free, and will never consent to become a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do." — Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

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    "Our blight is ideologies — they are the long-expected Antichrist!" — Carl Gustav Jung
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    This is an arbitrary request. Seismology can't predict when earthquakes are going to happen; that doesn't mean that seismology is not a science, although it does mean that the solid Earth system is very complex. Thermodynamics, in addition to eliminating time altogether, doesn't track each individual molecule. That doesn't mean that it isn't a science.
    Ah, ok, so Diamat is a science that can't make any predictions about future events. Then there is no point following it, or trying to apply it to any current situation, since it can't be known if a revolution is going to be forthcoming. All it can do is explain the past revolutions. I guess it's useless then.
    "This is my test of character. There you have the despotic instinct of men. They do not like the cat because the cat is free, and will never consent to become a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do." — Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

    "The intellectual and emotional refusal 'to go along' appears neurotic and impotent." — Herbert Marcuse.

    "Our blight is ideologies — they are the long-expected Antichrist!" — Carl Gustav Jung
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    There is zero textual evidence that indicates that Marx ever employed these philosophical - in the tradition sense of the word, as understood by Hegel for instance (all of philosophy being idealism, or having idealism as its core) - schemas in his analyses of the capitalist social formation.
    Here is Marx himself on Hegel's dialectic: "The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel’s hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell."


    Though, it's convenient to think of reason as merely a bourgeois idea. That way you can claim that a cat is a cat and a non-cat
    No. Bourgeois logic says that a cat is always the same cat. Dialectic says that a cat is never the same cat. Milton Friedman, bourgeois economist, once said, "Inflation is everywhere and at all times, a monetary phenomenon." Classic bourgeois logic.

    as well as that when John is walking to the grocery store, he's being super contradictory (non-John at one place and another place at the same time, jeez isn't this complicated; wonder what would be the primary contradiction here).
    Physics has already shown that a particle can be at different places at the same time or vice-versa. It has also shown that a particle split in two and sent to opposite sides of the universe will know what the other particle is doing, instantly. John being at different places at the same time is relatively simple.
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    Ah, ok, so Diamat is a science that can't make any predictions about future events. Then there is no point following it, or trying to apply it to any current situation, since it can't be known if a revolution is going to be forthcoming. All it can do is explain the past revolutions. I guess it's useless then.
    Actually it can explain future events:

    1. When Mendeylev was constructing the periodic table he saw that there were gaps where elements should be. He was adding elements on by the quantitative process of adding to the atomic weights of the preceding elements. Thus, by looking at the atomic weights which should be where the elements were, he could predict the existence of elements which had not been discovered yet.

    And the only difference between elements is the number, quantity, of electrons, protons and neutrons in each atom. By adding one neutron to a hydrogen atom, you get helium. A completely different quality resulting from a purely quantitative change. There is no such thing as a gold neutron, a silver proton or a lead electron. Of course, you need to be at the center of an exploding star to get the change.

    2. By increasing planetary global warming by one or two degrees (quantitative change) the quality of life on the planet will be drastically affected.

    3. By increasing the speed of a satellite in orbit around the earth, one can show exactly how much a clock on that satellite will slow down.

    Does anybody consciously use dialectics when doing these calculations? Obviously not, but maybe they ought to.
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    So eventually, as more space is created by the expanding universe, it should become full. Right?
    Actually, new space is not created when the universe expands. All existing time and space were created in the big bang. It's like the surface of an expanding balloon. The surface is stretched, not added to. I think.
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    Actually it can explain future events:

    1. When Mendeylev was constructing the periodic table he saw that there were gaps where elements should be. He was adding elements on by the quantitative process of adding to the atomic weights of the preceding elements. Thus, by looking at the atomic weights which should be where the elements were, he could predict the existence of elements which had not been discovered yet.

    And the only difference between elements is the number, quantity, of electrons, protons and neutrons in each atom. By adding one neutron to a hydrogen atom, you get helium. A completely different quality resulting from a purely quantitative change. There is no such thing as a gold neutron, a silver proton or a lead electron. Of course, you need to be at the center of an exploding star to get the change.

    2. By increasing planetary global warming by one or two degrees (quantitative change) the quality of life on the planet will be drastically affected.

    3. By increasing the speed of a satellite in orbit around the earth, one can show exactly how much a clock on that satellite will slow down.

    Does anybody consciously use dialectics when doing these calculations? Obviously not, but maybe they ought to.
    None of those things are dialectics. Dialectics is thesis->antithesis->synthesis. All occurring in the material realm.

    Climate doesn't have a tendency to warm, it's being acted on by an outside force. It's not going to pass thru its antithesis, is it? Or else we'd have a period of global cooling or anti-climate or something. In fact, it's a human choice whether it continues to happen or not.

    #3 is just a mathematical calculation based on the theory of relativity, not the theory of dialectical materialism. #1 is interpolation, real idealism because the table conforms to the idea of integer stepwise/linear change.

    None of that needs Diamat to work, it's just physics and math. If you just rename cause-and-effect "dialectical materialism" then it doesn't have any content.
    "This is my test of character. There you have the despotic instinct of men. They do not like the cat because the cat is free, and will never consent to become a slave. He will do nothing to your order, as the other animals do." — Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

    "The intellectual and emotional refusal 'to go along' appears neurotic and impotent." — Herbert Marcuse.

    "Our blight is ideologies — they are the long-expected Antichrist!" — Carl Gustav Jung
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    You mean that jumble with O and O*****? Do you honestly think word games like that prove anything?
    So you call things word games when you can't respond to them? The use of variables is common in logic and mathematics. If I remember correctly, Mao used variables in On Contradiction.

    Well, yes, generally understanding the historical context of a text allows for greater comprehension of a work itself. Likewise one has to be at least familiar with Ricardo, but this doesn't mean Marx was a Ricardian.
    But that's not what Lenin said. Lenin said:
    Originally Posted by Lenin
    It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic. Consequently, half a century later none of the Marxists understood Marx!!
    http://www.marxists.org/archive/leni...logic/ch03.htm

    We have to understand the whole of Hegel's Logic to understand Marx's economic works. This isn't a mere understanding of the historical context of a text. This is a direct influence in Lenin's mind.

    What do you suppose Lenin meant by "mutually exclusive", then? Because you admit he can't have meant "unable to exist in the same phenomenon", but your previous argument hinges on precisely that (very uncharitable) reading.
    Actually I think he meant just that. The problem with what he meant is what I pointed out.

    Which is a good thing, because "solutions" to nonsensical "problems" are also nonsense.
    Correct. What is it, in your mind, that makes the problem a pseudo-problem?

    Also, why did Lenin miss that this was a pseudo-problem when he was reading Hegel's Logic? Either you are right and that indicates a Wittgensteinian understanding of philosophical problems (including dialectics) or Lenin failed to spot a flaw in Hegel's work and accepted it as true. Ie, Lenin accepted a non-sense.

    They "pull the system in different directions", so to speak (struggle is the unfolding of dialectical contradiction), and a change in one results in changes in other tendencies. E.g. stars have both a tendency to contract (due to gravity) and expand (due to pressure). These tendencies struggle (i.e. gravity "pulls" the system in one direction, pressure "pushes" it in another), and coexist in the same system (obviously).
    You've already stated this. Repeating yourself doesn't answer my question about kinetic energy struggling with potential energy.

    However, tendencies are not causes, they are the result of causal factors. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall does not cause the rate of profit to fall.

    I have to ask - are you even reading my responses, or just posting a random selection of claims every time? This little word game presupposes that tendencies turning into one another literally means that an entity called Tendency 1 turns into an entity called Tendency 2. But as per my previous post, which I have no intention of repeating, this is not what tendencies turning into one another means, not in diamat, and not in common speech.
    What on earth does “change into one another” mean in ordinary speech then? It is used to mean that one has become the other.

    If there is change at all, then according to Engels it is change of opposites into one another. This sort of change does not work, as I have shown. Your argument of tendencies fails to agree with the theory. You have said that the tendency is for one to reduce and the other increase. This is not change of opposites into one another. Engels would have told us if he meant an increase and a decrease.

    It was all the work of the Illuminati, of course. Seriously, is it more plausible to suppose that a man who was intellectually active to the end of his life would read at least an overview of a work that he was associated with, or that Engels painstakingly hid the dialectical portion of the work from Marx - even though he mentioned dialectics in his letters to Marx all the time (as did Marx for that matter) - doubtlessly twirling his mustache with an evil grin?

    No historical exegesis can be based on what is effectively a conspiracy theory.
    I see, you turn to ridicule when you can't answer why Marx would let Engels's poor mathematics slide even though Marx was a competent mathematician. If Marx agrees with all of the book,

    Also, I was imprecise before. When I said Anti-Durhing would take half a day to read, I meant continuous reading (12 hours). Now, this would require multiple days of reading to a sick man who would not have been able to listen for long. Why go through all the trouble?

    I think the plausible explanation is that Marx and Engels differed on what dialectics was and Marx didn't feel the need to completely control everything Engels wrote.

    No, "the classics" do not "teach us" that qualitative change happens in objects at every point in time (they might say something like "change happens all the time" - by which, as everyone who approaches the text without preconceptions about O and O************ should understand, they mean that change is ubiquitous). And yes, your cat unfortunately has tendencies that will result in its death (not "dead cat tendencies", dialectics isn't teleological).
    The tendencies are opposite tendencies as is written in the classics. What is the opposite of alive?

    Anyway, if there are various tendencies relating to bringing my cat towards death, then these tendencies ought to be able to change into one another. If all these tendencies must change into one another, then they must all exist simultaneously, and if they exist simultaneously then all points in my cats life would have to exist at once. This would force dialectical materialism to be teleological, even though historical materialism is not.

    Well, your depiction of Wittgenstein's method is a matter of public record; as for the forms of life, see my next post.

    Concerning the non-linguistic nature of the forms of life, consider for example PI 206:

    Originally Posted by Wittgenstein
    126. Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything. Since everything lies open to view there is nothing to explain. For what is hidden, for example, is of no interest to us. One might also give the name "philosophy" to what is possible before all new discoveries and inventions.

    127. The work of a philosopher consists in assembling reminders for a particular purpose.

    128. If one tried to advance theses in philosophy, it would never be possible to debate them, because everyone would agree to them.
    The paragraph doesn't contain the the term "form of life" (in fact, as I recall it, the term turns up in the PI less than ten times), but the "common behavior of mankind" obviously plays the same role in PI 206 that forms of life play elsewhere. Therefore the most natural assumption is that this "common behavior" is itself a form of life.
    Well most people quote a different paragraph, but this doesn't prove any quietism either. What you have posted is Wittgenstein arguing for his form of philosophy that rejects theorizing (for proof read 128). Paragraph 127 advances the therapeutic method, which dissolves philosophical problems. That is what is advanced by Marx in that passage in the German Ideology that I have quoted before.

    Anyway, it is fairly easy to demonstrate that Wittgenstein was no quietist.

    Originally Posted by Wittgenstein
    Ramsey was a bourgeois thinker. I.e., he thought with the aim of clearing up the affairs of some particular community. He did not reflect on the essence of the state -- or at least he did not like doing so -- but on how this state might reasonable [sic] be organized. The idea that this state might not be the only possible one partly disquieted him and partly bored him. He wanted to get down as quickly as possible to reflecting on the foundations -- of this state. This was what he was good at & what really interested him; whereas real philosophical reflection disquieted him and he put its result (if it had one) on one side as trivial.
    Culture and Value pg. 24E

    Wittgenstein is connecting philosophical criticism with political criticism. This is hardly quietist.

    Originally Posted by Wittgenstein
    The other incident has to do with something that precipitated the destruction of this conception. Wittgenstein and P. Sraffa, a lecturer in economics at Cambridge, argued together a great deal over the ideas of the Tractatus. One day (they were riding, I think, on a train) when Wittgenstein was insisting that a proposition and that which it describes must have the same 'logical form', the same 'logical multiplicity', Sraffa made a gesture, familiar to Neapolitans as meaning something like disgust or contempt, of brushing the underneath of his chin with an outward sweep of the finger-tips of one hand. And he asked 'What is the logical form of that?' Sraffa's example produced in Wittgenstein the feeling that there was an absurdity in the insistence that a proposition and what it describes must have the same 'form'. This broke the hold on him of the conception that a proposition must literally be a 'picture' of the reality it describes.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir pg. 57



    Also, I think I was unclear before. I did not say that forms of life are linguistic. I was objecting to you characterizing me as thinking of forms of life as being linguistic.

    Then surely you can provide a brief summary instead of expecting me to buy a book. As for Chinese philosophy, I heartily recommend it, particularly the two schools I mentioned. Whatever misconceptions people might have about "oriental" philosophy, mohist and legalist pragmatism is closer to modern thought than the obnoxious "but how do you know that you know?" philosophizing characteristic of European (and to a lesser extent Indian) thought.
    So you make assertions from a place of ignorance. Also, I have consistently asked you for evidence that you have not given.

    I did provide you with a summary by giving the example of “Being”. Here is a full paper I have written previously. I have not updated it in a few years and could make it better, but this should suffice.

    Originally Posted by Chris
    1. Body of Paper:

    Metaphysics is the philosophical pursuit of what reality is composed of and what it is like. One of the central branches of metaphysics is the study of ontology; the study of Being. The study of Being, as pursued by philosophers, has a long history in philosophy yet its object stands out as one of the most ambiguous ideas in philosophical history. Charles Kahn put it best when he wrote:

    "the systematic development of the concept of Being in Greek philosophy from Parmenides to Aristotle, and then in a more mechanical way from the Stoics to Plotinus, relies on the pre-existing disposition of the language to make a very general and diversified use of the verb είμί. Furthermore, insofar as the notions expressed by ον, είναι, and ούσία in Greek underlie the doctrines of Being, substance, essence, and existence, in Latin and Arabic, and in modern philosophy from Descartes to Heidegger and perhaps to Quine, we may say that the usage of the Greek verb be studies here forms the historical basis for the ontological tradition of the West, as the very term "ontology" suggests. (Kahn, 1)"

    By Being, what the philosopher means is not very clear. It could be most easily described as the innate state in which one exists, their personal character. In spite of its long history, if the question of Being was shown to be nonsense (defined as being meaningless) then ontology will be shown to be based on nonsensical foundation.

    In fact, the question of Being can be shown to be nonsense, based on the fact that it is a distortion of the verb to be. This is contingent on the use of an ordinary language framework for understanding language as language is used in philosophy. Thus, proper justification for using such a framework is required. Another aspect of an ordinary language framework is the analysis of the form taken from statements about philosophical terms such as Being are used. It will be argued that a use of the notions of concept and object generated by Frege’s modern logic can be used to demonstrate certain linguistic errors that philosophers who philosophize about Being make. Additionally, it has to be shown how the verb to be was distorted into the noun Being and what the implications of this are. Being can be further shown to be nonsense by demonstrating that the word has no meaning outside of philosophy through its uses by philosophers, ancient and contemporary.

    The ordinary language approach is the best critical way to analyze language as used by philosophers. This is due to how words obtain their meaning. A word obtains its meaning through its use in social interaction. Words cannot obtain their meaning through some a priori knowledge of the words, for it that were true then words meanings would not change over time. Rather, by existing through human interaction, the meanings of words can change significantly over time; often going from common words to insults or even from offensive language to common speech. Further, people assimilate language through social interaction. How else does a child learn to speak? It can only be through hearing the words and observing the context in which they are spoken. In other words, the best way to understand the meaning of a word is through its use; “the meaning of a word is its use in the language.” (Wittgenstein, 25)

    Philosophical language is a language created through the consistent misuse of ordinary language to create a new grammar that is devoid of any true meaning. One way that this can be done it through the nominalization of verbs which then, as nouns, gives them a life of their own. By changing the verb to a noun that represents an existing object, the philosopher can change the meaning of a word and render it meaningless. This is best observed by comparing metaphysical and ordinary propositions to see how they differ in the indicative mood.

    With this distinction in mind, it can be demonstrated that philosophical terms are rendered meaningless by virtue of the rules by which languages function. One follows these rules in everyday speech, rendering these rules to be “a practice”. (Wittgenstein, 87) The practice that one engages in everyday interaction can be understood as a method of assimilating the current use of words. As Wittgenstein’s famous example demonstrates, words function in certain ways within a language in the same way that pieces function on a chess board. Much as “chess [is] defined by its rules” (Wittgenstein, 88) so is a language defined by its rules. If during a game of chess a player moved pawn roundabout to z12, the move would have no meaning; it would not make any sense in the context of chess. Certainly, this means that a philosopher could practice an interaction that uses meaningless terms (one can claim to marry the queen and bishop in chess), but this does not take away the fact that what the philosopher is speaking of is nonsense. In the same way, if a word is used incorrectly then it has no meaning.

    Concerning the question of Being, the distortion through nominalization occurred in Ancient Greece. In the case of the Greek word on (ον), one can see how being was no longer simply an action and became its own topic. When looking at ον, "it is in nominalized form, as articular participle and abstract noun, that the verb be serves not only to express but also to thematize the concept of Being as a distinct topic for philosophical reflection." (Kahn, 453) Thus, we must look at its nominalized forms in order to understand in what way it has been changed.

    The first nominalized form of ον is όντα, which is its articular participle. In this form, “the denotation of the participle is highly ambiguous, as Aristotle observed. In the first place τά όντα or ‘what is’ means what is the case, facts or events that actually occur or will occur… In the second place, τά όντα means what is in the locative-existential use of είμί, things which exist, things which are present, or which are to be found somewhere.” (Kahn, 457) Here it can be seen that by exploiting the ambiguity of όντα, philosophers are able to take the existential use of the word and treat it like it has a life of its own. This ended up happening because philosophers were able to see that things certainly do exist. From this, they mistakenly believed that they must ask the question of why these things exist and what makes them what they are. This is where the next form was used by them.

    The second nominalized form of ον is ούσία, the abstract noun. This form has a much clearer change made to it by philosophers, due to being able to trace the history of the words actual distortion. “Ούσία occurs in Herodotus and is common in Attic prose but only in the sense of ‘property’… There is no direct connection between this idiomatic use of ούσία (reflecting on the possessive construction of είμί with the dative) and the more technical sense of ούσία which [one] find[s] in Plato and Aristotle.” (Kahn, 458) If there is no direct connection between the two uses of the word, then one would have to have been made up. In fact, ούσία had been distorted by Plato in order to answer “what is” sort of questions. In this employment, Plato’s use of ούσία can only be used for his Forms or Aristotle’s essences. (Kahn, 461) Plato changed ούσία from being a word that reflects possession to being an actual quality of human possession, such as possessing a soul. This is a new use of a word that was most abstracted by philosophers.

    Of course, just pointing out that the words are abstracted from the ordinary words is not damning evidence. What is more important is why these words are abstracted. The original reason behind the abstraction of words comes from the general terms found in a language. While it is clear that particular words refer to something directly, general terms do not appear to exist in reality. Phrases like “King George” and “The Sophist” refer to things that have a particular existence in reality. However, when one looks at more general terms like “human” and “good”, these don’t have a particular reference, but they are said to exist nonetheless. It becomes clear to most of the Greek philosophers that all words must be a name that refers to something. Thus, in relation to the use of “good”, there must be some perfect form or essence of the Good that makes all good acts good. There must also be something that unites the general term of human with all its particulars; the Form or essence of man.

    As this relates to the normalized forms of ον, it can be seen that the two ideas are related and generate another general name. The phrase τά όντα has a sense of things that exist in the world, which, when combined with a use of the Forms or essences, indicates that all words that are names must exist as either real objects or abstract particulars. Then, ούσία has the sense of Being. This sense of Being is used to claim that all things have a property that makes them what they are. In other words, what makes a human, human, what makes a book, a book. Thus, Being is both a general term that has an existential existence as an abstraction, and it is what makes these abstractions possible.

    For these reasons, Plato and many philosophers since have argued that the only words that have any meaning are in the end really names and for a sentence to make sense, all words, including verbs, must therefore be names. (Davidson, 91) Then, through an appeal to philosophical realism, they argue that the word or concept must exist independent of the word itself. For what is a name without a referent? In this way, philosophers have argued that words such as ον must exist independent of the verb meaning itself.

    There are multiple flaws with this line of reasoning. If all words are names, then what are sentences? A sentence would necessarily be a list of names with no actual content. Its lack of content would have to do with the fact that lists of names do not carry any meaning in the same way that a sentence does. Take this list of proper names: Wittgenstein, George Bush, Barack Obama, Tina Fey, Bill Hicks, Venus, Paris. Such a list clearly does not act as a sentence. These lists do not say anything. There is no description of any of the items in the list, nor do they convey any meaning whatsoever. Further, if all words are names, then no words are names. By treating all words as names, there can be no separate part of language called “names”, but only words. Rather, there is a distinct class of words that are called “names” just as there are words that are descriptive or showing an action. Names can be characterized as the words that exist through a complex social background that makes such words function as names. This means that names are only names when there are words that cannot function as names.

    In order to get around this criticism it is possible to claim that the names are either particular names or universal names. Names of people, in this argument, are particular names, while verbs are universal names or the names of the whole class of things. By claiming this we would see that sentences are composed of universal and particular names interacting with each other. This rejoinder, however, does not work as it is explained by Lowe:

    Consider any simple subject-predicate sentence, such as..., 'Theaetetus sits'. How are we to understand the different roles of the subject and the predicate in this sentence, 'Theaetetus' and 'sits' respectively? The role of 'Theaetetus' seems straightforward enough: it serves to name, and thereby to refer to or stand for, a certain particular human being. But what about 'sits'? Many philosophers have been tempted to say that this also refers to or stands for something, namely, a property or universal that Theaetetus possesses or exemplifies: the property of sitting. This is said to be a universal, rather than a particular, because it can be possessed by many different individuals.

    But now we have a problem, for this view of the matter seems to turn the sentence 'Theaetetus sits' into a mere list of (two) names, each naming something different, one a particular and one a universal: 'Theaetetus, sits.' But a list of names is not a sentence because it is not the sort of thing that can be said to be true or false, in the way that 'Theaetetus sits' clearly can. The temptation now is to say that reference to something else must be involved in addition to Theaetetus and the property of sitting, namely, the relation of possessing that Theaetetus has to that property. But it should be evident that this way of proceeding will simply generate the same problem, for now we have just turned the original sentence into a list of three names, 'Theaetetus, possessing, sits.'

    "Indeed, we are now setting out on a vicious infinite regress, which is commonly known as 'Bradley's regress', in recognition of its modern discoverer, the British idealist philosopher F. H. Bradley. (Lowe)

    This point cannot be stressed enough. If all words are subjects and none are predicates, then the sentence cannot have meaning. The infinite regress would further imply that by Theaetetus having the property of possessing, he would possess possessing. Thus, the sentence becomes, “Theaetetus, possessing, possessing, sits.” This continues infinitely. Such a series of regresses prevents any sentences from having any meaning. We can in good faith consider this to be false, because if Bradley were correct in his regress, then his own sentences are without meaning. But Bradley certainly considers his own words to mean something that is understandable. Considered further, the very fact that humans do communicate in ways that all native speakers understand, negates this very idea, for if no sentences had meaning, then humans would never understand one another.

    Further, the metaphysical position is untenable. The line of reasoning for the realist framework is that ον is a name because names are supposed to be the only words that mean anything. Therefore, ούσία is describing a real possession of ον (or being). Now ούσία can be used to answer question like “what is a chair,” giving the chair some metaphysical quality or, as Plato put it, form. This is then used to give credence to the idea that words have some form or essence independent of the word itself. The argument is circular. One begins by claiming that words are names and therefore exist independent of the word itself and then proves the argument by using the very words that have been abstracted. This clearly cannot be the case, as one cannot use a word as a name to prove that words true form is that of the name.

    Finally, as has already been argued, words gain their meaning through their use in a social context. Believing that words only gain a meaning by referring to a thing falls into the problem of changing words. If words are all names for some particular, then that particular must be what the word already refers to. Yet it is well known that if one were to look at words from two hundred years ago, some have changed in meaning. Dictatorship in the 1850’s often meant a direct democracy. (Draper, 58) Now dictatorship means despotic rule of the minority. This change would not have occurred if dictatorship was a name referring to a proper form of dictatorship because the form of dictatorship must be unchanging, but the evolution of the word is changing its meaning completely. Thus, words cannot exist outside of themselves and they cannot all be names.

    It could be argued that Wittgenstein’s notion of language-games can be used to support the varied use of terms such as “Being” as used by philosophers. The idea would be that by playing the philosophical language game, philosophers are justified in using their own rules in the game. This objection fails at two levels. First, this is a misunderstanding of what a language-game is. Wittgenstein uses language-game in two ways. The primary way is as a metaphor that simply indicates that humans use rules when they speak a language. As stated before, if language did not follow rules, communication would be impossible since one could use words however they desired to. The other way he used it was as a method for demonstrating that words function in ways that are not names. (Wittgenstein, 1) This being the case, the idea of language-games does not support an eclectic use of words. If anything, it demonstrates how treating words as names, as is the case in philosophical discourse, is an illegitimate use of language.

    Secondly, even if a language-game could be used to support such a use of terms it does not change the argument. Even if these are language-games, they are meaningless games that are based on nonsense. Such a nonsensical language-game is the equivalent of Jabberwocky; it has no meaning.

    One objection to this line of reasoning would be that this is an old view of language and that words are understood to be varying today. The unfortunate fact is that this is simply not the case. Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of modern linguistics, famously theorized that words are created through a series of contrasts. These words are arbitrary signs composed of a signifier (word) and a signified (concept). (Saussure, 67) His works directly lead to the structuralist movement in linguistics and anthropology. The idea of the signified makes every word a name that is contrasted with all other names. Not only does this leave out copula words such as “is,” (for what is the signified of “is”?) but it creates the same basic assumptions that go back to the pre-Socratic philosophers. Ergo, some aspects of linguistics were formed on the basis that all words are names.

    This objection also fails to take into account how the term itself is treated within philosophy. Within the works of Martin Heidegger, the term Being is consistently treated as a name for something that most things possess. “Dasein is an entity whose Being has the determinate character of existence.” (Heidegger, 34) In this statement, Heidegger explicitly states that Being exists when he states that Dasein possess Being. In order for this to be the case, Being would have to refer to a name; it could not be a verb. This means that even if the conception of language has changed, the way that term is used in practice is like that of a name.

    One might additionally argue against this by claiming that even if words are not names, they still know the meaning of “Being” when they use it; it has meaning to them. This argument falls short of the mark by falling prey to Wittgenstein’s private language argument. The way that Wittgenstein argues this is using the example of how one experiences pain. Pain is chosen since sensations can be most often described as a private thing, something that the only the person experiencing the sensation as access to. Yet, if one were to claim that they are experiencing the sensation of pain, everyone would understand what they meant. They could claim that it is their pain and no one else can understand that. While it may be true that only they understand their exact sensation, everyone knows what is meant by the statement, “I am in pain.” They do not have private access to the meaning of the word “pain” as such a term for that sensation is a universal way of expressing that feeling that was learned in childhood. If such a term were not universally understood by the speakers of the language, then no one would have any clue what was meant when someone else claimed that they were in pain. This would mean that language is an inherently public thing; it is not a private thing. (Wittgenstein, 95-101) Ergo, terms such as “being” must have a public meaning and to say that it has a private meaning fails to account for what a language is.

    Further on the point, it is once again Heidegger’s work on the question of Being that responds to this interpretation of Being as being something that one privately knows. “It is said that ‘Being’… [does not] require any definition for everyone uses it constantly and already understands what he means by it… The indefinability of Being does not eliminate the question of its meaning,” (Heidegger, 21) From this, two things can be understood: first, that claiming a private understanding of Being is not good enough to prove its meaning and, second, that Being does not have a public meaning. This, in it of itself, demonstrates that the term Being is one that is, not only without public meaning, but one that lacks any meaning whatsoever.

    Of course, it could be argued that it is the task of philosophers to clarify the meaning of the term “Being.” This objection is simply demonstrating how philosophers create problems by simply misusing language. By claiming both that “‘Being’ is the ‘most universal’ concept” (Heidegger, 22) and that it has yet to be defined, he has inadvertently implied that there exists a priori knowledge of a term that no one knows the meaning of. This is a paradox of his thinking. If such a concept is both universal and unclear, how is it that one has knowledge of it? From his claims about universal concepts, it can be inferred that a universal concept is one that is universally known. From his claims it can be demonstrated that his two propositions that Being is a universal concept and that it is not know is contradictory. It can only be that one both has innate knowledge of Being, whilst having no knowledge of Being. Thus, Heidegger’s assertions about the problems associated with the question of Being and his own task in learning its meaning are contradictory.

    In light of this the philosopher could claim that Being is something that can be understood clearly so long as one is willing to reason out what exactly it is. In other words, Being is something that is known to exist, but it is something that is just not fully understood. From this argument, it can be claimed that studying Being is doing the same thing with words that scientists are doing. This reasoning has a number of flaws. It falls into the same category as Heidegger’s claim that everyone knows of Being, but don’t know of Being. This is a contradictory argument that claims a priori knowledge that is not known. It falls into the further problem of failing to understand the difference between philosophical, ordinary and scientific propositions.

    Metaphysical and ordinary propositions differ mostly in how the truth of what is asserted can be determined. In a metaphysical proposition such as “Reality is material,” its truth is asserted necessarily by the meanings of the words. All that is required to make this definition true is an understanding that the word reality necessarily implies a material world. By changing the definition of reality to suit one’s needs in a philosophical argument it must merely be asserted that “reality is not material.” Thus, by changing the word “reality” to something that is not material. This does not contradict the previous proposition. All that has changed here is meanings of the words, which means that the two philosophers are speaking about two different things. Based on the definitions, neither of these propositions can be false, only the definitions can be changed, which makes both statements necessarily true based on the meanings of the words used. The metaphysical words used by philosophers have no meaning outside of what is imposed on them by the philosophers themselves.

    Ordinary propositions in the indicative mood have their truth-value determined by empirical facts and not the meanings of the words used. Take a statement such as “Lewis Carroll is dead.” Such a proposition is true, not solely because of the meanings of the words it contains, but in virtue of the way the word happens to be. Thus, the statement “Lewis Carroll is not dead,” does not change any of the meanings of the words, but makes a claim that can be true or false based on the actual state of affairs in the world. Such statements still makes sense even if they are not true; the meanings of the words are not changed by the truth or falsehood of the statement. “A proposition is true or false if and only if it is answerable to the world,” (White, 14) but this does not change the meaning of the words used in the proposition. Thus, the truth of an ordinary empirical proposition is dependent on the state of affairs in the world. This is not the case for philosophical propositions. The distinction is that philosophical propositions are made true solely because of the meanings of the words used.

    The major objection to this line of reasoning is that propositions made against philosophical propositions are also philosophical propositions and not ordinary language propositions. If this is so then the propositions used against the philosophical propositions make the same errors. The mistake of this objection is its false belief that there are only two forms of asserting propositions, ordinary and philosophical. There is another form of asserting propositions; rule-stating. Scientists use this form of a statement to make claims that are true, but they are not metaphysical. Take the statement, “An object in motion stays in motion unless stopped by another force.” This statement is asserting a rule for understanding the motion of objects. Compared to the metaphysical statement above, “reality is material.” This is not a rule for understanding reality, but an asserted truth of reality that is true only because of the meaning of the words used.

    Statements made in the tradition of Wittgenstein are of that rule-stating indicative mood. Take the example of the statement, “most words obtain their meaning through their use.” This is not asserting a truth of reality through the meanings of the words, but a rule for understanding how the meanings of words come to be. Thus, such statements are asserting rules and not facts.

    Going back to the previous question, it is clear that Being is not something that is dealt with scientifically. Heidegger’s claims about Being are those that state facts that are necessarily true solely because of the alleged meaning of the words he used. Heidegger’s claim that a type of Being, “Being-in-the-world is essentially care,” (Heidegger, 237) simply illustrates that Heidegger is not stating a rule for understanding how the world works, but is making a statement that Being-in-the-world implies care. The simple statement “Being-in-the-world is not essentially care,” changes the entire meaning of the statement. Thus, this statement is a metaphysical statement and is not a scientific or ordinary one.

    This argument also opens up another avenue for proving that the concept of Being is nonsense. Within the structure of propositions that have a definite truth-value, there is a logical structure for such things. As stated before, such propositions, to make sense, require that the truth-value of the proposition depend on the state of affairs of the world. The limits of such propositions are set at any set of propositions that can be true or false, but whose truth or falsity does not change the meaning of the proposition. Thus, ordinary propositions sit firmly within these limits, but philosophical propositions do not. Such propositions, being made true or false by the meanings of the words involved, do not fit within these limits. By falling outside of these limits, philosophical propositions are not of the logical structure and cannot, therefore, make sense; they must be nonsense.

    A further problem appears in arguments made about Being; the making of Being into both a concept and an object. The distinction between a concept and an object is the third principle in the second-order logic presented by Frege, “never to lose sight of the distinction between concept and object.” (Frege, x) To Frege, these terms have a certain sense that makes them mutually exclusive to one another, based on the grammatical rules that they follow. As he defines it, “the concept… is predicative. On the other hand, a name of an object, a proper name, is quite incapable of being used a grammatical predicate.” (Frege, 43) In other words, a concept is what is referred to by the predicate, while the object is what is referred to by the subject. Thus, in a statement like “Cassie is short” the object is what the subject refers to, an entity known as “Cassie,” while the concept is the predicate, “is short.”

    As such, it can be seen that what is an object cannot be a predicate. While one might argue that statements such as “Lewis Carroll is Charles Dodgson,” prove that an object can be predicated, this is simply wrong. The copula is, in this statement is being used to express an identity claim, not predicate something else; the proposition is relational. Thus, when two names are used together, they no longer express the predicative sense of “is”, instead, they are used to express an identity. It is only when a concept is used that the term “is” expresses predication.

    One main objection to this distinction would be the claim that some things are both a concept and an object. It could be claimed that a dog is both an object and the concept of dog. The problem with this objection is that it involves equivocating two senses of the term concept. Frege makes a distinction between the psychological and logical sense of concept. The logical sense of concept does not indicate an image that one has when thinking about a dog; it is rather what is predicated by dog. Thus, this argument is simply a misunderstanding of the sense in which the term concept is used.

    Another objection would be that Frege and this distinction is guilty of a form of platonic realism through his use of object. This objection makes the mistake of assuming that the object must necessarily exist as either a thing in reality or a mental sort of form. The distinction is linguistic not existential. For Frege, the object is simply the thing that is predicated about, not some existing object. Thus, a statement such as, “Elves are elegant,” does not imply any sort of existence of elves, be it physical or as a mental form. Rather, the distinction is saying that the term “elf” cannot be the predicate of some object.

    This distinction is important when analyzing propositions about Being, since Being is often argued to be both a concept and an object. Take the works of Martin Heidegger, within which it can be clearly seen that Being is considered to be a concept but it is also treated as an object. This begins when treats Being as a name, as has been previously demonstrated. By treating Being as a name, Being cannot be predicated, it must necessarily be an object not a concept. Yet Heidegger then makes the identity claim that “Being-in-the-world is care.” (Heidegger, 237) Right here he has made that aspect of Being identical with something that is a concept; he is saying that Being-in-the-world is identical to care. “To say that [two things] are identical is to say that they are the same thing.” (Quine, 268) As In doing this, Heidegger has turned a name, Being, into a thing that can be predicated, care. He has violated the distinction that Frege made between the concept and the object.

    This leaves two options, either Being is a name and object, or it is not a name and it is a concept. If the former option is chosen, then Being is exposed as nonsense by the earlier arguments about how it cannot be a name. If the latter option is chosen, then Being is not an existing thing that all people possess. Thus, it is further exposed as nonsense. By confusing concept and object, Heidegger has put himself into a double bind that exposes the study of Being to be simply nonsense.

    Having taken apart aspects of the metaphysical position, it becomes clear that the Greek verb ον was abstracted to be an existential quality inherent to most things. As this is the case, then the question of Being falls apart. There is no question of Being, because such a concept lacks any meaning. Thus the question is pseudo question based on nonsense. By abstracting the word in its nominalized forms, philosophers have invented a thing that exists solely as a mental construct.

    By looking at the word ον and how it has been abstracted, one can see how philosophers have distorted the word and created something nonsensical. By dissolving the word into its ordinary usage, the question of Being simply evaporates away as being a non-question. In exposing the question of Being as being a nonsense question, the foundations of ontology itself have been seriously undermined. Philosophy can now be freed of the confusions generated by ontology.
    Also, my brief review of Mohist thought on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy indicates to me that Mohism is not exempt from my dictum. My reading was, admittedly, cursory and from a western encyclopedia. Could you point me towards a place or book where I could learn more about this issue so that I can more intelligently discuss it in the future?

    Well, I don't "throw out the evidence", I'm pointing out that these were exceptions to a general trend. An honest question: how many scientists and mathematicians of the period from, maybe, the thirties to the present are you familiar with? I'm asking because all I can really appeal to is a preponderance of evidence.
    Hard to say. The problem with your claim is that you claim scientists and mathematicians treat philosophy with suspicion. In order to prove this, you have to provide evidence of them actually criticizing philosophy.

    Mayr and Monod are the only two examples I can think of - unless you want to count Dawkins. As for Heisenberg and Pauli, which of their works are you referring to?
    Heisenberg:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=AWs5PQAACAAJ
    http://books.google.com/books?id=BC4pAAAAYAAJ
    http://books.google.com/books?id=ZJjuAAAAMAAJ

    Pauli:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=ueT...page&q&f=false

    What. Philosophical. Notions.
    All. Philosophical. Theories.

    I don't see the relevance of the quoted text. Of course, theories are under-determined by measurements (otherwise science would be trivial). This does not mean that measurements do not influence the selection of scientific theories - or that thought experiments do. Again, consider the actual history of relativity - general relativity in particular was only fully accepted after very precise measurements (and note that scientists can only select among existing theories, not hypothetical alternative theories).

    "Absolute space-time" is confused terminology because, one, most people who use it are not familiar with the manner in which Newton used it, the ontological commitments this term implied etc., and two, it is not the same as Newtonian space-time. The latter is by no means incoherent - it can't be, since it emerges as a particular limit of general relativity. Cartan was able to describe space-time in Newtonian mechanics in a particularly pleasing way.
    The point is that if you are correct, then there should be multiple theories supported by the mathematics. Lorentz ether theory is impossible to distinguish from special relativity by the mathematics or by measurement. We have other methods of making these distincitons. In other words, the mathematics can work even if the physics doesn't work.

    It's amazing, then, that this nonsense can be explained to high-school children using concepts they are familiar with, and in fact can be formulated in a very precise manner in mathematical logic.
    I'm going to let go of this for now. These posts are getting too long and I am going to admit that you are mathematically more sophisticated than I.

    Mathematical structures that are useful in describing certain material systems on a very high level of abstraction.
    Structures sounds a lot like objects.

    Also how can you build an infinite set by abstractions?

    All of those material conditions were fulfilled in Poland, Finland and Bulgaria as well.
    Yes and? See my next post for further analysis.

    How was the Provisional Government different from, say, the preceding government of prince Golitsyn? The point is that, if the Russian Revolution happened in two stages, the theory of permanent revolution, the cornerstone of Trotksyism, is bunk.
    I did not say that it happened in two stages. The Provisional government was the fulfillment of the bourgeois political revolution, which is one of the tasks of the proletariat according to the theory of permanent revolution. From the time of its inception until November of 1917, it can be said that this was a bourgeoisie revolution. However, the bourgeoisie did not have the strength to consolidate power, which led to a further take over of power by the proletariat. Hence, why I said that there was a capitalist revolution in Russia.

    That doesn't matter. One does not need absolute certainty to advance a theory, otherwise most people who advances theories would be idiots.
    In the context of epistemology this absolutely does matter. Anyway, even if he were certain of those things it would not constitute a theory of knowledge.

    A social practice that is based on certain, explicit or implicit, theories, unless you think that people decide which propositions are true at random. As for "what it is to know something", what does that even mean? It seems like gibberish to me, worse than "what it is like to be a bat", and in any case it does not describe all epistemological theories.
    You are right, it is gibberish. That is what I have been telling you. And yes, that is exactly what epistemology is.

    Well, both Occam and Philopponus held theories that were in the Peripatetic tradition but differed sharply from Aristotle's physics - Philopponus due to the theory of impetus and Occam due to his relativistic definition of position. There are more examples - I think Duhem gives a good overview.
    This doesn't disprove Kuhn at all. As you've mentioned they are a part of the Peripatetic tradition. What you have shown is disagreement within normal science.

    But I never said that temperature is not a quantity, only that it is not an "amount of motion".
    Which means that the classics are wrong.

    Really now. What kind of thing is an electrical charge? Where can I get a box of electrical charge?
    And that is a perfect example as to why I shouldn't post so late at night/early in the morning. I have no idea what I was thinking in writing that.

    The correct answer is that according to Engels electrical charge does not count as a quantity as it is not an increase in matter or motion.

    Well, you can try to backtrack, but you clearly stated that you think the French Revolution was gradual in your previous post. And that is plainly counter-revolutionary.
    You gave me two options. Either the French Revolution was gradual or it lasted for literally less than a second. Given only two options, I chose the non-ridiculous one. The French Revolution did indeed last for more than one second.

    Well, you're bound to be disappointed then, since for example particle physicists won't tell you how long the scattering of a beam of charged particles against a target lasts, people who work in thermodynamics won't tell you how long it takes to establish equilibrium etc. etc.
    The difference being that they don't hold these things to be utterly essential to their theories. Nodal points are considered essential to dialectical materialism.

    Alright, but the rational kernel of the definition can be separated from the metaphysics quite easily - in fact you did so in paraphrasing the definition.
    Nope. My paraphrase was extremely metaphysical.

    All of this is irrelevant given that dialectical materialists are neither Hegelians nor Aristotelians.
    Okay, then define quality. Also, are you denying that dialectical materialists use these definitions?
    Last edited by ChrisK; 25th January 2014 at 12:22.
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    Apologies I haven't read this thread yet and I'm not scientist just an interested layman.


    How is quantity not relevant?
    The rate of dilution in your second experiment was far more conducive (99%acid-1%water) to a reaction because of the quantity of acid in relation to quantity of water.

    It would be like having a nice drink (10-25% Cordial) and an undrinkable one (99% Cordial), quantity is the reason you experience a change in quality in the two experiments.
    Because it was the order in which the two things were done that determined if it was safe to do or not. Hence, the quality was effected by the decision to pour one before the other.
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