Thread: [SPLIT FROM CC] Rosa and Zurdito on Dialectics

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    Default [SPLIT FROM CC] Rosa and Zurdito on Dialectics

    Z:



    1) They are the ones who are ghettoising themselves -- in their 'safe little haven', where none of us nasty materialists may enter.
    hey personally I am happy to talk to you about dialectics. I consider me proposing dialectic and you arguing agaisnt it to be a thesis-antithesis-synthesis process process which proves itself. in fact the creation of the anti-dialectics group arising out of the creation of a dialectics group is beautifully dialectical in itself.

    to a newtonian rationalist, the anti-dialectics group would have to be analysed in itself to understand what it is. to me, it can only be udnerstand as part of a fluid process arising out of its opposition tot he dialectics group.

    and you are right of course. this is not materialist. the dialectics group materially is only that: an internet board. but that tells us nothing about it. only understanding it as part of a constantly developing process in relation to other thigns does it have meaning. but yet those social relationships do not materially exist. I cannot show you an atom flowing from the anti-dialectics group to the dialectics group in order to prove that they are in contradiction can I?

    marxism is not vulgar materialism Rosa. marxism is based on social relationships, which are immaterial but objective.
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    Z:

    I consider me proposing dialectic and you arguing agaisnt it to be a thesis-antithesis-synthesis process process which proves itself. in fact the creation of the anti-dialectics group arising out of the creation of a dialectics group is beautifully dialectical in itself.
    This is not Hegel's method, but Kant and Fichte's:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...95&postcount=7

    But, even if it were, what we have when we 'debate' is Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Silence.

    We never quite get to the Synthesis. So, if anything, our 'debates' refute this simplistic formula.

    Same with other dialecticians here, and elsewhere.

    I cannot show you an atom flowing from the anti-dialectics group to the dialectics group in order to prove that they are in contradiction can I?
    You seem to think that atoms can talk or think. How odd.
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    Z:

    the dialectical view though is that we are locked into a social relationship which is more than the sum of its parts, and which defines both of us. yet there is no material proof of this. to a newtonian rationalist, this is mystical. how can you and I be defined by a "social relationship", which we can't see or touch, which exists outside the both of us, outside of a material body? According to a rationalist, how can the external "relationship" act back on its component parts, subordinating them to itself?
    Other than reading it in the Dialectical Holy Books, how do you know that such relationships are 'more than the sum of their parts'?

    And how do you know that these are not all external relations, except you appeal to an a priori principle, lifted from Hegel? And one which based on a mystical view of reality and several egregious logical errors.

    An abstraction, a system, subordinates the physical component parts within it.
    How do you know that Capitalism is an 'abstraction', and what precisely is an 'abstraction'?

    Only by uniting dialectics and materialism can you understand that. Otherwise your alternatives are 1.) Newtonian rationalism which prioritises component parts above the system or 2.) idealism. Neither are marxism.
    Not so; we have Historcial Materialism.
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    But, even if it were, what we have when we 'debate' is Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Antithesis-Thesis-Silence.

    We never quite get to the Synthesis. So, if anything, our 'debates' refute this simplistic formula.
    in which case the silence would be the synthesis. what caused it if not what went before? it did not arise of its own accord or just because you decided to be silent did it? it does not exist purely on its own terms, but rather as a manifestation of the clash between our contradictions. you would criticise me for going silent during a debate, but you wouldn't criticise me for simply being silent one day. therefore the silence is given meaning by the process which created it.

    I am not sure what Hegel said, I never claimed to be a philosopher I just get dialectics on my own intuitive terms. However it seems to me that the marxist position is that the "synthesis" does not need to be a "resolving" of the conntradiction in the subjectively satisfactory sense that we would like, but rather simply the result of the clash between thesis and antithesis which in itself "resolves" the contradiction by ending the process of contardicton.

    the idea that there has to be a positive resolution sounds deterministc. the end of the world in a nuclear holocaust via the collapse of capitalism would still be a reuslt of its internal contradictions, the result of the clash between antithesis and synthesis. to predetermine what the synthesis has to be is not the same as simply understanding that there needs to be one.
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    Z:

    in which case the silence would be the synthesis. what caused it if not what went before? it did not arise of its own accord or just because you decided to be silent did it? it does not exist purely on its own terms, but rather as a manifestation of the clash between our contradictions.
    Ah, the old 'redefinition' ploy.

    But how is silence a 'synthesis'. In Fichtean terms, a synthesis preserves concepts thrashed out from an earlier stage in a transformed form. Silence does not do that.

    And what happened to the three stages? They have been replaced by ten or twenty.

    So, as I said, not only is this triad not Hegel's, it does not work anyway.

    I am not sure what Hegel said, I never claimed to be a philosopher I just get dialectics on my own intuitive terms. However it seems to me that the marxist position is that the "synthesis" does not need to be a "resolving" of the conntradiction in the subjectively satisfactory sense that we would like, but rather simply the result of the clash between thesis and antithesis which in itself "resolves" the contradiction by ending the process of contardicton.
    Well, even Lenin and Plekhanov repudiated it, and declared it was not Hegel's system.

    And I am not too sure you even know what a 'contradiction' is, let alone one of these obscure 'dialectical' monstrosities.

    the idea that there has to be a positive resolution sounds deterministc. the end of the world in a nuclear holocaust via the collapse of capitalism would still be a reuslt of its internal contradictions, the result of the clash between antithesis and synthesis. to predetermine what the synthesis has to be is not the same as simply understanding that there needs to be one.
    We are discussing debate here (as you yourself introduced this triad), not nuclear war. And in debate, since we are capable of determining what we say, and how we undersatnd one another, this is one system that is unambiguously deterministic.
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    Other than reading it in the Dialectical Holy Books, how do you know that such relationships are 'more than the sum of their parts'?
    because they act back upon all its component parts in a way that not one of them chose nor consciously attempt to create. bosses and workers do not exist just because of the way individuals choose to act. these roles exist externally to the individuals who carry them out. It is not just rational self-interest driving each component part of the system, but rather the needs of the system driving the actors.

    And how do you know that these are not all external relations, except you appeal to an a priori principle, lifted from Hegel? And one which based on a mystical view of reality and several egregious logical errors.
    I am not sure what you mean, I said it is an external relationship.

    How do you know that Capitalism is an 'abstraction', and what precisely is an 'abstraction'?
    it does not materially exist. it is a process. but yet it does objectively exist. to a rationalist that is surely incompatible.



    Not so; we have Historcial Materialism
    which it became possible to articulate and understand due to existence of the dialectical method.
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    Ah, the old 'redefinition' ploy.

    But how is silence a 'synthesis'. In Fichtean terms, a synthesis preserves concepts thrashed out from an earlier stage in a transformed form. Silence does not do that.

    And what happened to the three stages? They have been replaced by ten or twenty.

    So, as I said, not only is this triad not Hegel's, it does not work anyway.
    but I didn't claim to be speaking for Hegel, so I don't see your point.

    the silence is the result of the two sides of the debate. a synthesis. why else does it exist.

    And I am not too sure you even know what a 'contradiction' is, let alone one of these obscure 'dialectical' monstrosities.
    to put it in my own language, the opposite poles arising out of the way any situation can be resolved, which create the result by clashing. such as our argument creating a silence. such as the working class and bourgeois economic interests creating a revolution by clashing.

    We are discussing debate here (as you yourself introduced this triad), not nuclear war. And in debate, since we are capable of determining what we say, and how we undersatnd one another, this is one system that is unambiguously deterministic
    not necessarilly, no. it only means that hwatever the result of our debate is, it arose because we had the debate and does not have meaning outside of that process, just as everything is part of a constant process and a manifestation fo what went before it. it's obvious, dialectics is intuitively obvious. it is newtonian compartmentalisation which is counter-intuitive and an imposition on reality.
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    Z:

    because they act back upon all its component parts in a way that not one of them chose nor consciously attempt to create. bosses and workers do not exist just because of the way individuals choose to act. these roles exist externally to the individuals who carry them out. It is not just rational self-interest driving each component part of the system, but rather the needs of the system driving the actors.
    Indeed, but how does that make the whole 'more'.

    And, 'more' than what?

    I said it is an external relationship.
    Forgive me, you are the first dialectician in history who has claimed these are 'external'.

    it does not materially exist. it is a process.
    Even if that were so, how does that make it an 'abstraction'. And we have yet to be told (by anyone, let alone you) what an 'abstraction' is.

    which it became possible to articulate and understand due to existence of the dialectical method.
    So you say, but us materialists, including Marx, say different.
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    Z:

    but I didn't claim to be speaking for Hegel, so I don't see your point.
    But even Lenin and Plekhanov repudiated this triad.

    Anyway, it does not work. Even in this 'debate' we have gone way past the Thesis-Antithesis stage.

    the silence is the result of the two sides of the debate. a synthesis. why else does it exist.
    The silence has up till now been the result of two factors only: I win, or the other person just gives up.

    By no stretch of the imagination is this a synthesis.

    And, your 're-definition' ploy confirms it: for you would not have to re-define 'silence' if a positive result always emerged.

    to put it in my own language, the opposite poles arising out of the way any situation can be resolved, which create the result by clashing. such as our argument creating a silence. such as the working class and bourgeois economic interests creating a revolution by clashing.
    But, you forgot the 'mutaully exclude' part that Marx introduced. As soon as that is thrown in, these 'contradictions' cannot co-exist, and so cannot change anything.

    But, even so, why call these 'contradictions' and not, say, 'inconsistencies', or 'incompatibilities'? Or even 'banana squashings'?

    What reason have you for calling these 'contradictions'?

    Answer: Hegel invented this term, and he did so because he was a logical incompetent, as I have shown here many times.

    No wonder Marx abandoned this term.

    not necessarilly, no. it only means that hwatever the result of our debate is, it arose because we had the debate and does not have meaning outside of that process, just as everything is part of a constant process and a manifestation fo what went before it. it's obvious, dialectics is intuitively obvious. it is newtonian compartmentalisation which is counter-intuitive and an imposition on reality.
    Dialectics is not intuitively obvious.

    And this debate is determined, and will have no synthesis at the end, simply because I am more determined, and I never give in. So this thread will either go on forever, or you will just grow silent, again...
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    Indeed, but how does that make the whole 'more'.

    And, 'more' than what?
    more than its component parts. which it has to be in order to act back upon them.

    Even if that were so, how does that make it an 'abstraction'. And we have yet to be told (by anyone, let alone you) what an 'abstraction' is.
    well to be honest I don't think this is a very interesting or improtant point. I used the term "abstraction" to refer to the fact that when I say "capitalism", I am refering to a generalised concept independent of any real world examples but which encompasses many. I am not referring to anything specific which can be touched or seen, but rather a theoretical concept.

    However what is interesting is not really my choice of words, but rather the fact that capitalism, something which can only be understood in the realm of theory and cannot be physically proven, does objectively exist, and is not just a name imposed on the actions of various component parts in order to generalise and describe. rather capitalism itself is what drives these component parts.
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    The silence has up till now been the result of two factors only: I win, or the other person just gives up.
    which is quite different.

    But, you forgot the 'mutaully exclude' part that Marx introduced. As soon as that is thrown in, these 'contradictions' cannot co-exist, and so cannot change anything.
    they are in the process of mutually excluding each other. if they could happily exist together there would be no motion.

    But, even so, why call these 'contradictions' and not, say, 'inconsistencies', or 'incompatibilities'? Or even 'banana squashings'?
    because "inconsistencies" does not convey the fundamentally exclusive nature of the contradictions which creates permanent motion as they seek to overcome this.

    incompatibilities likewise.

    "contradiction" conveys the process of acively contradicitng each other and therefore cosntantly changing that which contains them.

    Dialectics is not intuitively obvious.
    this is because you have compartmentalised your thought process.

    And this debate is determined, and will have no synthesis at the end, simply because I am more determined, and I never give in. So this thread will either go on forever, or you will just grow silent, again..
    I might well get bored of semantic trivia, yes...but then, this silence, as I said many times, would be the result of the process which preceeded it, and therefore perfectly explicable by dialectics. according to vulgar materialism however, I would simply be silent because I wasn't talking, and therefore any further claim about the meaning of this silence would be "mystic".
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    Z:

    more than its component parts. which it has to be in order to act back upon them.
    But how does that make them and the whole 'more'?

    well to be honest I don't think this is a very interesting or improtant point. I used the term "abstraction" to refer to the fact that when I say "capitalism", I am refering to a generalised concept independent of any real world examples but which encompasses many. I am not referring to anything specific which can be touched or seen, but rather a theoretical concept.

    However what is interesting is not really my choice of words, but rather the fact that capitalism, something which can only be understood in the realm of theory and cannot be physically proven, does objectively exist, and is not just a name imposed on the actions of various component parts in order to generalise and describe. rather capitalism itself is what drives these component parts.
    Yes, well I can see why you think it not very important, for you, like all the others who use this word, cannot tell us what it means.

    That makes your 'materialism' entirely indeterminate.

    We have plenty of words in the vernacular to describe Capitalism without having to use 'abstraction' -- goodness knows, every revolutionary paper worth its salt has to do this if it wants to communicate with workers.
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    Z:

    which is quite different.
    Not so; it shows that this triad does not work.

    Now wonder Lenin repudiated it.

    they are in the process of mutually excluding each other. if they could happily exist together there would be no motion.
    Ah, but that is the problem for until they do, they do not actually 'contradict' one another. But, just as soon as they do, one ceases to exist, and so they cannot contradict one anoher. Either way, this explanation fails.

    And, how do 'contradictions' cause motion?

    because "inconsistencies" does not convey the fundamentally exclusive nature of the contradictions which creates permanent motion as they seek to overcome this.
    Not so, inconsistencies do this too. The problem is that inconsistency cannot be obtained from Hegel's 'Logic'.

    But, you have still to justify the use of 'contradiction' here. Up to now, you have just asserted these are 'contradictions'. [But see below.]

    There are only two ways to see 'contradictions' in capitalism (etc.): (1) impose them on reality (in abeyance of the claim that dialecticians never do this), or (2) ignore the problems that their 'definition' introduces.

    Except you try this:

    "contradiction" conveys the process of acively contradicitng each other and therefore cosntantly changing that which contains them.
    But that is no use, since you use the very word you are trying to explain in its own explanation!

    this is because you have compartmentalised your thought process.
    No I haven't, and you cannot possibly know that I have.

    I might well get bored of semantic trivia, yes...but then, this silence, as I said many times, would be the result of the process which preceeded it, and therefore perfectly explicable by dialectics. according to vulgar materialism however, I would simply be silent because I wasn't talking, and therefore any further claim about the meaning of this silence would be "mystic".
    This 'semantic' argument won't wash either. It is worth pointing out that this is the only way you and those who use it can excuse their own sloppy thinking, and the only way you/they could make your/their ideas appear to work.

    This sort of attitude would not be tolerated for one second in the sciences, or in any other branch of genuine knowledge. Can you imagine the fuss if someone were to argue that it does not matter what the Magna Carta said, or when the Battle of the Nile was fought, or what the Declaration of Independence actually contained, or what the exact wording of Newton's Second Law was, or whether "G", the Gravitational Constant, was 6.6742 x 10^-11 or 6.7642 x 10^-11 Mm^2kg^-2, or indeed something else? Would we accept this sort of excuse from someone who said it did not matter what the precise wording of a contract in law happened to be? Or, that it did not really matter what Marx meant by "variable capital", or that he "pedantically" distinguished use-value from exchange-value -- or more pointedly, the "relative form" from the "equivalent form" of value --, we should be able to make do with anyone's guess? And how would we react if someone said, "Who cares if there are serious mistakes in that policeman's evidence against those strikers"? Or if someone else retorted "Big deal if there are a few errors in this or that e-mail address/web page URL, or in that mathematical proof! And who cares whether there is a difference between rest mass and inertial mass in Physics! What are you, some kind of pedant?"

    No,it's only in dialectics that sloppy thought like this is encouraged and defended.

    And even if this were so, and you simply gave up for 'semantic' reasons, that would show that the triad you seem to like (which Lenin did not) just does not work.
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    But how does that make them and the whole 'more'?
    because if it were equal to, it could not act back on them and cause change, could it? there would be no motion. or all motion would come from the component parts and the whole would never be anything more than a simple sum of all those parts, a description of them which does not exist as source of any motion in itself.


    Yes, well I can see why you think it not very important, for you, like all the others who use this word, cannot tell us what it means.
    but I did. plenty of people have defined the term.

    We have plenty of words in the vernacular to describe Capitalism without having to use 'abstraction' -- goodness knows, every revolutionary paper worth its salt has to do this if it wants to communicate with workers
    yes you are right. I think it depends what you are trying to say. I was saying that capitalism does not physically exist, that it is a generalised phenomenon, and therefore when Irefer to it I am abstracting. Whether capitalism is in tiself an "abstraction" was not my point and I don't really care, this is a semantic poitn which does not affect what I was saying. What I was saying was that it does not materially exist. But that objectively it does. Immaterial, objective.
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    Z:

    because if it were equal to, it could not act back on them and cause change, could it? there would be no motion. or all motion would come from the component parts and the whole would never be anything more than a simple sum of all those parts, a description of them which does not exist as source of any motion in itself.
    But that is all part of the whole, so, once more, how is this 'more'?

    plenty of people have defined the term.
    Ok, name some, and give the references. I have been looking for over 25 years, and still cannot find one.

    yes you are right. I think it depends what you are trying to say. I was saying that capitalism does not physically exist, that it is a generalised phenomenon, and therefore when Irefer to it I am abstracting. Whether capitalism is in tiself an "abstraction" was not my point and I don't really care, this is a semantic poitn which does not affect what I was saying. What I was saying was that it does not materially exist. But that objectively it does. Immaterial, objective.
    But capitalism does physically exist, otherwise we'd simply be overthrowing an idea.

    And I know you don't care about language, but Marx did, and thank goodness he did.
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    But that is all part of the whole, so, once more, how is this 'more'?
    "capitalism" is not a component part of capitalism, is it?

    you are again doing what you always do, trying to turn the discussion itno an almost existential debate on one term. in this case, "whole". It's a logical game, nothing more. What I am saying is clear. Capitalism is more than the sum of its parts.

    Ok, name some, and give the references. I have been looking for over 25 years, and still cannot find one.
    the dictionary isn't good enough?



    But capitalism does physically exist, otherwise we'd simply be overthrowing an idea.
    no, this is wrong, and is the difference between vulgar mateiralism and marxism. capitalism exists as a system. we replace the system when we overthrow the current rulign class. but, captialism itself, is neither an idea nor a aterial reality. it is a mode of production, a socio-economic system, a set of social relations. you cannot touch or see it. this is basic.

    And I know you don't care about language, but Marx did, and thank goodness he did
    well this is from someone who claims capitalism materially exists as a physical entity.

    and thank goodness he was also a dialectician! or else we'd all still be dry english empiricist classic liberals, or idealist utopian socialists.
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    Z:

    "capitalism" is not a component part of capitalism, is it?
    Who said it was?

    the dictionary isn't good enough?
    Dictionaries cannot settle philosophical arguments. They will tell you what 'God' means, but that does not mean we have to become believers.

    Anyway, here is one:

    1.
    a. The act of abstracting or the state of having been abstracted.
    b. An abstract concept, idea, or term.
    c. An abstract quality.
    2. Preoccupation; absent-mindedness.
    3. An abstract work of art.

    1. a general idea rather than a specific example: these absurd philosophical abstractions continued to bother him

    2. the quality of being abstract or abstracted

    Noun 1. abstraction - a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance; "he loved her only in the abstract--not in person"
    abstract

    right - an abstract idea of that which is due to a person or governmental body by law or tradition or nature; "they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights"; "Certain rights can never be granted to the government but must be kept in the hands of the people"- Eleanor Roosevelt; "a right is not something that somebody gives you; it is something that nobody can take away"
    concept, conception, construct - an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances
    absolute - something that is conceived or that exists independently and not in relation to other things; something that does not depend on anything else and is beyond human control; something that is not relative; "no mortal being can influence the absolute"

    teacher - a personified abstraction that teaches; "books were his teachers"; "experience is a demanding teacher"

    thing - a special abstraction; "a thing of the spirit"; "things of the heart"

    2. abstraction - the act of withdrawing or removing something
    remotion, removal - the act of removing; "he had surgery for the removal of a malignancy"

    3. abstraction - the process of formulating general concepts by abstracting common properties of instances
    generalisation, generalization
    theorisation, theorization - the production or use of theories

    4. abstraction - an abstract painting
    painting, picture - graphic art consisting of an artistic composition made by applying paints to a surface; "a small painting by Picasso"; "he bought the painting as an investment"; "his pictures hang in the Louvre"
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/abstraction

    So, which one is the one you meant?

    no, this is wrong, and is the difference between vulgar mateiralism and marxism. capitalism exists as a system. we replace the system when we overthrow the current rulign class. but, captialism itself, is neither an idea nor a aterial reality. it is a mode of production, a socio-economic system, a set of social relations. you cannot touch or see it. this is basic.
    You are just repeating stuff you have been told.

    Once more: you claimed capitalism is an abstraction. Abstractions exist only in minds. Had there been no minds there would be no abstractions. Hence, you are merely in favour of overthrowing a mental construction.

    If capitalism is a mode of production, it can't be an abstraction. Abstractions cannot produce things. Modes of production can, and often do.

    well this is from someone who claims capitalism materially exists as a physical entity.
    Where did I use the word 'entity'?

    So, not only are you cavalier in your use of language, you want to impose as few of your own sloppy words on me!

    and thank goodness he was also a dialectician! or else we'd all still be dry english empiricist classic liberals, or idealist utopian socialists.
    Ah, but he abandoned the dialectic as you understand it in Das Kapital. And we can see why: it makes not one ounce of sense.

    No wonder it has presided over 150 years of almost total failure.
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    Who said it was?
    we're agreed then.


    Dictionaries cannot settle philosophical arguments. They will tell you what 'God' means, but that does not mean we have to become believers.
    no. I didn't say that th fact that the idctionary defines an abstraction means you have to believe that they exist or that capitalism is one. it was simply an answer to your claim that no-one has ever defined abstraction. which seems strange seeing as you just showed me the definition.

    Anyway, here is one:



    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/abstraction

    So, which one is the one you meant?
    1 and 3 will do.


    Once more: you claimed capitalism is an abstraction. Abstractions exist only in minds. Had there been no minds there would be no abstractions. Hence, you are merely in favour of overthrowing a mental construction.
    I did claim "capitalism" was an abstraction, you are right. but then I clarified that this was slightly badly worded - something you have made full capital out of rather than dealing with the general point!

    What I should have said, to be 100% watertight to as to not allow you the opportunity to yet again derail the argument with a minor semantic point, was that when I say "capitalism", I am abstracting. The term "capitalism" is an abstraction.

    Like I said though, I do not have enough in depth knowledge of the hsitory and nuances of the word "abstraction" to tell you if capitalism is an abstraction. Does this matter? Yes, I would like to be more able than I am, as you undoubtedly do too (if not, you should). However, is it central to the argument? No? Is squabbling over this point pedantic, semantic and trivial? yes! why? Because the point is that to describe capitalism you must abstract: it is a general phenomenon, a mode of production, a set of social relationships. It does not physically exist. I was clear on this. Whether this makes it an "abstraction" or not is of 0 importance for this argument. Does that argument matter elsewhere? Yes, sure. I would love you to educate me on abstractions.Make a post in the philosophy section. But don't claim it proves anything here.

    In any case, back on point: "capitalism" does not physically exist. But it objectively exists. Immaterial but objective.

    If capitalism is a mode of production, it can't be an abstraction. Abstractions cannot produce things. Modes of production can, and often do.
    What do modes of production produce? "capitalism" has not made a single car, spade or shirt. Workers and mahcines make them. Workers and machines produce things, albeit within a mode of production, i.e. within a set of social relationships.



    Where did I use the word 'entity'?
    You said it physically exists. If it phsyically exists then it is a physical entity.

    No wonder it has presided over 150 years of almost total failure.
    A RESPECT supporter and member is lecturing me about failure in the Marxist movement?

    The Bolsheviks didn't fail. They were ovetrthrown by a counter-revolution a decade after a succesful revolution. And this had little to do with dialectics. There are many causes of the historic defeat of the revolution but I don't see how dialectics is one of them. Try opportunism and making alliances with bureaucrats, bourgeois poltiicians, and businessmen.

    Something you know about quite well. I don't deny that the history of the self-proclaiming heirs to Marx is nefarious and shameful, and unlike you say about "dialecticians" and am under no illusions of succes, in fact from reading you I think I am quite a lot more critical of the left than you are. However, if you do have the responses on a philosophical level, then sadly this hasn't manifested itself in your politics. Whereas the dialectical Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky never made the same political errors as you. So where does that leave us?
  19. #19
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    Z:

    we're agreed then.
    Not so; you have yet to tell us how the parts or the whole can be 'more'.

    I didn't say that th fact that the dictionary defines an abstraction means you have to believe that they exist or that capitalism is one. it was simply an answer to your claim that no-one has ever defined abstraction. which seems strange seeing as you just showed me the definition.
    Well, of course, the dictionary mixes up the philosophical use of this word with its ordinary use, and reports on both. But, the 'definition' it gives isn't one, since it either confuses generalisation with abstraction (these are not the same as is easy to show), or it defines the word using the same term in the definition.

    So, we are still waiting on a clear definition of this term, as you use it.

    1 and 3 will do.
    Ok, here they are again (there are several 1)s though -- which one did you mean?):


    1) a. The act of abstracting or the state of having been abstracted.
    b. An abstract concept, idea, or term.
    c. An abstract quality.

    1. a general idea rather than a specific example: these absurd philosophical abstractions continued to bother him

    3. abstraction - the process of formulating general concepts by abstracting common properties of instances
    generalisation, generalization
    theorisation, theorization - the production or use of theories
    Many of these use the word 'abstract' or 'abstraction' in the definition, so they are of no use.

    And, as I noted, generalisation is not abstraction; that is why we have two words here not one.

    A general word allows us to form sentences with the use of a singular term: e.g., 'George Bush is a man'.

    Here we are describing Bush in general terms.

    However, abstraction turns general words into the names of abstract particulars, and in so doing it destroys generality. In this case, it turns "a man" into the abstract noun Manhood. [This was in fact a ploy Hegel used, copying medieval Roman Catholic theologians, off whom he got the idea. Engels then copied Hegel, and so did Lenin.]

    This abstract particular (called variously a Form, and Idea, a Concept, or a Universal) is no longer general, but particular.

    And that is why abstraction is not the same as generalisation.

    So, we still do not know what this word means.

    I did claim "capitalism" was an abstraction, you are right. but then I clarified that this was slightly badly worded - something you have made full capital out of rather than dealing with the general point!

    What I should have said, to be 100% watertight to as to not allow you the opportunity to yet again derail the argument with a minor semantic point, was that when I say "capitalism", I am abstracting. The term "capitalism" is an abstraction.

    Like I said though, I do not have enough in depth knowledge of the history and nuances of the word "abstraction" to tell you if capitalism is an abstraction. Does this matter? Yes, I would like to be more able than I am, as you undoubtedly do too (if not, you should). However, is it central to the argument? No? Is squabbling over this point pedantic, semantic and trivial? yes! why? Because the point is that to describe capitalism you must abstract: it is a general phenomenon, a mode of production, a set of social relationships. It does not physically exist. I was clear on this. Whether this makes it an "abstraction" or not is of 0 importance for this argument. Does that argument matter elsewhere? Yes, sure. I would love you to educate me on abstractions. Make a post in the philosophy section. But don't claim it proves anything here.

    In any case, back on point: "capitalism" does not physically exist. But it objectively exists. Immaterial but objective.
    I am glad to see you are shifting your ground, but, alas, you have moved from the quicksand to the swamp. [See below.]

    This is not a 'semantic' point. Unless we are clear about what we are talking about, then we are in danger of turning scientific Marxism into a morass of confusion, and, in your case, into a mystical version of Idealism.

    Now you say that the word "capitalism" is an abstraction. But this is even worse, for the word "capitalism" is a physical object. Look, there it is on the screen!

    And I have already covered "pedantry"; you need to show why what I said about it is mistaken, not keep repeating that point.

    Indeed, you can see the mess you are getting into because of your careless use of language.

    In any case, back on point: "capitalism" does not physically exist. But it objectively exists. Immaterial but objective.
    But, as I noted above, "capitalism" is a word, and that certainly physically exists.

    What you mean is that capitalism does not physically exist. In that case we do not need to overthrow it.

    And, I'd like you to explain how something can be immaterial and yet be objective, when Lenin said:

    "For the sole 'property' of matter with whose recognition philosophical materialism is bound up is the property of being an objective reality, of existing outside our mind." [Lenin (1972) Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, p.311. Bold emphasis alone added.]
    Anything 'outside the mind' for Lenin was both material and objective. [He repeated this dozens of times in the above book -- these are all recorded at my site in Essay Thirteen Part One.]

    I am not sure you know your own 'theory' too well!

    What do modes of production produce? "capitalism" has not made a single car, spade or shirt. Workers and machines make them. Workers and machines produce things, albeit within a mode of production, i.e. within a set of social relationships.
    Since "capitalism" is a word, of course it can't make cars.

    But, check out what Marx said:

    Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.
    But, industry can do nothing, surely? And yet Marx say it does do something. In like manner, modes of production can produce things.

    There is nothing puzzling about this anymore that when we say things like "The party has organised a demonstration", when we know that it is individuals acting for the party that do this.

    You said it physically exists. If it physically exists then it is a physical entity.
    No, I do not wish to use the word 'entity'. I want to say with Marx that capitalism physically exists as a mode of production. Stop putting words in my mouth.

    A RESPECT supporter and member is lecturing me about failure in the Marxist movement?
    Whether or not I am a Respect supporter, that has nothing to do with the last 150 years of almost total failure. Even if I joined your tiny sect, the nature of the last 150 years would not change.

    And I did not say the 'Marxist movement' was unsuccessful. Once more stop putting words in my mouth.

    The Bolsheviks didn't fail. They were overthrown by a counter-revolution a decade after a successful revolution. And this had little to do with dialectics. There are many causes of the historic defeat of the revolution but I don't see how dialectics is one of them. Try opportunism and making alliances with bureaucrats, bourgeois politicians, and businessmen.
    1) I am sorry to have to tell you that the former Soviet Union is no more. Alas, history has refuted that experiment.

    2) The 'party of dialectics', as Trotsky called it, presided over that decay.

    3) If you are saying that dialectics has had nothing to do with anything us Marxists have even done, then it is high time we ditched it.

    4) On the other hand, if it does have something to do with what the Bolsheviks did, then history has refuted that 'theory'.

    5) And (even though there were many causes) it is possible to show that dialectics played its own part in the decay of the Russian revolution. You can find the evidence at my site:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm

    Something you know about quite well.
    No I do not.

    I don't deny that the history of the self-proclaiming heirs to Marx is nefarious and shameful, and unlike you say about "dialecticians" and am under no illusions of success, in fact from reading you I think I am quite a lot more critical of the left than you are. However, if you do have the responses on a philosophical level, then sadly this hasn't manifested itself in your politics. Whereas the dialectical Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky never made the same political errors as you. So where does that leave us?
    I am not sure what attacking me has to do with the long term failure of dialectical Marxism (but it does show you are getting desperate). Whatever my failings are, they pale into insignificance next to that.
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    Not so; you have yet to tell us how the parts or the whole can be 'more'.
    again this is just pedantry over one word. capitalism is more than the sum of its component parts. this all I wanted to say, that much was obvious, squabbling over the phrasing, which on an internet forum is unlikely to be up tot he standard of a pilosophy essay, is a waste of time. If we are agreed ont he central point then I am happy and don't see the need to waste time on a dull and irrelevant discussion over use of the word "whole".

    Ok, here they are again (there are several 1)s though -- which one did you mean?):
    the second 1, without the a,b,c.


    Many of these use the word 'abstract' or 'abstraction' in the definition, so they are of no use.
    I understood them well enough. most people owuld. if you didn't that is probably your problem.

    And, as I noted, generalisation is not abstraction; that is why we have two words here not one.

    A general word allows us to form sentences with the use of a singular term: e.g., 'George Bush is a man'.

    Here we are describing Bush in general terms.

    However, abstraction turns general words into the names of abstract particulars, and in so doing it destroys generality. In this case, it turns "a man" into the abstract noun Manhood. [This was in fact a ploy Hegel used, copying medieval Roman Catholic theologians, off whom he got the idea. Engels then copied Hegel, and so did Lenin.]

    This abstract particular (called variously a Form, and Idea, a Concept, or a Universal) is no longer general, but particular.

    And that is why abstraction is not the same as generalisation.

    So, we still do not know what this word means.
    The abstract particular is not a physically existing thing though. it describes a concept which exists in the realm of theory and which is derived from a generalisation abou a certain phenomenon. I can find a "man". I cannot find you a "manhood". Therefore it is an abstraction.


    I am glad to see you are shifting your ground, but, alas, you have moved from the quicksand to the swamp. [See below.]
    this conversation does somewhat resemble a swamp, yes.

    This is not a 'semantic' point. Unless we are clear about what we are talking about, then we are in danger of turning scientific Marxism into a morass of confusion, and, in your case, into a mystical version of Idealism.

    Now you say that the word "capitalism" is an abstraction. But this is even worse, for the word "capitalism" is a physical object. Look, there it is on the screen!
    actually I said trhe "term", which refers to the concept and not te physical word. this "point" you have made is self-evidently stupid, as anyone reading this will see. I see no need to refute it, it refutes itself.


    What you mean is that capitalism does not physically exist. In that case we do not need to overthrow it.
    you have already stated this, yes. unfortunately you haven't shown why this is true. this statement s not self-evidently obvious.

    I am not sure you know your own 'theory' too well!
    yes you are right. my way of thinking was bascally dialectical before I even read Hegel or Marx, like I say it is intuitively obvious.

    But, check out what Marx said:



    But, industry can do nothing, surely? And yet Marx say it does do something. In like manner, modes of production can produce things.
    yes, I would also say that in some circumstances. it depends on what you are trying to say. in some contexts its not wrong to say "capitalism made x,y,z," just like in some ocntexts it is not wrong to say "the european races", or "free trade", or "liberal democracy", or some such thing, when inr eality we knwo the htings we are referring to are not that. we often speak on the terms of the bourgeoisie, for shorthand, in order to not let what in such a case would be semantic points cloud the terms of a central argument which does not depend on those points and can in fact be successful byt aking conventional bourgeois logic on its own terms.

    thankfully for us none of the great marxist writers shared your obsession of pedantry over terms which were not central to the argument.

    There is nothing puzzling about this anymore that when we say things like "The party has organised a demonstration", when we know that it is individuals acting for the party that do this.
    yes, ebcause we use shorthand. however if we were to get into an argument over whether or not the PArty physically exists and can dot hese things on its own or whether inf act the source of tis comes formt he members, this would be a distinction worth making. only a person hwo undertsands the distinction between the central point of an argument and semantics would understand this, though.


    No, I do not wish to use the word 'entity'. I want to say with Marx that capitalism physically exists as a mode of production. Stop putting words in my mouth.
    well,no. because one implies the other.


    Whether or not I am a Respect supporter, that has nothing to do with the last 150 years of almost total failure.
    of course it matters. if dialectics is the cause of Marxist failure, and you have rejected it, then one would expect you to be onto somethign better. and yet, you supported a class collaborationsit project which encapsulated the worst aspects from the history of so-called "marxism", from degenerate post-trotsky pabloism, to outright stalinism. So, this is not a good advert for your new post-dialectical philosophy as some kind of answer to the future of marxism.

    And I did not say the 'Marxist movement' was unsuccessful. Once more stop putting words in my mouth.
    what did you say then? or sorry, should I say, what exactly did you mean. Has the marxist movement failed for the last 150 years or not?

    1) I am sorry to have to tell you that the former Soviet Union is no more. Alas, history has refuted that experiment.

    2) The 'party of dialectics', as Trotsky called it, presided over that decay.
    Did Trotsky still call it that after leaving?

    If you are saying that dialectics has had nothing to do with anything us Marxists have even done, then it is high time we ditched it.

    4) On the other hand, if it does have something to do with what the Bolsheviks did, then history has refuted that 'theory'.
    You may as well say the same about class struggle (something which in practice you reject btw) if your logic is that any one aspect of marxism must be held accoutnable for "150 years of almost total failure".

    I am not sure what attacking me has to do with the long term failure of dialectical Marxism (but it does show you are getting desperate). Whatever my failings are, they pale into insignificance next to that.
    I am not attacking you, I am attacking your politics. Do not martyr yourself. If you set yourself up as superior to dialecticians then expect to see this measured against your real life political decisions. I stand by mine and am public about them, why don't you? That is ultimately what measures us as marxists in any case.

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