Dialectics

302 posts / 0 new
Last post
LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 7 2012 18:11
syndicalistcat wrote:
RL and I had our disagreements on revleft, but I tend to agree with her that dialectics is incoherent.

Yeah, I agree with both of you! Unfortunately, even those who frequent this site don't seem to have helped to make it cohere, for me, at least.

syndicalistcat wrote:
...I wouldn't interpret it the way Cohen did now...

No, I've found Cohen's 'defence of' to be a 'deterrence to', and just plain wrong.

syndicalistcat wrote:
I don't agree anymore with historical materialism but even if I did, I wouldn't interpret it the way Cohen did now...and i think a problem with it is precisely that it is subject to various and conflicting interpretations.

Personally, I find some form of hist mat very useful for understanding history. The problem is, 'what form?'.

For me, the 'various and conflicting interpretations' is a strength, not a weakness. One can read the various interpretations of the same period, and make one's own decision about how useful it is as explanatory history, which can be read by most workers. Much of what passes as hist mat is unreadable, both in the sense of making sense and in the sense of being personally enjoyable and politically inspiring.

syndicalistcat wrote:
You can see a relevant difference between Hegel's contribution and Marx's by considering that Marx's work in regard to the analysis of class and capitalism and society has had huge impact, not just among the political, but among those who study society and economics. But Hegel's "Logic" has had zip influence in logic. Nobody ever refers to it....except Marxists, but no one in the field of logic or philosophy of science.

Hegel's a joke. One longwinded, meaningless blah, blah, blah...

syndicalistcat's picture
syndicalistcat
Offline
Joined: 2-11-06
Mar 7 2012 18:31
Quote:
Hegel's a joke. One longwinded, meaningless blah, blah, blah...

exactly.

about hist. mat: Cohen leans, as so many do, on a famous passage where the view is stated very schematically, and seems to support the bit about the "primacy" of the "development of the productive forces" over the "social relations of production." but if you look at M.'s concrete historical discussions, they all go in exactly the opposite way: They support the conclusion that the relations of production are primary and shape the development of the productive forces. And i think this is in fact true.

one of the major problems with hist. mat. has been the tendency for Marxists to interpret it as a deterministic theory. an example of the problem is the support of Lenin & Trotsky for Taylorism. as a more recent form of the "dev of the productive forces", this shows, for them apparently, it's progressive character...no matter that it was a management strategy to increase profit and control of workers.

but hist mat can be interpreted non-deterministically, as a view about the importance of certain kinds of tendencies or structural causes in social explanations.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 7 2012 19:04
syndicalistcat wrote:
about hist. mat: Cohen leans, as so many do, on a famous passage where the view is stated very schematically, and seems to support the bit about the "primacy" of the "development of the productive forces" over the "social relations of production." but if you look at M.'s concrete historical discussions, they all go in exactly the opposite way: They support the conclusion that the relations of production are primary and shape the development of the productive forces. And i think this is in fact true.

Not sure if you saw this recent thread, in which I attempted to explain a bit of hist mat.:

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/question-about-historical-materialism-24112011

What do you think?

syndicalistcat wrote:
but hist mat can be interpreted non-deterministically, as a view about the importance of certain kinds of tendencies or structural causes in social explanations.

Yeah, I tend to use the theory as a heuristic device, and bounce back-and-forth between theory and historical evidence.

Is it forces? Is it relations? Base? Superstructure? Economics? Politics?

Hist mat is useful for provoking thought, rather than providing 'the answer'. What was it Charlie said about 'no royal road'?

Readin history is always an antidote to being too schematic.

Suppose that stops me being a 'Marxist', in some people's eyes... never mind those of the 'dialecticians'!

syndicalistcat's picture
syndicalistcat
Offline
Joined: 2-11-06
Mar 7 2012 20:04

well, i've not the time to wade thru the whole thread tho i agree with your initial piece.

I would agree that the social relations of production are the class structure. to unpack my point about how to interpret hist mat non-deterministically, I think it's good to examine the elements of typical explanations of some event. they typically have different kinds of elements, a reference to the course of events or dynamic or occasioning causes, but also to the more persistent capacities, susceptibilities, powers of things. so to explain the collapse of a bridge, we might refer to a big truck having just gone over it. but that's only the occasioning cause. a real explanation would also have to look at the capacity of the bridge. did this truck exceed that capacity? was the capacity weakened over time thru things like rust, cracks, etc? so the capacity is a structural cause and the event, the truck passing over, is the occasioning cause.

hist mat is best understood as being about the structural element in explanations. this is why M. can refer to all kinds of actual social events in explanations, such as religious movements (e.g. Luther), poltiical events etc. those can be treated as occasioning causes or dynamic elements. but to get an explanation you need to place the course of events in the context of a particular social structure, such as capitalism.

structural elements don't "cause" anything by themselves. they only contribute to explanations of events in conjunction with the other dynamic elements, the other events going on. then the context or structure helps us to see why there was a particular result rather than some other.

so hist mat says that the economic structural elements (mode of production) tend to be the dominant structural or contextual element in social-historical explanation. i think this is fairly plausible.

also, the structure itself gives rise to tendencies that are antagonistic, e.g. control of labor vs worker resistance. but this doesn't by itself explain any particular event such as a strike without looking at the course of events.

i disagree however with the whole base/superstructure metaphor. i think the state is as much a material force as the mode of production and in fact is not really separate from it. You can see this if you reflect on how some ruling classes in history have congealed as the result of armies conquering a region, or the way heads of military-bureaucratic state systems have used their power there to acquire huge assets and entrench themselves in the economy. I agree with Bakunin's criticism of Marx that M. failed to adequately consider how the state bureaucrats (managers, judges, army officers etc) control over the state administration and over the armed bodies is the basis of a class power in society as much as the capitalists' ownership of means of production.

to put this another way, the state itself has an internal class structure & is a class institution by how it is organized, and not just in virtue of external influences by capital (such as buying elections, corporate media influence etc)

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 7 2012 20:40

Thanks for your thoughts, syncat.

I'm very in tune with your views of hist mat, I think.

On the base/superstructure metaphor, I think it was a very Victorian way of seeing the world, through engineering.

Perhaps a better one would be soil/plant, which allows for the plant to decompose and enrich the soil, and so is a reciprocal, symbiotic relationship, unlike base/sup, which is one way only: 'up'.

On the state power issue, I think the relatively recent modal concept of the 'tributary mode' is very useful. Marx didn't call it that, but so what? He's dead. And his 'Asiatic mode' was bullshit (according to Perry Anderson, anyway).

Thanks for your useful comments; and I still think a continually developing method of hist mat is very helpful, as I think your post shows.

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Mar 7 2012 20:57

You can think Hegel is a joke, as does Rosa, but that's not the point, or her point. She claims Marx extirpated every bit of Hegel's influence in volume 1 of Capital, when the plain facts are his discussion of value follows Hegel's analysis of the conflict between appearance and essence, between opposing manifestation of an "organic" identity.

Marx's writings, including that afterword to the 2nd edition, an edition in which he had removed the more explicit Hegelian terms like "determinate being" is no record of his break with Hegel but of his self-expressed admiration of and debt to Hegel.

Rosa would like use to believe that Marx coquetted, not with Hegelian terms, but with the very method of his own analysis.

I think it's great that Syndicalist cat is so honest to admit he junked dialectics, found Cohen's book "useful," and in this "useful" process, junked essentially the whole of Marxism, in that he junked historical materialism, which is precisely what Marx's critique of capital amounts-- that history is a social product, that the product is determined by the social organization of labor.

Now that's a ringing endorsement for dismissing Marx's dialectic-- just junk the entire critique.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 7 2012 21:10
S.Artesian wrote:
Now that's a ringing endorsement for dismissing Marx's dialectic-- just junk the entire critique.

The real point, to me, is that me and syndicalistcat can have a conversation, in English, in which we can discuss and understand each other. And other people can read what we've written, and form their own opinions, or ask questions of clarification, which they will receive in a recognisable format. I can disagree with syncat, because I can understand them. That's hist mat.

None of this is true of 'dialectics'.

Fuck knows, I've tried!

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Mar 7 2012 22:17

Oh... that's the point? You can syndicalistcat can have a discussion? OK, thanks for pointing that out.

And in English yet...........so much better than having to learn that guttural German, or fancy French, or slippery Spanish... not to mention Tagalog, Arabic, any of the Slavic tongues, or those incredibly difficult Asian languages. Good old fashioned English. It's good enough for the Queen, it should be good enough for everyone.

So if dialectics are junk, labor theory of value is pap, and historical materialism is hogwash, exactly what are you discussing? Exactly how do you explain what capital does here and now as well as then and there?

syndicalistcat's picture
syndicalistcat
Offline
Joined: 2-11-06
Mar 7 2012 23:05
Quote:
I think it's great that Syndicalist cat is so honest to admit he junked dialectics, found Cohen's book "useful," and in this "useful" process, junked essentially the whole of Marxism, in that he junked historical materialism, which is precisely what Marx's critique of capital amounts-- that history is a social product, that the product is determined by the social organization of labor.

Now that's a ringing endorsement for dismissing Marx's dialectic-- just junk the entire critique.

you weren't paying attention. apparently that's too much to expect of you. after i give my interpretation of a non-deterministic hist mat, I say it's "very plausible."

now as to regarding Marx as Holy Writ, yeah, fuck that shit.

it's quite possible to take a look at particular theses of M and evaluate them in a critical way and agree with them...or not as the case may be. There are various insights to be gotten there, about, for example, how capitalist production doesn't just produce commodities but also produces in people a mentality that "fits" their role, and thus helps us to understand why the system tends to sustain itself. just to give an example. i.e. capitalist production produces not only commodities but tends to reproduce the capitalist social relations.

Quote:
that history is a social product, that the product is determined by the social organization of labor.

"history is a social product" is virtually a tautology...if you're talking about social history. i take it you mean that the social organization of labor "determines" history, yes? okay, that's an example of an erroneous, deterministic interpretation of hist mat, from my point of view. structures can't "determine" anything.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 7 2012 22:48
S.Artesian wrote:
And in English yet...........so much better than having to learn that guttural German, or fancy French, or slippery Spanish... not to mention Tagalog, Arabic, any of the Slavic tongues, or those incredibly difficult Asian languages. Good old fashioned English. It's good enough for the Queen, it should be good enough for everyone.

So if dialectics are junk, labor theory of value is pap, and historical materialism is hogwash, exactly what are you discussing? Exactly how do you explain what capital does here and now as well as then and there?

It's responses like this that actually add support to Rosa's position on 'dialectics'.

I've tried talking to you and the others about 'dialectics', but you haven't explained in a way I can understand.

And yeah, English would be a good starting point. As I've said, many of us don't speak 'dialectics', so it's up to you and the other supporters to translate, rather than blaming us sceptics for actually being able to think critically about what appears to be nonsense.

And you, in particular, never got round to discussing any further why you'd never seen a relationship between democracy and dialectics. Or, indeed, a lack of one.

Strange that, isn't it, why those two concepts don't 'interpenetrate' each other, in 'dialectic-world', eh?

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 7 2012 22:49

SA:

Quote:
You can think Hegel is a joke, as does Rosa, but that's not the point, or her point. She claims Marx extirpated every bit of Hegel's influence in volume 1 of Capital, when the plain facts are his discussion of value follows Hegel's analysis of the conflict between appearance and essence, between opposing manifestation of an "organic" identity.

1) Marx also regarded Hegel as a joke; hence his non-serious use of Hegelian jargon in Das Kapital. But the joke is on you for taking it seriously.

2) And this isn't plain at all:

Quote:
when the plain facts are his discussion of value follows Hegel's analysis of the conflict between appearance and essence, between opposing manifestation of an "organic" identity

I challenge you to explain these mystical terms in comprehensible language.

No wonder Marx extirpated this obscure material from his work.

Quote:
Marx's writings, including that afterword to the 2nd edition, an edition in which he had removed the more explicit Hegelian terms like "determinate being" is no record of his break with Hegel but of his self-expressed admiration of and debt to Hegel.

1) He put this alleged 'admiration' in the past tense.

2) We can judge for ouselves how much he 'admired' this Hermetic Harebrain from the fact that he added a summary of 'the dialectic method' to the Afterword in which there is no trace of the ideas or method of this 'mighty thinker'.

And, to cap it all he then went on to tell us that the very best he could do was use some of Hegel's jargon non-seriously, and only in a few places.

Quote:
Rosa would like use to believe that Marx coquetted, not with Hegelian terms, but with the very method of his own analysis.

No need to -- Marx did it for us when he indicated he had waved 'goodbye' to this dogmatic nincompoop. How do we know? Well, the aforementioned summary of 'the dialectic method' contains not one atom of Hegel's ideas, jargon or method.

Of course, if you can show otherwise -- that the only summary of 'the dialectic method' Marx published and endorsed in his entire life is the exact opposite of what I allege of it -- go to it.

Except, if you could, you'd have done that by now.

And we have only been waiting for two years for you to get your act together.

Quote:
Now that's a ringing endorsement for dismissing Marx's dialectic-- just junk the entire critique.

Count me out, sunshine. I reject the dialectic (as you traditionalists understand it), but I fully accept HM, and have done so now for just over 30 years.

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 7 2012 23:19

LB:

Quote:
Yeah, I find the problem with anything being 'broken down' into bits for 'analysis' can go too far, and can lose the 'greater' meaning.

That can happen, but if it is done skilfully, it needn't.

Quote:
After all, a wall broken down into its constituent bricks looses its 'wall-ness' and its emergent properties, and so the bricks, isolated and alone in a pile, tell one nothing about 'walls', but only 'bricks'.

Unfortunately. the opposite approach is even worse (here is part of Essay Ten at my site, slightly modified to take care of those bricks -- I tried to add links to sites that explain some of the terminolgy I use, but it doesn't seem to have worked!):

Now, several consequences of a HEX-like methodology are catastrophic: HEX holds out the prospect of an infinite task ahead of anyone rash enough to take this approach seriously.

[HEX is Hegelian Expansionism -- the 'truth is the whole', etc. I chose that abbreviation to suggest a connection with bewitchment. CAR is Cartesian Reductionism, a term found in Levins and Lewontin's The Dialectical Biologist.]

HEX-type investigations proceed in the opposite direction to those taken by CAR-like analyses. One of the avowed aims of reductionism is to depict the properties of objects and processes in terms of its more basic (perhaps elementary) parts, or to account for them with as few general laws as possible. However, the problem with reductionism is that while it is possible to make a start it's not possible to bring it to an end. [Why this is so will not be entered into here.]

In contrast, the situation with HEX is far worse; while it is also impossible for HEX to reach a conclusion, it cannot even begin. The reason for saying that is bound up with the fact that instead of seeking increasingly fundamental units, HEX-theorists aim to find ever wider, more involved and inclusive connections, which must be explored before any attempt to depict the "specific characteristics" of anything in particular can even begin.

This, of course, immediately stops the dialectical roller-coaster in its tracks because no element in this metaphysical wild goose chase is ascertainable before all the rest have been -– meaning, of course, that none ever will be. Since one half of this open-ended meander through endless epistemological space involves the completion of an infinite task, neither option is viable. Therefore, the entire process cannot end, and it cannot begin.

HEX-lovers themselves admit that their approach delivers only "partial" truths (at best). To be sure, these are supposed to edge humanity ever-closer to "absolute truth" (if tested in practice). Nevertheless, the infinitary nature of the task ahead of them completely undermines the whole exercise. Each element in the Totality in effect lies at the centre of a set of 'concentric circles' (or 'spheres', if we move into a metaphorical 'third dimension') with infinitely expanding regions of ever-broader 'interconnections' emanating outward from that centre.

Unfortunately, the indefinite expansion of the radii of each of these circles of "partial knowledge" would have no discernible effect on the remaining level of ignorance. That is because the difference between a large finite number of facts (representing the current state of "partial knowledge") and the infinite number of facts constituting "Absolute" knowledge, is itself infinite.

If a finite cardinal of arbitrary size is subtracted from the smallest transfinite cardinal, the latter remains the same size (always assuming, of course, that post-Cantorian cardinal number theory is itself correct -- I will pass no comment on that here).

Hence, the following would be true (for arbitrarily large n):

Aleph zero - 10^n = Aleph zero

[Aleph zero is the smallest infinite number.]

So, even if humanity accumulated knowledge (in terms of facts, connections and theories) comparable to that depicted by the real number above (i.e., the power of ten), the difference between that number and the smallest 'infinite' cardinal (of infinite facts) would itself still be infinite.

But, this means that no matter how far science advances, humanity would still be no nearer "absolute" knowledge than it is at present, or than it was 20,000 years ago. In that case, clearly, the "asymptotic progress" metaphor (that Engels employed) is a highly (i.e., infinitely) misleading picture of the progress of scientific knowledge.

In the final analysis, therefore, dialectics possesses its own version of Kant's unknowable Noumenon -– but one that has been given a temporal twist and projected into the 'infinite' future.

According to dialecticians, the entire nature of the part is determined by its relation to the whole -- and vice versa --, but since we do not, and never will know the whole, we cannot and will not ever know the part. In which case, Engels should have said (rather like the character Manuel from Fawlty Towers): "Fundamentally, we know nothing" -- i.e., "Fundamentally, we are infinitely ignorant of everything".

Hence, there seems to be little point in bragging about dialectics' ability to penetrate to the heart of reality -- or to grasp the "thing-in-itself" -- if it now turns out that the results of this particular example of dialectical-bravado have to be postponed forever.

In that case, if the road to epistemological Nirvana is paved with such god-like intentions, human ignorance must always remain infinite.

In that case, another annoying dialectical inversion now confronts DM-fans: knowledge is not in fact asymptotically convergent on an absolute limit, but divergent. Worse still, in a part/whole system -- where the nature of the part is completely conditioned by the whole (and vice versa) -- what is known is qualified by what is not. If that is so, what little is 'known' implies that human beings will forever remain trapped in a bottomless pit of infinite ignorance -- even supposing we could assert that much with any confidence (which, if HEX were correct, plainly we can't).

This means that the sum total of what we now 'know' about the "specific characteristics" of any part of the Whole (including your bricks) is overwhelmingly outweighed by the black hole of infinite ignorance around which we humans must forever orbit, and whose grip we can never shake off. Given HEX, this dark pool of ignorance will neither evaporate nor dissipate.

And that is why HEX cannot begin; because we are infinitely ignorant of every element in the Totality, we can assert nothing with any confidence about it, or about anything supposedly in it. Whatever is said about any object or process has an infinitely high probability of being completely wrong, given the great "cloud of unknowing" that forever surrounds everything. This is true even with respect to the humblest of objects found in this fathomless Whole -- like those bricks (again, always supposing we could say even that much!).

And there is little point directing our attention to what we know already, since, on this view, not only could we know nothing about anything, we would be infinitely ignorant of everything

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 8 2012 08:40
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:
LB:
Quote:
Yeah, I find the problem with anything being 'broken down' into bits for 'analysis' can go too far, and can lose the 'greater' meaning.

That can happen, but if it is done skilfully, it needn't.

Quote:
After all, a wall broken down into its constituent bricks looses its 'wall-ness' and its emergent properties, and so the bricks, isolated and alone in a pile, tell one nothing about 'walls', but only 'bricks'.

Unfortunately. the opposite approach is even worse...

Why? I don’t see why I can’t, too, reply:

“That can happen, but if it is done skilfully, it needn't.”

RL wrote:
Now, several consequences of a HEX-like methodology are catastrophic: HEX holds out the prospect of an infinite task ahead of anyone rash enough to take this approach seriously.

But I agree that gaining knowledge of anything is ‘an infinite task ahead’, whether through ‘expansion’ (outwards and greater) or through ‘regression’ (inwards and smaller).

RL wrote:
HEX-type investigations proceed in the opposite direction to those taken by CAR-like analyses.

Yeah, but HEX and CAR both suffer from the same criticism, don’t they?

RL wrote:
The reason for saying that is bound up with the fact that instead of seeking increasingly fundamental units, HEX-theorists aim to find ever wider, more involved and inclusive connections, which must be explored before any attempt to depict the "specific characteristics" of anything in particular can even begin.

But surely I can reverse this statement of yours to read:

“The reason for saying that is bound up with the fact that instead of seeking increasingly higher level real explanatory structures, CAR-theorists aim to find ever narrower, less involved and exclusive connections, which must be explored before any attempt to depict the "complex characteristics" of anything in general can even begin.”

Further, I too agree that ‘knowledge’ is always a ‘partial truth’, and I like the concept of an unachievable ‘totality’ because it is essentially an anti-authoritarian axiom. That is, any ‘authority’ is open to challenge.

As I say, I agree with most of your criticisms of what passes for ‘dialectics’, but I think that your approach, as far as I understand it, suffers from the same problems, but just in the opposite direction.

RL wrote:
Whatever is said about any object or process has an infinitely high probability of being completely wrong, given the great "cloud of unknowing" that forever surrounds everything. This is true even with respect to the humblest of objects found in this fathomless Whole -- like those bricks (again, always supposing we could say even that much!).

Yeah, and yet we humans persist in trying to peek through the ‘great cloud’, eh!?

I’m inclined to think that the answer is in the attempt itself: the interaction of theory and practice, both ‘inwards’ and ‘outwards’, in isolated details and in interacting processes, and I think this human attempt is a ‘social’, not an ‘individual’ enterprise, involving discussion, debate, disagreement, theorisation and experiment, and voting. And the propertyless proletariat have the best vantage point, the most disinterested perspective of natural humanity.

‘Democratic dialectics’? Well, I don’t know, for one! At least I expose my axioms.

Cheers, Rosa!

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 09:48

LBird:

Quote:
But I agree that gaining knowledge of anything is ‘an infinite task ahead’, whether through ‘expansion’ (outwards and greater) or through ‘regression’ (inwards and smaller).

Then, even this comment of yours is subject to the same process, and, as an example of knowledge, even if only partial or 'relative', it must be infinitely far from the truth, too, and thus it is infinitely probable that it is wrong.

Alas, the same will apply to any response you care to make to this point, including this:

Quote:
Further, I too agree that ‘knowledge’ is always a ‘partial truth’, and I like the concept of an unachievable ‘totality’ because it is essentially an anti-authoritarian axiom. That is, any ‘authority’ is open to challenge.

As I say, I agree with most of your criticisms of what passes for ‘dialectics’, but I think that your approach, as far as I understand it, suffers from the same problems, but just in the opposite direction.

This also stands an infinite probability of being totally false. This too:

Quote:
Yeah, and yet we humans persist in trying to peek through the ‘great cloud’, eh!?

I’m inclined to think that the answer is in the attempt itself: the interaction of theory and practice, both ‘inwards’ and ‘outwards’, in isolated details and in interacting processes, and I think this human attempt is a ‘social’, not an ‘individual’ enterprise, involving discussion, debate, disagreement, theorisation and experiment, and voting. And the propertyless proletariat have the best vantage point, the most disinterested perspective of natural humanity.

Any infinitary theory of knowledge must founder on these very same rocks.

Quote:
Yeah, but HEX and CAR both suffer from the same criticism, don’t they?

I agree, which is part of the reason I reject all philosophical theories (as either non-sensical or hopelessly confused).

Quote:
But surely I can reverse this statement of yours to read:

Maybe so, but I'm not recommending CAR. Both HEX and CAR are non-sensical and/or confused -- so is any other theory of knowledge, whoever invents it.

Recall that when I said I rejected all philosophical theories (as non-sensical or confused), I didn't mean just 90%, or 99.99%, but 100%.

So, I'm not advocating an alternative theory of knowledge as in any way superior to all the rest; I reject all philosophical theories of knowledge.

Finally:

Quote:
Why? I don’t see why I can’t, too, reply:

“That can happen, but if it is done skilfully, it needn't.”

For the above reasons -- including any reply you care to make to this...

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 8 2012 09:58
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:
So, I'm not advocating an alternative theory of knowledge as in any way superior to all the rest; I reject all philosophical theories of knowledge.

So, how do you think or know anything?

Send us your bank details, because I at least have a theory of how banks work!

RL wrote:
For the above reasons -- including any reply you care to make to this...

Oh... that's a bit abrupt... sounds like certainty to me...

Well, have a nice day, Rosa!

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 8 2012 10:04
revol68 wrote:
...when you can wank yourself silly over increasingly elaborate versions of 2+2=4

Yeah, especially when simply everyone knows that 2+2=11...
.
.
.
.
...in base 3, of course.

Symbols and axioms, eh? Never fuckin' ending...

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 10:26

LBird:

Quote:
So, how do you think or know anything?

Because I don't suffer from any cognitve problems and I know how to use the English language.

You know (sorry about the pun!), we don't need a theory of knowledge to actually know anything.

Quote:
Oh... that's a bit abrupt... sounds like certainty to me...

As it was intended to do.

That's because I know how to use the word 'certain'.

As do you... smile

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 10:32

R68:

Quote:
Rosa rejects all theories of knowledge because none are 100% true, which is why she prefers empty formal logic which whilst not saying anything about the world is by definition true.

Formal logic isn't a philosophical theory. [I know you DM-fans know no logic, but you really do need to upgrade your knowlegde before you try to take me on!]

Quote:
basically why fuck about trying to get a grasp on the complexities of reality when you can wank yourself silly over increasingly elaborate versions of 2+2=4.

Can't resist dragging things through the dirt, can you?

But what has Formal Logic got to do with this?

Quote:
I am baffled why someone with such a mindset ever got interested in Marx in the first place

Well, that's one more item we can add to that ever-lengthening list, isn't it?

jura's picture
jura
Offline
Joined: 25-07-08
Mar 8 2012 10:35
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:
You know (sorry about the pun!), we don't need a theory of knowledge to actually know anything.

In the same vein, we all know how to use money, so why develop a theory of money? I'm really curious how Marx can be interesting to someone with this kind of a mindset.

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 10:59

Jura (still intent on adding to 'his' many errors):

Quote:
In the same vein, we all know how to use money, so why develop a theory of money? I'm really curious how Marx can be interesting to someone with this kind of a mindset.

In your intent to malign me come what may, and in your agitated and emotive state, you seem to have lost the ability to read. You erroneously think I am against all theories.

Now, relunctant as I am to free you from yet another self-inflicted error, here goes:

Nip over to the opticians, and get a new pair of specs, and then re-read what I posted: I am against all PHILOSOPHICAL theories (that should help you see it this time, but only time will tell...).

I am quite happy with scientifc theory. [While you plainly aren't and want to infect Marx's work with all manner of mystical accretions.]

As I said, arrogant and abusive.

Have a nice fume... smile

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Mar 8 2012 11:05
syndicalistcat wrote:
Quote:
I think it's great that Syndicalist cat is so honest to admit he junked dialectics, found Cohen's book "useful," and in this "useful" process, junked essentially the whole of Marxism, in that he junked historical materialism, which is precisely what Marx's critique of capital amounts-- that history is a social product, that the product is determined by the social organization of labor.

Now that's a ringing endorsement for dismissing Marx's dialectic-- just junk the entire critique.

you weren't paying attention. apparently that's too much to expect of you. after i give my interpretation of a non-deterministic hist mat, I say it's "very plausible."

now as to regarding Marx as Holy Writ, yeah, fuck that shit.

it's quite possible to take a look at particular theses of M and evaluate them in a critical way and agree with them...or not as the case may be. There are various insights to be gotten there, about, for example, how capitalist production doesn't just produce commodities but also produces in people a mentality that "fits" their role, and thus helps us to understand why the system tends to sustain itself. just to give an example. i.e. capitalist production produces not only commodities but tends to reproduce the capitalist social relations.

Quote:
that history is a social product, that the product is determined by the social organization of labor.

"history is a social product" is virtually a tautology...if you're talking about social history. i take it you mean that the social organization of labor "determines" history, yes? okay, that's an example of an erroneous, deterministic interpretation of hist mat, from my point of view. structures can't "determine" anything.

The hell I wasn't. Here's what you wrote:

Quote:
RL and I had our disagreements on revleft, but I tend to agree with her that dialectics is incoherent. Back when I was still a libertarian Marxist, I did find Cohen's book on M.'s theory of history very useful because of its clarity. I don't agree anymore with historical materialism but even if I did, I wouldn't interpret it the way Cohen did now...and i think a problem with it is precisely that it is subject to various and conflicting interpretations.

Apparently it's too much to expect you to accept responsibility for your own statements.

As for history being a social product.... that's a tautology perhaps now, it certainly was not accepted as a social product when Marx (not to mention Hegel). One of the fundamental points in Marx's critique of political economy is that the political economists never come to grips with the specific social conditions, the history, that compels labor to present itself in the markets as a value in exchange for the means of subsistence.

That's the flaw that those who dismiss historical materialism, and the historical basis of Marx's dialectic reproduce.

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 11:14

SA:

Quote:
That's the flaw that those who dismiss historical materialism, and the historical basis of Marx's dialectic reproduce.

Not so. I largely agree with you over HM, but I reject the 'dialectic' as you mystics interpret it.

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Mar 8 2012 11:20
LBird wrote:
S.Artesian wrote:
And in English yet...........so much better than having to learn that guttural German, or fancy French, or slippery Spanish... not to mention Tagalog, Arabic, any of the Slavic tongues, or those incredibly difficult Asian languages. Good old fashioned English. It's good enough for the Queen, it should be good enough for everyone.

So if dialectics are junk, labor theory of value is pap, and historical materialism is hogwash, exactly what are you discussing? Exactly how do you explain what capital does here and now as well as then and there?

It's responses like this that actually add support to Rosa's position on 'dialectics'.

I've tried talking to you and the others about 'dialectics', but you haven't explained in a way I can understand.

And yeah, English would be a good starting point. As I've said, many of us don't speak 'dialectics', so it's up to you and the other supporters to translate, rather than blaming us sceptics for actually being able to think critically about what appears to be nonsense.

And you, in particular, never got round to discussing any further why you'd never seen a relationship between democracy and dialectics. Or, indeed, a lack of one.

Strange that, isn't it, why those two concepts don't 'interpenetrate' each other, in 'dialectic-world', eh?

That's odd, because here's what you said to me in post #178 of this thread:

Quote:
As far as I can tell, S. Artesian, you seem to agree with me that the 'dialectical method' is a human, social, historical attempt to 'understand', through their own activity.

The only word that I've used that you don't specifically endorse, as far as I can see, is my constant use of 'democratic'.

But since you stress the 'social labour process', can I assume that you tacitly support my emphasis on that 'process' being a 'democratic process'? Or do you see 'social labour', 'science', etc. as being outside of the control, in the future Communist society, of the then successful revolutionary proletariat?

Thanks for your help.

With further "understanding" of what I was saying in post #181.

As for the democracy and dialectic issue-- nope haven't pursued beyond what I said in the earlier posts because it is not the subject or the object of Marx's critique.

We all have time constraints, specific interests, areas we think are critical, and those constraints, interests, and criticality dissuade me from engaging in the "dialectic as democracy" discussion.

That may be a mistake on my part, but it's my mistake, not Marx's, not a flaw in Marx, and certainly not evidence that Marx "extirpated" Hegel "sometime between the Grundrisse and volume 1" as the troll Lichtenstein puts it.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 8 2012 11:30
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:
I am against all PHILOSOPHICAL theories [but]... I am quite happy with scientifc theory.

This has got me confused, Rosa. Doesn't 'scientific theory' have some 'philosophical' content?

I don't think these two aspects can be separated as easily as you suggest.

S.Artesian wrote:
As for the democracy and dialectic issue-- nope haven't pursued beyond what I said in the earlier posts because it is not the subject or the object of Marx's critique.

We all have time constraints, specific interests, areas we think are critical, and those constraints, interests, and criticality dissuade me from engaging in the "dialectic as democracy" discussion.

That may be a mistake on my part, but it's my mistake, not Marx's, not a flaw in Marx...

Well, I'm inclined to think issues of proletarian democracy and science are 'critical', but you're free to differ in your opinion.

And as apparently Marx didn't discuss this 'critical' issue, then I'm inclined to say that it is both Marx's mistake and a flaw in his discussion.

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 11:32

SA:

Quote:
I've tried talking to you and the others about 'dialectics', but you haven't explained in a way I can understand.

Now you know how I feel whenever you make a feable attempt to do the same.

Quote:
That may be a mistake on my part, but it's my mistake, not Marx's, not a flaw in Marx, and certainly not evidence that Marx "extirpated" Hegel "sometime between the Grundrisse and volume 1" as the troll Lichtenstein puts it.

So, only 999,996 to go.

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 11:41

LB:

Quote:
This has got me confused, Rosa. Doesn't 'scientific theory' have some 'philosophical' content?

The scientific part doesn't, but the 'prose' scientists often add to their theories -- when they try to popularise their ideas, for example -- sometimes does.

['Prose' here is taken from Wittgenstein. It refers to the material mathematicians and scientists add to their work, which is not essential to it, in order to explain to non-experts what they are on about. Often that 'prose' contains amateurish, or, sometimes, professional metaphysics -- Newton's work is a good example. ]

Quote:
I don't think these two aspects can be separated as easily as you suggest.

Which underlines why Marx said that the ruling ideas are always those of the ruling class.

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Mar 8 2012 11:49
Quote:
Well, I'm inclined to think issues of proletarian democracy and science are 'critical', but you're free to differ in your opinion.

And as apparently Marx didn't discuss this 'critical' issue, then I'm inclined to say that it is both Marx's mistake and a flaw in his discussion.

Well, good. I'm glad you think so, and I wish you well in your endeavor.

None of that however matters one way or the other regarding the issue of Marx's supposed "extirpation" of Hegel.

Nor does that mean that those who see in Marx's analysis of capital as a social relation of production a demonstration of dialectic, of the organized identity and conflict of labor and the conditions of labor, are speaking in mystical terms. It does not mean that Marx's demonstrations of unity and conflict between appearance and essence, moment and totality, being and becoming in the accumulation and reproduction of capital are applying religious criteria, mystical incantations, magical thinking to the critique of political economy.

Rosa Lichtenstein
Offline
Joined: 30-03-07
Mar 8 2012 11:53

SA:

Quote:
None of that however matters one way or the other regarding the issue of Marx's supposed "extirpation" of Hegel.

Not the least bit 'supposed', unless, of course, you think Marx only 'supposed' to call the summary he added to the Afterword, 'the dialectic method' -- even though it contained not one atom of Hegel -- as a sort of slip of the pen, maybe?

S. Artesian
Offline
Joined: 5-02-09
Mar 8 2012 12:03

Well, since we are all historical materialists here [almost all, not sure where Syndicalistcat stands, but then again, who cares?] let's ask a question having to do with history, materialism, and the extirpation of Hegel.

If Marx "extirpated" Hegel "sometime between the Grundrisse and the publication of volume 1" and extirpating Hegel means freeing Marx's critique of capitalism from the mystifying chains of dialectic:

--what sections, assertions, critiques in the Grundrisse are in conflict with sections assertions critiques contained in volume 1?

--what elements of the Grundrisse are in fact not a critical inquiry into capital, but in reality an accommodation to capital?

--where is the Grundrisse incorrect in its critique of capital, and where does volume 1 correct that flaw?

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Mar 8 2012 12:05
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:
The scientific part doesn't, but the 'prose' scientists often add to their theories -- when they try to popularise their ideas, for example -- sometimes does.

['Prose' here is taken from Wittgenstein. It refers to the material mathematicians and scientists add to their work, which is not essential to it, in order to explain to non-experts what they are on about. Often that 'prose' contains amateurish, or, sometimes, professional metaphysics -- Newton's work is a good example. ]

But 'prose' is essential when talking to most humans - politics works in the 'prose' world, not the 'mathematical' world. To suppose the latter is superior is to separate humans into two groups - as I'm a Communist, I don't do this.

RL wrote:
Which underlines why Marx said that the ruling ideas are always those of the ruling class.

Yeah, the ruling ideas are, but there are other classes' ideas. Surely that's what this site is all about?

S.Artesian wrote:
It does not mean that Marx's demonstrations of unity and conflict between appearance and essence, moment and totality, being and becoming in the accumulation and reproduction of capital are applying religious criteria, mystical incantations, magical thinking to the critique of political economy.

Yeah, which makes one wonder most 'dialecticians' explanations seem to be 'religious, mystical and magical', rather than explained properly for all to admire.

Communism requires communication.