About the AF aims & principles...

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Picket
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Dec 21 2010 15:08

I have never read Descartes so I can't rehash him.

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Picket
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Dec 21 2010 15:48

dup

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Picket
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Dec 21 2010 16:08

I've argued that non-materialism does not prevent one from adopting Anarchism and remaining logically consistent. On the other hand, materialism does not lead one to Anarchism. As a materialist, there is nothing stopping me from declaring that I dislike or have little regard for my fellow man, think they deserve or are willing to be exploited, and setting myself up as a capitalist to exploit them.

So the materialism "clause" in the AF A&P seems unnecessary and counter-productive.

Now, I am not here to troll, I am here because I wish to take part in the revolution. Am I welcome, and where am I best placed to help?

Wait a minute, I appear to have been reading an old version of the A&P! I have no argument with an objection to organised religion and religious belief, this seems perfectly reasonable.

LBird
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Dec 21 2010 17:13
Pikel wrote:
A non-materialist view of the world does not imply that the world is not real or that real action is not required.

Pikel, I think most people here would regard real and material as synonymous. If this is true, it suggests that A non-materialist view of the world does imply that the world is not real. Or, in other words, a non-real view of the world does imply that the world is not real.

Perhaps you could argue that there is something else or more than the real world, but if this else or more is not viewable from a materialist perspective, then it is unknowable.

As far as human politics goes (especially Communism), the only world is the real world that we can know and change.

What's more, any reliance on a metaphysical, non-materialist worldview will lead to elitist, conservative ways of thinking, because the non-materialist view of the world is always found to be comprehensible to a special few of great insight (like priests or Nietzschean politicians).

I'm keen to hear your further thoughts on why you place any stress on the non-material, given that you're a Communist, like us.

FWIW, I regard the non-materialist view of the world as useful for viewing the world of gods, ghosts, pixies, tooth-fairies and trolls.

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Dec 21 2010 18:08
LBird wrote:
Pikel wrote:
A non-materialist view of the world does not imply that the world is not real or that real action is not required.

Pikel, I think most people here would regard real and material as synonymous. If this is true, it suggests that A non-materialist view of the world does imply that the world is not real. Or, in other words, a non-real view of the world does imply that the world is not real.

If that's so, then that's where the confusion lies, as I would not typically conflate real with material. Real to me identifies an extant thing, in contrast with the idea of a thing. Material identifies those real things which are subject to scientific analysis and manipulation, and excludes the conscious world of subjective experience, which is, ultimately, not subject to those things, but is indeed real and not just an idea.

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Perhaps you could argue that there is something else or more than the real world, but if this else or more is not viewable from a materialist perspective, then it is unknowable.

I would argue there is something else / more than the material world, it is not viewable from a materialist perspective, but it is viewable from the perspective of a conscious entity.

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As far as human politics goes (especially Communism), the only world is the real world that we can know and change.

I'm not sure about that one! One of the underpinnings for my political stance is my understanding of the nature of consciousness and my loosely held impression that consciousness is a more fundamental aspect of the universe than "mere matter". My feelings for the others with whom I share the world are influenced by this - "we are all one" - this also informs my view on hierarchies of all types.

However, this is part (or perhaps the entirety) of the foundation for my position, it leads me to see particular ends as prefereable. The means to the end will certainly have to be exercised in the material world, as it's in the material world that the hierarchies, injustices and exploitations exist.

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What's more, any reliance on a metaphysical, non-materialist worldview will lead to elitist, conservative ways of thinking, because the non-materialist view of the world is always found to be comprehensible to a special few of great insight (like priests or Nietzschean politicians).

I am not suggesting any reliance on a non-materialist worldview at all! I am just arguing that holding such a view should not lead to exclusion, but on seeing the more recent A&Ps it appears this is, happily, already the case.

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I'm keen to hear your further thoughts on why you place any stress on the non-material, given that you're a Communist, like us.

Well, see above.

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FWIW, I regard the non-materialist view of the world as useful for viewing the world of gods, ghosts, pixies, tooth-fairies and trolls.

I don't believe in gods, ghosts, pixies or tooth-fairies... and I'm not a troll!

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Noa Rodman
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Dec 21 2010 18:49

Isaiah Berlin's site has a 60 page manuscript of his lectures on Berkeley, goes into all the nooks and crannies, but I suggest reading his short 5 page THE REFUTATION OF PHENOMENALISM.

LBird
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Dec 21 2010 19:30

Thanks, Pikel, for your comradely reply!

Now, down to business!

Pikel wrote:
If that's so, then that's where the confusion lies, as I would not typically conflate real with material. Real to me identifies an extant thing, in contrast with the idea of a thing. Material identifies those real things which are subject to scientific analysis and manipulation, and excludes the conscious world of subjective experience, which is, ultimately, not subject to those things, but is indeed real and not just an idea.

So, you seem to be saying (and please correct me if I'm misunderstanding you) that the conscious is real, but not material.

Could you give me an example of real consciousness which is not inside a material organ?

Could you give me an example of a conscious world of subjective experience, which is, ultimately, not subject to those material things, like a .50 calibre bullet?

Pikel wrote:
I would argue there is something else / more than the material world, it is not viewable from a materialist perspective, but it is viewable from the perspective of a conscious entity.

Aren't we back to the world of fairies here? A freestanding (individual?) conscious entity viewing a (socially-unviewable?) non-material something else?

Pikel wrote:
One of the underpinnings for my political stance is my understanding of the nature of consciousness and my loosely held impression that consciousness is a more fundamental aspect of the universe than "mere matter".

This is a loosely held impression that should be flung aside as soon as possible, mate! Although, I suppose you could just transfer it from your brain of 'mere matter' to the 'more fundamental' place you keep your consciousness, and just show me up, eh!

I hope I don't come across as taking the piss too much, because you're asking some important questions that need answering, from a Commie, materialist perspective.

And I'm glad you got my feeble joke about 'trolls'.

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Dec 21 2010 20:50
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Isaiah Berlin's site has a 60 page manuscript of his lectures on Berkeley, goes into all the nooks and crannies, but I suggest reading his short 5 page THE REFUTATION OF PHENOMENALISM.

I had a quick skim, there are some big words in there which suggest a couple of bottles of wine might be required to wash it down...

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Dec 21 2010 21:02
LBird wrote:
Thanks, Pikel, for your comradely reply!

Now, down to business!

Pikel wrote:
If that's so, then that's where the confusion lies, as I would not typically conflate real with material. Real to me identifies an extant thing, in contrast with the idea of a thing. Material identifies those real things which are subject to scientific analysis and manipulation, and excludes the conscious world of subjective experience, which is, ultimately, not subject to those things, but is indeed real and not just an idea.

So, you seem to be saying (and please correct me if I'm misunderstanding you) that the conscious is real, but not material.

Could you give me an example of real consciousness which is not inside a material organ?

Could you give me an example of a conscious world of subjective experience, which is, ultimately, not subject to those material things, like a .50 calibre bullet?

I don't mean to suggest that consciousness has no relation to matter, and it certainly seems to accrue in the brain, but no matter how hard we study the operation of the brain from a mechanistic perspective I am utterly at a loss to see how we could identify a mechanism of conscious subjective experience. I know my judgement here is intuitive but I don't know what else to say, I am waiting to be convinced that conscious subjective experience can arise via a mechanism.

I have no idea what happens to consciousness when you destroy the brain it seems to be associated with. Perhaps it returns to the collective unconscious only to emerge in another developing brain. Perhaps not. Either way, my point is I don't see the relevance of this to Anarchist Communism or any other political cause. We all have to live in the material world, so let's have the best material world we can, one where people are free.

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Pikel wrote:
I would argue there is something else / more than the material world, it is not viewable from a materialist perspective, but it is viewable from the perspective of a conscious entity.

Aren't we back to the world of fairies here? A freestanding (individual?) conscious entity viewing a (socially-unviewable?) non-material something else?

I don't know if that's what fairies are like, I haven't suggested freestanding conscious entities (presumably you mean without material manifestation?) but who knows! Again, I don't see the relevance. This isn't a religious viewpoint, it's a philosophical and human viewpoint.

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Pikel wrote:
One of the underpinnings for my political stance is my understanding of the nature of consciousness and my loosely held impression that consciousness is a more fundamental aspect of the universe than "mere matter".

This is a loosely held impression that should be flung aside as soon as possible, mate! Although, I suppose you could just transfer it from your brain of 'mere matter' to the 'more fundamental' place you keep your consciousness, and just show me up, eh!

I hope I don't come across as taking the piss too much, because you're asking some important questions that need answering, from a Commie, materialist perspective.

And I'm glad you got my feeble joke about 'trolls'.

You don't come across as taking the piss at all, but I don't feel like my mind is being changed! Perhaps when I consume Berlin's five-pager I will have my materialist epiphany, but it won't change my political stance.

LBird
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Dec 21 2010 23:06
Pikel wrote:
...I am waiting to be convinced that conscious subjective experience can arise via a mechanism.

Surely, if you can't give an example of a "conscious subjective experience" arising without a mechanism, like a brain, it at least points to the need for "a mechanism"?

Still, perhaps your individual 'intuition' is a better guide than social 'materialism'.

Pikel wrote:
I have no idea what happens to consciousness when you destroy the brain it seems to be associated with. Perhaps it returns to the collective unconscious only to emerge in another developing brain.

'Collective unconscious'? You'll be telling me you believe in god next, mate!

Pikel wrote:
Perhaps not. Either way, my point is I don't see the relevance of this to Anarchist Communism or any other political cause. We all have to live in the material world, so let's have the best material world we can, one where people are free.

That's much better. Ditch the mumbo-jumbo. Focus on this world, not the unknowable. After all, if we all return to the 'collective unconscious', why bother struggling in this particular manifestation of consciousness? Might as well wait for karma to do its job, and all have a turn at being rich, ruling class bastards, next time around, in 'another developing brain'.

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Dec 21 2010 23:24
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That's much better. Ditch the mumbo-jumbo. Focus on this world, not the unknowable. After all, if we all return to the 'collective unconscious', why bother struggling in this particular manifestation of consciousness? Might as well wait for karma to do its job, and all have a turn at being rich, ruling class bastards, next time around, in 'another developing brain'.

You're missing or avoiding my point. I don't believe in anything without evidence, there is no evidence for a mechanism that can produce consciousness from matter, there's no evidence for god, there's no evidence for karma... I have an open mind and will happily go with the thing for which there's evidence, as the provisional truth; that doesn't mean I'm a Hindu or a Buddhist or that I will become one without substantial evidence for their truth. I refuse to reject possibilities out of hand and I refuse to sign up for something I am not convinced about.

Now, am I or am I not welcome amongst you?

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Dec 22 2010 01:24
Pikel wrote:
You're missing or avoiding my point. I don't believe in anything without evidence, there is no evidence for a mechanism that can produce consciousness from matter, t

We exist, what more evidence do you need that consciousness can be produce by matter?

the fact that we do not yet fully understand the process by which this happens doesn't change the fact that there is a process by which this happens.

Yorkie Bar
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Dec 22 2010 03:00
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Now, am I or am I not welcome amongst you?

Well, obviously you couldn't join the AF since you don't agree with our basic political ideas. I have no idea whether you're welcome amongst LBird - maybe if you bought him a drink?

More seriously, you can of course argue philosophically about whether the world is basically material or imaginary (I know you dislike the term, but I can't for the life of me think what else I'd call something that was entirely the product of someone's mind) until the cows come home, but the proof is of course in the pudding. The AF is committed to a political programme based on the notion that changing society is fundamentally about changing the material conditions of social life. This is a practical materialism, and seems pretty much entirely at odds with your belief in the primacy of consciousness over the material world.

Still, I wish you the best of luck with whatever your political program consists of, and hope that it brings you much joy.

~J. x

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Dec 22 2010 08:58
Yorkie Bar wrote:
Well, obviously you couldn't join the AF since you don't agree with our basic political ideas.

the question is whether having a hunch the strings in string theory are made out of disembodied 'consciousness' violates practical materialism. from Pikel's argument it may not since they're not saying will power/contemplation/prayer is a material force for change as far as i can tell. but yeah, the AF is a political organisation. why would anyone want to join a political organisation if they didn't agree with its politics?

LBird
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Dec 22 2010 12:38
Yorkie Bar wrote:
Well, obviously you couldn't join the AF since you don't agree with our basic political ideas. I have no idea whether you're welcome amongst LBird - maybe if you bought him a drink?

Yorkie, mate, you know me so well!

Of course Pikel is welcome here and in the pub (if not in the AF - elitist bastards!).

Though, of course, I'll be having a real ale, whereas poor old Pikel will be only staring at a non-materialist image of a shandy on a beermat.

And later I'll be able to test the boundaries of the conscious and unconscious, while Pikel looks on in contempt at my crude materialism.

Yorkie Bar
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Dec 23 2010 08:00
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but yeah, the AF is a political organisation. why would anyone want to join a political organisation if they didn't agree with its politics?

Maybe he's lonely?

~J.