[OPE-L:8126] Re: philosophy and political economy

From: Andrew Brown (Andrew@lubs.leeds.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Dec 05 2002 - 10:03:29 EST

Hi Rakesh,

Re your 8120:

> And even if such self
> moving active matter is already implicit in the mechanistic worldview
> since the principle of inertia clearly states that a body continues in
> its state of rest or uniform motion unless compelled to change  to 
> change by forces impressed upon it and thus renders self-motion or
> Leibnzian conatus rather than extension fundamental to matter--I
> understand this to be have been your main point in 8115--

It is true that the the law to which you refer is consonant with the 
notion that matter is inherently in motion. This certainly does not 
mean that extension is inessential to matter. Even considered at 
its most abstract, matter must have both extension and motion.

> it seems that
> the possibility of self organizing matter is quite an extrapolation
> from the idea that matter moves itself. Perhaps I am trying to
> understand better this break with mechanical materialism, and failing
> miserably even to pose the question which did to its breakdown, though
> for this history of ideas I have relied on Steven Asma Following Form
> and Function.

Well, the real problem would arise if we do *not* allow that matter 
self-organises. Then once again we would have to ask what is it 
that organises 'matter' (where we for some reason deny 'matter' 
itself any organising principle)? If it is not matter itself then how can 
we avoid contradiction with the laws of physics? How can we avoid 
some mystical appeal to 'God' as in Descartes? Or perhaps we 
could suggest that it is Hegelian 'mind' / 'Spirit' that develops
material form? But neither of these 'options' avoids self-
contradiction I would argue. The reasonable view to take is then 
that matter is self-organising.

Many thanks,


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