From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Mon Sep 12 2005 - 18:49:27 EDT
Perhaps a better question is: Is computation dialectical and vice versa? I am no expert in Hegel, unlike others on the list. Reasons why computation may be the modern form of dialectics: (i) Computation is logic in motion. At each instant a computer program conforms to the laws of ordinary logic (the value of a variable cannot both be 0 and 1), yet it can instantiate processes that are in real contradiction to each other. (ii) The Church-Turing thesis is a structurally similar claim to the Hegelian identity of thought and being. (Both, unsurprisingly, unprovable). (iii) Computation is a general theory of causation, and can be used to model both objective and subjective phenomena, similar to the claims of dialectical logic. (iv) The causal sequences of a computer program unfold with logical necessity, despite being natural processes. I believe that Hegel argued that natural necessity was identical to logical necessity in order to refute Hume. The problem is, not many experts in Hegel know about computation, and vice-versa. A further problem is that many people think computation is about crunching numbers, rather than a very general theory of dynamic processes. -Ian.
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