From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Sep 15 2005 - 04:48:13 EDT
Ian ---- I may well be. I was trying to use it in the Hegelian sense, although, as I mentioned, I'm no expert on Hegel, so I'm happy to be corrected. As far as I can understand Hegel, "dialectical" describes the nature of "being". Being is dialectical. I interpret this in a similar way to the claims of, say, "atomism", that being is ultimately composed of corpuscles, or such like, that interact. According to atomism, being is atomistic, according to Hegel being is dialectical. Hegel's categories, are, I think, a deduction of some necessary properties of being, but using the innovative methodology that valid inferences, the logical moves, must themselves be derived, organically so to speak, from the prior categories. Unlike formal logic, which takes a collection of rules of valid inference as independent variables, Hegel starts at an earlier point, and tries to self-referentially infer the valid rules of inference in an incremental fashion. In this sense, Hegel's categories are dependent variables, necessary consequences of his simple and abstract starting point. His aim, I suppose, to find the abstract necessary features of both nature and mind, and unify natural and logical necessity. So I think "dialectical" refers to both the method of derivation and the results of derivation. Paul I too am not a Hegel expert, I read some of his books as an undergraduate but have not looked at them for 30 years. But what I recall thinking when I read the Science of Logic, was the his inferences were not at all self supporting. They have all sorts of hidden assumptions, or are simple assertions. At this level the starting inferences should be treated as a process of introduction of additional axioms. One should bear in mind Chaitin's point that one can not get 2 kilos of theorems from 1 kilo of axioms.
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