Re: [OPE-L] abstraction and surprise

From: Christopher Arthur (arthurcj@WAITROSE.COM)
Date: Tue Nov 22 2005 - 11:21:20 EST

Yes 'from surprise to surprise ' would be dialectic as opposed to a 
deductive logic. Hegel stresses that to solve the contradiction by 
creating a new category requires 'an upward spring of the mind'.
There is also the Popperian surprise when the theory is found to cover 
new facts. For myself I never quite understood why H had a modal 
dialectic in Actuality. But when I did my mapping of the value form on 
the logic 'to my surprise' it emerged that this modal dialectic came 
just where I had to make the transition from the logical requirement 
for a universal equivalent to the emergence in reality of money.


On 21 Nov 2005, at 06:37, Howard Engelskirchen wrote:

> Hi Jerry,
> Yes, your point about surprise and levels of abstraction is 
> interesting.  By appealing to the assumptions we make at a level of 
> abstraction, assuming a variable constant, and then moving to a 
> more concrete level, have you strayed onto the "sequence of models" 
> territory critiqued by Chris in his Chapter 2?   And I take his point 
> in appealing to a logic of exposition is exactly to show that if we 
> keep stumbling over surprises, as VFT finds in Capital, ch. 1, then we 
> have a problem.   Or is that just with a logic that is linear?  That 
> is, supposing a presentation that was dialectical, could we find the 
> insufficiency of each stage to comprehend its presuppositions a kind 
> of surprise that drove forward the immanent logic of the argument so 
> that it constituted a move from surprise to surprise, dialectically 
> sublated, so to speak?  Maybe I'm wrong but I don't get the impression 
> Hegel was the kind of guy constantly going, "Wow!".  (I wouldn't be 
> surprised to be wrong!!)
> This also seems not the point you were trying to get at, but the 
> sequence of models problem does seem presented if we make assumptions 
> to deal with layers.
> In solidarity,
> Howard
> ----- Original Message -----
>  From: Jerry Levy
> Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2005 11:51 PM
> Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Anita's Chocolate Cake
> Hi Howard,
> I guess I must have misunderstood a number of points of your
> posts.  I apologize.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> JERRY:  That is, there
> is a different role for chance and surprise depending on the level
> of abstraction of the analysis, i.e. as we proceed to reconstruct a
> subject matter in thought the role of chance which is often assumed
> not to exist except as potential at a more abstract level of
> abstraction,  must be considered when we analyze a phenomena
> in its most concrete, specific form. END QUOTE.
> If it's legitimate for me to substitute "surprise" for "chance" in 
> your second
>  use of the word "chance", I'm interested in what it means for 
> surprise (or
>  chance) to exist only "as potential at a more abstract level of 
> abstraction." 
>  This is interesting.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the question.
> What I meant by that is that when assumptions are made at one
> level of abstraction which treat variables as if they were constant
> then one has created the potential for "surprise" at a more concrete
> level of abstraction.  In assuming a variable to be constant, within 
> the
> context of a layered presentation of a subject matter, one has already
> created a condition where there is a potential for surprise.  Now, I
> suppose you could ask whether the 'surprise' in the presentation is
> a 'real surprise'  for the author or just a surprise for the 'reader'. 
> I
> think it _should be_ the case that if one has already thought out the
> whole of the subject matter before writing, then the only surprises
> should be for readers.  But,  this is not always the case with 
> authors. 
>  I doubt that it was the case totally with Marx's political economy.
> Even when one thinks one knows what one wants to say and how it
> all fits together before putting pen to paper,  there are often some
> surprises that occur for authors in the writing process.  Maybe there
> are many of you that have had such 'surprises'.  If so, I'd love to
>  hear about them.
> In solidarity, Jerry
17 Bristol Road

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