Re: [OPE-L] Question

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@WFU.EDU)
Date: Fri Apr 13 2007 - 22:25:36 EDT

On Fri, 13 Apr 2007, Jerry Levy wrote:

> As a way of understanding capitalism, I think it is idealist to
> begin by asking what could happen in a non-existent,
> hypothetical ('ideal-type') mode of production and then working
> backwards to "see whether a capitalist economy will produce a
> similar solution".

This objection seems plausible, yet when you're examining a
"designed system" it's impossible to avoid considerations of
optimal design.  What, you say nobody designed capitalism?  Well,
true, and nobody designed the human heart either.  Both are
"merely" products of (blind) evolution.  So what might be a truly
"designed system".  Something designed by a human designer, of
course.  Beware, for here lurks true idealism!

For a materialist, everything under the sun "just happened" (the
result of a chain of material causation).  Yet some of the things
that happened can be be said, in some sense, to be designed.
Which ones?  Those that emerged via mutation-plus-selection.

I can't expand further here, but for anyone wanting to pursue this
idea, I recommend Daniel Dennett, "The Intentional Stance"


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