Re: [OPE] Is 'dialectic' a scientific, pre-scientific or pseudo-scientific concept?

Date: Thu Apr 03 2008 - 06:47:38 EDT

 I understand now what you mean. I agree with everything you say.




-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung----- 
An: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Verschickt: Do., 3. Apr. 2008, 12:19
Thema: Re: [OPE] Is 'dialectic' a scientific, pre-scientific or pseudo-scientific concept?



The locating of a social contradiction is at the 
same time the identification of an opposition which must necessarily resolve 
itself.. an opposition that is the expression of an 'inherent' obstacle to the 
process of change in a society, a change that will allow the existing relations 
to develop ...this 'tension' is the source of energy which propels the system to 
'jump' to a new stage ( in this sense I see conceptual similarities to quantum 
mechanic ideas). EG. money evolved because with   barter every 
commodity played the peculiar role of  being both the relative and the 
equivalent value, both the use value in one transaction and then on another 
occasion the 'money commodity', in the end this 'schizoid' condition forced 
society to allocate the money role to only one, special, and materially 
adequate, commodity, and the contradiction which was latent within every 
commodity as use value and measure of value is 'relieved'... now that 
contradiction is expressed in the separation of money from goods, a new and 
higher stage of contradiction.  As in this case the whole of Marx's work 
aims to show how an historical development can be explained by assessing the 
nature of social contradictions, their 'tension' , which is their 'motor', and 
their resolution. This cannot be dealt with by speaking glibly of 'change' or an 
( abstract) dynamic.


Hope this helps 



----- Original Message ----- 



Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 4:47 

Subject: Re: [OPE] Is 'dialectic' a 
  scientific,pre-scientific or pseudo-scientific concept?


Dave Z suggests to replace the 
  concept of dialectic as such. This is what I was opposing. What you seem to 
  suggest to replace is just a formal one, namely the title. But I do not see 
  the reason or necessity for this change. The term dialectics a overall term 
  describing a general concept of the world. The concept of contradiction is a 
  core concept as Hegel, Marx, Engels and Lenin pointed out. But dialectics is 
  not just about contradiction. It contains also the concept of identity and 
  many others. So prefer to stick to our overall term Dialectics to refer to a 
  particular approach in natural and social scieces, and epistemology, in short, 
  in the disciplines of *Sein* and *Bewusstsein*.

But I do not understand 
  what you mean by the last sentence of your post: "The idea of 'dynamic' or 'change' don't point to this 
  'motor'." May I ask you to 
  expound on that a bit please.


-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung----- 
An: Outline on Political Economy mailing 
  list <>
Verschickt: Mi., 2. Apr. 2008, 
Thema: Re: [OPE] Is 'dialectic' a scientific, pre-scientific or 
  pseudo-scientific concept?


I am a bit surprised at this exchange. Firstly 
  given the period in which Hegel Marx and Engles wrote, the notion that  
  change was continuous certainly conflicted with the method that all sciences 
  tended to rely on, AND we shoud bear in mknd that 'social science' was barely 
  in its infancy... ( where do we start there? earlier than Comte?). Static or 
  relative static / mechanical assessments were the norm. So the reassertion of 
  the 'dialectic' ( almost whatever sense of dynamism one gives it) with hegel 
  was 'revolutionary'.


Secondly no one has really tried to define 
  dilectical reasoning here... Lenin was sincere enough to study Hegel in order 
  to clarify his mind about the process Marx had gone through, even though 
  Marx's method is absolutely different from Hegel...(and from the 'material' 
  side different from eg Holbach)  So why don't we try to see if  
  'ready to hand' words that suggest motion and change really are sufficient to 
  replace the 'word' dialectic.. as has been suggested in this exchange by DZ... 
  OR whether it presents a specific method with 
  definite philosophical grounds and which provides therefore a 
  particular approach to investigation?  Certainly DZ's comments  seem 
  to exclude the basic dialectical premise that each social formation 
  contains within it the contradictions which will result in its supercession by 
  another. This isn't an idea that can be expressed by the word 'change' or 
  'dynamic'. The essential concept is  that of 
  'contradiction'... and it the identification of the actual , 
  material, contradictory social relations, that is 
  fundamental  in the investigation. The idea of 'dynamic' or 'change' 
  don't point to this 'motor'.



P Bullock




    Original Message ----- 



    Tuesday, April 01, 2008 5:38 PM

    Re: [OPE] Is 'dialectic' a scientific,pre-scientific or pseudo-scientific 


Dave, we are from entirely 
    different "planets". I do not see any easy way of solving our differences in 
    the short term. It is perhaps not a bad idea to leave to time to solve - if 
    at all. Below my replies.


"Dialectics is the only 
    scientific concept today". 


Certainly this is a mistake. By extension all other 
    concepts are non-scientific. 
Thus physics, biology etc., 
    which have no need to use 'dialectic', would be non-scientific.

This is a 
    mistake. Dialectics is a universal concept and applies to all sciences and 
    humanities - of course in different forms.
Please take the terms: 
    coldness versus and warmness; hardness versus softness; universal and 
    particular; illness and healthiness. 

Without thinking these and many 
    other contradictory terms we cannot explain anything.  Dialectics says 
    we have to think these contradictory terms as unities and that they are 
    represented in one another. The motion from one to other is a process of 
    quantitative and qualitative processes. Let's take for example illness. Can 
    we define what illness is if do not think of healthiness at the same time. 
    And we fight against illness because we usually know that healthiness is 
    immanent in illness. Similarly with all other terms.

Can you 
    please give some reasons to justify your claim that dialectics is pre or 
    even pseudo-scientific? 
Dave Z
    doesn't seem to be a precise meaning of 'dialectic', it means whatever the 
    author wants. But most often it is used as a description of processes that 
    are driven by the form "thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis". At other times 
    the emphasis is shifted to describe processes that change quantitatively up 
    to a point and then make a qualitative "leap".

It is not as 
    arbitrary as you seem to think how one defines dialectics as a concept of 
    the world. It is an ontological concept and must be discovered in things 
    rather than in schematic definitions. The reasons you give prove that even 
    natural sciences cannot do without dialectics. The concepts you refer to 
    below are all dialectical concepts though they may be used unconsciously: 
    "Dynamical systems" (was 
    first developed against mechnic mode of thought and approach by 
    dialecticians); 'discontinuities' (implies the concept of 
    continuity); 'feedback signals' (implies the dialectic of action 
    reaction); 'phase transitions' (highly dialectical concept because it 
    implies changes from one characteristic to another) onanther have 
    more precise meaning and predictive power in scientific theories. Since these concepts proves the vice 
    versa your claims "Dialectic is at best a redundant concept",  "dialectic' is used as 
    pseudo-scientific nonsense" and so 
    on stand.




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