RE: [OPE] Dialectics for the New Century

Date: Mon Apr 07 2008 - 09:34:19 EDT

>The root meaning of dialectics is dialogue.

Hi Jurriaan:

True, but the meaning attached to words and expressions often changes 
significantly over
time.  If you call dialectics dialogue then that does not clarify matters at 
all - far from it.

>The central problem of deductive inference is that a conclusion follows 
>only if the premises are accepted, but that deductive inference itself 
>provides no logically compelling method for importing the premises.

That problem is recognized in computer science with the expression "Garbage 
In, Garbage Out"
(GIGO).  A variation on that -- which might be applied to the writings of 
certain unnamed
Marxians - is "Garbage In, Gospel Out".

The criteria for evaluating a theorem have to be made explicit. I have 
already suggested that "internal consistency" is not a sufficient criteria 
_by itself_ for evaluating social theorems:
see the "infinite quantity of logically plausible social theories (IQLPSTT) 
<>. An 
interesting exchange
followed, btw.

>At best we can say that, if particular premises are imported into the 
>inferential system, then in some sense the inferential system can "prove 
>itself". In other words, the only way an inferential system can "make 
>rational sense" without leading to logically unacceptable consequences is, 
>if we
>  import certain premises, if we make certain assumptions.>

In practice, that's why I think that the most meaningful critique is often a 
methodological critique
which focus on the relevance of the model's assumptions.

>The logician implies that for any meaning X an inferential system can be 
>specified according to which X can be decomposed into a finite set of 
>logical operators, but that is tantamount to saying that something is 
>meaningful only if it is rational or logical. And that is from a linguistic 
>or phenomenological perspective a very dubious idea, in particular because 
>something can be asserted as meaningful without being part of any logical 

Marxians may be a bit behind the curve on this question since the assumption 
of rationality is now widely critisized within the social sciences.  But, 
adaptive behavior (including 'learning by doing') can be successfully 
modeled (of course, subject to certain  assumptions which can be questioned) 
in formal computational models.  Rationality _and_ irrationality are both 
essential aspects for understanding certain subjects, imo (such as consumer 
behavior), and developing a formal model which has algorithms that allow for 
both rational and irrational behavior would be very challenging from a 
computational perspective.

In solidarity, Jerry

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