Re: [OPE] Science and scientology

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Sat Jun 06 2009 - 06:02:34 EDT

I agree that 'Marxism' is a political philosophy and therefore an
ideology. Starting from that intellectual tradition however there is a
body of scientific work and knowledge that should be tested
irrespectively of what Marx said.

I never suggested that I was saying anything profound, just pointing out
the obvious that sometimes gets lost in discussions. For instance, if I
argue for the state theory of money I get the response that this does
not adhere to the argument presented in Vol. 1. This has nothing to do
with the validity of the theory and whether it answers certain questions
raised within the Marxian tradition.

//Dave Z

Jurriaan Bendien wrote:
> Imre Lakatos (and other philosophers of science, such as Paul
> Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn and Larry Laudan) provided many examples in
> the history of science where scientists hold on to their beliefs (or a
> "paradigm") despite contrary evidence, and they refer explicitly to
> "scientific dogma" in this sense. In other words, scientists do not
> immediately abandon their theorems at a drop of a hat, in a dilletante
> way, when confronted with bona fide contrary evidence; instead, they
> try to develop new explanations and new tests for why this evidence is
> compatible with their previous theory, and meantime they continue to
> defend their previous theory. Obviously no real theoretical
> development could occur, if core assumptions would be continually
> changed and replaced, since the whole inferential system would in that
> case constantly change in unpredictable patterns.
> The "fallacy of composition" actually has two main variants. The
> logical form of the first variant is similar to a pitfall of inductive
> generalisation:
> Some X's are Y, therefore all X's are Y
> The assumption here is simply that characteristics which apply to a
> subset of an object class apply to the object class as a whole, but,
> although this is logically always possible, the point is that "no
> additional premiss" is provided to prove that it really is the case,
> hence it is an illegitimate inference as it stands.
> The logical form of the second variant is slightly more subtle:
> Elements{X, Y, Z} of the whole {A} share characteristics {P, Q, R},
> therefore the whole {A} must have characteristics {P, Q, R}
> Here the assumption is, that characteristics of the elements must
> necessarily apply to the whole too, "without provision of any
> justification or reasoned inference for why this must be so", given
> that the whole could be qualitatively different from the sum of its
> parts (in the same way that 1 an 3 are odd numbers and 4 is an even
> number, so that we cannot infer from 1+3=4 that 4 is an odd number).
> Now, in reality Jerry, our dispute has nothing to do directly with
> either fallacy. You, as the self-proclaimed, patronising Legislator of
> Logic, just start accusing me a "fallacy of composition" in order to
> evade my argument, but nobody can really take that seriously for a
> minute.
> I have never denied that there can be Marxists who are very good
> people, as well as Marxists who are manipulative exploiters. On
> average, Marxists are probably no better or worse than anybody else.
> But I claim two things:
> (1) Marxism is a non-scientific, quasi-religious ideology;
> (2) Marxism "can function as" and "has functioned as" the ideology of
> a new exploiting class seeking to transform the world after their own
> image.
> I have distinguished carefully between Marxism as an ideology, and
> Marxian or Marxological scientific research (research which shares
> Marx's "goals"). They are different, because Marxism as an ideology
> does not accept scientific criteria to adjudicate the truth, and is
> immune to scientific criticism.
> Why I mention the fallacy of composition is, that the ideology of
> Marxism (in various variants) in fact utilizes these fallacies all the
> time, even although you are not aware of it: for example, just because
> e.g. Mao, Stalin, Trotsky and Pol Pot were brutal dictators, does not
> mean that there is anything at all wrong at all with "Marxism as a
> whole" (sic.).
> In this way, you can justify anything, because "at a certain level of
> abstraction" the whole is different from the parts, while at another
> "level of abstraction" the whole and the parts are the same even if
> they contradict each other. If the evidence supports Marxist ideology,
> you accept it, and if it contradicts Marxist ideology, you reject it
> because it is "irrelevant" or a "fallacy". And that is, consistently,
> how the "dialectics" of Jerry Levy operate. It may be a harmless,
> shallow ideological activity, and I am not saying it is necessarily
> wrong, but it is not scientific, that is the point.
> Jurriaan
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Received on Sat Jun 6 06:04:24 2009

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