Re: [OPE] A thought about Rosa Lichtenstein's problem

From: Paul Zarembka <>
Date: Wed Sep 09 2009 - 16:20:57 EDT

Sorry, but I don't know of Rosa Lichtenstein. Could someone point me to a link
on her and the material being discussed. Thanks, Paul

(V23) THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11, Seven Stories Press softcover, 2008 2nd ed
====> Research in Political Economy, Emerald Group, Bingley, UK
====> Paul Zarembka, Editor

On Tue 09/08/09 7:50 PM , Jurriaan Bendien sent:
> A dialectical contradiction differs from a logical contradiction in that a
> logical contradiction is basically a formal inconsistency of meaning,
> evaluated according to certain inferential rules of propositional logic.
> >From a logically contradictory type of statement
> anything can follow. A dialectical contradiction describes a situation in which
a condition
> co-exists meaningfully with another condition, in such a way that although
> the one is the opposite of the other, it also presupposes the other. The
> dialectical contradiction is "held in place" by the fact that it
> is mediated by something, or contained by something else. In formal logic we
call this
> either a paradoxical statement, or a nonsensical statement. But in fact in
> practical life we encounter such dialectical contradictions all the time,
> and there is nothing particularly mysterious about it.
> To illustrate: I work as a public servant for a local government
> bureaucracy obliged by oath to follow the rules, yet if I tried to conduct
myself only
> and exclusively according to consistent rules, analogous to a computer
> programme or a machine, I would find this practically impossible to
> operate, and my activity would be quickly paralysed. I find myself constantly
> confronted with dialectical contradictions I have to negotiate, sometimes a
> bit like a "catch-22" situation.
> Now the interesting thing in this example is that even although I cannot
> practically act, only and exclusively, according to consistent rules and
> survive, nevertheless most people do not regard my behavior as essentially
> arbitrary, irrational and random. Some of it might be, but most of it is
> not. They recognise it has a non-arbitrary pattern. And not only that; they
> can also make correct and valid inferences from my behaviour, even
> although my behavior is not following any given rule. One could even say
> that much of my behaviour is predictable, even although does not involve
> executing a rule.
> >From this kind of insight you can learn that
> there are forms of reasoning (inferential processes) which, although they do
not conform to deductive
> logic, and do not lead to only one conclusion, are nevertheless
> non-arbitrary, and very meaningful. The reason why they are non-arbitrary
> is because they "rule in" some possibilities, and "rule
> out" others; some things cannot follow and are ruled out, the number of things
that can
> follow are limited, and some things are more likely to be the case than others -
> and all this, even although there is not just one logically compelling
> conclusion from the reasoning, but several. Again this is a rather obvious
> insight, but the question now is "why this is so", how that
> works, how we could model or describe that. There are many different trends of
> about this (pragmatism, para-consistency, fuzzy logic etc.) and dialectics
> is one of those trends. One sort of answer is that ordinary language
> itself, although reasonable, does not conform to formal logic, and therefore that
> an association can be meaningful and non-arbitrary, without being logical.
> We can also approach the problem from another angle. Deductive logic has
> severe limits, since P follows "if" Q is the case, and that can
> be a very big "if". A deductive argument cannot compel us to induce all the
> premises it contains, it can tell us only that if we induce certain premises then
> the conclusion follows. Thus deductive logic only specifies the conditions for
> making consistent sense; the inductions into the deduction process may be
> reasonable, but not logically compelling. Therefore, in practice we are
> always forced to apply two criteria of truth, namely correspondence and
> coherence, but in applying these criteria we additionally assume a context
> which exists beyond those criteria. If you pursue this line of thought, you
> find that actually it is possible to make a very large number of true
> statements about one object, using various criteria, without necessarily
> being able to say that one statement is more true than another, or without
> there being clear criteria for choosing between them, or how they would fit
> together.
> The question then is whether there are some meta-criteria of meaning and
> reason, captured by basic categorizations, which would allow us to order
> the whole of the truths we have discovered about an object in a non-arbitrary
> synthesis, such that through a series of conceptualizations, the truth
> about the object "explains itself", becomes
> "self-explanatory". The dialectician would say "yes", this is possible, we can
discover those
> criteria, but it is not possible to do so by means of deductive inference only,
not only
> because we somehow have to induce premises non-arbitrarily, but also because we
> need to refer to a meaningful context not provided by the deductions and
> inductions themselves. We need to start both with what the object is, and
> what it is not (its negation), and constantly elaborate further what it is
> and is not, and this involves explicating the dialectical contradictions
> involved with the object, how these are mediated and resolved, how they
> give rise to new contradictions. At the conclusion it is proved that,
> provided a certain starting assumption is made about what the object is and
> is not, this assumption will validate itself, by showing that it provides
> non-arbitrary means to integrate all truths about the object consistently,
> in such a way that the truth about the object "explains itself",
> that its full meaning is understood.
> This is merely to say that the dialectical procedure aims to understand the
> full meaning of the object of study and relativise it appropriately, using
> meta-criteria to order truth-coherences and truth-correspondences in an
> rigorous interpretation, which goes beyond formal logical procedures
> although it utilizes them. The question then remains, whether dialectical
> properties are just a characteristic of the meaningful universe that human
> beings generate themselves (a human way of understanding), or whether
> dialectical characteristics indeed exist mind-independently as objective
> social realities or objective physical realities. A realist dialectician
> argues that indeed dialectical features exist objectively in nature and
> society, since human dialectical meanings have originally evolved out of,
> and in relationship to, those objectively existing dialectical features
> ("mind" has evolved out of "matter"). If we say for
> example that "mind and body are a unit" or a "whole", we cannot really say that the
> mind features dialectical characteristics, while the body doesn't.
> However it is not possible to write a dialectical "rule book"
> like Marxists try (see above), the question is only whether you can discover the
> dialectical characteristics of a subjectmatter by means of a comprehensive
> analysis of all it contains. The dialectician claims, that if you are
> prepared to delve sufficiently deeply and systematically into the
> subjectmatter, you will sooner or later confront the dialectical
> relationships beneath the apparent logical paradoxes and puzzling
> relationships in the subjectmatter. However, even if you can prove that a
> dialectical contradiction objectively exists, dialectical thinking does not
> of itself offer any logical or empirical proofs. It merely claims that
> "if" a certain assumption is adopted, or "if" you see the
> subjectmatter this way, then it becomes self-explanatory, and makes integral
scientific sense.
> "If, then, it is true that the axiomatic basis of theoretical physics
> cannot be extracted from experience but must be freely invented, can we ever hope
> to find the right way? I answer without hesitation that there is, in my
> opinion, a right way, and that we are capable of finding it. I hold it true
> that pure thought can grasp reality, as the ancients dreamed." (Albert
> Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, 1954).
> Jurriaan
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Received on Wed Sep 9 16:23:26 2009

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