Re: [OPE] Reply from Rosa Lichtenstein

From: Ian Wright <>
Date: Tue Oct 06 2009 - 16:24:22 EDT

I had a quick look at Rosa's response to my post that dialectical
contradictions are real contradictions. I felt compelled since I find
that notion unproblematical and important, whereas Rosa takes a
diametrically opposing view. So this real contradiction between us is

>In fact, since most of the motion in the universe is governed by the action of only one central force (i.e.,
>in classical Physics, the force of gravity which governs the motion of planets around stars, and stars
>around galactic centres of mass, etc.), classical DM cannot account for most of the bulk changes that
>take place in nature. Now, even if this phenomenon is regarded as the result of the complex inter-
>relation between gravitational fields, change in motion would still be caused by only one force: the
>resultant. No contradiction has just one term.

Apart from the naive physics, which harms her argument, nonetheless
Rosa's contention that a resultant force cannot be the result of
separate, underlying forces that are ontologically distinct is
significant. I very much recommend that Rosa read Roy Bhaskar's "A
Realist Theory of Science" because in that book Bhaskar diagnoses and
critiques a philosophical stance called "actualism", which denies the
existence of underlying, hidden, separate and enduring mechanisms that
together determine the empirical stream of events. In this paragraph,
Rosa is taking an "actualist" stance.

But we don't have to enter the sometimes esoteric realm of physics to
make the point about the existence of real contradictions. Consider a
game of tug-o-war. One side is trying to pull the rope to the left,
another side is trying to pull the rope to the right. The "attractor
state" of each team mutually excludes the other (it's not possible
that both teams can win at the same time). So what happens? Emergent

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Received on Tue Oct 6 16:27:02 2009

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