[OPE-L:8119] Re: Re: philosophy and political economy

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Wed Dec 04 2002 - 13:10:20 EST

re 8115

Hi Andrew,

I have in mind the age old model of mechanical motion, parodied as 
billiard ball causality. Here an instance of mechanical motion has to 
be begun by an imposition from an external agent.
Now weren't there attempts (Hume? the Enlightenment philosophes? 
Naturphilosophie?) to introduce the idea of self-moving active 
matter? And even if such self moving active matter is already 
implicit in the mechanistic worldview since the principle of inertia 
clearly states to  change by forces impressed upon it and thus 
renders self-motion or Leibnzian conatus rather than extension 
fundamental to matter--I understand this to be have been your main 
point in 8115--it seems that the possibility of self organizing 
matter is quite an extrapolation from the idea that matter moves 
Perhaps I am trying to understand better this break with mechanical 
materialism, and failing miserably even to pose the question which 
did to its breakdown, though for this history of ideas I have relied 
on Steven Asma Following Form and Function.

All the best, Rakesh

>I don't know what you mean by animism or hylozism.

>You suggest
>that the notion that matter does things 'of its own accord' breaks
>the laws of physics. I would suggest the opposite: the notion that
>something other than matter does things to matter contradicts
>these laws. What 'other' could there be? 'God' or Cartesian 'Spirit' /
>'mind', or what? What are the origins of the laws of physics, if not
>matter? Is there something external to matter which 'causes' these
>laws? I suggest that materialism consists in a negative answer to
>this question. Idealism, on my view, entails the answer that
>'thought' constitutes this 'other'.
>  How did Schelling
>>  respond to Kant on this point in his Naturphilosophie? Was Marx
>>  influenced by Schelling's answer to (or treatment of) the mind/matter
>>  problem? John Bellamy Foster sees Schelling as a representative of
>>  anti Epicurean idealism that Marx rejected, but I would like to know
>>  more.
>I'm afraid I am too ignorant to ask, let alone answer, these
>>  2. Should the focus be here on matter or energy? There is for example
>>  the idea that the stream of energy in the form of heat and radiation
>>  as it's impinging upon our inorganic earth with its specific chemical
>>  make up can or even must generate higher forms of molecular and
>>  structural organization.  The explanation here (though I cannot follow
>>  the explanation) is that the flow of energy through a system organizes
>>  that system because the build up of complexity promotes entropy
>>  production and energy dissipation (a common example being the
>>  honeycomb pattern of convection cells)? I wish I understood the new,
>>  very ambitious attempts to show how the evolution of complex form can
>>  be explained on the basis of thermodynamics. Haven't read Wicken or
>>  Depew and Weber.
>I don't think that energy and matter are separate. Matter is
>inherently in motion; it doesn't need an external impulse to
>'energise' it (i.e. to generate movement). I wish I wasn't so very
>ignorant about the science of self-organising systems and the like.
>Probably, something like the scientific developments to which you
>refer do indeed resonate with materialist dialectics.
>Many thanks,
>>  Yours, Rakesh

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