Re: [OPE-L] is algebra dialectical and vice versa?

From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Mon Sep 12 2005 - 18:49:27 EDT

Perhaps a better question is:
Is computation dialectical and vice versa?

I am no expert in Hegel, unlike others on the list. Reasons why computation 
may be the modern form of dialectics:
(i) Computation is logic in motion. At each instant a computer program 
conforms to the laws of ordinary logic (the value of a variable cannot both 
be 0 and 1), yet it can instantiate processes that are in real contradiction 
to each other.
(ii) The Church-Turing thesis is a structurally similar claim to the 
Hegelian identity of thought and being. (Both, unsurprisingly, unprovable).
(iii) Computation is a general theory of causation, and can be used to model 
both objective and subjective phenomena, similar to the claims of 
dialectical logic.
(iv) The causal sequences of a computer program unfold with logical 
necessity, despite being natural processes. I believe that Hegel argued that 
natural necessity was identical to logical necessity in order to refute 

The problem is, not many experts in Hegel know about computation, and 
vice-versa. A further problem is that many people think computation is about 
crunching numbers, rather than a very general theory of dynamic processes.


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