Re: [OPE] information theory

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 12:50:42 EST

Ian Wright wrote:
> My original point is that whether you think everything is "physical",
> made of "matter", or everything is "ideal", made of "spirit", doesn't
> really get us anywhere. It's just a label for the single substance.
> The more interesting question is: are there any candidates or evidence
> for the single substance? If so, what are its laws?
> In Marx's time the candidate was "matter". But I think we have better
> candidates now.

We are in agreement here. I was trying to say the same as above; that
what this single 'physical substance' actually means is a task for
scientific inquiry. But perhaps this brings us back to your initial
claim that: "Materialism is at root the hypothesis that being is

>> The former has nothing even comparable to show. That, ultimately, is the context
>> one has to judge claims about reality.
> I think you are doing a disservice to abstract philosophical work.
> For example, I strongly disagree that Hegel's philosophy has "nothing
> even comparable to show" in terms of adding to human knowledge and
> practical power. For example, Marx, at one time a young Hegelian, took
> many of Hegel's conceptual breakthroughs and re-applied them in a new
> way to the analysis of human history, capitalism, and the political
> organization of the working class. His own theoretical work was part
> of the process of the working class becoming conscious of itself (the
> universal "subject" of history, labor, replacing Hegel's universal
> "subject" of history, Spirit).
> So Hegel though Marx had an enormous practical influence on recent
> human history.
> (Contrast this level of theoretical sophistication to that found in
> Ricardo or Mill. Yes, they are materialists, but of a different kind.)

In my view philosophy is not a matter of giving correct answers, but
rather posing correct questions. I'm not suggesting that Hegel's work
can be dismissed from history. Its mode of thought obviously influenced
some people and helped them formulate testable theories albeit in a
different context. However, I'm still quite sure that neither of his
specific concepts can compete with say 'space-time'. But I know too
little about Hegel to make any detailed claims. Suffice to say I'm not
yet convinced that Hegelianism is worthwhile today.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Mon Jan 12 12:52:31 2009

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