From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>

Date: Sat Oct 03 2009 - 18:44:12 EDT

Date: Sat Oct 03 2009 - 18:44:12 EDT

My discussion about Rosa Lichtenstein's furore against dialectics attracted

a comment from Richard Levins http://www.marxmail.org/msg67902.html which I

will crosspost:

The following considerations might be helpful:

1. "contradiction", in its etymology "speaking against" was a process

unfolding in time, negating a proposition in order to get beyond it.

2. Formal logic removes the temporal dynamic aspect to make it a formal,

structural relation.

3. The formal logical statement "implies" is a static, set-theoretic

relation but is a detemporalized equivalent to "leads to" (in time).

4. In real systems, variables change(except at equilibrium, a set of measure

0!). That is, A leads to not-A. If there is an eventual equilibrium, this is

equivalent to proof by contradiction. In living systems, social systems,

eco-systems etc there is permanent change ( A always leads to (implies!)

not-A.These may be periodic or chaotic . The terror of early computer

programmers was to get into an endless (and expensive) loop, which was

equivalent to contradiction in the program.

In formal logic, you may not (but can) hold to contradictory propositions at

the same time . In dialectical logic, two propositions may be separately

false but jointly true; health is socially determined, and you are

responsible for your health. Either one alone can result in passivity but

jointly can result in self-care and collective action...

5. You can create formally disjunct mathematical sets, but with real things

no division of a whole world into mutually exclusive categories really

holds. Environmental/genetic, physical/psychological, biological/social, etc

interpenetrate, and furthermore it is when we recognize their

interpenetration that we get the exciting new insights.

All of these and other aspects of contradiction make it an important tool in

science.

=========================

Richard Levins <humaneco@hsph.harvard.edu>

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/faculty/richard-levins/

_______________________________________________

ope mailing list

ope@lists.csuchico.edu

https://lists.csuchico.edu/mailman/listinfo/ope

Received on Sat Oct 3 18:45:55 2009

*
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8
: Sat Oct 31 2009 - 00:00:02 EDT
*