Re: [OPE] Marx on the U.S. Civil War

Date: Sat Feb 05 2011 - 08:47:32 EST

Hi Paul C;
I agree that thinking of the possible outcomes of ongoing social-historical
struggles in terms of probability theory is a better approach. This approach
is also beneficial strategically: i.e. it allows participants in a social
struggle to identify different outcomes, their probabilities, the constraints,
and the major variables which can alter the outcomes. IMO, it is a method
of analysis which is also more consistent with the materialist conception of history:
believing that there is absolutely only 1 outcome to a historical struggle is
quasi-idealist, i.e. an overly simple application of materialism can also
be akin to idealism because it also asserts 'absolutes'.
In solidarity, Jerry
> But this fundamental uncertainty does not mean that all pasts and all futures are
> equally probable. <snip>
> The current quantum state of the world determines, by a strictly
> If we are talking at the historical scale, one can say that at least in principle,
> each of the two
> macrostates : Confederacy wins, or Conferderacy looses, corresponds to an enourmous
> number of microstates - the different ways in which the Confederates might have won
> or lost. The issue is then the probability density of the macrostates of confederate victory
> or defeat, or in other words, how many microstates are compatible with these two outcomes.
> If historical materialism is to have any value at all it should be able to say something about
> the probability distribution of these outcomes, this, I think is the form of causality that
> Marx and certainly the later Engels were concerned with. Was it more likely that the
> confederacy would win or loose.
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Received on Sat Feb 5 08:51:10 2011

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