Soviet-Empire.com U.S.S.R. and communism historical discussion.
[ Active ]
[ Login ]
Log-in to remove these advertisements.

Anti-Dialectics For Dummies?

POST REPLY
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 5148
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 07 Jul 2011, 02:19
As soon as the proletariat seizes power in an area, it is classless. There are no classes, everyone is a worker that receives as much as he produces.
Image
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 07 Jul 2011, 11:54
Quote:
Does this mean that if/when classless society is achieved there will be no such thing as the proletariat as there will be nothing to define what the proletariat is (i.e no opposite)?


Pretty much this, yeah.

Quote:
As soon as the proletariat seizes power in an area, it is classless. There are no classes, everyone is a worker that receives as much as he produces.


lolno. Workers and peasants are two different classes. Also as long as class struggle takes place on an international scale, we can't really talk about classlessness.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Loz
[+-]
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 07 Jul 2011, 12:19
Quote:
Workers and peasants are two different classes. Also as long as class struggle takes place on an international scale, we can't really talk about classlessness.

This.
In the 30s USSR the exploiting classes have been eliminated,but a truly classless society was still future.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 3765
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Nov 2009, 07:13
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 08 Jul 2011, 17:36
Yeah bro, classes still exist, but the contradictions between them are non-antagonistic
Image
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 5148
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 09 Jul 2011, 04:40
Quote:
lolno. Workers and peasants are two different classes. Also as long as class struggle takes place on an international scale, we can't really talk about classlessness.


Peasants only exist in backwards conditions which necessitates a DDOTPP to socialize production and turn peasants into proletarians, it isn't socialism. By the time socialism is established the peasantry are liquidated and everyone is a worker with a job in the commonly owned factories, farms, etc. Thus classlessness, which can be limited to an area. The USSR was classless after the elimination of kulaks and integration of peasant labor state-planned production. This is why B-L's don't call the USSR state capitalist, they insist on it being a degenerated workers' state for its publically owned economy but having bureaucratically directed planning. It was classless, but not ruled by the soviets. Thus it wasn't capitalist anymore, but not yet socialist either. The workers needed to seize power in a political revolution from the state that brought them to that point in development.

Quote:
In the 30s USSR the exploiting classes have been eliminated,but a truly classless society was still future.


So you're reneging on your claim that the USSR was socialist by 1936?
Image
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 09 Jul 2011, 06:45
Quote:
Peasants only exist in backwards conditions which necessitates a DDOTPP to socialize production and turn peasants into proletarians, it isn't socialism.


What if there is a powerful, revolutionary bourgeoisie but the communists and the proletariat are very weak? Would it then be better to assist the bourgeoisie in its revolution?

Quote:
The USSR was classless after the elimination of kulaks and integration of peasant labor state-planned production.


The USSR wasn't exactly classless...

As Marx explains in Capital, Vol. 2, the mere circulation of exchange values continually reproduces the class divide. This circulation does not cease under socialism (or at least, it didn't change substantially in the USSR, in fact you could say that it was the NEP and the Gosplan economy that really consolidated it in the country). In the economic sphere of socialism, the state confronts the worker like a bourgeois. The vital difference is that due to the dictatorship of the proletariat, these economic laws are under the control of the proletariat.

Socialism is indeed exactly between the class society and the classless society. Some elements of the class divide persist, some don't. But to say that Socialism is perfectly classless seems to be a simplification.

Quote:
This is why B-L's don't call the USSR state capitalist, they insist on it being a degenerated workers' state for its publically owned economy but having bureaucratically directed planning. It was classless, but not ruled by the soviets. Thus it wasn't capitalist anymore, but not yet socialist either. The workers needed to seize power in a political revolution from the state that brought them to that point in development.


lol holy shit this is making perfect sense to me for the first time in my life. Holy shit I love you dude.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 5148
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 09 Jul 2011, 07:34
Quote:
What if there is a powerful, revolutionary bourgeoisie but the communists and the proletariat are very weak? Would it then be better to assist the bourgeoisie in its revolution?


There's no such thing as a revolutionary national bourgeoisie anymore. Imperialism nowadays is what develops capitalism and dissolves the peasantry, they easily strangle the small, impoverished failure of a native bourgeoisie in the global market and for that reason the national bourgeoisie doesn't challenge them. The question isn't of developing the backwards countries anymore, unless one of them presents itself as weak link in the chain of imperialism a la Russia 1917, the only reason we even take a position on socialism in backwards countries. The question is national liberation, and it's a task the revolutionary, anti-imperialist proletariat needs to carry out because the national bourgeoisie is too weak and compromising to do it.

Nationalist China is a good example of the bankruptcy of the national bourgeoisie and their unwillingness to fight imperialism, instead they sided with the one that gave them the best deals. Stalin believed the chinese nationalists were representative the revolutionary anti-imperialist bourgeoisie, and urged communists to assist the bourgeoisie as you suggest, to disastrous results. It was only Mao's refusal to work with the nationalists for national liberation that we had a chinese revolution.

I see no reason to trust the national bourgeoisie. They aren't revolutionary and instead try to be a part of the profits imperialists make. The revolutionary proletariat can do anything the national bourgeoisie is supposed to do, to a much greater and progressive effect.

Quote:
The USSR wasn't exactly classless...

As Marx explains in Capital, Vol. 2, the mere circulation of exchange values continually reproduces the class divide. This circulation does not cease under socialism (or at least, it didn't change substantially in the USSR, in fact you could say that it was the NEP and the Gosplan economy that really consolidated it in the country). In the economic sphere of socialism, the state confronts the worker like a bourgeois. The vital difference is that due to the dictatorship of the proletariat, these economic laws are under the control of the proletariat.

Socialism is indeed exactly between the class society and the classless society. Some elements of the class divide persist, some don't. But to say that Socialism is perfectly classless seems to be a simplification.


I don't know what perfectly classless means, but when all national capital is transformed in common property, everyone has the same relationship the means of production. They are all workers, and while there is surplus value appropriated in socialism, it is distributed according to non-value producing but socially necessary adventures in the drafted economic plan. It is not accumulated. This is not an element of the class divide, this is the part of difficulties that comes with scarcity of resources. We are all slaves to the cost of production. Socialism is classless, the only reason there is state is for administration of surplus value and defense of the revolution from external threats.

Quote:

lol holy shit this is making perfect sense to me for the first time in my life. Holy shit I love you dude.


Glad to hear it.
Image
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 04 Sep 2011, 07:41
Mabool, I'm sorry, but I have only just seen this reply of yours:

Quote:
In the very beginning of the article, Rosa shows that she has not understood anything. The so-called "precise laws" of dialectics, which she carefully - scholastically, metaphysically - enumerates in order to subject them to detailed criticism, are not supposed to be "natural laws" akin to the law of gravity or similar things. The "laws of dialectics" are subjective, human interpretations of the all-encompassing dialectic. In our apprehension of objects, we necessarily introduce artificial, mental, limitations to the infinity that surrounds us, in order to construct stable object representations in our consciousness. (compare Melanie Klein's object relations theory) In "reality", there are no objects, only processes (as explained in more detail by praxicoide in the linked thread) - accordingly, when we try to apprehend the dialectic itself, we impose certain human limitations on it to make it comprehensible. This is the nature of the "laws of dialectics" - they are necessarily subjective. They are laws of the dialectic as it is reflected in our consciousness.


Well, perhaps I need to remind you that the article you refer to was aimed at complete novices, so I had to simplify several rather complex issues considerably.

But what about this?

Mabool:

Quote:
The so-called "precise laws" of dialectics, which she carefully - scholastically, metaphysically - enumerates in order to subject them to detailed criticism, are not supposed to be "natural laws" akin to the law of gravity or similar things. The "laws of dialectics" are subjective, human interpretations of the all-encompassing dialectic. In our apprehension of objects, we necessarily introduce artificial, mental, limitations to the infinity that surrounds us, in order to construct stable object representations in our consciousness.


But this flies in the face of what Engels (and other dialecticians) tell us about these 'laws', for example:

Quote:
And so, what is the negation of the negation? An extremely general -- and for this reason extremely far-reaching and important -- law of development of nature, history, and thought; a law which, as we have seen, holds good in the animal and plant kingdoms, in geology, in mathematics, in history and in philosophy — a law which even Herr Dühring, in spite of all his stubborn resistance, has unwittingly and in his own way to follow. It is obvious that I do not say anything concerning the particular process of development of, for example, a grain of barley from germination to the death of the fruit-bearing plant, if I say it is a negation of the negation. For, as the integral calculus is also a negation of the negation, if I said anything of the sort I should only be making the nonsensical statement that the life-process of a barley plant was integral calculus or for that matter that it was socialism. That, however, is precisely what the metaphysicians are constantly imputing to dialectics. When I say that all these processes are a negation of the negation, I bring them all together under this one law of motion, and for this very reason I leave out of account the specific peculiarities of each individual process. Dialectics, however, is nothing more than the science of the general laws of motion and development of nature, human society and thought. [Engels, Anti-Dühring, pp.179-80. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... g/ch11.htm

Quote:
Dialectics, so-called objective dialectics, prevails throughout nature, and so-called subjective dialectics, dialectical thought, is only the reflection of the motion through opposites which asserts itself everywhere in nature, and which by the continual conflict of the opposites and their final passage into one another, or into higher forms, determines the life of nature. Attraction and repulsion. Polarity begins with magnetism, it is exhibited in one and the same body; in the case of electricity it distributes itself over two or more bodies which become oppositely charged. All chemical processes reduce themselves – to processes of chemical attraction and repulsion. Finally, in organic life the formation of the cell nucleus is likewise to be regarded as a polarisation of the living protein material, and from the simple cell – onwards the theory of evolution demonstrates how each advance up to the most complicated plant on the one side, and up to man on the other, is effected by the continual. conflict between heredity and adaptation. In this connection it becomes evident how little applicable to such forms of evolution are categories like “positive” and “negative.” One can conceive of heredity as the positive, conservative side, adaptation as the negative side that continually destroys what has been inherited, but one can just as well take adaptation as the creative, active, positive activity, and heredity as the resisting, passive, negative activity. But just as in history progress makes its appearance as the negation of the existing state of things, so here also – on purely practical grounds -- adaptation is better conceived as negative activity. [Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p.211. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... /ch07c.htm

Quote:
Dialectics as the science of universal interconnection…. [Ibid., p.17. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... .htm#plans

Quote:
It is, therefore, from the history of nature and human society that the laws of dialectics are abstracted. For they are nothing but the most general laws of these two aspects of historical development, as well as of thought itself. And indeed they can be reduced in the main to three:

The law of the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa;
The law of the interpenetration of opposites;
The law of the negation of the negation.

All three are developed by Hegel in his idealist fashion as mere laws of thought: the first, in the first part of his Logic, in the Doctrine of Being; the second fills the whole of the second and by far the most important part of his Logic, the Doctrine of Essence; finally the third figures as the fundamental law for the construction of the whole system. The mistake lies in the fact that these laws are foisted on nature and history as laws of thought, and not deduced from them. This is the source of the whole forced and often outrageous treatment; the universe, willy-nilly, is made out to be arranged in accordance with a system of thought which itself is only the product of a definite stage of evolution of human thought. If we turn the thing round, then everything becomes simple, and the dialectical laws that look so extremely mysterious in idealist philosophy at once become simple and clear as noonday. [Ibid., p.62. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... n/ch02.htm

You will no doubt notice that Engels describes these laws as part of science, as "objective", as applicable to nature and as completely general. Indeed, in the last passage he takes Hegel to task for doing what you, too, seem to be doing: arguing that these laws are merely mental constructs.

Lenin said the same sorts of things, too:

Quote:
Nowadays, the ideas of development…as formulated by Marx and Engels on the basis of Hegel…[encompass a process] that seemingly repeats the stages already passed, but repeats them otherwise, on a higher basis ('negation of negation'), a development, so to speak, in spirals, not in a straight line; -- a development by leaps, catastrophes, revolutions; -- 'breaks in continuity'; the transformation of quantity into quality; -- the inner impulses to development, imparted by the contradiction and conflict of the various forces and tendencies acting on a given body, or within a given phenomenon, or within a given society; -- the interdependence and the closest, indissoluble connection of all sides of every phenomenon…, a connection that provides a uniform, law-governed, universal process of motion -– such are some of the features of dialectics as a richer (than the ordinary) doctrine of development. [Lenin, The Marxist Doctrine, pp.12-13. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... t/ch02.htm

Quote:
[Among the elements of dialectics are the following:] Internally contradictory tendencies…in [a thing]…as the sum and unity of opposites…. [E]ach thing (phenomenon, process, etc.)…is connected with every other…. [This involves] not only the unity of opposites, but the transitions of every determination, quality, feature, side, property into every other….

In brief, dialectics can be defined as the doctrine of the unity of opposites. This embodies the essence of dialectics….

The splitting of the whole and the cognition of its contradictory parts…is the essence (one of the 'essentials', one of the principal, if not the principal, characteristic features) of dialectics….

The identity of opposites…is the recognition…of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature…. The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their 'self-movement', in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites. Development is the 'struggle' of opposites…. [This] alone furnishes the key to the self-movement of everything existing….

The unity…of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitory, relative. The struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is absolute, just as development and motion are absolute…." [Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, pp.221-22; 357-58. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... ummary.htm

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... sc/x02.htm

And if you visit the following page at my site, you will see scores of other quotations from the dialectical classics, and more recent dialecticians, that say the same things, too:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2002.htm


So, when I criticise this theory, it's the classical version I'm addressing, not the revisionist version you seem to be arguing for here.

Mabool:

Quote:
So, Rosa basically thinks that when we talk about qualitative and quantitative changes, we are talking about a quasi-divine law that is responsible for how changes and developments work in the real world. As explained above, she's wrong. Quality and quantity are labels we give to different parts of processes according to our interpretation, a new quality ensues when we perceive a new quality. That's all there is to it. Water getting hotter and hotter until it begins to boil is termed qualitative change because we perceive steam and water as two different objects - but since objects do not exist in the first place (see above), it is easy to understand how the distinction is merely a result of our apprehension wherein we construct the objects. If our universe was one of the many water molecules in a liter of water that starts boiling, we would not notice this. Accordingly, there would not be a new quality.


Well, this is just the sort of subjectivism that Engels and Lenin criticised.

Moreover, as I noted in the article you are addressing, you, too, failed to tell us what a "quality" is, so your law is not only subjective, it's hopelessly vague.

And you failed to notice that Engels depicted his 'law' as follows:

Quote:
The transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa. For our purpose, we could express this by saying that in nature, in a manner exactly fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes can only occur by the quantitative addition or subtraction of matter or motion (so-called energy)…. Hence it is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned. [Dialectics of Nature, p.63. Bold added.]


Notice he did not say this:

Quote:
Hence it is impossible to think about the alteration to the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned.


He pointedly said this is impossible in the real world, and plainly it would still be impossible even if we did not think about these changes, or if humanity did not exist to do any thinking at all. Once, more this law is meant to be objective, not subjective.

Of course, as these comrades point out, these laws govern thought too, but, that just underlines the difference between subjective and objective dialectics. They accepted both forms.

Mabool:

Quote:
It's cute how she actually tries to describe this like it doesn't make sense. This is most probably because she doesn't understand shit.


I don't think there's any need for such abusive language.

But, if I do not "understand" this theory, I'm in good company, since no one does -- or if they do they have kept that secret well hidden for 150 years. [And, as we will see, from what you say, it's clear that you too do not understand it!]

Mabool:

Quote:
In light of the above, it's obvious what this means: The contradictions within objects appear in our apprehension of them, because the objects only appear by apprehension in the first place. It is our thinking that introduces contradictions into objects - or, much rather, the objects that we construct in our consciousness (as a result of apprehension, basically "slicing" a concrete part out of the infinite moving matter around us) are necessarily contradictory -after all, their stability, their "object-ness", as it were, is a contradiction in itself. It's a process, after all.


Once more this is precisely the subjectivism Lenin and Engels (and others) sought to criticise. You will note that Lenin said the struggle of opposites is an "absolute". So, it's not just in our thought that these 'contradictions' are supposed to arise, as Engels pointed out:

Quote:
Motion itself is a contradiction; even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body being both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it. [Engels, Anti-Dühring, p.152. Bold added.]


Notice, "motion itself is a contradiction", not just our thought about it -- and this is what Lenin had declared is "the key to the self-movement of everything existing." Our thoughts about the world can't do that. He didn't say it's "the key to our understanding the self-movement of everything existing." [Sure he thought that too, but he also thought it was an objective law of nature.]

Mabool:

Quote:
More concretely. When I focus on the bottle of water on my table, I see it standing beside my overflowing ashtray. In other terms: Upon my table, there is the contradiction of bottle and ashtray because I see them both standing in fixed places on the table. The bottle becomes an object in my mind precisely because its position is defined as next to the ashtray, while the ashtray's position is defined as next to the bottle - interpenetration of "opposites". So, in terms of "external" contradictions, there is firstly "bottle" vs. "non-bottle" (as my consciousness "slices" the "bottle object" out of infinity!) - then, as my attention shifts onto "non-bottle", this resolves into further contradictions as the other objects on my table enter my mind - "non-bottle" is at the same time an ashtray, a lighter, a pack of cigarettes, a pack of tissues....


But, why is this a contradiction? You just help yourself to this word with no attempt at justification.

Mabool:

Quote:
A different example: The deepest, most important, most fundamental "unity of opposites" in the world is "me" vs. "non-me". This is the world. It is this vague "non-me" that further dissolves into all the contradictions that make up our subjective experience of the world. This is consciousness. This is experience. This is the nature of subjectivity. What's awesome is that this contradiction can reach a synthesis, but that is an entirely different topic.


Well, this is just another example of a priori dogmatism (of the sort Engels condemned -- see above) you seem happy to impose on the world with not an ounce of proof to support it.

Mabool:

Quote:
This makes perfect sense - but only in the context of what has been explained above. After all, "a higher type" is only a subjective evaluation in the first place. It's obvious that it doesn't make any sense for her though. I'll write more about this law when I refute her criticism of it.


Impressive chest beating, comrade, but in view of the fact that you have concentrated on my greatly simplified criticisms (and not the more detailed and complex arguments at my site), it's not surprising you think you can refute me -- but that's no more impressive than it would be if someone claimed they could refute Das Kapital based only on a reading of Wages, Price and Profit!

Mabool:

Quote:
She basically says that we have no idea what we're talking about


Well, the sorts of things dialecticians say about logic merely confirm my suspicion that they don't. You can find a long list of the inane things they have said about logic (ranging from the odd things Hegel wrote about it right through to recent works written by dialecticians), in Essay Four at my site:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2004.htm

Mabool:

Quote:
Now it gets interesting, because now she goes on to "explain" why all of dialectics is bullshit. Since she is working on fundamentally flawed premises, as outlined above, lulz ensue.


In fact I do not employ such crude words -- but, we can always rely on dialecticians to use scatological language, like this. You can find scores of links to where they regularly use such language and direct it at me, here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/RevLeft.htm

Mabool:

Quote:
No, Rosa. Molten steel is still steel, molten glass is still glass, molten plastic is still plastic, molten butter is still butter (unless we apprehend it as frying fat!


I agree! Where did I say otherwise? In fact I make this very point myself! But that just blows apart the idea that a qualitative change has occurred here -- if, that is, we are ever told what a "qualitative change" is!

Mabool:

Quote:
In that case, the change is qualitative!) and molten chocolate is still chocolate. The "nodes" are merely the moments at which we apprehend a new object!


But, it isn't, since steel remains steel, melted or otherwise. No new quality in the Aristotelian/Hegelian sense of this word has emerged.

And, far from these merely being 'moments' (I'm afraid you give away your idealism again here by the use of this Hegelian term!) in our apprehension of these 'new objects', this is what Engels had to say:

Quote:
With this assurance Herr Dühring saves himself the trouble of saying anything further about the origin of life, although it might reasonably have been expected that a thinker who had traced the evolution of the world back to its self-equal state, and is so much at home on other celestial bodies, would have known exactly what's what also on this point. For the rest, however, the assurance he gives us is only half right unless it is completed by the Hegelian nodal line of measure relations which has already been mentioned. In spite of all gradualness, the transition from one form of motion to another always remains a leap, a decisive change. This is true of the transition from the mechanics of celestial bodies to that of smaller masses on a particular celestial body; it is equally true of the transition from the mechanics of masses to the mechanics of molecules -- including the forms of motion investigated in physics proper: heat, light, electricity, magnetism. In the same way, the transition from the physics of molecules to the physics of atoms -- chemistry -- in turn involves a decided leap; and this is even more clearly the case in the transition from ordinary chemical action to the chemism of albumen which we call life. Then within the sphere of life the leaps become ever more infrequent and imperceptible. -- Once again, therefore, it is Hegel who has to correct Herr Dühring. [Engels, Anti-Dühring, pp.82-83. I have used the online version here, but quoted the page numbers for the Foreign Languages edition. Bold added.]


Quote:
The visible system of stars, the solar system, terrestrial masses, molecules and atoms, and finally ether particles, form each of them [a definite group]. It does not alter the case that intermediate links can be found between the separate groups…. These intermediate links prove only that there are no leaps in nature, precisely because nature is composed entirely of leaps." [Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p.271. Bold added.]


It's quite clear that for Engels these leaps were part of nature and society, not just 'moments' in our thought. Lenin agreed:

Quote:
Nowadays, the ideas of development…as formulated by Marx and Engels on the basis of Hegel…[encompass a process] that seemingly repeats the stages already passed, but repeats them otherwise, on a higher basis ('negation of negation'), a development, so to speak, in spirals, not in a straight line; -- a development by leaps, catastrophes, revolutions; -- 'breaks in continuity'; the transformation of quantity into quality; -- the inner impulses to development, imparted by the contradiction and conflict of the various forces and tendencies acting on a given body, or within a given phenomenon, or within a given society; -- the interdependence and the closest, indissoluble connection of all sides of every phenomenon…, a connection that provides a uniform, law-governed, universal process of motion -– such are some of the features of dialectics as a richer (than the ordinary) doctrine of development. [Lenin, The Marxist Doctrine, pp.12-13. Bold added.]


Link above.

So does Plekhanov:

Quote:
quantitative changes, accumulating gradually, lead in the end to changes of quality, and that these changes of quality represent leaps, interruptions in gradualness…. That's how all Nature acts…." [Plekhanov, The Development of the Monist View of History, pp.88, 163. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/plekhan ... /ch05b.htm

So do more recent dialecticians:

Quote:
The transition of a thing, through the accumulation of quantitative modifications, from one qualitative state to a different, new state, is a leap in development. This leap is a break in the gradualness of the quantitative change of a thing. It is the transition to a new quality and signalises a sharp turn, a radical change in development." [Kuusinen, Fundamentals Of Marxism-Leninism, p.88. Bold added.]


Mabool:

Quote:
This argument ... "blows" indeed!


Such sophisticated language -- an example to us all...

Mabool:

Quote:
I repeat: The "nodes" are merely the moments at which we apprehend a new object! It becomes painfully obvious here that Rosa has not understood anything at all of materialist dialectics: The entire concept of apprehension, which is so extremely crucial to dialectical materialism, is totally foreign to her! She has no clue what she's talking about! When I throw a glass bottle on the floor, it turns into broken glass, which is a qualitative change, and it is entirely irrelevant how long it took the pieces of glass to break apart!


So, the sudden breaking of a glass is just in our understanding, is it? It seems it's you, my confused friend, who does not understand this theory of yours.

And it can't be 'irrelevant', since Lenin said the following:

Quote:
What distinguishes the dialectical transition from the undialectical transition? The leap. The contradiction. The interruption of gradualness. [Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, p.282. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... 3.htm#aris

But, it's no good looking to you to tell us how long a node is, is it? Just as I predicted in my Essay.

Mabool:

Quote:
Not in our apprehension, though... otherwise you might just say that everything is just energy anyways. Which is the entire point of apprehending objects.

If we had a different term for water with bubbles, the moment in which the bubbles appear in the water would be a "node" of qualitative change, too.


So, we are still no clearer what a 'quality' is, then? Looks like I was right when I said no one 'understands' this theory.

Mabool:

Quote:
I wonder whether Rosa has ever seen a mouse change into a pony.


What makes you think this has anything to do with my argument?

Here is what I replied to another comrade who made a similar and equally brainless comment:

Quote:
Clearly, this comrade has missed the point. My example of comparative sizes was thrown in to the discussion to show what happens if the definition of "quality" is relaxed too far. I was certainly not advocating it as genuine science. In that case, far from making a mockery of myself, comrade Jones has simply confirmed his own sloppy approach to this subject.

And of course, these animals do not "develop" into one another, but we have already seen that Engels ignored this particular caveat himself. [Added -- you can find where Engels did this by consulting my full reply to this comrade; link at the end.]

But, speaking of developing organisms, it is clear that they change from small to large slowly, and in a "leap"-free zone. Who has ever seen, say, a daffodil grow from a seed to a mature plant in one "leap"? But this is as a much a 'qualitative' change as water boiling is.

What about qualitative changes that are very slow, but in cases where the build-up to them is rapid? Consider the larval stage of moths. The larva/grub will build a cocoon rapidly, but the subsequent and radical qualitative changes inside that cocoon (from larva to adult moth), in its pupal stage, is painfully slow, ranging from a few weeks to many months. To be sure, when the moth finally breaks out, that change will be rapid; but the unseen qualitative changes that have already happened before this event takes place are slow, and continuous. By no stretch of the imagination is this unseen development, this radical qualitative change, a "leap".

And the same applies to the development of reptiles, birds, fish and other animals that grow inside egg sacks. Even a human baby takes nine months to "leap" from fertilised egg to fully-developed foetus before it is born --; as is well-known, fertilisation and parturition are pretty rapid in comparison to the slow qualitative changes in between.

Nature and the changes that take place in it are therefore far too varied and complex to be shoe-horned into dialectical boot they plainly won't fit.


http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/Engels_and ... cience.htm

Mabool:

Quote:
Rosa is obviously operating on the premise that we claim that "things change into their opposites". Which is bullshit of course. To back this up, she quotes Mao:


In fact, in my full essays I quote Hegel, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Mao and a host of modern dialecticians who tell us that all things "inevitably" change into the opposites with which they struggle. For example, here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2007.htm

Skip forward to Note 10b1, which you can find by using the search pane. Type "10b1" into the pane, without the quotes.

I'd re-quote them here, but that would add about 3000 words to this post!

Mabool:

Quote:
In given conditions, Rosa. In given conditions, ice can turn into steam. As I explained above, the Unity and Interpenetration of Opposites has nothing at all to do with change in the first place, so this criticism is entirely worthless.


But he later goes on to say the following:

Quote:
All processes have a beginning and an end, all processes transform themselves into their opposites. The constancy of all processes is relative, but the mutability manifested in the transformation of one process into another is absolute. [Mao, On Contradiction, p.342. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/reference/archi ... wv1_17.htm

So, this transformation is not just relative to given conditions, it's an "absolute".

But, let's suppose you are right; in that case:

Let process P be comprised of these two opposites P and P*, and let P change (under certain conditions) as a result of the struggle between these opposites. According to the dialectical classics, P must change into P* and vice versa (under certain conditions). But that can't happen (even under "certain conditions"), since P* already exists, if it didn't it couldn't struggle with P.

How can P change into something that is already there?

Hence if the classics are to be believed, change would be impossible.

Of course, that does not mean change can't happen, only that dialectics can't account for it.

But what about the following?

Mabool:

Quote:
As I explained above, the Unity and Interpenetration of Opposites has nothing at all to do with change in the first place...


Well, that may be so in your revisionist view of things, but it flies in the face of what the classics tell us; here's a small selection:

Quote:
Dialectics, so-called objective dialectics, prevails throughout nature, and so-called subjective dialectics, dialectical thought, is only the reflection of the motion through opposites which asserts itself everywhere in nature, and which by the continual conflict of the opposites and their final passage into one another, or into higher forms, determines the life of nature. Attraction and repulsion. Polarity begins with magnetism, it is exhibited in one and the same body; in the case of electricity it distributes itself over two or more bodies which become oppositely charged. All chemical processes reduce themselves -- to processes of chemical attraction and repulsion. Finally, in organic life the formation of the cell nucleus is likewise to be regarded as a polarisation of the living protein material, and from the simple cell -- onwards the theory of evolution demonstrates how each advance up to the most complicated plant on the one side, and up to man on the other, is effected by the continual conflict between heredity and adaptation. In this connection it becomes evident how little applicable to such forms of evolution are categories like 'positive' and 'negative.' One can conceive of heredity as the positive, conservative side, adaptation as the negative side that continually destroys what has been inherited, but one can just as well take adaptation as the creative, active, positive activity, and heredity as the resisting, passive, negative activity." [Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p.211. Bold added.]


Quote:
Everything is opposite. Neither in heaven nor in earth, neither in the world of mind nor nature, is there anywhere an abstract 'either-or' as the understanding maintains. Whatever exists is concrete, with difference and opposition in itself. The finitude of things with then lie in the want of correspondence between their immediate being and what they essentially are. Thus, in inorganic nature, the acid is implicitly at the same time the base: in other words its only being consists in its relation to its other. Hence the acid persists quietly in the contrast: it is always in effort to realize what it potentially is. Contradiction is the very moving principle of the world. [Hegel, Shorter Logic, p.174. Bold added.]


Quote:
The identity of opposites…is the recognition…of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature…. The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their 'self-movement', in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites. Development is the 'struggle' of opposites…. [This] alone furnishes the key to the self-movement of everything existing…. 

"The unity…of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitory, relative. The struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is absolute, just as development and motion are absolute…. [Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, pp.357-58. Bold added.]


Quote:
Dialectics is the teaching which shows how Opposites can be and how they happen to be (how they become) identical, -- under what conditions they are identical, becoming transformed into one another, -- why the human mind should grasp these opposites not as dead, rigid, but as living, conditional, mobile, becoming transformed into one another." [Ibid., p.109.]


Quote:
Development is the 'struggle' of opposites. [Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 13, p.301.]


Quote:
This struggle is not external and accidental…. The struggle is internal and necessary, for it arises and follows from the nature of the process as a whole. The opposite tendencies are not independent the one of the other, but are inseparably connected as parts or aspects of a single whole. And they operate and come into conflict on the basis of the contradiction inherent in the process as a whole….

Movement and change result from causes inherent in things and processes, from internal contradictions….

Contradiction is a universal feature of all processes….

The importance of the [developmental] conception of the negation of the negation does not lie in its supposedly expressing the necessary pattern of all development. All development takes place through the working out of contradictions -– that is a necessary universal law…." [Cornforth Materialism And The Dialectical Method, pp.14-15, 46-48, 53, 65-66, 72, 77, 82, 86, 90, 95, 117; quoting Hegel (1975), The Shorter Logic, pp.172 and 160, respectively. Bold added]


You can find the precise references and links, along with dozens of other quotations like this here, at the end and in Note 10b1, again:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2007.htm

Mabool:

Quote:
She's just repeating her stupid insistence that dialectical terms are supposed to correspond to things in the material world, even though negations happen in our consciousness, with apprehended objects.


Looks like Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Mao, and many other dialecticians, also thought that "dialectical terms are supposed to correspond to things in the material world". It's only an Idealist like you that would disagree.

Mabool:

Quote:
It depends on the level of abstraction; Engels has just moved a bit farther away from the concrete than Rosa has - in other words, she destroyed his example by concretion but that doesn't prove anything really.


But what about the examples Engels and others use to 'illustrate' this 'law'? [You can find Engels's examples in Anti-Dühring, chapter 13.] My point was that he and other dialecticians choose their examples selectively, ignoring the many that do not fit this defective 'law'. [And even the examples they do choose don't work. You can find out why at the above link.]

And your retreat into the abstract is no help either, since that just underlines your Idealism.

Mabool:

Quote:
Primitive communism -> class society (negation of PC) -> communism (negation of the negation). Makes perfect sense. I mean I could destroy this by concretion if I subdivide class society into feudalism, capitalism etc., but why should I? I mean I'm presenting it like this to prove a certain point, and therefore I'm deliberately abstracting. Rosa obviously has a huge problem with understanding perspective.


Except, as I have shown, this can't work. [See above, in my brief refutation of the dialectical theory of change. There is a longer and much more detailed refutation at the above link; use the Quick Links at the top to jump to Section C(1).]

Mabool:

Quote:
Rosa obviously has a huge problem with understanding perspective.


Not quite as bad as you are at explaining it.

Mabool:

Quote:
This isn't even worth responding to.


I'm not surprised you can't respond to this particular point, since it refutes this obscure theory of yours.

Mabool:

Quote:
Grow up, Rosa.


What, and leave you children behind? No way.

Mabool:

Quote:
That was basically it. All in all, anti-dialectics is like a huge monument of refusal to understand dialectics. It's pretty sad, actually.


Alas, a condition seriously aggravated by your incapacity to explain it...
Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein on 04 Sep 2011, 08:11, edited 3 times in total.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 04 Sep 2011, 07:49
Erichs_Pastry_Chef:

Quote:
Also the original "Rosa", whose real name I am not allowed to recite, is an IT geezer from Leeds in Yorkshire who basically nobody likes and nobody gets along with. Go figure.


I live nowhere near Leeds, and I am hopeless at IT.

You have plainly confused me with someone who has a similar name to my ex-partner.


And, as far as the last slur you added at the end of your post is concerned, since you got me mixed up with someone else, care to withdraw it?

I get e-mails every week from comrades all over the world who like my work, and with whom I get on very well. My work is even being translated into Urdu, Bengali and Vietnamese.

But, since when was Marxism a popularity contest?

So, yes -- go figure.

[I'll respond to other things comrades have posted, later.]
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 05 Sep 2011, 13:22
gRed Britain:

Quote:
Yes, I would say there is a degree of subjectivity in the determination of all contradictions within an object. I find it best to remember that an object’s opposite is not another specific object. Rather, it is merely something which can no longer be defined as the original object. Thus the opposite of a table is simply the material that remains as a result of a specific dialectical process.


In which case:

Let us call "the material that remains as a result of a specific dialectical process" M, and the original table T. According to the dialectical classics, T can only change if it struggles with its opposite, which is, according to you, M.

But, M does not yet exist, so T can't change!

On the other hand, if M already exists, T can't change into it, since M is already there!

Hence, dialectics can't explain change -- either that, or: if dialectics were true, change would be impossible.

Quote:
For example: take a wooden table and leave it to rot for centuries. Eventually it will rot to such an extent that we can no longer describe it as a table leaving a pile of rotten timbers instead. Now take the original table and set it on fire. Eventually the table will no longer be definable as a table as it will have changed into a pile of ashes. Neither rotten wood nor ashes are the specific opposite of a wooden table, they are merely apprehended objects which are the results of two different dialectical processes.


Same problem: Let us call whatever a table rots down to R. According to the dialectical classics, T can only change if it struggles with its opposite, which is now, according to you, R.

But, R does not yet exist, so T can't change!

On the other hand, if R already exists, T can't change into it, since R is already there!

Same with whatever a table burns down to, but I am sure you can fill in the details.

Quote:
Of course, these apprehensions are ultimately subjective. However, since many are so obvious (nearly everyone agrees that water vapour is substantially different to liquid water) they acquire a certain unanimous objectivity in their perceived nature.


But, these can't be 'subjective'. If they were, no one would be able to agree with you even about what a table is (or what water vapour is), let alone what happens to it (them).

Quote:
I’ve recently been wondering at what point we can say an ice cube in a glass of water has truly melted. When is the nodal point of the solid form finally being negated by the heat energy surrounding it? The cube obviously gets smaller and smaller as it melts but we can still call it an ice cube (just a smaller one). Even when we can’t see it we know there is a brief moment when there is still a tiny piece of solid water floating in the liquid water (surely, the definition of an ice cube?). So does the cube get negated when we can no longer see it with our naked eyes or a few moments later when its microscopic solid form finally turns into liquid? I suppose it could potentially be either.


Ice cubes can't be negated since they aren't sentences or clauses. That would be like saying they could be asserted. When has anyone ever asserted an ice cube?

They melt, that's all. We don't need Hegelian jargon to describe what happens to ice cubes!

Mabool:

Quote:
The first one, I suppose. The cube does not exist. There are H2O molecules in motion, the (relatively) stable part of which we apprehend as an ice cube. As soon as we can't apprehend it anymore, it's negated. But maybe I'm straying into Hegelian idealism here?


Indeed, you are -- but, from your recent posts, it's clear you never really left.

Quote:
Um, under the impression of Hegel, I'm hereby taking back everything I've said about the Unity and Interpenetration of Opposites. I misunderstood that. So uh, don't rely on what I've said please.


And you had the cheek to say I did not understand this theory!

This theory is not capable of being understood by anyone -- any more than the Christian Trinity is, a dogma that sprang out of Neo-Platonism, as did Hegel's.

So, don't beat yourself up for not being able to comprehend it.


Red Zepp:

Quote:
So if I've read this correctly the next stage of a society is not necessarily Socialism but as long as Human civilisation exists in a similar form, classless society is inevitable as it is the synthesis of the contradictions of class society?


1) There are no 'contradictions' in class society (other than those created when human beings argue) since class society is not a sentence, or collection of sentences.

2) If this theory (i.e., dialectical materialism) were true, then the proletariat would have to struggle with the bourgeoisie and change into them!

So, if dialectics were true, class society will never come to an end!

Fortunately, in Historical Materialism, we do not need the obscure concepts Hegel inflicted on humanity. [See my earlier posts in this thread.]
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 05 Sep 2011, 15:16
Quote:
In which case:

Let us call "the material that remains as a result of a specific dialectical process" M, and the original table T. According to the dialectical classics, T can only change if it struggles with its opposite, which is, according to you, M.

But, M does not yet exist, so T can't change!

On the other hand, if M already exists, T can't change into it, since M is already there!

Hence, dialectics can't explain change -- either that, or: if dialectics were true, change would be impossible.


You aren't dead. You have never been dead. You being dead doesn't exist. However, this does not mean you won't die, and at some point you being dead will come into existence. Now obviously a dialectic can only occur when energy is added to the equation so the current conflict between you being alive/dead are the forces that are keeping you alive in conflict with the forces that are trying to kill you. The forces that are keeping you alive are obviously manifest in the fact that you are alive and can stay alive. The forces that are trying to kill you manifest themselves in things such as the ageing process (as well as signs of terminal illnesses etc). Eventually the forces that are trying to kill you will overwhelm the forces that are trying to keep you alive and you being dead will come into existence.

Quote:
But, these can't be 'subjective'. If they were, no one would be able to agree with you even about what a table is (or what water vapour is), let alone what happens to it (them).


You seem to have deliberately misread what I wrote. Yes they are ultimately subjective but society forms a general consensus of agreement of these subjective apprehensions. So if you show 1,000,000 a table and say "what is that?", the vast majority will identify it as a table, even though that is a subjective apprehension.

Quote:
Ice cubes can't be negated since they aren't sentences or clauses. That would be like saying they could be asserted. When has anyone ever asserted an ice cube?

They melt, that's all. We don't need Hegelian jargon to describe what happens to ice cubes!


This just seems to be a semantic prevarication.

Water and ice are generally perceived as qualitatively different objects (imagine if you asked for a drink with ice in a bar and they poured liquid water in instead. How would you react when you complained and the barman said "it's still H20 so I don't see what your problem is"?) Water and ice are the opposites here. Ice cannot be apprehended as ice when it is no longer in a solid state. Similarly, people won't consider something to be water unless it is liquid (and yes, people know they are still the same molecules whichever state of matter they are in). Water can only change into ice and vice versa when heat energy is either applied or removed.
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 05 Sep 2011, 21:51
gRed_Britain:

Quote:
You aren't dead. You have never been dead. You being dead doesn't exist. However, this does not mean you won't die, and at some point you being dead will come into existence.


I agree, but then dialectics can't explain why this happens. The classics tell us that everything in the entire universe changes because of a struggle of opposites. As a result each object and process changes into that opposite.

Suppose person P dies. According to the classics, whatever P changes into is its opposite. Call that opposite P*. Now, again according to the classics, P can only change into P* if it struggles with it. But, as you have already acknowledged, P can't do this since P* does not yet exist. And if it did, this still couldn't happen, since P can only change into something that is not already there -- but P* is already there!

As I pointed out earlier, this does not deny change, merely that dialectics can't explain it. Worse still, if dialectics were true, change would be impossible.

Quote:
Now obviously a dialectic can only occur when energy is added to the equation so the current conflict between you being alive/dead are the forces that are keeping you alive in conflict with the forces that are trying to kill you. The forces that are keeping you alive are obviously manifest in the fact that you are alive and can stay alive. The forces that are trying to kill you manifest themselves in things such as the ageing process (as well as signs of terminal illnesses etc). Eventually the forces that are trying to kill you will overwhelm the forces that are trying to keep you alive and you being dead will come into existence


Call these forces F and F*. If they are in conflict, then, according to the classics, they must change into one another. So, you hit the same brick wall as above. Do the forces that are trying to keep you alive change into those trying to kill you, and vice versa? I think not.

If, on the other hand, these forces change P into P*, they must be the opposites of P, if we are to believe the classics. In which case, P must now change into F and F*!

But, that's even worse!

This impasse is not surprising, since my refutation of the dialectical theory of change is completely general.

Quote:
You seem to have deliberately misread what I wrote.


I'm sorry if you think that I did, but I assure you, if I did misread you, it wasn't deliberate.

You posted this:

Quote:
Of course, these apprehensions are ultimately subjective. However, since many are so obvious (nearly everyone agrees that water vapour is substantially different to liquid water) they acquire a certain unanimous objectivity in their perceived nature.


In which case, I should have replied as follows:

Quote:
But, these can't be 'ultimately subjective'. If they were, no one would be able to agree with you even about what a table is (or what water vapour is), let alone what happens to it (them).


With the word "ultimately" added.

I don't see this makes much difference, though. Ultimately or not, we'd never agree if these were in any way subjective.

But you now add this comment:

Quote:
Yes they are ultimately subjective but society forms a general consensus of agreement of these subjective apprehensions. So if you show 1,000,000 a table and say "what is that?", the vast majority will identify it as a table, even though that is a subjective apprehension.


How can society form a consensus if all it has to go on are subjective impressions?

And all you are reporting here is your subjective impression of what society is. Even worse, all you are reporting is your subjective impression of what society does or does not do.

Have you checked to see if the majority agree with you? But, even then, all you will end up with is a subjective impression of what another subjective impression of yours subjectively does. You will soon find your ideas running into the sand if you pursue this line of thought.

You do not need to use such subjectively compromised language. It's not helping your case.

Quote:
This just seems to be a semantic prevarication.


No, that's just your subjective impression.

Anyway, what is "semantic prevarication". I'd appreciate it too if you'd avoid giving us your subjective impression of the meaning of this phrase.

[Which, if you do, will, I'm afraid, torpedo all you have said above about subjectivity...]

Quote:
Water and ice are generally perceived as qualitatively different objects (imagine if you asked for a drink with ice in a bar and they poured liquid water in instead. How would you react when you complained and the barman said "it's still H20 so I don't see what your problem is"?) Water and ice are the opposites here. Ice cannot be apprehended as ice when it is no longer in a solid state. Similarly, people won't consider something to be water unless it is liquid (and yes, people know they are still the same molecules whichever state of matter they are in). Water can only change into ice and vice versa when heat energy is either applied or removed.


I know they are different, but the change from ice to water, or the other way round, does not fit the characterisation of a "quality" that Hegel and Marxists in general have used:

Quote:
Each of the three spheres of the logical idea proves to be a systematic whole of thought-terms, and a phase of the Absolute. This is the case with Being, containing the three grades of quality, quantity and measure.

Quality is, in the first place, the character identical with being: so identical that a thing ceases to be what it is, if it loses its quality. Quantity, on the contrary, is the character external to being, and does not affect the being at all. Thus, e.g. a house remains what it is, whether it be greater or smaller; and red remains red, whether it be brighter or darker. [Hegel, Shorter Logic, p.124, §85. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/reference/archi ... g.htm#SL85

As the Glossary at the Marx Internet Archive notes:

Quote:
Quality is an aspect of something by which it is what it is and not something else and reflects that which is stable amidst variation. Quantity is an aspect of something which may change (become more or less) without the thing thereby becoming something else.

Thus, if something changes to an extent that it is no longer the same kind of thing, this is a 'qualitative change', whereas a change in something by which it still the same thing, though more or less, bigger or smaller, is a 'quantitative change'.

In Hegel's Logic, Quality is the first division of Being, when the world is just one thing after another, so to speak, while Quantity is the second division, where perception has progressed to the point of recognising what is stable within the ups and downs of things. The third and final stage, Measure, the unity of quality and quantity, denotes the knowledge of just when quantitative change becomes qualitative change.


Bold added.

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archi ... ossary.htm

This is an Aristotelian notion.

Cornforth, too, tries to tell us what a 'dialectical quality' is:

Quote:
For instance, if a piece of iron is painted black and instead we paint it red, that is merely an external alteration..., but it is not a qualitative change in the sense we are here defining. On the other hand, if the iron is heated to melting point, then this is such a qualitative change. And it comes about precisely as a change in the attraction-repulsion relationship characteristic of the internal molecular state of the metal. The metal passes from the solid to liquid state, its internal character and laws of motion become different in certain ways, it undergoes a qualitative change. [Cornforth, Materialism And The Dialectical Method, p.99.]


And yet, as we have seen, no new substance emerges as a result; water as ice, liquid or steam is still H2O.

But you add this comment:

Quote:
How would you react when you complained and the barman said "it's still H20 so I don't see what your problem is"?)


Recall, I'm criticising the dialectical/Aristotelian notion of "quality", so I'd not address a barman in this way.

The problem here is that the dialectical/Aristotelian notion of "quality" is defective, since it would allow liquid water and ice to be the same, or to have the same "quality".

A further problem is that if you relax this 'definition', that will create even more difficulties!

Quote:
Water and ice are the opposites here. Ice cannot be apprehended as ice when it is no longer in a solid state. Similarly, people won't consider something to be water unless it is liquid (and yes, people know they are still the same molecules whichever state of matter they are in). Water can only change into ice and vice versa when heat energy is either applied or removed.


I have already covered this objection; here we go again:

So, let us track a water molecule to see what happens to it. To identify it, we shall call it "W(1)", and the ice molecule it turns into "I(1)". But, if the dialectical classics are correct, I(1) must already exist, otherwise W(1) can't struggle with it and thus change into it! Alas, if I(I) already exists, W(1) can't change into it.

We hit the same non-dialectical brick wall.

Quote:
Water can only change into ice and vice versa when heat energy is either applied or removed.


Yes, I know, but this is not what would happen if we believed the classics; according to them, everything changes because of a struggle of opposites, and everything changes into its opposite.

If that were so, water would freeze by 'struggling' with the ice it was about to become!

Have you ever seen this?

Save energy, comrades! Switch off your freezers, dialectical water freezes itself...
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 06 Sep 2011, 00:54
Quote:
How can society form a consensus if all it has to go on are subjective impressions?

And all you are reporting here is your subjective impression of what society is. Even worse, all you are reporting is your subjective impression of what society does or does not do.

Have you checked to see if the majority agree with you? But, even then, all you will end up with is a subjective impression of what another subjective impression of yours subjectively does. You will soon find your ideas running into the sand if you pursue this line of thought.

You do not need to use such subjectively compromised language. It's not helping your case.


No, funnily enough, I have not asked the population of planet Earth their views of what a table is. However, since everyone I have ever met has appeared to agree with me and each other on what they consider a table to be (along with globally published dictionaries), I feel I am somewhat able to stick my neck out and make this claim. Or do you consider a wooden table to be identical to a tree purely because they are both made of wood molecules?

Quote:
I know they are different, but the change from ice to water, or the other way round, does not fit the characterisation of a "quality" that Hegel and Marxists in general have used:


The definitions you cited:

Quote:
Quality is, in the first place, the character identical with being: so identical that a thing ceases to be what it is, if it loses its quality.


Quote:
Thus, if something changes to an extent that it is no longer the same kind of thing, this is a 'qualitative change'


Subjective apprehensions of differing qualities fit these definitions. Whilst most people know that ice and water are of the same molecular structure, they still apprehend them as qualitatively different depending upon their state of matter. Just as many people know that charcoal is still wood, they still do not apprehend it as such and instead apprehend it as a separate object (if someone walked into an art shop looking to buy some charcoal and you sold them a piece of wood, they would not be able to draw with it).

Your definition of a quality appears to be rooted in atomic structure. Nothing changes apparently unless it turns into a different element.

Quote:
A further problem is that if you relax this 'definition', that will create even more difficulties!


Why?

Quote:
Recall, I'm criticising the dialectical/Aristotelian notion of "quality", so I'd not address a barman in this way.


Quote:
Yes, I know, but this is not what would happen if we believed the classics; according to them, everything changes because of a struggle of opposites, and everything changes into its opposite.

If that were so, water would freeze by 'struggling' with the ice it was about to become!

Have you ever seen this?

Save energy, comrades! Switch off your freezers, dialectical water freezes itself...


Water and ice are two different apprehensions of the state of water. Despite being subjective (as you say, they are still molecularly identical), the vast majority of people appear to agree upon these qualitatively different apprehensions (hence the barman example). Since we know no dialectic can occur without the addition/subtraction of energy, it is the two opposing forces (which can be in existence simultaneously) which struggle. Because of our knowlegde and experience of qualitative changes we know what happens when certain forces confront each other and thus associate the forces with their apprehended outcomes (qualities).

For example. If we apply heat energy to dry wood we know it will burn and eventually turn into ash.

So wood = W and its opposite, ash = W*
The forces are heat energy (H) and the original temperature of the wood (H*)

Obviously, at the outset W exists and W* does not. However, both H and H* exist although very quickly the area of wood affected by H increases and the area affected by H* decreases as the wood begins to burn.

Eventually H overcomes H* resulting in W completely burning and turning in W*. At this point W is replaced by W* (people apprehend W as being qualitatively different from W*) W can no longer be apprehended as being qualitatively definable as W.

Since people tend to gloss over the energy struggle and instead associate one of the struggling forces with their respective qualitative states (so people would associate H* with W and H with W*) they often say the states themselves are struggling. But as I said, since a dialectic only occurs when energy is added/subtracted this is not actually the case. Nonetheless, the dialectical process still holds up.
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 06 Sep 2011, 02:43
gRed_Britain:

Quote:
No, funnily enough, I have not asked the population of planet Earth their views of what a table is. However, since everyone I have ever met has appeared to agree with me and each other on what they consider a table to be (along with globally published dictionaries), I feel I am somewhat able to stick my neck out and make this claim. Or do you consider a wooden table to be identical to a tree purely because they are both made of wood molecules?


Well, this is not my theory of subjectivity, but yours -- or rather your subjective theory of subjectivity. And I am happy to note your other subjective comments, which, since they are subjective, can be ignored by anyone seeking the truth.

Quote:
Your definition of a quality appears to be rooted in atomic structure. Nothing changes apparently unless it turns into a different element.


Once more, these aren't my definitions, but ones that dialectical Marxist say they use, but plainly do not. So, you need to take that up with them, not me.

Quote:
Subjective apprehensions of differing qualities fit these definitions. Whilst most people know that ice and water are of the same molecular structure, they still apprehend them as qualitatively different depending upon their state of matter. Just as many people know that charcoal is still wood, they still do not apprehend it as such and instead apprehend it as a separate object (if someone walked into an art shop looking to buy some charcoal and you sold them a piece of wood, they would not be able to draw with it).


And how do you know all this? As I pointed out earlier, given your subjectivist theory, all you have are subjective 'apprehensions' of what you subjectively 'apprehend' are the subjective 'apprehensions' of those you subjectively 'apprehend' are other people. At no point can you ground what you say in anything other than yet another set of subjective 'apprehensions'.

Quote:
Why?


Because it allows in the sort of objections I raised in the short essay you were criticising earlier in this thread -- namely, it allows in the relational properties of bodies, which can and do change without the addition of any matter or energy -- or even 'apprehensions' of them.

Quote:
Water and ice are two different apprehensions of the state of water.


So, when you drink water, you drink an 'apprehension', do you?

Quote:
Despite being subjective (as you say, they are still molecularly identical), the vast majority of people appear to agree upon these qualitatively different apprehensions (hence the barman example). Since we know no dialectic can occur without the addition/subtraction of energy, it is the two opposing forces (which can be in existence simultaneously) which struggle. Because of our knowledge and experience of qualitative changes we know what happens when certain forces confront each other and thus associate the forces with their apprehended outcomes (qualities).


Once more, how do you know what others think? All you have are your subjective 'apprehensions' of... (well, you can fill in the rest).

Quote:
Since we know no dialectic can occur without the addition/subtraction of energy, it is the two opposing forces (which can be in existence simultaneously) which struggle. Because of our knowledge and experience of qualitative changes we know what happens when certain forces confront each other and thus associate the forces with their apprehended outcomes (qualities).


Look, we have been over this several times, and despite the fact that I have shown you repeatedly that this can't work (given what the classics tell us), you keep repeating it. Why?

But, you go into detail:

Quote:
For example. If we apply heat energy to dry wood we know it will burn and eventually turn into ash.

So wood = W and its opposite, ash = W*

The forces are heat energy (H) and the original temperature of the wood (H*)

Obviously, at the outset W exists and W* does not. However, both H and H* exist although very quickly the area of wood affected by H increases and the area affected by H* decreases as the wood begins to burn.

Eventually H overcomes H* resulting in W completely burning and turning in W*. At this point W is replaced by W* (people apprehend W as being qualitatively different from W*) W can no longer be apprehended as being qualitatively definable as W.

Since people tend to gloss over the energy struggle and instead associate one of the struggling forces with their respective qualitative states (so people would associate H* with W and H with W*) they often say the states themselves are struggling. But as I said, since a dialectic only occurs when energy is added/subtracted this is not actually the case. Nonetheless, the dialectical process still holds up.


But, as the classics tell us, all things change because of a struggle of opposites, so if H and/or H* make W change, they must be the opposites of W, and so W must change into H and H*. That makes W* redundant, which means that the classics were mistaken.

And if H and H* are opposites, they must struggle with one another (otherwise the classics were wrong, once more). Does heat really struggle with temperature?

In addition, if W changes into W*, the classics tell us that this can only happen if W struggles with its opposite, and they tell us that this opposite is whatever it changes into. So, whatever else happens, W must struggle with W*. But that can't happen since W* does not yet exist.

No matter how you try to re-launch this theory, it still ends up smacking into the same non-dialectical brick wall.

As I said, my refutation of this theory is completely general, so no wonder your attempts to re-brand it continually fail.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 06 Sep 2011, 12:12
Quote:
Well, this is not my theory of subjectivity, but yours -- or rather your subjective theory of subjectivity. And I am happy to note your other subjective comments, which, since they are subjective, can be ignored by anyone seeking the truth.


Quote:
And how do you know all this? As I pointed out earlier, given your subjectivist theory, all you have are subjective 'apprehensions' of what you subjectively 'apprehend' are the subjective 'apprehensions' of those you subjectively 'apprehend' are other people. At no point can you ground what you say in anything other than yet another set of subjective 'apprehensions'.


Everything in the world as perceived by humans is subjective! How do you know the world is really as you see it? How do you know if anything is really here and we aren't all just in the dream of a giant turtle floating through hyperspace?

Now of course, if we all thought like this all the time society wouldn't function so there are many shared apprehensions which are still nonetheless subjective. Thus everyone agrees on what a table is, everyone agrees that ice and liquid water are different.

Quote:
Once more, these aren't my definitions, but ones that dialectical Marxist say they use, but plainly do not. So, you need to take that up with them, not me.


Let's see...

Quote:
Quality is, in the first place, the character identical with being: so identical that a thing ceases to be what it is, if it loses its quality. Quantity, on the contrary, is the character external to being, and does not affect the being at all. Thus, e.g. a house remains what it is, whether it be greater or smaller; and red remains red, whether it be brighter or darker." [Hegel (1975)


Quote:
Quality is an aspect of something by which it is what it is and not something else and reflects that which is stable amidst variation.


Nope, neither of these talk about atomic structure as a definition of quality. Please show me the ones that do.

Also...

Quote:
Thus, e.g. a house remains what it is, whether it be greater or smaller; and red remains red, whether it be brighter or darker. (Hegel)


If the house collapses is it still a house? It's still made of bricks/mortar etc. No atomic change has occurred on the molecules it is comprised of.

Is an ice palace still an ice palace if it turns into liquid water? Again, no molecular change has occurred so it must still be an ice palace, right?

In either instance I wouldn't want to live in them.

Quote:
Because it allows in the sort of objections I raised in the short essay you were criticising earlier in this thread -- namely, it allows in the relational properties of bodies, which can and do change without the addition of any matter or energy -- or even 'apprehensions' of them.


No because the whole mouse/pony/elephant comparison you champion is not a change but a difference. The mouse is not turning into the pony and the pony is not turning into the elephant. The only dialectical processes occurring here are the mouse turning into a dead mouse, the pony turning into a dead pony and the elephant turning into a dead elephant. These obviously involve energy.

Quote:
So, when you drink water, you drink an 'apprehension', do you?


Yes, you are drinking H20 but you are apprehending it in its liquid state. You are very much aware you are not drinking ice or water vapour. (Although perhaps you wouldn't be since your perception of the world apparently revolves exclusively around atomic structure.)

Quote:
Once more, how do you know what others think? All you have are your subjective 'apprehensions' of... (well, you can fill in the rest).


The same way that you know that you and I agree on the meanings and definitions of all/most of the words in the English language despite the fact you have never met me.

Quote:
But, as the classics tell us, all things change because of a struggle of opposites, so if H and/or H* make W change, they must be the opposites of W, and so W must change into H and H*. That makes W* redundant, which means that the classics were mistaken.

And if H and H* are opposites, they must struggle with one another (otherwise the classics were wrong, once more). Does heat really struggle with temperature?

In addition, if W changes into W*, the classics tell us that this can only happen if W struggles with its opposite, and they tell us that this opposite is whatever it changes into. So, whatever else happens, W must struggle with W*. But that can't happen since W* does not yet exist.

No matter how you try to re-launch this theory, it still ends up smacking into the same non-dialectical brick wall.

As I said, my refutation of this theory is completely general, so no wonder your attempts to re-brand it continually fail.


Again I refer back to people dying. You are not dead and you have never died. Yet I'm pretty sure you know you will die one day. So you dying is a perfect example of something coming into existence through the struggle of forces. The struggle between opposing forces results in the change from one quality (a person being alive) to another (a person being dead). The person being dead does not have to simultaneously exist with the person being alive in order to come into existence because the opposing forces (which can exist simultaneously) are the things that struggle.
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 06 Sep 2011, 15:38
gRed_Britain:

Quote:
Everything in the world as perceived by humans is subjective! How do you know the world is really as you see it? How do you know if anything is really here and we aren't all just in the dream of a giant turtle floating through hyperspace?


And you know this how? If this opinion is subjective, then we can ignore it.

If it's objective, then you are wrong and we can ignore it.

Either way, we can ignore it.

Quote:
How do you know the world is really as you see it? How do you know if anything is really here and we aren't all just in the dream of a giant turtle floating through hyperspace?


Because (1) I understand the English language (you even make this point yourself, later!), (2) I am not high on anything, and (3) I am not in the grip of a philosophical theory.

Can we say the same of you?

Quote:
Now of course, if we all thought like this all the time society wouldn't function so there are many shared apprehensions which are still nonetheless subjective. Thus everyone agrees on what a table is, everyone agrees that ice and liquid water are different.


Again, how do you know all this? All you have are these subjective 'apprehensions' of subjective 'apprehensions'...

All you know is that all these 'apprehensions' of what you 'apprehend' others to be saying appear to agree about what you 'apprehend' a table to be.

And you are the one who does not seem to know if you are dreaming or not.

Quote:
Nope, neither of these talk about atomic structure as a definition of quality. Please show me the ones that do.


I'm sorry, I clearly misunderstood you.

So let me address your original comment:

Quote:
Your definition of a quality appears to be rooted in atomic structure. Nothing changes apparently unless it turns into a different element.


I don't have a definition of "quality", but, Engels was concerned with matter, which he believed was composed of atoms -- and he argued as follows:

Quote:
The transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa. For our purpose, we could express this by saying that in nature, in a manner exactly fixed for each individual case, qualitative changes can only occur by the quantitative addition or subtraction of matter or motion (so-called energy).

All qualitative differences in nature rest on differences of chemical composition or on different quantities or forms of motion (energy) or, as is almost always the case, on both. Hence it is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned. In this form, therefore, Hegel's mysterious principle appears not only quite rational but even rather obvious. [Dialectics of Nature, p.63. Emphasis added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... n/ch02.htm

[And he repeated this several times (and in published work), as do other dialecticians.]

Hence, I don't think I am misrepresenting the classical theory.

With all due respect, can I suggest you familiarise yourself with your own theory before you try to defend it?

Quote:
If the house collapses is it still a house? It's still made of bricks/mortar etc. No atomic change has occurred on the molecules it is comprised of.


Well, several chemical bonds will have been broken, otherwise it will still be standing, won't it?

But, even if you are right, that just shows how defective the classical definition of 'quality' is -- even you can see through it with all your 'apprehensions'.

No wonder I find it easy to refute.

Quote:
Is an ice palace still an ice palace if it turns into liquid water? Again, no molecular change has occurred so it must still be an ice palace, right?


But is that a change in 'quality'?

Who knows, since we have yet to be told with any clarity what a 'quality' is? [The 'definitions' I posted earlier are far from clear, and obviously defective, as even you can see.]

And, of course, ice palaces melt slowly, so no nodal change here, either.

Once more, this 'law' seems not to be able to cope with melting ice!

Quote:
No because the whole mouse/pony/elephant comparison you champion is not a change but a difference. The mouse is not turning into the pony and the pony is not turning into the elephant. The only dialectical processes occurring here are the mouse turning into a dead mouse, the pony turning into a dead pony and the elephant turning into a dead elephant. These obviously involve energy.


I have already been through this, on page one above, and in answer to you!

May I suggest you re-read what I said, and then get back to me?

Quote:
Yes, you are drinking H20 but you are apprehending it in its liquid state. You are very much aware you are not drinking ice or water vapour. (Although perhaps you wouldn't be since your perception of the world apparently revolves exclusively around atomic structure.)


Ah, but you said this:

Quote:
Water and ice are two different apprehensions of the state of water.


So, you do think water is an apprehension.

In other words this is what happens:

Quote:
Yes, you are drinking an apprehension of H20.


Given your theory, you do not know the difference between water and an 'apprehension' of it.

Indeed, for all you know, there is no such thing as water.

[For the sake of clarity, I am not reporting my beliefs here, merely pointing out the consequences of the things you have said.]

Quote:
The same way that you know that you and I agree on the meanings and definitions of all/most of the words in the English language despite the fact you have never met me.


But, you don't. No one, except those in the grip of a philosophical theory like yours, uses English in this way. Which was, of course, the point of me making Point (1) above.

When was the last time that you heard someone ask for an 'apprehension' of a glass of an 'apprehension' of water? Or who thinks there is no difference between a dream state and waking life, and who is not also in the care of an 'apprehension' of psychiatrist?

Quote:
Again I refer back to people dying. You are not dead and you have never died. Yet I'm pretty sure you know you will die one day. So you dying is a perfect example of something coming into existence through the struggle of forces. The struggle between opposing forces results in the change from one quality (a person being alive) to another (a person being dead). The person being dead does not have to simultaneously exist with the person being alive in order to come into existence because the opposing forces (which can exist simultaneously) are the things that struggle.


Oh dear! Now this is like a recurring dream!

I went over this earlier. Here it is again:

Quote:
I agree, but then dialectics can't explain why this happens. The classics tell us that everything in the entire universe changes because of a struggle of opposites. As a result each object and process changes into that opposite.

Suppose person P dies. According to the classics, whatever P changes into is its opposite. Call that opposite P*. Now, again according to the classics, P can only change into P* if it struggles with it. But, as you have already acknowledged, P can't do this since P* does not yet exist. And if it did, this still couldn't happen, since P can only change into something that is not already there -- but P* is already there!

As I pointed out earlier, this does not deny change, merely that dialectics can't explain it. Worse still, if dialectics were true, change would be impossible.


Now, instead of keep repeating the same point, what you need to do is show where the above goes wrong, or where it misrepresents the classics.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 5148
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 06 Sep 2011, 17:58
This is the most in depth discussion SE has had in forever, and its about anti dialectics of all things..

Also ew philosophy
Image
Loz
[+-]
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 11879
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 06 Sep 2011, 18:00
Rosa just killed Marx.
Soviet cogitations: 1128
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Aug 2008, 18:12
Party Member
Post 06 Sep 2011, 18:54
Quote:
And you know this how? If this opinion is subjective, then we can ignore it.

If it's objective, then you are wrong and we can ignore it.

Either way, we can ignore it.


So are you saying subjectivity is entirely fictitious as a concept? Nothing in the world can be subjective? Some people used to think phrenology was objectively true. It turned out their objectivity on the matter was subjective.

May I suggest another example:

Two baby boys are abandoned in the jungle and are raised togther by wolves (implausible I know). Both have been born with congenital eye defects. Whenever one boy looks at red things he sees the colour green (but not vice versa). Whenever the other boy looks at green things he sees the colour red (but not vice versa).

As they grow up in the jungle the boys are making different apprehensions of things yet they think they are making the same apprehensions. They both think that blood is the same colour as the jungle. There is no third party to point out that blood and the jungle are coloured differently. They are also unaware that while they both recognise red/green objects when they see them, they are both apprehending them as completely different colours.

Of course neither one is "correct" in what they see. In fact, someone with "normal" eyes (assuming you or I have "normal" eyes, we too may be blissfully unaware) would say they are both wrong. It is all down to subjective apprehension.

Quote:
Because (1) I understand the English language (you even make this point yourself, later!), (2) I am not high on anything, and (3) I am not in the grip of a philosophical theory.

Can we say the same of you?


Those answers in no way answer my questions. How do YOU know the world is as you perceive it to be? The answer is you don't. They way you see the world isn't necessarily the way I or anyone else see it (clearly!). The way you apprehend the taste of orange juice isn't necessarily the way I or anyone else apprehend it. This doesn't mean that most people don't recognise the taste of orange juice though. Thus the taste of orange juice is subjective to each individual (some like it, some don't, some think it is too sour etc). However, since regardless of this, most people recognise the taste of orange juice when they encounter it (whatever their reaction to it), it acquires a degree of objectivity because we all can recognise it.

Quote:
Again, how do you know all this? All you have are these subjective 'apprehensions' of subjective 'apprehensions'...

All you know is that all these 'apprehensions' of what you 'apprehend' others to be saying appear to agree about what you 'apprehend' a table to be.

And you are the one who does not seem to know if you are dreaming or not.


Or you could say:

All you know is that all these 'apprehensions' of what you 'apprehend' others to be saying appear to agree about what you 'apprehend' the English language to be.

And yet you clearly state you understand the English language (and presumably you recognise that many other people do too).

So which is it? If I can't know that most people agree with my definition of a table, how can you know that most people agree with your definition of the English language?

Quote:
All qualitative differences in nature rest on differences of chemical composition or on different quantities or forms of motion (energy) or, as is almost always the case, on both. Hence it is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned.


Surely state of matter is part of chemical composition and thus entirely relevant to this definition of quality?

Quote:
Well, several chemical bonds will have been broken, otherwise it will still be standing, won't it?


So are you saying that would consititue a qualitative change? If I scrape a tiny splinter of wood off a door (obviously involving the breaking of a chemical bond) would that constitute qualitative change?

Quote:
But is that a change in 'quality'?


That's what I'm asking you. Seeing as your definition of quality seems to be entirely bound in atomic structure then surely this does not consitute a change in quality (according to your logic)? Yet I'm guessing the vast majority of people who see a vast pool of water would not consider that pool to be an ice palace (even if it once was).

Quote:
And, of course, ice palaces melt slowly, so no nodal change here, either.


Throw a piece of ice into an industrial furnace as see how slowly it melts.

Quote:
I have already been through this, on page one above, and in answer to you!


Sorry, haven't read this thread in a while.

Could you provide a few examples of when Engels said qualitative change could happen without a change in matter?

Also, when you look at the mouse, pony and elephant there is no change going on between them. The only change occurring is the light going into your eyes and the impact it is having on your brain.

Quote:
So, you do think water is an apprehension.

Given your theory, you do not know the difference between water and an 'apprehension' of it.

Indeed, for all you know, there is no such thing as water.


Yes. Water is apprehension of H20 in a liquid state. If we boil water we apprehend the boiling water as liquid water and the vapour rising from the saucepan as water vapour.

Quote:
But, you don't. No one, except those in the grip of a philosophical theory like yours, uses English in this way. Which was, of course, the point of me making Point (1) above.

When was the last time that you heard someone ask for an 'apprehension' of a glass of an 'apprehension' of water? Or who thinks there is no difference between a dream state and waking life, and who is not also in the care of an 'apprehension' of psychiatrist?


Not sure I got my point across. I'm saying you assume that you and I (and everyone else) subscribe to the same definitions of words in the English language. I've met people who have misused words and I myself have misused words in the past assuming others subscribed to my interpretation of their meaning. Earlier in this thread Loz assumed he shared the meaning of 'tautology' with other people's interpretation of that word.


As for all our many previous examples we are clearly going around in circles so I propose the following. Call it a revision/clarification of the theory and thus realise it may deviate from what the 'dialectical classicists' (that seemingly homogenous yet indeterminate group) say. It will also "relax" the definition of a quality so as to not be bound up exclusively in atomic structure. Nonetheless, change cannot occur without the addition/subtraction of energy.

A cat is dying of an illness
The live cat is C, the dead cat (its opposite) is C*
While C exists, C* cannot
Two opposing forces are constantly acting upon the cat, the force keeping it alive (F), and the force of the illness that is killing it (F*)
Because the result of F's dominance over F* is C, F becomes associated with C
Conversely, F* becomes associated with C* because when F* becomes dominant it results in C*
A point exists whereby if F* reaches a certain level of dominance over F, C no longer exists. At this point C is replaced by C* (i.e. the cat dies)
Once C* comes into existence both F and F* cease to exist
Instead, 2 new forces begin to act upon the corpse: one maintaining its shape, size and appearance, the other attempting to break down its shape, size and appearance
The whole process begins again

How is this not a viable theory?
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 07 Sep 2011, 00:00
Loz:

Quote:
Rosa just killed Marx.


Not at all, since Marx never accepted dialectical materialism -- in fact, he'd never even heard of it -- my comments have no impact on Marx's ideas.

I have already said many times, here and at my site, that I fully accept Historical Materialism (providing the Hegelian concepts have been totally excised, that is).

gRed:

Quote:
So are you saying subjectivity is entirely fictitious as a concept? Nothing in the world can be subjective? Some people used to think phrenology was objectively true. It turned out their objectivity on the matter was subjective.


In fact, I prefer not to use this word (nor the world 'objective', either). I only introduced them because they seemed to capture your theory quite well. But, if we have to use these words (which Lenin used, of course, to depict similar theories to yours), then subjectivity can't feature in a scientific theory.

And, of course, scientists can be wrong, but they correct themselves by substituting a correct theory for an incorrect one. In that process, subjectivity will play only a rhetorical, not an evidentiary, role.

Quote:
Two baby boys are abandoned in the jungle and are raised together by wolves (implausible I know). Both have been born with congenital eye defects. Whenever one boy looks at red things he sees the colour green (but not vice versa). Whenever the other boy looks at green things he sees the colour red (but not vice versa).

As they grow up in the jungle the boys are making different apprehensions of things yet they think they are making the same apprehensions. They both think that blood is the same colour as the jungle. There is no third party to point out that blood and the jungle are coloured differently. They are also unaware that while they both recognise red/green objects when they see them, they are both apprehending them as completely different colours.

Of course neither one is "correct" in what they see. In fact, someone with "normal" eyes (assuming you or I have "normal" eyes, we too may be blissfully unaware) would say they are both wrong. It is all down to subjective apprehension.


You are only able to describe such an unlikely series of events because you already know how to use the language of colour correctly. In which case, this entertaining story can't affect the ordinary use of language -- if it did, what you have to say here would lose the meaning it already has, and you'd be saying nothing determinate at all.

So, interesting though it is, this tale can't be used to help defend your theory of 'apprehension'.

Quote:
Those answers in no way answer my questions. How do YOU know the world is as you perceive it to be? The answer is you don't. They way you see the world isn't necessarily the way I or anyone else see it (clearly!). The way you apprehend the taste of orange juice isn't necessarily the way I or anyone else apprehend it. This doesn't mean that most people don't recognise the taste of orange juice though. Thus the taste of orange juice is subjective to each individual (some like it, some don't, some think it is too sour etc). However, since regardless of this, most people recognise the taste of orange juice when they encounter it (whatever their reaction to it), it acquires a degree of objectivity because we all can recognise it.


Sure they can. That's because you have to rely on the ordinary meaning of colour terms to make yourself comprehensible to me, and to yourself.

And, I have nowhere denied things like this: "Thus the taste of orange juice is subjective to each individual (some like it, some don't, some think it is too sour etc)."

But, I think you are confusing taste itself with whether or not individuals like that taste. As I am sure you are aware, these are not at all the same.

And, you can follow that last point, even if you disagree with it, because you, like me, understand English.

Quote:
Or you could say:

All you know is that all these 'apprehensions' of what you 'apprehend' others to be saying appear to agree about what you 'apprehend' the English language to be.

And yet you clearly state you understand the English language (and presumably you recognise that many other people do too).

So which is it? If I can't know that most people agree with my definition of a table, how can you know that most people agree with your definition of the English language?


Well, I do not subscribe to this theory of yours, so I would not attack this pseudo-problem in this way.

But, I know that others understand English in the same way that I do (and as you do, too) since I know how to use the word "know".

[Of course, and with all due respect, if you don't, then there's not much I can do to help you.]

Now, you can't say any of this about yourself since you are in the grip of a subjectivist/philosophical theory. I'm not.

Quote:
Surely state of matter is part of chemical composition and thus entirely relevant to this definition of quality?


And yet, we have yet to be given a clear definition of it. Even you spotted the problems associated with the classical version.

Of course, we can define things as we please, but I venture to suggest that you will not be able to find a definition of 'quality' that I won't be able to show still does not work (as part of the theory Engels saddled us with).

Quote:
So are you saying that would constitute a qualitative change? If I scrape a tiny splinter of wood off a door (obviously involving the breaking of a chemical bond) would that constitute qualitative change?


Recall, I am not putting forward any of my own views, nor trying to come up with a theory of my own (and that is because I reject all philosophical theories as non-sensical).

The point of that comment of mine (about the breaking of chemical bonds, etc.) was to counter your claim that no chemical change was involved in that collapsed house. I am not offering my own theory of qualitative change -- since I deny there can be one.

So, in response to this:

Quote:
If I scrape a tiny splinter of wood off a door (obviously involving the breaking of a chemical bond) would that constitute qualitative change?


The answer would be: 'Yes', if we water down the classical 'definition' of 'quality' to accommodate the sort of changes you considered. [Recall, once again, this is not my view; I am just working out the consequences of the classical theory.]

Quote:
That's what I'm asking you.


Well, it's your theory, not mine. Why do you need me to tell you what your theory is supposed to mean?

Quote:
Seeing as your definition of quality seems to be entirely bound in atomic structure then surely this does not constitute a change in quality (according to your logic)? Yet I'm guessing the vast majority of people who see a vast pool of water would not consider that pool to be an ice palace (even if it once was).


Once more, it's not my definition -- it's Engels's!

And, this latest comment of yours just underlines once again how useless the classical 'definition' of 'quality' is. As I said: at best, this theory is so vague, anyone can make of it what they want. [Try doing that with a genuinely scientific theory.]

Quote:
Throw a piece of ice into an industrial furnace as see how slowly it melts.


It's never been part of my criticism of this theory that no changes in nature and society are sudden, or 'nodal' (if, that is, we are ever told how long a 'node' is supposed to last), just that not all are, contrary to what the classics tell us. So, yes, under certain circumstances, the melting of ice can be rapid, but under others it's slow and non-'nodal', which is all I need.

Once more, nature is far too complex to be squeezed into a dialectical boot it won't fit.

And this shouldn't surprise us. Science has made vast strides in the last 140 years, in which case, why do comrades insist on defending a theory that was out-of-date as it was being written?

Quote:
Could you provide a few examples of when Engels said qualitative change could happen without a change in matter?


I do not think I alleged this.

But, try these for size:

Quote:
"Have read Hofmann. For all its faults, the latest chemical theory does represent a great advance on the old atomistic theory. The molecule as the smallest part of matter capable of independent existence is a perfectly rational category, a 'nodal point', as Hegel calls it, in the infinite progression of subdivisions, which does not terminate it, but marks a qualitative change. The atom -- formerly represented as the limit of divisibility -- is now but a state, although Monsieur Hofmann himself is forever relapsing into the old idea that indivisible atoms really exist. For the rest, the advances in chemistry that this book records are truly enormous, and Schorlemmer says that this revolution is still going on day by day, so that new upheavals can be expected daily." [Engels to Marx, 16/06/1867, p.175. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... _06_16.htm

Now, there is no way that this can be squeezed into the more energy/matter input into the "same body" straight-jacket. Precisely what energy/matter is fed in here?

Quote:
"If we imagine any non-living body cut up into smaller and smaller portions, at first no qualitative change occurs. But this has a limit: if we succeed, as by evaporation, in obtaining the separate molecules in the free state, then it is true that we can usually divide these still further, yet only with a complete change of quality. The molecule is decomposed into its separate atoms, which have quite different properties from those of the molecule. In the case of molecules composed of various chemical elements, atoms or molecules of these elements themselves make their appearance in the place of the compound molecule; in the case of molecules of elements, the free atoms appear, which exert quite distinct qualitative effects: the free atoms of nascent oxygen are easily able to effect what the atoms of atmospheric oxygen, bound together in the molecule, can never achieve.

But the molecule is also qualitatively different from the mass of the body to which it belongs. It can carry out movements independently of this mass and while the latter remains apparently at rest, e.g. heat oscillations; by means of a change of position and of connection with neighbouring molecules it can change the body into an allotrope or a different state of aggregation.

Thus we see that the purely quantitative operation of division has a limit at which it becomes transformed into a qualitative difference: the mass consists solely of molecules, but it is something essentially different from the molecule, just as the latter is different from the atom. It is this difference that is the basis for the separation of mechanics, as the science of heavenly and terrestrial masses, from physics, as the mechanics of the molecule, and from chemistry, as the physics of the atom." [Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p.64. Bold added.]


http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/wo ... n/ch02.htm

Naturally, 'in the imagination', no energy or matter is added to, or subtracted from, the said bodies themselves. What Engels is in fact appealing to here is not an increase or decrease in energy/matter, but to its greater division. Manifestly, at the end of the dividing process, we would have the same amount of matter/energy with which we began, only arranged differently,

And here is what I posted in reply to you (on this very point), on page two above, not page one, as I asserted earlier:

Quote:
But Engels also used such molecules to try to illustrate this law, even though, as you point out, they do not develop into one another. Check this out:

Quote:

"It is surely hardly necessary to point out that the various allotropic and aggregational states of bodies, because they depend on various groupings of the molecules, depend on greater or lesser quantities of motion communicated to the bodies.

"But what is the position in regard to change of form of motion, or so-called energy? If we change heat into mechanical motion or vice versa, is not the quality altered while the quantity remains the same? Quite correct. But it is with change of form of motion...; anyone can be virtuous by himself, for vices two are always necessary. Change of form of motion is always a process that takes place between at least two bodies, of which one loses a definite quantity of motion of one quality (e.g. heat), while the other gains a corresponding quantity of motion of another quality (mechanical motion, electricity, chemical decomposition). Here, therefore, quantity and quality mutually correspond to each other. So far it has not been found possible to convert motion from one form to another inside a single isolated body." [Dialectics of Nature, pp.63-64.]

However, Engels slides between two different senses of "motion" here: (1) change of place, and (2) energy. In this way, he is able to argue that any change in the relation between bodies always amounts to a change in energy. But, this depends on the nature of the field in which these bodies are embedded -- i.e., whether or not the field is "conservative".

In a conservative field, the work done in moving a force in a circuit is zero, but certain (non-circuitous) line integrals in such fields can also be zero, if these are chosen carefully.

So, a force could 'develop' in this way in an energy neutral environment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_vector_field

Independently of this, Engels also confused the expenditure of energy with energy added to a system. The difference between the two is easy to see. Imagine someone pushing a heavy packing case along a level floor. In order to overcome friction, the one doing the pushing will have to expend energy. But that energy has not been put into the packing case in any constructive way. Now, if the same case is pushed up a hill, Physicists tell us that recoverable energy has been put into the case in the form of Potential Energy.

Now, as far as can be ascertained in the examples of interest to dialecticians (but again, they are not at all clear on this), it is the latter form of energy (but not necessarily always Potential Energy) that is relevant, not the former. The former sort does not really change the quality of any bodies concerned; the latter does. If that is so, then the above counter-examples (e.g., involving Enantiomers) still apply, for the energy expended in order to change one isomer into another is generally of the first sort, not the second.

To be sure, some of the energy in the packing case example will appear as heat (and/or perhaps sound), and will warm that case slightly. But that energy will not be stored in the case as chemically recoverable (i.e., structural, or new bond) energy.

Despite this, a few die-hard dialecticians might want to argue that any expenditure of energy is relevant here. That would be an unfortunate move since it would make this 'Law' trivial, for in that case it would amount to the belief that any change at all (no matter how remote), since it involves the expenditure of some form of energy somewhere (but not necessarily energy put 'into' the bodies concerned), is the cause of qualitative change to other bodies somewhere else.

Again, consider this:

Quote:

"In these series we encounter the Hegelian law in yet another form. The lower members permit only of a single mutual arrangement of the atoms. If, however, the number of atoms united into a molecule attains a size definitely fixed for each series, the grouping of the atoms in the molecule can take place in more than one way; so that two or more isomeric substances can be formed, having equal numbers of C, H, and 0 atoms in the molecule but nevertheless qualitatively distinct from one another. We can even calculate how many such isomers are possible for each member of the series. Thus, in the paraffin series, for C4H10 there are two, for C6H12 there are three; among the higher members the number of possible isomers mounts very rapidly. Hence once again it is the quantitative number of atoms in the molecule that determines the possibility and, in so far as it has been proved, also the actual existence of such qualitatively distinct isomers." [Engels, Dialectics of Nature, p.67. Bold added.]

But, there is no "development" here! So, if Engels can use examples where there is no "development" to illustrate his 'Law', dialecticians can hardly complain if similar examples are used to refute it.

Anyway, it is quite clear that Engels did not appreciate how this radically compromised his claim that:

Quote:

"It is impossible to alter the quality of a body without addition or subtraction of matter or motion, i.e. without quantitative alteration of the body concerned." [Ibid., p.63. Bold added.]

Once more: here we have change in geometry "passing over" into a qualitative change, refuting this 'Law'.

gRed:

"You can say that the pony is bigger than the mouse. However, to say that the pony represents a qualitative change from the mouse would imply that the pony was once a mouse."

This is basically the same point as the above. There are plenty more examples listed at my site where Engels himself quotes examples (and in published work, not just notebooks) of objects and processes that do not develop into one another to illustrate this law. If so, I can surely use his own examples against him.

These are listed here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2007.htm


In the quotations from Engels above, you will no doubt notice that he refers to a 'qualitative' difference where no matter has been added or subtracted -- just rearranged.

Quote:
Yes. Water is apprehension of H20 in a liquid state. If we boil water we apprehend the boiling water as liquid water and the vapour rising from the saucepan as water vapour.


So, you drink, not water, but an apprehension. Why then don't those dying of thirst in a desert just drink an apprehension of water, too?

Quote:
Not sure I got my point across. I'm saying you assume that you and I (and everyone else) subscribe to the same definitions of words in the English language. I've met people who have misused words and I myself have misused words in the past assuming others subscribed to my interpretation of their meaning. Earlier in this thread Loz assumed he shared the meaning of 'tautology' with other people's interpretation of that word.


Once more, you don't do this. For example, instead of "water", you mean "apprehension of water" Have you ever seen a definition like this of "water" in a dictionary? Has anyone, not also in the grip of a theory like yours, ever used "water" in this way?

And, as far as Loz is concerned, if it's not possible to come to some agreement over the meaning of our words, communication will cease. Now, it's impossible for you to come to any agreement (if you persist with this theory of 'apprehension'), since all you have are the 'apprehensions' of word meanings, which, as we can see with the meaning of "water", you already get wrong. Now, if you get that wrong, you stand no change with more complex words like "definition", or "dictionary".

If you'll forgive my saying this: here comes yet another revision (of dialectics), on the hoof, by you:

Quote:
As for all our many previous examples we are clearly going around in circles so I propose the following. Call it a revision/clarification of the theory and thus realise it may deviate from what the 'dialectical classicists' (that seemingly homogenous yet indeterminate group) say. It will also "relax" the definition of a quality so as to not be bound up exclusively in atomic structure. Nonetheless, change cannot occur without the addition/subtraction of energy.

A cat is dying of an illness
The live cat is C, the dead cat (its opposite) is C*
While C exists, C* cannot
Two opposing forces are constantly acting upon the cat, the force keeping it alive (F), and the force of the illness that is killing it (F*)
Because the result of F's dominance over F* is C, F becomes associated with C
Conversely, F* becomes associated with C* because when F* becomes dominant it results in C*
A point exists whereby if F* reaches a certain level of dominance over F, C no longer exists. At this point C is replaced by C* (i.e. the cat dies)
Once C* comes into existence both F and F* cease to exist
Instead, 2 new forces begin to act upon the corpse: one maintaining its shape, size and appearance, the other attempting to break down its shape, size and appearance
The whole process begins again


Oh dear, we have already been over this too!

Here is what I said about your F and F* earlier (except in relation to person P, and his/her dead opposite P*, so just change P to C, and P* to C*, and "you" to "that cat"):

Quote:
Call these forces F and F*. If they are in conflict, then, according to the classics, they must change into one another. So, we hit the same brick wall as above. Do the forces that are trying to keep you alive change into those trying to kill you, and vice versa? I think not.

If, on the other hand, these forces change P into P*, they must be the opposites of P, if we are to believe the classics. In which case, P must now change into F and F*!

But, that's even worse!

This impasse is not surprising, since my refutation of the dialectical theory of change is completely general.


Of course, if C* does not exist, then the classics were wrong and a cat does not change as a result of struggling with what it changes into -- its opposite.

As I have also said, you can play around with this theory all you like, it matters not: it will always keep smacking into the same old non-dialectical brick wall.

Quote:
How is this not a viable theory?


Because it has just turned into its opposite: a non-viable theory...
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Alternative Display:
Mobile view
More Forums: The History Forum. The UK Politics Forum.
© 2000- Soviet-Empire.com. Privacy.
cron