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Some Points Concerning Dialectical Materialism

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Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 22 Jun 2012, 12:53
FW:

Quote:
What is the issue I'm ducking isn't at all clear? You have invented something you can't even enunciate and are blaming it on me. Go figure


Here, Donald, is a shortened list of your serial duckings:

1) The justification of your imposition of the obscure term 'dialectical contradiction' on the physics of motion -- a term you have yet to explain.

2) The fact that this odd 'theory' of yours isn't standard physics or mathematics -- since we have yet to see a reference to a single standard text that uses 'contradiction' in this way, or anything like it.

3) An explanation of how a mathematical point (or one of your even more obscure 'mental points') can move.

4) A response to my demonstration that, if a ''dialectical body' is in exactly two locations at once, then it is everywhere along its trajectory at once.

5) My proof that the 'unity of opposites' dogma would mean that change is impossible.

-------------------------

FW:

Quote:
It is different from Zeno's aporias because the trick in these sophisms is to "forget" an aspect of the phenomenon, just as what Rosa is doing. In the case of dt or dx their non-zero value is their true nature, without withholding any aspect regarding them


In other words, I am refusing to allow the twisted 'logic' Hegel dreamt up (which you have yet to jsutify) distract me, unlike you.
Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein on 22 Jun 2012, 12:57, edited 1 time in total.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 79
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2012, 00:59
Unperson
Post 22 Jun 2012, 12:55
Quote:
So, when you mentioned Engels on the first page of this thread, that wasn't 'name-dropping, eh? Or when you mentioned these characters on this page:


No, that isn't name dropping for the purposes of backing my claim, as you do. I have my own arguments and these arguments turn out to be in support of said characters (Hegel, in fact, because they have borrowed it all from him).

By the way, looking for citations from science texts to support a claim should also be discouraged in a discussion such as this. The argument should be taken at face value and should be addressed directly, without seeking arguments from authority. Some of these arguments may not be found elsewhere which doesn't make them inferior ot invalid. Quite the contrary. If they are original and true they will be a contribution and that would make the conversation even more valuable.
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 22 Jun 2012, 13:03
FW:

Quote:
No, that isn't name dropping for the purposes of backing my claim, as you do. I have my own arguments and these arguments turn out to be in support of said characters (Hegel, in fact, because they have borrowed it all from him).


So, let me get this straight: I'm not allowed to use Lenin's ideas to back up anything I say, but you are?

Just so long as we are clear

Quote:
By the way, looking for citations from science texts to support a claim should also be discouraged in a discussion such as this. The argument should be taken at face value and should be addressed directly, without seeking arguments from authority. Some of these arguments may not be found elsewhere which doesn't make them inferior or invalid. Quite the contrary. If they are original and true they will be a contribution and that would make the conversation even more valuable.


I am only doing so since you keep saying that your 'theory' is in fact standard physics/mathematics. In which case, you should find it easy to cite a single standard text, not quote from a single text, which talks the way you do about 'contradictions'. If this were standard science, there'd be hundreds you could cite, not just one.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
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Post 22 Jun 2012, 13:03
Rosa, please bear with me if you can:

If a point defines a location, then we can say that a Cartesian space is a grid with infinite points, as infinite locations, and that we can map an object in it on its given location(s).

Now, objects, when placed in this model, are conceptualized as concentrated to a point, so a for Newton's laws to apply generally (as it was quoted above).

Given this, I state again:
Praxicoide wrote:
Now, whether that object (concentrated to a point) goes from point A to point B (that is, passes through points), or is conceptualized as a "moving point", seems like a matter of convention and not worth wasting two pages of discussion on, or am I missing something here?


I mean, for serious, if an object is conceptualized as just a point, then if it's moving, we can say that it's a "moving point"; is it really that much of a nuisance?

Plus, if its an object of the mind, then why can't it move in this mental framework?

And finally, at the danger of getting off-topic, I'd say beware of Lenin's reflex theory, as it leads to all kinds of "mentalism", that is, in the needless divorcing of everthing between a "real" and a "mental". What is "real" is a product of us "proving" it so (man must prove the truth...). Reality is thus derived from our interaction and our apprehension of it; and objects are as real as they prove to be.

For instance, where is "value"? is it something "mental"? Can we say it isn't real? What about "atoms"? Aren't they models, too, but aren't they real, in that they correspond? What about a "table"?, etc...

I'd say Eucledian geometry is more than just "mental".



Quote:
Your question. Inductions span infinities.


But you can divide any given space in an infinity of "locations", so an infinity of locations can be contained in just a tiny corner of space (as small as you like) without it "filling up".

It's like when considering integers, which would "fill up" with infinity, and rational numbers, which would not fill up with an infinity of numbers, since you can have an infinity of numbers between 0 and 1 (or 0.000001)

EDIT:

Future World wrote:
It is different from Zeno's aporias because the trick in these sophisms is to "forget" an aspect of the phenomenon, just as what Rosa is doing. In the case of dt or dx their non-zero value is their true nature, without withholding any aspect regarding them


Could you please elaborate on this? How is Zeno "forgetting" an aspect of the phenomenon? You mean, in forgetting that Achilles does catch the hare?
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Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 22 Jun 2012, 13:14
Praxi:

Quote:
I mean, for serious, if an object is conceptualized as just a point, then if it's moving, we can say that it's a "moving point"; is it really that much of a nuisance?


Sure, but the mathematical points don't and can't move.

Quote:
Plus, if its an object of the mind, then why can't it move in this mental framework?


What form does this 'mental motion' take? Do we now have to appeal to a Cartesian inner world, and inner inner points moving on that grid? But we'd have to do that if our conceptualisation of motion requires reflected points to make sense of them. In that case, the movement of 'mental points' will require inner inner 'mental points' to make sense of them, too, and so on. If not, why do we need 'mental points' in the first place? [This is basic Wittgensteinianism.]

I agree with you about Lenin, but I was using his ideas to put pressure on FW's argument -- his 'material points' are in no way material if he accepts Lenin's ideas.

Quote:
But you can divide any given space in an infinity of "locations", so an infinity of locations can be contained in just a tiny corner of space (as small as you like) without it "filling up".

It's like when considering integers, which would "fill up" with infinity, and rational numbers, which would not fill up with an infinity of numbers, since you can have an infinity of numbers between 0 and 1 (or 0.000001)


Of course you can, but that does not affect the induction I proposed.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 79
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2012, 00:59
Unperson
Post 22 Jun 2012, 13:16
Quote:
1) The justification of your imposition of the obscure term 'dialectical contradiction' on the physics of motion -- a term you have yet to explain.

2) The fact that this odd 'theory' of yours isn't standard physics or mathematics -- since we have yet to see a reference to a single standard text that uses 'contradiction' in this way, or anything like it.

3) An explanation of how a mathematical point (or one of your even more obscure 'mental points') can move.

4) A response to my demonstration that, if a ''dialectical body' is in exactly two locations at once, then it is everywhere along its trajectory at once.

5) My proof that the 'unity of opposites' dogma would mean that change is impossible.


1. Dialectical contradiction, as opposed to fatal logical contradiction, is an inherent property of motion, as opposed to rest. At rest there is no contradiction at all, rest is the final resolution of all contradictions. When we write x = 2, the x' = 0. When I say "I am I and I am not NOT-I", I mean it. This is the truth. I and NOT-I are not in unity. However, contradictions between time interval dt and a point of time t (in the sense I discussed so many times) are in unity and yet they contradict each other -- an interval doesn't specify a given time and a given time doesn't define an interval. These are dialectical opposites which are in continuous struggle to resolve their contradiction (which finally, if resolved, is rest, death). Justification that they are in unity was given multiple times, even mathematically. There's no more to be added.

2. That isn't any theory of mine, it is standard math and you have to face the facts. Even if it was not so I don't need to cite external sources because my argument has to be faced as it is and discussed as presented without resorting to authority.

3. How a material point moves is discussed in every standard text of physics or chemistry. That is a precondition to be a participant in a discussion such as this.

4. That's incorrect. The body is in two points only in the sense of dx =/= 0, not in any other sense.

5. What proof? The opposite is true, as I've shown -- change is only possible through the battle of these united opposites. The final resolution of this battle is rest, death. Unfortunately, we cannot even reach the thorough discussion of this because we're still stalling with the prerequisites to even start a discussion like this.

Quote:
So, let me get this straight: I'm not allowed to use Lenin's ideas to back up anything I say, but you are?


None of us is allowed to use anyone, especially the classics, as an "argument from authority" as you're doing.

Quote:
I am only doing so since you keep saying that your 'theory' is in fact standard physics/mathematics. In which case, you should find it easy to cite a single standard text, not quote from a single text, which talks the way you do about 'contradictions'. If this were standard science, there'd be hundreds you could cite, not just one.


Nonsense. Standard math I'm using is the function and its first derivative, OK? That's the standard math. Do you still need me to cite a single text on that? Don't waste bandwidth with such demands.

Quote:
Could you please elaborate on this? How is Zeno "forgetting" an aspect of the phenomenon? You mean, in forgetting that Achilles does catch the hare?


Zeno tricks us into focusing only on the spatial aspect of his tale, completely "forgetting" the temporal -- it's not only distance that characterizes these two, there's also distance per unit time which Zeno deliberately "forgets".

This 'tricking' has a lot to do with what we're talking here.

Quote:
Sure, but the mathematical points don't and can't move.


You have to come to terms somehow that they can. Otherwise, like I said, classical mechanics, thermodynamics and what not goes out the window.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
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Post 22 Jun 2012, 13:29
Rosa Lichtenstein wrote:

Sure, but the mathematical points don't and can't move.


But the object, which we conceptualized as being just concentrated to a point, does move in this model. This is a conceptual point moving, is it not?

Quote:
What form does this 'mental motion' take? Do we now have to appeal to a Cartesian inner world, and inner inner points moving on that grid? But we'd have to do that if our conceptualisation of motion requires reflected points to make sense of them. In that case, the movement of 'mental points' will require inner inner 'mental points' to make sense of them, too, and so on. If not, why do we need 'mental points' in the first place? [This is basic Wittgensteinianism.]


Based on what you wrote bellow, I know we're not pointing at a "Cartesian inner world". We are saying though, that when I'm about to throw a ball, I can project its trajectory, same goes for a rocket, and the same goes for a model I make of an ideal gas. I too can imagine a point and put it in motion. We are conceptualizing motion we experience, sure, not the other way around. I don't see the issue here. That how we conceptualize motion runs into problems? Sure. That the conceptualization itself is problematic? That seems worth dwelling on, especially if we're not imagining a "real" on one side and an "imaginal" on the other, but rather, motion is as we apprehend it.

Quote:
I agree with you about Lenin, but I was using his ideas to put pressure on FW's argument -- his 'material points' are in no way material if he accepts Lenin's ideas.


Yeah, but that's a big if. I don't think it's fair to force others to adopt a point of view because x or y figure adopted it. We're both Marxists and neither subscribe to his reflex theory, for example. This isn't bible study.

Quote:
Of course you can, but that does not affect the induction I proposed.


Why not. I can have an object with an area that is 1 cm2. I could say that it is in one and two places (like your example), which would imply that it is an infinity of locations, and yet, this infinity could take up an infinitesimal part of the area, and never "fill up" since it has an infinity of positions.
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Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
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Post 22 Jun 2012, 13:32
At last an attempt to stop ducking:

Quote:
1. Dialectical contradiction, as opposed to fatal logical contradiction, is an inherent property of motion, as opposed to rest. At rest there is no contradiction at all, rest is the final resolution of all contradictions. When we write x = 2, the x' = 0. When I say "I am I and I am not NOT-I", I mean it. This is the truth. I and NOT-I are not in unity. However, contradictions between time interval dt and a point of time t (in the sense I discussed so many times) are in unity and yet they contradict each other -- an interval doesn't specify a given time and a given time doesn't define an interval. These are dialectical opposites which are in continuous struggle to resolve their contradiction (which finally, if resolved, is rest, death). Justification that they are in unity was given multiple times, even mathematically. There's no more to be added.


In fact, all you have done is help yourself to this word again, without justifying its use here.

And why is this a contradiction to begin with? I went over this earlier:

Quote:
And how is this a contradiction? It would be if it were this:

FW1: Dt is a temporal interval and it isn't.

FW2: T is a concrete point in time and it isn't.

But, since neither of the above seem to be what you are arguing, why is this 'contradictory'?

As I said earlier, your reliance on the ideas of that logical incompetent, Hegel, means you have an insecure grasp of contradiction.


Nice try, only it wasn't.

Ducked

Quote:
2. That isn't any theory of mine, it is standard math and you have to face the facts. Even if it was not so I don't need to cite external sources because my argument has to be faced as it is and discussed as presented without resorting to authority.


Once more, if this were standard mathematics, you'd be able to cite a standard text that talks this way, of 'contradictions' and 'unities of opposites'. The fact that you don't, haven't and can't tells us all we need to know.

Ducked.

Quote:
3. How a material point moves is discussed in every standard text of physics or chemistry. That is a precondition to be a participant in a discussion such as this.


But, we have yet to have an explanation of how a mathematical point can move. You certainly can't explain it, and I venture to suggest, neither can the works you cite.

Ducked

Quote:
4. That's incorrect. The body is in two points only in the sense of dx =/= 0, not in any other sense.


As I said, you have ducked my demonstration, since this has nothing to do with it.

Quote:
5. What proof? The opposite is true, as I've shown -- change is only possible through the battle of these united opposites. The final resolution of this battle is rest, death. Unfortunately, we cannot even reach the thorough discussion of this because we're still stalling with the prerequisites to even start a discussion like this.


I posted a link to another thread on this site where I proved that if the dialectical classics are correct in what they tell us about 'contradictions' and the 'unity of opposites', then motion and change would be impossible. You have ducked that, too.

Wisecrack edited out.

-Praxicoide


-----------------------

FW:

Quote:
You have to come to terms somehow that they can. Otherwise, like I said, classical mechanics, thermodynamics and what not goes out the window.


Well, we have already seen that you confuse mathematical points with material points, in defience of Lenin, and that these somehow morph into 'mental points' (which can't move anyway), so I rather doubt that classical physics needs your help.
"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 22 Jun 2012, 13:34
Praxi, I have to go. I'll return later to respond to what you say.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
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Post 22 Jun 2012, 13:58
Sure.


Let me see if I can summarize this a bit:

Future World is saying that for a body in motion, characterized as dx/dt, which is not zero, you can divide it as an instant, but that instant will always have to have a dx/dt, if it is to be in motion; that this is something that you cannot get rid of.

Now, Rosa, you seem to be hammering away at the whole "how do mathematical points move?" because the answer is "they just do, because that's how we conceptualized them", and we conceptualized them, because we're basing them on real motion, we're attributing them with real motion. Is that where this is heading, kind of?

The counterargument seems to be that motion isn't problematic or contradictory, only a given conceptualization of it is, correct? Can we say that? That motion has a "noumenon" that we can't grasp?

The question also becomes, why do we conceptualize it this way? Wittgenstein and Marx might state that because of our social praxis, our interactions and the purpose of it creates the modes or channels we experience, including our way of visualizing space and movement. Does this ruler, this "ratio" become visible in its flaws when looked at up close?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2012, 00:59
Unperson
Post 22 Jun 2012, 14:14
Quote:
The counterargument seems to be that motion isn't problematic or contradictory, only a given conceptualization of it is, correct? Can we say that? That motion has a "noumenon" that we can't grasp?


I think the motion itself is contradictory, not only its conceptualization. One thing I wanted to discuss is the cause for this motion but we cannot reach that point due to distraction for not knowing the basics.


Rosa wrote:
And how is this a contradiction? It would be if it were this:
FW1: Dt is a temporal interval and it isn't.
FW2: T is a concrete point in time and it isn't.


What kind of a twisted logic is this? The contradiction is not in the entity itself but is when comparing the two entities -- dt and t. dt is in contradiction with t. That's the contradiction. dt expresses interval of time while t expresses a given point of time.

I think we're meeting here with a very deep confusion. I never expected that will be the case.

Needless comment removed.

-Praxicoide


Quote:
Once more, if this were standard mathematics, you'd be able to cite a standard text that talks this way, of 'contradictions' and 'unities of opposites'. The fact that you don't, haven't and can't tells us all we need to know.


How come, I don't? The fact is that I am using standard mathematics of the kind it exists in every standard text. x = t^2 is a smooth continuous function present in almost any standard text of mathematics, x' = 2*x is its first derivative over t, also present in the standard texts and so on.What more than that is there to cite. You're the one who tries to hide behind unjustified accusations because otherwise you have to concede that this standard math demonstrates unity of opposites, as explained multiple times.

Quote:
But, we have yet to have an explanation of how a mathematical point can move. You certainly can't explain it, and I venture to suggest, neither can the works you cite.


No, we don't. You can see it in every standard text of physics and chemistry and @ praxicoid is also trying to explain that to you. It's for you to understand it, we can't help in that.

Quote:
As I said, you have ducked my demonstration, since this has nothing to do with it.


What demonstration in the face of the fact that the contradictory t and dt (as well as x and dx) coexist? Show that they don't and then you'll be talking.

Quote:
I posted a link to another thread on this site where I proved that if the dialectical classics are correct in what they tell us about 'contradictions' and the 'unity of opposites', then motion and change would be impossible. You have ducked that, too.


No, no, that is to be ignored. As was seen, it is due to elementary confusion. You're not familiar with the basics of the question at hand.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 25 Jun 2012, 13:42
Praxi:

Quote:
But the object, which we conceptualized as being just concentrated to a point, does move in this model. This is a conceptual point moving, is it not?


You can only mean by this that such a point 'moves', as opposed to actually moving; it certainly does not occupy successive points in space, or in your head/brain (unless you mean 'space' and not space).

Quote:
Based on what you wrote bellow, I know we're not pointing at a "Cartesian inner world". We are saying though, that when I'm about to throw a ball, I can project its trajectory, same goes for a rocket, and the same goes for a model I make of an ideal gas. I too can imagine a point and put it in motion. We are conceptualizing motion we experience, sure, not the other way around. I don't see the issue here. That how we conceptualize motion runs into problems? Sure. That the conceptualization itself is problematic? That seems worth dwelling on, especially if we're not imagining a "real" on one side and an "imaginal" on the other, but rather, motion is as we apprehend it.


Once again, what does this 'motion' consist in? Does the object in question occupy every space between each location in your head/brain/thought (which is what objects in the real world do with respect to real locations)? That is, does it occupy a potentially infinite number -- or does it miss a few out? And how do you know?

As Aristotle noted with respect to Plato's Theory of Forms, it is no step forward when trying to solve a problem to begin by immediately doubling it. In this case, if there is a problem understanding motion in the real world, then there is a similar problem understanding ideal motion in an 'inner world' (except the latter is more difficult to comprehend, partly for the above reasons). If motion in the real world requires an 'inner model' to grasp it, then 'inner motion' will require even more 'inner motion' to grasp it, too. If not, then we don't need to appeal to 'inner motion' to understand 'outer motion', either.

Quote:
Yeah, but that's a big if. I don't think it's fair to force others to adopt a point of view because x or y figure adopted it. We're both Marxists and neither subscribe to his reflex theory, for example. This isn't bible study.


I agree, but it is a legitimate move to introduce the ideas of a theorist one can reasonably well assume is accepted as an authority by a fellow communist. If FW disagrees with Lenin, then he should perhaps tell us, and I can try a different approach.

Quote:
Why not. I can have an object with an area that is 1 cm2. I could say that it is in one and two places (like your example), which would imply that it is an infinity of locations, and yet, this infinity could take up an infinitesimal part of the area, and never "fill up" since it has an infinity of positions.


Well, I covered this in an earlier reply.

If a moving object occupies at least two points 'at once', then it must also occupy a potentially infinite number of points 'at once' (since between any two points there is a potentially infinite number of points), too. So, on this view, there is no problem with an object covering a potentially infinite number of points 'at once', spanning a potentially infinite interval in a finite time period (or no time at all, depending on if and how we can pin FW down to specifics, which, in his predicament, he is reluctant to do).

http://www.purplemath.com/modules/inductn.htm

Now an induction in mathematics (see above) can span any infinite set we set up. So, let us assume that this object is moving from A to B, a distance of, say, a metre. It is unlikely that FW will argue that the two points this object occupies at once are both ends of this interval (call this interval "[a,b]"), that is that X(1) is a, while X(2) is b.

[He might not do this, but there is no reason to suppose that the two points he says a moving object can occupy 'at once' should not be a metre apart -- in fact, we are never told by Hegel fans how far apart these two points are. Indeed, if a particle accelerates, does this mean that it covers a greater distance between these two points it is supposed to occupy 'at once' (or has the 'at once' contracted to allow for greater speed?), or that these two points are slightly further apart, or does it cross a bigger infinity of intermediate points 'at once', in the same time (or no time, depending on what Hegel and/or FW mean?]

Now, all we have to do is show that the object occupies the first point, and then that if it occupies the kth point it must also occupy the (k+1)th point, at once. But, that object certainly occupies the first point, and since it occupies any two points (FW and Hegel aren't any more specific about it than this, so these two points can be any old distance apart that we care to surmise), then it occupies the kth and the (k+1)th point, 'at once'. The induction now allows us to argue that it occupies all the points in that infinite interval, [a,b], 'at once'. [I hope you can now see that the phrase 'at once' is like a blank cheque; it allows me to write in any figure I care to. FW can only stop me by being specific, but he refuses to do this.]

So, this 'dialectical object' is smeared across its entire trajectory, if it is moving.

Quote:
Now, Rosa, you seem to be hammering away at the whole "how do mathematical points move?" because the answer is "they just do, because that's how we conceptualized them", and we conceptualized them, because we're basing them on real motion, we're attributing them with real motion. Is that where this is heading, kind of?


Well, that's like saying to someone who asks "And, how do the angels all dance on the point of that pin?", to which someone replies, "They just do!"

Until you tell us the specifics, you haven't actually told us anything, you have simply thumped the table.
Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein on 25 Jun 2012, 14:19, edited 1 time 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 25 Jun 2012, 14:12
FW:

Quote:
What kind of a twisted logic is this? The contradiction is not in the entity itself but is when comparing the two entities -- dt and t. dt is in contradiction with t. That's the contradiction. dt expresses interval of time while t expresses a given point of time.


Well, you have just helped yourself to this word. This is not how 'contradiction' is used in logic, not even in Aristotelian logic, and it certainly isn't how it is used in ordinary language. In which case, you must be using this word in a new and as-yet-unexplained way, if so, what is it?

Quote:
I think we're meeting here with a very deep confusion. I never expected that will be the case.


I agree, and it's high time you fought yourself free of it.

Quote:
How come, I don't? The fact is that I am using standard mathematics of the kind it exists in every standard text. x = t^2 is a smooth continuous function present in almost any standard text of mathematics, x' = 2*x is its first derivative over t, also present in the standard texts and so on. What more than that is there to cite. You're the one who tries to hide behind unjustified accusations because otherwise you have to concede that this standard math demonstrates unity of opposites, as explained multiple times.


Sure, standard tests speak about such things (if we leave out the 'unity of opposites'), but it is you who wants to introduce the obscure terms 'contradiction' and 'unity of opposites', here. You won't find them in a single standard text. So, no wonder you don't quote or cite any. So, this isn't just "math" as you frequently say, it's your quirky "math".

Anyway, in what sense are these 'opposites'? Do they 'struggle' with one another, and then turn into one another? Which is what the dialectical classics tell us they must do.

Here are a few quotations from a wide selection of theorists that tell us they must do this:

Quote:
"If, for instance, the Sophists claimed to be teachers, Socrates by a series of questions forced the Sophist Protagoras to confess that all learning is only recollection. In his more strictly scientific dialogues, Plato employs the dialectical method to show the finitude of all hard and fast terms of understanding. Thus in the Parmenides he deduces the many from the one. In this grand style did Plato treat Dialectic. In modern times it was, more than any other, Kant who resuscitated the name of Dialectic, and restored it to its post of honour. He did it, as we have seen, by working out the Antinomies of the reason. The problem of these Antinomies is no mere subjective piece of work oscillating between one set of grounds and another; it really serves to show that every abstract proposition of understanding, taken precisely as it is given, naturally veers round to its opposite.

"However reluctant Understanding may be to admit the action of Dialectic, we must not suppose that the recognition of its existence is peculiarly confined to the philosopher. It would be truer to say that Dialectic gives expression to a law which is felt in all other grades of consciousness, and in general experience. Everything that surrounds us may be viewed as an instance of Dialectic. We are aware that everything finite, instead of being stable and ultimate, is rather changeable and transient; and this is exactly what we mean by that Dialectic of the finite, by which the finite, as implicitly other than what it is, is forced beyond its own immediate or natural being to turn suddenly into its opposite." [Hegel (1975), pp.117-18.]

"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." [Ibid., p.174.]

"The law of the interpenetration of opposites.... Mutual penetration of polar opposites and transformation into each other when carried to extremes...." [Engels (1954), pp.17, 62.]

"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." [Ibid., p.211.]

"For a stage in the outlook on nature where all differences become merged in intermediate steps, and all opposites pass into one another through intermediate links, the old metaphysical method of thought no longer suffices. Dialectics, which likewise knows no hard and fast lines, no unconditional, universally valid 'either-or' and which bridges the fixed metaphysical differences, and besides 'either-or' recognises also in the right place 'both this-and that' and reconciles the opposites, is the sole method of thought appropriate in the highest degree to this stage. Of course, for everyday use, for the small change of science, the metaphysical categories retain their validity." [Ibid., pp.212-13.]

"Further, we find upon closer investigation that the two poles of an antithesis positive and negative, e.g., are as inseparable as they are opposed and that despite all their opposition, they mutually interpenetrate. And we find, in like manner, that cause and effect are conceptions which only hold good in their application to individual cases; but as soon as we consider the individual cases in their general connection with the universe as a whole, they run into each other, and they become confounded when we contemplate that universal action and reaction in which causes and effects are eternally changing places, so that what is effect here and now will be cause there and then, and vice versa." [Engels (1976), p.27.]

"Already in Rousseau, therefore, we find not only a line of thought which corresponds exactly to the one developed in Marx's Capital, but also, in details, a whole series of the same dialectical turns of speech as Marx used: processes which in their nature are antagonistic, contain a contradiction; transformation of one extreme into its opposite; and finally, as the kernel of the whole thing, the negation of the negation." [Ibid., p.179.]

"...but the theory of Essence is the main thing: the resolution of the abstract contradictions into their own instability, where one no sooner tries to hold on to one side alone than it is transformed unnoticed into the other, etc." [Engels (1891), p.414.]

"And so every phenomenon, by the action of those same forces which condition its existence, sooner or later, but inevitably, is transformed into its own opposite…." [Plekhanov (1956), p.77.]

"[Among the elements of dialectics are the following:] Internally contradictory tendencies…in [a thing]…as the sum and unity of opposites…. [This involves] not only the unity of opposites, but the transitions of every determination, quality, feature, side, property into every other [into its opposite?]….

"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 (1961), pp.221-22, 357-58.]

"Hegel brilliantly divined the dialectics of things (phenomena, the world, nature) in the dialectics of concepts…. This aphorism should be expressed more popularly, without the word dialectics: approximately as follows: In the alternation, reciprocal dependence of all notions, in the identity of their opposites, in the transitions of one notion into another, in the eternal change, movement of notions, Hegel brilliantly divined precisely this relation of things to nature…. [W]hat constitutes dialectics?…. [M]utual dependence of notions all without exception…. Every notion occurs in a certain relation, in a certain connection with all the others." [Lenin (1961), pp.196-97.]

"'This harmony is precisely absolute Becoming change, -- not becoming other, now this and then another. The essential thing is that each different thing, each particular, is different from another, not abstractly so from any other, but from its other. Each particular only is, insofar as its other is implicitly contained in its Notion...' Quite right and important: the 'other' as its other, development into its opposite." [Ibid., p.260. Lenin is here commenting on Hegel (1995), pp.278-98; this particular quotation coming from p.285.]

"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.]

"Development is the 'struggle' of opposites." [Lenin, Collected Works, Volume XIII, p.301.]

"Why is it that '...the human mind should take these opposites not as dead, rigid, but as living, conditional, mobile, transforming themselves into one another'? Because that is just how things are in objective reality. The fact is that the unity or identity of opposites in objective things is not dead or rigid, but is living, conditional, mobile, temporary and relative; in given conditions, every contradictory aspect transforms itself into its opposite....

"In speaking of the identity of opposites in given conditions, what we are referring to is real and concrete opposites and the real and concrete transformations of opposites into one another....

"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 (1961b), pp.340-42.]

"The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the basic law of materialist dialectics....

"As opposed to the metaphysical world outlook, the world outlook of materialist dialectics holds that in order to understand the development of a thing we should study it internally and in its relations with other things; in other words, the development of things should be seen as their internal and necessary self-movement, while each thing in its movement is interrelated with and interacts on the things around it. The fundamental cause of the development of a thing is not external but internal; it lies in the contradictoriness within the thing. There is internal contradiction in every single thing, hence its motion and development....

"The universality or absoluteness of contradiction has a twofold meaning. One is that contradiction exists in the process of development of all things, and the other is that in the process of development of each thing a movement of opposites exists from beginning to end...." [Ibid., pp.311-18.]

"Second, and just as unconditionally valid, that all things are at the same time absolutely different and absolutely or unqualifiedly opposed. The law may also be referred to as the law of the polar unity of opposites. This law applies to every single thing, every phenomenon, and to the world as a whole. Viewing thought and its method alone, it can be put this way: The human mind is capable of infinite condensation of things into unities, even the sharpest contradictions and opposites, and, on the other hand, it is capable of infinite differentiation and analysis of things into opposites. The human mind can establish this unlimited unity and unlimited differentiation because this unlimited unity and differentiation is present in reality." [Thalheimer (1936), p.161.]

"So far we have discussed the most general and most fundamental law of dialectics, namely, the law of the permeation of opposites, or the law of polar unity. We shall now take up the second main proposition of dialectics, the law of the negation of the negation, or the law of development through opposites. This is the most general law of the process of thought. I will first state the law itself and support it with examples, and then I will show on what it is based and how it is related to the first law of the permeation of opposites. There is already a presentiment of this law in the oldest Chinese philosophy, in the of Transformations, as well as in Lao-tse and his disciples -- and likewise in the oldest Greek philosophy, especially in Heraclitus. Not until Hegel, however, was this law developed.

"This law applies to all motion and changes of things, to real things as well as to their images in our minds, i.e., concepts. It states first of all that things and concepts move, change, and develop; all things are processes. All fixity of individual things is only relative, limited; their motion, change, or development is absolute, unlimited. For the world as a whole absolute motion and absolute rest coincide. The proof of this part of the proposition, namely, that all things are in flux, we have already given in our discussion of Heraclitus.

"The law of the negation of the negation has a special sense beyond the mere proposition that all things are processes and change. It also states something about the most general form of these changes, motions, or developments. It states, in the first place, that all motion, development, or change, takes place through opposites or contradictions, or through the negation of a thing.

"Conceptually the actual movement of things appears as a negation. In other words, negation is the most general way in which motion or change of things is represented in the mind. This is the first stage of this process. The negation of a thing from which the change proceeds, however, is in turn subject to the law of the transformation of things into their opposites." [Ibid., pp.170-71.]

"The second dialectical law, that of the 'unity, interpenetration or identity of opposites'…asserts the essentially contradictory character of reality -– at the same time asserts that these 'opposites' which are everywhere to be found do not remain in stark, metaphysical opposition, but also exist in unity. This law was known to the early Greeks. It was classically expressed by Hegel over a hundred years ago….

"[F]rom the standpoint of the developing universe as a whole, what is vital is…motion and change which follows from the conflict of the opposite." [Guest (1963), pp.31, 32.]

"The negative electrical pole…cannot exist without the simultaneous presence of the positive electrical pole…. This 'unity of opposites' is therefore found in the core of all material things and events." [Conze (1944), pp.35-36.]

"This dialectical activity is universal. There is no escaping from its unremitting and relentless embrace. 'Dialectics gives expression to a law which is felt in all grades of consciousness and in general experience. Everything that surrounds us may be viewed as an instance of dialectic. We are aware that everything finite, instead of being inflexible and ultimate, is rather changeable and transient; and this is exactly what we mean by the dialectic of the finite, by which the finite, as implicitly other than it is, is forced to surrender its own immediate or natural being, and to turn suddenly into its opposite.' (Encyclopedia, p.120)." [Novack (1971), 94-95; quoting Hegel (1975), p.118, although in a different translation from the one used here.]

"Contradiction is an essential feature of all being. It lies at the heart of matter itself. It is the source of all motion, change, life and development. The dialectical law which expresses this idea is the law of the unity and interpenetration of opposites….

"In dialectics, sooner or later, things change into their opposite. In the words of the Bible, 'the first shall be last and the last shall be first.' We have seen this many times, not least in the history of great revolutions. Formerly backward and inert layers can catch up with a bang. Consciousness develops in sudden leaps. This can be seen in any strike. And in any strike we can see the elements of a revolution in an undeveloped, embryonic form. In such situations, the presence of a conscious and audacious minority can play a role quite similar to that of a catalyst in a chemical reaction. In certain instances, even a single individual can play an absolutely decisive role....

"This universal phenomenon of the unity of opposites is, in reality the motor-force of all motion and development in nature…. Movement which itself involves a contradiction, is only possible as a result of the conflicting tendencies and inner tensions which lie at the heart of all forms of matter....

"Contradictions are found at all levels of nature, and woe betide the logic that denies it. Not only can an electron be in two or more places at the same time, but it can move simultaneously in different directions. We are sadly left with no alternative but to agree with Hegel: they are and are not. Things change into their opposite. Negatively-charged electrons become transformed into positively-charged positrons. An electron that unites with a proton is not destroyed, as one might expect, but produces a new particle, a neutron, with a neutral charge.

"This is an extension of the law of the unity and interpenetration of opposites. It is a law which permeates the whole of nature, from the smallest phenomena to the largest...." [Woods and Grant (1995), pp.43-47, 63-71.]

"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 (1976), pp.14-15, 46-48, 53, 65-66, 72, 77, 82, 86, 90, 95, 117; quoting Hegel (1975), pp.172 and 160, respectively.]

"Opposites in a thing are not only mutually exclusive, polar, repelling, each other; they also attract and interpenetrate each other. They begin and cease to exist together.... These dual aspects of opposites -- conflict and unity -- are like scissor blades in cutting, jaws in mastication, and two legs in walking. Where there is only one, the process as such is impossible: 'all polar opposites are in general determined by the mutual action of two opposite poles on one another, the separation and opposition of these poles exists only within their unity and interconnection, and, conversely, their interconnection exists only in their separation and their unity only in their opposition.' in fact, 'where one no sooner tries to hold on to one side alone then it is transformed unnoticed into the other....'" [Gollobin (1986), p.115; quoting Engels (1891), p.414.]

"The unity of opposites and contradiction.... The scientific world-view does not seek causes of the motion of the universe beyond its boundaries. It finds them in the universe itself, in its contradictions. The scientific approach to an object of research involves skill in perceiving a dynamic essence, a combination in one and the same object of mutually incompatible elements, which negate each other and yet at the same time belong to each other.

"It is even more important to remember this point when we are talking about connections between phenomena that are in the process of development. In the whole world there is no developing object in which one cannot find opposite sides, elements or tendencies: stability and change, old and new, and so on. The dialectical principle of contradiction reflects a dualistic relationship within the whole: the unity of opposites and their struggle. Opposites may come into conflict only to the extent that they form a whole in which one element is as necessary as another. This necessity for opposing elements is what constitutes the life of the whole. Moreover, the unity of opposites, expressing the stability of an object, is relative and transient, while the struggle of opposites is absolute, ex pressing the infinity of the process of development. This is because contradiction is not only a relationship between opposite tendencies in an object or between opposite objects, but also the relationship of the object to itself, that is to say, its constant self-negation. The fabric of all life is woven out of two kinds of thread, positive and negative, new and old, progressive and reactionary. They are constantly in conflict, fighting each other....

"The opposite sides, elements and tendencies of a whole whose interaction forms a contradiction are not given in some eternally ready-made form. At the initial stage, while existing only as a possibility, contradiction appears as a unity containing an inessential difference. The next stage is an essential difference within this unity. Though possessing a common basis, certain essential properties or tendencies in the object do not correspond to each other. The essential difference produces opposites, which in negating each other grow into a contradiction. The extreme case of contradiction is an acute conflict. Opposites do not stand around in dismal inactivity; they are not something static, like two wrestlers in a photograph. They interact and are more like a live wrestling match. Every development produces contradictions, resolves them and at the same time gives birth to new ones. Life is an eternal overcoming of obstacles. Everything is interwoven in a network of contradictions." [Spirkin (1983), pp.143-46.]

"'The contradiction, however, is the source of all movement and life; only in so far as it contains a contradiction can anything have movement, power, and effect.' (Hegel). 'In brief', states Lenin, 'dialectics can be defined as the doctrine of the unity of opposites. This embodies the essence of dialectics…'

"The world in which we live is a unity of contradictions or a unity of opposites: cold-heat, light-darkness, Capital-Labour, birth-death, riches-poverty, positive-negative, boom-slump, thinking-being, finite-infinite, repulsion-attraction, left-right, above- below, evolution-revolution, chance-necessity, sale-purchase, and so on.

"The fact that two poles of a contradictory antithesis can manage to coexist as a whole is regarded in popular wisdom as a paradox. The paradox is a recognition that two contradictory, or opposite, considerations may both be true. This is a reflection in thought of a unity of opposites in the material world.

"Motion, space and time are nothing else but the mode of existence of matter. Motion, as we have explained is a contradiction, -- being in one place and another at the same time. It is a unity of opposites. 'Movement means to be in this place and not to be in it; this is the continuity of space and time -- and it is this which first makes motion possible.' (Hegel)

"To understand something, its essence, it is necessary to seek out these internal contradictions. Under certain circumstances, the universal is the individual, and the individual is the universal. That things turn into their opposites, -- cause can become effect and effect can become cause -- is because they are merely links in the never-ending chain in the development of matter.

"Lenin explains this self-movement in a note when he says, 'Dialectics is the teaching which shows how opposites can be and 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 living, conditional, mobile, becoming transformed into one another.'" [Rob Sewell.]

"But, change itself also constitutes a unity of opposites. In the most general way, a system undergoing change is becoming something that it was not and is cessing to be what it was. In one form or another a change represents the transformation of an object into its dialectical opposite, a process referred to as dialectical negation...." [Marquit (1982), pp.69-70.]

Bold emphases added in each case.


References and links can be found at my site, here:

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

But, how can mathematical symbols, or what they allegedly 'reflect', struggle with one another?

If they don't, then they can't be 'dialectical opposites', can they?

Unless, of course, your revisionist theory issues them with a free pass...

Quote:
No, we don't. You can see it in every standard text of physics and chemistry and @ praxicoid is also trying to explain that to you. It's for you to understand it, we can't help in that.


Well, even if they do speak this way, you certainly can't explain how they can move, and all praxi seems able to do is thump the table,

Quote:
It's for you to understand it, we can't help in that


In other words, it's like the mystery of the Christian Trinity, eh? All and only the faithful will 'understand'.

But, mathematical points can't move, otherwise we'd need further points for them to occupy (which couldn't themselves move, or we'd need 'further further points', and so on), and what points could these be for goodness sake? And if these 'mathematical points' don't occupy these 'further' points, they can' be moving, can they?

Quote:
What demonstration in the face of the fact that the contradictory t and dt (as well as x and dx) coexist? Show that they don't and then you'll be talking.


This demonstration, which you also ducked:

Quote:
Here's a nice conundrum for you (and if we stick to your abstract one dimensional world) -- this has been adapted from my site, hence the odd line-numbering:

L35: Motion implies that a body is in one place and not in; that it is in one place and in another at once.

L36: Let B be in motion and at X1.

L37: L35 implies that B is also at some other point -- say, X2.

L38: But, L35 also implies that B is at X2 and at another place; hence it is also at X3.

L39: Again, L35 implies that B is at X3, and at another place; hence it is also at X4.

L40: Once more, L35 implies that B is at X4, and at another place; hence it is also at X5.

By n successive applications of L35 it is possible to show that, as a result of the 'contradictory' nature of motion, B must be everywhere in its trajectory if it is anywhere, all at once.

The only way to avoid such an outlandish conclusion would be to maintain that L35 implies that a moving body is in no more than two places at once. But even this won't help, for if a body is moving and in the second of those two places, it would not now be in motion at this second location, unless it were in a third place at once (by L15 and L35). Once again, just as soon as a body is located in any one place it is at rest there, given this odd way of viewing things.

[L15: If an object is located at a point it must be at rest at that point.]

Without L15 (and hence L35), Engels's conclusions won't follow; so on this view, if a body is moving, it has to occupy at least two points at once, or it will be at rest. But, that is just what creates the problem.

This follows from L17 (now encapsulated in L17b):

L17: A moving body must both occupy and not occupy a point at once.

L17b: A moving object must occupy at least two places at once.

Of course, it could be argued that L17b is in fact true of the scenario depicted in L35-L40 -- the said body does occupy at least two places at once namely X1 and X2. In that case, the above argument is misconceived.

The above argument would indeed be misconceived if Engels had managed to show that a body can only be in at most two (but not in at least two) places at once, which he not only failed to do, he could not do:

L17c: A moving object must occupy at most two places at once.

That is because, between any two points there is a third point, and if the body is in X1 and X2 at once then it must also be in any point between X1 and X2 at once --, say Xk. Once that is admitted, there seems to be no way to forestall the conclusion drawn above that if a moving body is anywhere it is everywhere, at once.

[The same applies to the motion of the abstract 'centre of mass' of B.]

On the other hand, the combination here of an "at least two places at once" with and an "at most two places at once" would be equivalent to an "exactly two places at once".

L17d: A moving object must occupy exactly two places at once.

L15: If an object is located at a point it must be at rest at that point.

But, any attempt made by dialecticians to restrict a moving body to the occupancy of exactly two places at once would work only if that body came to rest at the second of those two points! L15 says quite clearly that if a body is located at a point (even if this is the second of these two points), it must be at rest at that point. In that case, the above escape route will only work if dialecticians reject their own characterisation of motion, which was partially captured by L15.

[This option also falls foul of the intermediate points objection, above.]

In that case, if L15 still stands, then at the second of these two proposed points (say, X2), a moving body must still be moving, and hence in and not in that second point, at once, too.

It's worth underling this conclusion: if a body is located at a second point (say, X2), it will be at rest there, contrary to the assumption that it is moving. Conversely, if it is still in motion, it must be elsewhere also at once, and so on. Otherwise, the condition that a moving body must be both in a place and not in will have to be abandoned. So, dialecticians cannot afford to accept L17d.

Consequently, the unacceptable outcome --, which holds that as a result of the 'contradictory' nature of motion, a moving body must be everywhere along its trajectory, if it is anywhere, all at once -- still follows.

Again, it could be objected that when body B is in the second place, a new moment in time could begin.

To be sure, this amendment avoids the disastrous implications recorded above. However, it only succeeds in doing so by introducing several new difficulties of its own, for this would mean that B would be in X2 at two moments, which would plainly entail that B was stationary!

So, dialectical objects either do not move, or if they move, they not do not so much move as expand and fill their entire trajectory.

Another, perhaps less well appreciated consequence of this view of motion and change -- which, if anything, is even more absurd than the one outline above --, is the following:

If Engels were correct (in his characterisation of motion and change), we would have no right to say that a moving body was in the first of these Engelsian locations before it was in the second.

L3: Motion involves a body being in one place and in another place at once, and being in one and the same place and not in it.

This is because such a body, according to Engels, is in both places at once. Now, if the conclusions in the previous argument are valid (that is, if dialectical objects are anywhere in their trajectories, they are everywhere in them all at once), then it follows that no moving body can be said to be anywhere before it is anywhere else in its entire journey! That is because such bodies are everywhere all at once. If so they can't be anywhere first and then later somewhere else.

In the dialectical universe, therefore, there is no before and no after!

In that case, along the entire trajectory of a body's motion it would be impossible to say that that object was at the beginning of its journey before it was at the end! So, while you might foolishly think, for example, that you have to board an aeroplane (in order to go on your holidays) before you disembark at your destination, this 'path-breaking' theory tells us you are mistaken, and that you must board the plane at the very same moment as you disembark at the 'end' of your journey!

And the same applies to the 'Big Bang'. While we might think that this event took place billions of years ago, we are surely mistaken if this 'super-scientific' theory is correct. That is because any two events in the entire history of the universe must have taken place at once, by the above argument. Naturally, this means that while you are reading this, the 'Big Bang' is in fact still taking place!

To be sure, this is absurd, but that's Diabolical Logic for you!

You can read other similar conundrums, and more besides, here:

Essay Five: http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2005.htm


FW:

Quote:
No, no, that is to be ignored. As was seen, it is due to elementary confusion. You're not familiar with the basics of the question at hand.


1. How convenient! You ignore what you can't answer -- in other words, you ducked it!

2. If so, you'll find it easy to say where I went wrong -- the fact that you haven't suggests you can't.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 79
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2012, 00:59
Unperson
Post 25 Jun 2012, 15:34
It is not that dialectics is wrong but all it amounts to is your confusion about elementary notions in physics. Like I said, before trying to discuss involved matters such as the one at hand, consult standard texts (say, Max Planck's "Introduction to General Mechanics") to understand what machinery theoretical physics uses to describe motion. You don't understand that and it is a major source of your confusion. Further, you confuse logical (unacceptable) contradictions with dialectical contradictions. Logical contradiction (contradiction which is rejected outright) is to, say, take interval dx as not an interval but a single point. Dialectical contradiction, on the other hand (the essence of motion, for instance), is inherent in the phenomena. As I have shown, with Hegel, a body in motion is both in a single point x and not in this single point x but in two places denoted by the interval dx. This is a contradiction (a dialectical contradiction) in where the moving body is located and not a silly contradiction of calling a point something that is an interval. As I've shown, instead of using obscure language to explain it, fortunately it can be pinpointed at once mathematically. You have to somehow understand these elementary notions prior to attempting to get into a discussion about matters involving them because the lack of understanding gets you in a terrible mess which you try to mend by slapping larger and larger chunks of someone else's writings, which you yourself obviously don't even quite understand.

If there was clarity in your thinking you could've expressed your objections concisely and competently. It isn't concise nor is it competent to start beating around the bush into 3D coordinates when the discussion is only about motion along x-axis or to cite Lenin, this way trying to hide your lack of elementary knowledge of physics.
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 25 Jun 2012, 17:21
FW:

Quote:
It is not that dialectics is wrong but all it amounts to is your confusion about elementary notions in physics.


1. My argument isn't that dialectics is wrong, but that it is far too vague and confused for anyone to be able to say if it is true or if it is false. Your posts have merely confirmed this for the umpteenth time.

2. These can't be 'elementary notions in physics' if you can't quote or cite a single standard text that argues the way you do (with all those obscure 'unities of opposites' and 'dialectical contradictions' -- notions you have yet to explain).

3. You are a fine one to talk, given your odd understanding of 'contradiction'; you seem to think that the 't' and the 'dt' variables can argue with/'contradict' one another. Which is probably why you are operating under the delusion that motion can 'resolve' such 'contradictions' -- something you have also yet to explain.

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Like I said, before trying to discuss involved matters such as the one at hand, consult standard texts (say, Max Planck's "Introduction to General Mechanics") to understand what machinery theoretical physics uses to describe motion. You don't understand that and it is a major source of your confusion.


I don't see any reference to 'unities of opposites' or 'dialectical contradictions' in there. Perhaps you could point me to the right page?

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Further, you confuse logical (unacceptable) contradictions with dialectical contradictions.


In that case, you will find it easy to explain what a 'dialectical contradiction' is (and good luck with that one!). Of course, if you can't then you, like every other Hegel fan, simply do not know what this terminally obscure phrase actually means.

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Dialectical contradiction, on the other hand (the essence of motion, for instance), is inherent in the phenomena.


So you and every other Hegel fan keep saying, but when asked to (1) show that this is indeed inherent in the phenomena, and (2) explain what a 'dialectical contradiction' is, all we get is (a) silence, or at best (b) prevarication -- which tactic you are particularly adept at.

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As I have shown, with Hegel, a body in motion is both in a single point x and not in this single point x but in two places denoted by the interval dx. This is a contradiction (a dialectical contradiction) in where the moving body is located and not a silly contradiction of calling a point something that is an interval.


Why is this a contradiction? If the point mass is at two points in a temporal interval, then this can't be a contradiction. You have yet to show this follows. It might do, but we still lack the proof. Repetitive assertion is not a proof.

And of course, if the object in question is not in the first place when it is in the second, then it isn't in two places at once, after all, but only one. On your own admission it isn't in the first place! So, if it isn't, then how can it be in two places at once?

On the other hand, if it is in the first place, then it can't not be in that place too --, otherwise it's not in the first place, after all.

Of course, you might mean something different by your odd use of "not" here (in that "not in the first place" actually means for you "still in the first place"), but if that is so, perhaps you don't mean "place" either. Who can say in that topsy-turvy 'dialectical world' you inhabit -- where words no longer seem to mean what they do in the real world.

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As I've shown, instead of using obscure language to explain it, fortunately it can be pinpointed at once mathematically.


You have certainly asserted this, but 'shown' you haven't done. And your other assertion, that this is just 'math' has also been blown out of the water now that we know you can't quote or cite a single standard text that talks the way you do -- about 'unities of opposites' and 'dialectical contradictions', etc.

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You have to somehow understand these elementary notions prior to attempting to get into a discussion about matters involving them because the lack of understanding gets you in a terrible mess which you try to mend by slapping larger and larger chunks of someone else's writings, which you yourself obviously don't even quite understand.


In other words, for you "understand" actually means "agree with me (FW)".

Sorry, you have yet to explain yourself in clear English (let alone standard mathematics and/or physics) -- that does not use words like "not", and "contradiction" in odd ways (which you refuse to explain)

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If there was clarity in your thinking you could've expressed your objections concisely and competently. It isn't concise nor is it competent to start beating around the bush into 3D coordinates when the discussion is only about motion along x-axis or to cite Lenin, this way trying to hide your lack of elementary knowledge of physics.


Well, as a 'model of concision' yourself, but who still can't explain himself, you have no room to point any fingers. Concision plainly isn't helping you, is it? [But we both know you can't go into more detail, don't we?]

Even so, you're the sort of odd individual who would have said to Marx and/or Hegel: "Sorry, Herr Marx/Hegel, if you can't explain yourself in a few sentences, then I will ignore/duck what you have to say". It's a pity, therefore, that you didn't apply this eminently 'reasonable' principle of yours to Hegel's 'logic', whose length easily dwarfs anything I have posted here -- and ignored it. Except, I am sure you waded through its interminably prolix prose, page after page, never once saying "Why can't this guy say it all in one paragraph!"

Only, now that you are in a dialectical corner with no way out, you get picky. Your serial ducking is compounded by your thinly disguised attempts at prevarication. [As if no one has noticed you continually refusing to respond to my arguments, other than with a wave of the hand. Do you honestly think no one has noticed?]

Of course, the demonstration you keep ducking (which I repeated in my last post) was set out in one dimension -- but hey, if fibbing and selective blindness gets you through the day, what the hell.

[Just as you have ducked my proof that if, per impossible, this theory of yours were true, change and motion would not be possible. I can post it again if you find it too difficult to click on a link.]

Rosa, drop the sarcasm. Sneering is not considered conducting yourself in a couteous and civil manner towards other users, which is rule 2 of our forum.
-Praxicoide
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 79
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2012, 00:59
Unperson
Post 25 Jun 2012, 18:23
Quote:
(1) show that this is indeed inherent in the phenomena


x and dx, also t and dt are inherent in the phenomenon called motion. They express the contradictory nature of motion of a body -- it is both in x and not in x but in dx; it is both at t and not at t but at dt.

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(2) explain what a 'dialectical contradiction' is


Dialectical contradiction is a contradiction inherent in the phenomena, as the one just explained.

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Why is this a contradiction?


See above.

The argument is as presented and it should be argued as is, without asking to find it elsewhere (in standard texts of math or physics, for instance). It isn't mandatory that questions under discussion and solutions proposed in a discussion be present elsewhere. This is another fundamental aspect of doing science which you don't understand.

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[Just as you have ducked my proof that if, per impossible, this theory of yours were true, change and motion would not be possible. I can post it again if you find it too difficult to click on a link.]


No such proof was given. What was given was only confused understanding of elementary notions in physics, as I've already explained.
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 25 Jun 2012, 21:05
Rosa, it's amazing how you're trying to pull a Wittgenstein on FW all the time. It's like the PI all over again; "but what does he mean when he says contradiction?", "how do we use the word contradiction?", "when I call "slab!", then what I want is that he should bring me a slab, (boo hoo!)" and so on and so on.

But it doesn't work like this!

It is perfectly legitimate to use unusual vocabulary to describe something. In fact, that is an important part of how scientific discoveries are made. When Jan Baptist van Helmont coined the word "gas", you wouldn't have said to him, "hey, what you're saying can't make any sense! Nobody uses the word gas (like this)!" Or when the first computer networks were developed, would you have said, "nobody has used the term net(work) like this before! This is insane!" - no, you would not. It is legitimate to use old words to describe new things. In fact, Wittgenstein insists that this is possible, he clearly says in the PI that whenever we are confronted with something unknown, we know how to call it (and I'd insist that we can do this because we abstract), so when FW notices a contradiction in x and dx, he is perfectly justified in calling it so even if nobody has done so before, precisely because he knows how to use the word "contradiction!"
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Soviet cogitations: 231
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2010, 22:13
Ideology: Trotskyism
Pioneer
Post 26 Jun 2012, 23:45
FW:

Quote:
x and dx, also t and dt are inherent in the phenomenon called motion. They express the contradictory nature of motion of a body -- it is both in x and not in x but in dx; it is both at t and not at t but at dt.


1. Leave to one side the fact that the symbols you mention aren't 'the phenomena' in question, but signs we use to make sense of motion, you keep asserting that there is a contradiction in there somewhere, but only you seem able to see it. No standard text seems to be able to see it, either. Did we all miss a meeting, or do we have the wrong glasses on?

2. If the body in question is not in x, then it can't be the case that it is both in x and not in it. Unless, of course, you mean something different by 'not'. If so, what?

3. As I have already pointed out, you seem to be super-glued to the old, pre-19th century view of 'dx'. 'dx' isn't a quantity, or a location, but expresses a functional relation between time and displacement. Anyway, how can a moving body be in 'dx'? Is 'dx' a container of some sort?

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Dialectical contradiction is a contradiction inherent in the phenomena, as the one just explained.


1. Once more, you certainly asserted it, but your 'explanation' is sadly missing.

2. We are still waiting for an explanation of what a 'dialectical contradiction' is. You have yet to say, just as Hegel fans have yet to say -- and we have only been waiting 200 odd years. Now, we may only agree with you that there is indeed a 'dialectical contradiction' in the phenomena if we know what one of these obscure 'contradictions' is.

Compare this with being told by someone that there is a 'schmontradiction' in the phenomena. We'd be in the dark until that individual told us what a 'schmontradiction' was.

So, until you tell us what a 'dialectical contradiction' is, you might just as well have said this for all the good it did:

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'Schmontradiction is a contradiction inherent in the phenomena...


FW:

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See above.


I did, but it was no help at all.

One would have thought that a superior physicist and mathematician such as your good self would find it laughably easy to explain to a benighted ignoramus like me what one of these 'contradictions' is, but all I can see in your posts is a set of assertions and no clear explanation. You certainly help yourself to the word 'contradiction' (when the phenomenon you apply it to isn't a contradiction, and does not even look like one), but when it comes to an explanation, there isn't one.

I'm beginning to have doubts about your alleged superiority...


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The argument is as presented and it should be argued as is, without asking to find it elsewhere (in standard texts of math or physics, for instance). It isn't mandatory that questions under discussion and solutions proposed in a discussion be present elsewhere. This is another fundamental aspect of doing science which you don't understand.


And you aren't helping either, since you keep saying stuff like this, and when I look in the many standard texts I have in my library, I can't find a single mention of the alleged 'contradiction' here, -- or even that moving bodies are in 'dx'.

Perhaps you are more blessed than me, and have one such in your library, or know of one. In that case, you'd be doing me a huge favour, kindly lifting me out of my state of ignorance, if you'd cite or quote a standard text that speaks of a contradiction here, or that says that a moving body can be in 'dx'.

That being done, I'll do my level best to obtain or consult that text, and withdraw my impertinent remarks about Hegel, Engels, and you.

However, since I have been asking this of you for some time, with no luck, I'm beginning to suspect you are making this up.

I hate to say this of one so knowledgeable as your good self, but what other conclusion is there if you won't help me out in this regard?

FW:

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No such proof was given. What was given was only confused understanding of elementary notions in physics, as I've already explained.


Ok, check this out (which is an expanded version of the proof I posted here a while back):

DM-theorists (like Lenin and Engels) are decidedly unclear as to whether objects/processes change because of (1) A contradictory relationship/struggle between their 'internal opposites', or because (2) They change into these 'opposites', or even whether (3) Change itself creates such 'opposites'.

[FL = Formal Logic; NON = Negation of the Negation: UO = Unity of Opposites; DM = Dialectical Materialism/Materialist depending on context.]

Here for example is Mao:

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"Why is it that '...the human mind should take these opposites not as dead, rigid, but as living, conditional, mobile, transforming themselves into one another'? Because that is just how things are in objective reality. The fact is that the unity or identity of opposites in objective things is not dead or rigid, but is living, conditional, mobile, temporary and relative; in given conditions, every contradictory aspect transforms itself into its opposite....

"In speaking of the identity of opposites in given conditions, what we are referring to is real and concrete opposites and the real and concrete transformations of opposites into one another....

"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 (1961b), pp.340-42. Bold emphases added.]


[There are dozens of other dialecticians who say they same as Mao; I quoted them in an earlier post.]

As we are about to see, this idea -- that there are such things as "dialectical contradictions" and "unities of opposites" (etc.), which cause change -- presents DM-theorists with some rather nasty dialectical headaches.

To see this, let us suppose that object/process A is comprised of two "internal contradictory opposites", or "opposite tendencies", O* and O**, and it thus changes as a result.

But, O* can't itself change into O** since O** already exists! If O** didn't already exist then, according to this theory, O* could not change at all, for there would be no opposite to bring that about.

[The same problems arise if these are viewed as 'external' contradictions.]

I have not used "A" and "not-A" here in order to prevent certain options from being closed off too soon. Not much hangs on this, anyway, which comrades will readily appreciate if they replace O* and O** with "A" and "not-A" respectively throughout.

Hence, concentrating on A alone will not help the beleaguered dialectician. If A changes into not-A, A will have to exist at the same time as not-A, or A and not-A could not 'struggle' with one another in order for A to change into not-A. But, if not-A already exists, A can't change into it, since not-A is already there!

And these 'opposites' have to co-exist -- as Gollobin notes (references will be given at the end):

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"Opposites in a thing are not only mutually exclusive, polar, repelling, each other; they also attract and interpenetrate each other. They begin and cease to exist together.... These dual aspects of opposites -- conflict and unity -- are like scissor blades in cutting, jaws in mastication, and two legs in walking. Where there is only one, the process as such is impossible: 'all polar opposites are in general determined by the mutual action of two opposite poles on one another, the separation and opposition of these poles exists only within their unity and interconnection, and, conversely, their interconnection exists only in their separation and their unity only in their opposition.' In fact, 'where one no sooner tries to hold on to one side alone then it is transformed unnoticed into the other....'" [Gollobin (1986), p.113; quoting Engels (1891a), p.414. Bold emphases added.]


Mao underlines the same point:

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"The fact is that no contradictory aspect can exist in isolation. Without its opposite aspect, each loses the condition for its existence. Just think, can any one contradictory aspect of a thing or of a concept in the human mind exist independently? Without life, there would be no death; without death, there would be no life. Without 'above', there would be no 'below').... Without landlords, there would be no tenant-peasants; without tenant-peasants, there would be no landlords. Without the bourgeoisie, there would be no proletariat; without the proletariat, there would be no bourgeoisie. Without imperialist oppression of nations, there would be no colonies or semi-colonies; without colonies or semicolonies, there would be no imperialist oppression of nations. It is so with all opposites; in given conditions, on the one hand they are opposed to each other, and on the other they are interconnected, interpenetrating, interpermeating and interdependent, and this character is described as identity. In given conditions, all contradictory aspects possess the character of non-identity and hence are described as being in contradiction. But they also possess the character of identity and hence are interconnected. This is what Lenin means when he says that dialectics studies 'how opposites can be ... identical'. How then can they be identical? Because each is the condition for the other's existence. This is the first meaning of identity....

"Why is there identity here, too? You see, by means of revolution the proletariat, at one time the ruled, is transformed into the ruler, while the bourgeoisie, the erstwhile ruler, is transformed into the ruled and changes its position to that originally occupied by its opposite. This has already taken place in the Soviet Union, as it will take place throughout the world. If there were no interconnection and identity of opposites in given conditions, how could such a change take place?" [Mao (1961a), pp.338-39. Bold emphases added.]


As, indeed, did Engels:

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"And it is just as impossible have one side of a contradiction without the other, as it is to retain the whole of an apple in one's hand after half has been eaten." [Engels (1891b), p.496. Bold added.]


In which case, it's no good propelling O** into the future so that it is what O* will change into, since O* will do no such thing unless O** is already there, in the present, to make that happen! [Which is of course why these opposites have to co-exist.]

Several alternatives now suggest themselves which might allow dialecticians to dig themselves out of this philosophical hole.

Either:

(1) O* 'changes', not into not-O*, but into not-O(1)*, meaning (a) There are now two not-O*s where once there was only one (unless, of course, one of these not-O*s just vanishes into thin air -- see below), and (b) O* will have changed, not into its opposite, but into something that isn't its opposite, and with which it hasn't struggled; or:

(2) O* does not change, or it simply disappears. Plainly, O* can't change into what already exists -- that is, O* can't change into its opposite, not-O*, without there being two of them (see (1) above). But even then, one of these will not be not-O* just a copy of it. In that case, once more: O* either disappears, does not change at all, or changes into something else; or:

(3) Not-O* itself disappears to allow a new (but now duplicate) not-O* to emerge that O* can and does change into. If so, questions would naturally arise as to how the original not-O* could possibly cause O* to change if is has just vanished. Of course, this option merely postpones the evil day, for the same difficulties will afflict the 'new' not-O* that afflicted the old. If it exists in order to allow O* to change, then we are back where we were a few paragraphs back; or:

(4) O* and not-O* change into one another. But, as we will see later, this options presents DM-theorists with even more problematic difficulties, since it implies, for example, that capitalism must change into socialism, and socialism must change into capitalism! Anyway, it's not easy to see how this can happen if both of these already exist.

Anyway, as should seem obvious, among other things already mentioned, alternative (2) plainly means that O* does not in fact change into not-O*, it is just replaced by it. Option (1), on the other hand, has the original not-O* remaining the same (when it was supposed to turn into its own opposite -- i.e., O* -- according to the DM-classics), and options (2) and (3) will only work if matter and/or energy can either be destroyed or created from nothing!

In addition, option (4) has O* and not-O* changing into one another, meaning that (a) there is not net change, or that (b) these have just replaced one another. So, if we label, for instance, Capitalism, "C" and socialism, "S", then these two must co-exist if they are to "struggle" with one another (as Mao and others pointed out above), the net result being that in the end S and C still co-exist, only they will have now swapped places! Of course, if S already exists, C need not change into it, and socialists need not fight for it! [More on this, and other absurd consequences of this 'theory', below.]

Naturally, these problems will simply re-appear at the next stage as not-O* readies itself to change into whatever it changes into. But, in this case there's an added twist, for there is as yet no not-not-O* in existence to make this happen. This means that the dialectical process will grind to a halt, unless a not-not-O* pops into existence (out of thin air) to start things up again. But what could possibly engineer that?

Indeed, at the very least, this 'theory' of change leaves it entirely mysterious how not-O* itself came about in the first place. It seems to have popped into existence from nowhere, too. [Gollobin (above) sort of half recognises this without realising either his error or the serious problems this creates.]

For example, in option (4) above, S must already exist, or there can be no struggle, but where did it come from? From C? And yet it can't have done that, since for C to change and produce S, S must already exist (or there would be no struggle)! And, where did C itself come from? Of course, C came from F (Feudalism), but that in turn means that C and F must co-exist, too, so C can't have come from F (since, as we have just noted, they must co-exist)! Hence, this 'theory' implies that either (i) C, S and F must all co-exist, or (ii) All three sprang into existence from nowhere.

Of course, C, S and F are all abstractions, and so can't possibly struggle with one another, but the same problems emerge if we concentrate on things that can and do struggle.

So, let W(1) be any randomly selected worker or section of workers in struggle, and let C(1) be those capitalists or sections of the capitalist class and their bully-boys with which they struggle. According to the DM-classics, W(1) must change into C(1) and vice versa! But, this can't happen since both of these already exist. Hence, at best, all they can do is replace one another. Do we witness this in the class struggle? [Recall, if this theory is correct, this must happen every time bosses struggle with workers; they must change into one another!]

The same difficulties arise if we project this into the future and consider the final struggle to overthrow capitalism (if and when that takes place). In that case, let W(2) be that section of the workers' movement in actual struggle, and let C(2) be those capitalists (and/or those elements that fight their battles for them) with which they are struggling. According to the DM-classics, W(2) must change into C(2) and vice versa! Again, this can't happen since they both already exist; so at best, all they can do is replace one another. Are we really all struggling just to become capitalists?

Returning to the main argument: in like manner, not-O* can't have come from O* itself, since O* can only change because of the operation of not-O*, which does not yet exist! And pushing the process into the past (via a 'reversed' version of the NON) will merely reduplicate the above problems, as we have just seen with C, S, and F.

[However, on the NON, see below.]

It could be objected that all this seems to place objects and/or processes in fixed categories, which is one of the main criticisms dialecticians make of FL. On that basis, it could be maintained that the above argument is entirely misguided.

Fortunately, repairs are easy to make: let us now suppose that object/process A is comprised of two changing "internal/external opposites" O* and O**, (the latter once again interpreted as not-O*), and thus develops as a result.

The rest still follows as before: if object/process A is already composed of a changing dialectical union of O* and not-O*, and O* is supposed to develop into not-O* as a result, then this can't happen. Once more, It's not possible for O* to change into not-O* when not-O* already exists.

Of course, it could be argued that not-O* develops into O* while not-O* develops into O*.

Developing this objection further, it could be maintained that Engels had anticipated the above objections when he said:

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"[Negation of the negation is] a very simple process which is taking place everywhere and every day, which any child can understand as soon as it is stripped of the veil of mystery in which it was enveloped by the old idealist philosophy and in which it is to the advantage of helpless metaphysicians of Herr Dühring's calibre to keep it enveloped. Let us take a grain of barley. Billions of such grains of barley are milled, boiled and brewed and then consumed. But if such a grain of barley meets with conditions which are normal for it, if it falls on suitable soil, then under the influence of heat and moisture it undergoes a specific change, it germinates; the grain as such ceases to exist, it is negated, and in its place appears the plant which has arisen from it, the negation of the grain. But what is the normal life-process of this plant? It grows, flowers, is fertilised and finally once more produces grains of barley, and as soon as these have ripened the stalk dies, is in its turn negated. As a result of this negation of the negation we have once again the original grain of barley, but not as a single unit, but ten-, twenty- or thirtyfold. Species of grain change extremely slowly, and so the barley of today is almost the same as it-was a century ago. But if we take a plastic ornamental plant, for example a dahlia or an orchid, and treat the seed and the plant which grows from it according to the gardener's art, we get as a result of this negation of the negation not only more seeds, but also qualitatively improved seeds, which produce more beautiful flowers, and each repetition of this process, each fresh negation of the negation, enhances this process of perfection. [Engels (1976), pp.172-73. Bold emphases added.]

"But someone may object: the negation that has taken place in this case is not a real negation: I negate a grain of barley also when I grind it, an insect when I crush it underfoot, or the positive quantity a when I cancel it, and so on. Or I negate the sentence: the rose is a rose, when I say: the rose is not a rose; and what do I get if I then negate this negation and say: but after all the rose is a rose? -- These objections are in fact the chief arguments put forward by the metaphysicians against dialectics, and they are wholly worthy of the narrow-mindedness of this mode of thought. Negation in dialectics does not mean simply saying no, or declaring that something does not exist, or destroying it in any way one likes. Long ago Spinoza said: Omnis determinatio est negatio -- every limitation or determination is at the same time a negation. And further: the kind of negation is here determined, firstly, by the general and, secondly, by the particular nature of the process. I must not only negate, but also sublate the negation. I must therefore so arrange the first negation that the second remains or becomes possible. How? This depends on the particular nature of each individual case. If I grind a grain of barley, or crush an insect, I have carried out the first part of the action, but have made the second part impossible. Every kind of thing therefore has a peculiar way of being negated in such manner that it gives rise to a development, and it is just the same with every kind of conception or idea....

"But it is clear that from a negation of the negation which consists in the childish pastime of alternately writing and cancelling a, or in alternately declaring that a rose is a rose and that it is not a rose, nothing eventuates but the silliness of the person who adopts such a tedious procedure. And yet the metaphysicians try to make us believe that this is the right way to carry out a negation of the negation, if we ever should want to do such a thing. [Ibid., pp.180-81. Bold emphases added.]


Engels's argument seems to be that "dialectical negation" is not the same as ordinary negation in that it is not simple destruction. Dialectical negation "sublates"; that is, it both destroys and preserves, so that something new or 'higher' emerges as a result.

Is it the case then that the above comments neutralise the argument presented earlier? Is my argument here guilty of the following:

Quote:
"These objections are in fact the chief arguments put forward by the metaphysicians against dialectics, and they are wholly worthy of the narrow-mindedness of this mode of thought." [Ibid.]


In order to answer this, let us once again suppose that object/process A is comprised of two changing "internal opposites" O* and not-O*, and thus develops as a result. On this scenario, O* would change/develop into a "sublated" intermediary, but not into not-O* -- incidentally, contradicting the DM-classics quoted earlier, and in my next post. Given what they tell us, O* should, of course, change into not-O*, not into some intermediary.

Putting this minor quibble to one side: given this 'revised' view, let us suppose that O* does indeed change into that intermediary. To that end, let us call the latter, "O(i)*" (which can be interpreted as a combination of the old and the new; a 'negation' which also 'preserves'/'sublates').

If so, then O(i)* must remain forever in that state, unchanged, for there is as yet no not-O(i)* in existence to make it develop any further!

[Recall that on this 'theory', everything (and that must include O(i)*) changes because of a 'struggle' with its 'opposite'.]

So, if change is to continue and not grind to a halt, there must be a not-O(i)* to make O(i)* change further.

To be sure, we could try to exempt O(i)* from this essential requirement on an ad hoc basis (arguing, perhaps, that O(i)* changes spontaneously with nothing actually causing it to happen), and yet if we do that, there would seem to be no good reason to accept the version of events contained in the DM-classics, which tells us that every thing/process in the entire universe changes because of the "struggle" of opposites (and O(i)* is certainly a thing/process).

Furthermore, if we issue an exemption here, then the whole point of the exercise would be lost, for if some things do and some things do not change according this dialectical 'Law', we would be left with no way of telling which changes were and which were not subject to it.

[That would also mean that Engels's 'Law' wasn't a 'law', after all.]

This is, of course, quite apart from the fact that such a subjectively applied exemption certificate (issued to O(i)*) would mean that nothing at all could change, for everything in the universe is in the process of change, and is thus already a 'sublated' version (i.e., an intermediary) of whatever it used to be.

Ignoring this, too, even if O(i)* were to change into not-O(i)* (as we suppose it must, given the doctrine laid down in the DM-classics), then all the earlier problems simply reappear, for this could only take place if not-O(i)* already exists to make it happen! But not-O(i)* can't already exist, for O(i)* has not changed into it yet!

Once more, it could be objected that the dialectical negation of O* to produce not-O* is not ordinary negation, as the above seems to assume.

In that case, let us say that O* turns into its 'sublated' opposite "not-O(s)*". But, if that is to happen, according to the Dialectical Classics, not-O(s)* must already exist! If so, O* can't turn into not-O(s)*, for it already exists! On the other hand, if not-O(s)* does not already exist, then O* can't change, for O* can only change if it "struggles" with what it changes into, i.e., not-O(s)*!

Once again, we hit the same non-dialectical brick wall.

It could be objected that the above abstract argument misses the point; in the real world things manifestly do change. For example, to use Mao's example, peace changes into war, and vice versa. Love can change into hate, and so on.

Even so, DM can't explain why this is so. For peace to change into war, or vice versa, it would have to struggle with it. Has anyone witnessed this? Can these abstractions struggle with one another? But both Mao and Lenin tell us:

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 (1961), pp. 357-58. Bold emphases added.]

"The universality or absoluteness of contradiction has a twofold meaning. One is that contradiction exists in the process of development of all things, and the other is that in the process of development of each thing a movement of opposites exists from beginning to end.

"Engels said, 'Motion itself is a contradiction.' Lenin defined the law of the unity of opposites as 'the recognition (discovery) of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature (including mind and society)'. Are these ideas correct? Yes, they are. The interdependence of the contradictory aspects present in all things and the struggle between these aspects determine the life of all things and push their development forward. There is nothing that does not contain contradiction; without contradiction nothing would exist....

"The contradictory aspects in every process exclude each other, struggle with each other and are in opposition to each other. Without exception, they are contained in the process of development of all things and in all human thought. A simple process contains only a single pair of opposites, while a complex process contains more. And in turn, the pairs of opposites are in contradiction to one another.

"That is how all things in the objective world and all human thought are constituted and how they are set in motion....

"War and peace, as everybody knows, transform themselves into each other. War is transformed into peace; for instance, the First World War was transformed into the post-war peace, and the civil war in China has now stopped, giving place to internal peace. Peace is transformed into war; for instance, the Kuomintang-Communist co-operation was transformed into war in 1927, and today's situation of world peace may be transformed into a second world war. Why is this so? Because in class society such contradictory things as war and peace have an identity in given conditions.

"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.

"There are two states of motion in all things, that of relative rest and that of conspicuous change. Both are caused by the struggle between the two contradictory elements contained in a thing. When the thing is in the first state of motion, it is undergoing only quantitative and not qualitative change and consequently presents the outward appearance of being at rest. When the thing is in the second state of motion, the quantitative change of the first state has already reached a culminating point and gives rise to the dissolution of the thing as an entity and thereupon a qualitative change ensues, hence the appearance of a conspicuous change. Such unity, solidarity, combination, harmony, balance, stalemate, deadlock, rest, constancy, equilibrium, solidity, attraction, etc., as we see in daily life, are all the appearances of things in the state of quantitative change. On the other hand, the dissolution of unity, that is, the destruction of this solidarity, combination, harmony, balance, stalemate, deadlock, rest, constancy, equilibrium, solidity and attraction, and the change of each into its opposite are all the appearances of things in the state of qualitative change, the transformation of one process into another. Things are constantly transforming themselves from the first into the second state of motion; the struggle of opposites goes on in both states but the contradiction is resolved through the second state. That is why we say that the unity of opposites is conditional, temporary and relative, while the struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is absolute.

"When we said above that two opposite things can coexist in a single entity and can transform themselves into each other because there is identity between them, we were speaking of conditionality, that is to say, in given conditions two contradictory things can be united and can transform themselves into each other, but in the absence of these conditions, they can't constitute a contradiction, can't coexist in the same entity and can't transform themselves into one another. It is because the identity of opposites obtains only in given conditions that we have said identity is conditional and relative. We may add that the struggle between opposites permeates a process from beginning to end and makes one process transform itself into another, that it is ubiquitous, and that struggle is therefore unconditional and absolute.

"The combination of conditional, relative identity and unconditional, absolute struggle constitutes the movement of opposites in all things." [Mao (1961b), pp.316, 337-38, 339-40, 342-43. Bold emphases alone added.]


But, how can peace change into war unless it struggles with it?

It could be argued that the contradictory aspects (or underlying processes) of a given society, or societies, which might give the appearance of peace, are what turn peace in to war; it's the mutual struggle of these contradictory aspects (or underlying processes/tendencies) that changes the one into the other.

In that case, let us call these underlying contradictory processes/tendencies (etc.) T and T*. If the above is correct, it's the struggle between T and T* that changes Peace (P) into War (W). If so, then the DM-classics are wrong; P and its opposite, W, do not struggle with one another, or change one another, even though they are opposites, and even though they should do this (if the DM-classics are correct). What changes P into W is a struggle between their non-opposites, T and T*. But, if T or T* changes P, then they must be the opposite of P, and if they are then one or both should change into P!

Either that, or the DM-classics are wrong.

On the other hand, if T and T* are opposites of each other, they should change into one another. But they can't do that since they already exist!

Once again, we hit the same non-dialectical brick wall.

It could be argued that if we consider a more concrete example, we might be able to understand what the DM-classicists meant when they claimed that things change into their opposites. While, for instance, it might be the case that John is a boy, in a few years time it will be the case that John is a man (all things being equal). Now, the fact that other individuals are already men, doesn't stop John changing into a man (his opposite). So, John can change into his opposite even though that opposite already exists. So, the above objections fail.

But, as we have seen, this theory tells us that all things/processes change because they "struggle" with their opposites, and that they "struggle" with what they will become (i.e., that opposite).

If so, are we to assume that John has to struggle with all the individuals that are already men if he is to become a man himself (if we now treat all these other men as John's opposites)? Or, are we to suppose that John struggles with what he is to become, even before it/he exists? If not, then the above response is beside the point. Moreover, in view of the fact that John must turn into his opposite, does that mean he has to turn into these other men, too -- or, perhaps, into just one of them? But, it seems he must if the Dialectical Classics are to be believed.

Anyway, according to the DM-classics quoted above (and below), John can only change because of a struggle between opposites taking place in the here-and-now. If so, are we really supposed to believe that "John-as-a-man" is struggling with "John-as-a-boy"? Or, that the abstraction, manhood, is struggling with that other abstraction, boyhood?

Some might be tempted to reply that this is precisely what adolescence is, and yet, in that case, John-as-boy and John-as-a-man would have to be locked in struggle in the present. [Of course, adolescence can't struggle with anything, since it, too, is an abstraction. And a struggle in John's mind over what he is to become can't make him develop into a man, either!] But, John-as-a-man does not yet exist, and so John-as-a-man can't struggle with John-as-boy. On the other hand, if John-as-a-man does exist, so that 'he' can struggle with his youthful self, then John-as-boy can't change into 'him', for John-as-a-man already exists!

To be sure, John's 'opposite' is whatever he will become (if he is allowed to develop naturally), but, as noted above, that 'opposite' can't now exist otherwise John would not need to become him! But, if it doesn't exist, John can't change.

Looking at this more concretely, in ten or fifteen years time, John will not become just any man, he will become a particular man. In that case, let us call the man that John becomes "Man(J)". But, once again, Man(J) must exist now or John can't change into him (if the DM-classics quoted earlier are to be believed) -- for John can only become a man if he is now locked in struggle with his own opposite, Man(J)

Once more: if that is so, John can't become Man(J) since Man(J) already exists!

If he didn't John couldn't change.

Consider another concrete example: wood being fashioned into a table. Once more, according to the dialectical classics, all objects and processes change because of a 'struggle' of opposites, and they also change into those opposites.

So, the wood that is used to make a table, according to this 'theory', has to 'struggle' with what it turns into; that is, this wood has to 'struggle' with the table it turns into!

In that case, the table must already exist, or it could not 'struggle' with the wood from which it is to be made.

But, if the table already exists, then the wood can't be changed into it. Indeed, why bother making a table that already exists?

On the other hand, if the table doesn't already exist, then the wood can't 'struggle' with its own opposite; that is, it can't 'struggle' with the table it has yet to become!

Either way, change couldn't happen, according to this 'theory'.

And, it's little use introducing human agency here, for if a carpenter is required to make a table, then he/she has to 'struggle' with the wood to make it into that table -- since we are told that every object and process in nature is governed by this 'Law'. But, according to the Dialectical Classics, objects and processes 'struggle' with their dialectical 'opposites', and they turn into those opposites. If so, wood must turn into the carpenter, not the table! And the carpenter must change into wood!

With a crazy theory like this at its core, is it any wonder Dialectical Marxism is a by-word for failure?

[These, of course, are simply more concrete versions of the general argument outlined above.]

Still less is it any use introducing stages.

Let us assume that wood W goes through n successive stages W(1), W(2), W(3)..., W(n-1), W(n), until at stage W(n+1) it finally becomes a table (leaving out of consideration for now human agency).

But, according to the dialectical classics, W(1) can only change into W(2) because of a 'struggle of opposites', and it changes into that with which it has struggled; hence, we are also told that W(1) must inevitably change into W(2).

So, W(1) must both 'struggle' with, and change into, W(2).

If so, the same problems arise, for W(1) can't change into W(2) since W(2) already exists. If it didn't, W(1) could not 'struggle' with it! Moreover, if W(2) is to change, it must struggle with whatever it changes into, W(3). But it can't change into W(3) since W(3) is already there! If it wasn't, there'd be nothing to make W(2) change.

So, by n applications of the above argument, all the stages table's manufacture must co-exist. In which case, no wood could change into a table!

And what applies to wood, applies to anything and everything that changes. All their stages must co-exist, too. If so, every stage in the development of every object/process in the entire universe (since the Big Bang) must co-exist, if we are to believe the DM-classics! It's a mystery, therefore, how there is any room left in the dialectical universe for anything to move, let alone change!

If we add in human agency, we obtain similarly ridiculous results -- it is left to the reader to fill in the details.

Consider another hackneyed example: water turning into steam at 100 degrees C (under normal conditions). Are we really supposed to believe that the opposite that water becomes (i.e., steam) makes water turn into steam? But, this must be the case if the Dialectical Classics are to be believed.

Hence, while you might think it's the heat/energy you are putting into the water that turns it into steam, what really happens, according to these wise old dialecticians, is that steam makes water turn into steam!

In that case, save energy and turn the gas off!

To that end, let us track a water molecule to see what happens to it. To identify it, we shall call it "Wa(1)", and the steam molecule it turns into "St(1)". But, if the DM-classics above are correct, St(1) must already exist, otherwise Wa(1) can't struggle with it and thus change into it! Again, if that is so, where does St(1) disappear to if Wa(1) changes into it?

In fact, according to the Dialectical classics, since opposites turn into one another, St(1) must change into Wa(1) at the same time as Wa(1) is turning into St(1)! So while you are boiling a kettle, according to this Superscientific 'theory', steam must be condensing back into the water you are boiling, and it must be doing so at the same rate!

One wonders, therefore, how dialectical kettles manage to boil dry.

This must be so otherwise when Wa(1) turns into St(1) -- which already exists, or Wa(1) could not change into it -- there would have to be two St(1)s where there used to be only one! [Matter created from nowhere?]

Of course, the same argument applies to water freezing (and to any and all other alleged examples of DM-change).

It could be objected that the opposite that liquid water turns into is a gas; so the dialectical classicists are correct. However, if we take them at their word, then that gas must 'struggle' with liquid water in the here-and-now if water is to change into it. But that gas does not yet exist; in which case, water would never boil if this 'theory' were true. And yet, even if it did, it is heat that causes the change not the gas! However we try and slice it, this 'theory' is totally useless -- that is, what little sense can be made of it.

It could be argued that what happens is that it's heat energy input into this system that makes water boil. Indeed, but then, if heat makes water boil, that water must struggle with this heat, and then change into it, just as heat must change into water!

If not, the DM-classics are wrong, and dialecticians are left with no theory of change.

This, of course, does not deny that change occurs, only that DM can't account for it.

Alternatively, if DM were true, change would be impossible.

Howsoever we try to re-package this 'Law' we end up with the same insuperable problems.

References, and much else besides, can be found here:

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

------------------------

Ok, what 'simple error' have I made?

Or are you going to duck that, too?
Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein on 27 Jun 2012, 00:25, edited 2 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 27 Jun 2012, 00:16
Mods: Apologies, I have put this answer in a separate post, since my last one was rather long, and Mabool might not have seen it!

Mabool:

Quote:
It is perfectly legitimate to use unusual vocabulary to describe something. In fact, that is an important part of how scientific discoveries are made.


I agree, but then even when it comes to this 'specialist' vocabulary, FW has still failed to explain what he means.

This is quite apart from the fact that if he is talking about a special sense of "motion", then he won't have explained motion, but 'motion', and the classical 'problems' associated with motion will not have been addressed.

As one Wittgenstein expert pointed out recently:

Quote:
Wittgenstein's ambitious claim is that it is constitutive of metaphysical theories and questions that their employment of terms is at odds with their explanations and that they use deviant rules along with the ordinary ones. As a result, traditional philosophers cannot coherently explain the meaning of their questions and theories. They are confronted with a trilemma: either their novel uses of terms remain unexplained (unintelligibility), or...[they use] incompatible rules (inconsistency), or their consistent employment of new concepts simply passes by the ordinary use -- including the standard use of technical terms -- and hence the concepts in terms of which the philosophical problems were phrased. [Glock, A Wittgenstein Dictionary (1996), pp.261-62.]


And as Marx also pointed out;

Quote:
The philosophers have only to dissolve their language into the ordinary language, from which it is abstracted, in order to recognise it, as the distorted language of the actual world, and to realise that neither thoughts nor language in themselves form a realm of their own, that they are only manifestations of actual life. [The German Ideology.]


Bold added.

The philosophical use of such language is always a distortion -- which is partly why it is all non-sensical, as I showed in an earlier thread.

Which is also why I try to bring the discussion back to ordinary language whenever I can.

Quote:
When Jan Baptist van Helmont coined the word "gas", you wouldn't have said to him, "hey, what you're saying can't make any sense! Nobody uses the word gas (like this)!" Or when the first computer networks were developed, would you have said, "nobody has used the term net(work) like this before! This is insane!" - no, you would not. It is legitimate to use old words to describe new things. In fact, Wittgenstein insists that this is possible, he clearly says in the PI that whenever we are confronted with something unknown, we know how to call it (and I'd insist that we can do this because we abstract), so when FW notices a contradiction in x and dx, he is perfectly justified in calling it so even if nobody has done so before, precisely because he knows how to use the word "contradiction!"


But, van Helmont wasn't trying to revise an ordinary word when he did this. FW and other dialecticians, while pretending to use ordinary words (like "time", "move", "place" and "same"), so that they can relate this to the real world of experience and explain it, are in fact employing them is a special sense which they can't explain, or which undermines what they have to say -- as I have shown with respect to FW.

I am not against the use of new words (how could I be!); what I am against is the appropriation of words from ordinary language, to explain ordinary things like motion, when it is plain that comrades like FW do not mean motion, they mean 'motion', a term that has yet to be explained.

Quote:
So when FW notices a contradiction in x and dx, he is perfectly justified in calling it so even if nobody has done so before, precisely because he knows how to use the word "contradiction!"


But what 'contradiction' has he noticed? He has yet to say with any clarity. In which case, it is legitimate of me to question this use of that word.

Of course, if he means to use this word in a new way, no problem (as I have repeatedly said in this thread), but then what is it? He refuses to say.
"The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves."
Soviet cogitations: 79
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 May 2012, 00:59
Unperson
Post 27 Jun 2012, 03:21
You don't get the conradiction between x and dx and that elemetary weaknes leads you further to ridiculous ruminations such as the one about adolescent John struggling with other men. One can always say funny things like that about said John, and the rest of your examples for that matter, but this conversation calls not for this kind of entertainment.

Although I don't need to explain this, I am doing it just for you -- x signifies that the body occupies a single position in space, while dx signifies that the body does not occupy a single position in space. Occupying and not occupying a single position in space is a contradiction. The first thing for you to understand, prior to understanding whether or not x and dx can coexit, let alone prior to trying to understand Hegel and his followers, is to come to terms with the elementary fact that x and dx are opposites, are in contradicton and that exact contradiction is what we're discussing here, not barley/sprout, adolescence/adulthood, war and peace. The latter are only concrete expressions of contradictions which we discuss in an abstract form through x and dx, to avoid the ambush of language. Therefore, first understand that x and dx are in contradiction and then go to your citations. Otherwise you'll remain in the intellectual mess you're now, befuddled by the meaning of words and what not. Stay simple if you want to understand anything.

Of course, you wouldn't even be able to begin understanding that x and dx are in contradiction before you get out of the way this muddle:

Quote:
As I have already pointed out, you seem to be super-glued to the old, pre-19th century view of 'dx'. 'dx' isn't a quantity, or a location, but expresses a functional relation between time and displacement. Anyway, how can a moving body be in 'dx'? Is 'dx' a container of some sort?


That dx has nothing to do with time is obvious. Maybe it isn't for you, so first show us where do we see time in dx? Do this first before we even get to discussing whether dx is a quantity or not or whether it is some kind of container or a bucket.
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