Difference between science and religion

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  • #36
heusdens
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Brief history of Materialism [part 3]

This line of reasoning is taken further by John Locke, who counters Descartes' Dualism, and in particular his assertion that Reason is not given by Experience, but is innate. Locke equates sense impressions with "ideas" - "ideas of sense". "Ideas of reflection", he says, are the mind's reflection upon its own activity, going so far as to say that the mind is a tabula rasa - a blank sheet of paper, upon which Nature writes:

Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store, which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, From experience: in that all our knowledge is founded, and from that it ultimately derives itself.

Our observation, employed either about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds, perceived and reflected on by ourselves is that which supplies our understandings with all the materials of thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring.[An Essay concerning Human Understanding, John Locke, 1689]

Neither Hobbes nor Locke question the existence of the external world: it is objects that act on the senses, generating ideas; nor do they doubt the adequacy of the knowledge so given.

In this period therefore, both the British Empirical school and the European Rationalists wrestled with the contradiction between dualism and monism.

Berkeley and Newton

George Berkeley, the Irish Bishop, was an avowed conservative and enemy of Materialism, and his contribution to materialism is that he took empiricism to "it's logical conclusion", as we say. Descartes showed that the object itself cannot be equated to our image formed of it by sense perception. Berkeley points out that, if all we have is "ideas of sensation" and "ideas of reflection", then we have no knowledge of anything outside consciousness at all, only knowledge of our sensations!

It is evident to any one who takes a survey of the objects of human knowledge, that they are either ideas actually imprinted on the senses; or else such as are perceived by attending to the passions and operations of the mind; or lastly, ideas formed by help of memory and imagination - either compounding, dividing, or barely representing those originally perceived in the aforesaid ways. ...

But, besides all that endless variety of ideas or objects of knowledge, there is likewise something which knows or perceives them; and exercises divers operations, as willing, imagining, remembering, about them. This perceiving, active being is what I call MIND, SPIRIT, SOUL, or MYSELF....

That neither our thoughts, nor passions, nor ideas formed by the imagination, exist without the mind, is what everybody will allow --And to me it is no less evident that the various SENSATIONS, or ideas imprinted on the sense, however blended or combined together ...

It is indeed an opinion strangely prevailing amongst men, that houses, mountains, rivers, and in a word all sensible objects, have an existence, natural or real, distinct from their being perceived by the understanding. But, with how great an assurance and acquiescence soever this principle may be entertained in the world, yet whoever shall find in his heart to call it in question may, if I mistake not, perceive it to involve a manifest contradiction. For, what are the forementioned objects but the things we perceive by sense? and what do we perceive besides our own ideas or sensations? and is it not plainly repugnant that any one of these, or any combination of them, should exist unperceived? [Of the Principles of Human Knowledge, George Berkeley, 1710]

And this total impasse, British Empiricism has never overcome: "Matter" is an "abstract idea", of which we can have no knowledge, just like the psychologists who call themselves "Behavioural Scientists", because they can have no knowledge of someone else's consciousness, but more of this later....

Roughly contemporary with Berkeley was Sir Isaac Newton. Newton followed the advice of Galileo and Bacon and made good use of the Rational tools provided by Descartes, and by systematic analysis of the data of planned experiment and the judicious use of definitions, axioms and formal logical deduction, and, in the case of his discovery of the Calculus not bothering too much if the exigencies of formal logical proof got in the way of a useful line of analysis, erected a mechanical explanation of the Universe which is absolutely stunning in its scope and power. Those who came after must truly have felt that there was nothing more to do but work out the details!

Newton brought within a single law the motion of simple day-to-day objects on Earth and the motion of the Heavens, which were found to be simply "falling" around their epicentre, prevented from falling into the Sun only by the initial impetus which must have been imparted an indefinite time long ago in the past by God.

Indeed, Newton pushed God, not out of existence altogether, but back to the "boundary conditions" of the Universe, with the task simply of decreeing the Laws of Nature and setting the whole thing in motion, and we humans to watch in wonder and admiration ... and understand.

Berkeley the subjective idealist (he later gravitated to an objective idealist position, having the Universal Mind of God holding the world in existence) took the internal contradiction within empiricism to its absurd conclusion; Newton took its strength to its consummate completion in a rounded out mechanical view of the Universe, consigning God to the role of "pressing the Start button", and "the observer" is reduced to the role of a reference point in time-space; for Berkeley, the world exists only in the mind of the observer.

Here the contradiction is between subjectivism and objectivism.

{to be continued}
 
  • #37
heusdens
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Brief history of Materialism [part 4]

The French Enlightenment and Hume

This leap in scientific knowledge, accompanied by a crisis in the science of knowledge, is reflected in the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The wonderful flourishing of philosophy in pre-Revolutionary France laid the basis for the overthrow of Monarchy and all the crap of ages - Voltaire, Rousseau, Condillac, d'Alembert, Condorcet, Montesquieu, Gassendi, Fontonelle, Buffon, d'Holbach, Helvetius and Diderot.

Many different views were to be found: D'Alembert was a sensationalist, Diderot a mechanical materialist, Rousseau a sceptic; some were Deists, some Atheists. All agreed that the advancement of science was inimical to oppression. The contradictions inherited from the previous period were not resolved, but the material for a way out of the impasse was accumulated. Above all, what was achieved by the Enlightenment was the beginning of an understanding of knowledge, personality, consciousness as a social product: inequality was the result of private property, feudalistic beliefs the result of feudalistic upbringing, Nature played upon the senses, and society played upon the person, people are formed by nature and society.

What is this egg? An unperceiving mass, before the germ is introduced into it; and after the germ is introduced, what is it then? still only an unperceiving mass, for this germ itself is only a crude inert fluid. How will this mass develop into a different organisation, to sensitiveness, to life? By means of heat. And what will produce the heat? Motion. What will be the successive effects of this motion?

Instead of answering me, sit down and let's watch them from moment to moment. First there's a dot that quivers, a little thread that grows longer and takes on colour; tissue is formed; a beak, tiny wings, eyes, feet appear; a yellowish material unwinds and produces intestines; it is an animal. This animal moves, struggles, cries out; I hear its cries through the shell; it becomes covered with down; it sees. The weight of its head, shaking about, brings its beak constantly up against the inner wall of its prison; now the wall is broken; it comes out, it walks about, flies, grows angry, runs away,-comes near again, complains, suffers, loves, desires, enjoys; it has the same affections as yourself, it performs the same actions. Are you going to assert with Descartes that it is a purely imitative machine? Little children will laugh at you, and philosophers will retort that if this be a machine then you, too, are a machine. If you admit that between the animal and yourself the difference is merely one of organisation, you will be showing good sense and reason, you will be honest; but from this there will be drawn the conclusion that refutes you; namely that, from inert matter, organised in a certain way, and impregnated with other inert matter, and given heat and motion, there results the faculty of sensation, life, memory, consciousness, passion and thought. You have only two courses left to take: either to imagine within the inert mass of the egg a hidden element that awaited the egg's development before revealing its presence, or to assume that this invisible element crept in through the shell at a definite moment in the development. But what is this element? Did it occupy space or did it not? How did it come, or did it escape without moving? What was it doing there or elsewhere? Was it created at the instant it was needed? Was it already in existence? Was it waiting for a home? If it was homogeneous it was material; if heterogeneous, one cannot account for its -previous inertia nor its activity in the developed animal. Just listen to yourself, and you will be sorry for yourself; if you will perceive that, in order to avoid making a simple supposition that explains everything, namely the faculty of sensation as a general property of matter or a product of its organisation, you are giving up common sense and plunging headlong into an abyss of mysteries, contradictions and absurdities. [Conversation between Diderot and D'Alembert, Diderot, 1769]

In Britain, David Hume responded to Berkeley's challenge with a good British compromise: "Well, we can't know for absolute certain that the Sun will rise tomorrow, just because it always has before, but we can be sure enough for practical purposes":

All reasonings concerning matter of fact seem to be founded on the relation of cause and effect. By means of that relation alone we can go beyond the evidence of our memory and senses. ... The hearing of an articulate voice and rational discourse in the dark assures us of the presence of some person. Why? Because these are the effects of the human make and fabric, and closely connected with it. If we anatomise all the other reasonings of this nature, we shall find that they are founded on the relation of cause and effect, and that this relation is either near or remote, direct or collateral. ....

I shall venture to affirm, as a general proposition, which admits of no exception, that the knowledge of this relation is not, in any instance, attained by reasonings a priori, but arises entirely from experience, when we find that any particular objects are constantly conjoined with each other. Let an object be presented to a man of ever so strong natural reason and abilities; if that object be entirely new to him, he will not be able, by the most accurate examination of its sensible qualities, to discover any of its causes or effects. ...

Who will assert that he can give the ultimate reason, why milk or bread is proper nourishment for a man, not for a lion or a tiger? But ... We fancy, that were we brought on a sudden into this world, we could at first have inferred that one billiard ball would communicate motion to another upon impulse, and that we needed not to have waited for the event, in order to pronounce with certainty concerning it. Such is the influence of custom, that, where it is strongest, it not only covers our natural ignorance but even conceals itself, and seems not to take place, merely because it is found in the highest degree.

... In vain, therefore, should we pretend to determine any single event, or infer any cause or effect, without the assistance of observation and experience.

Hence we may discover the reason why no philosopher, who is rational and modest, has ever pretended to assign the ultimate cause of any natural operation, or to show distinctly the action of that power, which produces any single effect in the universe. It is confessed, that the utmost effort of human reason is to reduce the principles, productive of natural phenomena, to a greater simplicity, and to resolve the many particular effects into a few general causes, by means of reasonings from analogy, experience, and observation. But as to the causes of these general causes, we should in vain attempt their discovery, nor shall we ever be able to satisfy ourselves, by any particular explication of them. These ultimate springs and principles are totally shut up from human curiosity and enquiry. [An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume, 1772]

Hume is a Sceptic; he demonstrates that while experience may teach us what to expect, it cannot give us necessity. Reason can give us necessity, but there is precious little known to Reason other than what is first given by experience. But the important thing is that he directs attention not just to the content of knowledge but its form. But Hume does not know where do draw the line; knowledge is always relative, but for Hume the world remained fundamentally unknowable. Maybe the Sun won't rise tomorrow - who can say?

Diderot on the other hand, is absolutely confident that organic matter arose from inorganic matter, and thinking matter from organic matter, and continues to do so every moment, and that if we don't yet understand exactly how that happens, then every day we get closer and closer to understanding it - and his life work, the compilation of the Encyclopaedia, and his writings written to be read by the common people, he was putting it into practice.

Diderot is an out-and-out materialist, but his materialism is the mechanical materialism of Newton; there is no scepticism there at all, his materialism is uncritical, Dogmatic. The further development of materialism, required the resolution of the struggle between dogmatism and scepticism.

{to be continued}
 
  • #38
heusdens
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Brief history of Materialism [part 5]

Kant

The philosophical world into which Immanuel Kant entered was one riven by apparently irresolvable contradictions. The proponents of the opposing views hardly spoke the same philosophical language and their views seemed irreconcilable.

Kant set himself the task of creating a science of philosophy which would allow these contradictions to be overcome. In particular he addressed himself to the scepticism of Hume:

The celebrated David Hume was one of those geographers of human reason who imagine that they have given a sufficient answer to all such questions by declaring them to lie beyond the horizon of human reason - a horizon which, however, Hume was unable to determine. His attention especially was directed to the principle of causality; and he remarked with perfect justice that the truth of this principle, and even the objective validity of the conception of a cause, was based upon no clear insight, that is, upon no a priori knowledge. Hence he concluded that this law does not derive its authority from its universality and necessity, but merely from its general applicability in the course of experience, and a kind of subjective necessity thence arising, which he termed habit. From the inability of reason to establish this principle as a necessary law for the acquisition of all experience, he inferred the nullity of all the attempts of reason to pass the region of the empirical.

This procedure of subjecting the facts of reason to examination, and, if necessary, to disapproval, may be termed the censorship of reason. This censorship must inevitably lead us to doubt regarding all transcendent employment of principles. But this is only the second step in our inquiry. The first step in regard to the subjects of pure reason, and which marks the infancy of that faculty, is dogmatic. The second, which we have just mentioned, is sceptical, and it gives evidence that our judgement has been improved by experience. But a third step, such as can be taken only by fully matured judgment, based on assured principles of proved universality, is now necessary, namely to subject to examination, not the facts of reason, but reason itself, in the whole extent of its powers, and as regards its aptitude for pure a priori modes of knowledge. This is not the censorship but the criticism of reason, whereby not its present bounds but its determinate and necessary limits, not its ignorance in regard to all possible questions of a certain kind, are demonstrated from principles, and not merely arrived at by way of conjecture. [Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Method, I, 2]

Following a path which is reminiscent of that of Descartes, Kant attempts to establish those synthetic Judgements (i.e. truths which are not implicit in a given concept, which could be established by analysis], which are given to Reason a priori. These included the nature of time-space, and in the light of subsequent entirely unpredictable developments in physics, it must be agreed that little remains today of Kant's "synthetic a priori judgements".

Kant also demonstrated that strict adherence to formal logic led to antinomies - self-contradictions: whether we are or are not to think the world limited in space and time; whether matter must be conceived either as endlessly divisible, or as consisting of atoms; the antithesis of freedom and necessity: whether everything in the world must be supposed subject to the condition of causality, or if we can also assume free beings; whether the world as a whole has a cause or it is uncaused. But, as Hegel later remarked in his commentary on Kant: Antinomies "appear in all objects of every kind, in all conceptions, notions, and Ideas". But for Kant: Logic is a pure intuition and "contains the absolutely necessary rules of thought without which there can be no employment whatsoever of the understanding". Thus, for Kant, the "world beyond sensation", the world "in-itself" remained inaccessible to Reason. Science could have as content only Appearances. Thus, the Critical Philosophy re-established Scepticism.

Kant's achievement is enormous: he establishes a system of categories and concepts of philosophy which was the basis for the stunning development of Classical German Philosophy and later Marxism over the 50 years following the Critique of Pure Reason, and it remains the point of reference for all schools of philosophy which pretend to the status of science, up to the present.

However, it has to be said that Kant failed in his project to provide the basis to overcome the contradictions plaguing philosophy, and in fact produced a philosophy which was riven by contradictions itself. In fact, it must be marked as an achievement of Kant that he proved that contradiction is inherent in thought.

However, Kant's main contribution is that he focused attention not on the formal rules for joining concepts logical propositions, but upon the categories of Logic, upon the fact that in forming a concept, Reason operated with categories, and these categories had to be subject to investigation. Kant identified a series of "original pure concepts of synthesis that the understanding contains within itself a priori", viz.,: Unity, plurality and totality; reality, negation and limitation; inherence or subsistence, causality or dependence and community; possibility or impossibility, existence or non-existence and necessity or contingency.

It would go way beyond the scope of a paragraph or two, to do justice to a critique of Kant's philosophy. Likewise, the usual study of Fichte and Schelling, who lie between Kant and Hegel in the rapid unfolding of classical German philosophy, cannot be attempted here.

Suffice it to say, that in focusing attention on the critique of Reason, Kant set the direction and provided invaluable tools for the resolution of the crisis of philosophy which he attempted, but he did not himself achieve this resolution.

This brings us to consideration of Hegel and the further revolution in philosophy which came after him, which is the subject of earlier chapters.

It is worth noting, though, that Hegel wrote the Science of Logic in 1812-1816, and died before Charles Lyell demonstrated the development of the Earth's crust and Darwin published the Origin of Species (in 1859), let alone the discovery of the wave-particle nature of matter at the beginning of this century which demonstrated the validity of Hegel's dialectics at the most fundamental level of Nature and Gödel and Turing demonstrated the fundamental limitations of formal logic.

{to be continued}
 
  • #39
heusdens
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Brief history of Materialism [part 6 and end]

Summary

It would go far beyond the scope of extremely brief and schematic sketch of the history of materialist philosophy to mention the natural scientific, technical and social developments that have accompanied the above philosophical genesis. But philosophical materialism, positive science, the forces of production and the social relations of production can only develop in definite relationship to one another.

Further, like society and industry, knowledge develops according to necessary laws which among other things means that scientific understanding of psychology, history and society can only come after a protracted development of geometry, mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, etc., and it can only be at a certain point in the development of science and industry that a scientific view of the development of human history is possible.

Such a scientific view of human history and society is only possible on the basis of an exhaustive study of all facets of human life, a consistent search for the roots of social, political and ideological change in the conditions of material life, and a ruthlessly critical, dialectical and consciously historical and creative handling of concepts.

This task goes beyond the competence of the professional logician, since having established the theoretical framework for the comprehension of theory and practice, the criticism of concepts requires revolutionary-practical activity.

The foundations of such a standpoint were laid by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and is brilliantly summarised in Marx's Preface to The Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.

My inquiry led me to the conclusion that neither legal relations nor political forms could be comprehended whether by themselves or on the basis of a so-called general development of the human mind, but that on the contrary they originate in the material conditions of life, the totality of which Hegel, following the example of English and French thinkers of the eighteenth century, embraces within the term "civil society"; that the anatomy of this civil society, however, has to be sought in political economy. The study of this, which I began in Paris, I continued in Brussels, where I moved owing to an expulsion order issued by M. Guizot. The general conclusion at which I arrived and which, once reached, became the guiding principle of my studies can be summarised as follows. In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or -- this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms -- with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto.

From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic -- in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.

Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society. Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production -- antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism but of an antagonism that emanates from the individuals' social conditions of existence -- but the productive forces developing within bourgeois society create also the material conditions for a solution of this antagonism. The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation. [Critique of political Economy]
 
  • #40
heusdens
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Originally posted by Mentat
Heusdens,
First off, I want to warn against getting to deep into either of the fields (Science and Religion) when discussing them from an "outside" (broadly Philosophical) stanpoint. Inspite of my warning in advance, it will probably still happen, but at least I can say "I told you so", when it does .

Now, I'd like to clear up that Science and Religion are not definitely at odds with each other, as you claim. Yes, all Religions are based on an "absolute" premise, but so is Science. Science is based on the "absolute premise" that the objective universe can be understood by man. Of course, this is the assumption that one makes, when undertaking any branch of Philosophy, but I'm just explaining that the two have the same basic premise.

They are not the same premises then, but directly opposite to each other!
Science makes no absolute claims about knowledge, but only relative claims. The course of history shows that science evolves, and can come 'closer to truth'. Science doesn't make the claim that one day, everything will be known. In that sense, science makes no absolute claims.
 
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  • #41
heusdens
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Originally posted by drag
Hmm... heusdens, would it be terribly self-insulting
of me to note that these people, not at all due
to their intellectual level but due to
the times they lived in and the experiences
they had, were very confused in my opinion. :wink:

I think the people in a few decades or century will say the same about our current day philosophies and science!
 
  • #42
heusdens
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Originally posted by drag
Well, I'd like to point out that since science
currently reasons about all things being
interconnected directly (or at least reasons that
there is an inability of proving the opposite),
there is no real objective reality.
Thus, at least this aspect of the definition
appears to be kin'na self-referential and
vague. I mean, if you can not draw a distinct
line between your mind and the Universe then
the above definition, at least, gets a bit
scrambled. Wouldn't you agree ?

P.S. An intresting sidenote:
If you, for example, consider the Universe in
a microscopic time period then from QM's conclusion
of lack of identity you might say our mind is
possibly the entire Universe on this time scale.
Fascinating ! :smile:

Objectivity in the realsm of QM poses a problem perhaps to our ordinary sense of objective reality. But still we don't consider the outside reality, as figments of our thoughts, or in any way dependend on our minds. Our minds also belong to the same outside reality, that exists objectively.
 
  • #43
drag
Science Advisor
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These respected gentelmen appear to have likely
made a crucial mistake - they made the absolute
assumption that something they or others consider
must be true or false. Thus, they ignored the
PoE and the likely infinite indetermenacy of the
Universe. This led to another problem in their
PoV - that they can, should and must connect
their overall view of the world to observation.
But, the seemingly most likely and lacking
of assumption path is not to make any additions
to observation beyond those that are abstract
"CLOSED circuit" connections between them. Thus,
no definite conclusions or assumptions are
possible because there are apparently no "open
ends" which to assume or deduce and trust
absolutely.

We're going deep, please make sure your BS
pressure suits are ready and working and
your oxygen tanks are full...

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #44
heusdens
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Originally posted by Tom
From my limited exposure to the subject, it seems that there is not one definition that is universally agreed upon. Here is what I have read on the subject:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism

I have also printed out a couple of articles from Cog Prints (a cognitive science preprint archive). It seems to me that the main showdown between materialism and idealism (or dualism) is going to be in the realm of cognitive science, since the two schools of thought contradict each other specifically on the nature of the mind.

Physicalism is something entirely different as materialism.
And the mentioned 'limitations' of materialism, are not real limitations of materialism. Matter denotes a category of existence that is outside and independend of the mind. It is left to the task of science, to actually describe the forms of matter and their laws of motion. Matter therefore covers all known and unknown forms of material existence, the baryonic or leptonic stuff (protons, neutrons, electrons), the energy (photons), and fields (gravity, electro-magnetism), etc.
 
  • #45
drag
Science Advisor
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Originally posted by heusdens
I think the people in a few decades or century
will say the same about our current day
philosophies and science!
No, my personal philosophical perspective
actually plans to live forever...
I think they'll need quite a few ray-guns
to vaporize it...
 
  • #46
heusdens
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The Dialectical method

The Dialectical Method

Lenin's "Elements of Dialectics"
Lenin summaries the dialectical method in his Philosophical Notebooks as follows:
  1. "The determination of the concept out of itself [the thing itself must be considered in its relations and in its development];
  2. the contradictory nature of the thing itself (the other of itself), the contradictory forces and tendencies in each phenomenon;
  3. the union of analysis and synthesis". [/list=1]
    And in greater detail as follows:
    1. "the objectivity of consideration (not examples, not divergencies, but the Thing-in-itself).
    2. the entire totality of the manifold relations of this thing to others.
    3. the development of this thing, (phenomenon, respectively), its own movement, its own life.
    4. the internally contradictory tendencies (and sides) in this thing.
    5. the thing (phenomenon, etc) as the sum and unity of opposites.
    6. the struggle, respectively unfolding, of these opposites, contradictory strivings, etc.
    7. the union of analysis and synthesis - the breakdown of the separate parts and the totality, the summation of these parts.
    8. the relations of each thing (phenomenon, etc.) are not only manifold, but general, universal. Each thing (phenomenon, etc.) is connected with every other.
    9. not only the unity of opposites, but the transitions of every determination, quality, feature, side, property into every other [into its opposite?].
    10. the endless process of the discovery of new sides, relations, etc.
    11. the endless process of the deepening of man's knowledge of the thing, of phenomena, processes, etc., from appearance to essence and from less profound to more profound essence.
    12. from co-existence to causality and from one form of connection and reciprocal dependence to another, deeper, more general form.
    13. the repetition at a higher stage of certain features, properties, etc., of the lower and
    14. the apparent return to the old (negation of the negation).
    15. the struggle of content with form and conversely. The throwing off of the form, the transformation of the content.
    16. the transition of quantity into quality and vice versa (15 and 16 are examples of 9)".[/list=1]
      [Philosophical Notebooks, Volume 38, Lenin's Collected Works, p221]
      Lenin's list is as good as any. It might be rewarding to return to this checklist from time to time while reading Hegel.

      One could hardly do better, either, than Marx's famous reaffirmation of Hegel's gains

      Theses on Feuerbach
      I
      The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism (that of Feuerbach included) is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence, in contradistinction to materialism, the active side was developed abstractly by idealism -- which, of course, does not know real, sensuous activity as such.

      Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from the thought objects, but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective activity. Hence, in Essence of Christianity, he regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude, while practice is conceived and fixed only in its dirty-judaical manifestation. Hence he does not grasp the significance of "revolutionary", of "practical-critical", activity.

      II
      The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Man must prove the truth -- i.e. the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking that is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question.

      III
      The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society.

      The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.

      IV
      Feuerbach starts out from the fact of religious self-alienation, of the duplication of the world into a religious world and a secular one. His work consists in resolving the religious world into its secular basis.

      But that the secular basis detaches itself from itself and establishes itself as an independent realm in the clouds can only be explained by the cleavages and self-contradictions within this secular basis. The latter must, therefore, in itself be both understood in its contradiction and revolutionised in practice. Thus, for instance, after the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be destroyed in theory and in practice.

      V
      Feuerbach, not satisfied with abstract thinking, wants contemplation; but he does not conceive sensuousness as practical, human-sensuous activity.

      VI
      Feuerbach resolves the religious essence into the human essence. But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual.

      In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations.

      Feuerbach, who does not enter upon a criticism of this real essence, is consequently compelled:
      1. To abstract from the historical process and to fix the religious sentiment as something by itself and to presuppose an abstract -- isolated -- human individual.
      2. Essence, therefore, can be comprehended only as "genus", as an internal, dumb generality which naturally unites the many individuals. [/list=1]
        VII
        Feuerbach, consequently, does not see that the "religious sentiment" is itself a social product, and that the abstract individual whom he analyses belongs to a particular form of society.

        VIII
        All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.

        IX
        The highest point reached by contemplative materialism, that is, materialism which does not comprehend sensuousness as practical activity, is contemplation of single individuals and of civil society.

        X
        The standpoint of the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or social humanity.

        XI
        The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.

        Summary
        For my part, I have identified the following features of the dialectical method:
        1. The validity of things as moments or stages of development;
        2. Not definitions, but the genesis of a thing;
        3. Knowledge begins with Immediate perception, but all knowledge is mediated: Being is Nothing;
        4. The objective immanent movement of a thing itself;
        5. Both phenomenon and essence are objective;
        6. Subjection of all concepts to criticism the source of movement and change is internal to external;
        7. The Conception of a thing as a Unity of Opposites;
        8. The discovery of the internal contradictions within a thing;
        9. Practice is the Criterion of Truth;
        10. Not the Thing or its Other but the Transition between them;
        11. The Absolute is Relative and there is an Absolute within the Relative;
        12. Negation of Negation: the retention of the positive within the negative;
        13. Quantitative change at a certain point becomes qualitative change;
        14. The struggle of form and content, the content is also a form, the shedding of form and the transformation of content into form and form into content;
        15. Cause and effect are relative moments, merged and canceled in actuality;
        16. Chance and necessity are relative moments, merged and canceled in actuality;
        17. All that is rational is real, all that is real is rational and all that is real deserves to perish;
        18. Freedom is the understanding of Necessity;
        19. The truth of actuality is a concept;
        20. Knowledge proceeds from Abstract to Concrete;
        21. The truth is concrete;
        22. Subjectivity is also Objective, objectivity includes the subject;
        23. Analysis and Synthesis are inseparable, the alternation between synthesis and analysis;
        24. The Means is realised in the End, the End is realised in the Means;
        25. Life is Cognition;
        26. Theory is the comprehension of Practice.

          [/list=1]
 
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  • #47
heusdens
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Originally posted by Tom
From my limited exposure to the subject, it seems that there is not one definition that is universally agreed upon. Here is what I have read on the subject:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism

I have also printed out a couple of articles from Cog Prints (a cognitive science preprint archive). It seems to me that the main showdown between materialism and idealism (or dualism) is going to be in the realm of cognitive science, since the two schools of thought contradict each other specifically on the nature of the mind.

The contradiction is about the relation of Being towards Thinking.
Idealism sees Thinking as primary and original, and Materialism denotes Being as primary and original.
 
  • #48
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by Alexander
This is not about terminology. Science explained God(s) and other superstitions long long ago (see psychology, sociology, mythology), and moved on forward to solve more useful problems. But if some people prefer to live in darkness, what can science do about it? Nothing.

It is like trying to help someone who likes to smoke opium because opium shows him not harsh real life but sweet nice dreams.

No Alexander it is about a different understanding of concepts and the scope for science. Science says nothing about the existence of god. Sorry. The things you mention can be argued to be evidence against "SPECIFIC" gods of people in the past but it can NEVER disprove god as a global concept. No one here will agree with you that disproving god is in scope for science. Of course, you could just hold the opinion(and probably will) that everyone else is wrong but you. LOL.

Anyway, I see this thread has turned into another place for Heusdens to paste pages and pages of excerpts from his philosphy text book. There's plenty of that in this forum already so I'll be moving on. Have fun!
 
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  • #49
heusdens
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Originally posted by Fliption
No Alexander it is about a different understanding of concepts and the scope for science. Science says nothing about the existence of god. Sorry. The things you mention can be argued to be evidence against "SPECIFIC" gods of people in the past but it can NEVER disprove god as a global concept. No one here will agree with you that disproving god is in scope for science. Of course, you could just hold the opinion(and probably will) that everyone else is wrong but you. LOL.

Science explained why and how humans invented God, with what mythology, for what reasons, etc. To normal people, this would be enough knowledge, to make statements about any God.
 
  • #50
russ_watters
Mentor
21,844
8,804
Originally posted by Fliption
No Alexander it is about a different understanding of concepts and the scope for science. Science says nothing about the existence of god. Sorry. The things you mention can be argued to be evidence against "SPECIFIC" gods of people in the past but it can NEVER disprove god as a global concept.
I think this partly results from a misunderstanding of the scientific method. Scientists who are athiests are not athiests because they believe God has been "proven" to not exist, but rather that he has NOT been "proven" to exist. They choose to not believe something until there is evidence to support it.
 
  • #51
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by heusdens
Science explained why and how humans invented God, with what mythology, for what reasons, etc. To normal people, this would be enough knowledge, to make statements about any God.

"Normal people"? And yet the majority of the people in the world do believe in god. So how do you define normal?

All I'm saying is that science can only research and attempt to describe the patterns that it sees. If it never sees god then one might can inductively conclude that there is no god but you can see that this can never be known for certain. Science is only concerned with holding a positin on things that can be disproven. So it doesn't concern itself with god either way because it can never be disproven.
 
  • #52
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by russ_watters
I think this partly results from a misunderstanding of the scientific method. Scientists who are athiests are not athiests because they believe God has been "proven" to not exist, but rather that he has NOT been "proven" to exist. They choose to not believe something until there is evidence to support it.

Be more specific about where you think the misunderstanding is and who misunderstands. Some people have to have things spelled out to them. What you are saying I agree with completely. But there are some here who think science has "disproven" god. And any "normal" person can see that. Egocentricity is running overtime on this whole thread.
 
  • #53
Heus, you posts seem rational but sometimes very and very long. I personally (and I believe, many others here too) am quite busy with work and other activities, thus simply do not have time to read long posts.

So, for better communication, can you (and anyone else, please) keep them reasonably short? Adding a link is always better than copying whole writing of someone (even if it is Einstein, Lenin, Marx, Nitsche, etc) into precious PF disk space.

I always try to be consise myself, understanding that the number of readers exponentially decays with the length of post.
 
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  • #54
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by Alexander
Heus, you posts seem rational but sometimes very and very long. I personally (and I believe, many others here too) am quite busy with work and other activities, thus simply do not have time to read long posts.

So, for better communication, can you (and anyone else, please) keep them reasonably short? Adding a link is always better than copying whole writing of someone (even if it is Einstein, Lenin, Marx, Nitsche, etc) into precious PF disk space.

I always try to be consise myself, understanding that the number of readers exponentially decays with the length of post.

I agree completely, Alexander. Excellent post. I find myself ignoring the postings of pages and pages of text. Not enough time.
 
  • #55
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
841
15
Originally posted by Alexander
Heus, you posts seem rational but sometimes very and very long. I personally (and I believe, many others here too) am quite busy with work and other activities, thus simply do not have time to read long posts.

So, for better communication, can you (and anyone else, please) keep them reasonably short? Adding a link is always better than copying whole writing of someone (even if it is Einstein, Lenin, Marx, Nitsche, etc) into precious PF disk space.

I always try to be consise myself, understanding that the number of readers exponentially decays with the length of post.

i absolutely agree with this, we need to keep our posts a little more short, links are an excellent way to point out where information can be acquired regarding your posts...
 
  • #56
Methinks so too...

An occasional ‘longish’ post is ok, but page after page of long posts seems too much like a force-feeding…
 
  • #57
heusdens
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0
Understood. Will provide a link instead.
 
  • #58
drag
Science Advisor
1,100
1
You guys...

heusdens just bothered to post all that
summarizing of philosophy and all you're
bothered with is the lenght of the posts. :frown:
 
  • #59
russ_watters
Mentor
21,844
8,804
Originally posted by drag
heusdens just bothered to post all that
summarizing of philosophy and all you're
bothered with is the lenght of the posts. :frown:
Summarizing? No, I think the word you are looking for is PLAGARIZING.
 
  • #60
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by Fliption
"Normal people"? And yet the majority of the people in the world do believe in god. So how do you define normal?

All I'm saying is that science can only research and attempt to describe the patterns that it sees. If it never sees god then one might can inductively conclude that there is no god but you can see that this can never be known for certain. Science is only concerned with holding a positin on things that can be disproven. So it doesn't concern itself with god either way because it can never be disproven.

There is more one can say:
1. All concepts of God we know so far have failed to proof their existence
2. We know religion was an invention of early humanity, to "explain" things for which humanity at that time had no scientific explenation.
3. The world can be known through science
4. There isn't any reason to belief in any God
 
  • #61
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by russ_watters
Summarizing? No, I think the word you are looking for is PLAGARIZING.

There was a specific demand for a definition of materialism / dialectical-materialism.
 
  • #62
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by heusdens
There is more one can say:
1. All concepts of God we know so far have failed to proof their existence
OK.
2. We know religion was an invention of early humanity, to "explain" things for which humanity at that time had no scientific explenation.
I'm not sure I like the word "scientific" but ok.

3. The world can be known through science

This is an assumption of science. It certainly isn't proven. As a matter of fact, many think that we will never be able to have complete knowledge of the world.
4. There isn't any reason to belief in any God [/B]


This is a subjective opinion. Many people will look at a work of art and hold a different opinion about it's origin. Just because you are able to believe an ordered universe originates from a box full of rocks doesn't mean that someone else doesn't have a different perspective or appreciation. Your statement might be ok if you started the sentence off with the phrase "Scientifically speaking".

Overall, I'm still struggling with your point. This comparison seems definitely to be a judgement.
 
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  • #63
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by drag
You guys...

heusdens just bothered to post all that
summarizing of philosophy and all you're
bothered with is the lenght of the posts. :frown:

I guess I would agree if I thought it was really a summary. But there's no way he is summarizing. It reads like excerpts from a book. And even if it were a summary, I would still need to comment that it is poorly summarized.

I just don't have time to read through pages and pages of book excerpts on Dialectic Materialism. Especially when I could swear I read the same excerpts in about 5 other threads.
 
  • #64
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by Fliption
This is an assumption of science. It certainly isn't proven. As a matter of fact, many think that we will never be able to have complete knowledge of the world.

The history of science shows that we know a great deal now, we didn't know before. There is no end to what we can know.

Fact is of couse, we will never have complete knowledge.
Science is not dealing with absolutes. Absolute knowledge is simply impossible, we will develop from one relative thruth to another relative truth.


This is a subjective opinion. Many people will look at a work of art and hold a different opinion about it's origin. Just because you are able to believe an ordered universe originates from a box full of rocks doesn't mean that someone else doesn't have a different perspective or appreciation. Your statement might be ok if you started the sentence off with the phrase "Scientifically speaking".

Overall, I'm still struggling with your point. This comparison seems definitely to be a judgement.

Yeah. Implicitly the judgement is, wether or not God exists, we can think about it till our head turns round, but we never find an answer to that.

While in science, we can observe, we can test, and we can makes theories, and this means some progress in knowledge can ba made.

My opinion is then, with the first, we never come any further, through science, we will at least be heading towards a better understanding.
 
  • #65
Fliption
1,081
1
Originally posted by heusdens
My opinion is then, with the first, we never come any further, through science, we will at least be heading towards a better understanding.

Yeah I can buy all that. But the mischievous side of me can't help but think of the ironic possibility that science will progress it's knowledge only to lend more credibility to the other approach.


I'm not saying this will happen or even could happen. I just think it would be funny if it did.
 
  • #66
heusdens
1,736
0
Originally posted by Fliption
Yeah I can buy all that. But the mischievous side of me can't help but think of the ironic possibility that science will progress it's knowledge only to lend more credibility to the other approach.

I'm not saying this will happen or even could happen. I just think it would be funny if it did.

This would not change the choice pro science, would it?

The other thing is interpretation. No matter how science portrays and investigates the world to be, we can still choose an interpretation of outside reality.
 
  • #67
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by drag
Science TRIES to explain, it doesn't say it CAN
and MUST be able to. In fact, so far it says
it is most likely that it CAN NOT explain all
things to mankind, because science uses reasoning
systems the common thing about which is the
fact that they seemingly can not fully explain
the Universe.[/B]

The fact that the aim of Science is to describe the phenomena within the Universe shows that, at it's heart, there is an assumption: That the phenomena of the Universe can be explained, to at least some degree of accuracy.
 

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