How do we know? A scientific theory of knowledge

  • Thread starter heusdens
  • Start date

BoulderHead

Maybe we need a couple of threads devoted to economic theory. I have a fair knowledge of such things and it might prove entertaining.
 
1,476
0
Originally posted by heusdens
Is that to blame on his philosophic work or the social/economic conditions of that time.

It tells me a number of things about him. From what I have read times were tough but there was no widespread famine.
It tells me the he did not have a working knowlege or understanding of even the most basic economic principles. It was either that or he didn't give a damn that his wife and children were starving while he wrote his manefesto and sat around coffee houses debating with his cronies. HE didn't starve to death. I, being old fashioned, have to have some respect for a person or at least his intellect and character before I can give his philosphy any creditability. In short he must have some sort of sanity, sense and functionality about him, not a psychotic and/or pathalogic idealistic egocentric obsessive-compulsive.

Whether Marxism or Stalin-Leninism, communism is idealistic in the sense that it assumes Manking will evolve, become more civilized or more altruistic than now and those who CAN will willingly, happily and productively work and sacrafice their lives and families wellbeing for those who CAN'T or will not provide for themselves.
THERE AIN'T NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH; to borrow a phrase from Robert Heinline.
As far as religion being an opiate for the masses, Communism just replaces there dogma for religion.
 

Alexander

Originally posted by steppenwolf
more then fair, seeing as marx labeled religion as the opiate of the masses or whatever it was exactly.
Most interesting thing is that Marx was indeed 100% right on that.
 

Alexander

Originally posted by wuliheron
No, it just shows that I know the definition of words. Dialectical Materialism is based on the Fundamentalist views of black and white, true and false, and, most pointedly, that change is the only constant (sic) --the fundamental belief that this is the ultimate truth or reality.

Looks like you don't know what is dialectic meterialism. I studied it, so i can tell you your mistake here. By the way, "dialectic" simply means logical, or argumentative.

There is no such thing in dialectic materializm as fundamental view of world in black and white, true and false, etc. One of laws of dialectic materialism is called "unity of oppositions" - meaning that things are NOT black and white, but rather BOTH black AND white at the same time so to speak - things and phenomena have DUAL nature and this dualities are non-separable. Say, 911 hijackers are plain "black" (villians, bad, false, etc.) for americans but plain "white" (heroes, good, true, etc) for their own religion leaders. An atom (or a proton, photon, graviton, etc) is a particle and a wave at the SAME time. Ceiling of one man is floor of another, and on and on.

So don't be too fundamental in ignorance. Be flexible, acknoledge that Marxism is NOT your of expertise. Simply because you did not study it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
597
0
by Heusdens
... the occupation of science is not about introducing the supernatural, God, or Santa Clause, cause it might help to work out some very profound problems in physics, for example.
That's not science. [/B]


I can see how the the concept of "God" might be extraneous to scientific inquiry, but why is CONSCIOUSNESS left out of the equation when it seems obvious that consciousness exists at LEAST as PART of the Universe.

And if speculations lead one to the possibility that the Universe ITSELF is conscious -- and there were a means to "prove" it -- then any cosmological theories would have to INCLUDE the nature and evolution of consciousness.

Perhaps the "problem" lies with our fairy tale concept of "God" which keeps "getting in the way" of seeing the Universe as a living, conscious Being whose NATURAL FORCES -- on every plane (physical, mental, spiritual (if the last exists) -- which keep the wheels in motion...rather than a "Great Outsider".

And since we are CONNECTED to -- and also PRODUCTS OF -- this Cause & Effect Universe ...might it not be useful information to see OURSELVES as exerting "influence" upon the Universe...say, through the EFFECT of INTENTION on the lynchpin of RANDOMNESS?

Of course, there are countervaling forces, which is why we don't always get our way.
 
Last edited:
1,927
0
Originally posted by Alexander
Looks like you don't know what is dialectic meterialism. I studied it, so i can tell you your mistake here. By the way, "dialectic" simply means logical, or argumentative.

There is no such thing in dialectic materializm as fundamental view of world in black and white, true and false, etc. One of laws of dialectic materialism is called "unity of oppositions" - meaning that things are NOT black and white, but rather BOTH black AND white at the same time so to speak - things and phenomena have DUAL nature and this dualities are non-separable. Say, 911 hijackers are plain "black" (villians, bad, false, etc.) for americans but plain "white" (heroes, good, true, etc) for their own religion leaders. An atom (or a proton, photon, graviton, etc) is a particle and a wave at the SAME time. Ceiling of one man is floor of another, and on and on.

So don't be too fundamental in ignorance. Be flexible, acknoledge that Marxism is NOT your of expertise. Simply because you did not study it.
I readily admit I am no expert on the subject, however I do happen to live on a commune surrounded by Marxists and have done so for many years. Here is the dictionary definition of dialectics:

dialectics (used with a sing. verb) A method of argument or exposition that systematically weighs contradictory facts or ideas with a view to the resolution of their real or apparent contradictions.
I understand dialectic philosophy believes everything comes in black AND white, but if the purpose of dialectics was not towards resolving contradictions it would be defined as mysticism, absurdism, or somesuch. By asserting that everything has an opposite and promoting a well defined system for resolving contradictions, dialectics defines itself as a fundamentalist belief system. That is, it asserts and promotes a fundamental set of beliefs as the absolute truth or best way to live.
 

BoulderHead

I find Lenin more interesting than Marx. Observe his dialectical approach as he warns against viewing things strictly as opposites;

Lenin viewed the antithesis of matter and spirit dialectically, warning that the antagonism between them should not be overemphasised, since it is just another aspect of the basic problem of philosophy - the primacy of matter or consciousness: 'To operate beyond these limits with the antithesis of matter and mind, physical and mental, as though they were absolute opposites, would be a great mistake.' Matter is primary and consciousness secondary - but they have a lot in common. Though consciousness is secondary, it is a feature of highly organised matter - the brain - and therefore exists in reality. Far from being alien to nature, consciousness is as normal a product of the natural world as those material objects which it reflects. Consciousness is a reflection of objective reality in the human brain.
Taken from; http://venus.spaceports.com/~theory/philosophy_2.htm
 

BoulderHead

Originally posted by heusdens
How do we know?
Didn’t this thread begin with this questions, prior to taking a swing into economics?
How can we ‘know’, well, I think Lenin had a lot to say about that too, and it ties into the definition of matter. Here is more from the link in my previous post;

How, then, does a philosopher define matter? In Lenin's view;

'Matter is a philosophical category denoting the objective reality which is given to man by his sensations, and which is copied, photographed and reflected by our sensations, while existing independently of them.'

Lenin defined matter as a philosophical category denoting objective reality, which is given to man by his sensations. This answered the question of whether it is possible for man really to know the world from the materialist stance: since matter is reflected in man's sensations, there is no barrier between our sensations and the objective world - and therefore there is no doubt that we can know the world. The basic axioms of the theory of reflection are: that things exist objectively, independent of the individual perceiving them; that they are accessible to human cognition; and that our knowledge is a reflection of the world around us.

The reflection of the objective world in the human consciousness is by no means a simple, direct mirror- image. Cognition is a manifold process with several distinct, albeit related, stages: 'From living perception to abstract thought, and from this to practice, - such is the dialectical path of the cognition of truth, of the cognition of objective reality.'

In his theory of reflection, Lenin traced the transition from ignorance to knowledge, from incomplete and inaccurate knowledge to a more adequate understanding, and showed that this was a dialectical process, thus solving the problem of truth, which is central to the theory of cognition. Objective truth is arrived at gradually, dialectically.

Lenin's theory of reflection represented a great advance in philosophy. He considered that a man was a genuine philosophical materialist only if he accepted that cognition is the reflection of the objective world in the human consciousness. And that principle is equally valid today, for the bitter controversy between materialism and idealism remains a living issue.
 
1,029
1
Originally posted by M. Gaspar
Perhaps the "problem" lies with our fairy tale concept of "God" which keeps "getting in the way" of seeing the Universe as a living, conscious Being whose NATURAL FORCES -- on every plane (physical, mental, spiritual (if the last exists) -- which keep the wheels in motion...rather than a "Great Outsider".
Good post. I have mentioned a similar idea in other posts ie. that the word "god" and all the biases it brings prevents us from considering various creative alternatives.
 
238
0
Originally posted by Alexander
Looks like you don't know what is dialectic meterialism. I studied it, so i can tell you your mistake here. By the way, "dialectic" simply means logical, or argumentative.

There is no such thing in dialectic materializm as fundamental view of world in black and white, true and false, etc. One of laws of dialectic materialism is called "unity of oppositions" - meaning that things are NOT black and white, but rather BOTH black AND white at the same time so to speak - things and phenomena have DUAL nature and this dualities are non-separable. Say, 911 hijackers are plain "black" (villians, bad, false, etc.) for americans but plain "white" (heroes, good, true, etc) for their own religion leaders. An atom (or a proton, photon, graviton, etc) is a particle and a wave at the SAME time. Ceiling of one man is floor of another, and on and on.

So don't be too fundamental in ignorance. Be flexible, acknoledge that Marxism is NOT your of expertise. Simply because you did not study it.
We learn the ideas of black and white through sensation, but having learned then we can see immediately that no black thing is white by seeing that the idea of black and the idea of white disagree.

This, IMO, supports what you are saying. To see the real difference between black and white you must observe the difference, and undeniably see that they cannot be the same because of this difference. Now in dialectic materialism, as you say, it claims that black and white aren't the same but can occupy the same thing at once. Since the difference between black and white is purely observable, you see that if indeed you can observe both black and white in the same thing they can easily coexist.

I don't think this adds to the discussion, but I thought it was worth saying:smile:
 
1,927
0
Originally posted by kyle_soule
We learn the ideas of black and white through sensation, but having learned then we can see immediately that no black thing is white by seeing that the idea of black and the idea of white disagree.

This, IMO, supports what you are saying. To see the real difference between black and white you must observe the difference, and undeniably see that they cannot be the same because of this difference. Now in dialectic materialism, as you say, it claims that black and white aren't the same but can occupy the same thing at once. Since the difference between black and white is purely observable, you see that if indeed you can observe both black and white in the same thing they can easily coexist.

I don't think this adds to the discussion, but I thought it was worth saying:smile:
Functional Contextualism then takes this idea one step further. Whether or not we perceive black and white as distinct and seperate or as unified may be questionable. One person's brain might perceive what we call white as black and vice versa and be totally unaware of the unusual nature of their perceptual uniqueness. As long as the contexts and function of the concepts remain the same, the question arises does it really matter?

The same could be said for concepts of perceiving opposites as unified or distinct. Dialectical Materialism itself implies an ultimate unity of the philosophy with its opposite which Lenin put down, but which makes a great deal more sense viewed in terms of functional contextualism.
 
1,596
0
Originally posted by wuliheron
Note that I never said anything about black vs. white, just black and white. Black vs. white is your personal interpretation and has more to do with your attitude I assume than my logic since I clearly stated my position. Before you make further recommendations I suggest you read my statements carefully.
Dialectics is about how to understand contradictions, and to find the real contradictions, and not that what seems a contradiction.

However, along these same lines of reasoning, the position that change is the only constant is in opposition to alternative fundamentalist views. If Dialectical Materialism never took a position in opposition to anything else it would not be called Dialectical Materialism but, instead, mysticism. Thus, to say it is not about contradictions is to contradict its application and definition.
Never stated that, and of course it is about contradictions.

So, you are asserting then that from a Dialectical Materialistic point of view science is seperate and distinct and in conflict with religion?
We have to choose between science and god, indeed.
You can not have both.
 
1,596
0
Originally posted by wuliheron
Stalinist-Leninist communism
There is now "stalinist-leninist communism". Maybe you mean Marxism-leninism??

Stalinism is a term invented by the CIA.
 
1,927
0
Originally posted by heusdens
We have to choose between science and god, indeed.
You can not have both.
Does this not contradict its own assertion that everything comes in opposites? If function is all that matters you can have both.
 
1,927
0
Originally posted by heusdens
There is now "stalinist-leninist communism". Maybe you mean Marxism-leninism??

Stalinism is a term invented by the CIA.
Yeah, I get all these celebrities mixed up.
 
1,596
0
Originally posted by wuliheron
Yeah, I get all these celebrities mixed up.
Stalin must be merited however for further developing marxism-leninism.
 

Alexander

Originally posted by wuliheron


By asserting that everything has an opposite and promoting a well defined system for resolving contradictions, dialectics defines itself as a fundamentalist belief system. That is, it asserts and promotes a fundamental set of beliefs as the absolute truth or best way to live.
Dialectic materialism is not a sytem of belief but rather achknoledgement of a certain observed relationships in material world: like existence of dualities/oppositions (by the way, the existence and the unity of oppositions is not stated to exclude existence of rich variations of shades, colors and smells), like a transition of quantitative changes into qualitative (say, gradual increase in temperature of liquid may soon or later result in abrupt change - phase transition), etc.

About absolute truth. Actually Marx denies the existence of "absolute" truth. By Marx definition of truth, truth is what complies with fact, experiment, observation. And in my opinion this is a clear, concrete and extremely useful definition of truth.

Say, is Earth flat or round? Is flat Earth true or round one? Well, marxism says: check with experiment, with facts. And experiment says that Earth is flat on a small scale and round on a large scale - clear example of dual nature of things and of absence of absolute truth.

Lenin, by the way, said many times: "Marxism is not a dogma, but rather a guide for futher action (= open for further development)".
 
1,596
0
Originally posted by wuliheron
Does this not contradict its own assertion that everything comes in opposites? If function is all that matters you can have both.
No, and it is not about claiming that one can have both, but that both do exist, but not without being opposites to one another. You cannot have both without them being opposites to one another.
 
1,927
0
Thank you Alexander, that is perhaps the best explanation I heard yet of Dialectical Materialism. I will have to think about it for awhile.
 
1,927
0
Originally posted by heusdens
No, and it is not about claiming that one can have both, but that both do exist, but not without being opposites to one another. You cannot have both without them being opposites to one another.
But that defies the existence of religions such as Scientific Pantheism which worship the universe and can even do so through the practice of science. This is something that has always puzzled me about Marxist-Leninist communism, that it diverges so radically from its primitive communist roots.
 

Alexander

A couple words about stalinism. Despite being overall in agreement with Marx and Lenin theoretically, Stalin often did NOT act according to them in practice. In practice the regime he built had very little in common with leninizm and even less with marxizm. The way Stalin manipulated public opinion was to cite ONLY those parts of Lenin's or Marx opinions on various subjects which suit him at the moment to build rigid army-like structure of government which neither Marx nor Lenin ever proposed.

It is important to distunguish stalinism (rigid dictatorship, leveling all individual rewards, and intolerance to variety of opinions) from communism (as well as from socialism and from marxism, by the way).

For example, communism is referred by Marx and Engels as advanced (scientific utopia) phase in development of society - when production level of society is so high that every reasonable desire of every individual is granted by the society). But the word "communism" in US it often confused with stalinism, and (mistakenly, I think) fingerpointed as "extremely bad idea overall" ("-Pa, what is communism?" "-Well, kids -look what Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin did with Russia - this is what they call communism. Beware of it.")

By the way, wether we like it or not, but elements of socialism are today firmly incorporated by most of civilized societies, even those which claim to be pure capitalistic. Pensions, affordable medical care and affordable housing, free elementary and college education, social security and unemployment benefits, short buisness week (40 h or less), corporate benefits, long vacations (1-4 month), strict anti-fraud and anti-trust regulations, consumer protection laws, etc - are standard for most developed nations today.
 
1,596
0
Originally posted by Alexander
A couple words about stalinism. Despite being overall in agreement with Marx and Lenin theoretically, Stalin often did NOT act according to them in practice. In practice the regime he built had very little in common with leninizm and even less with marxizm. The way Stalin manipulated public opinion was to cite ONLY those parts of Lenin's or Marx opinions on various subjects which suit him at the moment to build rigid army-like structure of government which neither Marx nor Lenin ever proposed.

It is important to distunguish stalinism (rigid dictatorship, leveling all individual rewards, and intolerance to variety of opinions) from communism (as well as from socialism and from marxism, by the way).

For example, communism is referred by Marx and Engels as advanced (scientific utopia) phase in development of society - when production level of society is so high that every reasonable desire of every individual is granted by the society). But the word "communism" in US it often confused with stalinism, and (mistakenly, I think) fingerpointed as "extremely bad idea overall" ("-Pa, what is communism?" "-Well, kids -look what Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin did with Russia - this is what they call communism. Beware of it.")

By the way, wether we like it or not, but elements of socialism are today firmly incorporated by most of civilized societies, even those which claim to be pure capitalistic. Pensions, affordable medical care and affordable housing, free elementary and college education, social security and unemployment benefits, short buisness week (40 h or less), corporate benefits, long vacations (1-4 month), strict anti-fraud and anti-trust regulations, consumer protection laws, etc - are standard for most developed nations today.
I think you lend a bit to utopian communism.
Firstly, we should acknowledge the fact that Russia at the time of the revolution was a backwards and mainly agricultural country, and had been hardly industrialized.
You cannot go in one step from feudalism which is not yet transformed into capitalism, to communism. That is too much of a step.

Certainly your qualifications apply to a form of production relations which will exists under communism, but that is not possible under the conditions of Russia at that time.

Apart from the backwardness, which could only be overcome with educating the peasants and industrializing the country, which was clearly a goal in which the Soviet-Union under the leadership of Stalin succeeded, one have to account also for the enemies of socialism, both the external enemies (the capitalis countries, that invaded the Soviet-Union in the first years after the revolution) and the internal enemies, like the Kulaks (rich landowners) that sabotaged agricultural reform plans (the collectiviation of agriculture).

The first decades of socialism was the dictatorship of the proletariat, which was needed to consolidate the power of the labour class, and to enable the country to become industrialized.

Your statements of socialist ideas implemented within capitalist countries is of course correct. But this does not account for capitalism, as providing that rights (as capitalists were always AGAINST those progressive labour laws), but for the successes of socialism in their fight against capitalism.

You have to merit the fact that due to the Soviet-Union in most capitalist countries social labour laws emerged. This was of course necessary, to prevent the labour movement to get rid of capitalism all together by way of revolution. The example of the Soviet-Union showed the labourclass people worldwide, that socialism was a possible alternative, and that the capitalist ruiership could be overcome by the collective struggle of the proletariat.
In order to keep the proletariat satisfied, the capitalist rulers had to give in to demans of the socialist movement, to better their working and living conditions.

It's fair to say that without the sucees of the October revolution, labourclass would not have been that suceesfull in their struggle against capitalism.

But after the disappearance of most socialist countries, the capitalist rulers are more rigid as ever in tryin to roll back aal social progress in the capitalist countries. They privatised allmost all national industries, transportation systems, energy productions, telecom and postal services, etc.

The clock has been set backward again. Outcome of this tendency of back to capitalism is a worldwide recession, and downfall of the economy, because of the inherent implications of a crisis in a capitalist production system.

The third world countries are ever more exploited, by IMD and Worldbank policy, and all countries that are not under the rule of IMF or Worldbank, like the still existing socialist countries, are regarded as countries supporting terrorism, and can be confronted with large scale military agression.

Imperialist terror rules the world again, and it's time we put the struggle for socialism and social progress for all of humanity back on the agenda again, and break the capitalist rule.

Even though not all outcomes of socialism might - when seen from present day standards - as positive, it is fair to say that under socialism more progress is possible then under capitalist rule, especially for the most exploited countries that suffer the most from the capitalist dictatorship and domination of world markets.
 
Last edited:

BoulderHead

I would throw into this discussion at this point that there are two things that keep cropping up in this thread. The economic angle is, at least to me, something which would be better off looked at in another thread altogether.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Alexander

Originally posted by heusdens


Firstly, we should acknowledge the fact that Russia at the time of the revolution was a backwards and mainly agricultural country, and had been hardly industrialized.
Actually not. If you look back a century-two ago you'll find Russia not only being strongest empire of that time (with span from Germany in the west to Mexico in the east), but also was among most developed industrial nations of the time. Rubble was strongest currency in Europe and Asia.

True, that Russia exported a lot of grain, corn, potato, vodka, fruits and vegetables, - because land in Russia was more available to peasants and much cheaper than in crowded Europe. But there were also railroads, various factories in cities, mining industry, gas lights on streets and oil heating in houses, etc. Before revolution Russia had telephones, telegraph, radio, electricity, manufactured planes, automobiles and modern weaponry. Quality of russian goods was high - Japanese manufacturers even forged russian labels on their own goods to facilitate sales. Culturally, scientifically and and educationally Russia also was among leading nations then. As Chaikovsky said when he returned from performing in Carnegy hall: "If not that much money [they offered me to get me out of St Petersburg] I would never visit such a countryside".

So knowing history I would not claim that Russia then was too backward. For instance, US was way more backward back then.

It is devastating tall of stalinism which put russia economically down and recovery from which may take as long as destruction lasted.

By the way, Lenin tried to introduce rigid administrative economy in 1918, shortly after October revolution of 1917. But in short 2 years it was clear that command and economy don't mix well, and in 1920 Lenin turned back 179 degrees - he introduced NEP - new economic policy, which was actually return back to self-regulating maket freedom (with exeption of regulation of defence industry). In following 10 years russia quickly re-gained strength and again russian rouble became strongest currency in Europe. Trotskij reported on politbureau meetings that "we accumulating so much of gold, platinum, diamonds and other strategic international commodities that we frankly don't know what to do with this mass". But Stalin, gradually gaining power, suddenly found that here is a ceiling - limit to which you can "rule" in such society - market economy simply does not need "rulers" by definition. Most you can do is to be "advising" ruler, which he did not want to stop at. So, in 1930 Stalin started wide propaganda campain to turn economy upside down. And in few short years he succeeded - nationalising factories and farms and brutally suppressing those who disagreed.

So 1930-1990 were years of not as much of socialism, but rather of army-like command ruling with major goal to show who is in control of it all (indeed, best word for this phenomenon is "stalinism").
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Alexander

I agree that neither complete jungle of capitalizm (=unlimited power and "self-rightness" of money) nor very strong army-style administration is good for economy and society. So, as usually, best is far frem extremes.

But here is another problem. Suppose there is a goverment which balanced positive freedoms of matket with social garantees at some proportion. But people themselves are different. Way different. Some are active and ambitious and demand more economic freedom and are more ready to accept risk of losses, but some others want more secuirity and don't mind to sacrifice economic freedom for better bottom line coverage.

Then what?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads for: How do we know? A scientific theory of knowledge

Replies
55
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
17
Views
23K
Replies
8
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
28
Views
6K
Replies
57
Views
5K
Replies
6
Views
3K
Replies
7
Views
694

Hot Threads

Top