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Best critiques of Dialectical Materialism? Anonymous 02/14/2020 (Fri) 10:50:05 No. 277263
I have been into reading a lot about Dialectical Materialism lately, and the only thing I've been doing is agreeing, kinda seems like the best explanation I've ever heard for describing nature, philosophy etc. But I don't want to live in an echo chamber. So want to read some critiques of Dialectics. What are the best critiques you know, so I can be a bit more "skeptical" and critical towards Diamat?
>>277335 >pre-modern ideology but without god Sounds dark as fuck
>>277353 >It becomes metaphysical if you then try to apply those laws to situations where there's no evidence to support their applicability. What's the evidence to support the applicability of this statement to statements in general?
>>277263 Dialectic of Defeat by Russell Jacoby is good for a history of Marxist thought, the gist of the argument Western Marxists made against it is that Dialectical Materialism abandons human subjectivity and agency when applied to non-social subjects like nature, and thus has to rely on spooky metaphysical bullshit in order to work.
>>277381 Read Antiochius and the Books of Terror and Longing. It somewhat is. I'll tell you an excerpt, an old folktale from Dhagestan: "A wandering sorcerer made his way to the town, and the inhabitants, superstitious and believing the wanderer could foretell the future, gave him a place of honor and invited him to stay. He lived there for 2 years, and became a very respected man. His predictions always came true - he knew when it would rain, how the crops would turn, could predict eclipses and even who would live and die. He prophesied with such unerring accuracy that the villager’s respect came close to worship, and the wanderer ruled the town in all but name. One night, a restless villager spotted the prophet at the edge of a high cliff, looking out onto the rocky landscape. On his shoulder there was a crow, and the crow seemed to be whispering into the prophet’s ear. When the prophet learned that this man had seen him in conversation with the bird, he pronounced that the man would be dead by nightfall, and so it was: He dropped dead in only one panicked hour, seemingly for no reason. For 5 days and 5 nights, the prophet did not emerge from his tent. The people anxiously wondered what would happen - would he leave them? Could he no longer see the future? They worried for their crops, for their trade, for the continued existence of their beautiful village at the foot of the mountain..and, in a deeper sense, they worried that they had crossed some boundary; that they now knew too much about the dark, inner workings of the true world. At the end of the 5th night, just as the sun was rising, the prophet left his tent. The villagers had gathered outside, keeping vigil in case he might need something from them. When he finally emerged, however, the villagers gasped in horror: over the prophet’s entire body there now bristled pitch-black crow’s feathers. His head was a horrible mockery of bird and man; a jagged beak jutted from his face, and his eyes were deep and black and did not reflect the weakened sunlight. His hands, still human but long and curled, grasped at the air again and again, as if seeking something to hold on to but finding nothing but the empty morning darkness. With a terrifying, croaking voice like that of a crow and a dog and a man bent together, the prophet announced that the crops would no longer grow; that the women would no longer give birth; that the children would fall asleep and never wake up; that the men would lose their sight, and then their legs, lie limp on the ground without being able to see what was around them, powerless to move away as the animals came down the mountain to devour them; that the women would have all protruding pieces of flesh removed, breasts, ears, noses, lips, fingers and toes, that their hair would grow long and would be trampled under their own feet, constantly tangling their legs and forcing them to shuffle slowly from place to place, that they would lose their memory and not be able to remember where their homes were, who their husbands were, would no longer recognize the faces of their children to bury them; that only one among them, only one would live, unharmed; and that that person would be chosen by simple, random chance. That there would be no reason to it at all; that there was no way to affect the outcome. And with that, the prophet disappeared, simply vanished into thin air. The story of the village at the foot of the mountain came to a nearby town with the arrival of the person they referred to as “yaşlı adam”, roughly translated as “old timer” (the man reportedly lived to be over 100, and said he could not be killed). When he came to the village, however, he was only 10 years old. He rode an old donkey, trudging laboriously over the rocks and hills. In his hands he carried a large flag, struggling to keep it aloft, skinny and malnourished from the journey. The flag was stiff and solid black. The story he told terrified the townspeople. The flag, the boy said, had been white; it was black with dried blood, the blood of his parents, brothers and friends; he had done his best to bury them, but the birds were on them now, and all he could do was bear the banner, the black banner, to remind himself of them." Interpret what secularism you will out of that.
>>277381 Without god in the sense of things all exist in a metaphysical senses so if nothing is concrete, nothing needs to change or evolve. Development in a postmodern sense doesn’t really exist so the status quo is eternal. It simply replaces “god” as a concept with the uncritical worship of technology and science. But in the lenses of postmodernism “science” isn’t the process of understanding the material reality but just separate “facts” that idealisticly exist and can only be interpreted in infinite ways but can’t be developed upon further.
>>277353 >What happens? Focusing on specific data points like ethnicity with disregard to anything else? That's not empiricism, gross or otherwise, just intellectual dishonesty. In approaching the facts, we bring our own conceptions and categories with us, These can be conscious and unconscious. Scientists who claim "they can do science without philosophy"merely unconsciously act out the "dominant philosophy". According to empiricism nothing exists except its outward manifestation. It ignores that even sense perception itself is thought at a very low-level, and ends up studying nature in a subjective/idealist way, because of this. The fathers of empiricism like Hume assumed that empiricism does not depend on the subject That's why you can never merely address "the facts"
>>277263 Dialectical logic is useless because it allows contradictions It can explain everything and in doing so explains nothing Also the laws of dialectics as they were extrapolated from particular physical phenomena don't correspond to modern understanding of these physical phenomena, ie the boiling water example and the law of transition of quantity into qualit
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>>277468 >Dialectical logic is useless because it allows contradictions It can explain everything and in doing so explains nothing <mfw No shit, you can't use Dialectics within FORMAL-logic. The same is true for the fact that you can't take the Squareroot(-1) within Real Numbers. That's why we use 'Complex Numbers' ,a higher form of Maths. The same is true for Dialectics, it is a higher form of formal-logic
>>277468 >>277468 >Also the laws of dialectics as they were extrapolated from particular physical phenomena don't correspond to modern understanding of these physical phenomena, ie the boiling water example and the law of transition of quantity into qualit Are you going to tell me that H2O in it's fluid state is the same as h2o in its gas state?
>>277477 > No shit, you can't use Dialectics within FORMAL-logic. Any system of logic cannot contain contradictory statements. Without this non-contradiction principle YOU HAVE NO LOGIC WHATSOEVER, you can deduce everything and anything, you have no predictive power >That's why we use 'Complex Numbers' ,a higher form of Maths. Complex numbers are just an expansoin of numbers, theory of complex numbers doesn't contradict the theory of real numbers, it just introduces imaginary unit that when squared has a negative result
>>277481 > Are you going to tell me that H2O in it's fluid state is the same as h2o in its gas state? yes, h2o molecule doesn't stop being an h2o molecule
>>277301 Are you alright bro? Maybe you need to take your meds. I was trying to make a point about how dialectical materialism and empiricism are complementary. The person I am responding too was trying to paint them as being in opposition to one another. My point is against positivism, not for it.
The strength of dialectics is that a sect's guru can have any opinion about anything and then just come up with a dialectical construction after the decision is made to justify it. You can justify putting energy into mini-reforms with the magical chant of quantity changing into quality and a metaphor like putting a bit more into a vessel that is close to bursting (without any investigation whether the system is under heavy strain at the moment, just repeat the metaphor to convince the fence-sitters). You can justify going into the opposite direction of what your official goals are by referring to events as a series of negations and using mixed metaphors like a pendulum turning into a wrecking ball. Anything goes really. You can justify the Chinese-Soviet split and supporting Pinochet as a communist by using "dialectical materialism". 99 % of the time somebody goes on about muh dialectics that person is an absolute faggot and worse than useless, the remaining 1 % make an OK argument that would have worked just as well or better without dialectical window-dressing. >>277286 >the theory that historical events are resultant in relation to conflicts between opposing social forces playing out as their contradictions become unsustainable That's just historical materialism with less precise and cringy wording (referring to conflicts between groups and unstable situations in general as a contradiction). Of course, lack of precision can be a feature if one's goal is to bamboozle others and not to enlighten.
>>277526 But is it in the same state tho?
Why are STEM-fags so useless at abstract thinking? Are you all just compsci faggots who've never taken a math course beyond calculus?
>>277518 >Any system of logic cannot contain contradictory statements. Without this non-contradiction principle YOU HAVE NO LOGIC WHATSOEVER, you can deduce everything and anything, you have no predictive power formal logic by itself is fruitless, it is a literal tautology. A=A you can deduce everything and anything, you have no predictive power. Also, how are you going to predict something that doesn't exist yet with logic? Sounds like a contradiction
>>277518 Derivatives in calculus contradict with formal logic than?
>>277526 >H2O in liquid state >H2O in gas state >H2O can't be in 2 states at the same time, you get contradicted by your own logic
>>277468 >Dialectical logic is useless because it allows contradictions no it doesn't, they're more contradictions, they do not have to be illogical >Also the laws of dialectics as they were extrapolated from particular physical phenomena don't correspond to modern understanding of these physical phenomena, ie the boiling water example and the law of transition of quantity into qualit yes they do, there is a whole fucking theory of it in mathematics, in fact if i ever become an academic fag, i'll do a work the bifurcation theory of the laws of capital https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bifurcation_theory <Most commonly applied to the mathematical study of dynamical systems, a bifurcation occurs when a small smooth change made to the parameter values (the bifurcation parameters) of a system causes a sudden 'qualitative' or topological change in its behavior.[1] Bifurcations occur in both continuous systems (described by ODEs, DDEs or PDEs) and discrete systems (described by maps)
>this thread Your brain on hard drugs everyone.
>>277585 >Are you all just compsci faggots who've never taken a math course beyond calculus? Our school doesnt even teach math because compsci students are too retarded, or so they think, so they dont bother teaching or testing it to get better performance on paper.
>>277591 >formal logic by itself is fruitless, it is a literal tautology. Figuring out that two statements are tautological can be very hard and getting such a result can be very useful.
>>277584 >>277616 What a bunch of brainlets Where is the sudden qualitative change? It is still the same molucule, and liquid vaporizes slowly even below the boiling point >H2O can't be in 2 states at the same time, you get contradicted by your own logic H2o is an individual molecule, different molecules can be in different states at the same time Anyway this whole example is silly, you just can't extrapolate a boiling point of a liquid to some quantity into quality universal law
>>277821 >H2o is an individual molecule, different molecules can be in different states at the same time But a cup of water which is getting heated can be treated as a sum. On the macro scale it more or less changes in quality from one phase into the next instantly. Marx was aware of this since he even commented how calculus is using dialectical thought, since straight lines can't be curves. Which is true if you look very close but in the long run it makes curves.
>>277633 >sees "sudden change" in a wiki article about a specific theory with a specific narrow field of application >MY UNIVERSAL LAW IS TOTALLY VINDICATED brainlet
>>277376 No, New Age types won't like the dogmatic aspect of Mao Zedong Thought and will stop reading as soon as he talks about getting rid of opportunists and adventurists. You would need to revise several parts of the text to make it palatable to them, but you aren't a revisionnist, aren't you? :^)
>>277827 >On the macro scale it more or less changes in quality from one phase into the next instantly. You are entering subjective territory of observer bias It may be instant for a human eye but it is not instant in a true sense >calculus is using dialectical thought, since straight lines can't be curves. >what is approximation another example how dialectics can mean everything and nothing calculus now uses dialectics lmao Hegel really was an ill influence on Marx
>>277837 literally not an argument, you are just using ad hominems now, start arguing at any time. i did my thesis on bifurcation theory, that's how i know it, i didn't 'find it' or 'see it', and having read theory about it, and also engels' book ,and i can safely say that it and the concept of of law of transition of quantity into quality are the same, at least in the natural examples given
>>277857 >human eye but it is not instant in a true sense You know that modern science frequently treats things in steps of macro and micro? I have heard talked about this in high school, so it's not something advanced. And dialectics more or less comes down to seeing the world in motion instead of static. >another example how dialectics can mean everything and nothing No, since calculus literally deals with change. Likewise Marx and Engels praised Darwin since his theories saw biology as fluctuating and changing, instead of being static. You have species who with short changes evolve into other species. I don't get how this debunks dialectics though, since it actually in many ways is accepted today just without the name attached to it.
>>277874 >i did my thesis on bifurcation theory Whatever, every theory has its field of application, you stll can't extrapolate laws of bifurcation theory otside its field Also that wiki article talks about a small change in a bifurcation parameter, this is not exactly quantity into quality
>>277883 >You know that modern science frequently treats things in steps of macro and micro? We are talking about laws of logic here, not some separation into macro and micro for simplicitys sake No physical theory claims some universal laws, they all have their specific field of application
>>277883 >And dialectics more or less comes down to seeing the world in motion instead of static. >No, since calculus literally deals with change Yes, calculus deals with change, including motion Dialectics on the other hand deals with nothing, you cant just claim that calculus = dialectics because calculus deals with dynamics
>>277915 >HURRRRRR, DIALECTIC WRONG CUS CALCULUS =/= DIALECTICS. WHAT? Did YOU want TO USE AN EXAMPLE FROM THE SCIENCES TO SHOWS THAT THE TRANSFORMATION OF QUANTITY INTO QUALITY ACTUALLY OCCURS? NOOOOO, YOU SAID CALCULUS = DIALECTIC
>>277279 "When we consider and reflect upon nature at large or the history of mankind or our own intellectual activity, at first we see the picture of an endless entanglement of relations and reactions in which nothing remains what, where and as it was, but everything moves, changes, comes into being and passes away. This primitive, naive but intrinsically correct conception of the world is that of ancient Greek philosophy, and was first clearly formulated by Heraclitus: everything is and is not, for everything is fluid, is constantly changing, constantly coming into being and passing away. But this conception, correctly as it expresses the general character of the picture of appearances as a whole, does not suffice to explain the details of which this picture is made up, and so long as we do not understand these, we have not a clear idea of the whole picture. In order to understand these details we must detach them from their natural or historical connection and examine each one separately, its nature, special causes, effects, etc. This is, primarily, the task of natural science and historical research: branches of science which the Greeks of classical times on very good grounds, relegated to a subordinate position, because they had first of all to collect the material. The beginnings of the exact natural sciences were first worked out by the Greeks of the Alexandrian period, [25] and later on, in the Middle Ages, by the Arabs. Real natural science dates from the second half of the fifteenth century, and thence onward it has advanced with constantly increasing rapidity. The analysis of nature into its individual parts, the grouping of the different natural processes and objects in definite classes, the study of the internal anatomy of organic bodies in their manifold forms — these were the fundamental conditions of the gigantic strides in our knowledge of nature that have been made during the last four hundred years. But this method of work has also left us as legacy the habit of observing natural objects and processes in isolation, apart from their connection with the vast whole; of observing them in repose, not in motion; as constants, not as essentially variables, in their death, not in their life. And when this way of looking at things was transferred by Bacon and Locke from natural science to philosophy, it begot the narrow, metaphysical mode of thought peculiar to the preceding centuries. To the metaphysician, things and their mental reflexes, ideas, are isolated, are to be considered one after the other and apart from each other, are objects of investigation fixed, rigid, given once for all. He thinks in absolutely irreconcilable antitheses. "His communication is 'yea, yea; nay, nay'; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." [Matthew 5:37. — Ed.] For him a thing either exists or does not exist; a thing cannot at the same time be itself and something else. Positive and negative absolutely exclude one another, cause and effect stand in a rigid antithesis one to the other. At first sight this mode of thinking seems to us very luminous, because it is that of so-called sound common sense. Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research. And the metaphysical mode of thought, justifiable and even necessary as it is in a number of domains whose extent varies according to the nature of the particular object of investigation, sooner or later reaches a limit, beyond which it becomes one-sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions. In the contemplation of individual things it forgets the connection between them; in the contemplation of their existence, it forgets the beginning and end of that existence; of their repose, it forgets their motion. It cannot see the wood for the trees. For everyday purposes we know and can say, e.g., whether an animal is alive or not. But, upon closer inquiry, we find that this is, in many cases, a very complex question, as the jurists know very well. They have cudgelled their brains in vain to discover a rational limit beyond which the killing of the child in its mother's womb is murder. It is just as impossible to determine absolutely the moment of death, for physiology proves that death is not an instantaneous momentary phenomenon, but a very protracted process. In like manner, every organic being is every moment the same and not the same, every moment it assimilates matter supplied from without, and gets rid of other matter; every moment some cells of its body die and others build themselves anew; in a longer or shorter time the matter of its body is completely renewed, and is replaced by other atoms of matter, so that every organic being is always itself, and yet something other than itself. 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. None of these processes and modes of thought enters into the framework of metaphysical reasoning. Dialectics, on the other hand, comprehends things and their representations, ideas, in their essential connection, concatenation, motion, origin, and ending. Such processes as those mentioned above are, therefore, so many corroborations of its own method of procedure. Nature is the proof of dialectics, and it must be said for modern science that it has furnished this proof with very rich materials increasing daily, and thus has shown that, in the last resort, nature works dialectically and not metaphysically. But the naturalists who have learned to think dialectically are few and far between, and this conflict of the results of discovery with preconceived modes of thinking explains the endless confusion now reigning in theoretical natural science, the despair of teachers as well as learners, of authors and readers alike." https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1877/anti-duhring/introduction.htm
>>277553 >The strength of dialectics is that a sect's guru can have any opinion about anything and then just come up with a dialectical construction after the decision is made to justify it. You put my thoughts into words. Dialectical aphorisms are sometimes elegant coming from Marx or Engels, but any attempt to invoke "dialectics" in actual political action is usually woo bullshit to cover up a lack of empirical evidence. Despite all this I'm hesitant to dismiss the dialectical method entirely, mostly because of this quote from Trotsky: >The examples of Bernstein, Kautsky and Franz Mehring are extremely instructive. Bernstein categorically rejected the dialectic as “scholasticism” and “mysticism.” Kautsky maintained indifference toward the question of the dialectic, some what like comrade Shachtman. Mehring was a tireless propagandist and defender of dialectic materialism. For decades he followed all the Innovations of philosophy and literature, indefatigably exposing the reactionary essence of idealism, neo-Kantianism, utilitarianism, all forms of mysticism, etc. The political fate of these three individuals is very well known. Bernstein ended his life as a smug petty-bourgeois democrat. Kautsky, from a centrist, became a vulgar opportunist. As for Mehring, he died a revolutionary communist. Trotsky's assertion that eventual anti-Marxists start by rejecting dialectical philosophy seems to be true. Schachtman and Burnham, the people Trotsky is debating against here, did indeed go on to abandon socialism entirely and become cold war liberals, as Trotsky predicted.
>>278064 I think dialectics is best at examining the current nature of things, and is much more limited at prediction except in pretty vague terms. Dialectics determines pretty definitively that capitalism will collapse under it's own contradictions, but not when and for what specific reason and what said collapse will look like, where it will start, etc. Also, lots of people don't even understand dialectics and just invoke it randomly.
>>278064 >>278090 Another example. We can observe in history that developments in productive technology altered economies which in turn reshaped society, which would eventually overturn whole socio-economic systems. One could then predict that liberal capitalism will be technologically outmoded. But there has been lots of trouble pinpointing the precise technology that outmodes capitalism. The locomotive, electricity, etc.
>>277264 thread should have ended at this post
>>278110 Why? Because it got shit up by a postmodernist?
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Today I will remind them. I haven't gotten around to reading this book, but it could be a start.
>>277827 >On the macro scale it more or less changes in quality from one phase into the next instantly Boling water is a first-order phase transition and it's not instant. It requires a significant amount of energy to complete and in the meantime you get a mixed phase regime. You may make an analogy to the slow transition between modes of production. There are higher order phase transition, like the Curie point of magnets, superconductivity and other quantum phase transition that are indeed instant transitions.
>>278026 Even though I've read both by now, I have only just realised that, long ago when I read Utopian and Scientific, Engels had actually tricked me into reading the Anti-Dühring.
>>278136 it's a good book, consider this an encouragement
>>277900 >Whatever, every theory has its field of application yes i agree, it'd just that the field of application this case is dynamical systems in general, that small numerical change causes a qualitative change read well
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>>277263 Read althusser
>>278064 That's literally using ad hominems to reason >These people who rejected diamat eventually stopped being revolutionaries while the person who accepted it stayed a revolutionary until he died It's not even a good argument, since there's been countless revolutionaries who gave their life to the cause who didn't accept diamat. >>278090 >Dialectics determines pretty definitively that capitalism will collapse under it's own contradictions How does dialectics do that? Any kind of honest empirical reasoning will show that eventually capitalism will collapse from its own contradictions; it's literally a system that depends on certain unchanging conditions in order to continue growing.
>>277340 >Empiricism is when you thing correlation = causation. You have to go back.
>>277263 >Best critiques of Dialectical Materialism? MRI scans forr brain damage. Even labour value theory is more consistent.
>>285907 Considering LTV is both highly consistent and correct, I can only assume this is a high evaluation of Dialectics. Thank you comrade.
>>285907 I will give you 10k USD in crypto of your choice right know if you 'debunk' labor theory of value

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