Marxism: Science or Pseudoscience? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#13908484
So I took a Philosophy of Science course, and the midterm exam paper had a few options to choose from. One was to take a contested "fringe" science and to prove it to be scientific or hogwash. Naturally I went with a defense of Marxism. It's a little crude, but that's because it was written over the period of an hour in the morning (I had more time... I just left it to the morning of the due date), and I had a maximum limit of 1000 words to work with, so I had to be rather concise. Let me know what you think?

Topic 2 - Marxism: Science or Pseudoscience?

In this paper I will attempt to investigate whether Marxist theory falls under the category of science or pseudoscience. Two different philosophers’ theories on Marxism are taken into account here to help me arrive at an answer. First of all, Popper’s requirement of falsifiability is explored as it relates to Marxism. We will then look at Kuhn’s more comprehensive theory involving paradigm shifts. Marxism makes many predictions and claims that can be subjected to Popper and Kuhn’s tests. Despite many bourgeois economists’ and sociologists’ claims to the contrary, Marxism passes both of the tests it is subjected to: It is falsifiable, and is capable of adapting to new situations and data, putting it firmly in the camp of science.

Popper proposed a new way to determine whether a system falls under science or pseudoscience: It is not merely enough for a theory to be verifiable, the claims the theory makes must be precise enough to be falsifiable. It has been claimed that Marxism’s claims are verifiable but too vague to be falsifiable. If one reads the Communist Manifesto, one can easily agree with this conclusion. What is not normally explored is the fact that the Communist Manifesto is written for the layperson – it is not part of Marx’s true academic works. One only need to look into Marx’s Das Kapital to find precise, falsifiable claims. One striking example is the paradox of efficiency in The Law of Capitalist Accumulation: as an economy becomes more efficient, it requires fewer workers to produce goods and services, driving up profit. In turn, the workers laid off as a result of the efficiency create an “industrial reserve army” – a large workforce willing to sell their labour for less than its real value. This in turn drives down the wages of those still employed. The paradox is that this leads to a crisis of overproduction, where much of the produced goods are not consumed, leading to an inability for the employers to maintain business operations (Marx, 1867). In an uncontrolled laissez-faire capitalist economy, Marx predicts the implosion of the system as a result. Looking at the great depression of the 1930’s which followed a period of relatively uncontrolled, highly prosperous markets of the 1920’s, we see the prediction confirmed. If the crash had not occurred, we would label this theory falsified, and therefore we can confirm that one of the main tenets of Marxist theory, The Law of Capitalist Accumulation, is falsifiable.

Kuhn, believing falsifiability to be an inadequate demarcation theory, added a further test: that science maintains a set of criteria and principles which form a paradigm during normal times, and when there is enough evidence to contradict the old paradigm a revolution occurs. A main tenet of Marx’s methodology, which forms the backbone of Marxist theories altogether, is today known as Dialectical Materialism. Marx employed the Hegelian dialectical method, but differed in that he was a materialist rather than an idealist. Summed up, dialectics is the belief that “Everything in the world is in motion. . . . Life changes, productive forces grow, old relations collapse.” (Marx, 1847). Whenever there are competing ideas, forces, or groups, the stronger one grows on a quantitative basis, until a critical point is reached where a qualitative change occurs. If we analyse Marx’s dialectical method, we find that it espouses exactly the same principle as Kuhn. Marxist theory has also been retroactively applied to the failed German revolution of 1848 and the failed Russian revolution of 1905 to analyse the reasons of the failures, much in the same way Kuhn proclaims a scientific framework must analyse and address the reasons for failed predictions. Can a system of critique of a mode of economic production be valid for more than a fleeting moment if it is not open to change and update? Herein we find Marxism’s main advantage over dated, pseudoscientific political ideologies: Marxism, rather than being a fixed dogma, is rather more like a tool of analysis. It is adaptable and receptive to the change that the material realities of the time impose upon it. Marxism isn’t a specific set of eternal predictions, but rather a framework to make those predictions with; simply put, the only fixed facet of Marxism is that it is “is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.” (Engels, 1847) Based on this, Kuhn’s criteria for demarcation put the main backbone of Marxist theory comfortably in the side of science.

We have covered two major pillars of Marxist theory, albeit in very crude detail, and compared them to well-established scientific demarcation criteria. We find that Marxism, due to its ability to make precise, falsifiable claims, satisfies the Popper's requirement of falsifiability for classification as science. By providing an avenue for progressive change, analytical tools for the overturn of previously-held-to-be-true beliefs, and presenting ample opportunity for paradigm shifts, Marxism also complies with Kuhn’s rigorous demands for scientific legitimacy. My personal opinion holds that the defamation of Marxism as a pseudoscience results either from ignorance as to its true nature (e.g., taking the layman’s guide, The Communist Manifesto to be a thorough representation), or as a result of the political-economic establishment’s resistance to a system that may be capable of overturning the current status quo in favour of a more egalitarian system.

Works Cited
1. Karl Marx, Das Kapital: Critique of Political Economy. 1867.
2. Karl Marx, Poverty of Philosophy. 1847.
3. Friedrich Engels, Principles of Communism. 1847.
4. Thomas Kuhn, Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research? 1970.
5. Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations. 1963.
#13908492
Typical ivory tower BS that completely ignores the methodenstreit of social "sciences" being subjective.

You fit the mold. Congratulations. :lol:

If one understands academia to be the elitist breeding ground of manipulating the working class by disguising how history is subjective through dialectic rather than analytic evaluation, then the approval of essays like yours makes sense. Pragmatic contextualism sympathizes with materialist labor-intense personalities, stuck in a posteriori knowledge.

On the other hand, if academia is understood to be a genuinely respectful community towards a priori imagination, then approval doesn't.
#13908503
If one understands academia to be the elitist breeding ground of manipulating the working class...
In fact, my professor disagrees with me... and the only political science professor I've had was also severely anti-Marxist. I don't know where you're getting the false idea that our universities are in any way supportive of this. I've developed my Marxist sympathies completely independently of my scholastic life. Not to mention that I've barely had any contact with any social studies or philosophy courses - I'm a Computer Engineer gone back to school, this is really the first time I've had the freedom to take electives of my choice.

The point of this essay was to prove a point based on some scientific demarcation guidelines posited by some philosophers discussed in class. I've used Popper's "falsifiability" rule despite the fact that Popper himself thought Marxism was not falsifiable. I don't see your post as anything but a hollow knee jerk reaction that could have been expressed in no more words than "This doesn't fit in with my world view," rather than anything constructive or critical of my argument.
#13908508
In fact, my professor disagrees with me... and the only political science professor I've had was also severely anti-Marxist. I don't know where you're getting the false idea that our universities are in any way supportive of this. I've developed my Marxist sympathies completely independently of my scholastic life.


Well good for your professor then. By definition, dialectics are unfalsifiable because they're circular logic. Take y=x+2. Does that let you quantify y or x? No, but dialectics would tell you "yes" in saying "+2" is the only quantity that matters. It doesn't care that you can't come away with independent y or x values.

I'm a grad myself, and I've read plenty of papers to understand how liberal arts academia is infested with a posteriori, synthetic, contingent thinking. It has to be that way because liberal arts, by definition, depend on emotions, consensus, and particular utility preferences. This is in contrast to STEM fields which depend on thoughts, correspondence, and universal validity. If liberal arts made an appeal to a priori reason instead, it couldn't exist.

Not to mention that I've barely had any contact with any social studies or philosophy courses - I'm a Computer Engineer gone back to school, this is really the first time I've had the freedom to take electives of my choice.


This might explain your objectifying take on human nature then (and agreement with Marx). The Law of Capitalist Accumulation only applies in conditions of information overload, typically generated from heightened population density since information processing resources are spread out. Without information overload, culture is preserved because workers can communicate among themselves in saying it isn't worthwhile to work for an employer. Similarly, workers and management are only at odds with each other when they don't spend time asking together what they're working for.

It's true, efficient means of production don't NEED people to work, but in an organic community, people WANT their fellow man to work because we care about having friends who we can do things with. Organic community also looks forward into possible futures in wondering why efficiency should be pursued if it's just going to aggravate relations.

Marxism doesn't allow for organic relations, though, because it evaluates people's dignity according to labor theory of value. This means people only get as much respect as they're physically impressive...

...so only people who are born with strong and/or beautiful bodies get treated as valuable. Everyone else is obligated to suffer.
#13908534
Well, this is certainly an overuse(abuse?) of Popper and Kuhn. No one thinks Popper is right and Kuhn certainly hasn't given us a proper criteria to demarcate science from non-science. In any case, they are looking for whether you actually grasp the relevant concepts (and I'm assuming the course put a strong emphasis on Kuhn and Popper).

Daktoria is talking gibberish, as usual, it is best to ignore him.
#13910268
By definition, dialectics are unfalsifiable because they're circular logic.
I mentioned falsifiability in relation to the Law of Capitalist Accumulation, not dialectics.

It has to be that way because liberal arts, by definition, depend on emotions, consensus, and particular utility preferences. This is in contrast to STEM fields which depend on thoughts, correspondence, and universal validity. If liberal arts made an appeal to a priori reason instead, it couldn't exist.
By that logic, my field is invalid as well - Computer and Software Engineering (except at the electronical level) has no basis in the true sciences and therefore is not really engineering, is it?

Without information overload, culture is preserved because workers can communicate among themselves in saying it isn't worthwhile to work for an employer. Similarly, workers and management are only at odds with each other when they don't spend time asking together what they're working for.
That's odd. I thought people worked for their masters, however worthwhile (or not) the pay, out of necessity of putting food on their tables. Thanks for setting me straight and showing me that it's really the workers that are in charge.

It's true, efficient means of production don't NEED people to work, but in an organic community, people WANT their fellow man to work because we care about having friends who we can do things with. Organic community also looks forward into possible futures in wondering why efficiency should be pursued if it's just going to aggravate relations.
Are you saying people's exploitation only happens because we want them to work because it is good for them to be exploited?

...so only people who are born with strong and/or beautiful bodies get treated as valuable. Everyone else is obligated to suffer.
You'd think that if you set aside money, there would be other qualities that distinguished people other than just their physical appearance. Are your friendships with people solely based on money first, and such shallow judgments of their character second?

Well, this is certainly an overuse(abuse?) of Popper and Kuhn. No one thinks Popper is right and Kuhn certainly hasn't given us a proper criteria to demarcate science from non-science. In any case, they are looking for whether you actually grasp the relevant concepts (and I'm assuming the course put a strong emphasis on Kuhn and Popper).
The subject matter and the philosophers covered gave me a limited choice... I did the best hackjob I could in a short time. I do concede that I'm taking it a bit far, especially with Kuhn.
#13910293
naked_turk wrote:By that logic, my field is invalid as well - Computer and Software Engineering (except at the electronical level) has no basis in the true sciences and therefore is not really engineering, is it?


I'm not sure how you can exclude math, set theory, and linguistics from software engineering.

That's odd. I thought people worked for their masters, however worthwhile (or not) the pay, out of necessity of putting food on their tables. Thanks for setting me straight and showing me that it's really the workers that are in charge.


Especially for someone involved with computers, I don't understand why you dismissed everything I said about information overload.

Are you saying people's exploitation only happens because we want them to work because it is good for them to be exploited?


There's some merit to that, but not in the sense you were intending to make fun of organic community.

Public education in today's world, for example, is used to encourage social anxiety and cultivate intelligence among some of the socially anxious. These people develop a guilt complex, and they feel they have to work to prove their worth.

This actually coincides with today's "stupid is cool" consumer culture. People expect the thoughtful to serve the emotional.

You'd think that if you set aside money, there would be other qualities that distinguished people other than just their physical appearance. Are your friendships with people solely based on money first, and such shallow judgments of their character second?


How does character judgment overlap with labor theory of value? Marx's materialist look on human nature had no grasp of character judgment.
#13910306
I'm not sure how you can exclude math, set theory, and linguistics from software engineering.
The reality is, we rely on ad hoc solutions or conventions that are based solely on the fact that others before us have done it that way. Any substantial math involved tends to be only implemented by us, rather than developed by us.


Especially for someone involved with computers, I don't understand why you dismissed everything I said about information overload.
Can you elaborate? So far you've dismissed worker exploitation as impossible without the condition of information overload. All of written history is the history of exploitation - if you're accepting that this information overload is ever-present, I don't see the relevance of the condition.


There's some merit to that, but not in the sense you were intending to make fun of organic community.
I'm not making fun of a phrase which I'm not familiar with. I'm criticising the conclusion you drew from it.

Public education in today's world, for example, is used to encourage social anxiety and cultivate intelligence among some of the socially anxious. These people develop a guilt complex, and they feel they have to work to prove their worth.
Why does this have to be limited to an exploitative system? I'd reckon this would work just as well under any economic system.

This actually coincides with today's "stupid is cool" consumer culture. People expect the thoughtful to serve the emotional.
I'm not sure if that is so much culture as most people actually being stupid. You're also treating thoughtful and emotional as mutually exclusive (and implying that thoughtful = smart; emotional = stupid), whereas I know many brilliant minds who are emotionally volatile.

I think if there is any common expectation of servitude in today's culture, it isn't based on thoughtful vs emotional lines, it is that those who are without are expected to serve those who are with. To use your thoughtful/emotional dichotomy, the thoughtful may think they deserve to be moneyed and reason that they will come across the money through their superior intellect. The emotional see themselves as destined to arrive at the money because of the high esteem in which they hold their individual selves. Invariably, they both support the exploitation culture.

How does character judgment overlap with labor theory of value? Marx's materialist look on human nature had no grasp of character judgment.
Do you not include skills as part of a character?
Marx did grasp character as personality as well - hence his conception that sex, for example, needed to be a result of mutual compatibility based on character rather than financial attractiveness.
I will ask you to tell me where he espouses that physical beauty is the marker of value of a person.
#13910344
naked_turk wrote:The reality is, we rely on ad hoc solutions or conventions that are based solely on the fact that others before us have done it that way. Any substantial math involved tends to be only implemented by us, rather than developed by us.


I don't entirely buy this. If you're developing modules for clients, then you have to be somewhat economically savvy to understand how to efficiently get things done.

If this is false, then there would be no difference between a software engineer and a computer.

Can you elaborate? So far you've dismissed worker exploitation as impossible without the condition of information overload. All of written history is the history of exploitation - if you're accepting that this information overload is ever-present, I don't see the relevance of the condition.


To a degree, yes, information overload has always been present in terms of imbuing social anxiety on the easily intimidated.

However, the Law of Capital Accumulation was an effort to explain industrial capitalism. Was industrial capitalism exploitative outside of densely populated cities?

Why does this have to be limited to an exploitative system? I'd reckon this would work just as well under any economic system.


Not in a free market. A free market would respect freedom of association such that mandatory attendance in popularity contests doesn't exist. In turn, children wouldn't become socially anxious or develop guilt complexes, and they wouldn't believe they have to work to prove dignity.

I'm not sure if that is so much culture as most people actually being stupid. You're also treating thoughtful and emotional as mutually exclusive (and implying that thoughtful = smart; emotional = stupid), whereas I know many brilliant minds who are emotionally volatile.


Kind of surprised what you're saying about culture. Even Marx acknowledged the emergent nature of superstructure. Perhaps people are stupid, but that's because of mental laziness encouraged by decadence. You don't have to think when you get things cheap or free.

Yes, thoughtfulness can coincide with emotionality, but emotionally volatile people will enslave their own thoughtfulness to satisfying emotions. They tend to have trouble "letting go".

I think if there is any common expectation of servitude in today's culture, it isn't based on thoughtful vs emotional lines, it is that those who are without are expected to serve those who are with. To use your thoughtful/emotional dichotomy, the thoughtful may think they deserve to be moneyed and reason that they will come across the money through their superior intellect. The emotional see themselves as destined to arrive at the money because of the high esteem in which they hold their individual selves. Invariably, they both support the exploitation culture.


I agreed with your premise, but not your conclusion. The emotionally lacking are expected to serve the emotionally fulfilled. Emotionally lacking people are unimpressive. It's worst when they're the thoughtful ones because they're looked upon as easy prey to work for others' satisfaction.

How thoughtfulness leads to exploitation by itself, I don't see. You said before that workers work for their masters to put food on the table. Thinkers are not gods. They didn't genetically engineer society to be hungry.

Do you not include skills as part of a character?


No. Character is about passion, commitment, and integrity. Not talents or even physical effort.

I think this is why honest emotional people don't trust thoughtful people. They view character, passion, and skills as the same thing through physical effort, so when they see thinkers become wealthy without exerting physical effort, they become suspicious.

Dishonest feelers will also take advantage of this because honest thinkers ARE committed, but not in an obvious way.

Marx did grasp character as personality as well - hence his conception that sex, for example, needed to be a result of mutual compatibility based on character rather than financial attractiveness.

I will ask you to tell me where he espouses that physical beauty is the marker of value of a person.


I'm not familiar with Marx describing human nature bearing "character" or sex dealing with compatibility.

Aesthetics are also a fundamental material characteristic, and feelings for aesthetics are materially driven through hormones, genes, neurology, and our environment...

...but on top of that, Marx did say something about beauty:

It is true that animals also produce. They build nests and dwellings, like the bee, the beaver, the ant, etc. But they produce only their own immediate needs or those of their young; they produce only when immediate physical need compels them to do so, while man produces even when he is free from physical need and truly produces only in freedom from such need; they produce only themselves, while man reproduces the whole of nature; their products belong immediately to their physical bodies, while man freely confronts his own product. Animals produce only according to the standards and needs of the species to which they belong, while man is capable of producing according to the standards of every species and of applying to each object its inherent standard; hence, man also produces in accordance with the laws of beauty.
#13911095
don't entirely buy this. If you're developing modules for clients, then you have to be somewhat economically savvy to understand how to efficiently get things done.
If this is false, then there would be no difference between a software engineer and a computer.
The difference is that the computer doesn't understand and we make it understand. How we do that is not entirely in the realm of "engineering"- how do the laws of physics affect a bridge builder, for example? Quite directly I would imagine. But in our case, the hard sciences don't directly affect figuring out how two or more abstract ideas are going to interact with each other.

However, the Law of Capital Accumulation was an effort to explain industrial capitalism. Was industrial capitalism exploitative outside of densely populated cities?
Yes, it was - before industrialisation, the countryside peasant at least had a chance at having a decent living, and at some times, they did. They didn't fare so well in post-industrialisation 1800s.

Not in a free market. A free market would respect freedom of association such that mandatory attendance in popularity contests doesn't exist. In turn, children wouldn't become socially anxious or develop guilt complexes, and they wouldn't believe they have to work to prove dignity.
What about having to work to support ones self?
Wouldn't the free market also produce a culture that would by necessity instill these fears in the people, just as a means of garnering a more productive workforce, to increase profits?

How thoughtfulness leads to exploitation by itself, I don't see. You said before that workers work for their masters to put food on the table. Thinkers are not gods. They didn't genetically engineer society to be hungry.
You're assuming that I think the thinker is necessarily the master. Plenty of (most) thinkers are in the slave position. The way the self-proclaimed thoughtful person perpetuates the exploitation culture is by telling himself that because he is thoughtful, he will eventually be financially successful and become an exploiter. Because he (falsely) believes that in the long run the system will be to his benefit, he responds by supporting the culture of exploitation. If a person is more emotional, they will feel fated to become wealthy, and again, support the culture of exploitation. At least that is how the majority of North Americans see the world, because that is what our culture asserts.

Anyway, I don't actually like dividing people along a simple thinker/emotional dichotomy, I think it's oversimplification.

...but on top of that, Marx did say something about beauty:
I'm not sure what you're geting out of that but I'm not interpreting that as him talking about creating beautiful people or any inherent value in beautiful people.
#13911295
The idea that Marxism is a science was for Marx and his followers a way to distinguish his method from philosophy and idealism. The point is not that Marxism is scientific in the modern sense (it may or may not be, but that's beside the point), but rather the idea that it is based on systematic investigations of the concrete, material conditions of society rather than philosophising. VP may again correct me on this.
#13911349
HoniSoit wrote:The idea that Marxism is a science was for Marx and his followers a way to distinguish his method from philosophy and idealism. The point is not that Marxism is scientific in the modern sense (it may or may not be, but that's beside the point), but rather the idea that it is based on systematic investigations of the concrete, material conditions of society rather than philosophising. VP may again correct me on this.


It may be more than this as Marx is a foundational figure in modern social science. Many Marxists were concerned with the scientific status of Marxism; some even claiming it is a hard physical science like physics or chemistry (which I think is absurd). Mao had some pretty wacky writings on the 'scientific' application of dialectics to the physical world. Marxism really did give way to a scientific study of history and understood historical shifts to supervene on socio-material relationships. It is the naturalization of history that, I think, is the kernel of 'scientific marxism' and its influence on modern social science. Also, Marx was far more concerned, later in his career, with distinguishing Marxian or scientific socialism from utopian socialism.

In any case, this has all led to an overnaturalization of Marxism. Most of today's impressionable young Marxists tend to see Marxism as a fundamental expression of metaphysical naturalism. This, however, is incorrect. Marxism is the incorporation of an important epistemological principle (methodological naturalism) to the study of history.
#13911809
naked_turk wrote:The difference is that the computer doesn't understand and we make it understand. How we do that is not entirely in the realm of "engineering"- how do the laws of physics affect a bridge builder, for example? Quite directly I would imagine. But in our case, the hard sciences don't directly affect figuring out how two or more abstract ideas are going to interact with each other.


...but that's my point. If software engineers are just applying math, then there's no proof they understand it.

Yes, it was - before industrialisation, the countryside peasant at least had a chance at having a decent living, and at some times, they did. They didn't fare so well in post-industrialisation 1800s.


Bukharin would disagree. His argument regarding the struggle of farming families was based on industrial centralization in cities leading to economies of scale, dropping agricultural demand, and relaxing credit schedules. The mere heightened technical composition of capital didn't matter because for farmers, it doesn't coincide with faux frais of production. That is toolmaking, for example, doesn't create bookkeeping. Instead, farmers would simply enjoy their additional free time rather than constantly produce.

Farmer struggle happened when they had to ship produce to cities for unpredictable prices. They couldn't warehouse their harvests, so they were price takers. Industrial capitalists could warehouse, so they were price makers.

What about having to work to support ones self? Wouldn't the free market also produce a culture that would by necessity instill these fears in the people, just as a means of garnering a more productive workforce, to increase profits?


You're confusing marketing with finance.

The key to a free market is organizing freedom of speech so freedom of association doesn't get walked on. Again, urban development is the culprit here. With population density comes information overload. Social competition becomes more and more intense, so things get more and more noisy.

You're assuming that I think the thinker is necessarily the master. Plenty of (most) thinkers are in the slave position. The way the self-proclaimed thoughtful person perpetuates the exploitation culture is by telling himself that because he is thoughtful, he will eventually be financially successful and become an exploiter. Because he (falsely) believes that in the long run the system will be to his benefit, he responds by supporting the culture of exploitation. If a person is more emotional, they will feel fated to become wealthy, and again, support the culture of exploitation. At least that is how the majority of North Americans see the world, because that is what our culture asserts.


I agree with what you're saying here. It reflects what I said about the emotionally lacking and emotionally fulfilled.

The problem happens when thinkers are socially anxious because they forget enjoyment is about living in the moment. Ergo, they're constantly sacrificing the present for the future.

Feelers take advantage of this by saying supply is meaningless without demand. Thinkers have supply, and feelers have demand, so thinkers ought to be enslaved to feelers. In reality, thinkers had demand, but it was intimidated out of them at younger ages. This can happen because thinkers are actually very passionate, but their passion is so intense it seems greedy when fulfilled, so the masses of less intense long term, but more intense short term, passion inhibit thinker passion.

Anyway, I don't actually like dividing people along a simple thinker/emotional dichotomy, I think it's oversimplification.


Yes. The analytic-synthetic dichotomy is more accurate. Thinkers analyze, feelers synthesize.

I'm not sure what you're geting out of that but I'm not interpreting that as him talking about creating beautiful people or any inherent value in beautiful people.


You're saying people don't produce beautiful works of art to impress lovers?

You're saying people don't aim to reproduce with beautiful others (to reproduce beautiful children who will have easier lives)?
#13912183
Daktoria wrote:...but that's my point. If software engineers are just applying math, then there's no proof they understand it.
You overestimate us :lol: Half my colleagues can't even grasp the basics of the last project they've worked on.

Farmer struggle happened when they had to ship produce to cities for unpredictable prices. They couldn't warehouse their harvests, so they were price takers. Industrial capitalists could warehouse, so they were price makers.
So we agree about this?

The key to a free market is organizing freedom of speech so freedom of association doesn't get walked on. Again, urban development is the culprit here. With population density comes information overload. Social competition becomes more and more intense, so things get more and more noisy.
How do you propose to remedy this? I'm sincerely curious. I just can't see why an entity that has accumulated wealth wouldn't simply use its extra power to impose restrictions on society in order to indefinitely preserve its priviledged status.

Yes. The analytic-synthetic dichotomy is more accurate. Thinkers analyze, feelers synthesize.
Have you more I can read about this somewhere?

You're saying people don't produce beautiful works of art to impress lovers?
Of course, but how does this lead you to draw the conclusion that Marxists only value physical beauty in people?
You're saying people don't aim to reproduce with beautiful others (to reproduce beautiful children who will have easier lives)?
That is surely the evolutionary reason behind the preference for an attractive reproductive partner, yes.
#13913006
naked_turk wrote:How do you propose to remedy this? I'm sincerely curious. I just can't see why an entity that has accumulated wealth wouldn't simply use its extra power to impose restrictions on society in order to indefinitely preserve its priviledged status.


Wealth isn't the problem with freedom of speech. It's charismatic ambition. People think it's OK to harass others through broadcasts.

What society needs to do is test people philosophically before graduating them into adulthood. Anyone who doesn't understand and appreciate boundaries shouldn't have access to public airwaves. Otherwise, the weak and sensitive will be condemned perpetually by the obnoxious abusing public infrastructure, public goods, etc.

Have you more I can read about this somewhere?


Kant elaborates on it in the beginning of the Critique of Pure Reason. In short, the following dichotomies are analogous:

understanding-sensation
noumena-phenomena
necessary-contingent
analytic-synthetic

Of course, but how does this lead you to draw the conclusion that Marxists only value physical beauty in people?


What else is there to labor theory of value besides physical impression?
#13914243
Daktoria wrote:What society needs to do is test people philosophically before graduating them into adulthood. Anyone who doesn't understand and appreciate boundaries shouldn't have access to public airwaves. Otherwise, the weak and sensitive will be condemned perpetually by the obnoxious abusing public infrastructure, public goods, etc.
Even without mass media, people can still manipulate those close to them and start rumours and trends... leading to abuse. How about developing their own means of reaching out massively? With enough wealth, anything can be done.

Also - If corporation A have a monopoly on some desirable food items, for example - how do you propose that they would be prevented from using this to manipulate business in such a way that they would forever preserve the status quo? And if such manipulation isn't allowed - what is left of the business? Is it even possible to do business without cheating, dishonesty, or having some form of leverage and power over another person or people?

What else is there to labor theory of value besides physical impression?
It doesn't try to quantify human value in terms of beauty.
#13914289
The issue can be analyzed with simple day-to-day experiences of the workers. If on a given day, worker X, is terminated from his employment due to excess of employees made to do the specifice job, has 7 mouths to feed, is paying a rent equal to 90% of his salary, and has to spend 10 dollars a day for his bus fare, then I guess Marxism is indeed a science. We do not have to delve into philosophical underpinnings with their high-falluting words and confusing in-depth analyses. Marxism is the science of modern-day economics. No other alternative to it. Not even social democracy!
#13914339
naked_turk wrote:Even without mass media, people can still manipulate those close to them and start rumours and trends... leading to abuse. How about developing their own means of reaching out massively? With enough wealth, anything can be done.


I agree. This is why I'm a conservative and not a socialist. The family unit is the first chance for (communicative and informative) manipulation, not the marketplace.
#14989452
I believe part of understanding science historical and in it's development is to be found in the method Marx appropriated from Hegel and deployed in Das Capital and is summarized in Grundrisse, The Method of Political Economy. Here is where Marx describes the 'ascent from the concrete in reality to the abstract in thought' and 'ascent from the abstract to the concrete itself'.
There Marx describes generally the development of a pre-science, the construction of the starting point of a science where it investigates the empirical and comes away with very abstract categories, or even better with Marx's method, one finds the basic unit of analysis (in Vygotsky's terminology). The simplest but archetypal phenomenon which is essential to the whole.
From there, such a concept marks the beginning of science, the ascent from the abstract to the concrete.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/wits/marx-mind.pdf
4. Method of Political Economy: Ascent from Abstract to Concrete
IN 1857, living in exile in London, Marx was deeply immersed in his study of political economy. A manuscript from this time known as the Grundrisse was not translated into English until 1973, but shed a brilliant light on the thinking which led to Capital. In particular I want to turn to the section entitled “Method of Political Economy” in the Introduction.

Firstly, Marx points out the difference between, on the one hand, the process of by means of which the concepts of the science are arrived at and, on the other hand, the reconstruction of the world in theory, as a combination of abstractions. He describes the difference between two phases of movement which concepts undergo in the course of development of a theory.

Firstly, when the subject matter is first apprehended, we begin with categories representing the concrete facts as they are presented to observation. But examination of these facts proves that these categories which we use to represent the facts, are altogether useless for making sense of the material, for giving a scientific account of it. Attempts to uncover explanatory principles just lead in circles. Over time, analysis of the data leads to more and more general categories, thinner and thinner abstractions. This completes the first phase of development, the determination of the abstractions underlying the data. The determination of these abstract concepts marks the completion of the first historical phase of the development of the science, the pre-history of the science in fact.

Secondly, the genuinely scientific process makes its beginning from these abstractions, retracing the journey back to reconstruct the data from which the first process had begun, “but this time not as the chaotic conception of a whole, but as a rich totality of many determinations and relations.” Beginning from concepts representing the simplest and most abstract concept, the theorist is able to logically reconstruct the very complex process which underlies the appearances which are given to us in experience.

Marx says: “Along the first path the full conception was evaporated to yield an abstract determination; along the second, the abstract determinations lead towards a reproduction of the concrete by way of thought.” This sheds light on the process of science and allows us to make sense of the history of science and draw out a better understanding of its concepts. It also sheds important light on the nature of scientific concepts and how genuinely scientific concepts differ from the abstract generalisations which arise from the immediate representation of appearances. The abstractions which made the beginning for real science are very ‘thin’ abstractions, that is, all concrete content have been evaporated from them, in contrast to the concepts by means of which the data is first apprehended and which have to be reconstructed by science. It must be noted that this conclusion is in contradiction to mainstream theories of science, which do not recognise the unique character of the concepts which make the beginning for science, what characteristics of a concept mark it off from just any abstraction.

To the extent people haven't simply used Marx's terminology but actually followed his method, the extent to which they have really sought to establish a science or to progress it.
Lev Vygotsky is an example of someone who didn't follow the trend of a ghetto eclectic view of Marxism in psychological science but actually went with the scientific understanding of mainstream science but able to give it coherence and a firm basis from which to investigate.
Marxism synthesizes things and isn't a school apart from mainstream science when done correctly. Consider Marx's Das Kapital itself which requires much investigating into the wealth of data and categories already formed by earlier political economists.
I believe Evald Ilyenkov or Lev Vygotsky or evne both emphasize a study of Das Kapital for an example of science.
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