Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 60

Thread: Historical Materialism = Scientific?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Historical Materialism = Scientific?

    It is a common objection I have encountered for others to raise the point that historical materialism is somehow mystical, or quasi-religious, and NOT scientific theory. This relates to what is called the demarcation problem, when there was a global dispute over what is exactly science and what isn't. ("The demarcation problem in the philosophy of science is about how and where to draw the lines around science. The boundaries are commonly drawn between science and non-science, between science and pseudoscience, and between science and religion. A form of this problem, known as the generalized problem of demarcation subsumes all three cases. The generalized problem looks for criteria for deciding which of two theories is the more scientific.")

    My question is how to respond to this? Or, alternatively, if you can point me to literature which addresses this dilemma.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Commie Under Nazi Thought
    Posts
    4,046
    Organisation
    Irish Republican Socialist Party
    Blog Entries
    4
    Rep Power
    32

    Default

    well historical materialism was more or less adopted by the bourgeoisie as well.
    '...the proletariat, not wishing to be treated as a canaille, needs its courage, its self-esteem, its pride, and its sense of independence more than its bread.' Marx
    ...★
    ★...★
    ........★....★
    ..........★..★ Starry Plough Magazine

    'From its origin the bourgeoisie was saddled with its antithesis: capitalists cannot exist without wage workers' - Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

    Stop Killer Coke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edinburgh
    Posts
    880
    Rep Power
    11

    Default

    I think you're thinking of Dialectics. You should speak to Rosa or Trivas on the subject.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    2,238
    Organisation
    Internationalist Socialist League
    Rep Power
    26

    Default

    There's nothing mystical about dialectical or historical materialism. It is just that many Marxist groups have used a distorted version of dialectics to justify their ridiculous or opportunist politics. Gerry Healy used very crude 'dialectics' to justify why a fascist dictatorship could arise in Britain at any moment on the one hand, and why that means that the role of Marxists is to tail the left wing of the Labour party on the other.
    For a Palestinian Workers' State from the Jordan to the Sea!
    For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
    For the World Socialist Revolution!
    Rebuild the Fourth International!
    “The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligation, knows no order nor discipline.” ~Hashomer HaTzair, Zionist "Marxist" movement

    NEW! ISL Website ISL-LRP Statement on Discussions
    Remember Basem Abu Rahme, anti-Apartheid wall protester murdered by Zionist army

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    Despite what YS says, dialectics [DM] is no less mystical when used by comrades like him than the full blown Hegelian version is. Just like theologians in relation to the Christian Trinity, not one single fan of the dialectic can explain it -- so mysterious is it.

    The opposite is the case with Historical Materialism [HM].

    But, to answer your question: the 'demarcation' problem was invented by philosophers of an empiricist frame of mind, who concentrated on a rarefied view of science (modelled, as a matter of fact, on an ahistorical picture of Physics) which bore no relation to the actual practice of science.

    More recent work has moved away from this a priori picture, so it is important to examine how science itself has been practiced rather than forcing it into an unreal straight-jacket. That having been done, HM is no less scientific than any other classical scientific theory (for example, Darwinian evolution).

    Or, alternatively, if you can point me to literature which addresses this dilemma.
    Unfortunatley, most Marxists are so caught up in their own little world that they are quite incapable of defending HM along the lines you require. So, this has not been addressed at all well by Marxists.

    Maurice Cornforth tried to defend both HM and DM against Popper (and his 'demarcation criterion' -- falsification) 50 years ago, but his arguments were seriously compromised by his adherence to DM.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Cornforth

    The best book I can think of that defends scientific realism from a Marxist angle is Fact and Method by Richard Miller -- a comrade who does know what he is talking about.

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/2568.html

    Unfortunately, this is not an easy book.

    The best on-line material can be found at Guy Robinson's site:

    http://www.guyrobinson.net/

    http://www.guyrobinson.net/pdf/Philo...ingScience.pdf

    http://www.guyrobinson.net/pdf/Philo...n_Chapter2.pdf

    http://www.guyrobinson.net/pdf/Materialism.pdf

    And in his book Demystifying Philosophy. Several of the Essays in that work are to my mind genuine classics.

    The best defence of HM is to be found in Gerry Cohen's book Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence (but ignore his 'technological determinism', and his functionalism).

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/320.html

    Follow that with Alex Callinicos's Making History (but ignore his chapter on Agency).

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=e...um=1&ct=result
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 24th October 2008 at 02:20.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    YS:

    Gerry Healy used very crude 'dialectics' to justify why a fascist dictatorship could arise in Britain at any moment on the one hand, and why that means that the role of Marxists is to tail the left wing of the Labour party on the other.
    Indeed, dialectics can be used to defend any idea you like, and its opposite....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    Thank you for the responses. Very informative, and glad to see how well versed some of you are on this topic. I will consult the literature you have recommended RL but perhaps one of you can help me tackle a follow up question, which is how to respond to against attacks on HM that it is an outdated paradigm or an "all or nothing" paradigm? In other words, claims depicting HM as a paradigm hostile to constantly seeking to undermine its very own foundations and this being unreasonable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    I am not sure what 'outdated' means here. Sure, like every other science, HM needs to renew and update itself, but no one supposes that Darwin's theory (which is roughly the same age as HM) is 'outdated', even though it has been supplimented by advances in Genetics, etc.

    And, I rather think evolutionary theory is an 'all or nothing theory', too. The same goes for all other fundamental scientific theories -- or does someone suppose that Quantum Mechanics does not apply on Alpha Centauri?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    2,238
    Organisation
    Internationalist Socialist League
    Rep Power
    26

    Default

    Rosa: Again, there are many theories that can be used to justify one idea or another, Marxism and HM included. This still does not mean that they are not valid - it means that the people using them are crooks. As for myself, I can explain and defend dialectical materialism just fine. It's easy as long as you remember that dialectical materialism isn't a crystal ball and isn't a magical recipe for taking the right positions, but is just a method of analysis, which comes as a supplement and as a way of developing Marxist theory and practice.
    For a Palestinian Workers' State from the Jordan to the Sea!
    For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
    For the World Socialist Revolution!
    Rebuild the Fourth International!
    “The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligation, knows no order nor discipline.” ~Hashomer HaTzair, Zionist "Marxist" movement

    NEW! ISL Website ISL-LRP Statement on Discussions
    Remember Basem Abu Rahme, anti-Apartheid wall protester murdered by Zionist army

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    YS:

    Rosa: Again, there are many theories that can be used to justify one idea or another, Marxism and HM included. This still does not mean that they are not valid - it means that the people using them are crooks. As for myself, I can explain and defend dialectical materialism just fine. It's easy as long as you remember that dialectical materialism isn't a crystal ball and isn't a magical recipe for taking the right positions, but is just a method of analysis, which comes as a supplement and as a way of developing Marxist theory and practice.
    Not so: try to use HM (with no Hegelian concepts at all) to justify, say, the Stalinist argument that the 'withering away of the state' and its opposite (its increased centralisation and denial of democracy) are compatible:

    It may be said that such a presentation of the question is "contradictory." But is there not the same "contradictoriness" in our presentation of the question of the state? We stand for the withering away of the state. At the same time we stand for the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which is the mightiest and strongest state power that has ever existed. The highest development of state power with the object of preparing the conditions for the withering away of state power -- such is the Marxist formula. Is this "contradictory"? Yes, it is "contradictory." But this contradiction us bound up with life, and it fully reflects Marx's dialectics. [Political Report of the Central Committee to the Sixteenth Congress of the CPSU(B), June 27,1930. Bold emphasis added.]
    Or that one day a United Front with the SDP is to unite with 'social fascists', whereas 24 hours later it is the very epitome of good socialist sense. Or that on Monday it would be class treachery to form a pact with Hitler, but on Tuesday it is part of the revolutionary defence of the 'Mother Land'.

    Or, that it is the very epitome of proletarian internationalism to defend Stalin's invasion of Finland...

    All of these, and more, were defended by the use of the contradictiory nature of social reality, and thus on 'dialectical' grounds. Since Zen Buddhism and 'materialist dialectcs' are the only two theories (that I know of) that defend a contradictory view of reality and of thought, only they are so well-placed to defend anything you like and then its opposite the next day (or, in some cases, at the same time!).

    And sure, that does not make the dialectic invalid (it is invalid because it makes not one ounce of sense), but it does explain why comrades cling onto this regressive 'theory'.

    As for myself, I can explain and defend dialectical materialism just fine. It's easy as long as you remember that dialectical materialism isn't a crystal ball and isn't a magical recipe for taking the right positions, but is just a method of analysis, which comes as a supplement and as a way of developing Marxist theory and practice
    1) I'd like to see you try. You have been invited to join in the debates in Philosophy, but up to now you have kept clear -- I suspect I know why.

    2) On the contrary, dialectics has always been used as "a crystal ball and [as] a magical recipe for taking the right positions..."; you can find the overwhelming evidence for that here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2002.htm

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/page%2009_02.htm

    [In the latter case, use the 'Quick Links' to go to Section Seven: 'Case Studies'. I'd post a direct link, but the anonymiser RevLeft uses ignores them.]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    2,238
    Organisation
    Internationalist Socialist League
    Rep Power
    26

    Default

    Again, you're quoting real hacks here. No sincere supporter of DM would justify 'contradictions' in such a crude way. Not anyone I know of, at least.

    At any rate, you should know better than me that Marxist groups have, without any use of dialectics, justified support for anything. Shachtman, who was no big dialectician, used Marxism to justify support for Bay of Pigs and for Zionism. Zionist Marxists have used Marxism to justify support for anything from the Nakba to the recent war in Lebanon. A person whose grasp of 'theory' expresses itself in his ability to distort quotes to fit what he is saying will always be able to justify anything with the help of anything. And a British Trot should really know.

    I'd like to see you try. You have been invited to join in the debates in Philosophy, but up to now you have kept clear -- I suspect I know why.
    I don't remember being invited, though I generally find discussion of phiolosophy to be less interesting than discussions of 'purer' politics. Philosophy enthusiasts, whether the sham-DM kind or the anti-DM kind, will propably see as a heretic for just thinking that, but who really cares. And I would be more than willing to discuss philosophy with you, by PM or otherwise, but let us try to avoid the condescending tone - we have done just fine without it up to now.

    On the contrary, dialectics has always been used as "a crystal ball and [as] a magical recipe for taking the right positions..."; you can find the overwhelming evidence for that here:
    I've read parts of what you've linked to, but I'm not very convinced. The only theorist of relevance, to me, that you have quoted is Trotsky, and he never uses dialectics as a 'crystal ball' but as a way of analyzing reality. Trotsky was right to define the USSR as a workers' state up to 1939 exactly because there was no counterrevolution - he said that seeing the return of capitalism as possible without such a counterrevolution would be "reformism in reverse." The late 1930s brought with them the smashing of the left opposition and that meant the solution of the contradiction between the class nature of the state and the political nature of the regime, something which Trotsky did not grasp at the time.

    Anyway, Trotsky always made it very clear that the state-regime contradiction could only last for a historical instance, and that at the time of his death the USSR was already at the crossroads. He offered WWII as a test, and most of the FI refused to understand the result for what it was - a confirmation of the USSR's capitalist character. Those who claimed that the contradiction could last so many decades were making a joke of both DM and Marxism in general.
    For a Palestinian Workers' State from the Jordan to the Sea!
    For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
    For the World Socialist Revolution!
    Rebuild the Fourth International!
    “The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligation, knows no order nor discipline.” ~Hashomer HaTzair, Zionist "Marxist" movement

    NEW! ISL Website ISL-LRP Statement on Discussions
    Remember Basem Abu Rahme, anti-Apartheid wall protester murdered by Zionist army

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    YS:

    Again, you're quoting real hacks here. No sincere supporter of DM would justify 'contradictions' in such a crude way. Not anyone I know of, at least.
    1) Odd the way that 'hacks' are just those whose interpretations of 'the dialectic' with which you disagree. Even odder is the fact that there is in fact no way to tell a 'crude' interpretation of this eternally plastic 'theory' from a 'sophisticated' one.

    2) Trotsky used it in such 'crude' ways, as did Lenin, Engels and Plekhanov (among many others).

    At any rate, you should know better than me that Marxist groups have, without any use of dialectics, justified support for anything. Shachtman, who was no big dialectician, used Marxism to justify support for Bay of Pigs and for Zionism. Zionist Marxists have used Marxism to justify support for anything from the Nakba to the recent war in Lebanon. A person whose grasp of 'theory' expresses itself in his ability to distort quotes to fit what he is saying will always be able to justify anything with the help of anything. And a British Trot should really know.
    I agree, and thanks for helping confirm my view that this 'theory' can be used to 'prove' anything you like, and its opposite (and in the same breath) -- the use of dialectical styles of reasoning are clear in all the cases you mention.

    Note, too, that I did not claim that 'dialectics' was the only theory that could be used this way, but that it is uniquely qualified to be used this way because of its fondness for 'contradiction' (a bug you seem to have caught), and because its epigones prefer the facility it provides for obfuscation (in point of fact, because it allows them to denigrate those interpretations they do not like as 'crude', when there is in fact no way of distinguishing the crude from the non-crude, as I pointed out).

    I don't remember being invited, though I generally find discussion of phiolosophy to be less interesting than discussions of 'purer' politics. Philosophy enthusiasts, whether the sham-DM kind or the anti-DM kind, will propably see as a heretic for just thinking that, but who really cares. And I would be more than willing to discuss philosophy with you, by PM or otherwise, but let us try to avoid the condescending tone - we have done just fine without it up to now.
    A month or so back, you asked me to start a thread in the Philosophy section on this 'theory' and I replied that there were plenty already for you to join.

    2) Were you able to defend this 'theory' I think you'd have done so by now. The Philosophy section is not difficult to find. You do not need an invite, but here is one again -- OK comrade: show me where I go wrong in any of the RevLeft 'dialectics' threads I have collated here:

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rosa.l/RevLeft.htm

    Say, this one:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/nti-dialec...725/index.html

    I've read parts of what you've linked to, but I'm not very convinced. The only theorist of relevance, to me, that you have quoted is Trotsky, and he never uses dialectics as a 'crystal ball' but as a way of analyzing reality. Trotsky was right to define the USSR as a workers' state up to 1939 exactly because there was no counterrevolution - he said that seeing the return of capitalism as possible without such a counterrevolution would be "reformism in reverse." The late 1930s brought with them the smashing of the left opposition and that meant the solution of the contradiction between the class nature of the state and the political nature of the regime, something which Trotsky did not grasp at the time.
    1) Of course, I refer to Trotsky's use of the 'dialectic' not as a crystal ball, but as a:

    magical recipe for taking the right positions
    which he most certainly does, as pointed out in 2):

    2) Trotsky's only reason for defending the former USSR is a dialectical one: because the former Soviet State is 'contradictory'. And yet the Maoists and Stalinists use the same 'theory' to argue against Trotsky, while the IST use this 'theory' to argue that the 'contradictory' nature of the former USSR means it is State Capitalist, and while you use it to show that the lot of them are wrong! In short, this 'theory' is indeed a:

    magical recipe for taking the right positions
    3) Why is this a 'contradiction':

    The late 1930s brought with them the smashing of the left opposition and that meant the solution of the contradiction between the class nature of the state and the political nature of the regime, something which Trotsky did not grasp at the time.
    ?

    You mystics use this word all the time, but do not seem to be able to justify it.

    Anyway, Trotsky always made it very clear that the state-regime contradiction could only last for a historical instance, and that at the time of his death the USSR was already at the crossroads. He offered WWII as a test, and most of the FI refused to understand the result for what it was - a confirmation of the USSR's capitalist character. Those who claimed that the contradiction could last so many decades were making a joke of both DM and Marxism in general.
    So, it seems that Trotsky did use 'dialectics' as a 'crystal ball', after all -- as you too seem to.
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 24th October 2008 at 22:00.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    2,238
    Organisation
    Internationalist Socialist League
    Rep Power
    26

    Default

    1) Odd the way that 'hacks' are just those whose interpretations of 'the dialectic' with which you disagree. Even odder is the fact that there is in fact no way to tell a 'crude' interpretation of this eternally plastic 'theory' from a 'sophisticated' one.
    So, the Stalinist 'theorists' weren't hacks in your opinion? Do you consider them to be authoritative Marxists?

    I agree, and thanks for helping confirm my view that this 'theory' can be used to 'prove' anything you like, and its opposite (and in the same breath) -- the use of dialectical styles of reasoning are clear in all the cases you mention.
    This is at best an ignorant assertion and at worst a lie. Both Shachtman and the Zionist Socialists have had little to do with dialectics. Shachtman always claimed dialectics to be a very minor issue. The Socialist Zionists had little to nothing to do with dialectics. You may want to have had something to do with it to confirm your theory, but that unfortunately can't be considered as evidence.

    Note, too, that I did not claim that 'dialectics' was the only theory that could be used this way, but that it is uniquely qualified to be used this way because of its fondness for 'contradiction'
    Again, this is just an assertion, and one that doesn't hold ground considering the views of anti-DM Marxists in Germany of Duhring's time, anti-DM Marxists in Russia, and anti-DM Marxists in and around the FI.

    A month or so back, you asked me to start a thread in the Philosophy section on this 'theory' and I replied that there were plenty already for you to join.
    1) I did not ask you to start a thread - I suggested that if you want to discuss DM, you should do so in another thread, seeing as doing that in the thread we were in would derail it from the original subject.

    2) The thread got pretty ugly from then on, going to very disgusting personal slander, which I am sure neither of us wants to bring up. Suffice to say, it did not made me very inclined to take any offer from you.

    Were you able to defend this 'theory' I think you'd have done so by now. The Philosophy section is not difficult to find. You do not need an invite, but here is one again -- OK comrade: show me where I go wrong in any of the RevLeft 'dialectics' threads I have collated here:
    To paraphrase one of your philosophical forefathers, I'm pretty sick of arguing about religion. (I must say it's pretty ironic for you to slander DM as a 'religion,' especially when you refuse time and time again to address any evidence in the philosophy threads that shows that Marx used Hegelian dialectics)
    For a Palestinian Workers' State from the Jordan to the Sea!
    For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
    For the World Socialist Revolution!
    Rebuild the Fourth International!
    “The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually. As an individual in society he revolts and throws off the harness of social obligation, knows no order nor discipline.” ~Hashomer HaTzair, Zionist "Marxist" movement

    NEW! ISL Website ISL-LRP Statement on Discussions
    Remember Basem Abu Rahme, anti-Apartheid wall protester murdered by Zionist army

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    the smoke
    Posts
    6,677
    Organisation
    IWW, Liberty & Solidarity and Workers' Intiative
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    63

    Default

    From looking at it and reading about it I've come to the conclusion its aload of useless bollocks given religious significance by cofee-shop-campus intellectual 'Marxists' who like to talk fancy bollocks. Best avoided, cos it's fucking useless.


    Ivan "Bonebreaker" Khutorskoy
    16.11.2009
    "We won't forget, we won't forgive"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    YS:

    So, the Stalinist 'theorists' weren't hacks in your opinion? Do you consider them to be authoritative Marxists?
    Unfortunately, when it comes to dialectics, all Marxists are hacks. And there are plenty of examples of Stalinist 'hacks' who are more sophisticated dialecticians than many of us Trotskyists are.

    This is at best an ignorant assertion and at worst a lie. Both Shachtman and the Zionist Socialists have had little to do with dialectics. Shachtman always claimed dialectics to be a very minor issue. The Socialist Zionists had little to nothing to do with dialectics. You may want to have had something to do with it to confirm your theory, but that unfortunately can't be considered as evidence.
    Unfortunately for you, Shachtman was a dialectician, and no less of a dialectical hack than Trotsky, or Stalin, sad to say. Can't speak of the Zionists; my earlier statement should have made that clear.

    Again, this is just an assertion, and one that doesn't hold ground considering the views of anti-DM Marxists in Germany of Duhring's time, anti-DM Marxists in Russia, and anti-DM Marxists in and around the FI.
    1) Indeed it is an assertion, but then so is much of what you say.

    2) That is one of the reasons I set up my site: to back up these assertions with evidence.

    3) I am not too sure what the anti-DM Marxists have to do with this; you did not make that assertion too clear.

    1) I did not ask you to start a thread - I suggested that if you want to discuss DM, you should do so in another thread, seeing as doing that in the thread we were in would derail it from the original subject.

    2) The thread got pretty ugly from then on, going to very disgusting personal slander, which I am sure neither of us wants to bring up. Suffice to say, it did not made me very inclined to take any offer from you.
    1) And I offered you two ways to do this: a) by starting a new thread on dialectics, or b) by joining one of the many there already are in Philosophy. So far you have ducked both opportunities.

    2) What 'slander' was that?

    To paraphrase one of your philosophical forefathers, I'm pretty sick of arguing about religion. (I must say it's pretty ironic for you to slander DM as a 'religion,' especially when you refuse time and time again to address any evidence in the philosophy threads that shows that Marx used Hegelian dialectics)
    Where do I 'slander' DM as a 'religion'? What I do say is that this 'theory' works like a religion in that it provides consolation to its adherents for the long-term failure of Dialectical Marxism, and it convinces them that the appearance that Dialectical Marxism is an abject failure is 'contradicted' by its underlying 'essential' success (which is about to happen any day soon...).

    Where do allege that Marx used Hegelian dialectics? What I do allege is that he did not use dialectics as you mystics think he did -- in that his verson (from Das Kapital onwards) uses no 'contradictions', no 'unity of opposites', no 'negation of the negation', no 'quantity passing over into quality', no 'mediated totality', no 'universal change'...
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 25th October 2008 at 02:10.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    11,337
    Organisation
    Judean People's Front crack suicide squad!
    Rep Power
    62

    Default

    This question comes down to another question, can history be a science? And the answer to the latter, and as such the former, is no.

    Science is fundermentally observable, measurable and scientific knowledge is obtained through observation and experimentation. Quite obviously we can not actually observe or experiment upon the past. What we can actually observe are relics from the past, but not the past itself. As a result historians, unlike scientists, are forced to work with subject matter which is not 'objective'. Rather a historian must piece together an image of the past from the various scraps of information he or she can find. That information invariably never tells the whole story, is conflicting, and was the product of invariably partial individuals, and thus inescapably marred with the taint of the 'subjective'.

    As a result historians can not even agree on the most mundane results of a piece of research, because there is no 'objective' correct answer which can be deduced from the data to hand. As such it is a complete and utter self-decieving make-believe to claim to be able to examine history from a 'scientific' stance.

    Thats not to knock historical materialism, which as a methodology for examining the past, has a legacy of excellence; being the tool of some of the best and brightest historians of any age and has resulted in some of the best historical studies ever produced. As a tool for interpreting the past I am utterly convinced, but as soon as you get to the issue of historical inevitability, the warning bells start to sound.
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    - Hanlon's Razor

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Commie Under Nazi Thought
    Posts
    4,046
    Organisation
    Irish Republican Socialist Party
    Blog Entries
    4
    Rep Power
    32

    Default

    I agree with the post above by Zim. It's not a science that makes predictions, not in the bourgeois sense.

    I also agree with YS on dialectics. There's charlatans in every field, it just doesn't follow logically that all dialectics are crap. Look how Marx put it to use.
    '...the proletariat, not wishing to be treated as a canaille, needs its courage, its self-esteem, its pride, and its sense of independence more than its bread.' Marx
    ...★
    ★...★
    ........★....★
    ..........★..★ Starry Plough Magazine

    'From its origin the bourgeoisie was saddled with its antithesis: capitalists cannot exist without wage workers' - Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

    Stop Killer Coke

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    It is a mistake to think that every science makes nothing but 'predictions'. What 'predictions' does evolutioanry science make, or geology? Sure, we can use parts of the latter to predict when an earthquake might occur, but the vast bulk of geology is not the least bit predictive. The same goes for cosmology.

    Does anyone want to say these are not sciences?

    The fact that evolutionary theory is scientifc refutes I think Zim's claim that the historical science are not in fact sciences -- on the basis of Zim's argument, for example, Darwin was not a scientist!

    PRC:

    I also agree with YS on dialectics. There's charlatans in every field, it just doesn't follow logically that all dialectics are crap. Look how Marx put it to use.
    But there are nothing but charlatans at work in dialectics -- and Marx did not use dialectics as you lot understand it.

    This is quite apart from the fact that not one of you can explain a single dialectical concept -- unlike the situation in the genuine sciences.

    Nor can any of you sustain an argument against me -- that is why you lot had to retreat into that esoteric coven of yours in the Dialectical Materialism group.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Commie Under Nazi Thought
    Posts
    4,046
    Organisation
    Irish Republican Socialist Party
    Blog Entries
    4
    Rep Power
    32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa Lichtenstein View Post
    Nor can any of you sustain an argument against me -- that is why you lot had to retreat into that esoteric coven of yours in the Dialectical Materialism group.
    "Esoretic coven". That's just nonsense.

    Erm, as a matter of fact, we haven't retreated from you, and you know it. there was just a thread I think yesterday in philosophy that several comrades who from our dialectics study group were posting in.
    '...the proletariat, not wishing to be treated as a canaille, needs its courage, its self-esteem, its pride, and its sense of independence more than its bread.' Marx
    ...★
    ★...★
    ........★....★
    ..........★..★ Starry Plough Magazine

    'From its origin the bourgeoisie was saddled with its antithesis: capitalists cannot exist without wage workers' - Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

    Stop Killer Coke

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    16,778
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    PRC:

    "Esoretic coven". That's just nonsense
    On the contrary, it is quite apt.

    Erm, as a matter of fact, we haven't retreated from you, and you know it. there was just a thread I think yesterday in philosophy that several comrades who from our dialectics study group were posting in.
    Only because LZ wanted to ask me question.

Similar Threads

  1. Dialectical Materialism gives us a scientific view
    By Scientific in forum Philosophy
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 15th November 2007, 03:10
  2. historical materialism vs historical idealism
    By abbielives! in forum Philosophy
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 18th June 2007, 18:58
  3. Historical Materialism
    By JazzRemington in forum Websites
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29th September 2006, 14:05
  4. Historical conditions of the scientific communism origin
    By Revolution Hero in forum History
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 19th August 2002, 09:48
  5. Replies: 12
    Last Post: 14th March 2002, 11:49

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •