- This topic has 67 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 9 months ago by Anonymous.
December 8, 2019 at 8:56 am #192049AnonymousInactive
Far from negating the materialist conception of history, society, and the progress toward socialism, cause-and-effect materialism confirms them all.
The biological mechanism is the biological mechanism, though, and I don’t see how recognising this contradicts socialism.December 8, 2019 at 10:07 am #192051AnonymousInactive
Yes, it is a physical process, because everything is a physical process.
The impacting of environmental/external reality on our senses is a physical process. The biology of inner propulsion and compulsions (mind) is a physical process. Much of this propulsion eludes our consciousness (which is where bringing motives into consciousness, i.e. psychoanalysis, comes in).
I don’t see why the biological mechanism which turns sense impressions into mind should negate the truth of social reality and progressive socialist thought. You are again confusing things, alleging “reductionism” and lumping me with bourgeois genetic-determinist apologists. (Odd that i’m a party member, isn’t it, and a believer in the materialist conception of history?)
Far from being reductionist, the intricacy of psychological processes is a rich tapestry that should humble us further before nature.
Reductionism is a materialism that ignores all the vital and diverse elements of which material reality consists. An example of reductionism is the stereotypical mechanist who fails to appreciate the vitality of an all-embracing materialism. His is the bleak materialism which understandably alienates people from the term ‘materialist’ and makes them prefer idealism and religion. My materialism is a kaleidoscope of wonder, which encompasses death too as a process of life.
I have already said that mind is a process, a propulsion, giving rise to causes producing effects. But the whole is the property of the material organism.
The will remains dependent on the internal cycle of causes and effects, and its agency is not free of them. This internal reality follows the same natural laws as the external reality of physics.
I do not deny the two-way nature of the Marxist dialectic. This happens internally as well. But all of it is explanatory as matter in motion.
I never read anywhere in Marx about “free” will, and if he does use the term anywhere I would not agree with it. Were the will free, it would negate the dialectic, for the will would not be motivated or influenced by anything. Everything would be one-way, not two-way, because the will would not respond to anything. It would be outside nature, beyond causation. It would be …
Education and propaganda would be a waste of time were the will free. It would not be subject to motive.
I urge you to read The Western Socialist, number 3, 1972.
Also Shelley, Necessity, Thou Mother of the World, and numerous materialist classics which can hardly be dismissed as reductionist, but which form materialism’s foundation – and maybe expand too to include the Buddhist materialism of the Indian philosophers (although they do not use the term).
There is nothing reductionist about my materialism.
The physical brain is also the nervous system; the nervous system includes the five senses by which we receive impressions of social and external reality. This physical brain processes, and its properties include analysis, thought, determinations, etc. – what we call mind. This is not to be reductionist. No man is an island, and no brain is either. It does not exist unconnected to everything within and without us.
There is no pre-social individual.
I would even go further and say that the individual, the self, is illusory… (The Anatta of the Higher Buddhism).
We are all connected. We ARE the universe!
And by the way, the “state-of-nature, pre-social Man” is Rousseau’s model – and Rousseau, who believed in free will, which complements his state-of-nature asocial man, was at odds with the materialists, who saw man as social, as connected to all, and hence NOT a free agent, independent of cause and effect.
You would have to include under your term “bourgeois” the pioneers of socialism, Shelley and Godwin! (Hardly approved reading in the business schools!!!!!)December 8, 2019 at 11:38 am #192052robbo203Participant
Yes, it is a physical process, because everything is a physical process.
John, you see, this is where the problem lies. Yes the workings of the mind necessarily and absolutely involve a physical process but the real point at issue here is whether it JUST involves a physical process.
I hesitate to ascribe any point of view to you as some of your comments seem the very opposite of the reductionist standpoint I have been criticising. e g “We are all connected. We ARE the universe! Maybe the problem is simply just how one expresses oneself, the particular form of words used. To me saying mind is a “property” of brain/matter IS reductionist. It come across as saying that what we think is entirely a function of the firing of the neurons in our brain.
It is obviously not. It is also influenced by what goes on outside our brains as well Yes the brain processes sensory inputs from outside but our minds are active in the way it retains and selectively organises this data into meaningful structures.
While we cannot think without a brain it is also true that what we think is not necessarily dependent on the brain in the sense that the mind can exert “downward causation” on the brain. Saying that the brain causes us to think what we think is what is called a “type identity” which basically means the mental states are identical to – and hence reducible to – brain states such that if a brain state were to be exactly duplicated, it wold reproduce exactly the same type of mental state. Type identity theories have been largely discredited in the literature. A more realistic approach I think is “token identity” which permits a degree of autonomy for the mind vis a vis the brain while at the same emphasising their connection
This link might be useful in explaining the difference if you are into this sort of stuffDecember 8, 2019 at 4:48 pm #192057AnonymousInactive
Yes the brain processes sensory inputs from outside but our minds are active in the way it retains and selectively organises this data into meaningful structures.
Exactly, and this intelligence, sifting, is a property of the material being – you and I.
The brain alone doesn’t cause us to think what we think. A host of factors do, operating from without and within. The brain is one conduit and the power house, if you like.
We can say we are both materialists, with differences of opinion in certain ways. We each have our materialist system. But I am as much a socialist as are you.December 8, 2019 at 4:59 pm #192058AnonymousInactive
I can recommend the Dalai Lama’s book, The Universe in a Single Atom, even though he dislikes what he calls materialism (but which is in fact reductionism), and uses the word “spirituality”.
This aside, the substance of the work is of interest.December 9, 2019 at 7:24 am #192061AnonymousInactive
A friend writes:
“The very fact that the word ’emergence’ has existed in the dictionary for longshows that this concept is nothing new. A plant/ tree emerges from its seed.Here ’emergence’ may be considered as synonymous with ‘growth or development’.This idea of ’emergence’ may be extended to cover numerous other phenomenonlike organizational entities, human societies, thought processes, etc.Ultimately, everything that exists has emerged from something else, into whichit relapses after a while. Like simple atoms go to form more and more complex moleculesand organisms. But, finally they all break down and return to the state from which they began.Universes emerge from a blackhole, but ultimately they all relapse into a blackhole.”December 9, 2019 at 1:06 pm #192063AnonymousInactive
The same friend writes:
“… ’emergence’ has nothing to do with ‘free will’.
In practice, ’emergence’ is the outcome of the interplay of a
set of intricate, dynamic situations/circumstances. An individual,
person or entity, simply flows along with it like a drop of water in
a river.”December 11, 2019 at 2:36 pm #192085AnonymousInactive
Interpretations of the words “universe” and “cosmos.”
I prefer the latter term for clarity, for instance when documentaries and others speak of the Big Bang and “the beginning” of the universe.
This is misunderstood by the general population, who imagine scientists are believing in a beginning, or creation, of the cosmos – which can only have a beginning or an end if something else lies behind it. Since the cosmos means everything that is, then whatever was behind it would be the cosmos itself!
What in fact scientists should make clear, but usually don’t, is that by ‘universe’, what they mean is the system of stars and galaxies which, in a ‘not very important-looking’ region, hosts our existence. Its production (the Big Bang) was of course an effect – an explosion – arising from material causes, or a material cause, like every process. Nothing comes from nothing, except in religious mythology. Nothing does not exist. There is no such thing as nothing.
Not that there is not a limit to the universe we perceive and hence are familiar with.
A plausible theory is the Bubble Theory – that is, our universe of galaxies of stars existing within an expanding bubble, surrounded by starless matter we do not comprehend … which may contain other bubbles within its infinity.
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