20 January, 2016

The Early Solutions

What is to be Done: VI
The essential tasks for the Marxists of today

Now, in spite of the difficulties with the current pluralistic forms, they had emerged fairly late in the history of Mankind, and throughout that long, long "prehistory" Man had developed OTHER important views on the World around him. Indeed, sometimes Reality itself seemed to be organising against him, and a holistic attitude to Nature was unavoidable. In addition Man was an intelligent animal, who had learned to intervene with Reality in order to survive and prosper. His own necessarily purposive actions coloured his World View, and he felt the need to endow purpose to Reality itself. He expected causes, just as he himself was the cause of many things in his day to day life. Of course, this led to animism and ultimately to a God, made in his own self-image, but it also expected useable causes to be available for dealing with Reality in general.

Contradiction Premise

Now this led to primitive versions of philosophy and science originally, and when Experiment finally arrived to invigorate his investigations, it also accompanied the experimental method as its Explanation. The tradition of looking for causes gelled with the extraction of relations and gave a meaningful narrative to those isolated achievements. Mankind developed Explanatory Science. But, this cosy idea of what Science became was a myth. Indeed, the experimental imperative was technological(?), whereas the explanatory imperative was surely scientific(?). These were NOT a perfectly matched pair!


Some years ago I realised this and determined to investigate. For a long time I kept tripping over my own incorrect basic assumptions and getting nowhere. But I finally settled on the man-made process at the heart of all of these diverse things. It was Abstraction!

I began to try to categarise exactly what Abstraction consisted of, and to effectively define it, started to conceive of the crucial Processes of Abstraction, and their resultant Products at various stages in a sequence of essential Abstraction Processes.

The task turned out to be prodigious!

For Mankind's earliest conceptions were also abstractions, So, I began to attempt to construct a sequential list of the Stages of Abstraction used by Mankind in his attempt to comprehend the World.

He certainly started with Observation, Recognition, Categorisation and a crude very speculative attempt at Explanation, but after the advent of Societies wonderful new forms appeared including Logic and Geometry.

The Processes and Productions of Abstraction

Finally, with the rise of Experimental science, the first true Theories began to emerge.. [I have written a great deal on this, under the title of The Processes and Productions of Abstraction, which has even culminated in a general overall Diagram. This figure attempts to relate the whole area as a single system] We cannot attempt here to replicate the whole of this extensive research here, but its final diagrammatic Form can be useful, and is reproduced here.

Now we must never lose sight of the fact that Abstraction is a man-made invention. It recognises diverse things in Reality which display features in common, and attempts to concretise this commonality under an appropriate Category Title, whose Name, then represents that commonality.

Note: This diagram is NOT the latest version, nor can it ever be, as it is constantly being revised and improved. But for the purposes of this paper it should prove quite adequate.

Once more the usual dichotomies and difficulties occur, due to our assumptions and premises, and even in Thinking and Thought ñ more particularly Abstraction ñ the bifurcations appeared which clearly showed TWO diverging roads which seemed impossible to merge.

Without this necessary excursion expanding into a veritable ìworld tourî, let us just concentrate on this parting of the ways. A brief explanation of the Diagram will be necessary.

Explanation of the Diagram

At the centre is the Active Element in the whole series of Processes ñ which is, of course, MAN, The background to the whole figure is, as it must be, Reality. While, in between these two there is an annulus containing the various Productions of Extraction ñ shown as labelled circles.

Between Man, Reality and the Products of Abstraction are the Arrowed Lines which represent the actual Processes of Abstraction. They too are numbered to both indicate their presumed sequence of use, and to allow them to be referred to precisely.

The earliest likely Processes can be seen to be fairly simple loops. From Man via Reality to the Product. Later the Processes take in previous Productions on route.

For example: Man via Categories to Objective Relations

The crucial Split occurs in the Science Region, where we have:-

VII --- Man --- Objective Relations --- Reality --- Analogistic Models

IX --- Man --- Objective Relations --- Maths Forms

Now, this is not a treatise on Abstraction, so the reader is asked to merely notice these TWO Processes.

Though the Process ending in Analogistic Models goes via Reality, and ends up within the Science region, the second alternative Process bypasses Reality and ends up in the World of Pure Form alone, which I have termed Ideality.

As you have probably guessed, I have highlighted these two because they reveal exactly where the most important problems arise. If we are to use our relations back in Reality itself, we have to go via this realm of Pure Form. Yet, it is a thoroughly laundered place. In it there is NO Reality, only Abstract Form. 

This post is the sixth in a new blog series entitled "What is to be done?" on the crises in both Marxism and Science, and how a revolution is necessary in both. This body of work is now available as a Special Issue. Read it all here!

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