Refuting A Weak Attempt At Refutation -- Part Twelve

 

Preface

 

If you are using Internet Explorer 10 (or later), you might find some of the links I have used won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu); for IE11 select 'Compatibility View Settings' and then add this site (anti-dialectics.co.uk). I have as yet no idea how Microsoft's new browser, Edge, will handle these links.

 

For some reason I can't work out, Internet Explorer 11 will no longer play the video I have posted to this page. Certainly not on my computer! However, as far as I can tell, it plays in other Browsers.

 

~~~~~~oOo~~~~~~

 

Although I am highly critical of Dialectical Materialism [DM], nothing said here (or, indeed, in the other Essays posted at this site) is aimed at undermining Historical Materialism [HM] -- a theory I fully accept -- or, for that matter, revolutionary socialism. I remain as committed to the self-emancipation of the working class and the dictatorship of the proletariat as I was when I first became a revolutionary nearly thirty years ago. [That puts paid to the allegation that those who reject DM soon abandon revolutionary politics.]

 

My aim is simply to assist in the scientific development of Marxism by helping to demolish a dogma that has in my opinion seriously damaged our movement from its inception: DM --; or, in its more political form, 'Materialist Dialectics' [MD].

 

The difference between HM and DM as I see it is explained here.

 

[Latest Update: 14/02/18.]

 

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(1) Background

 

(2) TFB Baffles Himself

 

(3) Dialectics Is Far Worse Than Weird

 

(4) References

 

Summary Of My Main Objections To Dialectical Materialism

 

Abbreviations Used At This Site

 

Return To The Main Index Page

 

Contact Me

 

Background

 

In 2015, I posted the following comment on a YouTube page which was devoted to introducing prospective viewers to a highly simplified version of DM:

 

Alas for this video, I have demolished this dogmatic theory (from a Marxist angle) at my site:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

Main objections outlined here:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/Why%20I%20Oppose%20DM.htm

 

I have posted many similar comments on other pages at YouTube that are devoted to this theory and received little or no response. But, the producer of this film (whose on-screen name used to be Marxist-Leninist-Theory [MLT], but which has now changed to The Finnish Bolshevik -- henceforth, TFB) did respond (and to which I replied, here and here).

 

Not long afterwards, another video appeared on YouTube -- which was also produced by TFB, but posted to his other YouTube page -- entitled: "Refuting a Trotskyite Attack on Dialectics". I have replied to this largely incoherent video, here, here, and here.

 

After several, shall we say, 'skirmishes' over the last six months or so, TFB posted a second, even longer video, which attempted to respond to one of my briefer attacks on this failed 'theory' of his:

 

 

Video One: The Garbling Continues

 

As part of my reply to TFB's earlier video, I transcribed the vast bulk of it, which took absolutely ages. I did this for several reasons:

 

(a) So that others could see how largely incoherent it is.

 

(b) So that it would be easier to expose TFB's lies and fabrications.

 

(c) So that I couldn't be accused of distorting what he had said.

 

I have so far posted eight responses to the above video, so this Essay constitutes my ninth reply. All my debates and responses to TFB have now been collected together, here.

 

Incidentally, I have now decided to post much shorter replies to TFB in order to (i) Increase the probability of him reading them and, consequently, (ii) decrease the likelihood of having to explain the same things to him yet again, over and over, as had been the case up to now -- since he still refuses to read my longer replies, even though he expects his viewers to listen to his voice droning on and on, making the same points time and again, often incoherently, for over an hour!

 

TFB Baffles Himself

 

We have seen that TFB likes nothing more than rake over the same ground time and again (i.e., 'external contradictions' and his lame excuses why he had been ignorant of them until I mentioned them), but, as if to surprise neutral observers, we have, at last, something new to chew over -- but, alas, as it turns out, not quite so new!

 

Again, I have transcribed this barely coherent video as best I could:

 

[TFB now adopts a 'world-weary tone and begins to quote me again.]

 

"And as far as 'baffling them with bulls*it' is concerned, here is perhaps this..., an excellent example of the use of this tactic."

 

Then it (sic) quotes me [i.e., I quote TFB -- RL] from an earlier video where I said that:

 

"the Trotsky..., the Trotskyist [TFB actually used 'Trotskyite' in that earlier video -- RL] counter-argument seems to be [TFB has left out all his pauses, verbal glitches and mis-spoken words; I have reproduced the original passage below -- RL] 'This is silly, hah hah hah'..., like, that's not an argument. I mean, physics is kind of funny sometimes', that's not an argument. The rest of their counter-arguments are just silly."

 

Erm..., that's in response to a comment made by her, like.... She said that.... She said that..., er.., there's a contradiction in..., er..., in something that is being said, so therefore it's just..., er..., absurd. [Dramatic pause.] She said that..., er..., this leads to even more absurd conclusions. That's what she said. That it leads to even more absurd conclusions. Without..., she didn't justify that in any way. She just said that this leads to absurd conclusions. So, therefore it has to be..., so therefore it's wrong. And like... [this might be "I'm like" -- TFB's enunciation is unclear here], just because it's contradictory doesn't mean that it's...wrong. Because, as I say in this quote, I mean physics is kind of funny sometimes. Yeah, physics and math (sic) we..., sometimes works in weird ways. I mean, I'm not a mathematician, but it's still works in weird ways. Doesn't mean it's automatically wrong. Just because there are paradoxes [garbled word] seems to contradict something. 'Cause, like, either the paradox is wrong... [dramatic pause], or the math (sic) is wrong, or... [another dramatic pause], there is a paradox, but it's still not a problem -- because you're claiming that because there's a paradox it is automatically wrong, and you just have to dismiss the whole thing. [Approximately 57:26-59.20.]

 

So, in order to deal with the above blatant lie, readers need to be made aware of the context surrounding it. This is from TFB's first video about me, where he called himself Marxist-Leninist-Theory [MLT], along with my reply (slightly edited) -- which, as per usual, TFB/MLT just ignored:

 

MLT then refers his viewers to another page (over at the Soviet Empire Forum), where another comrade attempted to refute my case against DM, after which MLT states:

 

The interesting thing here is that the comments exchanged [MLT's words aren't clear here - RL] that is cited doesn't actually fare too favourably for the Trotskyite. The person challenging them gives a completely sufficient refutation of their arguments to which they don't respond with anything, and instead just, you know, just gloat here to have demonstrated how this theory apparently leads to "even more ridiculous conclusions". So, the refutation that the person challenging our Trotskyite's views [again this part isn't too clear -- RL] is based on Physics and is the following (also got to love the fact that (garbled) the explanation by this Trotskyite...they're so vague, it's like...couple, multiple times it seems like they're just saying "Oh, this is a contradiction, therefore it's wrong", even though, of course, it's a contradiction, that's the whole point...):

 

"when a body is in motion its velocity is not zero and therefore...v = dx/dt =/= 0

 

"What we’re discussing are fundamental facts of physics which you have to understand prior to attempting to understand philosophical theories involving them....

"During motion, the position of a body in physical terms is defined by x and yet it is not defined by x but is defined by dx. When in motion a body is at one point x and yet it is at two points whose difference is dx. The same applies to time -- you can define the body in motion at time t and yet there is a difference of two times, dt, which also characterizes temporally a body in motion. These are obviously contradictory conditions of motion, coexisting. Motion is a constant resolution of these contradictions. This is what physics says...."

 

And the Trotskyite counter-argument is...seems to be..., er... "This is silly, hah hah hah" ..., like, that's not an argument. "Yeah, I mean, physics is kind of funny sometimes", that's not an argument. [Approximately 10:20.] The rest of their counter-arguments are just silly. Instead of contesting the fact that things in motion exist in multiple places at the same time, they turn around and argue that really all physical bodies exist in multiple places, for example, beans exist inside a tin and inside a store, or your head and your feet exist in different places despite being your body. However, this is simply word-play. The point they're making is that things don't exist in a single point but in an area, but that has no impact on the argument whatsoever on Engels nor anyone that the Trotskyite is arguing against has (sic) ever claimed that humans, beans or tin cans exist in a single point. It's obvious that wasn't what Engels was arguing about. Besides, this kind of talk is metaphysical. And then they proceed to say that "You know, this is an...um.., mistake by Engels because this kind of idea applies to things that are not in motion, for example, you know..., beans in tin cans." But as I just pointed out, that's not what Engels was talking about at all because, yeah..., well, you get the point. It's just, er..., word games to say "Oh, beans exist inside a tin can inside a warehouse...", that's.. obviously it's not the same location, it's not the same point existing inside a tin and also inside a factory or a warehouse, whatever, doesn't mean they exist in two different points. [Approx 07:50-11:50.]

 

Once again, there are nearly as many errors in there as there are words.

 

1) However, I am genuinely amazed by the blatant lies in the above passage! Did MLT imagine that no one would check my answers to the critic he quoted -- while he [MLT] failed to quote (or summarise) any of my responses? Did he honestly think that when others read what I posted they would summarise my words as follows: "This is silly, hah hah hah"? In fact, I rather suspect he was hoping no one would visit the Soviet Empire Forum and check this for themselves -- and from the comments posted below this video, it looks like he was right; no one bothered to check his downright lies!

 

Ok, so here is part of what I posted in reply to this individual (who wrote under the name 'Future World' [FW]) -- see if you think any of it amounts to "Yeah, I mean, physics is kind of funny sometimes!" -- or even "This is silly, hah hah hah":

 

Well, this isn't my objection (and I note you do not quote me to this effect). My objection is far more complex than this. Here, in fact, is just one of my core objections to Engels and Hegel:

 

From this point on it will be assumed that the difficulties with Engels's account noted in the previous section can be resolved, and that there exists some way of reading his words that implies a contradiction, and which succeeds in distinguishing moving from motionless bodies.

Perhaps the following will suffice:


L10: For some body b, at some time t, and for two places p and q, b is at p at t and not at p at t, and b is at q at t, and p is not the same place as q.


This looks pretty contradictory. With suitable conventions about the use of variables we could abbreviate L10 a little to yield this slightly neater version:


L11: For some b, for some t, for two places p and q, b is at p at t and not at p at t, and b is at q at t.
 

This latest set of problems revolves around the supposed reference of the "t" variable in L11 above.

It's always possible to argue that L11 really amounts to the following:


L12: For some b, during interval T, and for two 'instants' t1 and t2 [where both t1 and t2 belong to T, such that t2 > t1], and for two places p and q, b is at p at t1, but not at p at t2, and b is at q at t2.


[In the above, t1 and t2 are themselves taken to be sets of nested sub-intervals, which can be put into an isomorphism with suitably chosen intervals of real numbers; hence the 'scare' quotes around the word "instant" in L12.]

Clearly, the implication here is that the unanalysed variable "t" in L11 actually picks out a time interval T (as opposed to a temporal instant) -- brought out in L12 -- during which the supposed movement takes place. This would licence a finer-grained discrimination among T's sub-intervals (i.e., t1 and t2) during which this occurs. Two possible translations of L12 in less formal language might read as follows:


L12a: A body b, observed over the course of a second, is located at point p in the first millisecond, and is located at q a millisecond later.

L12b: A body b, observed over the course of a millisecond, is located at point p in the first nanosecond, and is located at q a nanosecond later.


And so on…

Indeed, this is how motion is normally conceived: as change of place in time -- i.e., with time having advanced while it occurs. If this were not so (i.e., if L12 is rejected), then L11 would imply that the supposed change of place must have occurred outside of time -- or, worse, that it happened independently of the passage of time --, which is either incomprehensible, or it would imply that, for parts of their trajectory, moving objects (no matter of how low their speed) moved with an infinite velocity! This was in fact pointed out earlier.

And yet, how else are we to understand Engels's claim that a moving body is actually in two places at once? On that basis, a moving body would move from one place to the next outside of time -- that is, with time having advanced not one instant. In that case, a moving body would be in one place at one instant, and it would move to another place with no lapse of time; such motion would thus take place outside of time (which is tantamount to saying it does not happen, or does not exist).

Indeed, we would now have no right to say that such a body was in the first of these Engelsian locations before it was in the second. [That is because "before" implies an earlier time, which has just been ruled out.] By a suitable induction clause, along the entire trajectory of a body's motion it would not, therefore, be possible to say that a moving body was at the beginning of a journey before it was at the end! [The reasons for saying this will be provided on request.]

Despite this it would seem that this latest difficulty can only be neutralised by means of the adoption of an implausible stipulation to the effect that whereas time is not composed of an infinite series of embedded sub-intervals -- characterised by suitably defined nested sets of real numbers --, location is.

This would further mean that while we may divide the position a body occupies as it moves along as finely as we wish -- so that no matter to what extent we slice a body's location, we would always be able to distinguish two contiguous points allowing us to say that a moving body was in both of these places at the same time --, while we can do that with respect to location, we cannot do the same with respect to time.

Clearly, this is an inconsistent approach to the divisibility of time and space -- wherein we are allowed to divide one of these (space) as much as we like while this is disallowed of the other (time). [It could even be argued that this is where the alleged 'contradiction' originally arose -- it was introduced into this 'problem' right at the start by this inconsistent (implicit) assumption, so no wonder it emerged at a later point -- no puns intended.]

This protocol might at first sight seem to neutralise an earlier objection (i.e., that even though a moving body might be in two places, we could always set up a one-one relation between the latter and two separate instants in time, because time and space can be represented as equally fine-grained), but, plainly, it only achieves this by stipulating (without any justification) that the successful mapping of places onto (nested intervals of) real numbers (to give them the required density and continuity) is denied of temporal intervals.

So, there seem to be three distinct possibilities with these two distinct variables (concerning location and time):


(1) Both time and place are infinitely divisible.

(2) Infinite divisibility is true of location only.

(3) Infinite divisibility is true of either but not both (i.e., it is true of time but not place, or it is true of place but not time).


Naturally, these are not the only alternatives, but they seem to be the only three that are relevant to matters in hand.

Of course, one particular classical response to this dilemma ran along the lines that the infinite divisibility of time and place implies that an allegedly moving body is in fact at rest at some point; so, if we could specify a time at which an object was located at some point, and only that point at that time, it must be at rest at that point at that time. [This seems to be how Zeno at least argued.]

Nevertheless, it seemed equally clear to others that moving bodies cannot be depicted in this way, and that motion must be an 'intrinsic' (or even an 'inherent' property) of moving bodies (that is, we cannot depict moving bodies in a way that would imply they are stationary), so that at all times a moving body must be in motion, allowing it to be in and not in any given location at one and the same time. [This seems to be Hegel's view of the matter -- but good luck to anyone trying to find anything that clear in anything he wrote about this!]

If so, one or more of the above options must be rejected. To that end, it seems that for the latter set of individuals 1) and 3) must be dropped, leaving only 2):


(2) Infinite divisibility is true of location only.


However, it's worth pointing out that the paradoxical conclusions classically associated with these three alternatives only arise if other, less well appreciated assumptions are either left out of the picture or are totally ignored -- i.e., in addition to those alluded to above concerning the continuity of space and the (assumed) discrete nature of time. As it turns out, the precise form taken by several of these suppressed and unacknowledged premisses depends on what view is taken of the allegedly 'real' meaning of the words like "motion" and "place".

The above is taken from Essay Five at my site (where I detail several other fatal objections to Engels and Hegel).

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2005.htm

 

[Added on edit -- the above passage has been re-written extensively -- in order to make my argument even clearer -- since this comment was posted at the aforementioned site. Despite this, readers are encouraged to visit the site in question and see for themselves just how much MLT is a 'stranger to the truth'.]
 

So, I hope readers spotted my "This is silly, hah hah hah", and my "Yeah, I mean, physics is kind of funny sometimes!" in there somewhere.

 

Furthermore, in the thread in question, I responded to FW's supposedly 'mathematical arguments' (which response MLT ignored); here is part of it. First of all I quote Engels:

 

"As soon as we consider things in their motion, their change, their life, their reciprocal influence…[t]hen we immediately become involved in contradictions. Motion itself is a contradiction; even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body being both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it. And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is." [Engels (1976), p.152. Bold emphasis added.]

 

I did this as part of my reply to the passage MLT quoted:

 

"When a body is in motion its velocity is not zero and therefore...v = dx/dt =/= 0

 

"What we’re discussing are fundamental facts of physics which you have to understand prior to attempting to understand philosophical theories involving them....

"During motion, the position of a body in physical terms is defined by x and yet it is not defined by x but is defined by dx. When in motion a body is at one point x and yet it is at two points whose difference is dx. The same applies to time -- you can define the body in motion at time t and yet there is a difference of two times, dt, which also characterizes temporally a body in motion. These are obviously contradictory conditions of motion, coexisting. Motion is a constant resolution of these contradictions. This is what physics says...."

 

I then pointed out the following:

 

Here, he [Engels] is quite clear: a body is "both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it", that is, it moves with no time having lapsed.

If he had meant this:


E1: For some b, for two instants t(1) and t(2), b is at p at t(1) and not at p at t(2), and b is at q at t(2).


where t(1) and t(2) both belong to some time interval T (such that dt =/= 0), there would be no contradiction. His [Engels's] 'contradiction' depends on the time difference between t(1) and t(2) being zero.

Which is why he [Engels] argued elsewhere as follows:

 

"How are these forms of calculus used? In a given problem, for example, I have two variables, x and y, neither of which can vary without the other also varying in a ratio determined by the facts of the case. I differentiate x and y, i.e., I take x and y as so infinitely small that in comparison with any real quantity, however small, they disappear, that nothing is left of x and y but their reciprocal relation without any, so to speak, material basis, a quantitative ratio in which there is no quantity. Therefore, dy/dx, the ratio between the differentials of x and y, is dx equal to 0/0 but 0/0 taken as the expression of y/x. I only mention in passing that this ratio between two quantities which have disappeared, caught at the moment of their disappearance, is a contradiction; however, it cannot disturb us any more than it has disturbed the whole of mathematics for almost two hundred years. And now, what have I done but negate x and y, though not in such a way that I need not bother about them any more, not in the way that metaphysics negates, but in the way that corresponds with the facts of the case? In place of x and y, therefore, I have their negation, dx and dy, in the formulas or equations before me. I continue then to operate with these formulas, treating dx and dy as quantities which are real, though subject to certain exceptional laws, and at a certain point I negate the negation, i.e., I integrate the differential formula, and in place of dx and dy again get the real quantities x and y, and am then not where I was at the beginning, but by using this method I have solved the problem on which ordinary geometry and algebra might perhaps have broken their jaws in vain." [Engels (1976), p.175. Bold emphasis added.]

 

As he [Engels] notes, it is the alleged "disappearance" of these 'quantities' (when they equal zero, when dy/dx or dx/dt =0) that creates/constitutes the 'contradiction'.

And why he asserted:

 

"even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body being both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it." [Bold added.]
 

According to him, a moving body is in one place and not in it at the same time. In other words it has moved while time hasn't.
 

http://tinyurl.com/ndvzx6r

 

Much of the rest of the discussion in the thread in question revolved around this point, and how FW's interpretation of this part of DM differed from Engels's view of his own theory, and of the Calculus. Now, there might be some readers who still agree with FW (but, it isn't too clear how they could possibly do that if they want to defend Engels), but how many who have read the above will think my words can be summarised as follows: "This is silly, hah hah hah", or by "Yeah, I mean, physics is kind of funny sometimes!"?

 

And yet, MLT seems to be able to see words like this in there. Which suggests he either didn't read my response to FW, or he prefers to tell lies -- or both.  

 

I also go on to point out (to FW) that his ideas are based on an obsolete 18th century view of the calculus -- a point I don't expect MLT to be able to grasp, since he, unlike me, hasn't got a degree in mathematics. Again, I add this comment not to brag, or to 'pull rank', but merely to note that the only reason MLT is impressed with FW's argument is that he knows rather too little mathematics (and seems not to have read Engels too carefully, either!) -- as if dx/dt is a division! [Which is how MLT depicts this symbol in the video.] It was a division for 18th century mathematicians, but no one since Riemann or Weierstrass has argued this way (except perhaps the ignorant).

 

Moreover, the points FW makes are mathematical, not physical. It isn't possible to conduct an experiment (or imagine one that could be conducted -- even in an ideal world, and the experimenter were possessed of 'god'-like powers of perception) to test and thus verify what he (or Engels, or Hegel) had to say about motion; so it can't be Physics, can it?

 

In fact, if anything is "'purely theoretical' and thus has 'no connection to reality'", this argument of FW's is!

 

How come MLT failed to spot this?

 

2) Similarly, I defy MLT to find anywhere at the above Forum, or even at my site, where I say anything that is remotely like this: "Oh, this is a contradiction, therefore it's wrong".

 

It would be very easy for me to 'refute' MLT by deliberately making stuff up (and patently ridiculous stuff, too) about his ideas, wouldn't it? In fact, in an earlier exchange, MLT pointed out that I had misrepresented him (even though, unlike him, I didn't attribute to him a ridiculous or totally fictitious set of beliefs), so I apologised.

 

Will he do the same? [Re-quoted from here.]

 

Nearly two years later, and I am still waiting...

 

I have responded to the other things TFB/MLT had to say in the quoted passage above, here.

 

Dialectics Is Far Worse Than 'Weird'

 

However, there are a couple of extra points worth making in relation to the following comment of TFB's:

 

[J]ust because it's contradictory doesn't mean that it's...wrong. Because, as I say in this quote, I mean physics is kind of funny sometimes. Yeah, physics and math (sic) we..., sometimes works in weird ways. I mean, I'm not a mathematician, but it's still works in weird ways. Doesn't mean it's automatically wrong. Just because there are paradoxes [garbled word] seems to contradict something. 'Cause, like, either the paradox is wrong... [dramatic pause], or the math (sic) is wrong, or... [another dramatic pause], there is a paradox, but it's still not a problem -- because you're claiming that because there's a paradox it is automatically wrong, and you just have to dismiss the whole thing. [From here.]

 

1) True-to-form, TFB failed to give a single example of where he thinks mathematics "works in weird ways" -- but even if he were right, why should we leave it in that condition? Mathematics (and Physics) would come to a grinding halt if, when mathematicians and scientists encountered 'problems', they just threw up their hands and said "Well. physics and mathematics sometimes work in weird ways...!" Where would physics be if -- when Kepler faced anomalies in Tycho Brahe's observations, which didn't fit the models on offer in his day -- he responded in the same way as TFB? Where would it be if Max Planck had responded to the paradox of Black Body radiation at the end of the 19th century with an: "Well, physics is weird sometimes...!", and hadn't invented early versions of Quantum Mechanics instead?

 

2) Ok, so just how 'weird' is this theory of Engels, then? Really weird -- so weird, in fact, that even TFB might be tempted to ditch it.

 

Here is Engels, again:

 

"...[A]s soon as we consider things in their motion, their change, their life, their reciprocal influence on one another[,] [t]hen we immediately become involved in contradictions. Motion itself is a contradiction: even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body at one and the same moment of time being both in one place and in another place, being in one and the same place and also not in it. And the continuous assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is." [Engels (1976), p.152.]

 

First off, the following uncontroversial assumption underlies my demonstration just how weird the above 'theory' is:

 

E1: If an object is located in one place during two contiguous moments in time, it must be at rest there. So, no moving body can be in a given location during two such moments.

 

Second, with that in mind we can now proceed:

 

E2: Assume that body, B, is at rest; if so it will be in a given location -- say p(k) -- for at least two 'moments in time' (leaving for now the word "moment" as vague as Engels left it) -- say, t(n) and t(n+1). [Where t(k) is a 'moment in time'.]

 

E3: Assume further that B is now moving and hence that it is in two places at once -- say, p(1) and p(2), both at t(1).

 

E4: If so, then, unless it is in a third place at the same time -- say, p(3) at t(1) --, B will in fact be at rest in p(2).

 

E5: That is because if B isn't located at p(3) at t(1), it must be there at a later time -- say, t(2).

 

E6: And yet, B has to be in p(2) and p(3) at the same time -- according to E3 -- in this case, it must be there at t(2).

 

E7: But, if B is in p(2) and p(3) at t(2), it is in p(2) during two moments, t(1) and t(2) -- according to E3 and E6.

 

E8: In that case, B will be at rest in p(2) (since it is there for two moments in time -- according to  E1 and E2), contrary to the assumption that it is moving.

 

E9: So, B must be in p(2) and p(3) at the same moment, t(1), if it is moving.

 

E10: But, if B is in p(2) and p(3) at t(1), and still moving, it is in three places at the same time, p(1), p(2) and p(3).

 

E11: However, the same considerations also apply to p(3) and p(4); B has to be in both at the same time, which now means that it is in p(1), p(2), p(3) and p(4), all at t(1).

 

E12: It takes very little 'dialectical logic' to see where this is going (no pun intended): if there are n points along its path, then B will be in p(1), p(2), p(3)..., p(n-1), p(n), all at t(1).

 

E13: So, this 'world-view of the proletariat' would have a moving object occupy all the points along its trajectory at the same time!

 

For those who might find the above a little too abstract, here is the same argument expressed in more ordinary terms:

 

According to Engels, a moving object has to be in two places at the same time -- call that moment "t(1)". If it is still moving at the second of those two points then it must be in that second place and a third place, at the same moment in time -- t(1), again. Otherwise, it will be in that second place for two moments -- t(1) and t(2) -- not one moment, which would mean it would be at rest there. So, if it is still moving it must be in this third place also at t(1). But the same considerations apply to the third and fourth place, the fourth and fifth place, and so on... Hence, if Engels is to be believed, a moving object must be located at every point along is path at the same moment, t(1)!

 

This means that, if dialectics were correct, when you fly off on your holidays the aeroplane that takes you there will arrive at your destination at the same time as it leaves! No good saying "Well, holidays can be weird sometimes...!", or even "Flying is supposed to be contradictory". The above isn't contradictory or paradoxical, it is just unvarnished nonsense. It will be interesting to see how TFB manages to squirm his way out of that 'difficulty'.

 

There are other serious, but no less 'weird', problems associated with this 'theory'; I have exposed them in Essay Five. Readers are directed there for further details.

 

More to follow...

 

References

 

Engels, F. (1976), Anti-Dühring (Foreign Languages Press).

 

 

Word Count: 5920

 

Latest Update: 14/02/18

 

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