Positivistic influence on anarchism/marxism

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
working class
Offline
Joined: 1-05-11
May 29 2011 02:51
Positivistic influence on anarchism/marxism

Marxists seem to stress the importance of analysis based on facts which are obtained from our sense organs and claim to follow the "scientific" method with everything from the study of history, the study of society to theorising about revolution. Anarchist authors do not seem to have the same tendency to proclaim everything they say to be scientific.

Marxists' insistence of claiming their theory to be scientific however is in contradiction with Marx's analysis of history and the economy as being based on social relations, which, by definition, do not conform to any scientific patterns. From my understanding, it is the positivistic influence on the the largely reformist and evolutionary Second International, which existed in the period of the ascendant bourgeoisie, which is to blame for this kind of theorising on the parts of Marxists.

Also, from wikipedia:

Quote:
Comte offered an account of social evolution, proposing that society undergoes three phases in its quest for the truth according to a general 'law of three stages'. The idea bears some similarity to Marx's view that human society would progress toward a communist peak. This is perhaps unsurprising as both were profoundly influenced by the early Utopian socialist, Henri de Saint-Simon, who was at one time Comte's mentor. Both Comte and Marx intended to develop secular-scientific ideologies in the wake of European secularisation.

Link

Is my understanding correct? What is the real extent of positivist influence on anarchism/marxism? Are there any cogent critiques of positivism from anarchists or Marxists?

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
May 29 2011 06:46

working class, I'll leave the Anarchists on this site to answer for themselves, but as a Marxist I can give you a partial answer.

working class wrote:
Marxists seem to stress the importance of analysis based on facts which are obtained from our sense organs and claim to follow the "scientific" method with everything from the study of history, the study of society to theorising about revolution.

..

working class wrote:
Marxists' insistence of claiming their theory to be scientific however is in contradiction with Marx's analysis of history and the economy as being based on social relations, which, by definition, do not conform to any scientific patterns.

I think a real problem here, working class, is that you seem yourself to see 'science' as something positivistic. I think philosophers of science now accept that 'science' isn't an "analysis based on facts which are obtained from our sense organs", and that "social relations" are an integral part of 'science'.

So, it is possible to see "Marx's analysis of history and the economy as being based on social relations" as entirely 'scientific'.

In some sense, the real question now is not 'is Marxism a science' but rather 'is science a Marxism'?

For example, Einstein famously said, "it's the theory that determines what you can observe" [think 'Higgs Boson'], and as 'theories' are human, and humans are social, and current society is a class society, it seems reasonable to conclude that 'science' is not 'science in the 19th century positivistic sense', but that 'science' is a social activity, containing real social divisions.

So it is your statement that "social relations, which, by definition, do not conform to any scientific patterns" which is scientifically incorrect. It's your 'definition' which is at question. 'Social relations' can be examined scientifically.

working class wrote:
Are there any cogent critiques of positivism from anarchists or Marxists?

Well, almost every philosopher of science in the 20th century criticised 'positivism', so you don't even have to be a Marxist to provide a 'cogent critique'. Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos spring to mind.

FWIW, if you regard 'Marxism' as a Lakatosian 'research programme', you won't go far wrong.

Perhaps a starting point would be to define who you mean by 'Marxists'. Are you asking questions about the thinking of 'late 19th century Marxists' (more a historical issue) or 'Marxists in early 21st century' (more a political issue)? I would regard these as separate 'research programmes'.

working class
Offline
Joined: 1-05-11
May 29 2011 20:11
LBird wrote:
I think a real problem here, working class, is that you seem yourself to see 'science' as something positivistic. I think philosophers of science now accept that 'science' isn't an "analysis based on facts which are obtained from our sense organs", and that "social relations" are an integral part of 'science'.

So, it is possible to see "Marx's analysis of history and the economy as being based on social relations" as entirely 'scientific'.

In some sense, the real question now is not 'is Marxism a science' but rather 'is science a Marxism'?

For example, Einstein famously said, "it's the theory that determines what you can observe" [think 'Higgs Boson'], and as 'theories' are human, and humans are social, and current society is a class society, it seems reasonable to conclude that 'science' is not 'science in the 19th century positivistic sense', but that 'science' is a social activity, containing real social divisions.

So it is your statement that "social relations, which, by definition, do not conform to any scientific patterns" which is scientifically incorrect. It's your 'definition' which is at question. 'Social relations' can be examined scientifically.

That makes a lot of sense, but for people like Richard Dawkins or other popular scientists, science seems to be confined to its positivist aspects alone.

To get back to the history of Marxism, when Marx was writing his books and when the Second International came into existence, positivism was probably the most popular philosophy among the intelligentsia of that age. Thus, it seems reasonable to conclude that 19th century Marxism was itself deeply affected by positivism, thus we had Marxists from Engels to Lenin claiming that Marxism was a scientific theory.

Quote:
Well, almost every philosopher of science in the 20th century criticised 'positivism', so you don't even have to be a Marxist to provide a 'cogent critique'. Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos spring to mind.

FWIW, if you regard 'Marxism' as a Lakatosian 'research programme', you won't go far wrong.

Thanks. Is there any introductory work in philosophy of science that you would recommend?

Quote:
Perhaps a starting point would be to define who you mean by 'Marxists'. Are you asking questions about the thinking of 'late 19th century Marxists' (more a historical issue) or 'Marxists in early 21st century' (more a political issue)? I would regard these as separate 'research programmes'.

I am mainly interested in the late 19th century Marxists and their present day descendants among left communists.

Zanthorus's picture
Zanthorus
Offline
Joined: 3-08-10
May 29 2011 20:52

It seems that Marx and Engels were not the biggest fans of positivism...

Quote:
Thus the Paris Revue Positiviste reproaches me in that, on the one hand, I treat economics metaphysically, and on the other hand — imagine! — confine myself to the mere critical analysis of actual facts, instead of writing receipts (Comtist ones?) for the cook-shops of the future.

- Marx, Afterword to the Second German Edition of Capital

Quote:
I am studying Comte on the side just now, as the English and French are making such a fuss of the fellow. What seduces them about him is his encyclopaedic quality, la synthèse. But that is pitiful when compared with Hegel (although Comte is superior to him as a mathematician and physicist by profession, i.e., superior in the detail, though even here Hegel is infinitely greater as a whole). And this shitty positivism came out in 1832!

- Marx to Engels, 7th of July 1866

Quote:
How little Comte can have been the author of his encyclopaedic arrangement of the natural sciences, which he copied from Saint-Simon, is already evident from the fact that it only serves him for the purpose of arranging the means of instruction and course of instruction, and so leads to the crazy enseignement intégral, where one science is always exhausted before another is even broached, where a basically correct idea is pushed to a mathematical absurdity.

- Engels, Dialectics of Nature

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
May 29 2011 21:42
working class wrote:
Thanks. Is there any introductory work in philosophy of science that you would recommend?

The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes: v. 1

Imre Lakatos

ISBN 10: 0521280311

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Methodology-Scientific-Research-Programmes-v-1-Imre-Lakatos/9780521280310

working class wrote:
I am mainly interested in the late 19th century Marxists and their present day descendants among left communists.

I'll have to leave recommendations for this area for someone else who knows the subject better.

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
May 30 2011 10:05

Interesting thread. Something I had been thinking about after reading John Gray, who seems to think Marxism and anarchism is a positivist current in the modern world. Unlike working class's argument above, Gray thinks any form of universalism, or relativist logic which sees itself becoming the dominate model, is the measured failure of positivism.

Are there any good critiques of Grays work?

B_Reasonable
Offline
Joined: 6-02-09
May 30 2011 10:32
working class wrote:
That makes a lot of sense, but for people like Richard Dawkins or other popular scientists, science seems to be confined to its positivist aspects alone.

Further to LBird's point, that few people will defend positivism, that calls into question exactly what is positivism, and what is antipositivism against? This paper might be of interest: Antipositivism in Contemporary Philosophy of Social Science and Humanities by Jerzy Giedymin.

working class wrote:
To get back to the history of Marxism, when Marx was writing his books and when the Second International came into existence, positivism was probably the most popular philosophy among the intelligentsia of that age. Thus, it seems reasonable to conclude that 19th century Marxism was itself deeply affected by positivism, thus we had Marxists from Engels to Lenin claiming that Marxism was a scientific theory.

As can be seen from Zanthorus's quotes, it is probably necessary to reach back to the development of Saint-Simonism, and its interaction with Hegelism, to understand what precisely is being meant by 'positivism' in the C19th. I found this a useful overview: The Foundations of Positivism and the Rise of Sociology by Herbert Marcuse.

Also, I just found this with google: Review of Hegelianismus and Saint-Simonsimus which seems to give an introduction to the different strands of thought.

jacobian
Offline
Joined: 18-03-09
Jun 8 2011 12:57

Imre Lakatos is a million times better than Marx on the question of scientific method. Marx just doesn't get whats wrong with restriction to facts. Lakatos spells out clearly how this leaves you unable to distinguish between a degenerating programme and a progressive one.

A claim to science does not make one science, and the Marxists are some of the most guilty of this offense. There are scores of books on materialism that leave us with not even vague notions of what we should expect to use them for. Dialectics, used cleverly, allows almost any result to be defended by theory since auxiliary hypotheses are kept neatly paired - with both the positive and negative results being proposed in the original hypothesis.

In terms of anarchism being anti-positivist, that notion might come from Feyerabend's epistemological anarchism. In my opinion its a load of rubbish.

Popper definitely overstates the simplicity of the scientific method in his notion of falsifiability. However, our response should not be to run madly in the other direction. I think Lakatos provides us with very useful ways of proceeding such that we don't fall into either the trap of believing that the model is the territory, or that we are justified in ignoring modeling.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Jun 8 2011 14:50
jacobian wrote:
Lakatos spells out clearly how this leaves you unable to distinguish between a degenerating programme and a progressive one.

.

jacobian's link 'degenerating programme' wrote:
...Lakatos wanted us to ask whether one research programme is better than another, so that there is a rational basis for preferring it. He showed that in some cases one research programme can be described as progressive while its rivals are degenerating. A progressive research programme is marked by its growth, along with the discovery of stunning novel facts, development of new experimental techniques, more precise predictions, etc. A degenerating research program is marked by lack of growth, or growth of the protective belt that does not lead to novel facts.

I personally think that Lakatos' views are very useful in trying to understand 'what is science?', but he's not using a class-based method.

For example, the idea that there is a non-class 'rational basis' is a big mistake. 'Rationality' is itself a product of human thought, and not from the external planet 'Rational'. What's 'rational' for the bourgeoisie is not 'rational' for the proletariat, and vice versa.

This leads us to the problem of determining what counts as 'progressive' or 'degenerating'. I don't think that it is a simple task to identify 'growth', 'novel facts', 'techniques', 'predictions' without taking a class stance. In Philosophical Papers, Lakatos continually disparages Marxism as a 'degenerating' programme, but that is because he lived under Stalinism in Hungary and unthinkingly accepted it as 'existing Socialism', rather than an anti-working class regime, and came to reject his earlier Communist ideals.

Of course, the idea that 'rationality is class-based' is clearly part of my Lakatosian 'hard-core', so I can, with his blessing, ignore any empirical evidence which suggests otherwise!

Anyway, whatever the difficulties, it's worth any Communist's time to read his work (link to book given in an earlier post).

jacobian
Offline
Joined: 18-03-09
Jun 8 2011 15:44
LBird wrote:
This leads us to the problem of determining what counts as 'progressive' or 'degenerating'. I don't think that it is a simple task to identify 'growth', 'novel facts', 'techniques', 'predictions' without taking a class stance.

Research programmes can be absolutely "regressive" in the class sense, while being "progressive" in Lakatos's sense, but this is just how it should be. The capitalists who use scientific method to tailor predilections to impulse-purchase are involved in a progressive program in the sense that they are learning how to make you act in ways that, though they may be contrary to your interests, are in their interests as capitalists. This is both good science and bad for our class.

These programmes aren't neutral, but that's not what this schema is attempting to decide. The schema is designed to tell you if given your goals, you're working with a theory which is useless, or working with a theory which is useful. A useful theory has explanatory power and gives you novel facts.

That Marxism is in the main (though I do not believe it is completely) a degenerative research programme is unrelated to whether it uses a class analysis.

Class analysis itself is not above reproach as an analytical category - if we're going to use it, it should have some purpose. There is in fact some evidence that it is a useful category in the scientific sense.

LBird wrote:
In Philosophical Papers, Lakatos continually disparages Marxism as a 'degenerating' programme, but that is because he lived under Stalinism in Hungary and unthinkingly accepted it as 'existing Socialism', rather than an anti-working class regime, and came to reject his earlier Communist ideals.

Lakatos was even harsher on neo-classicism than he was on Marxism - which he admitted had some potentially verifiable novel predictions. He basically said the neo-classicals were complete frauds.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Jun 9 2011 08:08
jacobian wrote:
Research programmes can be absolutely "regressive" in the class sense, while being "progressive" in Lakatos's sense, but this is just how it should be. The capitalists who use scientific method to tailor predilections to impulse-purchase are involved in a progressive program in the sense that they are learning how to make you act in ways that, though they may be contrary to your interests, are in their interests as capitalists. This is both good science and bad for our class.

I think I disagree with you here, jacobian.

To say a programme is 'progressive' we also have to say 'for who'. I don't think that there is a 'Lakatosian sense', outside of class considerations. If a programme is 'regressive' for our class, it is objectively 'regressive' (although, as you say, it might appear 'progressive' for an exploiting class). I don't think 'good science' exists outside of what's 'progressive' for our class. 'Good' and 'progressive' are human, value-laden terms. This failure to take class into account is, I believe, one of the main failings of Lakatos' otherwise excellent theory regarding 'what is science'.

Otherwise, we end up saying Cartwright's theory of 'drapetomania' is 'good science', because it is "A useful theory [which] has explanatory power and gives you novel facts", and furthermore even provides a 'useful' remedy to this terribly debilitating condition.

But once we ask 'debilitating for which class?', we are on firmer 'scientific' ground.

jacobian wrote:
That Marxism is in the main (though I do not believe it is completely) a degenerative research programme...

There's a whole PhD in that, mate! I'll leave it till another time.

To return to the OP, I think Lakatos' views are very helpful in understanding 'science' and placing it as a human activity, rather than a positivistic, 'objective' mode of enquiry, which can be separated from society.

Really, given Lakatos' help, we should be asking, not just 'is Marxism a science?' or 'is science a Marxism?', but also 'is science a religion?' and 'is religion a science?'. It is far more difficult to demarcate these activities than initially appears.

The only reason these questions don't get asked is because there is still a commonly-held view that 'science' produces 'truth', and its method is uniquely correct, as workingclass mentioned in post #3 about 'Dawkins and other popular scientists'.

jacobian
Offline
Joined: 18-03-09
Jun 9 2011 11:51
LBird wrote:
To say a programme is 'progressive' we also have to say 'for who'. I don't think that there is a 'Lakatosian sense', outside of class considerations.

There is a 'Lakatosian sense' which is completely outside of class consideration. It is simply the undertaker of the programme - the actor responsible for deciding on the goal of the programme.

LBird wrote:
If a programme is 'regressive' for our class, it is objectively 'regressive' (although, as you say, it might appear 'progressive' for an exploiting class).

It's not "objectively" regressive. It's regressive from the point of view of the goal of some actor.

LBird wrote:
I don't think 'good science' exists outside of what's 'progressive' for our class. 'Good' and 'progressive' are human, value-laden terms. This failure to take class into account is, I believe, one of the main failings of Lakatos' otherwise excellent theory regarding 'what is science'.

Good science absolutely exists outside of whether the science is good for us. You could have the sick experimentations on humans that involved injecting radioactive iodine or any number of other things which were part of twisted progressive programmes. Those are effective programmes and good science in the 'Lakatosian sense'.

Science can inform us of the possible - and thereby put constraints on what goals are realisable, but it does not tell us what our goals should be.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Jun 10 2011 07:08
jacobian wrote:
There is a 'Lakatosian sense' which is completely outside of class consideration. It is simply the undertaker of the programme - the actor responsible for deciding on the goal of the programme.

I'm not sure of what you mean by 'undertaker' and 'actor', whether you mean an 'individual' or a 'group'. But whichever, we are all members of society, so if you mean 'individual' you are incorrect, and if you mean a 'group' you'd have to explain how this particular group is outside of society.

If, since Einstein, we are all aware that there is no objective 'fixed position' for an observer in the physical world, how much more true is it that there is no objective 'outside of class' position for an observer in the social world.

Any 'undertaker/actor', however defined, is a 'social undertaker/actor'.

jacobian wrote:
It's not "objectively" regressive. It's regressive from the point of view of the goal of some actor.

But if we, as proletarians, are to judge 'regression/progression', we have to do it from a class perspective, otherwise the judgement becomes a relative or individualistic one, which has no 'objective' content at all. At this point, we can't judge 'drapetomania' as pseudo-science.

(We both know the notion of 'objectivity' is problematic, but it's probably best not to delve too deeply into that for now, and just leave it as an opposition to 'subjective/relative'.)

jacobian wrote:
Good science absolutely exists outside of whether the science is good for us. You could have the sick experimentations on humans that involved injecting radioactive iodine or any number of other things which were part of twisted progressive programmes. Those are effective programmes and good science in the 'Lakatosian sense'.

Here again you seem to be suggesting that 'science' is an activity outside of human society, in its aims, methods, actions, results and measurement. But science is fundamentally a human activity, not just a disinterested search for the 'truth'.

If, for physics, the observation of the material world changes the material world, how much more true is it of the observation of the social world? And 'what' we observe is determined by the theory we use. I think your use of the term 'twisted progressive' captures the difficulties of maintaining the notion of "effective programmes and good science in the 'Lakatosian sense' ".

As I've said, I think Lakatos' central weakness is his ignoring of 'class' as a reality in society. I don't think there is a group of scientists outside of society who know better than society, and who can judge 'progressive/regressive' programmes more correctly than society itself. And if that society is class-divided, then 'judgements' will be class-based.

As Marx said, 'who educates the educators?'.

If not the proletariat, who judges science? 'Special' individuals? Scientists are trained within and by society, and remain of that society and its goals and judgements.

jacobian
Offline
Joined: 18-03-09
Jun 11 2011 11:59
LBird wrote:
I'm not sure of what you mean by 'undertaker' and 'actor', whether you mean an 'individual' or a 'group'. But whichever, we are all members of society, so if you mean 'individual' you are incorrect, and if you mean a 'group' you'd have to explain how this particular group is outside of society.

It could very well be an individual, or a group. Research programmes have been driven by both in the past.

I don't have to explain how anything is 'outside of society' anymore than I have to explain why a scientific observer is outside of the universe. The interaction between observer and observed, while true, is irrelevant to the question of whether or not the programme is progressive. All science exists on the basis of being interconnected to the system under study.

LBird wrote:
If, since Einstein, we are all aware that there is no objective 'fixed position' for an observer in the physical world, how much more true is it that there is no objective 'outside of class' position for an observer in the social world.

There is a relative position - relative to the observer. In this case the observer is the one undertaking a research programme towards a given goal.

LBird wrote:
But if we, as proletarians, are to judge 'regression/progression', we have to do it from a class perspective, otherwise the judgement becomes a relative or individualistic one, which has no 'objective' content at all. At this point, we can't judge 'drapetomania' as pseudo-science.

It's still relative - relative to the goal of emancipating the vast majority of the population from domination.

And yes 'drapetomania' is degenerate in the 'Lakatosian' sense, just as neoclassical economics is. They both have a stated goal for which the programme is not predictive and gives us no new facts. They fail on their own stated basis.

Degenerate research programmes can be exceptionally useful to a class who would like to promulgate a world view independent of evidentiary attack by being 'not even wrong'. Generally this class is the bourgeoisie, but it could also be the bureaucracy of the USSR, or the absolute monarchy and its claim to divine right.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of Marxists like the idea of a degenerate research programme which is similarly independent of reality.

It's incredibly useful to be able to evaluate whether a research programme is regressive independently of its social use. It means I can point to something like neoclassicism and say: 'bullshit', without having to tell people of my (conspiracy) theory that its only purpose is as a fairy tale to keep the working class in its place. After you've shown that it's pseudo-science, even on its own terms, people are more receptive to the conspiracy theory.

LBird wrote:
Here again you seem to be suggesting that 'science' is an activity outside of human society, in its aims, methods, actions, results and measurement. But science is fundamentally a human activity, not just a disinterested search for the 'truth'.

First, 'truth' doesn't enter into it. 'Truth' is already relativised, even before we move out of the realm of pure mathematics.

You're confusing the goal of the research programme with the programme itself. Appropriate goals are at least partially socially constructed.

And no - science is not fundamentally a human activity. A computer can carry out a progressive research programme without human intervention. Even goals can be constructed according to environmental dynamics as with some genetic algorithms.

LBird wrote:
If, for physics, the observation of the material world changes the material world, how much more true is it of the observation of the social world? And 'what' we observe is determined by the theory we use. I think your use of the term 'twisted progressive' captures the difficulties of maintaining the notion of "effective programmes and good science in the 'Lakatosian sense' ".

This is a red herring. It simply doesn't matter for having a useful way of approaching understanding when theories are degenerate.

LBird wrote:
If not the proletariat, who judges science? 'Special' individuals? Scientists are trained within and by society, and remain of that society and its goals and judgements.

We can judge the goals of a research programme for suitability from a proletarian viewpoint.

You seem to be insisting that science have a sense of ethics built into it - a way to find 'proletarian truths'. It sounds quite like the catholic churches approach to scientific exploration, and it is likely to encounter the same problems.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Jun 11 2011 12:36
jacobian wrote:
It could very well be an individual, or a group. Research programmes have been driven by both in the past...The interaction between observer and observed, while true, is irrelevant to the question of whether or not the programme is progressive...There is a relative position - relative to the observer. In this case the observer is the one undertaking a research programme towards a given goal...It's incredibly useful to be able to evaluate whether a research programme is regressive independently of its social use...And no - science is not fundamentally a human activity. A computer can carry out a progressive research programme without human intervention...You seem to be insisting that science have a sense of ethics built into it ...

To summarise, I think the essential differences between our approaches are twofold:

1. You argue that science can be done by individuals, whereas I argue that science is done by society;

2. You argue that there can be science outside of society (eg. by computers), whereas I argue that science is fundamentally a human, social activity.

For me to be persuaded by your approach, you would have to demonstrate two things to me:

1. Name a single 'individual', from any point in history, who is/was not a product of their society; in other words, someone who is/was not a 'social individual';

2. Show me a single instance of 'scientific activity' which carries no mark whatsoever of human action.

These are our respective Lakatosian 'hardcores', which, as I'm sure you'll know, cannot be refuted by empirical evidence.

If you produce an example non-social individual or humanless science, I'll show that neither fulfil my research programme's categories. And on the contrary, if I 'prove' to my research programme's satisfaction that all individuals are social and science by definition is social, you'll disagree.

We'll have to leave it to that well-known social and human category, the democratic proletariat, to decide.

Or, from your research programme's perspective, to a future 'individual computer'!

[the last line is meant to be a joke, but I can see how it can be misinterpreted, so I apologise now if you are affronted]

jacobian
Offline
Joined: 18-03-09
Jun 11 2011 21:22
LBird wrote:
1. Name a single 'individual', from any point in history, who is/was not a product of their society; in other words, someone who is/was not a 'social individual';

Name one experimental subject which existed outside of the universe. The question is essentially meaningless and it is also totally irrelevant.

LBird wrote:
2. Show me a single instance of 'scientific activity' which carries no mark whatsoever of human action.

There is none, though the scientific ideas of least import have the least impact. This is again totally irrelevant to my contentions.

LBird wrote:
Or, from your research programme's perspective, to a future 'individual computer'![

[the last line is meant to be a joke, but I can see how it can be misinterpreted, so I apologise now if you are affronted]

I'm not affronted, the idea of a future research programme undertaken by a computer is perfectly within the realm of possibility. I think it is tremendously likely. It will however impact the rest of society regardless of the goal, and it will impact future research programmes as well in terms of their development.

My contention is that you're trying to use Lakatosian theory for something it is not meant for. It is useful for evaluating the quality of a strategy on the terms of the game as it is described, not on your imposed ethical terms. You want a social and ethical theory of science. That is not what it gives us.

It is akin to you insisting that we have ethical chess algorithms. The only thing that matters for progress of chess algorithms is beating all the opponents. This has impacts on chess theory and the entire chess community - there is no doubt. However, your feelings about the impacts have nothing to do with whether or not the chess algorithm is progressive on the terms of success in pulverising human chess players.

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Jun 12 2011 05:51
jacobian wrote:
It is akin to you insisting that we have ethical chess algorithms. The only thing that matters for progress of chess algorithms is beating all the opponents. This has impacts on chess theory and the entire chess community - there is no doubt. However, your feelings about the impacts have nothing to do with whether or not the chess algorithm is progressive on the terms of success in pulverising human chess players.

But 'chess' is an arbitrary, conscious human creation. It has unspoken 'ethical' rules. I presume that there is no rule in the rulebook of chess that says that I can't shoot my opponent through the forehead with an automatic pistol, but surely this 'social rule' pertains to chess?

Science is the attempt to understand something that exists outside of individual humans, whether nature or society.

And, as I predicted, my research programme's questions have proved to be 'irrelevant' to your research programme. That's fine. We probably now need other posters (if anybody else is still reading) to join in and take forward the discussion.

radicalgraffiti
Offline
Joined: 4-11-07
Jun 12 2011 12:12
LBird wrote:
jacobian wrote:
It is akin to you insisting that we have ethical chess algorithms. The only thing that matters for progress of chess algorithms is beating all the opponents. This has impacts on chess theory and the entire chess community - there is no doubt. However, your feelings about the impacts have nothing to do with whether or not the chess algorithm is progressive on the terms of success in pulverising human chess players.

But 'chess' is an arbitrary, conscious human creation. It has unspoken 'ethical' rules. I presume that there is no rule in the rulebook of chess that says that I can't shoot my opponent through the forehead with an automatic pistol, but surely this 'social rule' pertains to chess?

i don't see how killing your opponent in a game of chess would win you the game?

LBird
Offline
Joined: 21-09-10
Jun 12 2011 14:08
radicalgraffiti wrote:
i don't see how killing your opponent in a game of chess would win you the game?

Rule 666, para ii, sub-section g: Termination of an opponent with extreme prejudice shall be deemed to be a technical checkmate.