Chaos and dialectics

Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters quilty at philos.umass.edu
Mon Nov 14 19:34:13 MST 1994


Steve Keen writes:
*} (I hope that Lulu "drops in" here and improves my explanations a bit--
*} as I intimated in that first post, I "came into chaos" via the back
*} door, and have only done the maths to understand it after I realised
*} that it impacted on my work.)

Since I'm invited, I feel I ought to say something.  As a start, I
must say I think Tom's hunches that chaos is somehow bourgeois, or
essentially molecular, or reifies micro/macro, seem pretty wrong to
me.  I find the areas of mathematics roughly labelled 'chaos' quite
fascinating, and quite possibly useful for Marxists.  However, I
have to think it a mistake to assign a particular class character
to areas of pure mathematics.  While as a social-constructivist in
phil.science questions, I'll hardly be caught arguing for the
neutrality of intellectual pursuits, neither do I expect a
token-to-token correspondence between particular equations and the
class position which originates or benefits from them.

What I find very fascinating is Keen's suggestion that chaos might
in some interesting sense *BE* dialectics.  I believe he made a
comment along the way to Lewontin's wonderful dialectic biology,
which gives an *interactionist* picture of organisms and
environment.  Probably one requisite of a chaotic dynamic system is
multiple causation *amongst* several things (as in the three-body
problem), which probably pushes any dialectical biological
mathematics into chaos.  But that still doesn't quite seem to
motivate an *identity* between dialectics and chaos.  I'm not really
sure what to make of this comparison yet...  but would be very
interested if Keen, or anyone else, would detail the perceived
similarities more explicitly.

Yours, Lulu..

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