[Marxism] Re: O, Dialectics!

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Mon May 16 15:02:32 MDT 2005

On Mon, 16 May 2005 16:15:27 -0400 Les Schaffer <schaffer at optonline.net>
> Jim Farmelant wrote:
> > 
> > Yah, the famous quantum harmonic oscillator model:
> > See: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/hosc4.html
> > for a simple derivation.
> >
> although for the BEC case, the gas particles are free.
> > Which would be the case if one of the Grand Unification Theories 
> (GUTs)
> > is true.
> so, is gauge symmetry a dialectical principle? i forgot to mention 
> that 
> to Leninology in his discussion of the conservation of electric 
> charge.
> > Well Stephen Jay Gould thought that dialectics could provide
> > a heuristic for biological research.  His own work on punctuated
> > equilibrium seems to have been inspired in part by dialectics,
> > and Gould noted that many Soviet scientists found inspiration
> > in dialectics for their research.
> i've read that many Sov. scientists argued that Einstein's theories 
> were 
> dialectical, at a time when they were under attack from some of 
> Stalin's 
> ideological cadres.
> at this point though i am more interested in seeing if the principle 
> of 
> dialectics can be used from scratch, so to speak, in physics. i 
> don't 
> really mean from a clean slate, but could there be a formulation 
> that 
> would be useful for some problems that are open today? i would be 
> curious to see how Gould suggested its use, if you have reference, 
> pass 
> it along.

Offhand, Gould's main applications of dialectics would include
the working out of his notion of punctuated equilibrium in
evolution, and his opposition to what he saw as
reductionist understandings of Darwinism.  Gould
was insistent on the existence of a plurality of
mechanisms that underlaid evolution.  Natural
selection was of prime importance, but other
mechanisms like genetic drift were also very
important.  He also argued, (contrary to
the genocentric view of natural selection,
propounded by people like William 
Hamilton, George Williams, John
Maynard Smith, and Richard Dawkins)
that natural selection operates on
several different levels.  Its not just
genes or individual organisms that
constitute the "units of selection,"
rather, natural selection, in Gould's
view also operated on the species
level.  He attempted to formulate
a hierarchical theory of natural selection
for which punctuated equilibrium would
be one of its corollaries.

> les schaffer
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