[Marxism] The criticism of religion [was: RE: Vnzla:reasons tobe optimistic]

Haines Brown brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Sun Aug 26 12:07:51 MDT 2007

> "What you really offer is the truism that our actions should be
> informed, but as far as I know, no one suggested anything to the
> contrary."
> My point is really not complicated. Struggling hard is useless or
> worse if you have no clue as to what you are doing. It is not just a
> question of whether it is "possible" to struggle in a certain way
> around a certain objective. There is also the question of whether
> all that struggling is EFFECTIVE. Thinking that struggling hard will
> make it effective is the very distilled essence of voluntarism.
> Now look at, for example, the last half-century of so of
> "struggling" on the American Left, and judging by the results, do
> you have a warm and fuzzy feeling about all the progress that has
> been made?

Joachim, I don't want to drag this out, for we really don't disagree.

The word "effective" can refer to outcomes (in which case I largely
agree with your objection), or to the likelihood for a given outcome
(what is often called causal potency). I use the word largely because
while there are solid objections to operationalism, common sense
suggests that successful Praxis is more likely to be based on correct
information than unsuccessful Praxis.

Our difficulty arises from there being two quite different meanings
for the word "effective". In my dictionary it is: a) Having the power
to produce an effect, b) that which produces a given effect. The
former refers to qualities of the cause; the second refers to
qualities of the effect.

The objection to my original statement might be raised by an
operationalist or more broadly an empiricist who denies the reality of
causal powers and insists that we can only _infer_ causal relations
from their effects. I chose the alternative I did because it best
accords with the contemporary consensus in the philosophy of
science. Perhaps this comment makes things a little clearer for you.

       Haines Brown, KB1GRM


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