Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hegel, Art and the Dialectical Method


More on the dialectical method; BIG mistake right here:

Hegel wrote in a deliberately obtuse manner in his major works, ..... refusing to make philosophy either easy or accessible. He wanted to put philosophy on the same basis as the sciences as a new kind of truth reached through process of trial and error or thesis and antithesis, producing an agreement or synthesis"

It doesn't produce an agreement... this is the whole point.

Seems to be a lot of people out there in positions of economic authority for whom this is the way their mind is working... SCARY!!!!!!

Hegel, Art and the Dialectical Method
 by Jeanne Willette
 Art History Unstuffed


36 comments:

Kaivey said...

According to Sean Kelly, who wrote the fantastic book, Individuation and the Absolute, Hegel, Jung, and the path towards wholeness, even Carl Jung, who had scintillating intelligence, couldn't get to grips with Hegel. He hated him. But Sean Kelly in his book shows how Jung and Hegel had similar ideas about thesis, antithesis, and synthesis leading to higher levels of consciousness. Lets hope we move away from the imperial and neoliberal era soon and towards something more compassionate.

https://www.amazon.com/Individuation-Absolute-Toward-Wholeness-Spirituality/dp/0809133946

Matt Franko said...

Well you could look at 'total war' as a thesis, and 'anti-war' as anti-thesis, synthesize them and end up with what we see now a few minor wars here and there no big deal a few thousand killed annually mostly over in some shitholes... some stuff blown up we can rebuild ... meh...

You could have 'full employment' as a thesis, and 'no employment' as anti-thesis, synthesize them and end up with 90% employed and 10% unemployed... like we see now who cares about a small minority without employment they probable deserve it ... survival of the fittest ... meh...





Kaivey said...

Typical Franko, never disappoints.

I think no war is better.

Kaivey said...

I was thinking how in the neoliberal era that thesis, right wing conservative authoritarian capitalism, and antithesis, socialism, became syntheses, right wing capitalism and social liberal values such as gay and women's rights, minority rights, and more respect and consideration for the physically disabled, such as easy access, hearing loops, more jobs for disabled - for instance, Down syndrome people work at my local supermarket. You never saw that before.

All of this while the West supports terrorism and and the destruction of ME countries to steal their resources.

We still have a long way to go, but I hope we reach a better more place quickly.

Tom Hickey said...

While the thesis/anti-thesis/synthesis model of dialectic is not wrong, it is partial and therefor not right either.

Hegel does not use these terms himself to describe his method, for example. Commentators applied them later. Max adopted and adapted Hegel's dialectical method and he doesn't use these terms to characterize it either.

Other commentators have pointed out that neither Hegel's use of dialectic nor Marx's adaptation of it completely fit into the boundaries of this simple model. Both Hegel and Marx's practice was more nuanced.Commentators base their arguments on special cases and over-generalize.

There are also other approaches to dialectic in addition to Hegel and Marx, and "dialectic" and "dialectics" used to be synonymous with "logic," in contrast to grammar and rhetoric.

So equating the meaning of "dialectic" or dialectic method" with thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis would be misleading.

dialectic (n.)
1580s, earlier dialatik (late 14c.), from Old French dialectique (12c.), from Latin dialectica, from Greek dialektike (techne) "(art of) philosophical discussion or discourse," fem. of dialektikos "of conversation, discourse," from dialektos "discourse, conversation" (see dialect). Originally synonymous with logic; in modern philosophy refined by Kant, then by Hegel, who made it mean "process of resolving or merging contradictions in character."


Etymonline-dialectic

See also:

Catholic Encyclopedia-Dialectic

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy-Hegel's Dialectics

Marxists Internet Archive-Dialectical Philosophy

Dialectic by Adler, Mortimer J. at Archive I found Adler's book useful when I was in grad school but I have not read it science then.

Matt Franko said...

Tom what about where you have an artist where they glorify something they are probably opposed to..

For instance, take a current big topic of school shootings, then a not so recent song (although these shootings have been going on for a long time going back to columbine...) Foster the People's 'Pumped up Kicks' here are the lyrics:

"Robert's got a quick hand
He'll look around the room, he won't tell you his plan
He's got a rolled cigarette, hanging out his mouth he's a cowboy kid
Yeah found a six shooter gun
In his dad's closet hidden oh in a box of fun things, I don't even know what
But he's coming for you, yeah he's coming for you

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, out run my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You'd better run, better run, faster than my bullet"

Video at Lollapalooza:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQJiy30EVzE

So what is going on here where these artists I'd assume are lefties and are against gun violence BUT....

They write up this song glorifying school shooters and it goes to Number 3 on the Hot 100...

So on one hand they are against school shootings (thesis?) AND... AT THE SAME TIME...they write and perform a HUGE hit song glorifying it (anti-thesis?)...

???????????????????

Is this perhaps a better example of 'the dialectic' in action?

Matt Franko said...

"I think no war is better."

Well that is making a big difference...

????????

Matt Franko said...

"I think all heroin addicts should just quit doing heroin..."

????????

Tom Hickey said...

Matt, art is nuanced. When language is "rich," the boundaries are not set and many meanings, some intended by the artist and some left open for subjective input from the audience. In addition, artists cannot anticipate exactly what the audience will be or how different people in it will interact with the material, other than to assume from experience of the past that it will be different. Artists are often surprised at how their work is taken, and the audience that it reaches.

Talking about mixed messages, there's a saying that even the devil quotes the bible.

Matt Franko said...

Ok..... now remember that economists are Art Degree people...

Matt Franko said...

Should we get the people in the band Foster the People and put them in charge of the school shooting prevention program?

Matt Franko said...

“even the devil quotes the bible.”

He’s the Adversary (anti-thesis) so he would have to ofc be stating the thesis first...

Noah Way said...

Arts majors are trained in acute observation. This is a critical skill necessary for effective analysis and problem solving. As we clearly seen, Franko has no training in this area.

Therefore Franko is not materially competent in art and is - by his own 'logic' unable to comment on it. If he thinks that he is, then he is demonstrating cognitive dissonance.

Tom Hickey said...

Ok..... now remember that economists are Art Degree people... Ok..... now remember that economists are Art Degree people...

I would not make that a hard split. It's useful in some case, but too simplistic for most cases.

Economics is a combination of social theory and social science. There are aspects of hard science involved in terms of some of the models, but the assumptions require a type of conceptualization that eludes the kind of logic that the hard sciences are based on, other than where deterministic functions don't apply. As a rule the use of deterministic functions along with cet.par. in macro is a tipoff that the "model" really only a gadget. Or that it is difficult to known in advance, which model should be used. For this reason, Dani Rodrik calls macro a "craft."

It's just not possible to get a general case level of precision similar to natural science in economics and social science, and neither is it in life science either.

Calling everything but natural science "arts" is extreme and ignored the considerable nuance involved.

Dichotomies can be useful gadgets but they are seldom the basis for useful models other than in very simple situations.

Tom Hickey said...

BTW, the author of the article to which you linked is not a typical Hegel scholar but rather an "arts person." Hegel's scholars don't all agree and there is plenty of controversy around Hegel, but the assumption that he wrote complex prose to obfuscate is risible and shows a complete ignorance of German literature of that period.

This observation is what lazy people say when they don't want to do the work.

Matt Franko said...

" This is a critical skill necessary for effective analysis and problem solving."

Youre an idiot... it is necessary for analysis but not problem solving that is another skill...

Matt Franko said...

"This observation is what lazy people say when they don't want to do the work."

You mean like any Art degree person?

Matt Franko said...

I had to take many Art courses as electives to get my Science degree... how many of my Science electives do Art degree people have to take? Zero?

They end up imbalanced, they might have some good observation skills but then its full stop, ... we let them off the hook...

Matt Franko said...

"the author of the article to which you linked is not a typical Hegel scholar but rather an "arts person."

Right that is what I was looking for... someone making a connection between the Arts and the dialectic method that is used to teach Art....

What are the limits of Art due to this methodology? The methodology allows the false to remain and the false is never discarded which the false is always revealed and discarded under other methodologies...

so you see economists making the same mistakes over and over and over... this is built in to the dialectic... its a feature not a bug...

Matt Franko said...

"Dani Rodrik calls macro a "craft.""

You mean like as in "Arts & Crafts"?

Consider that what they are actually doing is some form of Art where they are providing some sort of illustration based on observation of what real people are doing... ie the people actually running the real economy... CEOs, managers, workers, etc...

Like the band Foster the People are not the ones going all around shooting up their schools but they are forming their observations of that depravity into some sort of Art form...

So keep this in mind where today we have Navarro (Economist w Art Degree) advising Trump on trade... Meanwhile Apple can change its tax accounting procedures on paper and Ireland's GDP is going to collapse and everyone there will be hitting the panic button meanwhile nothing REAL will have changed...

Noah Way said...

" This is a critical skill necessary for effective analysis and problem solving."

Youre an idiot... it is necessary for analysis but not problem solving that is another skill...


As if problem solving is not a highly creative task.

Again, Franko has no material competence in the arts, critical analysis, and problem solving. His spewing on such matters merely further demonstrates his own cognitive dissonance.

My favorite Franko quote so far: "People who didn't vote for Trump can't talk about him."

Franko, your stupidity is legendary.

Tom Hickey said...

What are the limits of Art due to this methodology? The methodology allows the false to remain and the false is never discarded which the false is always revealed and discarded under other methodologies...

so you see economists making the same mistakes over and over and over... this is built in to the dialectic... its a feature not a bug...



Non sequitur. You just looked around until you found something/somebody that matched your confirmation bias and then generalized from it. Economist are not dialectical thinkers but rather they are mostly poor at recognizing the limitation of their discipline and so that are led by cognitive bias and ignorance to apply scientific method inappropriately, making obvious mistakes, which natural scientists like Jason Smith and applied mathematicians like Brain Romanchuk have pointed out.

Anyway, "art" is not about "truth" in the categorical sense of the term. "Truth" is actually used many ways. For example, "The truth shall set you free" is not a statement that refers to scientific knowledge. Even general theories in natural science are not "true" in the sense that a confirmation of a hypothesis is true.

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.


John Keats
Ode on a Grecian Urn (lines 46–50)

This was a romantic sentiment that Hegel attacked in his rationalistic dialectic.

This is not to say that Hegel disparaged art or failed to acknowledge its importance in the historical dialectic. Art is the first stage in the final section of Hegel's dialectic of absolute spirt, which is first approached in art, then religion, and finally articulated rationally in philosophy.

See Art, Religion and Philosophy in Hegel's System, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Tom Hickey said...

.As if problem solving is not a highly creative task.

Right. I often use the phrase "creative problem solving" but the creative is only for emphasis.

Karl Popper wrote a short book entitled All Life Is Problem Solvingf (in translation).

All species evolve effective methods and adapt them to changing conditions, or they go extinct. Humans do this consciously and intentionally owing to their advanced level of intelligence.

Problem solving involves bringing all resources to bear on complexity.

Matt Franko said...

“Economist are not dialectical thinkers“

Sure they are... the ultimate example or highest degree of the dialectic would be where both the true and the false are allowed to coexist... they do this ALL the time...

Matt Franko said...

“You just looked around until you found something/somebody that matched your confirmation bias“

No I didn’t the topic has always been solely economic policy here... I’m not ‘looking around’ I’m laser focused on the academe of economics and the details of that discipline...

Matt Franko said...

“As if problem solving is not a highly creative task.“

I’ve never said it wasn’t I’m saying it (problem solving) is not a dialectical process as there is never any synthesis between what works and what doesn’t work.... what doesn’t work is not synthesized it is discarded...

Matt Franko said...

“Problem solving involves bringing all resources to bear on complexity.”

But Tom you’re making my point here they don’t even think there is any problem...

I don’t know how big you have to Telegraph it there was all this nonspecific doom forecasts of their “inflation!” from the QE and then prices actually collapsed and they just keep going like this didn’t happen discarding NOTHING...

This can ONLY happen under a dialectic methodology taught in the Arts where the false is allowed to remain...

Tom Hickey said...

This can ONLY happen under a dialectic methodology taught in the Arts where the false is allowed to remain...

Sorry, Matt, but you are way out of your field of expertise and are sounding like the people you are criticizing for not knowing what they are talking about.

I think I sort of understand the points you are trying to make, but I am not sure because there is so much nonsense mixed in.

You need to "get back to the high ground" to quote Wittgenstein and just say stuff you are sure of and can back up with your expertise.

We all know that there are problems in economics and related subjects, but your references to simplistic solutions based on concepts you don't really understand is not helping either your cause or out understanding of the issues.

Philosophers recognized from the very beginning in ancient times that logic (and rhetoric) are key issues in understanding and communications and they have not only been investigating this since then but also arguing about it and making new stride through the ongoing debate. For example, information technology, information theory, systems thinking, etc. are adding a whole new level.

It's not a good strategy to read a few Wikipedia articles and they start throwing technical terms around like you know what you are talking about. It just calls your own ability into question.

Stick with what you know about math, science and engineering.

The problem with most economics is not that it is not STEM enough but that it is inappropriately trying to be too STEM and failing because the issues also involve non-STEM subjects that you lump together under "art." The problem with conventional (neoclassical) economics is that it is trying to fit economics into the box of natural science and thereby making errors in logic, the biggie being a category error.

Economics is not a natural science and it cannot become one at this point in the development of human understanding. A framework for doing so has not been developed.

The world shifted from mythologic explanation to rational inquiry at the time of the Axial Age in approximately the 5th and 6th centuries BCE. It took almost two and a half millennia to arrive at a sufficiently developed framework in physics and it was far from complete. The other science haven't yet developed to that degree and if and when it will happen is anyone's guess, but it not likely to happen tomorrow. In the meantime we have to punt and make do.

Of course, there are areas of improvement for methodology and the claim of the conventional economists that the methodological debate is now closed is ridiculously arrogant. This is where the focus needs to be.

Noah Way said...

(problem solving) is not a dialectical process

In fact problem solving is a dialectical process: it is all about hashing out ideas and opinions in a logical manner.

Franko, when you learn a new word (like dialectic) you should really spend some time and energy trying to understand what it means before tossing it around as if you actually knew. This is just another example of your material incompetence.

Tom Hickey said...

Problem solving is dialectical in that it involves the interplay of creative and critical thinking.

Good problem solvers don't assume that they are right but rather subject their ideas to rigorous critique as if in a debate with someone else taking an opposing position.

They ask questions like, what might I be missing, and what could go wrong.

It's from this subjective interplay that a refined proposal emerges in the case of individuals and through combined effort in teams.

I well known technique is brainstorming , where divergent thinking in unleashed and convergent thinking is postponed until all creative ideas have been surfaced. The idea is not to stifle creative juices with criticism initially but rather to wait to apply criticism until the creative process has been tapped sufficiently.

The Delphi method or technique developed by RAND Corp. involves circulating ideas from different members of a team and each member modifying their ideas based on others. This goes on for several rounds.

So, while all problem solving is creative, so that "creative problem solving" is redundant, problem solving is also necessarily critical to produce good solutions

Matt Franko said...

“Problem solving is dialectical in that it involves the interplay of creative and critical thinking. “

Creation is not anti-critical....

It’s not dialectical... you need a thesis and anti-thesis for the dialectic method....

“The relation between the three abstract terms of the triad, also known as the dialectical method, is summarized in the following way in the Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions:

(1) a beginning proposition called a thesis, (2) a negation of that thesis called the antithesis, and (3) a synthesis whereby the two conflicting ideas are reconciled to form a new proposition.[3]”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thesis,_antithesis,_synthesis

Tom Hickey said...

You apparently did not read the counters that I already posted above to that simplistic version of "dialectic," which amounts to making things up.

You don't need synthesis-antithesis-synthesis for dialectic. Neither Hegel nor Marx, the foremost practitioners of dialectic, conformed their historical dialectical method to that rule. Some aspects of Hegel's Logic can be interpreted in terms of that triad but not all of it. It is not the general paradigm he followed.

Matt Franko said...

Tom it doesn’t matter which douchebag came up with what way back when... if this is what these people are doing today it’s still a big problem with the methodology they are using...

It is going to always leave a residue of the non-ideal... eg NAIRU, “the poor you will always be having”, etc

Tom Hickey said...

I would not call NAIRU an example of dialectic.

This better characterized as a tradeoff.

The tradeoff is between employment and price stability, based on suppositions (assumptions) involving the Philips curve and "the natural rate," with "the natural rate" being determined by the model and supposed as reflecting a necessary choice.

The apparent contradiction is between full employment and stable price level, and NAIRU is a rule for dealing with the contradiction using tradeoff based on the model assumptions.

Where the dialectic comes into this is, for example, in the MMT analysis showing that the suppositions (assumptions) upon which the models is based don't reflect reality and so the apparent contradiction is actually a paradox that can be solved by dropping the assumptions based on monetary policy and looking at the issues from the POV of fiscal policy. Then the paradox disappears for a currency sovereign that can set the compensation of unskilled labor as both a price anchor and also a way of mopping up residual UE after fiscal policy that included automatic stabilization.

So far this dialectic has been stuck because the monetarists hold the reins and are not willing to consider it. So the proponents are attempting an end run using politics and publicity.

If that doesn't work before there is a strong enough pullback, then the result may something like a repeat of the New Deal jobs policy again.

This is the historical dialectic in action.

jrbarch said...

In architecture you have four streams feeding into the problem (design) space, out of which must emerge a materialised solution – values, activities, technology, site (v.a.s.t.).

Always you have to relax constraints for a solution: - e.g. without that an airliner would end up three times bigger than the technology would allow. It’s always a heuristic process, generate and test, and see how well it fits in the design space – preserving priorities as much as possible. It’s a relationships game. It’s also like writing music – try out a little flourish here and there and see how it colours the composition. Feeling takes the lead, thinking does the hard (material) yakka. Creativity involves all of the human faculties and leads the person closer to their Self. I’ve always liked the zoom factor (scale).

jrbarch said...

Oh yes - there is always a leitmotif, a design artifice around which the process gravitates. E.g. churches evolve around a cross; hindu temples are more complex.