Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 84

Thread: Motion Isn't Contradictory

  1. #1
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Motion Isn't Contradictory

    [If you are using Internet Explorer 10 (or later), you might find some of the links I have used below won't work properly unless you switch to 'Compatibility View' (in the Tools Menu); for IE11 select 'Compatibility View Settings' and then add my site: anti-dialecitics.co.uk.]

    Here is a summary of some of the key points from Essay Five at my site (most of the links have been removed, and the exact references can be found by following the link added at the end, in the Bibliography):

    Motion Isn't Contradictory

    The following represents Engels's surprisingly brief, but no less superficial, 'analysis' of motion (in support of which he offered his readers absolutely no supporting evidence, and none has been offered since):

    "[A]s soon as we consider things in their motion, their change, their life, their reciprocal influence…[t]hen we immediately become involved in contradictions. Motion itself is a contradiction; even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body being both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it. And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is." [Engels (1976), p.152.]
    This is, of course, an idea Engels lifted from Hegel, who in turn borrowed it from a paradox invented by Zeno, an ancient Idealist and Mystic who concluded that motion was in fact impossible.

    Initial Problems

    There are several serious problems with the above passage, difficulties that need addressing even before its fatal weaknesses are exposed.

    1) The first of these is connected with Engels's claim that the alleged 'contradiction' here has something to do with its "assertion" and "solution". This isn't easy to square with his other stated belief that matter is independent of mind. Who, for example, "asserted" this alleged contradiction before humanity evolved? And who did the "solving"?

    Or, are we to assume that things only began to move when human beings capable of making assertions appeared on the scene?

    2) The next difficulty centres around the question whether this alleged 'contradiction' can in fact explain motion (and thus if it is merely ornamental). No one imagines (it is to be hoped!) that this 'contradiction' works like some sort of internal 'metaphysical motor', powering objects along. But, as we will see in Essay Eight Part One, at my site, this is precisely what dialecticians like Lenin appeared to think:

    "The identity of opposites…is the recognition…of the contradictory, mutually exclusive, opposite tendencies in all phenomena and processes of nature…. The condition for the knowledge of all processes of the world in their 'self-movement', in their spontaneous development, in their real life, is the knowledge of them as a unity of opposites. Development is the 'struggle' of opposites. The two basic (or two possible? or two historically observable?) conceptions of development (evolution) are: development as decrease and increase, as repetition, and development as a unity of opposites (the division of a unity into mutually exclusive opposites and their reciprocal relation).

    "In the first conception of motion, self-movement, its driving force, its source, its motive, remains in the shade (or this source is made external -- God, subject, etc.). In the second conception the chief attention is directed precisely to knowledge of the source of 'self-movement'.

    "The first conception is lifeless, pale and dry. The second is living. The second alone furnishes the key to the 'self-movement' of everything existing; it alone furnishes the key to the 'leaps,' to the 'break in continuity,' to the 'transformation into the opposite,' to the destruction of the old and the emergence of the new.

    "The unity (coincidence, identity, equal action) of opposites is conditional, temporary, transitory, relative. The struggle of mutually exclusive opposites is absolute, just as development and motion are absolute." [Lenin (1961), pp.357-58. Italic emphases in the original. Bold emphases added.]
    Independently of this, it isn't easy to see how an object being in one place and not in it, as well as being in two places at once can explain how or why it actually moves. At best, this alleged 'contradiction' seems derivative -- that is, it is reasonably clear that it is motion that explains (or which initiates) the 'contradiction', not the other way round. But, if that is so, what explains motion?

    Plainly, if dialecticians want to cling on to this 'theory', they will find they can't actually explain why objects move, which is rather odd since they spare no opportunity regaling us with the claim that they are the only ones who can!

    [DM = Dialectical Materialism.]

    It could be objected that DM-theorists in fact appeal to contradictory forces to account for motion, but we will see in Essay Eight Part Two that there is no interpretation that can be placed on the word "force", or on the word "contradiction", that will sustain such an ancient and animistic view of change and movement.

    ["Ancient" in the sense that it was an early Greek idea that moving objects needed something to sustain their motion. In contrast, modern Physics merely deals with change in motion/momentum, and in order to do that most theorists have dropped all reference to forces. Details can be found in Essay Eight Part Two, here. "Animistic" since this idea also depends on another ancient doctrine that conflict and motion can be explained in terms of the 'will' of some 'god' or other, or, alternatively, as the result of an 'animating spirit' of some description.]

    But, even if forces were 'contradictory', and reference to a continual cause of motion was both available and rational, that would hardly explain how an object being in one place and not in it, and being in two places at once, could actually explain why it moves. Plainly, this alleged 'contradiction' does no work, and, as suggested above, appears merely to be ornamental.

    Moreover, even in DM-terms, this fable makes little sense. Are we really supposed to believe that an object that is 'here' is made to move by its being 'not here' --, its 'dialectical' opposite, its 'other' (as Hegel and Lenin called them)? Or, that the two 'places' mentioned are locked in some sort of 'struggle', as the DM-classicists claim is the case with all such 'dialectical' opposites?

    3) Engels's 'analysis' is itself based on a very brief and sketchy thought experiment (in fact, Hegel's and Zeno's were based on little other than word juggling), an 'analysis' that was in turn motivated by a superficial consideration of a limited range of terms associated with this phenomenon.

    Despite this, Engels was quite happy to derive a set of universal truths about motion -- applicable everywhere in the entire universe, for all of time -- from the supposed meaning of a few words. Clearly, the concepts Engels used cannot have been derived by 'abstraction' from his (or from anyone else's) experience of moving bodies, since no conceivable experience could confirm that a moving body is in two places at once, only that it moves between at least two locations in a finite interval of time.

    To be sure, that is why Engels not only had to indulge in flights-of-fancy to make his case, it is also why he had to impose his views on reality. This was despite his promise that it was something he would never do:

    "Finally, for me there could be no question of superimposing the laws of dialectics on nature...." [Engels (1976), p.13. Bold emphasis added.]
    In which case, the following characterisation of Idealism clearly applies to Engels's 'analysis' of motion (as George Novack inadvertently pointed out):

    "A consistent materialism can't proceed from principles which are validated by appeal to abstract reason, intuition, self-evidence or some other subjective or purely theoretical source. Idealisms may do this. But the materialist philosophy has to be based upon evidence taken from objective material sources and verified by demonstration in practice...." [Novack The Origin of Materialsm, p.17. Bold emphasis added.]
    But, this is precisely what Zeno and Hegel did, just as it accurately describes Engels's approach; all three "proceed[ed] from principles which are validated by appeal to abstract reason, intuition, self-evidence or some other subjective or purely theoretical source."

    4) Putting this to one side, even if Engels's claims were impeccable, they couldn't account for movement (and hence they can't explain change), anyway. Clearly, Engels failed to notice (just as subsequent dialecticians have also failed to notice) that the way he depicts motion doesn't distinguish moving from stationary bodies. Stationary bodies can also be in two places at once, and they can be in one place and not in it at the same time. For example, a car can be in a garage and not in it at the same moment (having been left parked half-in, half-out); and it can be in two places at once (in the garage and in the yard), and stationary with respect to some inertial frame, all the while.

    Exception could be taken to the above in that it implicitly uses, or it implies the use of, phrases like "not wholly in one place" (i.e., the car in question was "half-in, half-out" of the garage). It could be argued that Engels was quite clear about what he meant: motion involves a body being in one place and in another at the same time, being in and not in it at one and the same moment. There is no mention of "not wholly in" in what Engels asserted.

    Or, so it could be maintained.

    Clearly, this objection depends for its force on what Engels actually intended by the following words:

    "[E]ven simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body at one and the same moment of time being both in one place and in another place, being in one and the same place and also not in it."
    Here, the problem centres on the word "in". Again, it could be objected that "in" has been illegitimately replaced by "(not) totally or wholly in", or its equivalent. Even so, it is worth noting that Engels's actual words imply that this is a legitimate, possible interpretation of what he said (paraphrased below):

    M1: Motion involves a body being in one and the same place and not in it.

    If a body is "in...and not in" a certain place it can't in fact be totally in that place. So, Engels's own words allow for his "in" to mean "not wholly in", or something like it.

    A mundane example of this might be where, say, a 15 cm long pencil is sitting in a pocket that is only 10 cm deep, while the jacket itself is in a wardrobe. In that case, it would be perfectly natural to say that this pencil is in, but not entirely in, the pocket -- that is, it would be both "in and not in" the pocket at the same time, and in two places at once (in the pocket and in the wardrobe -- thus fulfilling Engels's definition) --, but still at rest with respect to some inertial frame. M1 certainly allows for such a situation, and Engels's use of the word "in" and the rest of what he said plainly carry this interpretation.

    Hence, it seems that Engels's words are compatible with a body being motionless relative to some inertial frame.

    The only way this and other counter-examples can be neutralised by DM-fans is to re-define the relevant terms in a way that would in the end make Engels's 'analysis' inapplicable to material bodies. It would do so by applying his 'analysis' solely to immaterial, mathematical points -- plainly because only a stationary mathematical point can be in precisely one location at a certain time. Unfortunately, in that case, Engels's thought experiment would no longer concern what is supposed to be unique to moving material objects.

    Either way, unless augmented in some way, Engels's words cannot be used to distinguish moving from stationary bodies. In which case, it is now quite apparent that this apparent 'contradiction' has arisen simply because of the ambiguities inherent in the language Engels used -- since his 'analysis' can't actually distinguish moving from stationary bodies. When these ambiguities have been removed (as they have been in Essay Five (link at the end)), the 'contradiction' simply disappears; no one supposes cars and/or pencils are contradictory for just remaining stationary. The same is the case with moving bodies.

    Of course, mathematical points themselves cannot move -- that is, if they could move they would have to occupy still other similar points. But, points aren't containers (they have no shape, circumference or volume, otherwise they wouldn't be points -- they have no physical dimensions or rigidity, so they cannot even 'push' each other out of the way as they 'move'); so nothing can occupy them. In that case, mathematical points cannot move.

    Alternatively, anyone who claimed that mathematical points could move would have a hard time explaining where they moved to, where they were before they moved, and how they could be contradictory while they did this -- indeed, if these points were only the same size as any point they allegedly 'occupied', it would mean they couldn't be in two such places at once, or they would expand. Moreover, such an 'explanation' would have to be given without an appeal to yet another set of mathematical points for them to 'occupy' or move into, shifting this problem to the next stage.

    5) Furthermore, there are serious problems connected with what Engels did say: that a moving object is "in one and the same place and also not in it". But, if moving object, B, isn't located at, say, X (i.e., if it is "not in X"), then it can't also be located at X, contrary to what Engels asserted. If it isn't there then isn't there. On the other hand, if B is located at X, then it can't also not be at X. Otherwise, Engels's can't mean by "not" what the rest of us mean by that word.

    But, what did he mean?

    Unfortunately, he neglected to say, and no DM-fan since has been any clearer. Other than holding up their hands and declaring it a 'contradiction', there is nothing more they could say. Once more, this can only mean that they, too, mean something different by "not" -- for example, for them "is not" seems to mean "is and is not"! If so, they certainly can't respond by saying "This is not what we mean", since this use of "not" implies they really mean "This is and is not what we mean" (as each "is not" is replaced by its 'dialectical equivalent', "is and is not"), and so on.

    As we can see, anyone who falls for Zeno, Hegel or Engels's linguistic conjuring trick can't actually tell us what they do mean!

    Nor can it be replied that Engels's words only apply to movement and change, hence if or when dialecticians use "is not" -- as in, for example, "This is not what we mean" -- they don't also mean "This is and is not what we mean". That is because, if everything is constantly changing into what it is not (as DM-theorists maintain) then so are the words they use. Hence, "This is what we mean" must have changed into "This is and is not what we mean".

    6) Engels's claim that motion is 'contradictory' only follows if a body cannot logically be in two places at once, or if it cannot be in one place and not in it at the same time. [If objects can be in two places at once, then, plainly, there would be no contradiction in supposing they could be in two places at once, would there?] Engels simply assumed the truth of this hidden premiss; he nowhere tried to justify it (and no one since seems to have bothered to do so, either).

    However, because an ordinary stationary material body can be in two places at once, and in one place and not in it at the same time (as we have just seen), Engels's key premiss is not even empirically true! In that case, it certainly can't be a logical/conceptual truth restricted only to moving bodies. If it is true that stationary objects can also do what Engels says of moving bodies, then it cannot be a contradiction when moving bodies do it, too. In that case, this cannot be something that accounts for, or describes motion --, or even distinguishes it from rest.

    Of course, it could be argued that the 'contradictions' Engels was interested in are 'dialectical contradictions', not logical contradictions. However, his wording doesn't support such an interpretation:

    "Motion itself is a contradiction; even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body being both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it. And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is." [Engels (1976), p.152.]
    It certainly seems from this that Engels was talking about logical contradictions as much as about 'dialectical contradictions'.

    And, believe it or not, that would prove to be good news for DM-fans, for we have at least got some sort of handle on the phrase "logical contradiction". The other sort (i.e., 'dialectical contradiction') has resisted all attempts at explanation for the last 200 years (not that anyone has tried all that hard).

    7) More specifically, in relation to moving bodies, it is pertinent to ask the following question: How far apart are the two proposed "places" that a moving object is supposed to occupy while at the same time not occupying one of them? Is there a minimum distance involved? The answer can't be "It doesn't matter; any distance will do." That is because, as we will see, if a moving object is in two places at once, then it can't truly be said to be in the first of these before it is in the second (since it is in both at the same time). So, unless great care is taken specifying how far apart these "two places" are, this view of motion would imply that, say, an aeroplane must land at the same time as it took off! If any distance will do, then the distance between the two airports involved is as good as any. [I will return to this topic below.]

    So, indifference here would have you arriving at your destination at the same time as you left home!

    Hence, if object B is in one place and then in another (which is, I suspect, central to any notion of movement that Engels would have accepted), it must be in the first place before it is in the second. If so, then time must have elapsed between its occupancy of those two locations, otherwise we wouldn't be able to say it was in the first place before it was in the second. But, if we can't say this (that is, if we can't say that it was in the first place before it was in the second), then that would undermine the assertion that B was in fact moving, and that it had travelled from the first location to the second.

    Hence, if B is in both locations at once, it can't have moved from the first to the second. On the other hand, if B has moved from the first to the second, so that it was in the first before it reached the second, it can't have been in both at the same time.

    If DM-theorists don't mean this, then they must either (1) refrain from using "before" and "after" in relation to moving objects, or (2) explain what they do mean by any of the words they use. Option (1) would prevent them from explaining (or even talking about!) motion.

    We are still waiting for them to respond to (or even acknowledge) option (2).

    Anyway, whatever the answer to these annoying conundrums happens to be -- as is well known -- between any two locations there is a potentially infinite number of intermediary points (that is, unless we are prepared to impose an a priori limitation on nature by denying this).

    Does a moving body, therefore, (a) occupy all of these intermediate points at once? Or, (b) does it occupy each of them successively?

    If (a) is the case, does this imply that a moving object can be in an infinite number of places at the same time, and not just in two, as Engels asserted?

    On the other hand, if Engels is correct, and a moving body only occupies (at most) two places at once, wouldn't that suggest that motion is discontinuous? That is because, such an account seems to picture motion as a peculiar stop-go sort of affair, since a moving body would have to skip past (but not occupy, somehow?) the potentially infinite number of intermediary locations between any two arbitrary points (the second of which it then occupies). This must be so if it is restricted to being in at most two of them at any one time, and is therefore stationary at the second of these two points. [That is what the "at most" qualifier here implies.]

    But, that itself appears to run contrary to the hypothesis that motion is continuous and therefore 'contradictory' --, or, it runs counter to that hypothesis in any straight-forward sense, at the very least. It is surely the continuous nature of motion that poses problems for a logic (i.e., Formal Logic [FL]) which is allegedly built on a static, discontinuous view of reality, this being the picture that traditional logic is supposed to have painted --, or, so we have been told by dialecticians.

    It could be argued that no matter how much we 'magnify' the path of a moving body, it will still occupy two points at once, being in one of them and not in it at the same time. And yet, that doesn't solve the problem, for if there is indeed a potentially infinite number of intermediary points between any two locations, a moving body must occupy more than two of them at once, contrary to what Engels seems to be saying:

    "[A]s soon as we consider things in their motion, their change, their life, their reciprocal influence…[t]hen we immediately become involved in contradictions. Motion itself is a contradiction; even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body being both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it. And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is." [Ibid. Bold emphasis added.]
    Hence, between any two points, P and Q -- located at, say, (X(P), Y(P), Z(P)) and (X(Q), Y(Q), Z(Q)), respectively -- that a moving object, B, occupies (at the same "moment in time", T(1)), there are, for example, the following intermediary points: (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)), (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)),..., (X(i), Y(i), Z(i)),..., (X(n), Y(n), Z(n)) -- where n itself can be arbitrarily large. Moreover, the same applies to (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)) and (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)): there is a potentially infinite number of intermediate points between these two, and so on.

    So, if Engels is right, B must occupy not just P and Q at the same instant, it must occupy all these intermediary points, as well -- again, all at T(1). That can only mean that B is located in a potentially infinite number of places, all at the same "moment". It must therefore not only be in and not in P at T(1), it must be in and not in each of (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)), (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)),..., (X(i), Y(i), Z(i)),..., (X(n), Y(n), Z(n)) at T(1), just as it must also be in all the intermediary points between (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)) and (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), if it is also to be in Q at the same "moment".

    And, what is worse: B must move through (or be in) all these intermediate points without time having advanced one instant!

    That is, B will have achieved all this in zero seconds!

    B must therefore be moving with an infinite velocity between P and Q!

    Of course, we could always claim that by "same moment" Engels meant "same temporal interval", but this scuppers his 'theory' even faster. That is because if by "same moment" Engels meant "same temporal interval", then there is no reason why "same point" can't also mean "same spatial interval", at which point the alleged 'contradiction' simply vanishes.

    [Indeed, we will also see that this alternative (i.e., that a moving body occupies all the intermediate points between any two points, all at the same time) poses even more serious problems for Engels's 'theory' --, that is, over and above implying that 'dialectical' objects move with infinite velocities.]

    Moreover, if B moves from P to Q in temporal interval, T, comprised of sub-intervals, T(1), T(2), T(3), ..., T(n), each of which is also comprised of its own sub-intervals, then B will be located at P at T(1) and then at Q at T(n), which will, of course, mean that B won't be in these two places at the same time, although it will be located at these two points in the same temporal interval. Once again, the 'contradiction' Engels claims to see here would in that case have vanished. Few theorists, if any, think it is the least bit contradictory to suppose that B is in P at one moment and then in Q a moment later.

    Consider a car travelling north across, say, Texas during a three-hour time slot. Let us suppose it is in the centre of Lubbock at 08:00am and in the centre of Amarillo (approximately 124 miles away) at 11:00am. In that case, it will have been in two locations during the same temporal interval, but not in two places in the same moment in time. Plainly, in this case, the alleged contradiction has disappeared. If so, only a very short-sighted DM-fan will want to take advantage of this escape route (no pun intended) -- i.e., referring to temporal intervals as opposed to 'moments in time'. This is probably why Engels didn't refer to temporal intervals, and, as far as can be ascertained, no DM-theorist has done so since.

    8) On a different tack: Do these 'contradictions' increase in number, or stay the same, if an object speeds up? [This is a problem that exercised Leibniz -- see below.] Or, are the two locations depicted by Engels (i.e., the "here" and the "not here") just further apart? That is, are the two points that moving body, B, occupies at the same moment, if it accelerates, just further apart? But, if it occupies them at the same time, it can't have accelerated. That is because it hasn't moved from the first to the second, since it is in both at once. Speeding up, of course, involves covering the same distance in less time, but that isn't allowed here, nor is it even possible. In which case, it isn't easy to see how, in a DM-universe, moving bodies can accelerate if they are in these two locations at once.

    [I am of course using "accelerate" here as it is employed in everyday speech, not as it is used in Physics or Applied Mathematics. Leibniz argued that if motion were continuous, it would be impossible to explain faster or slower speeds. If speed is the number of points a body traverses along its trajectory in a given unit of time, an increase in speed would involve that body traversing more points in the same time interval. But, the number of points in a body's trajectory is infinite; if so, it can't traverse more points in the same time interval, since, as was supposed in Leibniz's day, all such infinities are equal (i.e., in modern parlance, they have the same cardinality). The only way to account for different speeds, on this view of trajectories and infinities, is to argue that at a lower speed, a body rests at each point a bit longer -- and vice versa for those that move faster. (Leibniz coupled these observations with the conclusion that motion is in fact illusory!)]

    Accelerated motion (in the above sense of this word) involves a body being in (or passing through) more places in a given time interval than had been the case before it accelerated. But, if B is in these two places at the same time, how can it pick up speed?

    More to follow...
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 05-17-2016 at 12:00 AM.
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  2. #2
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    And Now For The Fatal Defects

    In this Summary, I have had to omit most of the material included in Essay Five at my site (i.e., Sections (4)-(7)), which enters into considerable (and technical) detail about these "fatal defects". I have also had to outline what I take to be Hegel's and/or Engels's reasons for asserting that motion is contradictory, since they themselves manifestly failed to tell us why they concluded this about motion -- being merely content to assert it for a fact!

    Reconstructing The Argument

    1) It isn't at all easy to ascertain the rationale behind Engels's (and thus Hegel's) conclusion that motion is 'contradictory', but it seems to depend on this line-of-argument -- perhaps beginning with a rejection of the apparent contradiction in E1a, expressed by E1:

    [E1a: An object can be in motion and at rest at one and the same time.]

    E1: An object cannot be in motion and at rest at one and the same time.

    E2: If an object is located at a point it must be at rest at that point.

    E3: Hence, a moving body cannot be located at a point, otherwise it wouldn't be moving, it would be at rest.

    E4: Consequently, given E1, a moving body must both occupy and not occupy a point at one and the same instant.

    Demolition

    But, if this is Engels's (or even Hegel's) rationale, then he/they offered their readers no reason why we should prefer one 'contradiction' (E4) over another (E1a). And yet, E1a is a familiar truth, for it is surely possible for an object to be at rest with respect to one frame of reference and yet be in motion with respect to another (that is, that it can be at rest and in motion at the same time).

    On this, the late Professor Robert Mills had this to say:

    "Another way of stating the principle of equivalence, a way that better reflects its name, is to say that all reference frames, including accelerated reference frames, are equivalent, that the laws of Physics take the same form in any reference frame…. And it is also correct to say that the Copernican view (with the sun at the centre) and the Ptolemaic view (with the earth at the centre) are equally valid and equally consistent!" [Mills (1994), pp.182-83. Spelling altered to conform to UK English.]
    [It is worth recalling that Professor Mills was co-inventor of Yang-Mills Theory in Gauge Quantum Mechanics, and thus no scientific novice.]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yang%E2%80%93Mills_theory

    Hence, in one inertial frame, the Earth is stationary, in another is it moving. In that case, if E1a is true, E4 cannot follow from E1, and the imputed rationale behind Engels's 'contradiction' vanishes.

    2) Engels's conclusion clearly depends on an object moving between locations with time having advanced not one instant; that is, his conclusion implies that the supposed change of place must occur outside of time -- i.e., that it happens independently of the passage of time --, which is incomprehensible, as even Trotsky would have admitted:

    "How should we really conceive the word 'moment'? If it is an infinitesimal interval of time, then a pound of sugar is subjected during the course of that 'moment' to inevitable changes. Or is the 'moment' a purely mathematical abstraction, that is, a zero of time? But everything exists in time; and existence itself is an uninterrupted process of transformation; time is consequently a fundamental element of existence. Thus the axiom 'A' is equal to 'A' signifies that a thing is equal to itself if it does not change, that is if it does not exist." [Trotsky In Defence of Marxism, pp.63-64.]
    And yet, how else are we to understand Engels's claim that a moving body is actually in two places at once? If that were the case, a moving object would be in one place at one instant, and it would move to another place with no time having lapsed; such motion would thus take place outside of time. But, according to Trotsky, that sort of motion wouldn't exist, for it wouldn't have taken place in time.

    Furthermore, it would mean that while we may divide location as finely as we wish -- so that no matter to what extent the spatial aspects of a body's position were partitioned, we would always be able to distinguish two contiguous points allowing us to say that a moving body was in those two places at once --, while we can do that with location, we cannot do the same with respect to time.

    Engels's 'argument' thus depends on the claim that while the location of a particular body is subject to infinite divisibility (an assumption which, one presumes, is necessary to support the claim that moving bodies must be in two places at the same time, no matter how microscopically close together they are -- which in turn implies that spatial locations can be given in endlessly finer-grained detail), the time interval during which this takes place isn't subject to similar constraints. Now, this is an a priori and non-symmetric restriction -- that is, it is applied to time, but not to space -- which is a pre-condition that is impossible to justify on either empirical or logical grounds.

    [Not one single DM-fan, as far as I am aware, has ever even so much as tried to justify this one-sided implied division. In fact, it is clear that not one single 'DM-fan' even seems to be vaguely aware of it!]

    If this one-sided constraint is rejected (as surely it must!), it would mean that no matter how close together the two locations occupied by a given (moving) object actually are, we can always specify a finite time interval during which the said movement occurs. That done, the alleged 'contradiction' vanishes, once again.

    [As we have seen, few would regard it as in any way contradictory that a moving object can be in two locations during a finite temporal interval.]

    Again, the only way to neutralise this response would be to counter-claim that a body must be motionless if it is in a certain place at a certain time (as we saw in E2). That being so, it could be argued that if an object is moving, it must be in two places at the same time.

    E2: If an object is located at a point it must be at rest at that point.

    But, that just repeats the non-symmetrical restriction noted above (along with its suspect derivation, upon which doubt was cast earlier). If we can divide up places as finely as we please, so that it is possible to say an object is in two of them while the 'instant' during which this occurs stays the same, then we can surely do likewise with respect to time, specifying two times for each of these two places (or, at least, a time interval in which such a change of place occurs). Again, the only way this response can be blocked would be to argue that while place is infinitely divisible, time isn't. And how might that be justified?

    Once more, none of this is the least bit surprising since Engels's claims about motion and change date back to the a priori speculations of that ancient mystic Heraclitus -- a thinker who didn't even bother to base his wild ideas on anything remotely like evidence (having derived his 'profound' conclusions about all of reality for all of time from what he thought was true about the possibility of stepping into a certain river!) --, and to an Idealist conundrum concocted by Zeno.

    [Of course, these observations dispose of the DM-claim that contradictions between space and time are only to be expected since reality is 'fundamentally contradictory'. That is because this 'contradiction' obviously results from a lop-sided convention that interprets one of these (place) as continuous (and hence subject to infinite division) and the other (time) as discrete (and hence not so subject). But, if they are both treated in the same way (as either both continuous or both discrete), there is no contradiction.]

    3) Engels also failed to notice that several other (even more) paradoxical consequences follow from his ideas. One of these is that if a moving body is anywhere, it must be everywhere, all at once.

    The reason for saying this is as follows: Engels's argument depends on the idea that a moving body must be in two places at the same time -- i.e., in, say, P(1) and P(2) --, otherwise it would be stationary. This allows him to derive a 'contradiction': a moving body must be in two places at once, and it must both be in and not in at least one of these at the same moment.

    But, clearly, if the said body is in P(2) it must also be in P(3) in the same instant. If this is denied, then the conclusion that a moving body must be in one place and not in it at the same instant, and in another place at the same time, will have to be dropped. [Otherwise, it must be admitted that the said body is stationary at the second of these two points.]

    Hence, if it is still true that at one and the same instant a moving body is in one place and not in it, and that it is in another place at the same time (otherwise it would be stationary), then it must be in P(3) in the same instant that it is in P(2) -- or, once again, it wouldn't be moving while at P(2), but would be stationary.

    In that case, such a body must be in at least three places at once.

    If we now apply the same argument to P(3), then that body must also be in P(4), at the same time, and in P(5)..., and so on.

    Hence, assuming that the said body is still moving while at P(2), by the application of a sufficiently powerful induction, it can be shown that (if Hegel or Engels is to be believed) any moving body must be everywhere in its trajectory if it is anywhere, all at the same instant!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_induction

    But, this is even more absurd than Zeno's ridiculous conclusion!

    (4) Even odder is the following unrecognised, and absurd consequence, of Engels a priori 'argument' (briefly mentioned earlier):

    If Engels were correct (in his characterisation of motion and change), we would have no right to say that a moving body was in the first of these 'Engelsian locations' before it was in the second.

    L1: Motion involves a body being in one place and in another place at the same time, and being in one and the same place and not in it.

    As noted earlier, that is because, according to Engels, such a body is in both places at once. Now, if the above conclusions are valid (that is, if dialectical objects are anywhere in their trajectories, they are everywhere all at once), then it follows that no moving body can be said to be anywhere before it is anywhere else in its entire journey! Again, that is because such bodies are everywhere all at once. If so, they can't be anywhere first and then later somewhere else. In the dialectical universe, therefore, when it comes to motion and change, there is no before and no after!

    In that case, according to this 'scientific theory', concerning the entire trajectory of a body's motion, it would be impossible to say it was at the beginning of its journey before it was at the end! In fact, it would be at the end of its journey at the same time as it sets off! So, while you might foolishly think, for example, that you have to board an aeroplane (in order to go on your holidays) before you disembark at your destination, this 'path-breaking' theory tells us you are sadly mistaken: you not only must get on the plane at the very same time as you get off it at the 'end', appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, you do!

    And the same applies to the 'Big Bang'. While benighted non-dialecticians might think that this event took place billions of years ago, they are surely mistaken if this 'super-scientific' theory is correct. That is because any two events in the entire history of the universe must have taken place at the same instant, by the above argument. Naturally, this means that while you, dear reader, are reading this, the 'Big Bang' has in fact just taken place!

    [If, indeed, these are genuine implications of Dialectical 'Logic', then there can be no "during" and no "while", either, since, as we have seen, this 'path-breaking' theory means that there is no such thing as 'before' and 'after' when it comes to motion. Hence, if there is no before or after, there can't be a during or while. So, even though you might think you have to wait an hour for a bus, this 'theory' tells you that this appearance is illusory. In 'essence' you have been waiting no time at all -- the bus arrived at your stop in the exact same moment it left the depot! (After all, this 'theory' tells us that appearances 'contradict' underlying 'essence'; so, dear reader, it might have 'appeared' to you that it took several minutes to read this Summary, in 'essence', it took no time at all!)]

    To be sure, this is absurd, but that's Diabolical Logic for you!
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 05-17-2016 at 12:16 AM.
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  3. #3
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    References and much more detail can be found here:

    http://www.anti-dialectics.co.uk/page%2005.htm
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  4. #4
    Senior Voting Member ravn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa Lichtenstein View Post
    ... what is worse:


    B must move through (or be in) all these intermediate points without time having advanced one instant!

    That is, B will have achieved all this in zero seconds!

    B must therefore be moving with an infinite velocity between P and Q!
    In the real world, given any positive speed of R (real number), in continuous motion in the same direction, each point of the train arrives & departs (in the same instance) at each point of the platform at their respective particular time. Between any two consecutive points passed on the platform by each point of the train, the position of the furthest point minus the position of the starting point divided by the time of the furthest point minus the time of the starting point gives the average speed. Under these circumstances, it's impossible to get infinite velocity. If you up & decide to measure the distance between a point against itself, you'll just be dividing by zero which you just can't do in the first place.

    The contradiction here is a dialectical one: the train arrives & departs in the same instance at each point on the platform by each point of the train at the respective time of each occurrence. There's no dilemma here. This is what is reflected by objective reality.

    I don't see any point of you splitting off into another thread other than to burn more straw-men here.
    Last edited by ravn; 05-22-2015 at 5:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    ravn:

    In the real world, given any positive speed of R (real number), in continuous motion in the same direction, each point of the the train arrives & departs (in the same instance) at each point of the platform at their respective particular time. Between any two consecutive points passed on the platform by each point of the train, the position of the furthest point minus the position of the starting point divided by the time of the furthest point minus the time of the starting point gives the average speed. Under these circumstances, it's impossible to get infinite velocity. If you up & decide to measure the distance between a point against itself, you'll just be dividing by zero which you just can't do in the first place.
    Unfortunately for you, I have just shown that for any moving object, if, per impossible, dialectics were 'true', it would be travelling at an infinite speed -- you clearly missed it; here it is again:

    7) More specifically, in relation to moving bodies, it is pertinent to ask the following question: How far apart are the two proposed "places" that a moving object is supposed to occupy while at the same time not occupying one of them? Is there a minimum distance involved? The answer can't be "It doesn't matter; any distance will do." That is because, as we will see, if a moving object is in two places at once, then it can't truly be said to be in the first of these before it is in the second (since it is in both at the same time). So, unless great care is taken specifying how far apart these "two places" are, this view of motion would imply that, say, an aeroplane must land at the same time as it took off! If any distance will do, then the distance between the two airports involved is as good as any. [I will return to this topic below.]

    So, indifference here would have you arriving at your destination at the same time as you left home!

    Hence, if object B is in one place and then in another (which is, I suspect, central to any notion of movement that Engels would have accepted), it must be in the first pace before it is in the second. If so, then time must have elapsed between its occupancy of those two locations, otherwise we wouldn't be able to say it was in the first place before it was in the second. But, if we can't say this (that is, if we can't say that it was in the first place before it was in the second), then that would undermine the assertion that B was in fact moving, and that it had travelled from the first location to the second.

    Hence, if B is in both locations at once, it can't have moved from the first to the second. On the other hand, if B has moved from the first to the second, so that it was in the first before it reached the second, it can't have been in both at the same time.

    If DM-theorists don't mean this, then they must either (1) refrain from using "before" and "after" in relation to moving objects, or (2) explain what they do mean by any of the words they use. Option (1) would prevent them from explaining (or even talking about!) motion.

    We are still waiting for them to respond to (or even acknowledge) option (2).

    Anyway, whatever the answer to these annoying conundrums happens to be -- as is well known -- between any two locations there is a potentially infinite number of intermediary points (that is, unless we are prepared to impose an a priori limitation on nature by denying this).

    Does a moving body, therefore, (a) occupy all of these intermediate points at once? Or, (b) does it occupy each of them successively?

    If (a) is the case, does this imply that a moving object can be in an infinite number of places at the same time, and not just in two, as Engels asserted?

    On the other hand, if Engels is correct, and a moving body only occupies (at most) two places at once, wouldn't that suggest that motion is discontinuous? That is because, such an account seems to picture motion as a peculiar stop-go sort of affair, since a moving body would have to skip past (but not occupy, somehow?) the potentially infinite number of intermediary locations between any two arbitrary points (the second of which it then occupies). This must be so if it is restricted to being in at most two of them at any one time, and is therefore stationary at the second of these two points. [That is what the "at most" qualifier here implies.]

    But, that itself appears to run contrary to the hypothesis that motion is continuous and therefore 'contradictory' --, or, it runs counter to that hypothesis in any straight-forward sense, at the very least. It is surely the continuous nature of motion that poses problems for a logic (i.e., Formal Logic [FL]) which is allegedly built on a static, discontinuous view of reality, this being the picture that traditional logic is supposed to have painted --, or, so we have been told by dialecticians.

    It could be argued that no matter how much we 'magnify' the path of a moving body, it will still occupy two points at once, being in one of them and not in it at the same time. And yet, that doesn't solve the problem, for if there is indeed a potentially infinite number of intermediary points between any two locations, a moving body must occupy more than two of them at once, contrary to what Engels seems to be saying:

    "[A]s soon as we consider things in their motion, their change, their life, their reciprocal influence…[t]hen we immediately become involved in contradictions. Motion itself is a contradiction; even simple mechanical change of place can only come about through a body being both in one place and in another place at one and the same moment of time, being in one and the same place and also not in it. And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is." [Ibid. Bold emphasis added.]
    Hence, between any two points, P and Q -- located at, say, (X(P), Y(P), Z(P)) and (X(Q), Y(Q), Z(Q)), respectively -- that a moving object, B, occupies (at the same "moment in time", T(1)), there are, for example, the following intermediary points: (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)), (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)),..., (X(i), Y(i), Z(i)),..., (X(n), Y(n), Z(n)) -- where n itself can be arbitrarily large. Moreover, the same applies to (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)) and (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)): there is a potentially infinite number of intermediate points between these two, and so on.

    So, if Engels is right, B must occupy not just P and Q at the same instant, it must occupy all these intermediary points, as well -- again, all at T(1). That can only mean that B is located in a potentially infinite number of places, all at the same "moment". It must therefore not only be in and not in P at T(1), it must be in and not in each of (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)), (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)),..., (X(i), Y(i), Z(i)),..., (X(n), Y(n), Z(n)) at T(1), just as it must also be in all the intermediary points between (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)) and (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), if it is also to be in Q at the same "moment".

    And, what is worse: B must move through (or be in) all these intermediate points without time having advanced one instant!

    That is, B will have achieved all this in zero seconds!

    B must therefore be moving with an infinite velocity between P and Q!
    You need to show where this argument goes wrong.

    The contradiction here is a dialectical one: the train arrives & departs in the same instance at each point on the platform by each point of the train at the respective time of each occurrence. There's no dilemma here. This is what is reflected by objective reality.
    1) Just like Hegel (and subsequent DM-clones) you have simply helped yourself to the phrase "dialectical contradiction", but have failed to explain what one of these mysterious 'entities' is. In which case you might just as well have posted this:

    The schmontradiction here is a schmialectical one: the train arrives & departs in the same instance at each point on the platform by each point of the train at the respective time of each occurrence. There's no dilemma here. This is what is reflected by objective reality.
    2) I have already shown that this 'dialectical train' of yours is travelling at infinite speed.

    I don't see any point of you splitting off into another thread other than to burn more straw-men here.
    1) This is a new topic, unrelated to Trotsky on 'Identity', that's why it needs a new page.

    2) Ok, so precisely which of the many points I raised is a 'straw man'? Which of the following is a 'straw man', and why?

    a) My query about what Engels meant by this:

    And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is.
    My query was this:

    The first of these is connected with Engels's claim that the alleged 'contradiction' here has something to do with its "assertion" and "solution". This isn't easy to square with his other stated belief that matter is independent of mind. Who, for example, "asserted" this alleged contradiction before humanity evolved? And who did the "solving"?

    Or, are we to assume that things only began to move when human beings capable of making assertions appeared on the scene?
    b) Another concerned the lack of any supporting evidence for this odd claim of Engels's. Can you cite any evidence that supports this rather bold claim of his? How can this be a 'straw man' -- asking for evidence?

    Do you disagree with fellow Trotskyist, George Novack?

    "A consistent materialism can't proceed from principles which are validated by appeal to abstract reason, intuition, self-evidence or some other subjective or purely theoretical source. Idealisms may do this. But the materialist philosophy has to be based upon evidence taken from objective material sources and verified by demonstration in practice...." [Novack The Origin of Materialism, p.17. Bold emphasis added.]
    But this is exactly what Zeno, Hegel and Engels did.

    c) My demonstration that Engels's depiction of the alleged 'contradictory' nature of motion fails to distinguish it from stationary objects. Can you help Engels out here?

    d) My demonstration that there can be no 'before' or 'after' if Engels is right, in that, if an object moves from P to Q, it is in both places at once, and hence can't be in the first before it was in the second. How is this a 'straw man'?

    e) If Engels is right, moving bodies can't accelerate. Accelerated motion involves a body being in (or passing through) more places in a given time interval than had been the case before it accelerated. But, if such a body is in these two places at the same time, how can it pick up speed?

    So, you tell us how 'dialectical objects' can accelerate.

    f) If Engels is right, then the above body must move from P to Q instantaneously, that is, without time having advanced at all. Hence, motion like this takes place outside of time, and so, according to Trotsky, it can't exist:

    "How should we really conceive the word 'moment'? If it is an infinitesimal interval of time, then a pound of sugar is subjected during the course of that 'moment' to inevitable changes. Or is the 'moment' a purely mathematical abstraction, that is, a zero of time? But everything exists in time; and existence itself is an uninterrupted process of transformation; time is consequently a fundamental element of existence. Thus the axiom 'A' is equal to 'A' signifies that a thing is equal to itself if it does not change, that is if it does not exist." [Trotsky In Defence of Marxism, pp.63-64.]
    Was Trotsky wrong, or was Engels?

    g) Engels's alleged contradiction relies on the differential treatment of time and place: no matter to what extent the spatial aspects of a body's position were partitioned, we would always be able to distinguish two contiguous points allowing us to say that a moving body was in those two places at once --, while we can do that with location, we cannot do the same with respect to time.

    Engels's 'argument' thus depends on the claim that while the location of a particular body is subject to infinite divisibility (an assumption which, one presumes, is necessary to support the claim that moving bodies must be in two places at the same time, no matter how microscopically close together they are -- which in turn implies that spatial locations can be given in endlessly finer-grained detail), the time interval during which this takes place isn't subject to similar constraints. Now, this is an a priori and non-symmetric restriction -- that is, it is applied to time, but not to space -- which is a pre-condition that is impossible to justify on either empirical or logical grounds.

    Can you justify this differential treatment?

    When we treat time and location the same way, the alleged 'contradiction' vanishes.

    Or maybe you can show it doesn't.

    h) If Engels is right then a moving body must be everywhere in its trajectory if it is anywhere. Where does my argument go wrong?

    Which of the above is a 'straw man' and why?

    Of course, as was the case with my challenge to you to show that Formal Logic sees 'things in a static way', alongside my other challenge -- that you show where my demolition of Trotsky's 'analysis' of "A is equal to A'" also goes wrong -- you can always ignore the above questions/new challenges.

    My money is on the latter outcome (i.e., you'll chicken out, again) -- you DM-fans just do not know how to defend this 'theory' of yours, do you?
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  6. #6
    Senior Voting Member ravn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa Lichtenstein View Post
    ravn:



    Unfortunately for you, I have just shown that for any moving object, if, per impossible, dialectics were 'true', it would be travelling at an infinite speed --

    That's demonstrably false: Anything moving in a continuous fashion at any speed arrives to & departs from each instance of its travel. You've shown no discontinuities in any of that, so you have no grounds to claim that there are infinite velocities involved.

  7. #7
    Voting Member Kripke's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Quote Originally Posted by ravn View Post
    In the real world, given any positive speed of R (real number), in continuous motion in the same direction, each point of the the train arrives & departs (in the same instance) at each point of the platform at their respective particular time. Between any two consecutive points passed on the platform by each point of the train, the position of the furthest point minus the position of the starting point divided by the time of the furthest point minus the time of the starting point gives the average speed. Under these circumstances, it's impossible to get infinite velocity. If you up & decide to measure the distance between a point against itself, you'll just be dividing by zero which you just can't do in the first place.

    The contradiction here is a dialectical one: the train arrives & departs in the same instance at each point on the platform by each point of the train at the respective time of each occurrence. There's no dilemma here. This is what is reflected by objective reality.

    I don't see any point of you splitting off into another thread other than to burn more straw-men here.
    You're letting the words "arrive" and "depart" confuse you by linking them up in some odd metaphysical manner when in plain language there's no possibility for misunderstanding. When person A says "that train is arriving" and person B says "that train is departing" we can verify which is accurate and which not by looking at the situation involved. You don't need metaphysics for that and certainly not dialectical mysticism.

  8. #8
    Senior Voting Member Meridian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,596

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    And we can say "it is arriving here only to depart again" and things like that because we schedule train routes and can talk with conductors and drivers about their plans. The same applies in general when we can say someone is both arriving and departing. This form of expression is clearly unfit to serve as some sort of abstract, (meta-)physical law.

    The train example was obviously chosen carefully.

  9. #9
    Senior Voting Member ravn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Quote Originally Posted by Kripke View Post
    You're letting the words "arrive" and "depart" confuse you by linking them up in some odd metaphysical manner

    You arrive at something as plain as day just to depart by claiming it's odd & ill-mannered.

  10. #10
    On Permanent Leave
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    604

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    From my reading of Engels, I would conceive of this at a quantum level. All manner of planes and trains would seem somewhat irrelevant except for illustrative purposes. Clearly, this was long before we had any formalization of the uncertainty principle or the knowledge that position and velocity are complimentary properties, but such seems the most apparent understanding.

  11. #11
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Ok, ravn, you seem not to be able to cope with too much detail being thrown at you all at once (I say that since you appear not to have noticed much of my argument, or, alternatively you prefer to ignore those parts you can't answer -- i.e, the vast bulk of it!).

    So, in order assist you, I'll focus only on the challenges I posed you in my last post, one at a time, beginning with the last one, (h), here re-written in slightly more detail.

    First, this is what Engels said:

    "Motion itself is a contradiction: even simple mechanical change of position can only come about through a body being at one and the same moment of time both in one place and in another place, being in one and the same place and also not in it."
    Now, I trust you'll agree that L35 below captures what Engels was trying to say; on the other hand, of course, if you think L35 misrepresents Engels in some way, I hope you will let me know in what way it does this.

    L35: Motion implies that a moving body, B, is in one place and not in it at the same moment of time, in one place and in another at the same instant.

    Now, it is my contention that L35 implies that a moving body, B, must be everywhere in its trajectory all at the same 'moment'. Here is the supporting argument (again, if you think it is misguided in some way, I hope you will let me know where it goes wrong, or represents what you earlier called a 'straw man'):

    L36: Let B be in motion and at (X(1), Y(1), Z(1)), at t(1).

    L37: Now, L35 implies that B is also at some other point -- say, (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), at t(1).

    L38: But, L35 also implies that B is at (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)) and at another place at t(1); hence it is also at (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)), at t(1).

    If L38 isn't the case, then B would be at rest at (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), at t(1).

    After all, Engels said this:

    a body being at one and the same moment of time both in one place and in another place
    So, if B is in (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)), at t(1), then, according to Engels it must also be in "another place" at the same "moment in time" -- that is, it must also be in (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)), at t(1), otherwise it must have stopped moving.

    L39: Again, L35 implies that B is at (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)) and at another place at t(1); hence also at (X(4), Y(4), Z(4)), at t(1).

    Again, if L39 isn't the case, then B must be at rest at (X(3), Y(3), Z(3)), at t(1).

    L40: Once more, L35 implies that A is at (X(4), Y(4), Z(4)) and at another place at t(1); hence also at (X(5), Y(5), Z(5)), at t(1), and so on...

    By n successive applications of L35 it is possible to show that, as a result of the 'contradictory' nature of motion, B must be everywhere in its trajectory if it is anywhere, all at t(1)!

    Hence, if a body is located at a second point -- say, (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)) --, at t(1), and, if it is still in motion at t(1), it must be "in another place" also at t1. Otherwise, the condition that a moving body must be in this "other place" at the very same instant will have to be abandoned.

    It could be objected that when body B is in the second place at t(1), a new moment in time would begin. Hence, when B is in (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)) at t(1), a new instant, say t(2), would start.

    Unfortunately, this response means that B would be in (X(2), Y(2), Z(2)) at t(1) and at t(2), which would entail that B is located in the same place at two different times, and that would in turn mean that it was stationary at that point!

    Ok, ravn, where does this argument go wrong?
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  12. #12
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    ravn;

    That's demonstrably false: Anything moving in a continuous fashion at any speed arrives to & departs from each instance of its travel. You've shown no discontinuities in any of that, so you have no grounds to claim that there are infinite velocities involved.
    But why then treat time as discrete? If this is the case:

    Anything moving in a continuous fashion at any speed arrives to & departs from each instance of its travel
    Why can't we say that as this objet reached its new location it does so in a a new instant in time, treating both time and speed as continuous. That was the point of this comment:

    Furthermore, it would mean that while we may divide location as finely as we wish -- so that no matter to what extent the spatial aspects of a body's position were partitioned, we would always be able to distinguish two contiguous points allowing us to say that a moving body was in those two places at once --, while we can do that with location, we cannot do the same with respect to time.

    Engels's 'argument' thus depends on the claim that while the location of a particular body is subject to infinite divisibility (an assumption which, one presumes, is necessary to support the claim that moving bodies must be in two places at the same time, no matter how microscopically close together they are -- which in turn implies that spatial locations can be given in endlessly finer-grained detail), the time interval during which this takes place isn't subject to similar constraints. Now, this is an a priori and non-symmetric restriction -- that is, it is applied to time, but not to space -- which is a pre-condition that is impossible to justify on either empirical or logical grounds.

    [Not one single DM-fan, as far as I am aware, has ever even so much as tried to justify this one-sided implied division. In fact, it is clear that not one single 'DM-fan' even seems to be vaguely aware of it!]

    If this one-sided constraint is rejected (as surely it must!), it would mean that no matter how close together the two locations occupied by a given (moving) object actually are, we can always specify a finite time interval during which the said movement occurs. That done, the alleged 'contradiction' vanishes, once again.

    [As we have seen, few would regard it as in any way contradictory that a moving object can be in two locations during a finite temporal interval.]

    Again, the only way to neutralise this response would be to counter-claim that a body must be motionless if it is in a certain place at a certain time (as we saw in E2). That being so, it could be argued that if an object is moving, it must be in two places at the same time.

    E2: If an object is located at a point it must be at rest at that point.

    But, that just repeats the non-symmetrical restriction noted above (along with its suspect derivation, upon which doubt was cast earlier). If we can divide up places as finely as we please, so that it is possible to say an object is in two of them while the 'instant' during which this occurs stays the same, then we can surely do likewise with respect to time, specifying two times for each of these two places (or, at least, a time interval in which such a change of place occurs). Again, the only way this response can be blocked would be to argue that while place is infinitely divisible, time isn't. And how might that be justified?
    2) ravn:

    You've shown no discontinuities in any of that, so you have no grounds to claim that there are infinite velocities involved.
    I didn't set out to show there were any 'discontinuities' in anything, merely expose the absurd consequences of the odd idea that a moving object moves between locations in zero seconds -- in which case, it must have done so with infinite speed. You have yet to show how or why this is an invalid inference.
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  13. #13
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Gent:

    From my reading of Engels, I would conceive of this at a quantum level. All manner of planes and trains would seem somewhat irrelevant except for illustrative purposes. Clearly, this was long before we had any formalization of the uncertainty principle or the knowledge that position and velocity are complimentary properties, but such seems the most apparent understanding.
    I am far from sure how even this shows how motion is 'contradictory'.
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  14. #14
    Senior Voting Member ravn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa Lichtenstein View Post
    Ok, ravn, you seem not to be able to cope with too much detail being thrown at you all at once (I say that since you appear not to have noticed much of my argument, or, alternatively you prefer to ignore those parts you can't answer -- i.e, the vast bulk of it!).

    So, in order assist you, I'll focus only on the challenges I posed you in my last post, one at a time, beginning with the last one, (h), here re-written in slightly more detail.

    First, this is what Engels said:
    Let's put what he said in the context that he said it. The quote you use is from Anti-D\"uhring:

    True, so long as we consider things as at rest and lifeless, each one by itself, alongside and after each other, we do not run up against any contradictions in them. We find certain qualities which are partly common to, partly different from, and even contradictory to each other, but which in the last-mentioned case are distributed among different objects and therefore contain no contradiction within. Inside the limits of this sphere of observation we can get along on the basis of the usual metaphysical mode of thought. But the position is quite different as soon as we consider things in their motion, their change, their life, their reciprocal influence on one another. Then we immediately become involved in contradictions. Motion itself is a contradiction: even simple mechanical change of position can only come about through a body being at one and the same moment of time both in one place and in another place, being in one and the same place and also not in it. And the continuous origination and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is. (Engels 1947, 144)


    And the bit of Hegel he's paraphrasing is from the Science of Logic:

    External, sensuous motion itself is contradiction’s immediate existence. Something moves, not because at one moment it is here and at another there, but because at one and the same moment it is here and not here, because in this “here,” it at once is and is not. The ancient dialecticians must be granted the contradictions that they pointed out in motion; but it does not follow that therefore there is no motion; but on the contrary, that motion is existent contradiction itself. (1969, 440)
    You're hung up about in what instance something is there and what instance is something not there but motion involves both these instances as a unity. They don't exist independent of each other.

  15. #15
    Senior Voting Member ravn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosa Lichtenstein View Post
    r
    I didn't set out to show there were any 'discontinuities' in anything, merely expose the absurd consequences of the odd idea that a moving object moves between locations in zero seconds -- in which case, it must have done so with infinite speed. You have yet to show how or why this is an invalid inference.
    Discontinuities, in the case of the movement of the train, would result in infinite velocity. But under these circumstances, that's physically impossible. You invented this necessity for an object to move between locations in zero seconds. But you can't split space from time. Then there was that business when you inferred that T(0) meant zero time, never asking for any clarification what I meant by that. I really meant it in terms of an array of times where 0 was the first element, the first time stamp. (If you wanted to treat that as a function then why didn't you ask what that function was? It could be Time + N, Time - N, Time * N. (N being any integer.) If it was Time / N, N can't equal zero. )

  16. #16
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    ravn:

    You're hung up about in what instance something is there and what instance is something not there but motion involves both these instances as a unity. They don't exist independent of each other.
    Who said they did? Not me; I even quoted the full passage at the head of my original post. I also asked you the following about it (which, as usual, you ignored):

    a) My query about what Engels meant by this:

    And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is.
    My query was this:

    The first of these is connected with Engels's claim that the alleged 'contradiction' here has something to do with its "assertion" and "solution". This isn't easy to square with his other stated belief that matter is independent of mind. Who, for example, "asserted" this alleged contradiction before humanity evolved? And who did the "solving"?
    Or, are we to assume that things only began to move when human beings capable of making assertions appeared on the scene?
    You earlier asserted this was a 'straw man', but how can a simple question be a 'staw man'?

    Of course you can stick your head back in the sand, and ignore this point once more, but if you do that, I am not sure who you think you are kidding.

    But, to return to the main feature:

    So, let's go over this slowly. Is this a fair representation of what Engels said?

    L35: Motion implies that a moving body, B, is in one place and not in it at the same moment of time, in one place and in another at the same instant.

    If not, in what way does it fall short?
    Last edited by Rosa Lichtenstein; 04-03-2017 at 8:31 PM.
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  17. #17
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    ravn:

    Discontinuities, in the case of the movement of the train, would result in infinite velocity. But under these circumstances, that's physically impossible. You invented this necessity for an object to move between locations in zero seconds. But you can't split space from time. Then there was that business when you inferred that T(0) meant zero time, never asking for any clarification what I meant by that. I really meant it in terms of an array of times where 0 was the first element, the first time stamp. (If you wanted to treat that as a function then why didn't you ask what that function was? It could be Time + N, Time - N, Time * N. (N being any integer.) If it was Time / N, N can't equal zero. )
    The infinity here arises from the assumed fact that this 'dialectical' train moves between two points in its journey in zero seconds.

    You invented this necessity for an object to move between locations in zero seconds.
    Not so, Engels did this (you even quoted him to that effect), I merely exposed the incoherencies that flowed from this:

    Motion itself is a contradiction: even simple mechanical change of position can only come about through a body being at one and the same moment of time both in one place and in another place, being in one and the same place and also not in it.
    [Bold added above and below.]

    If a moving object is in "one and the same moment of time both in one place and in another place", then no time has elapsed while it moves between these locations. Otherwise, it can't be "the same moment of time".

    Or, are you now going to disagree with Engels?

    Then there was that business when you inferred that T(0) meant zero time, never asking for any clarification what I meant by that. I really meant it in terms of an array of times where 0 was the first element, the first time stamp. (If you wanted to treat that as a function then why didn't you ask what that function was? It could be Time + N, Time - N, Time * N. (N being any integer.) If it was Time / N, N can't equal zero. )
    I assumed that when you said a train arrives at T(0) and departs at T(O) you meant there was a zero second delay between its arrival and departure. If so, as I showed in that other thread, this 'dialectical' train of yours was moving with infinite speed.

    But, what about this?

    I really meant it in terms of an array of times where 0 was the first element, the first time stamp. (If you wanted to treat that as a function then why didn't you ask what that function was? It could be Time + N, Time - N, Time * N. (N being any integer.) If it was Time / N, N can't equal zero.
    1) First of all, this isn't a function. To specify a function you need a rule, a domain and a co-domain set.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_(mathematics)

    2) I'm sorry, but what on earth does this mean: "Time + N, Time - N, Time * N. (N being any integer.)"?

    a) How do you, for example, add a number to time? How do you add, say, 3 (that's 3, not 3 minutes, or 3 hours, or 3 days) to 4 o'clock? You can certainly add hours, minutes, or days to a specified time, but not numbers. If I said, what is 4 o'clock plus 3, you'd not know what to do until I specified a temporal unit for this number, and then this would reduce to adding two times not numbers and times. So, you'd have to know if this was 4 o'clock plus 3 seconds, or plus 3 minutes, or plus 3 hours, etc.

    Have you actually done any mathematics beyond grade 4 or 5?

    [Whatever was I thinking when I said dialectics is far too vague and confused to do anything with!?]

    b) Can't N be a real number?

    3) I agree that N can't equal zero, but your example implies N = 0 -- which, I think we can agree completely undermines Engels's half-baked 'theory'.
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  18. #18
    Senior Voting Member ravn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    You're hung up about in what instance something is there and what instance is something not there but motion involves both these instances as a unity. They don't exist independent of each other.
    [SIZE=4][RL][/SIZE]
    Who said they did? Not me;

    Did or didn't? Do you agree that this unity is indivisible or do you dispute it?! Because motion involves a thing being in one place & not being in that same place as a unit. That's true even at the quantum level of things.


    [SIZE=4][RL][/SIZE]
    I even quoted the fill passage at the head of my original post. I also asked you the following about it (which, as usual, you ignored):




    a) My query about what Engels meant by this:

    And the continual assertion and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is.


    That's not what he said. Engels said: "And the continuous origination and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is". Origination ==> "to come into being".

  19. #19
    Senior Voting Member Rosa Lichtenstein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,340

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    ravn (chickening out yet again):

    Did or didn't? Do you agree that this unity is indivisible or do you dispute it?! Because motion involves a thing being in one place & not being in that same place as a unit. That's true even at the quantum level of things.
    So you say, but we have yet to see the proof/evidence that motion is as you say it is.

    Ok, so you have used a different translation of Engels's words (I used the Peking edition):

    "And the continuous origination and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is". Origination ==> "to come into being".
    So, all I have to do is modify my earlier point, to this:

    a) My query about what Engels meant by this:


    And the continuous origination and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is.
    My query now this:

    The first of these is connected with Engels's claim that the alleged 'contradiction' here has something to do with its "solution". This isn't easy to square with his other stated belief that matter is independent of mind. Who, for example, "solved" this alleged contradiction before humanity evolved? Or, are we to assume that things only began to move when human beings capable of solving things appeared on the scene?
    But, I rather suspect that since you'll not be able to answer this query of mine, you'll just ignore it.

    Be this as it may -- returning to the main feature (since you seem to want to ignore it, too):

    So, let's go over this slowly. Is this a fair representation of what Engels said?

    L35: Motion implies that a moving body, B, is in one place and not in it at the same moment of time, in one place and in another at the same instant.

    If not, in what way does it fall short?
    Over to you, chicken...
    The emancipation of the working class will be an act of the workers themselves.

    http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/index.htm

  20. #20
    Senior Voting Member ravn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: Motion Isn't Contradictory

    Engels:
    And the continuous origination and simultaneous solution of this contradiction is precisely what motion is.
    RL:
    My query now this:

    The first of these is connected with Engels's claim that the alleged 'contradiction' here has something to do with its "solution". This isn't easy to square with his other stated belief that matter is independent of mind. Who, for example, "solved" this alleged contradiction before humanity evolved? Or, are we to assume that things only began to move when human beings capable of solving things appeared on the scene?
    "Origination" means "coming into being". "Solution" means in this context "going out of being". "Simultaneous" means in this context "exactly coincident". The contradiction is something coming into being and going out of being, these thing being exactly coincident, occurring one after the other. All of these things occur independent of the mind. You're assuming here that merely observing these things makes these dependent on the mind.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may edit your posts
  •