[OPE-L:1191] Re: Re: The Material World

From: Jurriaan Bendien (djjb99@worldonline.nl)
Date: Sat Sep 11 1999 - 20:21:59 EDT

I wrote:

>> Marx's
>> distinction is between material and spiritual/mental/ideological,
>> between the production of ideas and the production of tangible things
>> (in which you may include services which involve transformation of the
>> physical world as their main purpose).

Jerry replied:

>I'm not convinced that this captures Marx's distinction, nor do I agree
>that it is a useful distinction.

I do not claim it captures all of Marx's distinction, but roughly that is
what he is talking about I think. If I am wrong, what do you think Marx's
distinction really is ? Why do you not think it is a useful distinction ?

Concerning you remarks about the productive labour of teachers, we have
dealt with that before.

>PS: As for the point that Mike W and you made about "metaphysics": what
>exactly is the merit and/or usefulness of metaphysics?

I think metaphysics has many merits, if it is based on scientific
knowledge. I can give you one merit here: metaphysics helps to keep a
healthy overall perspective on life, linking the particular to the general
where science cannot do that yet. For instance, if you work in a
superspecialised activity, it helps to have a view of the big picture, to
combat distortions of consciousness resulting from your superspecialised

Of course, there's good metaphysics (e.g. scientific realism) and bad
metaphysics (such as new age). Science eventually supplants metaphysical
theories, but never eliminates metaphysics.

I would say that if you studied any bona fide scientist, you will find that
person subscribes to certain metaphysical notions about how the world is
etc., which cannot be proved, starting perhaps with basic ontological notions.

Another way of looking at it is to consider that the valid empirical
scientific evidence we have available is very tiny compared to the amount
of theory we have, on the one hand, and the world of experience as a whole,
on the other hand.



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