Our discussion of Time Reborn impinged on an interesting discussion. I was a bit insulting and should back off a bit to savor the moment, so to speak. To peg transcendental idealism against the effort by the ‘materialist’ Smolin to storm the gates of glory with a new formulation is worth taking a step at a time. I have no dogmatic assumptions about Kant and Plato, but reading the start of Time Reborn with its typical enthusiasm for the sequence from Kepler to Galileo and beyond I would consider that the lessons learned here are misleading. It doesn’t follow that because early physics leading to Newton created a materialist breakthrough (the breakthrough was as much mathematical) the tactic will succeed at infinitum in all cases. And the progression toward materialism obscures a more complicated picture. It is one thing to attack Plato on the grounds of idealism and thinking beyond time. But the appearance of transcendental idealism was a modern innovation that came after Newton and was put into a specific mode of being its commentary after accepting its foundation stone.
I think that the better point of Smolin is that string theory is a sort of ‘Platonic Ideas’ fest gone awry, so the counterpoint to the counterpoint is important. But the standard reductionist model set has over and over again seemed too simplistic.
Smolin should be wary of the natural tendencies of the world system: his confidence in resurgent materialism is matched by its clear tendency visible in the macro effect to try and replant a form of idealism after it has died out.
I will continue reading his book…
His later material on mathematical economics is of interest, but these scientists are now an arrogant lot who are happy to dabble in mathematical economics without perceiving the limits of the whole subject. The material on equilibrium points in neo-classical economics is worth the price of the book, but the whole discussion is an alarming indication of the way hotshots with math skills have done well in physics but created a monster impossible to debrief in economics. Hypersmart math whizzes are creating confusion in the sphere of economics. And we will find that such people, including Smolin, consider it their right as scientists to subject whole populations to neo-classical math garbage they should realize is garbage…Many outsiders have warned of this. But these isolated academic hotshots fueled by big science funding in the controlled militarization of science have turned into lushes. There’s another gravy train of hitech physics to find ways to kill people, so… It ought to be obvious there is a problem with differential calculus in the study of economics. I am a liberal arts major, and it is obvious to me, so why the problems with these fizzies?
The issue of mathematics in economics is a first class mystery. How Economics Became a Mathematical Science
Is Smolin really a bad guy? The cavalier use of mathetmatical economics has resulted in the use of advanced mathematics as ideology and this has been used to justify the brutal treatment of millions of people, so we don’t know how many people neo-classical economics has killed (as opposed to how many ‘naturally’ occurring economic systems have killed, beside the artificial brand created by capitalists to veil the reality of what they are doing, etc…)
Meanwhile, on death row, or not, Smolin’s ‘materialist’ recompute is a fascinating exercise, a careful study of this, on to chapter four, will be interesting…Smolin is not the first to get ‘fed up’ and try to irony out confusion in materialist flattening. But the great originals here were the Samkhya yogis who rewrote the whole of spirituality in materialist terms. In the words of Gurdjieff, everything is material. ‘God’ himself can be weighed and measured…