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# High school newbie's -- not economic per se, but relevant to Austrian economics -- questions

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Points 65
kuye88 posted on Mon, Jun 6 2011 11:39 PM

Homeschool student here. My dad has me reading David Gordon's An Introduction to Economic Reasoning alongside my AP Econ textbooks for next year. Philosophy is not my strong suit, so I'm already having difficulty with some of the questions. If any of you could help me I would appreciate it.

Some philosophers have denied that these laws of logic are always true. Marxists say e.g. that everything is constantly changing; therefore, the Law of Identity isn’t true. Why is this objection based on a misunderstanding of the Law of Identity?

My answer was: The Law of Identity states that a thing is what it is. The law is a static boundary for an entity's nature, but does not exclude the possibility of an entity changing natures. If A's nature changes to the nature of B, then A is no longer A... it's B (B=B)!

I don't know how to further expand my answer (if it's even right at all). I intuitively know the Law of Identity is true, but I don't know how to argue in a way that isn't circular.
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6,953 Posts
Points 118,135
John James replied on Tue, Jun 7 2011 12:02 AM

First of all,

My dad has me reading David Gordon's An Introduction to Economic Reasoning alongside my AP Econ textbooks for next year.

That is awesome.

Second, you might expand your answer by applying it to the specific example given.  Why is the obejection of Marxists (as it is presented there) based on a misunderstanding of the law?  How exactly does the law, in the way you've described it, invalidate what the Marxist says?

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29 Posts
Points 485
Nico replied on Tue, Jun 7 2011 12:08 AM

I would start with understanding the Marxist objection itself... I am not an expert on this, but as the following link explains, this question has its roots in Hegelian dialectic.

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424 Posts
Points 5,980
Em_ptySkin replied on Tue, Jun 7 2011 12:51 AM

Don't use this as an answer as I haven't read Gordon's book, but think that if A = A, then how can it change to B?  In what physiological way?  in what metaphysical way? in what systematic way (like a revolutionary machine that would necessarily be constantly changing)?  If the proletariat were to use the state and democracy to wrath control, politically and production wise, away from the bourgeois they effectively establish a new bourgeois, comprised of the former proletariat, and a new proletariat, comprised of the former bourgeois.  Then, under marxist doctrine, as history flows, the new proletariat would need to struggle to "win the battle of democracy" to do the whole thing over again.  This is eternal conflict.  This may fit into the law of identity, actually, if you consider the whole "wheels" identity is itself what is in question with the proletariat and bourgeois each being part of the whole thing.  So you might say that its identity is change. The law if identity is correct because one thing cannot be another (from what i understand).

Marxists use a (what i think to be weird) way of reasoning things. In the dialectical fashion of Thesis/anithesis/synthesis, one thing creates conflict with another then the conflict's result is the ultimate result. (Marx expected after all the effort of the proletariat to secure the reigns of the state that it would "wither" and fade away? haha not likely.  This is the non sequitur of marxism.

hope some of that was helpful!

Eating Propaganda

What do you mean i don't care how your day was?!

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4,248 Posts
Points 70,755
Smiling Dave replied on Tue, Jun 7 2011 2:50 AM
Suggested by Physiocrat

Marxists say e.g. that everything is constantly changing; therefore, the Law of Identity isn’t true.

This looks like a non sequitor unless we insert an assumption:

1. Everything is constantly changing.

2. The Law of Identity asserts that not everything is constantly changing.

3. Therefore the Law of identity is not true.

There is a hidden statement [2] in the argument. Let's look at that statement. It is equivalent to

2a. The Law of Identity asserts that some things never change.

Is that what the law says? Is saying "A thing is what it is" the same as saying "Some things never change"?

Doesn't look the same, does it? I think the difference between the two lies in the time element.

"A thing is what it is" should be expanded to "For any given thing, and for any given fixed moment in time, the thing is what it is in that fixed moment in time."

Change happens in time. If A is A at first, and then becomes B, we are talking about two different times. Before midnight it is a coach and four, at midnight it is a pumpkin and mice. I don't think even a Marxist would argue that a thing is ever A and B [assuming A and B to be mutually exclusive] at the same instant in time.

Further references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella

My humble blog

It's easy to refute an argument if you first misrepresent it. William Keizer

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