Category Archives: Dialectics

Quantity/Quality (425)

Quality and Quantity

Quality is the basic character or nature of something. Quantity is a variable amount of a thing, where the amount does not affect the quality (the basic nature) of what that thing is.

When the quantity of something changes, i.e. if a book has 100 pages as opposed to 50 pages, a quantitative change has occurred. There are times however, when the amount of change in a thing changes its very character. For example, if the book was reduced to one page, it is no longer a book. When change affects the very character of the thing, a qualitative change has occurred.

The Frame


Looking over the pop quiz responses it seems clear that: 1) almost nobody has read The Committee and 2) many people have not read, or at least fully understood, Hawkes. It also appears that there are people in the class who don’t know what STEM means.

Let’s take the first one last. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics– that is to say, those fields of study that are ostensibly the most “serious” and remunerative. (That they are routinely treated as such is already an indication that our society tends to treat rationality metaphysically.)

In the formula STEM s̅ dialectics Hiroshima, “STEM s̅ dialectics” stands for what Adorno calls “instrumental reason” and “Hiroshima” stands for a moral and human catastrophe on par with the European genocide.

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