Is Empiricism Anti-Intellectual? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15207876
I've been wondering about this since... as long as I can remember.

The idea is intellect is based around the ability to process time in your mind. You concentrate energy in order to not just come up with forms, but to also transform forms and reflect about the formulation of those forms.

Empiricism, in contrast, is mentally lazy. It looks upon the outside world of forms rather than making an effort to come up with forms.

Now to be fair, all forms don't make sense. It's like the difference between engineering and architecture. Some forms follow rules, and others don't. Some forms are functional and other forms are aesthetic.

This is why we worry about not being empirical. We worry that a person's mind can be mistaken or biased towards certain forms. People have opinions, and those opinions can be confused. After all, human nature is subrational. It has both thoughts and feelings. The idea of empiricism, therefore, is to guarantee no exposure of thoughts to feelings since the external world is beyond the capability of the internal mind.

The problem here is the world does not exist upon a point of singularity. The forms somewhere are not the forms everywhere. As mortal creatures, we do not pervade the world either. Therefore, we have limits in how many forms we can observe.

In turn, there really is no such thing as "objective" observation because the objects we observe are only some of the forms out there in the world. Yes, some observations are more objective than others. Scientific observation is less wrong than anecdotes and traditions, but it's ultimately speaking just that - less wrong.

The question then becomes a matter of whether we can overcome that "less wrong" limit. Is there a way to be purely right without being less wrong?

This is what brings us back to the mind's ability to process time, and this is where self-discipline becomes important, but the problem afterwards is a matter of trusting another's self-discipline. Just because someone claims to be self-disciplined doesn't mean someone really is. People can lie, be anxious, and be mistaken. Again, we use empiricism to overcome these problems...

...except empiricism doesn't really overcome these problems because people can lie, be anxious, and be mistaken about what they observe as well. Evidence can be fabricated, and the ability to check fabrication is not unlimited. There comes a point where people are again expected to trust others as the less wrong observers because it becomes ridiculous to check their evidence as faulty any further.

Unfortunately, this eventually leads to subtle forms of manipulation which become bigger over time by playing with the cracks of less wrong faultiness. It's a classic "wag the dog" situation. As civilization develops throughout generations and centuries, these cracks become a new form of pragmatic tradition as well. They form precedents of bad habits, and refusing to go along with them gets treated as rocking the boat, being difficult, and making things too inconvenient to be bothered.

This... is where anti-intellectualism rears its ugly head because people who think about these problems get dismissed and never addressed ever again. Society treats them as whiners, complainers, and targets of opportunity. It treats those who address the cracks as those worried about falling through the cracks, and it can't be bothered acknowledging them, so they're told to deal with it...

...and as civilization grows more accustomed to these bad habits, these cracks eventually become fault lines which lead to earthquakes. They become problems in which those who complained about them are told, "Don't say 'I told you so!' " Anyone who acknowledges those problems gets treated as doubly arrogant. They're labeled as vain for preaching, and they're labeled as too powerless to make a difference.

We get told these cracks are inevitable and unavoidable, not because they really are from self-discipline, but because the society we live in has games which are too difficult to be navigated. Therefore, solving these problems endures a vicious cycle of abandonment. For no other reason than because the people are too paranoid of one another, these problems of addressing less-wrong knowledge do not get addressed...

...but of course, there's no evidence of this...

...because to get evidence would require access to people's conduct and minds which gets restricted against those who are suspected of using that evidence against those who have it.

Hence, anti-intellectualism is solidified. Literally, access to evidence is not given to those who deserve it to prove their points about the problem of less wrong observation.
#15207885
Nope, I do not think that empiricism is anti-intellectual, certainly not as far as philosophy is concerned.

There is a very popular idea since the antiquity that Aristotle is material while Plato is divine. This same idea was imagined by Rafael in the School of Athens.

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And it is with reason.

The distinction lies in the concepts of being and becoming.

Being is when standing still in time, like in a photograph and to make time stand still in the real world one has to take a bird's eye view from space down on the earth to keep it 'still 'for observation. When one takes that in its natural conclusion, one drifts further away in space in a pursuit to find perfect still forms. The triangle, square and circle, the zero, the On(Being). These are perfectly still, abstract, philosophical forms.

That is Plato.

Aristotle focused on the becoming, on the relationships in the microcosm, on the relationships between humans, animals, plants, microorganisms relying on our senses (empiricism) to identify, on how hyle transforms into real objects from eternal forms integrating with that matter(hyle) that is constantly in a state of change due to age, weather, etcetera.

I think it is pointless for people to pick a team to cheerlead here as some medieval idiots certainly did. The idea that the material world is less divine or somehow tainted as "anti-intellectual" sources directly from the misunderstandings of these medieval idiots.

And the reason is language. Not all languages have this inherent distinction of being and becoming, if they do have a distinction at all.
#15207892
noemon wrote:Nope, I do not think that empiricism is anti-intellectual, certainly not as far as philosophy is concerned.

There is a very popular idea since the antiquity that Aristotle is material while Plato is divine. This same idea was imagined by Rafael in the School of Athens.

Image

And it is with reason.

The distinction lies in the concepts of being and becoming.

Being is when standing still in time, like in a photograph and to make time stand still in the real world one has to take a bird's eye view from space down on the earth to keep it 'still 'for observation. When one takes that in its natural conclusion, one drifts further away in space in a pursuit to find perfect still forms. The triangle, square and circle, the zero, the On(Being). These are perfectly still, abstract, philosophical forms.

That is Plato.

Aristotle focused on the becoming, on the relationships in the microcosm, on the relationships between humans, animals, plants, microorganisms relying on our senses (empiricism) to identify, on how hyle transforms into real objects from eternal forms integrating with that matter(hyle) that is constantly in a state of change due to age, weather, etcetera.

I think it is pointless for people to pick a team to cheerlead here as some medieval idiots certainly did. The idea that the material world is less divine or somehow tainted as "anti-intellectual" sources directly from the misunderstandings of these medieval idiots.

And the reason is language. Not all languages have this inherent distinction of being and becoming, if they do have a distinction at all.


Being versus becoming reminds me of how Aristotle discerns between the different types of "good" forms.

Are you familiar with Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics?
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... hapter%3D6

The problem I've had with his criticism of the theory of forms is his argument that there's no clear relationship to exclude accidents from their habitats since the qualities of substances are always changing and never fixed. Therefore, according to Aristotle, there really is no such thing as the ideal good. All goodness would be reduced down to how useful it is such that everything is temporal and nothing is eternal. In essence, everything is both an accident and not an accident to him.

It's like saying a car's form is temporarily useful as long as it doesn't get into an accident on its habitat of a road. Well yea, no kidding, but cars and roads are manmade constructs. That doesn't really establish any objective truth. That just establishes the truth we've applied.

The question of goodness deals with what to understand in advance of those applications. After all, cars and roads haven't existed forever. Why did we apply them? The same argument can be made about animals mutating in their ecosystems during evolution. What makes some form of fitness good and another not? Survival of the fittest? That begs the question in assuming that the survival of a form makes it good.

Even the usefulness argument fails here since people don't always want to live, and I don't mean in terms of contemplating suicide although that's an extreme example. I mean sometimes, people cut their losses and relocate their habitat to move on to another activity, but what makes one activity better than another? Fitting in? Again, activities change over time, and some activities are designed when there were none before. Simply being a form of a puzzle piece that fits doesn't settle the question.

This is the other problem with Aristotle. He talks about what's attainable, but we don't know what's attainable in advance of it getting attained, and people will often try to attain things at the same time. Simultaneous attempts are out of control. They're chaotic. Aristotle talks about craftsman practicing their crafts in this regard, but he doesn't consider how multiple craftsmen practice simultaneously whether within or among crafts.

There's just so much chaos in his paradigm. It doesn't seem as plausible as he makes it out to be.
#15207929
I am not sure that empiricism is necessarily anti-intellectual but part of its limitations is an uncritical acceptance of the concepts used for investigation when everything is "theory ladden" which might fit within that point.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/geoff2.htm
The essence of empiricism is that as a theory of knowledge it holds that sensory experience is the only source of knowledge and affirms that all knowledge is founded on experience and is obtained through experience. One reflection of this philosophical method is that it takes a series of facts as ‘given’ (by experience), that is, takes them uncritically, accepting them as fixed and natural phenomena and using them as the basis on which an analytical structure can be built. According to this conception, a general law – such as the law of value – is taken as given, as a point of departure. Such a general law, argues the empiricist, can be upheld only when it can be established as an immediately given principle under which all the facts being considered can be directly subsumed, without contradiction. The ‘general’ for the empiricist is mechanically constructed out of a series of ‘concrete’ experiences and in this way all dialectical relations are set aside, since the universal is merely analysed from the empirically concrete. Engels characterises this method – this starting with so-called ‘principles’ or ‘laws’ which are tested against ‘the facts’ as ideological – as a method which inverts the true process by which knowledge develops.

The general results of the investigation of the world are obtained at the end of this investigation, hence are not principles, points of departure, but results, conclusions. To construct the latter in one’s head is ideology, an ideology which tainted every species of materialism hitherto existing. (Engels, Anti-Duhring)

And Engels immediately points out the roots of this ideology: it rested on a lack of understanding of the origin of thought in definite historical-social conditions. ‘While in nature the relationship of thinking to being was certainly to some extent clear to materialism in history it was not, nor did materialism realise the dependence of all thought upon the historical material conditions obtaining at the particular time.’

This method of starting from principles (instead of abstracting them in the course of theoretical work) was essentially the same as starting from abstract definitions, into which the facts are then ‘fitted’.

The above characterization is more of an emphasis on it allow ideological biases as a result of the uncritical acceptance of concepts used to investigate the empirical.
I think a more damning issue of empiricism is it considers man as a passive perciever/observer of reality rather than an active participant within it.
The doctrine of empiricism is inevitably wide open to Berkley's considerable critique of subjective idealism (Objective reality only saved by the continuation of God). However, an emphasis on knowledge having it's origins in the empirical world is also necessary against such idealist tendencies which posit concepts as independent and remote from reality.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/pilling2.htm#Pill2
Empiricism, as a theory of knowledge rests upon the false proposition that perception and sensation constitute the only material and source of knowledge. Marx as a materialist, of course, never denied that the material world, existing prior to and independently of consciousness, is the only source of sensation. But he knew that such a statement, if left at that point, could not provide the basis for a consistent materialism, but at best a mechanical form of materialism, which always left open a loop-hole for idealism. It is true that empiricism lay at the foundation of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century materialism in England and France. But at the same time this very empiricist point of view provided the basis for both the subjective idealism of Berkeley and the agnosticism of Hume. How is it possible, starting with the proposition that sensation is the sole source and material of knowledge, to end up either denying the objectivity of the external world (subjective idealism) or denying the possibility of an exhaustive knowledge of that external world (scepticism)? To take the latter case, the argument runs as follows: to men are given directly perceptions and sensations; they provide the only legitimate source of knowledge. But in these perceptions are to be found no internal necessary connections. How do we know that one thing is the cause of another? We see only one thing followed by another; if this is constantly repeated we come to expect the second whenever the first occurs. This is merely a psychological expectation, not a causal connection. These were essentially the conclusions drawn by Hume from the empiricist theory of knowledge. It followed that any statements about the objectivity of the categories of philosophy or science (causality, interaction, law, etc.) are purely metaphysical, reflecting nothing in the sensed material of knowledge. On this view, logical categories are only schemes which we use (purely out of convention and habit) for the organisation of sense-data. But such schemes remain, necessarily, wholly subjective. They are subjective first in relation to the external world, the existence of which, according to scepticism, can never be established; second in relation to the very sense data themselves, since they are determined by the very constitution of the subject – that is by the aggregate of the individual’s former psychical experiences.

In this respect there can be no doubt whatsoever that Marx adopted Hegel’s position (against Kant). In stressing the historical and objective nature of concepts, Hegel prepared the way for introducing the role of practice into human thought, even though his conception of this practice remained too narrow. Marx followed Hegel’s lead in insisting that the movement from the ‘sensed’ to the ‘logical’ was a process in which social man penetrated ever more deeply through the appearance of phenomena, deeper and deeper into their essence. It was this social practice that lies at the very heart and foundation of the development of man’s conceptual thinking. The form taken by man’s knowledge, summarised in the concepts of science, represents an index, a resume, of his education and in particular the education of his senses.


In regards to Americans, their pragmatism was an advancement upon empiricism as it overcome man's passivity and considered him in action with the world.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Sources%20of%20Cultural%20Psychology.pdf
A number of conditions conspired to form American Pragmatism (Menand 2001). At least well up to into the nineteenth century, America drew its ideas from Europe – Britain and Germany in particular – but every idea imported into the New World was subject to the test: “does it work?” The Americans showed a readiness to subject what was appropriated from Europe to pragmatic revision to suit their own conditions.

However, some approaches to pragmatism can focus heavily on that of the individual to the expense of the material culture in which individuals collaborate.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Brandom.pdf
The metaphor of judge-made law cited above, which is a pragmatic rendering of Hegel’s conception of sprit, by disposing of the need for a pre-existing principle governing the development of new propositions, seems to justify the idea that the whole process of cultural and historical development can be rendered as interactions between individuals. But this does not stand up. The process depends essentially on the availability of the precedents, the body of enacted law and all the legal principles which exist in the form of documents. These documents are crucial mediating artefacts which regulate the development of the common law. The idea that the judge is able to make explicit what was merely implicit in the previous decisions is an attractive and eminently Hegelian idea. But it presupposes that these documented decisions act as mediating elements in the development of law, not to mention the entire material culture which supports the way of life in which the decisions are made by judges and enforced by a state.

A proposition appears to be something created and enacted in the moment when two people interact, but neither the language used in the interaction nor the concepts which are embedded in the language are created de novo in that interaction. The words and concepts relied upon in any interaction “are always already there in the always alreadyup-and-running communal linguistic practices into which I enter as a young one” (Brandom 2009: 73). Through the provision of these artefacts, every linguistic interaction is mediated by the concepts of the wider community.

If Hegel’s idea of Recognition is taken out of the context of his whole method it is easily misunderstood, and taken to be an unmediated binary relation between two individuals, but this is never the case; interactions between subjects are always mediated. As Hegel states at the very beginning of the Logic: “There is nothing, nothing in Heaven, or in Nature or in Mind or anywhere else which does not equally contain both immediacy and mediation” (Hegel 1816/1969: §92). Analytical philosophy, and all varieties of interactionism and recognition theories, systematically ignore this maxim of Hegel’s, which characterises his entire corpus. Mutual understanding even between strangers, apparently unmediated by common language or custom, is possible provided that each person can produce something which the other person needs. As participants in a shared culture there are concepts which are “always already-up-and-running.” This mediating element is something not created by the interaction (although every interaction maintains and modifies the culture). The mediating structure exists independently of any single interaction and is a ‘larger’ unit, being a property or aspect of the entire community of which the partners to interaction are a part. Concepts belong to this larger unit, and are evoked in the interactions and thinking of individuals as mediating elements. This stands in contradiction to Brandom’s efforts to found his inferentialism and his reading of Hegel exclusively in actions. It is as if actions and interactions (such as uttering a proposition, recognising another individual, committing oneself to a concept, etc.) can exist prior to and independently of the cultural constellations and social formations which mediate individuals’ actions and from which actions draw their meaning.


The above being a point of pragmatist readings of Hegel in which mediation simply does not exist and people somehow directly communicate but without any explicit inclusion of the culture that makes their interactions meaningful and with some sort of purpose.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/habermas-review.htm
For a study of ethics which has relevance to human life outside of the philosopher’s study, the unit of analysis must include purposive interaction between at least two people, the activity of doing something with or against someone else, in a unit of analysis which contains both the intentional actions of each of the participants and the “third” party — the “project” in which they participate, the collaborative activity itself. In addition to you and me there has to be a “we”, otherwise you and I have nothing to talk about.
#15207932
Wellsy wrote:



mechanically constructed out of a series of ‘concrete’ experiences



'Inductive' reasoning:


inductive vs. deductive reasoning

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This method of starting from principles (instead of abstracting them in the course of theoretical work) was essentially the same as starting from abstract definitions, into which the facts are then ‘fitted’.



I would disagree here, and ask if the empiricist's method, generally, can be thought of as 'bottom-up' -- and probably some *deductive*, *top-down* examination (from abstract definitions) is necessary as well.

Also:


Consciousness, A Material Definition

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#15207933
Wellsy wrote:



This method of starting from principles (instead of abstracting them in the course of theoretical work) was essentially the same as starting from abstract definitions, into which the facts are then ‘fitted’.



I have to add that I, myself, happen to find 'ideological' 'principles' to be the resulting synthesis of bottom-up (inductive) (empirical) approaches, and top-down (deductive) ('abstract definitions') approaches.

I have the linear left-right political spectrum's relative political 'principles' labeled from left to right on the dark blue "signs" in the following illustration:


Ideologies & Operations -- Fundamentals

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#15207935
@ckaihatsu
Yes, the empiricist doesn’t operate without concepts but does so uncritically. Marx for example criticized political economists for taken as a given many concepts within political economics and thus ignoring the form of their thinking.
So for example they began with the more abstract (although more concrete) concept of things like value.

I say abstract and concrete in that it was abstract as it was abstracted and reflected narrow concepts but concrete as it was a result of differentiating things from the whole.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch01.htm#loc3
If I were to begin with the population, this would be a chaotic conception of the whole, and I would then, by means of further determination, move analytically towards ever more simple concepts, from the imagined concrete towards ever thinner abstractions until I had arrived at the simplest determinations. From there the journey would have to be retraced until I had arrived at the population again, but this time not as the chaotic conception of a whole, but as a rich totality of many determinations and relations

https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/chat/index.htm
Abstract and Concrete (Psychology)
Abstract and Concrete are philosophical concepts concerned with the development of conceptual knowledge: abstract = simple and remote from reality, concrete = mature and closely connected to reality. But in appropriate contexts, these meanings can seemingly be inverted.

An abstract concept may mean a simple, undeveloped idea which is the product of the analysis of a whole complex process. It is described as ‘abstract’ because the complexities and differences that were to be found in the representation of the process at the beginning of the analysis have been ‘pared’ down to simple characterisations of the whole, or a number of such abstract concepts. For example, in lieu of a list of the names and details of all the unemployed people in a country we get the simple, average unemployment rate, say 6%. Such an analysis begins from the “imagined concrete” which Marx characterised as a “chaotic representation” (Marx, 1857) and produces a simple abstract representation. That initial representation is ‘concrete’ in the sense that it is a combination of very many abstractions – the various facts, measurements and impressions which would be found, for example in historical records or personal recollections – although each fact is just an abstraction and of little significance in itself.

So of course inspite of empiricism, they do not begin simply with observation, but there certainly at the extreme can be an aversion to the concepts in an endless chain of empirical claims.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/
What is more, narrow specialisation, deprived of any breadth of vision, inevitably leads to a creeping empiricism, to the endless description of particulars.

What are we to do about assembling integral knowledge? Such an assembly can nevertheless be built by the integrative power of philosophy, which is the highest form of generalisation of all human knowledge and life experience, the sum-total of the development of world history.


It’s a narrow focus of simply finding more evidence but not really synthesizing. With Marx’s capital there is a great deal of empirical research that went into his analysis, however I think he doesn’t justify his analysis based on a massive collection of research as much as discerning what are the essential parts.

I like Vygotsky’s characterization of Pavlov’s discovery of the conditioned reflex, where it didn’t necessarily require empirical study after empirical study but an abstraction of something essential which could be generalized beyond the immediate example.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/crisis/psycri05.htm
Finally, each discovery in science, each step forward in empirical science is always at the same time an act of criticizing the concept. Pavlov discovered the fact of conditional reflexes. But didn’t he really create a new concept! at the same time? Did we really call a trained, well-learned movement a reflex before? And it cannot be otherwise: if science would only discover facts without extending the boundaries of its concepts, it would not discover anything new. It would make no headway in finding more and more new specimens of the same concepts. Each tiny new fact is already an extension of the concept. Each newly discovered relation between two facts immediately requires a critique of the two corresponding concepts and the establishment of a new relation between them. The conditional reflex is a discovery of a new fact by means of an old concept. We learned that mental salivation develops directly from the reflex, more correctly, that it is the same reflex, but operating under other conditions. But at the same time it is a discovery of a new concept by means of an old fact: by means of the fact “salivation occurs at the sight of food,” which is well known to all of us, we acquired a completely new concept of the reflex, our idea of it diametrically changed. Whereas before, the reflex was a synonym for a premental, unconscious, immutable fact, nowadays the whole mind is reduced to reflexes, the reflex has turned out to be a most flexible mechanism, etc. How would this have been possible if Pavlov had only studied the fact of salivation and not the concept of the reflex? This is essentially the same thing expressed in two ways, for in each scientific discovery knowledge of the fact is to the same extent knowledge of the concept. The scientific investigation of facts differs from registration in that it is the accumulation of concepts, the circulation of concepts and facts with a conceptual return.

Empiricism can lead to being mislead due to the neglect of the forms of the concepts which they employ.
Engels of course talks about the a priori method itself being as ideological in anti-duhring, however the concepts are filled unreflectively with the content of that’s persons surrounding reality/experiences which they generalize as inherent to the concepts.
#15207943
Wellsy wrote:



Each tiny new fact is already an extension of the concept. Each newly discovered relation between two facts immediately requires a critique of the two corresponding concepts and the establishment of a new relation between them.



Diminishing returns, arguably, depending. Each 'new' tiny fact may just be wearing a rut down even further.

It could be argued that such incrementalism, given a sufficient overall trajectory, would actually be a *beefing-up* of the overall cultural social fabric (from complexity theory, possibly) -- as with the professional-scientist culture here -- but that particular approach presupposes a conscious, (mass-)intentional direction for its efforts. (Like one of those multi-person multi-pedaling vendor bicycles.)



in each scientific discovery knowledge of the fact is to the same extent knowledge of the concept.



I'll note that it probably takes about 2-3 solid facts -- in practice / the real world -- to 'confirm', or 'establish' a concept, or generalization, in any scientific way. (Consider the legal standard of 3, for example.)



Engels of course talks about the a priori method itself being as ideological in anti-duhring, however the concepts are filled unreflectively with the content of that’s persons surrounding reality/experiences which they generalize as inherent to the concepts.



Worldview Diagram

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Generalizations-Characterizations

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#15208047
Wellsy wrote:I am not sure that empiricism is necessarily anti-intellectual but part of its limitations is an uncritical acceptance of the concepts used for investigation when everything is "theory ladden" which might fit within that point.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/geoff2.htm

The above characterization is more of an emphasis on it allow ideological biases as a result of the uncritical acceptance of concepts used to investigate the empirical.
I think a more damning issue of empiricism is it considers man as a passive perciever/observer of reality rather than an active participant within it.
The doctrine of empiricism is inevitably wide open to Berkley's considerable critique of subjective idealism (Objective reality only saved by the continuation of God). However, an emphasis on knowledge having it's origins in the empirical world is also necessary against such idealist tendencies which posit concepts as independent and remote from reality.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/pilling/works/capital/pilling2.htm#Pill2


In regards to Americans, their pragmatism was an advancement upon empiricism as it overcome man's passivity and considered him in action with the world.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Sources%20of%20Cultural%20Psychology.pdf

However, some approaches to pragmatism can focus heavily on that of the individual to the expense of the material culture in which individuals collaborate.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Brandom.pdf


The above being a point of pragmatist readings of Hegel in which mediation simply does not exist and people somehow directly communicate but without any explicit inclusion of the culture that makes their interactions meaningful and with some sort of purpose.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/habermas-review.htm


I remember hearing and reading how Marxists believe in an infinite dialectic helix of history which makes a lot of sense from what you've quoted there. By focusing on learning from the end of investigation instead of the beginning or the middle, the Marxist paradigm requires an eternal learning process with no beginning. This explains a lot why Marxists believe in reiterated emergence as well because the build-up to that emergence is treated as a non-event.

To be clear, this irritates me a lot because it ignores how people do not necessarily find their surroundings interesting. If you're literally born into a boring or irritating environment where your surroundings do not intrinsically offer solutions to problems, then it suggests what I call a "paradox by default" on two levels.

First, it doesn't explain where curiosities come from. Curiosities would only apply if you are interested in your initial environment such that you'd be willing to explore your environment further, but if you're not interested in your environment, why would you bother making an effort to learn? You would merely get angry and lash out in a perpetual fit (or become utterly depressed and totally implode), but people don't do that in reality even when surrounded by uninteresting environments. Even without the threat of punishment by superiors or others, people still don't do that. At some level, people make a decision to concentrate and figure out what is not blatantly obvious in front of their face.

Second, it doesn't explain where the solutions to those problems come from. If you have to learn from experience according to sensory data, but the solution to your problem isn't presented to you, then how would you figure it out?

This is when things like deconstruction and reconstruction, Occam's Razor, and emotional preferences are considered, but again, that's an incredibly inefficient way to go about learning and it denies self-control. Deconstruction and reconstruction entail an abundance of combinations and permutations which fail, Occam's Razor leads to ambushed first-order problem solving, and emotional preferences ignore how what we like is quite often not the solution...

...so again, we're back to the survival of the fittest problem as if we're supposed to simply accept that the overwhelming majority of organic iterations are failures... which is why emergence works - it's that exception to the rule which finds a solution that everyone learns from experience from and follows the lead of... or it's that an abundance of failures manage to counterbalance one another out such that their counterbalancing leads to a balanced success. That counterbalancing process is the synthesis of thesis and antithesis.

(A similar thing happens in religious communities when it comes to believing in fate and callings where those not driven by emotions which lead to solutions are treated as damned. God's plan is a game, and those who stumble across solutions are treated as winners whereas those who don't are treated as losers. Those who disrupt others from coming together to implement a solution are treated as sinners, and those who do come together are treated as virtuous.)

I just wonder at times if the Marxist model is something people believe in because they're fortunate enough to be born into abundance and they liked the abundance they were born around, but that abundance was disrupted so they want it restored.

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The pragmatic point about overcoming passivity makes a lot of sense. Life is about movement. Work is about movement. If you just stay still, you're going to decay into dust. Culture and history comes from these movements, and common law comes from the mutual understanding of mediating this culture and history.

In this sense, empiricism makes sense because it's by exchanging forms that we come to a consensus on ideas. We are experiencing the forms each other is presenting to exchange. If we didn't learn from experience about each other's forms, how would we exchange them? Are we just supposed to expect each other to be mind readers? Psychic powers don't exist in reality.

(A similar point gets made in religious communities that dispute some people as having callings which are innately in touch with God's plan when cooperating with others. We are expected to make an effort to approach one another, not be presumptuous.)
#15208052
XDU wrote:
Curiosities would only apply if you are interested in your initial environment such that you'd be willing to explore your environment further, but if you're not interested in your environment, why would you bother making an effort to learn?



(Translation: Why aren't you defaulting to your local environs / 'community' for your political involvement? Grrrrrr.)


History, Macro-Micro -- simplified

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XDU wrote:
I just wonder at times if the Marxist model is something people believe in because they're fortunate enough to be born into abundance and they liked the abundance they were born around, but that abundance was disrupted so they want it restored.



It's not 'belief', it's *class interest*.


Political Spectrum, Simplified

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XDU wrote:
The pragmatic point about overcoming passivity makes a lot of sense. Life is about movement. Work is about movement. If you just stay still, you're going to decay into dust. Culture and history comes from these movements, and common law comes from the mutual understanding of mediating this culture and history.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic


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XDU wrote:
In this sense, empiricism makes sense because it's by exchanging forms that we come to a consensus on ideas. We are experiencing the forms each other is presenting to exchange. If we didn't learn from experience about each other's forms, how would we exchange them? Are we just supposed to expect each other to be mind readers? Psychic powers don't exist in reality.

(A similar point gets made in religious communities that dispute some people as having callings which are innately in touch with God's plan when cooperating with others. We are expected to make an effort to approach one another, not be presumptuous.)



Wellsy wrote:



A number of conditions conspired to form American Pragmatism (Menand 2001). At least well up to into the nineteenth century, America drew its ideas from Europe – Britain and Germany in particular – but every idea imported into the New World was subject to the test: “does it work?” The Americans showed a readiness to subject what was appropriated from Europe to pragmatic revision to suit their own conditions.



Wellsy wrote:
However, some approaches to pragmatism can focus heavily on that of the individual to the expense of the material culture in which individuals collaborate.




https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunde ... random.pdf
The metaphor of judge-made law cited above, which is a pragmatic rendering of Hegel’s conception of sprit, by disposing of the need for a pre-existing principle governing the development of new propositions, seems to justify the idea that the whole process of cultural and historical development can be rendered as interactions between individuals. But this does not stand up. The process depends essentially on the availability of the precedents, the body of enacted law and all the legal principles which exist in the form of documents. These documents are crucial mediating artefacts which regulate the development of the common law. The idea that the judge is able to make explicit what was merely implicit in the previous decisions is an attractive and eminently Hegelian idea. But it presupposes that these documented decisions act as mediating elements in the development of law, not to mention the entire material culture which supports the way of life in which the decisions are made by judges and enforced by a state.

A proposition appears to be something created and enacted in the moment when two people interact, but neither the language used in the interaction nor the concepts which are embedded in the language are created de novo in that interaction. The words and concepts relied upon in any interaction “are always already there in the always alreadyup-and-running communal linguistic practices into which I enter as a young one” (Brandom 2009: 73). Through the provision of these artefacts, every linguistic interaction is mediated by the concepts of the wider community.



viewtopic.php?p=15207929#p15207929
#15208090
ckaihatsu wrote:(Translation: Why aren't you defaulting to your local environs / 'community' for your political involvement? Grrrrrr.)


History, Macro-Micro -- simplified

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It's not 'belief', it's *class interest*.


Political Spectrum, Simplified

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Image



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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic


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I'm a little bit stumped by what you're saying here.

Local governments are exactly what I'm criticizing here since people aren't always interested in where they're born. What we immediately experience in life is often irritating, so we want to get away from it rather than learn from it.

The class interest model which builds off nationalism is also strange too since people can appreciate others across the world without having to belong to smaller collective in the first place.

Your reference to the Protestant work ethic is especially strange from this. Why does someone need to believe in that to be pragmatic? More importantly, didn't Calvin explicitly condemn "unnecessary curiosities" and "forbidden knowledge?" He didn't even do this on moral grounds either like we have today over stem cell research for example. He did it based on the idea that people have certain callings, and trying to drift away from those callings is forbidden.

It's like saying people have to follow their emotions. If your emotions lead you to knowledge, great. If they don't, sucks to be you...

...which is why people often seek to get away from their local environments where they're born. Their emotions are irritated, so rather than make a fool of themselves, they'd rather go somewhere their emotions aren't destabilized.

Alternatively, people would rather think before they act instead of learn from experience so they don't fall for emotionally provoked ambushes.
#15208158
XDU wrote:Being versus becoming reminds me of how Aristotle discerns between the different types of "good" forms.

Are you familiar with Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics?
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... hapter%3D6


I am familiar but not exercised at this point in time to engage in depth with this text. The Nichomachean Ethics fundamentally is more of a book on deductive logic rather than ethical morality.

The problem I've had with his criticism of the theory of forms is his argument that there's no clear relationship to exclude accidents from their habitats since the qualities of substances are always changing and never fixed. Therefore, according to Aristotle, there really is no such thing as the ideal good. All goodness would be reduced down to how useful it is such that everything is temporal and nothing is eternal. In essence, everything is both an accident and not an accident to him.


I believe you have understood the point he wants to make well enough. Indeed, the ideal good is non-existent in the real world. It only exists in philosophical abstraction. The zero is not a physical thing and neither is a circle, triangle or square. They only exist in abstract thought, that does not mean that they are bad, worse, or useless. The whole vs thing in my view is not required at all.

It's like saying a car's form is temporarily useful as long as it doesn't get into an accident on its habitat of a road. Well yea, no kidding, but cars and roads are manmade constructs. That doesn't really establish any objective truth. That just establishes the truth we've applied.


Indeed, and that is sufficient. Aristotle is merely describing how to close a system or an equation, setting up his deductive reasoning.

Plato relies on inference instead. As I said previously, I do not think it makes any sense to try to define which of the 2 is best. Deduction and inference are just 2 sides of the same coin.
#15208186
XDU wrote:
Curiosities would only apply if you are interested in your initial environment such that you'd be willing to explore your environment further, but if you're not interested in your environment, why would you bother making an effort to learn?



ckaihatsu wrote:
(Translation: Why aren't you defaulting to your local environs / 'community' for your political involvement? Grrrrrr.)



XDU wrote:
I'm a little bit stumped by what you're saying here.

Local governments are exactly what I'm criticizing here since people aren't always interested in where they're born. What we immediately experience in life is often irritating, so we want to get away from it rather than learn from it.



Okay, just a wrong guess on interpretation. Never mind.


XDU wrote:
The class interest model which builds off nationalism is also strange too since people can appreciate others across the world without having to belong to smaller collective in the first place.



Okay, good to hear. The diagram of 'Marxism', 'Stalinism', 'Imperialism', and 'Autarky' -- that you're referencing -- indexes Marxism as being *international*, while Stalinism is relatively more-local, being nationalist.

To clarify, the international working class interest is *not* in nationalism. The time of major bourgeois revolutions has passed, and the world is certainly materially capable of organizing all social production through its working class, without (political) nations.


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XDU wrote:
The pragmatic point about overcoming passivity makes a lot of sense. Life is about movement. Work is about movement. If you just stay still, you're going to decay into dust. Culture and history comes from these movements, and common law comes from the mutual understanding of mediating this culture and history.



ckaihatsu wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_work_ethic



XDU wrote:
Your reference to the Protestant work ethic is especially strange from this. Why does someone need to believe in that to be pragmatic? More importantly, didn't Calvin explicitly condemn "unnecessary curiosities" and "forbidden knowledge?" He didn't even do this on moral grounds either like we have today over stem cell research for example. He did it based on the idea that people have certain callings, and trying to drift away from those callings is forbidden.



It sounded like you were *advocating* for the content of your statement, but from this I know that you're speaking *empirically*, specifically about the Scientific Revolution / Renaissance.


XDU wrote:
It's like saying people have to follow their emotions. If your emotions lead you to knowledge, great. If they don't, sucks to be you...

...which is why people often seek to get away from their local environments where they're born. Their emotions are irritated, so rather than make a fool of themselves, they'd rather go somewhere their emotions aren't destabilized.



(Could empirically be a *health* issue.)


XDU wrote:
Alternatively, people would rather think before they act instead of learn from experience so they don't fall for emotionally provoked ambushes.
#15208207
XDU wrote:
The class interest model which builds off nationalism is also strange too since people can appreciate others across the world without having to belong to smaller collective in the first place.



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