lördag 17 oktober 2009

Sociology vs Philosophy

Dear Dino

Yes, of course, this is why it is important to keep the distinction between Sociology and Philosophy.
The perfect example of this in none other than Karl Marx. Marx was a brilliant sociologist and one of the founders of the discipline but a lousy political philosopher whose theories have caused a lot more destruction than possibly anybody else in the last 200 years. Which is why people who study and use Marx as a sociologist only (I guess, people like us) are referred to as MARXIAN and are not be mistaken for people who still defend Marx's political philosophy (Marxists).
It is for example perfectly feasible to be a MARXIAN Randian. And Habermas can be most valuable even if one is not a Habermasian.
And Philosophy is more than a fun game, it is also where sociological concepts have their origin. Autopoesis being a case in point. Philosophy is not a science, but an art-form that inspires Sociology, Art, Politics, that is its duty! For example, where would you be with Sociology today without Pragmatism as its foundation?

Alexander/ an ironic liberal myself, as Richard Rorty would have it...

2009/10/17 Special Kain

Dear Alexander,

This is also the difference between us: you're philosophically interested in their works, I'm much more scientifically and empirically interested in their works. I don't judge Luhmann, Habermas or Deleuze by the psychological excitement they may or may not invoke, but by their passing the empirical tests on the level of social research (and "postmodernists" like Deleuze never could explain societies empirically, which doesn't say anything about their achievements as philosophers; or take Foucault, for example, whose theories of power can't be tested empirically at all, so they're only bold claims that one chooses to believe in or not).
You can forget about Habermas's Marxism, but his works on the public sphere have been quite valuable in terms of social research and media studies (but quite altered and adjusted empirically to what he didn't know at the time when he first came up with "Der Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit", which he would also criticize about 20 years later). I'm not a Habermasian, but a pragmatist, and I therefore judge such theories pragmatically by their use as scientific tools. A formidable thinker like Deleuze is fun and truly fascinating, but if I can't use it for scientific research (since it's neither verifiable nor falsifiable), then I just drop it and move on to far more useful concepts.
A totally different thing is Friedrich Nietzsche, for example, whose philosophical claims have turned out to be scientifically true (both in psychological research and, more recently, sociological research)!
I know that dry analysis is far less exciting than totally new and outrageously bold claims, and such interesting and controversial theories are initially much praised but regularly dropped after not having passed the test. That's why radical constructivism (Varela, Watzlawick etc.) is as good as dead, that's why the critical Foucauldian criminology is as good as dead.

Dino // 100% Peircean and Deweyan

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Sa, 17.10.2009:

Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Randian fundamentalism/personal attacks vs. sociation (was: A question of sociation)
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Samstag, 17. Oktober 2009, 12:13

Dear Judy

We need to make som eclarifications here.
Your very American opposition between "Liberals" and "Indvidualists" is a very American opposition.
Dino and I live in Europe where this opposition does not exist or is of very limited interest.
Like Zarathushtra, Dino and I are PRAGMATISTS and neither individualists or liberals or Marxists or whatever.
The concept of autopoesis was first developed in the early 1970s by the Chilean philosophers Maturana and Varela and was then introduced to sociology by the formidable thinker Niklas Luhmann.
Neither of these three gentlemen fit into your American opposition pair.
So you are just going to have to adjust to a world of philosophy were the old oppositions are dated and no longer of interest. The important thing now is to find a home for the strong individual you are promoting within this new environment. And perhaps then Michel Foucault's concept of living your life as a work of art is more helpful than Ayn Rand?
Calling me and Dino "American Liberals" is however definitely to miss the point. But I guess that is good news, don't you think? Now we can together see what happens when Rand meets Foucault, Luhmann and others. What can WE create out of these mergers in a society and within a worldview which is POST the old opposition?
Have you read Varela or Luhrmann yet? Or perhaps the greatest giant of the process philosophers, Gilles Deleuze, who also studied and promoted autopoesis heavily in opposition to Habermas (who really is a Marxist!).


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