söndag 18 oktober 2009

The Search for Pragmatist Heroism!

Dear Judy and Dino

This is what I feel too!!!
I believe Dino and I totally SHARE your concerns, Judy! You're preaching to the already converted.
What Judy is attacking sounds like a parody of bad sociology of the 1960s (which perhaps is what was taught in American sociology departments even later, I don't know). Dear Judy, Dino and I are PRAGMATISTS, we are Nietzscheans and not Marxists in any way. We read guys like James, Dewey and Rorty for inspiration (all Americans and STRONG individuals), we don't really have a problem with Ayn Rand (in my case I just believe Nietzsche already did everything that Rand is credited for later and I also believe her "problems with Kant" are unwarranted; I'm a subjectivist and not an objectivist), so what's the big deal?
Why not try to find a route towards a PRAGMATIST HEROISM together instead?
Because this is after all what Zarathushtra set out to create and we owe it to him and his followers to do exactly this for our time and age. Don't you agree?
Just as an example of how productive sociology can be (when done right): I'm off to Tel Aviv today to conduct research on how young Israelis live their lives and especially how they interact with new technology. I would not get paid for my research results if not commercial enterprises found my information and knowledge highly relevant, innovative, correct and of the highest possible scientific standard.
I can't see in what way Judy (or Dino) would object to this kind of sociology, or do you?
And knowing Dino, he is the LEAST collectivist Swiss guy ever, Judy, trust me!


2009/10/18 Special Kain

Judy, you don't have any clue what sociology really is or Habermas, Luhmann and Deleuze. You're confusing far too many things with each other while eagerly and ardently dissing and lashing out at anything that is concerned with communities in any way. To you it's all Marxism. But such conspirancy theories won't get you anywhere. The Cold War is over, communism is as good as dead - and wherever you did whatever kind of social research, either you didn't get it or your employers didn't get what they were doing. And whatever I or somebody else says simply doesn't matter to you, since you refuse to listen, so I just have to leave you where are without reacting.

Ushta, Dino

--- Judy Weismonger schrieb am So, 18.10.2009:

Von: Judy Weismonger
Betreff: [Ushta] Randian fundamentalism (freedom) vs. liberal pragmatism (theft)
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 18. Oktober 2009, 1:04

What social research, performed how, by whom, on whom...and when? Who were the test subjects...did you have a control group...what were the methodological conditions? Who performed the operant conditions?

When I was in "social research" (sociology) it meant no more than taking on a political view based on the some foggy moralism, that pointed to a bunch of so called "victims" then blaming their victimhood on the rest of us...hauling up a bunch of citations of like minded people accusing "society" meaning people who think and achieve of being at fault for all the victimhood in the entire world...and then claiming their assumptions were scientific.

Then you begin again...claiming that social research is a science, because its engaged in philosophy.. ....

You have to be kidding me.....

I am sure you are very nice person and you mean well...but, there is NO objective, rational science methodology in sociology that means a thing. Philosophy is not a science....who told you it was?

Again...each one of these so called scientists you mention, are not scientists.. ..they are philosophers, and there is not one single bit of true scientific experimentation among them but a simple rehashing and regurgitation of Marxian and Kantian thought. To wit:


Habermas has constructed a comprehensive framework of social theory and philosophy drawing on a number of intellectual traditions:

* the German philosophical thought of Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schelling, G. W. F. Hegel, Wilhelm Dilthey, Edmund Husserl, and Hans-Georg Gadamer
* the Marxian tradition — both the theory of Karl Marx himself as well as the critical neo-Marxian theory of the Frankfurt School, i.e. Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse
* the sociological theories of Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, and George Herbert Mead
* the linguistic philosophy and speech act theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein, J.L. Austin, P. F. Strawson, Stephen Toulmin and John Searle
* the developmental psychology of Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg
* the American pragmatist tradition of Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey
* the sociological social systems theory of Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann
* Neo-Kantian thought

Jürgen Habermas considers his major contribution to be the development of the concept and theory of communicative reason or communicative rationality, which distinguishes itself from the rationalist tradition by locating rationality in structures of interpersonal linguistic communication rather than in the structure of either the cosmos or the knowing subject. This social theory advances the goals of human emancipation, while maintaining an inclusive universalist moral framework. This framework rests on the argument called universal pragmatics - that all speech acts have an inherent telos (the Greek word for "end") — the goal of mutual understanding, and that human beings possess the communicative competence to bring about such understanding. Habermas built the framework out of the speech-act philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, and John Searle, the sociological theory of the interactional constitution of mind and self of George Herbert Mead, the theories of moral development of Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, and the discourse ethics of his Heidelberg colleague Karl-Otto Apel.

Deleuze is another philosophical mess....right out of the Kantian school of foggy mystical moralism and who did not do one single truly scientific study. Again, he's just an old rehash of the same old anti-reason garbage that functions like a religion. Here are the criticisms?

Deleuze has attracted critics as well. The following list is not exhaustive, and gives only the briefest of summaries.

In Modern French Philosophy (1979), Vincent Descombes argues that Deleuze's account of a difference that is not derived from identity (in Nietzsche and Philosophy) is incoherent, and that his analysis of history in Anti-Oedipus is 'utter idealism', criticizing reality for falling short of a non-existent ideal of schizophrenic becoming.

In What Is Neostructuralism? (1984), Manfred Frank claims that Deleuze's theory of individuation as a process of bottomless differentiation fails to explain the unity of consciousness.

In "The Decline and Fall of French Nietzscheo-Structur alism" (1994), Pascal Engel presents a global condemnation of Deleuze's thought. According to Engel, Deleuze's metaphilosophical approach makes it impossible to reasonably disagree with a philosophical system, and so destroys meaning, truth, and philosophy itself. Engel summarizes Deleuze's metaphilosophy thus: "When faced with a beautiful philosophical concept you should just sit back and admire it. You should not question it."[37]

In The Mask of Enlightenment (1995) Stanley Rosen objects to Deleuze's interpretation of Nietzsche's eternal return.

In Deleuze: The Clamor of Being (1997), Alain Badiou claims that Deleuze's metaphysics only apparently embraces plurality and diversity, remaining at bottom relentlessly monist. Badiou further argues that, in practical matters, Deleuze's monism entails an ascetic, aristocratic fatalism akin to ancient Stoicism.

In Reconsidering Difference (1997), Todd May argues that Deleuze's claim that difference is ontologically primary ultimately contradicts his embrace of immanence, i.e., his monism. However, May believes that Deleuze can discard the primacy-of-differen ce thesis, and accept a Wittgensteinian holism without significantly altering his practical philosophy.

In Fashionable Nonsense (1997), Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont accuse Deleuze of abusing mathematical and scientific terms, particularly by sliding between accepted technical meanings and his own idiosyncratic use of those terms in his philosophical system. (But see above, Deleuze's interpretations.) Deleuze's writings on subjects such as calculus and quantum mechanics are, according to Sokal and Bricmont, vague, meaningless, or unjustified. However, by Sokal and Bricmont's own admission, they suspend judgment about Deleuze's philosophical theories and terminology.

In Organs without Bodies (2003), Slavoj Žižek claims that Deleuze's ontology oscillates between materialism and idealism,[38] and that the Deleuze of Anti-Oedipus ("arguably Deleuze's worst book"),[39] the "political" Deleuze under the "'bad' influence" of Guattari, ends up, despite protestations to the contrary, as "the ideologist of late capitalism".[40] Žižek also calls Deleuze to task for allegedly reducing the subject to "just another" substance and thereby failing to grasp the nothingness that, according to Lacan and Žižek, defines subjectivity.[41] What remains worthwhile in Deleuze's oeuvre, Žižek finds, are precisely those concepts closest to Žižek's own ideas.

In Out of this World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation (2006), Peter Hallward argues that Deleuze's insistence that being is necessarily creative and always-differentiat ing entails that his philosophy can offer no insight into, and is supremely indifferent to, the material, actual conditions of existence. Thus Hallward claims that Deleuze's thought is literally other-worldly, aiming only at a passive contemplation of the dissolution of all identity into the theophanic self-creation of nature.

And now....Luhmann. ...who I found out was a Nazi and was taken prisoner by US forces during WWII....also has not performed one single truly scientific experiment in his life....and like Noam Chomsky has simply dazzled the naive with heaps of bull shit. And for these people...and especially Luhmann to begin identifying himself with "cognitive psychology" is one of the hugest, silliest jokes in all of the scientific community.I would bet that Luhmann has not a clue what a synapse is...or the function and impact of DNA on the personality. I truly fear you have not a clue what "science" is either...Science is not people claiming they are scientists, and it is not philosophy.. .and it is not those who make things up and claim they are true...because they said so.

Luhmann is probably best-known to North Americans for his debate with the critical theorist Jürgen Habermas over the potential of social systems theory. Like his one-time mentor Talcott Parsons, Luhmann is an advocate of the "grand theory", aiming to address any aspect of social life within a universal theoretical framework - of which the diversity of subjects he wrote about is an indication. Luhmann's theory is generally considered[citation needed] highly abstract, and his publications are difficult to read. This fact, along with the somewhat elitist behaviour of some of his disciples and the supposed[citation needed] political conservatism implicit in his theory, has made Luhmann a controversial figure in sociology.

A major critique of Luhmann is found in Piyush Mathur's detailed exegesis (2006) of one of Luhmann's treatises in an American journal.[2] Luhmann himself described his theory as "labyrinth-like" or "non-linear" and claimed he was deliberately keeping his prose enigmatic to prevent it from being understood "too quickly", which would only produce simplistic misunderstandings.[3] The influence of Gregory Bateson and Jurgen Ruesch on Luhmann has been discussed by Piyush Mathur in an April 2008 article titled Gregory Bateson, Niklas Luhmann, and Ecological Communication. [4]

Luhmann's Systems theory was based on, what he called, the "evolution of communication" : from oral communication, over writing systems towards electronic media and parallel with the evolution of society through functional differentiation. In his theory there are three strands

1. Systems theory as societal theory
2. Communication theory and
3. Evolution theory

which weave through his entire work.[5] The core element of Luhmann's theory is communication. Social systems are systems of communication, and society is the most encompassing social system. Being the social system that comprises all (and only) communication, today's society is a world society. A system is defined by a boundary between itself and its environment, dividing it from an infinitely complex, or (colloquially) chaotic, exterior. The interior of the system is thus a zone of reduced complexity: Communication within a system operates by selecting only a limited amount of all information available outside. This process is also called "reduction of complexity." The criterion according to which information is selected and processed is meaning (in German, Sinn). Both social systems and psychical or personal systems (see below for an explanation of this distinction) operate by processing meaning.

Furthermore, each system has a distinctive identity that is constantly reproduced in its communication and depends on what is considered meaningful and what is not. If a system fails to maintain that identity, it ceases to exist as a system and dissolves back into the environment it emerged from. Luhmann called this process of reproduction from elements previously filtered from an over-complex environment autopoiesis (pronounced "auto-poy-E- sis"; literally: self-creation) , using a term coined in cognitive biology by Chilean thinkers Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. Social systems are autopoietically closed in that they use and rely on resources from their environment; yet those resources do not become part of the systems' operation. Both thought and digestion are important preconditions for communication, but neither appears in communication as such.

Luhmann likens the operation of autopoiesis (the filtering and processing of information from the environment) to a program, making a series of logical distinctions (in German, Unterscheidungen). Here, Luhmann refers to the British mathematician G. Spencer-Brown's logic of distinctions that Maturana and Varela had earlier identified as a model for the functioning of any cognitive process. The supreme criterion guiding the "self-creation" of any given system is a defining binary code. This binary code, is not to be confused with the computers operation: Luhmann (following Spencer-Brown and Gregory Bateson) assumes that auto-referential systems are continuously confronted with the dilemma of disintegration/ continuation. This dilemma is framed with an ever-changing set of available choices; everyone of those potential choices, can be the system's selection or not (a binary state, selected/rejected) . The influence of Spencer-Brown' s book, Laws of Form, on Luhmann can hardly be overestimated.

--- On Sat, 10/17/09, Special Kain wrote:

From: Special Kain
Subject: AW: [Ushta] Randian fundamentalism vs. liberal pragmatism
To: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Date: Saturday, October 17, 2009, 11:37 AM

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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