Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Changing the rhetoric

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    In exactly the same way Anti-Choice sounds like a Judgemental left wing liberal would say.

    The problem I see is that both sides try to control the language so they sound better and they win, instead of working on a dailogue and comprimise.
    The founding fathers had violent disagreements, but they worked out compramises that allowed America to exist as one country. I wish we could see more of that kind of spirit today. The "Anybody But Bush" stuff is as childish as the "Impeach Clinton and Her Husband" stuff of eight years ago...


    My point
    Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
    The very idea that anyone is "pro-abortion" seems callously idiotic to me. "Pro-Abortion" sounds like something a judgemental Christian fanatic would call a pro-choice person in an attempt to heap on that special brand of godly guilt.

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by Kitsune
      In exactly the same way Anti-Choice sounds like a Judgemental left wing liberal would say.
      The difference, of course, being that implying someone is for restricting choices is nowhere near as atrocious as implying someone is all about killing babies, right?

      If you're for the death penalty, are you still pro-life or does the title suddenly become flaccid? (Yes, I realize not every conservative is for the death penalty, just most of them.)
      "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
      --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

      Comment


      • #33
        I'm more interested in this discusion of terminology than the abortion issue itself. It just goes show how loaded those two words beginning with "Pro" are, and it was planned that way.

        Comment


        • #34
          Well yes, that is true... but Pro-Lifers generally believe that abortion is exactly that...
          Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
          Originally posted by Kitsune
          In exactly the same way Anti-Choice sounds like a Judgemental left wing liberal would say.
          The difference, of course, being that implying someone is for restricting choices is nowhere near as atrocious as implying someone is all about killing babies, right?

          If you're for the death penalty, are you still pro-life or does the title suddenly become flaccid? (Yes, I realize not every conservative is for the death penalty, just most of them.)

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by Kitsune
            Well yes, that is true... but Pro-Lifers generally believe that abortion is exactly that...
            Originally posted by PsychicWarVeteran
            Originally posted by Kitsune
            In exactly the same way Anti-Choice sounds like a Judgemental left wing liberal would say.
            The difference, of course, being that implying someone is for restricting choices is nowhere near as atrocious as implying someone is all about killing babies, right?

            If you're for the death penalty, are you still pro-life or does the title suddenly become flaccid? (Yes, I realize not every conservative is for the death penalty, just most of them.)
            Which is exactly the point. People try to define things the way they see them and the way they want others to see them. The problems occur when we try to do it for others, or worse, when we assume that we should define them for others.

            And of course, I'm not saying that you're necessarily trying to do that, Kitsune.

            Comment


            • #36
              The Importance of Being Earnest

              Originally posted by Bill

              This is important, though, becuase of the way we have become slaves to the language around us. Which, I think, is Mike's point. I take his point to use "rhetoric" not in the sense of some underlying falsehood, but "rhetoric" in the sense that we are using a set of canned words to refer to concepts, and we have lost touch with that connection or reference point.
              Yes, this is what I was trying to to get at, though left-handedly. Get over the rhetoric and instead engage ideas. In company with the general decadance of the times, I think people are taught that "spinning" and "parsing" phrases is acceptable discourse. It's a philosophical shift. People are taught that there are no legitimate philosophical discussions, no truths to be arrived at through discussion and analysis, that such discussions are only the discursive usages of people competing to get what they want, and anything goes. I think the solution lies in teaching people that there are many ambiguities in life, but that there are also reason and communication, and if we discuss things earnestly and openly we can reach understanding, arrive at consensus--uncover "truth" even. Again, however, there are a lot of people who don't believe in truth, but instead see only different narratives, different values, different interpretations....

              Comment


              • #37
                "Get over the rhetoric and instead engage ideas. In company with the general decadance of the times, I think people are taught that "spinning" and "parsing" phrases is acceptable discourse. It's a philosophical shift. People are taught that there are no legitimate philosophical discussions, no truths to be arrived at through discussion and analysis, that such discussions are only the discursive usages of people competing to get what they want, and anything goes. I think the solution lies in teaching people that there are many ambiguities in life, but that there are also reason and communication, and if we discuss things earnestly and openly we can reach understanding, arrive at consensus--uncover "truth" even. Again, however, there are a lot of people who don't believe in truth, but instead see only different narratives, different values, different interpretations...."


                I say this with complete sincerity. This is genius. Well, if not true genius, then at least extremely insightful. I wholeheartedly agree with that notion that "spinning" and "parsing" is now (and wrongly) considered acceptable discourse. I am not perfect, and engage in those tactics occasionally, but I would hope that many of my posts can and will be taken as a reponse to that particular fallacy.

                Comment


                • #38
                  I'm with you Bill. That blurb by Carter is excellent, as is the case just about every time he says something. Wish I was as eloquent.

                  Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
                  Again, however, there are a lot of people who don't believe in truth, but instead see only different narratives, different values, different interpretations.
                  Yes! And so it is direly important that when we do uncover truth, we don't cover it back up again just because we don't like what we find.

                  Thanks, Carter. Great insight.
                  "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                  --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    "Yes! And so it is direly important that when we do uncover truth, we don't cover it back up again just because we don't like what we find. "

                    Or ignore it on the grounds that it can't be the truth if it goes against my core beliefs. We are in agreement again, Psychic, and I think you and Carter are hitting on some profound points. Be honest: how many times have people here FIRST HAND reject something that was unassailable for no other reason than it didn't fit their world-view, be it political, economic, social, sexual, or otherwise. One need not readjust their own belief system to acknowledge that things may not be how they want them to be.

                    Some things are simply not opinions, no matter how distasteful or personally upsetting they may be. other things will always be opinions, regardless of the amount of facts or stats marshalled in support of that opinion. We as a country have a hard time with that idea.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: The Importance of Being Earnest

                      Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
                      I think the solution lies in teaching people that there are many ambiguities in life, but that there are also reason and communication, and if we discuss things earnestly and openly we can reach understanding, arrive at consensus--uncover "truth" even. Again, however, there are a lot of people who don't believe in truth, but instead see only different narratives, different values, different interpretations....
                      Thanks for including the anti-positivists like me, Carter! :)

                      While I don't believe we can find absolute truths, in different narratives, values, and interpretations we can nevertheless find accuracy, understanding, and maybe even something close to the truth- as long as we consistently use our subjective standards. Even those of us who reject the notion of absolute truths don't like people who discover something according to the standards they have set, only to not like what they have found and bury their own argument, standards, and discoveries (similar to what PWV put so well with reference to truths).

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: The Importance of Being Earnest

                        Thanks for the kind words, chaps.

                        Originally posted by Doc
                        Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
                        I think the solution lies in teaching people that there are many ambiguities in life, but that there are also reason and communication, and if we discuss things earnestly and openly we can reach understanding, arrive at consensus--uncover "truth" even. Again, however, there are a lot of people who don't believe in truth, but instead see only different narratives, different values, different interpretations....
                        Thanks for including the anti-positivists like me, Carter! :)

                        While I don't believe we can find absolute truths, in different narratives, values, and interpretations we can nevertheless find accuracy, understanding, and maybe even something close to the truth- as long as we consistently use our subjective standards. Even those of us who reject the notion of absolute truths don't like people who discover something according to the standards they have set, only to not like what they have found and bury their own argument, standards, and discoveries (similar to what PWV put so well with reference to truths).
                        Good Doctor:

                        Here's a quick true or false quiz for you:

                        2+2=4 T or F?

                        Photsynthesis is the process whereby plants produce food/calories from light energy? T or F?

                        The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776? T or F?

                        Easter Island is in the Pacific Ocean? T or F?

                        Captain Ahab has aspects that are both heroic and anti-heroic. T or F?

                        Even Ahab's heroic attributes are subject to scrutiny? T or F?

                        I would circle "true" in all these cases. These propositions don't in themselves provide fodder for negotiation. They are just facts.

                        Yes, I should acknowledge that (hypothetically) there is a negotiable rhetorical truth that is distinct from factual truth. But the point is that there is also such a thing as factual truth. Hmm. On reflection the very idea of a negotiable truth sounds like a contradiction to me, an oxymoron. Which is not to say sometimes that "the truth is sometimes flexible." Of course when someone uses a phrase like this they are not really talking about the truth at all, but rather collusion or a compromise of some kind.

                        By the way, are you up on the Sokal Hoax? Did it "reverberate" much in sociology?



                        By the way, the quote below is from Nabokov's Speak, Memory.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Of course, I won't dispute the truth of some things. I have a problem with some pursuits of the Truth (the capital T is intentional).

                          Part of my comments were really couched in a debate that doesn't concern most people out of the social sciences. I believe that you can't understand people the same way you can understand physics or chemistry, so you shouldn't make the same claims that these natural sciences do. For example, some people try to pass of some things that are ultimately unknowable as "the Truth," simply because of strong statistical associations. I reject that because ultimately some things about humanity and human behavior simply cannot be known with that kind of certainty because they are fundamentally subjective. Consequently, we sometimes have to be satisfied with understanding things according to the empirical or aesthetic criteria that we othen

                          Interestingly, this is part of why the Sokal hoax was devastating to some people in sociology. Part of the way that non-positivists developed some real credibility was through adopting philosphically different approaches and changing the knowlege and vocabulary base of their work. A lot of people thought it was lightweight ideas with big terms attached, and the Sokal stuff exposed some of those people. However, it didn't affect sociology the same way it did cultural studies.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Doc:

                            Can you please briefly identify the positivist/non-positivist groups you mention?

                            Wittgenstein argues for "appropriate response to a phenomenon." Some phenomena, for example photosynthesis, require empirical explanation. Other phenomena, for example aesthetic phenomena/a poem, are responded to properly through understanding, which is arrived at through understanding where you stand in relation to the phenomenon. Modern superstition, scientism, philosophical credulousness, metaphysical nonsense, conceptaul confusion, and so on are often parented by inappropriate responses to phenomena, where someone seeks an empirical explanation when seeking understanding is more properly appropriate. I play on this string in the opening to chapter 6 of Critical Synoptics. Another commentator is Frank Cioffi in Wittgenstein on Freud and Frazer.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Hey Carter. Hopefully this will help. I'll try to do this without too much pain.

                              The big distinction positivism/ nonpositivism debate in my discipline centers mostly on methods and the claims you can make from them. Much of it comes down to a difference in quantitative/statistical approaches and more qualitative approaches like ethnography, content analysis and long interviews. The debate is really about whether traditional models of science are appropriate for studying society or human social behavior, as well as the relative merits of deductive and inductive logic.

                              The poster child for estabishing positivism in sociology would probably be Emile Durkheim (in the late 19th century), but people as early as Henri St. Simon and others who were caught up in the spirit of the Enlightenment and the Romantic rejection of it were advocating similar ideas. The approach is such a given in my discipline now that methodologists have begun to replace theorists in shaping the discipline.

                              The other side of the coin would be people like Max Weber or Georg Simmel (who both essentially use the idea of verstehen from the tradition that Wittgenstein also represents), or Herbert Blumer (or any other sociologist influenced by American Pragmatism or humanism). Clifford Geertz's notion of thick description is also useful, even though his is a voice outside of the discipline. Anslem Strauss and Barney Glaser's ideas on grounded theory really represent this position (as it is realized in the discipline) much more closely than anyone else.

                              There are also radical non-positivists who reject all ideas of absolutes, even as ideals. Many of these are postmodernists with whom you're already familiar (Baudrillard, etc...)

                              I guess the differences in the way you and I have been taught to understand these issues is a matter of focus. Sociology takes a certain amount of empiricism as a given, but what we do with those empirical observations is up for some debate. Even our aesthetic judgments are empirically and theoretically grounded. However, writing theory, as opposed to doing empirical research, falls into a much different basket.

                              I guess part of what I'm saying is that we (in sociology) may have a little more of a disconnect between grand theory and methods than you do, or that some people doing our work are satisfied with being guided by less grand ideas represented by empirical theories.

                              Now before I bore the board to tears, I hope that was what you were after...

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Very seriously, I find this fascinating (possibly because I don't have much experience in this area). I for one will keep reading!!

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X