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Legitimacy in Social Theory

 
 
coberst
 
Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2005 06:24 am
"The essential premise of critical social theory is that contemporary society is neither democratic nor free, but that modern global capitalism creates a citizenry satiated with consumer goods, unaware of alternative ways of living. In the public sector, critical theory suggests that governing systems are influenced, if not controlled, by the wealthy and powerful, leaving public professionals to decide whether to serve those interests or the interests of a broader public."
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,542 • Replies: 33
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2005 07:20 am
Come off it chuck.We've heard it all before.It's all platitudes.Sounds good I know especially with a posh English accent on one of those late night TV shows where a bunch of serious people are setting the world to rights.You know-you must have seen some-they are fixing us up so we behave and go from strength to strength at 3% a year and all live happily ever after.

Bob said-"Watch the parking meters".So.
Watch the parking meters.
"The social scientist is attempting to build a theory about a moving target and the social scientist is riding on this moving target while constructing the theory."--you say.Is that ironic?Like joy-riding on the moving target


Don't try to go too fast at first.
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2005 12:45 pm
Spendius

I would try to defend my position if you were to be specific as to what you disagree with. I do not know how to respond to the general broadside.
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Mills75
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2005 03:45 pm
I applaud Spendius for even coming up with a response. As for myself, I'm still trying to figure out the point of the initial post. The reality of Science is observable phenomena, not necessarily matter. While some unempirical social philosophy passes itself off as social science, most social science deals in the same currency as natural science, i.e., observable phenomena.

As for it being better to be a critical thinker rather than simply thinking of one's self as a "critical thinker"--who'd know the difference aside from the true critical thinker's apparent ability to capitalize 'C' and 'T' when writing out 'Critical Thinker'?
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Oct, 2005 06:01 am
Mills

You failed to read and comprehend the first paragraph. I have copied it here for your reading.

"The essential premise of critical social theory is that contemporary society is neither democratic nor free, but that modern global capitalism creates a citizenry satiated with consumer goods, unaware of alternative ways of living. In the public sector, critical theory suggests that governing systems are influenced, if not controlled, by the wealthy and powerful, leaving public professionals to decide whether to serve those interests or the interests of a broader public."
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Mills75
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Oct, 2005 11:35 am
coberst wrote:
Mills

You failed to read and comprehend the first paragraph. I have copied it here for your reading.

"The essential premise of critical social theory is that contemporary society is neither democratic nor free, but that modern global capitalism creates a citizenry satiated with consumer goods, unaware of alternative ways of living. In the public sector, critical theory suggests that governing systems are influenced, if not controlled, by the wealthy and powerful, leaving public professionals to decide whether to serve those interests or the interests of a broader public."

Sure, I was on the bus with you this far, but had to get off at the misconception of science and before the confusion of critical thinking with critical social theory.
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Oct, 2005 02:47 pm
Mills

A wealthy nation, just like a wealthy individual, can withstand great and numerous mistakes in judgement and still suffer no serious damage to its basic welfare. There is, however, a point in which this margin of safety is diminished to the point that the wealth becomes to small and the results of mistakes to large to withstand the damage suffered by mistaken judgement.

I suspect that such an insufficient margin of safety may be rapidly approaching the US. Due to the rapid acceleration of change and damage incurred by errors--because of technology that present and future circumstances portend--the US faces a need to make a rapid and fundamental adjustment in ability to make significantly better judgements.

In a liberal democracy like our own we cannot out-distance the general judgement capacity of the majority. If the US is going to make better judgements in the future then, by definition, our citizens must be able to make better decisions.

I consider CT for all citizens as the only avenue for improving the judgement of our society in general.
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Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Oct, 2005 08:39 am
Quote:
If the US is going to make better judgements in the future then, by definition, our citizens must be able to make better decisions.


Really? And if we want to move at a fast walk, by definition, our legs have to walk faster. Smile

To make a sound decicion you need sound information, objectively presented, and last but not least, you need to understand it. The modern political system and the modern media prohibits this, with all the hidden agendas and campaigns for popularity.

A society is not a unity. It is a congregation of individuals, wich should operate smoothly if everyone were capable of minding their own business. That's about as idealistic as I am going to get..
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Oct, 2005 12:14 pm
Chuck-

I'm sorry for being away.My system went blue.

The initial post contains far too many words which do not have an agreed meaning.With all due respect I think you should widen your horizons to beyond the social science field.
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Oct, 2005 02:50 pm
Spendius

I suspect that is good advice. I have just begun studying McLuhan's "Understanding Media". I have not gotten very far but I am amazed at the insight displayed in that book. Every page seems to be filled with things that appear to very insightful but also very diffcult to understand.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Oct, 2005 03:05 pm
Give us an example Chuck.A2K specialises in explaining things.
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2005 05:10 am
Spendius

We can start with this.

I am having a great deal of difficulty in understanding the nature of "extension of himself". I know what the definition is and I can associate the meaning to particular instances but I do not understand. I cannot write an essay about "extension of himself". I consider understanding is 'to create meaning for me'.

No doubt McLuhan and many others have discovered this understanding and can write many pages about it but I have not yet been able to make it 'my own'. On every page of his book I find similiar situations.

THE MYTH OF NARCISSUS: THE GADGET-LOVER
The Greek myth of Narcissus is directly concerned with a fact of human experience, as the word Narcissus indicates. It is from the Greek word narcosis or numbness. The youth Narcissus mistook his own reflection in the water for another person. This extension of himself by mirror numbed his perceptions until he became the servomechanism of his own extended or repeated image. The nymph Echo tried to win his love with fragments of his own speech, but in vain. He was numb. He had adapted to the extensions of himself and had become a closed system. Now the point of this myth is the fact that men at once become fascinated by any extension of themselves in any material other than themselves (43-44). Index
http://web.mit.edu/21l.015/classes/mcluhan.html
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2005 06:49 am
Chuck-

Remember it killed Narcissus.Myths are metaphors.
Self absorption is deadly is how I read it.
I also think that myths conceal sublime truth.They are also the raw material of art.

I read McLuhan a long time ago and thought him poor.It all seemed obvious.

But narcissism is natural in children and it isn't easy to throw it off.Flaubert's Salammbo is on the net somewhere in full.Try that.Spendius is the hero and he dies on a cross with a joke much like James Bond although the latter always escapes to make another movie.There could be no extensions of Salammbo.

My advice is to read Chapter One and then read it again with attention to the prose as an object lesson in how to transform a blank sheet of paper into a masterwork.It took Flaubert five years of grinding effort.Every word exudes sweat and midnight oil.It's another world.
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2005 07:06 am
Spendius

Thanks for the info. I shall try Salammbo.
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2005 08:52 am
coberst

IMO the answers to your three qustions at the end of your first post are "yes" "yes" and "yes". I would go further and say all "truth" is negotiable and that there is no such thing as "objectivity."
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Nov, 2005 12:59 pm
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 12:22 am
coberst

"Truth" is a negotiated consensus. "Standards" alter according to context and mutual needs. This concept of "paradigm shifts" has already been explored by Kuhn in the natural sciences. Neither "observers" nor their "data" exist independently of each other, or independently from the zeitgeisst embodied in their socially acquired language.

With respect to the "difference" between "natural and social science" it may be valid to think of "mathematics" as relatively culture free and hence more conducive to consensus, hence the relative "success" of natural science in its usage and application of "universals". However the situation has changed (after Heisenberg) with the rise of probability and statistics at the quantum level where scientists are now unsure of what their results "mean" or how their actions have influenced the results.

If this can be said about "truth" in the natural sciences it has even greater impact in the social sciences.
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coberst
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 07:02 am
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 08:42 am
fresco wrote:
"Truth" is a negotiated consensus.

Is that a negotiated consensus?
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 10:26 am
coberst

Predictability is certainly part of what is normally meant by "science" and is central to homo sapiens "urge to control." BTW I think we need to added the qualification "relative to our timeline and purpose" when we talk about the "sameness of objects" and hence "truth" itself becomes relative.

Joe

Aspects of Russell's paradox are certainly fun, and if nothing else show us that "meaning" transcends "logic".
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