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[Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder



Correlation is not causality, Michael.
Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


Glassman, Michael wrote:
Hi David,

Isn't the answer the same empiricism that was being discussed earlier? I think coal mines cause black lung disease because black lung disease is found in a much, much higher level of coal miners. I think Asbestos kills because a much, much higher percentage of asbestos workers die from lung problems. I think climate change is occurring because the polar ice caps are melting. I think it is caused by humans because there is more carbon in the atmosphere and there seems to be a correlation between increased carbon and melting of the polar ice caps. The evidence is correlational but it's pretty strong.
To get back to warranted assertability - Dewey's term - if I found only a couple of more coal miners with black lung disease I don't have a very strong argument.  I can assert the coal causes black lung but the amount of evidence I have does not warrant a strong assertion.  The stronger the assertion I make then the more ideological it is.  However if there are multiple studies that show a much higher number of coal miners with black lung disease then I can assert that the coal causes black lung disease and it is warranted more on the empirical evidence than on any ideology.  If you claim that I am wrong and being ideological then you are making an assertion.  However if I have the empirical evidence behind me your accusation is less warranted.

We can't be sure about anything, but we can make choices and decisions if we are careful.

Michael
________________________________________
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of David H Kirshner [dkirsh@lsu.edu]
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 11:02 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; Andy Blunden
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder

Let's not write-off relativism too quickly.
Asbestos "ACTUALLY KILLS," not because asbestos actually kills, but because we are entrenched in a scientific ideology that maintains asbestos kills. Perhaps others on this list are more sophisticated in their scientific knowledge than me, but I have no personal knowledge of how or why asbestos kills, and I could easily be persuaded otherwise (for example, it took about 30 seconds for me to come to firmly believe that Pluto is not a planet, after all). My belief that is does kill is mediated by social institutions that institute a regime of truth to which I am subject.

The climate change debate highlights the political nature of our knowledge. What is such a travesty in the oil industry-funded reports that call into question the human contribution to global warming is not that scientific knowledge is completely homogeneous, and that alternative perspectives are illegitimate. Indeed, there may well be some legitimate disagreement among scientists on this question. However, the scientist is obligated not only to practice good science, but also to support the regime of truth within which the scientific perspective remains dominant in our culture. Within the institutions of science, there are established mechanisms for achieving consensus on scientific matters. The obligation of scientists is to operate within that system of dispute resolution. Going "above the heads" of the scientific community to communicate their non-normative scientific perspectives directly to the public does not advance their work as scientists (i.e., does not advance a g
 oal of establishing a new scientific consensus on climate change), but it does erode the regime of truth within which institutions of science have been empowered. It provides sustenance and support to a wide range of discourse communities (conspiracy theorists; religious fundamentalists) that operate in ways that are antithetical to the rational processes of decision making that science champions.

David

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 9:08 AM
To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder

Andy, I want to draw attention to your comment:

  "science as perspectival, i.e., one perspective alongside other at least equally valid perspectives, such as Climate Change Denial. It seemed to me that Activity Theory offered an alternative to the idea of "perspectives"
which are inherently relative."

The *idea* of perspectives which are INHERENTLY relative seems to be the
*complex* aspect of the understanding of *perspectives*.
The assumption that you have your perspective and I have my perspective and Creationism co-exists alongside Evolution.

Andy, if we *look* at the idea of *perspectives* not as merely relative, but also shared [and even *general] we seem to be occupying similar realms to the notion of *developing concepts*.

The comment that in contrast to *perspectives* which are
*relative* concepts are NOT as relative [or possibly more shared and therefore warrante BECAUSE asbestos ACTUALLY KILLS, we are now in the realm of *IS* and the understanding that we must ACT [and develop concepts] to respond to the actual *IS*. [actual existence].

I have a *sense* there is actually more overlap between the concept
*perspective* and the concept *concept*.
The notion of *activity theory* as *holding to a course* [charting a course] that stays *true to course* with a *steady bearing* gestures to Merleau Ponty's understanding of SENS [as inclusive of BOTH sense and direction] My comments can be *seen* as holding to a particular *course* as does *activity theory* Merleau-Ponty's notion of *chiasm* where binocular vision is NOT a summing of two distinct monocular visions but a gestalt re-configuration that
*envelops* and *deepens* [metaphorically] relative perspectives which when they *lead to* [ZPD ?] *taking a bearing* and moving in a SHARED direction can be viewed AS *activity theory*.

Creationism [or the *sensation fallacy* of M-P's project] can be viewed as *perspectives* or as *concepts* which hopefully call forth the need for SHARED responses/activity.

Raymond Williams understanding of *determinism* and *overdeterminism* seems to have a place in this exploration of activity, directions, bearings, taking a course and other actual material events *realized* metaphorically.

Larry




On Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 2:27 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

Larry, you have addressed three questions to me, so I will try to
respond to them in turn.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
--

Larry Purss wrote:

I sense an *overlap* and possible synergy between notions of
*changing
concepts* intentionally AND realizing changing perspectives by
*looking* with an intentional focus. Are we referring to similar phenomena??

Well, I guess so. I was responding to Michael Glassman's response to
the postmodern conservative take on science as perspectival, i.e., one
perspective alongside other at least equally valid perspectives, such
as Climate Change Denial. It seemed to me that Activity Theory offered
an alternative to the idea of "perspectives" which are inherently relative.

Is there a bias to see perspectives AS images and concepts AS
linguistic?  Is this the question of multi-modality [recently shared
on line]??

Well I think any of your "AS"es degrade the original proposition, Larry.
Take the asbestos issue. People died as a result of that project.
Death transcends linguistics. Likewise images. There is more than an
image involved in breathing in asbestos fibres. I don't know about multimodality.

Larry


On Sun, Sep 21, 2014 at 10:57 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Michael, Charles.
    This is an issue which I think can be tackled by Activity Theory,
    not just climate denial, but a whole range of belief/disbelief
    problems like this. Social justice issues and social change in
    general depend on understanding and solving these kind of
    prejudice and scepticism. Postmodern relativism has given us a
    poisoned chalice indeed.

    I believe that Activity Theory is well placed to solve this
    category of problem and give some guidance as to how to tackle
    deeply held but irrational prejudice. Developed using 'project' as
    the unit of analysis I think Activity Theory gives us a really
    useful theory of ideology which has the advantage of being firmly
    connected to a living tradition in psychological science and
    meaningfully connected to how people live their lives.
    Taking Creationism as an example, among European and American
    societies, the USA boasts the largest percentage of people in the
    world who believe that God created the world just as it is today
    about 10,000 years ago. They are rivalled only by Turkey. And it
    does not correlate with lack of education. In fact, among
    Republican voters, the more educated you are the more likely you
    are to believe in the Old Testament story of Genesis and not
    Darwin. A significant percentage of Democrat voters also believe
    in Creationism, but this declines with education.

    The point is that when people evaluate evidence, as Charles was
    suggesting, we do so by integrating the new data into our existing
    conceptual frame. I regularly dismiss all sorts of news and
    theories because it doesn't fit into my conceptual frame! We all
    do. The reason why there is so much Creationism in the US is that
    Darwin versus the Old Testament has been *politicised*. You prefer
    the Old Testament for guidance as to the origin of species rather
    than science (personal experience can shed no light on the
    question) because it is a litmus test for adherence to the Good
    Life, just as some people hate bicycle-riders because it is a
    signal of support for Greeny ideas which are deemed hostile to the
    ordinary person. I believe that Climate Denial is part of the same
    issue. In Australia there are rather too many Climate Deniers
    because the issue has become politicised. Officially the
    conservative government accepts the science, but every knows they
    don't and this is reflected in policies like appointing climate
    deniers to head committees to review energy policy, repealing the
    carbon price, etc., etc. There are a higher percentage of climate
    deniers in Australia, as a result, than in Europe where the
    climate is not politicised in that way.

    One's conceptual frame is unified through commitment to a
    life-project. Opinions and evidence which don't fit the conceptual
    frame generated by the central concept of a life-project, its
    vision of the Good Life. There is a 10 minute talk on this in
    relation to denial of the dangers posed to health by asbestos
    here:
    https://www.academia.edu/8179060/Activity_as_Project_
The_Case_of_Asbestos

    Apologies for going on too long.
    Andy
    ------------------------------------------------------------
------------
    *Andy Blunden*
    http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>




    Charles Bazerman wrote:

        Michael,
        I am with you, and not only because of climate change
        deniers.  The sociocultural critique has been important to
        show that humans make knowledge, and they do it from their own
        interests and perspectives.  Yet, various disciplines and
        sciences, have come to know more about the world in ways that
        are less entangled with the limits of individual or small
        group perceptions and interests.
        Disciplines do represent the world outside of themselves,
        gathering data--of course selectively through their own
        devices, their means of collection, forms of inscription and
        display, etc...  Historically, the methodological standards in
        different fields have evolved to include more awareness of the
        contingency, fragility, and specificity of samples, data and
        analysis--along with increasing cleverness of our tools.
This is what methodology is all about.  I tend to view
        objectivity not as an absolute, but an awareness of ways in
        which we are entangled with the phenomena we are trying to
        study, and to find ways to disentangle ourselves less.
        So from this perspective, incorporating the sociocultural
        critique creates challenges to maintain the persuasiveness of
        our data, representation, and analysis. Over the last few
        decades, we have been struggling in different disciplines to
        incorporate this critique but yet maintain the disciplinary
        projects of advancing contingent, but useful and reliable
        knowledge.  I like your term warranted assertability. I myself
        have relied on the idea of accountability--in terms of being
        able to give a good account of your research actions when
        queried from various directions. But it is important to the
        advance of knowledge that we find ways to gather and
        understand information about the world (in which we are both
        living parts and the constructors of knowledge about that
        world including ourselves) that recognizes the contingency of
        our knowledge but does not evaporate our confidence in that
        knowledge into a vapor of contingency only.

        I have struggled with this issue for many years in my work on
        the rhetoric of science and have discussed it in various ways,
        drawing on the work of many others (Ludwik Fleck still seems
        important to me over many years), but more work needs to be
        done to crystallize an understanding that leaves science and
        social science standing despite it being created by poor,
        frail, interested, humans of limited and skewed vision.
        best,
        Chuck

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Glassman, Michael" <glassman.13@osu.edu
        <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>
        Date: Monday, September 22, 2014 11:21 am
        Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder
        To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
        <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>>


            It seems to me that articles like this can be a double
            edged sword.  They use examples where culture has an
            influence on how we see things but then offer the
            generalization that science is perspective.  This is the
            same line you hear by climate deniers who claim that the
            climatologists have a liberal bias.   Science is based on
            individual perspective until it doesn't.   I'm their book
            is a much more nuanced discussion.   This is a really
            complex issue which at this particular moment has
            extraordinary import.  Maybe we need to find other ways to
            discuss this - like warranted assertability.  Perhaps I
            have been spending too much time reading about the
            politics of climate change lately and it has spooked me.

            Michael
            ________________________________________
            From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
            <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
            [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
            <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] on behalf of
            David Preiss [daviddpreiss@gmail.com
            <mailto:daviddpreiss@gmail.com>]
            Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2014 9:41 PM
            To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
            Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder

            And they make claims for all humankind.

            Enviado desde mi iPhone


                El 21-09-2014, a las 22:16, Martin John Packer
            <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co <mailto:mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>>
            escribió:

                So there are two distinct problems here: First, the
                researchers are
            not diverse. Second, the people they (we?) study are not
            diverse.

                Martin


                    On Sep 21, 2014, at 8:11 PM, David Preiss
                    <daviddpreiss@gmail.com
                    <mailto:daviddpreiss@gmail.com>>
            wrote:

                    Loved the WEIRD acronym. One of the best ironies
                    I've seen in
            recent scientific writing.

                    Enviado desde mi iPhone


                        El 21-09-2014, a las 18:57, Rod Parker-Rees

            <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk
            <mailto:R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>> escribió:

                        Great article, David - highlights the
                        importance (at every level)
            of being aware of what others might find odd about us
            (secondary socialisation?).

                        Rod

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
                        <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>

            [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
            <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf Of
            David Preiss

                        Sent: 21 September 2014 18:31
                        To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
                        Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the
beholder

                        This article is revelant for this topic:
                        http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~
henrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf
                        <http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/%
7Ehenrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf>

                        Enviado desde mi iPhone


                            El 21-09-2014, a las 13:42, mike cole
                            <mcole@ucsd.edu <mailto:mcole@ucsd.edu>>
                            escribió:

                            The book by Medin and Bang, "Who's asking"
                            published by MIT is GREAT
                            reading. Seeing this in Scientific
                            American is super.

                            mike

                            On Sun, Sep 21, 2014 at 8:18 AM, David
                            Preiss <daviddpreiss@gmail.com
                            <mailto:daviddpreiss@gmail.com>>
                            wrote:


                                What a fantastic piece Peter! Loved
                                the references to primatology.
                                David

                                Enviado desde mi iPhone


                                    El 21-09-2014, a las 7:31, Peter
                                    Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu
                                    <mailto:smago@uga.edu>> escribió:


                                http://www.scientificamerican.
com/article/point-of-view-affects-how-s
                                cience-is-done/

                            --

                            Development and Evolution are both ...
                            "processes of construction
            and

                            re- construction in which heterogeneous
                            resources are
            contingently but

                            more or less reliably reassembled for each
                            life cycle." [Oyama,
                            Griffiths, and Gray, 2001]

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