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

That's true.  But generally it's pretty much all we got in this ball game.  That's why it's warranted assertability and not truth.

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on behalf of Andy Blunden [ablunden@mira.net]
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 11:30 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: in the eye of the beholder

Correlation is not causality, Michael.
*Andy Blunden*

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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