May 14th, 2006


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09:52 pm - on Wørds and Wisdom... (and a little about Women at the end)

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on Wørds and Wisdom... (and a little about Women at the end) - graffiti.maverick

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Comments:


[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 16th, 2006 - 06:25 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

see, I'm with Katherine here (I think). Socially constructed knowledge isn't wrong. It simply is. I'll grant you that there are some solid facts about the universe. The earth revolves around the sun, for instance. But those facts are pretty useless in day to day life. The fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west (an optical illusion, but one share and considered a given by most of the human race) is a far more useful piece of knowedge.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 16th, 2006 - 06:45 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

I didn't say it's necessarily wrong, just that it often is.

Hmm. Could give an elaborate response, but I think I'm really in need of sleep. Maybe tomorrow.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 16th, 2006 - 02:35 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

So the sun rising in the east and setting in the west is perfectly true for its frame of reference. But it's not consensus reality that makes it so. There is an actual Thing and it behaves in a certain Way and does so regardless of what ideas society constructs. The socially constructed reality is a reflection of the real reality, not the other way around.

For example, if you took a poll in 65,000,000 B.C., and asked the question, "Are there rocks floating around in the sky that might one day smash into the ground, killing you and your entire family and wiping out 90% of the species on earth and making way for those little ugly furry things to dominate the world?" People would think you were nuts. But the asteroid hits anyway.

So I don't disagree that the social constructs are often right (or close enough anyway) or that they're often more useful. But Katherine's formulation says socially constructed knowledge "becomes reality" and it doesn't.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: May 16th, 2006 - 08:17 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

It depends on what you mean by reality. To hijack your example, in 65,000,000 B.C., the commonly known version of reality was, "No there are not rocks floating around in the sky that might one day smash into the ground, killing you and your entire family and wiping out 90% of the species on earth and making way for those little ugly furry things to dominate the world." People believed this to be so. The best authority at the time said it was so, and it was reality. Okay, fine, they were wrong, but now they're all dead, and never got the change to know that they were wrong.

Since The Facts As We Know Them™ are constantly changing with new discoveries, we are only as good as our last update. For a while it was reality that the sun revolved around the earth. Anyone could see that. It was reality. Then some dude came along and said it wasn't so, and everyone got in a tizzy about it. But now we accept that as reality. Reality is a group hallucination. A convincing one that our "science" seems to "prove" - but it's a science we designed within the confines of that which we believe to be reality.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 16th, 2006 - 11:35 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

For a while it was reality that the sun revolved around the earth. Anyone could see that. It was reality.

See, to me that's not reality. That's just people's idea of reality.

but it's a science we designed within the confines of that which we believe to be reality.

Yes, but that which we believe to be reality is informed by what is actually real. Because our understanding of it is imperfect doesn't make it less so. You can't have a group hallucination without first having a group to hallucinate.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 12:06 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

See, to me that's not reality. That's just people's idea of reality.

I don't see how it's possible to distinguish the two.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 17th, 2006 - 12:50 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

it isn't. Certainly not on a globalsocio path...
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 01:27 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

The fact that we lack the tools to distinguish them does not make them the same thing. We have the ability to take our own limitations into account when constructing our mental models of reality. If we fail to do so, and take our representations as the real thing, we're just fooling ourselves.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 01:51 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

How can you be sure?
How do you know that we lack the tools to distinguish reality from our perceptions of it?
How do you know that we don't now know the real true reality?
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 02:46 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

I can't be sure, that's my whole point. Neither can you :)

We have no point of reference from which to compare our perceptions with the real thing. We can get different perspectives from other people, but leaving aside any dishonesty or poor communication skills on their part, then all we have is our perceptions of their perspectives.

So why take the view that there is a reality outside our perceptions? A few reasons.

1) Solipsism is lonely
2) "There is no universal truth" is a contradictory, logically flawed statement. Now, I'm all for acknowledging the limits of reason (which ties in to my contention that we can't fully understand reality) but when you rest your argument on this statement, it removes your credibility. If you don't believe what you're saying is true, what possible reason could I have for doing so? Because most people agree with you? Why should I care?

On the other hand, if there is a universal truth, then I am open to arguments, because I don't want to be wrong. I will seek common ground, I will try to understand your perspective, I will listen to you because I want my model to be a more accurate reflection of reality. I might even come to accept views that I dislike. If consensus becomes reality, I don't have to do any of that. I just have to shout louder, construct arguments that sound good, impress you with big words and blinking lights. Or just build a mind-control device.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 08:42 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

While you chose to focus on the "truth" part of "universal truth," I focus on the "universal" part of it. That is to say that I have my truth that works for me. I recognize it doesn't work for others, but that doesn't make it any less true.

In your model, well, maybe you don't want to be wrong and you are open to arguments. But there do seem to be an awful lot of people who operate in your model who believe they are right and are not open to arguments. My model allows me to say, "Okay, enjoy that," and walk away from fanatics, fundies, schizophrenics, and poopooheads.
From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 09:00 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 09:39 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 10:23 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 11:21 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

From: max1975 Date: May 18th, 2006 - 03:41 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 17th, 2006 - 12:47 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

for the record, this is a point of reference thing. If the universe is truly infinite, then any point could be picked as its center. The earth revolves around the sun because looking from an arbitrary point outside of our solar system, 9 objects are revolving around one other larger one. But lacking other markers, and just taking into account two objects, the earth and the sun, it is impossible to say which object is revolving around which.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 01:32 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

I'm not sure what your point is. We aren't lacking other markers. Still, I don't wanna be nitpicky about who revolves around who. I'm just saying there are real things doing this thing we call "revolving" and they do what they do regardless of what we call it or how well we understand it or whether or not we're even aware of it.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 17th, 2006 - 01:52 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

point being that its not so simple as saying its revolving. The very concept of revolution only matters in reference to an observer. I believe there is some corollary to relativity that explains it better than I could ever hope to. *shrug*

The point is, truths are seldom universal. Certainly not the interesting ones. Generally perspective has a lot to do with it. And perspective is colored by perception, especially mob perception. Are we the good guys or the bad guys in Iraq? It all depends on who you ask.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 02:56 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

The existence of contradictory perspectives does not make impossible a third point of view from which they both make sense. It's the discovery of this third point of view that I think is being impeded when we assign too much truthiness value to the mob perception.
 

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