Social constructivism vs Positivism
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06-02-2013, 05:43 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(02-02-2013 05:41 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, fst.

I gotta ask, could you please contextualise your YouTube embeds? Right now, this comes across as, "Suck on this, bitch!" I don't know why you posted this video or what point you yourself are trying to make. Care to enlighten me?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I'm starting to wonder if these two views are apples to oranges.

I can concede that an element of social constructivism does exist in the form of culture, or societal norms. It can tell us why Poutine is amazing in Canada and Mc Donalds is great in the states.

However it cannot establish that geocentricity in one culture is valid, and that heliocentricity is valid in another. Only the heliocentric view is true. No matter what you think about it, or how you explain it, the earth will revolve around the sun. The nature of reality will continue to exist, and function, no matter how wrong our explanation of that reality is.

Science a way for us to take apart reality, describe it's cause and effect thus providing a model that better reflects reality than any other system.

You can describe why those people see that view, and understand how they came to that conclusion, but it's still a false conclusion about reality. Even if all models of reality are effectively wrong, we can conclude that some models are more false than others. The one that is the least false, and closest to operation of nature is that which we should adhere to.

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06-02-2013, 10:58 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
Hey, fst.

Quote:However it cannot establish that geocentricity in one culture is valid,
and that heliocentricity is valid in another. Only the heliocentric view
is true. No matter what you think about it, or how you explain it, the
earth will revolve around the sun. The nature of reality will continue
to exist, and function, no matter how wrong our explanation of that
reality is.

But that only has meaning within a very specific construct, the one that you and I share. Outside of that construct it has absolutely no meaning.

Quote:Science a way for us to take apart reality, describe it's cause and
effect thus providing a model that better reflects reality than any
other system.

As I just mentioned to Zat in another thread, science too is a construction.

The constructivist view doesn't say that science is bad. It doesn't say that anything is bad. It just explains what we observe.

As far as apples and oranges, Positivism says that science is the best and that everything else is poo. Constructivism says, that is what Positivists think, but that's not objectively true and it's not shared by all cultures.

Quote:Even if all models of reality are effectively wrong, we can conclude that some models are more false than others.

That's a trap because it's only meaningful to people who believe there is an objective truth. Only to them does it matter whether or not one thing is closer to it. It's a bargaining ploy. "OK, we admit that no one has the truth, but our truth is the better wrong truth!"

Box says, "All models are wrong. But some are useful." Validity has only to do with usefulness and usefulness has no objective metric; only a relativistic one. What seems useless to you and me might be the core of reality to another people.

So Positivism makes sense to positivists because non-empirical sources of knowledge are "less true" than scientific ones by the metric of science itself. It's hard to see past that ideology when one is immersed in it. But if you eliminate that metric (not arbitrarily but because one accepts that it's not an objective metric but rather a constructed one) then Positivism breaks down. Science isn't the ONLY path to knowledge.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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07-02-2013, 02:11 AM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(06-02-2013 10:58 PM)Ghost Wrote:  The constructivist view doesn't say that science is bad. It doesn't say that anything is bad. It just explains what we observe.

As far as apples and oranges, Positivism says that science is the best and that everything else is poo. Constructivism says, that is what Positivists think, but that's not objectively true and it's not shared by all cultures.

Quote:Even if all models of reality are effectively wrong, we can conclude that some models are more false than others.

That's a trap because it's only meaningful to people who believe there is an objective truth. Only to them does it matter whether or not one thing is closer to it. It's a bargaining ploy. "OK, we admit that no one has the truth, but our truth is the better wrong truth!"

Box says, "All models are wrong. But some are useful." Validity has only to do with usefulness and usefulness has no objective metric; only a relativistic one. What seems useless to you and me might be the core of reality to another people.

So Positivism makes sense to positivists because non-empirical sources of knowledge are "less true" than scientific ones by the metric of science itself. It's hard to see past that ideology when one is immersed in it. But if you eliminate that metric (not arbitrarily but because one accepts that it's not an objective metric but rather a constructed one) then Positivism breaks down. Science isn't the ONLY path to knowledge.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

When you say there is no objective truth, are you implying there is no objective reality? Or that we can't know it?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-02-2013, 09:32 AM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
Hey, Chas.

That we cannot know it.

Plato figured this out thousands of years ago.

Everything we know and understand is achieved through a process of mediation. We cannot understand things except through a form of mediation. The only way to understand that form of mediation is through another form of mediation.

There is always a separation between that which is as it is (what I like to refer to as actuality) and that which we understand.

Actuality + interpretation = reality

Reality is a construction. Reality is not fixed, not absolute and changes over time.

So I'm also saying that not only is there no objective reality, but that reality is not what it is colloquially thought to be. Reality is not the real. Reality is the shadow on the cave wall.

Then throw into the mix that we don't actually have any proof that actuality exists, that there is something objective out there. It's an entirely counter-intuitive notion, but one with many backers (cogito ergo sum being one of the more famous ones). So I cannot be certain that there is an objective universe (although my intuition makes me lean pretty heavily to the side of yes) but I do feel comfortable with the notion that we use a construction of reality. The constructivist view corresponds to what we know about sensing, cognition, language, semiotics, memetics, information, communication and a host of other areas of study.

Think about it this way. The human organism has sensory organs. We get input from everything around us. We then process that information in the computer that is our brain. There is so much raw data in the universe that if we did not pick and choose what data was important and eliminate that which isn't important to us, our brains would simply be overloaded by the data stream. What we understand is not actuality, but an abstracted version of it. For sure, there is a relationship between that abstraction and actuality (see the equation above) but that relationship is essentially arbitrary, unfixed and changes from one culture to the next.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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07-02-2013, 12:08 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(07-02-2013 09:32 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

That we cannot know it.

Plato figured this out thousands of years ago.

Everything we know and understand is achieved through a process of mediation. We cannot understand things except through a form of mediation. The only way to understand that form of mediation is through another form of mediation.

There is always a separation between that which is as it is (what I like to refer to as actuality) and that which we understand.

Actuality + interpretation = reality

Reality is a construction. Reality is not fixed, not absolute and changes over time.

So I'm also saying that not only is there no objective reality, but that reality is not what it is colloquially thought to be. Reality is not the real. Reality is the shadow on the cave wall.

Then throw into the mix that we don't actually have any proof that actuality exists, that there is something objective out there. It's an entirely counter-intuitive notion, but one with many backers (cogito ergo sum being one of the more famous ones). So I cannot be certain that there is an objective universe (although my intuition makes me lean pretty heavily to the side of yes) but I do feel comfortable with the notion that we use a construction of reality. The constructivist view corresponds to what we know about sensing, cognition, language, semiotics, memetics, information, communication and a host of other areas of study.

Think about it this way. The human organism has sensory organs. We get input from everything around us. We then process that information in the computer that is our brain. There is so much raw data in the universe that if we did not pick and choose what data was important and eliminate that which isn't important to us, our brains would simply be overloaded by the data stream. What we understand is not actuality, but an abstracted version of it. For sure, there is a relationship between that abstraction and actuality (see the equation above) but that relationship is essentially arbitrary, unfixed and changes from one culture to the next.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt


I think I mostly agree with you, except that I am quite convinced that there is an objective reality.

Otherwise, what would the shadows on the cave wall be shadows of? Consider

I am positive that we construct our knowledge from mediated reality, and that science is the method that gets us the best constructed model. I have somewhere between little and no reason to believe that any other method even comes close.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-02-2013, 07:25 AM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
Hey, Chas.

Does actuality exist? Beats me. If you think so, so be it. It's hardly a make or break thing for me.

Best is a construction. In terms of what is important to the culture that you are a part of, science may well be best. But the metric that you are using is ideological, not absolute. Science is an excellent way to enable the understanding, and most importantly, the CONTROL of that which is around us. But the importance of control is utterly ideological. To many cultures, controlling the universe is an absolute perversion. So what use do they have for science?
We, on the other hand, are obsessed with control... And the planet is dying because of it. That's one of those glaring ideological contradictions that hegemony sutures and obfuscates.

As in all things, science is adaptive in a specific environmental and temporal context and nowhere else.

Doesn't at all mean that science is shitty. Quite the opposite. It recognises that science is adaptive in certain situations. But the idea that as an absolute it is, as Phil Baroni once said, "the best eva!" is unsupported.

For example, a toucan might think that its beak is the best ever and no other beak comes close. But a vulture's beak is wicked useful in a different context. And a humming bird's beak is supreme in another. All of those beaks allow the birds to eat. And they are evolutinarily stable strategies in their own contexts, but the absolute "bestness" of each beak is a false notion. None is better than the other. So science is like a toucan beak. Great where it is and great at what it does, but possibly useless in other contexts.

So positivism makes perfect sense, it's "common sense", to you and to most of the people of Our culture. But the common sense view is not the objective view, it is naturalised ideology.

And thus the constructivist view rears it's head again. Every scrap of knowledge and understanding in our heads is a construction. All of it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-02-2013, 07:34 AM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(08-02-2013 07:25 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

Does actuality exist? Beats me. If you think so, so be it. It's hardly a make or break thing for me.

Best is a construction. In terms of what is important to the culture that you are a part of, science may well be best. But the metric that you are using is ideological, not absolute. Science is an excellent way to enable the understanding, and most importantly, the CONTROL of that which is around us. But the importance of control is utterly ideological. To many cultures, controlling the universe is an absolute perversion. So what use do they have for science?
We, on the other hand, are obsessed with control... And the planet is dying because of it. That's one of those glaring ideological contradictions that hegemony sutures and obfuscates.

As in all things, science is adaptive in a specific environmental and temporal context and nowhere else.

Doesn't at all mean that science is shitty. Quite the opposite. It recognises that science is adaptive in certain situations. But the idea that as an absolute it is, as Phil Baroni once said, "the best eva!" is unsupported.

For example, a toucan might think that its beak is the best ever and no other beak comes close. But a vulture's beak is wicked useful in a different context. And a humming bird's beak is supreme in another. All of those beaks allow the birds to eat. And they are evolutinarily stable strategies in their own contexts, but the absolute "bestness" of each beak is a false notion. None is better than the other. So science is like a toucan beak. Great where it is and great at what it does, but possibly useless in other contexts.

So positivism makes perfect sense, it's "common sense", to you and to most of the people of Our culture. But the common sense view is not the objective view, it is naturalised ideology.

And thus the constructivist view rears it's head again. Every scrap of knowledge and understanding in our heads is a construction. All of it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt


The fact that the 'construction' of physical reality is so consistent supports the there being an underlying reality.

"But the importance of control is utterly ideological. " Well, no. It is also practical for survival.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-02-2013, 08:11 AM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
Hey, Chas.

Quote:"But the importance of control is utterly ideological. " Well, no. It is also practical for survival.

The thing about ideology is that when we're in the grips of it, it's difficult to deconstruct it. When I speak of the importance of control, I'm obviously not talking about picking up food and putting it in your mouth. Every human being does that. I'm talking about field after field of monocrop, fishing trawlers, the hoover dam, the fact that 10% of the US is paved, species hunted to extinction because they have the audacity to want to eat the same things as us, terminator genes, pesticides, mile after mile of highway, factory farms, genetically modified organisms... the list goes on and on. Our culture is the substance abuser of controlling our environment and to Our culture, it's the most important thing in the universe. Science enables us to do it bigger, better, faster, more, so naturally, science is of the utmost importance to our culture. All of this very much constitutes ideology. I invite you to do some cultural comparisons and see if every other culture places the same primacy on control that Our culture does. I think you'll find that it's not as universal as you think. Many cultures, for example, believe that partnership is of far greater importance than control. This is the power of the common sense view. It makes us believe that ideologies are absolute when they are not.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-02-2013, 08:42 AM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2013 08:52 AM by Chas.)
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(08-02-2013 08:11 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

Quote:"But the importance of control is utterly ideological. " Well, no. It is also practical for survival.

The thing about ideology is that when we're in the grips of it, it's difficult to deconstruct it. When I speak of the importance of control, I'm obviously not talking about picking up food and putting it in your mouth. Every human being does that. I'm talking about field after field of monocrop, fishing trawlers, the hoover dam, the fact that 10% of the US is paved, species hunted to extinction because they have the audacity to want to eat the same things as us, terminator genes, pesticides, mile after mile of highway, factory farms, genetically modified organisms... the list goes on and on. Our culture is the substance abuser of controlling our environment and to Our culture, it's the most important thing in the universe. Science enables us to do it bigger, better, faster, more, so naturally, science is of the utmost importance to our culture. All of this very much constitutes ideology. I invite you to do some cultural comparisons and see if every other culture places the same primacy on control that Our culture does. I think you'll find that it's not as universal as you think. Many cultures, for example, believe that partnership is of far greater importance than control. This is the power of the common sense view. It makes us believe that ideologies are absolute when they are not.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt


But you are using only the extremes. Some control enhances survivability.

Pre-industrial humans practiced control through agriculture and animal husbandry.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-02-2013, 05:32 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
This thread has become an interesting read. Thanks to all the participants so far.

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