Social constructivism vs Positivism
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09-02-2013, 10:14 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
Hello, Purple.

If I don't understand, I don't understand. Simple as that. When I don't, I ask for clarification. I'm a very straightforward person and I don't mind answering any question.

If there's a question in particular that you saw that you'd like me to respond to, feel free to restate it in your own words and I'd be happy to reply. As well, if you have any questions of your own, please feel free to ask. I'm quite passionate about this subject and I enjoy conversing about it.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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12-02-2013, 02:40 AM (This post was last modified: 12-02-2013 02:46 AM by PurpleChimp.)
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(22-12-2012 10:57 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Chas.

That's a bit of a cop out for two reasons. 1 - The scientific method is only a few hundred years old and positivism younger than that. 2 - While many cultures in the last 2 million years may have employed somerhing analagous to science, many did not. The question is about those peoples. So how does positivism explain those socieites that were successful without science?


We have been able to identify the exact steps and processes known as the scientific method for a few hundred, but people have been using the method (without the label) for all of human history, albeit in more primitive forms. So you assert that "many" cultures in the last 2 million years employed this analogous method, but "many" did not.

What leads you to believe that many other cultures did not employ this more primitive form of science? Please give examples of cultures/societies that have been successful without science.

(07-01-2013 12:27 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  What other knowledge is viable, or as correct as science?



Ghost, this question was not answered. Can you please give an answer.

(08-02-2013 05:39 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  Basically this.

According to the subjective view of reality, and social constructivism.

The world was objectively flat until enough people came to believe it was round. Therefore the world became round due to their shift of thought.

People who think the world is a cube is objectively true to them even though in another culture it's round, or flat. If I leave one culture and go to another, they are correct.

Amputees could heal themselves if enough people establish that they could as fact.

After all reality is just what we make it in our heads.


This too, was not answered. Please give an explanation. It seems quite relevant and it was either unseen by you or ignored.

Also, you have said that without language (which is a result of constructionism) there would be no though, and no scientific method. Can you honestly not think of any ways that it would be possible to have thought or science without language?
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20-02-2013, 08:16 PM (This post was last modified: 21-02-2013 08:45 AM by Ghost.)
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
Hey, Purple.

Quote:We have been able to identify the exact steps and processes known as the
scientific method for a few hundred, but people have been using the
method (without the label) for all of human history, albeit in more
primitive forms. So you assert that "many" cultures in the last 2
million years employed this analogous method, but "many" did not.

What leads you to believe that many other cultures did not employ this
more primitive form of science? Please give examples of
cultures/societies that have been successful without science.

Well that changes the argument from, "science is the best," which is positivism's assertion, to, "Everyone uses science whether they know it or not," which is an entirely different argument.

I will grant you that humans have been using observation as a tool for generating understanding for as long as we've been human. Trial and error learning and experiential learning rely heavily on observation (as do other forms of learning). That being said, the examples of cultures that use less literal methods of generating knowledge are legion.

For example, many cultures have quite in depth understandings of their environments, like, say, many of the Amazonian tribes that have detailed botanical knowledge and even fine understandings of chemical interactions. But they also use, as an integral part of their society, poetic and mystical understandings of the world. Things that in a society obsessed with empiricism, would not survive the cut of Occam's razor. And no one would accuse loin cloth wearing, face painted Amazonians of being scientists; especially when they tell you that the tree you're standing next to is in their brother.

I think that to call science merely observation is to miss the point of science. It's much more complicated than that. The Australian Aborigines knew enough from observation to know that if you dig a pit, build a fire, let it burn down, then wrap your meat in various leaves, set it on the hot rocks left over from the fire, then fill in the pit and bury the meat for several hours, you'll wind up with well cooked meat. But they also believed that life was a dream and that the point of existence was to carry out the necessary ritual gestures to keep the world exactly as it was at the time of the first dreaming thousands of years earlier. That is a decidedly unscientific understanding of the world.

Positivism asserts that science is the best method of determining knowledge; however, there are literally tens of thousands of years of evidence that demonstrate clearly that non-literal, non-empirical, non-scientific methods of generating knowledge have generated knowledge that helped various peoples be extremely successful; a reality that positivism suggests is impossible. So how does positivism account for that? I don't think that it can.

Positivism's claim is a claim of exclusivity. It dismisses all forms of generating knowledge that are not scientific. I personally believe that it fails to back up its claim. It might make intuitive sense, it might have deep enthocentric resonance, but that doesn't make it science.

Please understand, that I am never going to say that science is not useful or that observation is bad because I simply don't believe those things to be true. They are very useful given the right context. But I do take issue with the idea that it's the best way and that human beings cannot be successful without scientifically derived knowledge.

Quote:Ghost, this question was not answered. Can you please give an answer.

Actually, I was quite clear that I found the question confusing. I answered in what little way I could and asked for clarification. That clarification never came. So to simply re-ask the question accomplishes nothing.

Quote:This too, was not answered. Please give an explanation. It seems quite relevant and it was either unseen by you or ignored.

The reason that that question wasn't answered was because it was so nonsensical that I could do nothing with it.

Answer this: When the purple money is spent in Russia on Tea Party propaganda that Mickey Mouse uses to drum up Latvian support in the Duma, how twenty is forty six?

Where does one begin?

Here's some points about fst's statement (the following points correspond to the constructivist view):
-The world was never objectively flat
-Within the social construction, the earth did become round when people believed it was round; however, the socially constructed version of reality does not in any way reshape actuality (provided it actually exists). There is at no point a transformation of the objective. That being said, whether it did or not doesn't matter, because no one has access to the objective.
-Whether or not the earth being a cube is objective to them is irrelevant, the constructivist view says that all beliefs, whether they are considered objective or not, are not objective and that they are all constructed.
-That being said, whatever exists within their construction IS true to them, regardless of whether or not it's true to others. For example, to me, medicare is a sacred right. That is true to me. But to many Americans, medicare is a socialist plot meant to destabalise the fabric of American society that will undermine the American people. I spoke about this at length when I discussed the difference between Truth and truths.
-His statement, "If I leave one culture and go to another, they are correct." makes no sense to me.
-As for the amputee thing, this is one of those statements that demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of what the constructivist view is. It has nothing to do with magical powers. It is an observation about how humans create and understand reality.
-The same with his closing line. It's akin to the argument that the eye came into being due to random chance. It most certainly did not. That demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of Darwinian principals. Reality doesn't come into existence due to random chance, it is something, like eyes, that evolves over time. It does not exist in a vacuum, but is rather intimately linked to actuality (whatever that is), as well as environment and time. Genes can be configured in countless ways to produce countless variations. That doesn't mean that I can simply snap my fingers and conjure a new species into existence simply because there is no one single objective organism, but rather a great plurality of them. The same with culture and by extension, socially constructed reality. Reality can be configured in an infinite number of ways, but A, that doesn't mean that it somehow exists outside of context and B, it doesn't mean that I can just snap my fingers and conjure a new construction out of thin air. Like I said, the constructivist view is not about magical powers.

Lastly, he didn't ask any questions. So your assertion that I didn't answer his question is nonsensical. He made a statement. I was content to not comment on it.

Quote:Also, you have said that without language (which is a result of
constructionism) there would be no though, and no scientific method. Can
you honestly not think of any ways that it would be possible to have
thought or science without language?

No I cannot. Nor can anyone that has even a cursory understanding of human cognition.

Quote:When we speak of "symbolic
processes" in the brain or in the mind, we are referring to our ability to
abstract elements of our experience and to represent them with discrete mental
symbols. Other species certainly possess consciousness in some sense, but as
far as we know, they live in the world simply as it presents itself to them.
Presumably, for them the environment seems very much like a continuum, rather
than a place, like ours, that is divided into the huge number of separate
elements to which we humans give individual names. By separating out its
elements in this way, human beings are able constantly to re-create the world,
and individual aspects of it, in their minds. And what makes this possible is
the ability to form and to manipulate mental symbols that correspond to
elements we perceive in the world within and beyond ourselves. Members of other
species often display high levels of intuitive reasoning, reacting to stimuli
from the environment in quite complex ways, by only human beings are able
arbitrarily to combine and recombine mental symbols and to ask themselves
questions such as "What if?...

If there is one single aspect
of human mental function that is more closely tied up with symbolic processes
than any other, it is surely our use of language. Language is, indeed, the
ultimate symbolic mental function, and it is virtually impossible to conceive
of thought as we know it in its absence. For words, it is fair to say, function
as the units of human thought, at least as we are aware of it. They are
certainly the medium by which we explain our thoughts to one another and, as
incomparably social creatures, seek to influence what is going on in one
another’s brains.
-Ian Tattersal from Scientific
American

Quote:Natural language will always remain the basic
interpretation of, and reservoir for, the development of the artificial
formalized languages of science.
― Doris Bradbury

Quote:The only link
between the verbal and objective world is exclusively structural, necessitating
the conclusion that the only content of all "knowledge" is
structural. Now structure can be considered as a complex of relations, and
ultimately as multi-dimensional order. From this point of view, all language
can be considered as names for unspeakable entities on the objective level, be
it things or feelings, or as names of relations. In fact... we find that an
object represents an abstraction of a low order produced by our nervous system
as the result of a sub-microscopic events acting as stimuli upon the nervous
system.
-Alfred Korzybski, in Science and Sanity (1933), p.
20

Quote:To say, therefore, that thought cannot happen in an
instant, but requires a time, is but another way of saying that every thought must be interpreted in another,
or that all thought is in signs.
-Charles Sanders Peirce, in Collected Papers
(1931-1958), Vol. V, par. 254

Quote:It is apparently very congenial for some people who
are professionally concerned with fictional texts to be told that all texts are
really fictional anyway, and that claims that fiction differs significantly
from science and philosophy can be deconstructed as a logocentric prejudice,
and it seems positively exhilarating to be told that what we call
"reality" is just more textuality. Furthermore, the lives of such
people are made much easier than they had previously supposed, because now they
don't have to worry about an author's intentions, about precisely what a text
means, or about distinctions within a text between the metaphorical and the
literal, or about the distinction between texts and the world because
everything is just a free play of signifiers. The upper limit, and I believe
the reductio ad absurdum, of this "sense of mastery" conveyed
by deconstruction, is in Geoffrey Hartman's claim that the prime creative task
has now passed from the literary artist to the critic.
-John Searle, "The Word Turned Upside Down", The New York Review of Books,
Volume 30, Number 16, October 27, 1983.

Quote:Between the subject and the
object lies the value. This Value is more immediate, more directly sensed than
any 'self' or any 'object' to which it may be later assigned. It is more
real than the stove. Whether the stove is the cause of the low quality or
whether possibly something else is the cause is not yet absolutely certain. But
that the quality is low is absolutely certain. It is the primary empirical
reality from which such things as stoves and heat and oaths and self are later
intellectually constructed.
-Robert M. Pirsig

Quote:Reality exists outside language, but it is constantly
mediated by and through language: and what we can know and say has to be produced
in and through discourse. Discursive ‘knowledge’ is the product not of the transparent
representation of the ‘real’ in language but of the articulation of language on
real relations and conditions. Thus there is no intelligible discourse without the
operation of a code. Iconic signs are therefore coded signs too – even if the codes
here work differently from those of other signs. There is no degree zero in language
-Hall

Quote:A master narrative that we find convincing and
persuasive differs from other stories in an important way: it swallows us. It
is not a play we can see performed, or a painting we can view, or a city we can
visit. A master narrative is a dwelling place. We are intended to live in it.
-Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative,” p. 32.

Quote:Communication is a symbolic process whereby Reality is
produced, maintained, repaired and transformed…

Reality is not given, not humanly existent independent of language
and towards which language stands a pale refraction. Rather, reality is brought
into existence, is produced, by communication – by, in short, the construction,
apprehension, and utilization of symbolic forms…

This particular miracle we perform daily and hourly—the miracle
of producing reality and then living within and under the fact of our own productions—rests
upon a particular quality of symbols: their ability to be both representations ‘of’
and ‘for’ reality.
-Williams

Try this. Go have a thought, don't use language, and see how that works out. Then, communicate that thought to someone else, anyone else, without language, and see how that works out. Report your results, again, without language.

I'd be very curious to know how you believe thought and science can occur without language.

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Matt
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21-02-2013, 10:22 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical “reality,” no less than social “reality,” is at bottom a social and linguistic construct; that scientific “knowledge,” far from being objective, reflects and encodes the dominant ideologies and power relations of the culture that produced it; that the truth claims of science are theory-laden and self-referential; and consequently, that the discourse of the scientific community, for all its undeniable value, cannot assert a privileged epistemological status with respect to counterhegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities.

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21-02-2013, 10:25 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(21-02-2013 10:22 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical “reality,” no less than social “reality,” is at bottom a social and linguistic construct; that scientific “knowledge,” far from being objective, reflects and encodes the dominant ideologies and power relations of the culture that produced it; that the truth claims of science are theory-laden and self-referential; and consequently, that the discourse of the scientific community, for all its undeniable value, cannot assert a privileged epistemological status with respect to counterhegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities.


Yeah, that's the kind of crap that emanates from the post-modern deconstructionist fools.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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21-02-2013, 10:38 PM (This post was last modified: 21-02-2013 10:53 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(21-02-2013 10:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(21-02-2013 10:22 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical “reality,” no less than social “reality,” is at bottom a social and linguistic construct; that scientific “knowledge,” far from being objective, reflects and encodes the dominant ideologies and power relations of the culture that produced it; that the truth claims of science are theory-laden and self-referential; and consequently, that the discourse of the scientific community, for all its undeniable value, cannot assert a privileged epistemological status with respect to counterhegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities.


Yeah, that's the kind of crap that emanates from the post-modern deconstructionist fools.

I was trying to make Ghost think that I saw the light of constructivism, but you caught me so here are some videos against the position. I've given up on Ghost yielding. I'm sure he will only accept absolute victory. So here are a couple of videos against his case for fun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair




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21-02-2013, 11:32 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
Fst.

I'm done with you.

Chas.

I won't dignify what you said with a response.

Richard Dawkins.

Once again you have demonstrated that you have no grasp of social science. I adore and respect you as a biologist. I honestly and truly do. I have a dog eared copy of The Selfish Gene and I base most of my work with replicator theory off of your great insight. That being said, I cringe any time you mention anything to do with social science. Please stop. I mean come the fuck on. Relativism is a plot by the Catholic church to undermine evolution? You cannot possibly be serious. That's the most asinine thing I've ever heard and as someone who has dedicated his life to the social sciences like you have to the physical sciences, it's as insulting to me as the ramblings of Fred Phelps are to you.
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21-02-2013, 11:52 PM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(21-02-2013 11:32 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Fst.

I'm done with you.

Chas.

I won't dignify what you said with a response.

Richard Dawkins.

Once again you have demonstrated that you have no grasp of social science. I adore and respect you as a biologist. I honestly and truly do. I have a dog eared copy of The Selfish Gene and I base most of my work with replicator theory off of your great insight. That being said, I cringe any time you mention anything to do with social science. Please stop. I mean come the fuck on. Relativism is a plot by the Catholic church to undermine evolution? You cannot possibly be serious. That's the most asinine thing I've ever heard and as someone who has dedicated his life to the social sciences like you have to the physical sciences, it's as insulting to me as the ramblings of Fred Phelps are to you.
Sam Harris says no.
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22-02-2013, 12:19 AM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
"We covered "Hey Jude." My father panicked, misunderstanding the lyrics
and thinking our lead singer was belting out "Hey, Jew" to a roomful of
Holocaust survivors." ---- Sam Harris
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22-02-2013, 08:07 AM
RE: Social constructivism vs Positivism
(21-02-2013 11:32 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Chas.

I won't dignify what you said with a response.
Do you mean you won't respond to:
"Yeah, that's the kind of crap that emanates from the post-modern deconstructionist fools." ?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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