How Empiricism Subverted the Left

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How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 1st, 2015, 3:02 pm 

A lot of people tend to believe that empiricism is the underlying philosophy of liberty, equality, and fraternity. To a degree, they seem to make sense in contrast to dogmatic, stubborn, anti-intellectual religious societies. These are societies that are built around simple-minded, short-sighted, closed-minded folk community common sense. They claim that because "the good book says", we must do as we're told...

...but are these societies really religious, or do they just appear that way on the surface?

The thing about religion is it's a manmade composition that's originally composed from innocence. Like any other civilized achievement, it was made because somebody was free to express one's humanity. It isn't something that just spontaneously generated.

Many "religious values" seem to contradict this origin. They focus on the emotional trial and error of incremental "slow and steady" progress. They prioritize the artistic form of idolatry before caring about the values underneath which enabled religion, among other civilized achievements, to be composed. That way, they estimate heuristics which are used as "rules of thumb" on how to live our lives. Unfortunately, this leads to those "religious values" ignoring exceptions to the rule while overgeneralizing humanity.

It is from here that we conclude that religion is the foundation of discrimination. We become provoked by these imposters that don't really represent what's going on. We confuse the obedience of these imposters with the discipline of the real deal. We confuse mindless adherence to specific ways of life with thoughtful consideration to ways of life in general.

From this, we claim that empiricism is the key to change, but in doing so, we are actually conceding to these imposters.

These imposters focus on the reality of experience, and making a sensational impression towards people's feelings to motivate them to fall in line. They utilize inductive reasoning, probabilistic reasoning, and Occam's Razor to jump to conclusions in making appeals to tradition. They claim that after some particular fact was proven to exist, we must generalize the rest of reality as adhering to that fact. They also say that those who seek to practice alternate lifestyles must prove their practice in advance of their practice being respected. Until it's proven, they must go along with already proven "tried and true" practices. Otherwise, they're rocking the boat and being difficult.

How strange it is, then, that we refer to empiricism to counter these "religious values". In reality, we are doing exactly what they want. We are continuing their mindset even if the context has changed. After all, the relationships are still the same.

The key to liberty, equality, and fraternity is not empiricism since empiricism is closedminded to the diversity of human nature, creative thinking, who people are on the inside, and the actualization of potential. If anything, it maintains the cynical and fatalist mindset that these "religious values" seek to instill. They seek to treat humanity as innately dark, needing of obedience, and dismiss free will as child's play. That way, they can continue conserving the status quo while appealing to ageism, and coincidentally maintain their social status by practicing heuristics which get in the way of alternate practices being developed.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Lomax on August 3rd, 2015, 9:18 pm 

Daktoria » August 1st, 2015, 8:02 pm wrote:They also say that those who seek to practice alternate lifestyles must prove their practice in advance of their practice being respected. Until it's proven, they must go along with already proven "tried and true" practices. Otherwise, they're rocking the boat and being difficult.

Because of my empiricism, I was trying to think of some example to either confirm or disconfirm your claim. But then I realised you're absolutely right - just the other day somebody was making such an argument against gay marriage.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Natural ChemE on August 4th, 2015, 1:33 am 

Daktoria,

Idealists are often confronted with the fact that their perspectives are externally inconsistent. This is, their ideals unexpectedly conflict in practice.

Good idealists react by reconciling their beliefs. They adapt their beliefs to be consistent with the real world. This often developing a more mature, educated world view.

Bad idealists react by denying the observations evidencing the external inconsistency of their beliefs. Online forums are littered with trash about how we should ignore scientific evidence relating to particular subjects.

But you're going a step further than simply denying a particular set of empirical observations. You're railing against empiricism itself. I'm mostly just dumbfounded. I mean, seriously, who argues that we should ignore reality?

What non-empirical belief system do you advocate?
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby BadgerJelly on August 4th, 2015, 2:02 am 

Chem -

I mean, seriously, who argues that we should ignore reality?


The argument I have is about the presumption of what reality is. It is somewhat down to how you define "reality". I don't see what is being said here as labelling empiricism as useless though.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Natural ChemE on August 4th, 2015, 4:55 am 

BadgerJelly,

Debating how to best characterize reality can be great. Science is largely about that sorta thing, and it's definitely a reasonable interest to have.

However, this thread's titled "How Empiricism Subverted the Left" and was posted a day after
Empiricism and Inequality, Daktoria wrote:If equality is to be achieved in society, a non-empiricist route must be taken.
. This direct suggestion that we avoid empiricism seems different from what you're talking about.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby TheVat on August 4th, 2015, 11:29 am 

Have been distracted by travel and stuck with a little android tablet, so didn't really catch what was going on. Please, Dak, clarify just what you mean by "a non-empiricist route." Perhaps you could start by saying how you define empiricism?

Silly me, I thought leftist ideas had sprung from empirical observation of how the working class fared in an industrial revolution where capitalists seek to maximize profit.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 7th, 2015, 5:04 pm 

Lomax » August 3rd, 2015, 8:18 pm wrote:
Daktoria » August 1st, 2015, 8:02 pm wrote:They also say that those who seek to practice alternate lifestyles must prove their practice in advance of their practice being respected. Until it's proven, they must go along with already proven "tried and true" practices. Otherwise, they're rocking the boat and being difficult.

Because of my empiricism, I was trying to think of some example to either confirm or disconfirm your claim. But then I realised you're absolutely right - just the other day somebody was making such an argument against gay marriage.


Those two arguments aren't the same.

The argument I made before wasn't about difficulty. It was about reliability.

Claiming that someone's life needs to change because it's effectively incompatible is one thing. It's not our right to discriminate against others just because we don't like them.

Claiming that someone's life needs to be accommodating because it's the cause of humanity's diversity is another. It's not homosexuals' right to create drama in society by deconstructing the definition of a word and institution which is used to organize the responsibility of childraising just because they want to express their feelings towards each other.

Put simply, homosexuality isn't a "lifestyle". It's a natural feeling, but marriage isn't defined by natural feelings. It's an artificial institution.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 7th, 2015, 5:16 pm 

Natural ChemE » August 4th, 2015, 12:33 am wrote:Daktoria,

Idealists are often confronted with the fact that their perspectives are externally inconsistent. This is, their ideals unexpectedly conflict in practice.

Good idealists react by reconciling their beliefs. They adapt their beliefs to be consistent with the real world. This often developing a more mature, educated world view.

Bad idealists react by denying the observations evidencing the external inconsistency of their beliefs. Online forums are littered with trash about how we should ignore scientific evidence relating to particular subjects.

But you're going a step further than simply denying a particular set of empirical observations. You're railing against empiricism itself. I'm mostly just dumbfounded. I mean, seriously, who argues that we should ignore reality?

What non-empirical belief system do you advocate?


Obviously, empiricism has its place in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. To be fair, I'm not talking about explaining how the natural world works.

Idealism's purpose is to regulate how the natural world is explored so explorers don't step on each other in the course of exploration. We need to understand how reality is diverse. Just because we explore part of reality doesn't mean we've explored all of reality.

Likewise, different explorers have different ambitions in how we transform reality into the future. To make sure explorers remain motivated to explore, we make sure that explorers don't transform on top of each other either.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 7th, 2015, 5:23 pm 

BadgerJelly » August 4th, 2015, 1:02 am wrote:Chem -

I mean, seriously, who argues that we should ignore reality?


The argument I have is about the presumption of what reality is. It is somewhat down to how you define "reality". I don't see what is being said here as labelling empiricism as useless though.


Exactly.

The point is there's a time and place for empiricism, and a time and place not for it.

Kant explained this pretty well when discussing transcendental idealism versus empirical realism.
Last edited by Daktoria on August 7th, 2015, 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 7th, 2015, 5:26 pm 

Natural ChemE » August 4th, 2015, 3:55 am wrote:BadgerJelly,

Debating how to best characterize reality can be great. Science is largely about that sorta thing, and it's definitely a reasonable interest to have.

However, this thread's titled "How Empiricism Subverted the Left" and was posted a day after
Empiricism and Inequality, Daktoria wrote:If equality is to be achieved in society, a non-empiricist route must be taken.
. This direct suggestion that we avoid empiricism seems different from what you're talking about.


There are other applications for empiricism aside from equality, you know?

In fact, a lot of conservative empiricists are very deliberately anti-elitist. Their point is to make appeals to folk community common sense in claiming that the community around has realistically proven that a specific way of life works. Therefore, it's ridiculous to expect you to have the freedom to live a different way.

If you pursue success otherwise, then they just abuse you or neglect the abuse which happens to you. They don't want alternate lifestyles to succeed because they relish in being the center of attention and having to do as little as possible to support their status. Likewise, they'll make occasional charitable donations to look good in the community and build a reputation to show that they're part of the masses instead of spoiled elites. They'll claim that your pursuit of success is merely an attempt to escape the established way of living, and makes you greedy and selfish when in reality, you're not.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby TheVat on August 7th, 2015, 7:17 pm 

This seems to be a string of unsupported assertions regarding "they...." Not a cogent argument.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Natural ChemE on August 7th, 2015, 11:12 pm 

Daktoria,

Gotta agree with Braininvat; the lack of precision in your statements makes it pretty difficult to discern what you're trying to argue.

Like, I'm actually a conservative who does like the empiricist stuff. And I'm from a pretty wealthy family. But then when you go on about how "they" want to do as little work as possible, do I point out how everyone I know is an extreme workaholic? Or are you talking about some specific subset? If so, who?
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 8th, 2015, 1:24 pm 

Natural ChemE » August 7th, 2015, 10:12 pm wrote:Daktoria,

Gotta agree with Braininvat; the lack of precision in your statements makes it pretty difficult to discern what you're trying to argue.

Like, I'm actually a conservative who does like the empiricist stuff. And I'm from a pretty wealthy family. But then when you go on about how "they" want to do as little work as possible, do I point out how everyone I know is an extreme workaholic? Or are you talking about some specific subset? If so, who?


Yea, I'm not big on conservative empiricists, especially because of workaholism. They forget how people work to live rather than live to work.

Wanting to do as little work as possible doesn't make you lethargic. It merely means you want to do what's sufficient rather than what's necessary. Workaholics often want to manage others to do what they want so they don't have to do it themselves, and make an appeal to traditional work ethic as an excuse to do so.

They don't recognize the potential diversity of how people can work in many ways, and how just because they've worked someway in the past doesn't automatically entitle them to tell others how to work in the future.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby vivian maxine on August 8th, 2015, 2:37 pm 

I second Braininvat with a vote for a definition of empiricism as Daktoria is using it here. I have been following this thread along from the start hoping a light would shine. How did it get mixed up with religion which none of my dictionaries even hint at. And how did idealism get stirred into the pot? How did simple empiricism suddenly become a cause of so much conflict? Please define your use of the word so I can follow you.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 8th, 2015, 10:35 pm 

vivian maxine » August 8th, 2015, 1:37 pm wrote:I second Braininvat with a vote for a definition of empiricism as Daktoria is using it here. I have been following this thread along from the start hoping a light would shine. How did it get mixed up with religion which none of my dictionaries even hint at. And how did idealism get stirred into the pot? How did simple empiricism suddenly become a cause of so much conflict? Please define your use of the word so I can follow you.


I expanded on empiricism here: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=29255&p=285753#p285753

It didn't get mixed up with religion. The point in the beginning was the suggestion that empiricism is anti-religious when in reality, that's not automatically the case. For example, many Protestant sects in Western civilization are highly empiricist in judging people's performance of good works. This is especially when empiricism is synthesized with emotivism, and understanding how those good works are judged to determine if someone has a predestined calling. After all, that's what emotions are - our natural disposition to behave a certain way after learning about facts from experience. In society, a "predestined calling" entails your emotional compatibility with others around you.

In fact, the exploitative rise of capitalism which took place in Western civilization coincided with the Protestant Reformation. It's arguable that empiricism itself is the source of why inequality exists. People studied some sustainable ways of life, and projected them upon others as in the cases of rugged individualism and cultural imperialism when colonizing the New World and abducting slaves from Africa. Others didn't perform sufficient good works to represent a predestined calling in their opinion, so they were treated as inferior.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby vivian maxine on August 9th, 2015, 6:58 am 

Thank you, Daktoria
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby mtbturtle on August 9th, 2015, 7:56 am 



good somebody understood that. Can you tell me how empiricism is being defined? I can't see how observation, experience undermines the Left, but I figure I must not be using the correct definition.
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby vivian maxine on August 9th, 2015, 8:57 am 

mtbturtle » August 9th, 2015, 6:56 am wrote:


good somebody understood that. Can you tell me how empiricism is being defined? I can't see how observation, experience undermines the Left, but I figure I must not be using the correct definition.


I'm not sure. I am guessing that she is using the regular definition of empiricism but then going on to say they use religion to propagate their empiricism. I can see how that could be done. It never occurred to me that empiricists would waste their time that way. I can't see empiricists involved in religion. Not for political purposes. I mean. But what do I know?

As for what it has to do with the Left, that is beyond me. But I did appreciate her taking time to do some explaining. Not everyone does. Now I can follow whether I agree or not. I don't like getting lost in a forest of $20 words that don't connect. For that I say thank you.

Hmmm. Maybe we need a definition of the "Left"?
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby vivian maxine on August 9th, 2015, 9:19 am 

Daktoria » August 8th, 2015, 9:35 pm wrote:
vivian maxine » August 8th, 2015, 1:37 pm wrote:I second Braininvat with a vote for a definition of empiricism as Daktoria is using it here. I have been following this thread along from the start hoping a light would shine. How did it get mixed up with religion which none of my dictionaries even hint at. And how did idealism get stirred into the pot? How did simple empiricism suddenly become a cause of so much conflict? Please define your use of the word so I can follow you.


I expanded on empiricism here: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=29255&p=285753#p285753

It didn't get mixed up with religion. The point in the beginning was the suggestion that empiricism is anti-religious when in reality, that's not automatically the case. For example, many Protestant sects in Western civilization are highly empiricist in judging people's performance of good works. This is especially when empiricism is synthesized with emotivism, and understanding how those good works are judged to determine if someone has a predestined calling. After all, that's what emotions are - our natural disposition to behave a certain way after learning about facts from experience. In society, a "predestined calling" entails your emotional compatibility with others around you.

In fact, the exploitative rise of capitalism which took place in Western civilization coincided with the Protestant Reformation. It's arguable that empiricism itself is the source of why inequality exists. People studied some sustainable ways of life, and projected them upon others as in the cases of rugged individualism and cultural imperialism when colonizing the New World and abducting slaves from Africa. Others didn't perform sufficient good works to represent a predestined calling in their opinion, so they were treated as inferior.


All right. Certain religionists were using empiricism to subvert the Left. There are spots in your discourse where you seem to overlap them but that's probably just me. So, if I have it straight, you are saying that religionists usurped the empiricists' philosophy to subvert the Left. Before I put my foot in my mouth again, maybe I'd better ask what Left? The only Left that I know was being subverted by a lot of people and by a lot of groups. So, what Left, please?
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Re: How Empiricism Subverted the Left

Postby Daktoria on August 9th, 2015, 1:15 pm 

Well I didn't say certain religionists were using empiricism to subvert the left. What I said is that empiricism is reverting the left back to certain "religious values" (that aren't really religious). For example, an atheist could do this just as much on accident. You especially see this among the anti-Catholic atheist movement that takes the sample of Catholic values and generalizes all of Christianity (and religion) in general in Western civilization.

For example, let us say you're arguing against an atheist egalitarian about the exploitation of free markets.

You could argue that free markets are justified based on subjective theory of value, objective morality, objective reason, etc. You could argue about the diversity of people's utility preferences, and how the law should be a neutral adjudicator. It shouldn't care about whether people's opinions are popular or not on how to be producers or consumers in society. It should just allow people to live and let live.

Now this is a remarkably similar argument to Catholicism's emphasis on humanity's universal grace. The Catholic church believes that humanity is universally graceful, and that when grace is synthesized with goodwill, it leads to the mysterious performance of good works which nobody is entitled to judge another's performance thereof. Put simply, the Catholic church doesn't believe in "work ethic". It believes in recognizing the diversity of human nature.

Atheist egalitarians will assume, therefore, that those making the original argument are really just Catholics in disguise. This isn't necessarily the case since they can independently analyze the situation at hand, but atheist egalitarians who take an empirical perspective on society won't believe in independent analysis. They'll jump to conclusions in assuming these people have simply learned from experience about Catholic dogmas, and adapted their wording of the same ideas.

Regardless, this still presents an immense problem.

As I said before, the exploitative rise of capitalism took place from the Protestant Reformation. The problems of capitalism have nothing whatsoever to do with either Catholicism or an analytical corollary. In fact, even if we want to look at the history of racism and slavery, the Catholic church very explicitly PROHIBITED slavery in the Sublimus Dei papal bull after the Valladolid Debate. On top of that, it even banned witch-hunting of pagan cultures in the Councils of Frankfurt and Paderborn.

Heck, we can even go so far and look at the history of Mexico and see that when it declared independence from Spain, it did NOT have separation of Church and State. Instead, its first constitution made Catholicism the official State religion, and in line with this, it illegalized slavery. In contrast, Texan slaveholding immigrants were Protestants, and their revolution against Mexico was really a war of religion.

One might even argue at this point that Catholicism and its analytical corollary were classically liberal.

The problem the left seems to have these days is it's been subverted by empiricists who don't want to acknowledge this. Instead, empiricists seem to be classic conservatives. They want the right to conserve historical ways of life, conserve the feelings they have after experiencing facts in reality, conserve social status based on might makes right power politics (rather than believing in abstract principles), and conserve aristocratically elitist political class in the name of being the most functional, practical, and useful center of social cohesion.

Heck, we even see this explicitly when the modern empirical left argues against the private-public distinction in claiming that we all belong to the same natural world. It's a remarkably similar argument to folk community common sense. Conservatives love to tell you to get real and get in line.
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