Thursday, August 18, 2011

8/20- Stuck on this one for a while. I'm beginning a longer piece and this is my practice pad.

The last paragraph here [Link from H. Farrell]
What Lewis doesn’t seem to get is that this trusting attitude isn’t just some ineffable quality of Germanness. It’s built into the structure of German political economy. And I think that’s a better explanation of what happened in Germany than Lewis’ appeal to national stereotypes.
German political economy is an aspect of German culture and the product of German culture over time. Without getting into an argument over Michael Lewis' pop-history, the paragraph above is the shortest clear demonstration of poli-sci aversion to history as subject that I've come across:
Science is preferable to non-science/ Historical science is untenable because of all the data we've lost/ We have large amounts of data from the present/ The science of the present is possible.

More "science" from NewApps
Philosophy, Physics, Metaphysics (5 posts).
Disabled Philosophers
There's no feminist geology nor will there ever be a black physics, but that says nothing about the need for a feminist philosophy or a philosophy of race, or of "disability" whatever that may mean (and that itself is a question for philosophy).

The attempt to universalize individual experience in the language of one author or speaking subject is the universalism of the priesthood: of authorities not individuals. "I contain multitudes" is the lie of Kings and actors. Science can not parse experience without denying it. Unlike mystics and metaphysicians I have no argument with that. Logically there is none. My argument is with those who would make a politics of the "science" of rationalism. A politics of empiricism is the only politics worth defending. It's empiricism that allows me to point out the confusion of those who spend half their time promoting language games as science and the rest celebrating cultural identities.

Eric Schliesser
Analytic philosophy was self-consciously founded a) against the great man approach to philosophy [let's call that "the magisterial approach"], and accepting, by contrast, b) the division of intellectual labor, such that c) philosophy is a collective enterprise. The rhetoric that accompanied these moves appealed to success of the sciences. (I have labeled this "Newton's Challenge to philosophy".) Now one self-conscious byproduct of this approach is that from (some baseline) progress is possible. As in the sciences, even refutations and lack of confirmation can facilitate progress. Everybody's efforts matter.
The analogy would work if philosophy were like chemistry, but there's no evidence that it can be. Experience is private and language, by which we communicate experience, is unstable. Schliesser's bureaucratic formalism is useless as a descriptive tool. The desire for progress is not progress.

You can progress in the analysis of a formal system, but unless you can demonstrate a stable relation between that system and the world it will fail as a system of representation. Contra Ratzinger, Scalia, Schliesser et al. (a long list), stable systems of representation do not exist in language. Language in use is defined as and by politics.

The history of modern philosophy is of the conflation of art and science, each used to justify the other. Formal logic fails as philosophy because there's no stable relation of logic to the world of experience. That failure is why philosophy has returned openly to theology. The relations of formal mathematics to the physical world by comparison are stable.

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