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zyphex
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#71
04-30-2014
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Right, I am giving a tautology.

As long as we agree that actions reveal wants, then we're cool. That's all I was saying with the idea of preference.

Also, I did not mean to come across as arguing that sociology and psychology need be separate fields or whatever. All I was trying to say is that I understand there is more to do than say "people have preferences." We ought to ask where they come from and use the tools of those (or that) discipline to find the answer.
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#72
04-30-2014
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if you agree that there is no such thing as a personal consumer preference in any sort of libertarian sense but that "wants" are themselves always manufactured or produced through processes of socialization, (through the family and etc. and so on), then i am confused as to when and where "the individual" actually comes into your account
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem

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#73
04-30-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PM View Post
if you agree that there is no such thing as a personal consumer preference in any sort of libertarian sense but that "wants" are themselves always manufactured or produced through processes of socialization, (through the family and etc. and so on), then i am confused as to when and where "the individual" actually comes into your account
I don't know how to answer, but I'm willing to agree that wants are produced through the process of socialization, though I might not use the word "always." Some of them are biological and influenced by genetics, and I don't know if the definition of socialization that you are going with would or would not include these items.

Hmmm... not sure I'm understanding it exactly but I'll just say some things.

I don't think I want to claim that the individual is the be all end all and that there is nothing happening above or below the level of the individual. I am not looking to argue about what defines an agent as such and the things working beneath the level of the individual. All I am saying is that when we refer to "action," we need to be aware that only individuals act...that any of these things that cause the individual to act manifest in the agent acting. When I talk about methodological individualism all I wanted to say is "I don't believe in conceptual realism." Example: I don't think we should say "capitalism wants..." but rather "these specific (type/subset of) individuals in the capitalist society want...". Insofar as we say "global capitalism wants..." we should be able to trace those wants to a specific group of people.
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#74
04-30-2014
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also this might be a good time to point out that a reserve army of labor structurally perpetuates the system we have, in which people working within corporations (managers and managers of managers) realize they cannot actually act against the corporation's own wants, which are decidedly inhuman and cannot be described as in any way personal.
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem
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#75
04-30-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PM View Post
also this might be a good time to point out that a reserve army of labor structurally perpetuates the system we have, in which people working within corporations (managers and managers of managers) realize they cannot actually act against the corporation's own wants, which are decidedly inhuman and cannot be described as in any way personal.
They can be described as the wants of (a specific subset of) individuals within the corporation.

Test of the theory: Remove all the individuals from the corporation. Does the corporation still have wants? (does it exist without people existing in its structure?)
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#76
04-30-2014
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or, i believe, we could better describe the wants of the managers and sub-managers and cubicle-monkies (all the people who actually produce the profits by adhering to policies which are designed to produce predictable profits, etc.) as being "suggested" by the corporate form, and the capitalist system more broadly. e.g. manager doesn't want to get fired, doesn't want to stop pulling in money for the family back home. that's not a want formed by the individual (the person) as such but a want which forms the individual, as such.


consider this equally absurd hypothetical: if literally all of the jobs held by the people could be done by machines, and all the people were replaced, then would the corporation still have wants?
the question comes down to whether the literal function of a corporation (the function of that specific assemblage of power that is the corporate form), which is to produce profit, could or would still exist without people.
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem

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#77
04-30-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PM View Post
or, i believe, we could better describe the wants of the managers and sub-managers and cubicle-monkies (all the people who actually produce the profits by adhering to policies which are designed to produce predictable profits, etc.) as being "suggested" by the corporate form, and the capitalist system more broadly. e.g. manager doesn't want to get fired, doesn't want to stop pulling in money for the family back home. that's not a want formed by the individual (the person) as such but a want which forms the individual, as such.
I mean, I just don't see it as necessary (or rather, irreducible). We can just as easily say that people within the corporate form desire profits, and your ability to get them the profits will determine whether or not you maintain your job. These people = CEO, the Board, investors and shareholders, etc. The wants of these people just mentioned who are within this corporate structure which is itself intended to earn profits do form how the individual lower-down acts, sure.

Possibly off topic: As I've said before, everyone is after psychic profits (to undertake action which make them "better off" as they see it, i.e. benefits them more (in their eyes) than it costs them.); just another way to describe wants. Monetary profits are a particular form of this more general desire of acting individuals.

Quote:
consider this equally absurd hypothetical: if literally all of the jobs held by the people could be done by machines, and all the people were replaced, then would the corporation still have wants?
Who owns the machines or benefits from them? (this is needed to answer your question).

Quote:
the question comes down to whether the literal function of a corporation (the function of that specific assemblage of power that is the corporate form), which is to produce profit, could or would still exist without people.
The corporate form is defined as a structuring of individuals, such as shareholders. If there are no people at all, there is no corporate form.
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#78
04-30-2014
Default

that's a nice definition of the corporation you've got there. . .





i'm saying the individual as such is produced collectively, it is a collective assemblage from the start.
i know i've linked to this vid before but it's relevant here as well, and especially so since you mentioned happiness earlier
Spoiler!



it seems to me like you're (deliberately) missing the point: think about it this way: the corporation is already set in motion, already functioning, when all of a sudden its fleshy moving parts are replaced by shiny moving parts, cyborgs, say, which keep the same "orders" of operation the fleshy bits had as directive. (all the way up the ladder; you should know that shareholders invest based on the most valid predictive models (algorithms) their money can buy). seems like you're sidestepping the question by "defining" the corporate form as "a structuring of individuals". what, can only a human being as such be an individual? but where does human being and technology end, anyway? we are already cyborgs.
once the assemblage has been put together and has an algorithm and a mechanism of self-correction there is no sense in speaking of anything like an individual want, only in the sense that ceo wants money or manager wants money.
we should say that instead the corporation itself wants to maximize profit-- this is its function, what it is geared towards, what it "takes as a directive". are you denying a collective can want on the basis that a being-geared-towards cannot by your definition "want", that only an embodied biopsychosocial (or, charitably, "individual") human being can by your definition "want"? but wait, what is a want again?
anyways, yeah, i take your point that we could also say in another sense that the ceos, stockholders, managers, etc., want to make money (maximize investment) or make money (feed a family), what have you, and that's why they want money (invest in more complex machines and algorithms and more complexly worded laws and loopholes), to get more of what they want (money), and why they want money (roll off a springbox to go to work every morning), respectively. . .
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Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem

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#79
05-01-2014
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i mentioned the culture industry earlier, hopefully you can see how this is relevant: it's pretty recent stuff, too: http://parrhesiajournal.org/parrhesi...3_steigler.pdf

and if you find that interesting, here's something from a book he wrote


Spoiler!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cursed Lemon View Post
Here's the problem - I am not a means to the end of rape culture, I am the end. I am literally the termination of this whole ordeal.
here's the problem

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#80
05-01-2014
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Holy shit is this thread actually going places? Will edit in responses as I can today.

Edit:
Long, but again, insightful and apropos. Pasting in full.

http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2012/...t_show_up.html
Quote:
The Consumer Products Safety Commission wants to ban Buckyballs, the magnetic office toy for "adults with Asperger's", because kids swallow them.

("Hey, stupid, isn't the Buckyballs story two months old?" I'm writing a book of pornography, it's taking up a lot of my time. "Of?")

This is the kind of story that gets the public to unanimously cry, "We're a bunch of coddled babies!" and if you cried that, please recall my useful heuristic: if you ever find yourself in complete agreement with the public, especially when "public" includes people you wanted to murder in the last election, then your position is not only wrong, it's not even yours. You have been trained to have this thought, so the money is in understanding why.

Here is the mistake the conventional wisdom makes: it forgets it lives in the West. It is free to compare risks because it believes all risks have been considered, by someone else. This isn't a social problem, it is a philosophical one: we are taught to think like this. This is why an otherwise intelligent person still thought to say, "are you saying we should ban electrical sockets? They kill more people than Buckyballs!" That person is confused, but it isn't his fault.

Here's how it plays out.

Nine year old kid: Mom, I swallowed a Buckyball.
You: Oh my god, you are an idiot, I am so embarrassed. I want an abortion.

What would you do? The balls are non-toxic and they can't rip out all your blood iron like Magneto. So you do what every parent does, you call a psychiatrist and wait for your kid to poop it out.

Of course the problem is the balls clump together while in different parts of the intestine, pinching through the intestinal wall, kinking or twisting it-- and as he's dying you're saying, "well that serves you right for taking after your father."

Now that I just told you this it seems obvious, but would you have known this before I told you? Would you have known to take the belly pain of your child that seriously? That's the issue: that the toy is "conventional wisdom" safe, the precautions taken are the same as for regular ball bearings.

If you doubt this, please admit to yourself that you will be more careful with them around your children simply because you heard about the ban. It is that warning that needs to be communicated by the product manufacturer. "Well, it says it on the box." As they point out in the complaint, however, the warnings so far have failed, kids are still swallowing them. "They're stupid." I agree entirely, however you've misunderstood me: the warnings have failed on the parents. Note that "parents" here isn't your usual signifier for stupid parents (non-Asian minorities, Central Time moms, Christians, etc). Buckyballs are sold at Brookstone with proof of subscription to Wired, that's the demo.

It's probably necessary for me to announce loudly that I am AGAINST THE BUCKYBALLS BAN, but the point here is why in 20XX such a ban is not only possible but expected.


II.

Have you ever seen a bus and had the fantasy that if you got hit, you could sue the city for $5M? While it's probably means you're a follower not a leader (e.g. "I hate frivolous lawsuits, but if everyone else gets to do it...") I want you to focus carefully on the implication of this fantasy: in the secret studio of your mind, even a bus accident is safe.

"Yes, we know, humans miscalculate risk." No, they are very good at calculating it-- for other people. No one ever thinks, "It would be awesome if my wife got hit by a bus and we sued for $5M."

"!HA! You're wrong, I think that every night!!!" You're a tool. And a cuckold. It's not that you are more willing to take the "risk"-- you are not altruistic-- you're just 100% certain she would die if a natural gas powered leviathan hit her in the tits and 100% certain you would live. (Sorry. It's the porn book.)

It is this kind of example that trips up the "public" when judging things like Buckyballs because we don't think in large numbers and apply to one (statistics), we think in terms of ourselves and multiply by 6 billion (narcissism). Here's a piece from an extraordinary video I am ashamed to admit I found on Metafilter. Watch this dummy try to climb 8 stairs (spacebar to play):








She got up this time, but let's pretend she smashed her face in. What would happen next? Lawyer crawls out from under a Horn And Hardart's and they sue the city for $5M in future earnings because she says Revlon now won't return her calls. That story gets picked up by the internet and you, the public, have something to yell at.

You will no doubt observe she is overweight, which about 80% of you will consider of central importance, and you'd be right for the wrong reason: it's not relevant to her fall, it's relevant to your hate. Of course you know I picked her on purpose; but what you will forget to know is that Dateline and HuffPo and the others will have looked for her- or a black woman or a guy with his nose in a Bible- to be in their story about tripping and suing, to ensure you'd spit your soda all over the screen. "#frivolouslawsuits!" The system wins.

But now watch the director's cut:











From JimmyJames on Metafilter, who has a remarkable insight into the relationship between personal responsibility and what permits it:



On its own, when you see one person slip, you automatically assume that person slipped, was clumsy or not playing attention. But when you look at the aggregate, you realize that the failure isn't on the individual at all, rather the structures that cause certain people to fail with almost no fault of their own. And yet, without this data, they will very quickly ascribe the mistake to themselves.

It difficult to explain to someone that the reason they live their life the way they do because of the structures built to help them live that way. But imagine, instead of a stupid mislaid step, the faulty structure is a punitive late policy on a credit card, or a bank that has a minimum balance fee and very quickly the maintenance of the status-quo is laid bare.



This is a very smart insight, and no surprise this is one of the most favorited comments on Metafilter. But it is still wrong, and wrong in a very specific way, the only way that matters: pro-status quo. Wrong, to ensure that things do not change.

JimmyJames has it backwards. The issue isn't the faulty step, it is all of the correctly laid steps. That seems abstractly unrealistic to you, so I'll simplify with JimmyJames's own examples: the problem isn't the minimum balance fee, it is the bank; it isn't the punitive late policy, it is the credit card.

She didn't trip because the step was high, she didn't trip because she should have been more careful; she tripped because the city taught her not to be careful, in the same way you taught your daughter not to be careful when she crosses the street. "Huh? I taught her to look both ways!" Slow down, Hawthorne:



DAD:

Look both ways, stupid!

GIRL:

Um, isn't that your job?

DAD:

But I'm not going to be holding your hand all the time, you have to learn to do this yourself.

GIRL:

So let me understand you. Your thesis is I am so mentally defective that unless you teach me to look both ways even when you're with me, I will not remember to look both ways when you're not with me. Isn't it more likely that the omnipotence I attribute to your symbolic identity as Father is what causes me to be more dependent when I know you're with me?

DAD:

How dare you talk to me like that. You should respect your elders.

GIRL:

I do respect my elders, that's the whole problem. You have taught me that there is always an appeal to a higher authority. Meanwhile, your cynicism has split my loyalties, you've made me highly suspicious of individuals in authority, yet simultaneously reflexively obedient to symbols of authority as long as there is no defined individual attached to it. And when I get old enough to see you're just Willy Loman, I'll start looking for a more abstract, omnipotent, father, and his name will be "Someone Else's Ideology."



DAD:

That sounds insane.



GIRL:

Don't blame me, man, I just lease the space. I think we would both respond more reliably to this kind of dependency branded as self-reliance if it was reinforced through the medium of a car commercial. Something that promises complete freedom of the road and superb handling responsive to my every wish, but knows when to deploy safety features. That way I'll be able to text with both hands.

DAD:


Maybe I should let you make some mistakes, maybe get a little hurt, to teach you self-reliance?



GIRL:

Ha! You won't even let me play outside by myself. You're afraid someone like you will try and eat me. Or that if I ever got hurt, the lesson I'd learn is that you are an unreliable Dad, and there's nothing worse than an unreliable Dad, except---





III.



On the one hand, we live in a society that values free choice and personal responsibility, but we are told that it is safe to value those things only because people expect a certain amount of absence of choice and freedom from responsibility. You assume you would not be allowed to make a truly dangerous choice.

What you don't understand consciously is that your judgment of risk is based on the fact that you believe in God, and this is even more true if you think you don't believe in God. I can sense your resistance to this idea because you think you don't believe in God, but sadly for your immortal soul, you do.

The reason you think "personal responsibility" is the answer to the Buckyballs problem is that Buckyballs already exist, and if they already exist they must be safe-- or "some other omnipotent entity" would not have permitted them to come to existence. That is the problem of the West, and you cannot change it. All of the metaphors of the West imply this omnipotent entity, from "free market" to "inalienable rights" to "peace in our time."

Imagine if when Buckyballs were first invented, the manufacturer decided not to bring them to market because they were too dangerous. What would you have been furious then? You'd have thought: "meh." That is because your brain is broken, and your brain is broken because the system broke it. Again, it's not your fault. The true danger of the "Nanny State" isn't that it limits your freedoms but that it causes you to want less freedom.

Note again and again that the instinctive reflex among the public is to blame the individual and protect the corporation, the system. You'd think we'd be happy if the system caught an after-market danger, but clearly we aren't, it enrages us. The rage isn't because the government intrudes into our lives-- it always has-- it's because it's evidence that the system wasn't-- and therefore isn't-- omniscient. When a product isn't brought to market because it's dangerous it confirms that Dad is reliable, but when it's only discovered later it suggests Dad can be unreliable, and there's nothing worse than an unreliable Dad, unless it's an unreliable God. Hence Buddhism.

IV.

I get that this kind of theoretical model doesn't seem practically applicable to every day life, but you'll see the "some other omnipotent entity" everywhere if you look for its three characteristics: it is omnipotent; it opposes the existing (dis)order; its sole job is to protect you from yourself. Not from the world: from your bad decisions.

Here's an easy example: other than me, Rana Foroohar is the only person still reading Time, and since she has a degree in English Literature and I do not, they gave her the job of Assistant Editor In Charge Of Economics. Here she is with other assistant editors being in charge of economics.



rana foroohar.jpg



As you can tell, economics is hilarious. She also somehow writes a column called-- take a drink-- "The Curious Capitalist." I'll assume she means all of those words ironically. Here's a sentence she wrote without any irony at all:

In order to keep things afloat until politicians get their act together, the Fed needs new strategies.

Holy mother of Buddha. Leave aside policy controversies, what should make your eyes bleed here is how easily, naturally, she went over the government, to a higher authority-- how easily she was able to find "some other omnipotent entity" to save us from ourselves.

This doesn't mean the Fed is always that other omnipotent entity, it means that Foroohar will always locate such an entity because she cannot live without it; her allegiances will shift but she will never permit herself to live only in the abyss-mal world of her actions. She is always on the side of "who can fix this," she is never on the side of "I helped cause this." This isn't a political problem, it is a psychic problem: this is how all of us think.

And if that entity one day fails to save you, you'll feel the kind of rage you hear described on psychiatry blogs. Which is what happened when Chief Justice Of The Supreme Court Of The United States Of America John Roberts seemingly turned his back on the conservatives and upheld Obamacare. A lengthy legal explanation was of no importance, what drove people bananas was not simply his ruling, but that he didn't at least pretend to omnipotence, "I can rule however I want!" Instead, he said out loud the unsayable, the terrible awful truth about himself: "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." You traitorous, black robed son of a bitch, how dare you reveal there is no God.



V.



Try it the other way.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg's proposal is to ban soda sold larger than 16 oz. Is it a government intrusion into our private lives? Shouldn't we be allowed to make our own free choices about what to do with our own bodies?

The answer to both is a resounding yes, but nevertheless that's the trick. The question that you should have asked, that you did not ask because you were hypnotized into asking the above questions, is: to what extent am I free to make the decision TO drink soda?

Soda was tested, refined and improved so that you would probably like it; but it was packaged and marketed so that you would like it regardless of whether you liked it, and "you" means you now, in this time, in this place. Do you believe 10th century Viking marauders who previously described rejecting pop music would drink 3 sodas a day? I saw Valhalla Rising.

valhalla rising.jpg

The answer is no.

I just heard you say, "yes, they would. Yes, they'd take a few sips and find it delicious and yes, they'd drink 3 bottles a day." WRONG.

If you believe that they would, then you are saying that marketing is unnecessary, all that money is a waste, the soda is delicious enough to hook anyone. That the terms "market penetration" and "early adopters" and "branding" are meaningless. But if this symbol



pepsi_logo.jpg







not the brown liquid, but that image-- which cost millions of dollars to create and promote-- if that strategy was necessary to making Pepsi a huge seller, more than the minor difference in taste from generic brand cola which no one drinks and thus no one needs protection from-- then you cannot say that your choice to drink soda is a free one. And it doesn't matter if the risk of diabetes with the liquid in the bottle labeled generic cola and the liquid in the bottle labeled Pepsi is the same, because product= object + branding: Pepsi is more dangerous than cola.

The vast majority of the people complaining about the Big Soda ban don't buy big sodas, and those most enraged about the Buckyballs ban either already have them or would never want them. So the reaction has nothing to do with the products themselves, the rage is on a theoretical level, "I don't want government intruding in my private choices." But they already do this in a gazillion different ways, bigger, more important intrusions. The difference is that those are invisible. You know you can't value the risks in airplane safety or radiation leaks so you trust them to do it, but you think you can value the risks of a soda and hate that they try to do it for you.

I know you are thinking, "but I can resist soda; I understand the risks"-- never mind you don't even know the ingredients of soda, the point here is you are starting from you and multiplying by 6 billion.

When you say, "personal responsibility!" you are really saying "this is safe enough for it to be a question of personal responsibility." But you must ask yourself the question: how do you know Buckyballs and soda are safe enough for them to be about personal responsibility? Because "some other omnipotent entity" allowed them to exist. How do you know that Entity can be trusted? Because it even tries to ban silly things like Buckyballs and soda. The system is sound.

What is the final common pathway of all of this? If the system is sound, there's no reason to obstruct the pressures of marketing. That's what's at stake, not your safety or your personal freedoms. The point of consumer protection is not protecting the consumer from the market, but protecting the consumer for the market.

The ban has the simple purpose of taking something deemed too dangerous away; but the purpose of the ban is to convey the impression of a watchful eye, so that when you say, "we live in a nanny state!" you are simultaneously saying, "and thank God!" Hence your desire to get hit by a bus.

You're like a teenager who is perfectly happy-- strike that-- indignantly self-righteously deserving-- to live in his parents' house, eat their food, drive their car, "but for Buddha's sake, Dad, don't ever show your face if I'm hanging with my friends-- I can't have them thinking I have parents!!!" No worry that their entire existence proves active parental involvement, but tell the kid he can't have get an Xbox or wear a miniskirt and it's an identity catastrophe, "how dare you try to control me!" Dummy, they already control you in every way, so totally and efficiently that you believe that the miniskirt or the Xbox is a legitimate sign of independence. The trick isn't that you have no freedom, the trick is that you think that is freedom. All your fighting is for... consumer products. "When I turn 18, I am so getting the hell out of this oppressive death hole!" Where will you go? "A four year undergraduate college!"

But the analogy goes a step further: all the other teens already know you have parents, they have parents, too-- but all must act collectively like they don't. No discussion needed, all silently know to pretend that there is not the obvious 1 to 2 omnipotent adults you can immediately appeal to if things go sideways; that there isn't a huge infrastructure, plainly visible to everyone else, propping up your very material existence. "Live free or die!" Why specify a choice? For you, they are exactly the same thing.
Like this guy, I take a somewhat Foucauldian stance--there are so many background assumptions and facts packed in when we talk about making "free" choices, and not all of them are unwelcome.

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by zyphex View Post
I don't think I want to claim that the individual is the be all end all and that there is nothing happening above or below the level of the individual. I am not looking to argue about what defines an agent as such and the things working beneath the level of the individual. All I am saying is that when we refer to "action," we need to be aware that only individuals act...that any of these things that cause the individual to act manifest in the agent acting. When I talk about methodological individualism all I wanted to say is "I don't believe in conceptual realism." Example: I don't think we should say "capitalism wants..." but rather "these specific (type/subset of) individuals in the capitalist society want...". Insofar as we say "global capitalism wants..." we should be able to trace those wants to a specific group of people.
I think this is a fine stance, not wanting to anthropomorphize concepts, and I can see how doing so undermines an argument that the system is inherently of a different status and irreducible to its constituent parts. However, when I say things like "the system wants," I mean it as a shorthand for "the generalized tendency/attitude of the sociopolitical/cultural landscape," you know?


Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by zyphex View Post
They can be described as the wants of (a specific subset of) individuals within the corporation.

Test of the theory: Remove all the individuals from the corporation. Does the corporation still have wants? (does it exist without people existing in its structure?)
Some light background reading on emergent complexity and ontological difference:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/supervenience/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_ontology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_Bryant

I dump this because what you said is situated in a very specific place within the milieu of theories of ontology. I.e., this stance is a valid and defensible one, but there are others. So to have much of a conversation about it, at least a modicum of self-awareness regarding the overall gist of the conversation-space would help.

Quote:
To counter the form of post-Kantian epistemology, Bryant articulates an object-oriented philosophy called 'Onticology', grounded in three principles. First, the Ontic Principle states that "there is no difference that does not make a difference."[12] Following from the premises that questions of difference precede epistemological interrogation and that to be is to produce differences, this principle posits that knowledge cannot be fixed prior to engagement with difference.[13] Consequently, for Bryant, the thesis that things-in-themselves exist outside the boundaries of knowledge is untenable because it presupposes forms of being that make no differences. Similarly, concepts of difference predicated upon negation—that which objects are not or lack when placed in comparison with one another—are dismissed as arising only from the perspective of consciousness, rather than an ontological difference that affirms independent being.[14] Second, the Principle of the Inhuman asserts that the concept of difference producing difference is not restricted to human, sociocultural, or epistemological domains, thereby marking the being of difference as independent of knowledge and consciousness.[15] Humans exist as difference-making beings among other difference-making beings, therefore, without holding any special position with respect to other differences.[16] Third, the Ontological Principle maintains that if there is no difference that does not also make a difference, then the making of difference is the minimal condition for the existence of being. In Bryant's words, "if a difference is made, then the being is."[17] Bryant further contends that differences produced by an object can be inter-ontic (made with respect to another object) or intra-ontic (pertaining the internal constitution of the object).[18]

Since Onticology construes anything that produces differences—including fictions, signs, animals, and plants—as being equally real, albeit at different scales, it is what Manuel Delanda has called a "flat ontology."[19] Within an onticological framework, objects are composed of differences coalescing into a system that reproduces itself through time. Changes in the identity of an object are not changes in substance (defined by Bryant as "a particular state attained by difference"), however, but shifts in the qualities belonging to a substance.[20] Qualities are the actualization of an object's inhered capacities or abilities, known as an object's powers.[21] The actualization of an object's power into qualities or properties at a specific place and time is called local manifestation.[22] Importantly, the occurrence of local manifestations does not require observation. In this way, qualities comprise actuality, referring to the actualization of an object's potential at a particular spatiotemporal location among a multitude of material differences, whereas powers constitute virtuality, or the potential retained by an object across time.[23] As objects are distinct from local manifestations and one another, referred to as withdrawal, their being is defined by the relations forming their internal structure, or endo-relations, and retained powers.[24] This withdrawn being is known as the virtual proper being of an object and denotes its enduring, unified substantiality.[25] When relations external to an object, or exo-relations, consistently induce the same local manifestations to the extent that the actualization of qualities tends toward stability (for example, the sky remaining blue because of the constancy of Rayleigh scattering on atmospheric particles), the set of relations forms a regime of attraction.[26]

Onticology distinguishes between four different types of objects: Bright objects, dim objects, dark objects, and rogue objects. Bright objects are objects that strongly manifest themselves and heavily impact other objects, such as the ubiquity of cell phones in high-tech cultures.[27] Dim objects lightly manifest themselves in an assemblage of objects; for example, a neutrino passing through solid matter without producing observable effects.[28] Dark objects are objects that are so completely withdrawn that they produce no local manifestations and do not affect any other objects.[29] Rogue objects are not chained to any given assemblage of objects, but instead wander in and out of assemblages, modifying relations within the assemblages into which they enter.[30] Political protestors exemplify rogue objects by breaking with the norms and relations of a dominant political assemblage in order to forge new relations that challenge, change, or cast off the prior assemblage.

Additionally, Bryant has proposed the concept of 'wilderness ontology' to explain the philosophical pluralization of agency away from human privilege. For Bryant, wilderness ontology alludes to the being of being, or common essence "characteristic of all entities and their relations to one another."[31] Resisting the traditional notion of wilderness that views civilization (the "inside" world of social relations, language, and norms) as separate from wilderness (the "outside" world of plants, animals, and nature), wilderness ontology argues that "wilderness" contains all forms of being, including civilization.[32] Accordingly, the practice of wilderness ontology involves experiencing oneself as a being amongst, rather than above, other beings. In generalizing the agential alterity of being as a foundational ontological principle, Bryant posits three theses:[33] First, wilderness ontology signals the absence of ontological hierarchy, such that all forms of being exist on equal footing with one another. Second, wilderness ontology rejects the topological bifurcation of nature and culture into discrete domains, instead holding that cultural assemblages are only one possible set of relations into which nonhuman entities may enter in the wilderness. Third, wilderness ontology extends agency to all entities, human and nonhuman, rather than casting nonhuman entities as passive recipients of human meaning projection. Employing these theses, Bryant pluralizes agential being beyond human finitude, contending that in so doing, the intentionality of the nonhuman world may be investigated without reference to human intent.[34]
http://openhumanitiespress.org/Bryan...%20Objects.pdf
Spoiler!

Last edited by davobrosia; 05-01-2014 at 08:31 AM.
 

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