otherwise i agree that anecdotal evidence is generally not sufficient in order to "prove" larger points. though, i think my specific anecdote is sufficient to prove the micro point that moving towards the direction of theoretical marxism and anarchist theory is indeed possible. it's factual evidence. one counter-argument i could come up with is that all or most of the villagers of marinaleda are exceptional personalities which make it possible for them to live such lives but this is, of course, not the only anecdote of libertarian socialism and communism working out for people, thus indicating that marinaledan life is not a result of exceptional personalities.
perhaps interestingly, most of these projects were disbanded because they weren't tolerated by nationalist movements and often violently destroyed.
of course, none of these are perfect examples of theoretical communism but many of them come relatively close.
Last edited by ShowtekGER; 05-15-2012 at 09:40 PM.
i really, really fail to see your problem with this subject. i do not see any inconsistency at all. of course, you can still declare the west morally bankrupt even though that statement isn't inscribed in the universe. of course, you can argue on the basis of empirical evidence but the idea that this kind of evidence leads to truth or is a better kind of argument than, say, an argument construed on the basis of a holy book isn't inscribed in the universe either. these arguments must, thus, all be relative.
if we then ask ourselves how they come to be construed i constantly end up with the same determinants: situational ones, perhaps genetically dispositional ones, and the interactions of these two. the fact that this is how truth is made is an implicit truism to the social sciences in my opinion.
and all this doesn't change the fact that we are still able to make arguments as you can see all around you. we also commit to them. but the relativist is aware of the fact that his convictions are dependent on his time, place, and zeitgeist and are thus relative.
ah, that clears it up a little.You're exactly right: neither of us believe in the myth of unshakable truths. But we've always differed on the nuances of
our moral and epistemological skepticism. Like you, I believe that all values can only take place within intersubjective contexts, but unlike you I've always questioned whether those contexts can be sharply delimited from meaningless matter. Since I believe that all things are in constant flux, I have to affirm that even our values point to something outside of language and subjective feeling. I get the sense that for you there is no escape from our perceptions/language/mind/culture/whatever else.
perhaps i don't make a real distinction between perception/language/mind/culture/whatever else and "meaningless matter" because i'm still somewhat of a physicalist. in any case, i am a monist and therefore find that dichotomy mostly arbitrary in an ontological sense. (it makes great practical sense, e.g. in psychology, though.) but that ontological conviction of mine might matter here because all these concepts which we usually discern from matter are also just meaningless matter to me. thoughts, human interaction, speech, all of it.
you might also argue that all truths are absolute as long as they exist. this view could be consistent with logic if we accept that reality is timeless. it could also be consistent with logic if we accept that reality only makes sense in regard to human construction as without human construction there would not be reality.
but even if we stay within our paradigm of time and reality independent of conscious observers or constructors, i still think that relative judgments are real judgments because they are meaningful. humans attach meaning to truth so truth is meaningful. we build all of our realities on the basis of relative truths.
Don't worry, though, by tomorrow I'll do my best to come up with a decent counter-argument, if I can...
but this is really our first exchange where something like that wouldn't surprise me as this is the first time that i feel i could actually somewhat persuade you. it rarely happens that i feel that i can counter confidently and without back-pedaling anything you bring and this is one of those times. i've truly committed to relativism. to me this perspective is only slightly different from absurdism.
THAT IS, until you brought the distinction about the meaningless matter. now it rather seems that we largely agree but we have one basic, ontological disagreement. but only if i've understood you correctly. looking forward to your response as always
Actually, there just may not be much more we can say. I think you've responded to all of my counter-arguments by indicating, at some point, that you just don't follow or get them. *sigh* I think I've articulated them as well as I can, but if I can put another spin on them I'll give it a shot... otherwise I'll admit ignoble defeat!!
So let's assume you're not falling prey to that fallacy, okay? In that case, some arguments can in fact be better than others without having to attain an absolute truth. How so? In countless ways that I can't list here. But a few examples might include pragmatic results, the avoidance of fallacies, empirical observations, and so forth. If you discount all of these examples as being purely relative, then you've not only fallen for the false dichotomy argument again but moreover, as I've said several times already, you are being inconsistent if you think that any of your views make any sense whatsoever. Why are they inconsistent? Because to make sense or make judgements is to say things in a structured manner with criteria for meaning. If you don't follow any structures whatsoever, then all statements amount to the exact same nonsensical message. If you can't follow this idea there's really no simpler way of me expressing it!! It's such an obvious statement that I honestly don't know why you don't get it!! Maybe it's because you don't believe in structures and thus by your own philosophy you can't read!! But what if you say you believe in structures of meaning and value, but they're all equal in the sense that none are better than others---or there's no reason to accept some above others. Well my obvious response is very, very, very, very clear: then you really don't believe in distinct structures of meaning/value since reducing them all to the same worth is another way of saying that they are all really the same structure, as there are no semi-objective differences between these structures!!! In other words, relativism implies that everything becomes ONE. Again, if you can't understand this simple fact, then I'll never convince you even despite the fact that I am right!
But of course, you have one more response in your repertoire (nevermind the fact that I've already refuted it above): you don't have to accept absolute truth in your criteria when accepting some arguments/values above others. But don't forget what I said just a few minutes ago, namely, that there's no reason for your argument to go in circles and revert back to the false dichotomy of absolute and relative truths. You don't want me to keep repeating this, do you!?!?! So just because I argue that judgements depend on criteria of truth, or comparisons of better and worse, shouldn't imply for you that I'm resorting to an absolute truth: criteria, as I stated above, can be pragmatic, social, empirical, pshychological, materialist, and an amalgamation of whatever works for us. These things are hardly absolute, but neither are they entirely relative. If we make any judgements at all, they can't simply be relative because otherwise they're not judgements in the first place! And, once more, if they're not judgements then you are indeed being consistent, but then you lose the right to speak, argue, think, evaluate, make choices, etc.
true and, again, i just don't see the problem. if everything is one and nothing is inherently superior to anything else then any "truth" can be constructed and be as true and false as any other truth. there's still meaning but this meaning is relative, interchangeable with other meaning. thus any judgment is meaningful but temporary and will be replaced.In other words, relativism implies that everything becomes ONE.
how are they not entirely relative? empiricism and pragmatism are reflections of circumstances just like any other epistemology, and they are interchangeable with any other ontologically. sometimes it seems as though you attach inherent meaning to your "meaningless matter". hence, you would be an absolutist.So just because I argue that judgements depend on criteria of truth, or comparisons of better and worse, shouldn't imply for you that I'm resorting to an absolute truth: criteria, as I stated above, can be pragmatic, social, empirical, pshychological, materialist, and an amalgamation of whatever works for us. These things are hardly absolute, but neither are they entirely relative.
i think the main issue is by now actually the dichotomy of the absolute and the relative. it seems when you claim that pragmatic, social or psychological arguments are not absolute you refer to the common sense perception of not being entirely sure of an argument or a truth. but if reality is indeed not one and if we thus accept the usual conception of reality i don't see how you can escape the absolute/relative dichotomy. unless, of course, and this wouldn't surprise me, your argument is once more not one of logic but of life and spiritual experience where the absolute need not necessarily exclude the relative and vice versa. if not, i suppose you're right that i don't understand you.
i stumbled across a passage in an old social psychological textbook of mine which illustrates relativism rather well in my opinion.
it argues that when michael newdow wanted to remove the phrase "under god" from the pledge of allegiance he was protesting on secular grounds.
when france, which is a much more secular country, banned religious symbols such as headscarves and crosses in schools many muslims and christians protested on religious grounds.
when farag fouda rebelled against hosni mubarak's curbing of civil liberties many people were appalled on religious grounds and fouda was ultimately shot.
there are infinite perspectives for humanity and none is inherently superior to others. why? because matter does not have inherent meaning, meaning is always attached by humans. the only meaning is thus meaning given by humans and thus no meaning is different in value from any other meaning as it is ontologically the same. meaning is meaning. meaning isn't "public life should be secular" while "politics should be based on sharia law" is not meaning. that's why people can become upset about any kind of truth, and they will depending on their circumstances. human history is direct evidence of this.
we have created all kinds of truths and commitment to most different ones was always great. this commitment is what validates a truth and i don't see a difference between the scale of commitment to stoning people insulting the prophet and the scale of commitment to freedom of speech.
As I think Pedal already mentioned, it would be disingenuous to change your view from moment to moment simply to have your cake and eat it to. As long as you're a pure relativist then I know from now on that none of your political commentary is at all distinct from that of conservatives, capitalists, communists, liberals, anarchists, monarchs, and so forth. It all amounts to the same for you...
Another is to consider it true in a sense and then to believe it and talk about it but to also hold political views in a slightly disingeniuous sense where one can say one is just self actualizing with ones debate, not so much a conflict of ideas but just a process that is natural to yourself.
how am i changing my point from moment to moment here? i've been arguing the same all along. a view that i perhaps would agree with is that this sort of basic relativism doesn't matter because it has no effect on how we live our lives.
it still seems as though you are arguing that there is still some inherent meaning to objects. if there is no inherent meaning to objects then all meaning is relative. please explain to me how you can escape this dichotomy which you have declared obviously false before.
of course, we won't solve any practical debates about religion or politics by having the argument that i and zef are battling out.
thanks & best regards,
thanks & best regards,
Netflix movie recommendation: Hijacking the Holy Land
2011 so timely & relevant. Highly recommended for those interested in such topics.
okay, giving zef's view another try.
let's assume every view is equally valid and i just choose one over another. in order to do that there must be something that discerns that view from the other, otherwise i haven't really chosen anything but cut out a piece of a mass that is exactly the same as any other piece. my truth must have some characteristics that are different from another truth for them to clash with another, otherwise there is nothing clashing with another at all.
is that what you think? interesting because it makes sense. if we believe that we're absolutists, in my opinion, because the features that discern some things from others must be inherent.
my caveat is probably, as i have also argued all along, that humans transform those same pieces of the one into meaningful pieces and then create the illusion of actually engaging in meaningful debates with each other. so it is humans that attach meaning to the meaningless. the problem with this view is probably that i have created some sort of dualism where the human mind is creating something which is not part of the great one. i.e., humans are gods and the creators of reality. i have argued for that view a few times.
thanks god that i'm primarily an absurdist. the absurd seems to quite clearly arise from this discussion.
It almost sounds like you are trying to squeeze a little utilitarianism through your filter (which would be the way to connect to me) but at the same time trying to say that it is completely impermiable.
One is to reduce the amount of flashpoints - that has pretty long term impacts. the other is to embolden the terrorists and give them more power vis vs the more moderate groups (in as far as it looks like their strategy was sucessful. (Well maybe thereare other effects like where dismantling of settlements effectively reduces yoursecurity in the very short term.. but anyway...)
so I suppose I'd expect a increase in terrorism in the short term followed by a gradual decrease.
that may of course make political compromise difficult..
a few arguments presented in the movie:
1. arabs rejected the UN partition plan of 1947 which proposed a two state solution.
true and reasonably valid argument but the arab side is not heard at all even though it is also quite valid, arguing that the proposal was geographically, demographically, judicially, and agriculturally unfair.
2. palestinian refugees in other arab countries are intentionally denied citizenship in order to keep their status of refugees so that the refugee problem stays active
doesn't sound like a bad argument. only problem is that no palestinian voice is allowed.
3. nasser amasses his troops at the israeli border in 1967 which makes israel attack
well, the way this is put in the documentary it sounds like he did it just because. that's not the case. he received false information from the soviet union that israel was massing troops on syria. this isn't mentioned at all even though it's critical evidence.
4. occupied territories are actually disputed territories.
that is pretty bold. it is argued that there is a dispute about where the national borders should be, therefore they should be negotiated, and because palestinians don't want that they're the sole bad ones. so israel takes land away by force and then it's disputed which land belongs to whom? weird. the fact that almost the entire world (in fact, everyone except israel) considers these territories occupied is not mentioned. as palestinian commentators are not presented this creates a very skewed view on the matter.
5. palestinians are only in the region since relatively recently and therefore jews have more a right to be down there
whether more than 200 years is long or not is irrelevant. palestinians have lived there, that's it. shall europeans soon reclaim sub-saharan africa because they've originally lived there? what about japanese people? they could claim all of asia, the middle east, and half of africa because they've traveled along this path. their ancestors lived there. more reasonably, should native americans reclaim north and south america?
the argument continues with palestinians denying historical facts, such as the existence of jewish temples. okay, but what for? in regard to what argument of the film is this relevant, except damaging palestinian credibility in general?
they continue with the argument that palestinians didn't refer to themselves as palestinians before there was a jewish state which, of course, is no argument at all. this is then used to argue that the palestinian agenda is to steal jewish identity because, beforehand, it had been the jews who had called themselves "palestinians". HURRR
6. palestinian media incites hatred towards and propaganda against jews.
sounds like a realistic point. it would surprise me if that wasn't the case.
only thing that bothers me was one guy who included aljazeera there. i read the english version of aljazeera almost daily and it's a very good magazine. it's left-wing but that's all. the quality is high. perhaps arabic aljazeera is different but otherwise that one guy is not making a fair point.
a little later it is mentioned that although abbas is recognizing israel's right to exist there are still music videos of palestinians announcing the destruction of israel. what hypocrisy! how dare abbas not control for every single palestinian individual.
7. they show pictures of children declaring that they want to die as martyrs by killing jews and children being trained as soldiers by al-qaida. quite disturbing. this is, however, extended to the argument that what these kids are taught is also taught by their usual school textbooks. doesn't sound very realistic to me. i do not think that every arab child is raised to be a terrorist. that is not to say that there is no anti-israeli bias in many of those textbooks. that sounds more reasonable.
8. it is suggested that many muslims believe that when israel is eradicated that the conquest of the rest of the world can begin, the evidence being one guy in a video preaching that. i think that sentence alone is sufficient as a critique.
more general critique:
the film mainly consists of emotional anecdotes. i.e., showings of clips in which muslims say terrible things. normal palestinians or western muslims aren't included at all. this creates an image of all muslims as crazy fundamentalists. israelis, on the other hand, are depicted as very normal. "they only want to live their lives, go to work, live peacefully alongside their neighbors." not only that, they are presented as perfect angels. not one word of critique is directed at israel. it is ALL the muslims' fault. they are the only reason the conflict exists in the first place. the stereotype of the muslim terrorist is essentialized and is claimed to be inherent to the religion.
then, not once it is asked why there is fundamentalism in the middle east. no one asks for the causes, they are simply implicitly assumed to be inherent to islam and the people who live there. the solution, it is argued, is for muslims and palestinians to change. they just have to change their dispositional characteristics and the conflict is solved it is very directly argued.
this is the kind of black and white thinking which leads to blind ideologies like islamophobia and conspiracy theories about muslims wanting to take over the world.
i thought i would just view one of those once and comment on it so you can't say that i haven't reviewed your evidence. now i have, do with it what you want.
i mean these are the guys talking in the video:
the film does not attempt to give a full picture which is okay with me in itself but then it shouldn't be viewed as serious journalism as i said. i could make the same film but just reverse the statements and pictures and depict muslims in a perfect light and jews as the devils. it would be of equal journalistic value, that is zero value.
If this was done as a debate the other side would point that out even if it was just a neutral person. But That of course would get all caught up in back and forth and not make a good movie I guess.
I suppose the film would be informative for those that have only seen one side of the argument, but then again those are probably the people who would never get to see it... For your average zionist it would probably just harden their position to be non negotiable.. kind of like the sort of arab media that they would complain about...
If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing what would it be?
The vast majority of human rights abuses are committed in Islamic or totalitarian states. You can sustain your delusions of moral equivalency & relativism as you wish but the truth is that the behavior is not equilavent across the globe. I can assure you the rights of non-Muslims in Islamic countries is practically much less than Muslims in non-Islamic countries. Yet despite your moral relativism, you seem to have a disproportionate concern with offending Muslim sensibilities yet little to no regard for everyone else under Islamic rule. So be it, that's your prerogative but as a relativist, I think it's all meaningless gibberish "p)(*^Nl;iu;j;as Follum Follum" on your part anyhow. Dennis Prager's analysis is correct. Take away Israel's weapons, what happens? They all get murdered. Take away all of the Arab world's weapons, what happens? Nothing. Israel isn't trying to dominate or annihilate its neighbors while the Arab world is openly seeking Israel's annihilation. This is an open fact.
It's just that simple & until that issue (the teaching of annihilation as a valid relational concept) is dealt with, there is no peace possible. In that conclusion, the film is correct. Only if both sides accept the right to exist can peace even be approached.
thanks & best regards,
Now, I'm not so sure that they can be. That's one reason I was hesitant to respond to your comment, as I know that my political views are still in early devlopment. Nevertheless, it would be good to continue testing them out because eventually I would like to publish a book on political theory, and this forum is a good place to test unpopular, controversial ideas.
So the first line of rebuttal against you is that I am not propounding that all competition operate on the most basic, brutal, physical levels. Perhaps children will continue to repeat earlier evolutionary developments in this way, as they likewise relearn on a habitual, cultural level so much of humanity's past, but this need not always carry over to adults; and thus your concern that we might battle it out as we walk by one another isn't applicable to my theory.
Well then, what about your reflections on the value of intelligence over physicality? On the one hand, as I just alluded above, I agree with you. But on the other hand, I have to say that my agreement only goes so far. On the common sense level, Yes, we shouldn't be fighting wars at this stage of evolutionary history: we need to move beyond such self-defeating stupidity, unless of course we have very good reasons as with self-defense. But in a Freudian sense, I believe that all instinctual violence is sublimated in the higher levels of human consciousness. Hence, strictly speaking, I don't believe in the myth of Cartesian separation between mind and body. This means, for me, that all of culture embodies the urgency of existential conflict. Thanatos, or the death instinct, cannot be forever repressed. So even as we continue to evolve, my view is that there will always be confict on many levels, whether economic, political, religious, intellectual, technological, institutional, and suchlike.
Now you may respond that that's fine; such conflict is innocuous. But in fact, it's not: since it embodies our physicality on a higher plane of human inter-subjectivity, it follows that even on this plane our physical needs and desires will always be at stake: the consequences of losing will always imply that some of us will be forcibly pushed closer to death, even if by forcibly we mean this in a sublimated fashion.
Therefore I don't I agree that we should raise our children peacefully, but rather we must prepare them for future wars and conflicts as understood in the most complex, multi-layered sense. If we don't do this, then we are preparing them for defeat, and this is the way of a weak, cowardly, soft, dying society.
Imagine for example a world where various societies rise and fall and are replaced one after the other by enlightened replacements each peaceful happy. now imagine one where only one society rises and that society rules with its exact structure forever via force because of it's toughness.
maybe you prefer the latter? Or is just not the sort of comparison you envisage from your node of control?
a few arguments presented in the movie:
thanks & best regards,
Last edited by Pedal2Metal; 05-18-2012 at 11:41 AM.
the palestinians would paint their terrorism as a responseto the israeli terrorism (ie soldiers with guns going after hamas) as opposed to a cause of it.
They would talk about the origional partition as illegitimate and the return of transjordan as a minor fix to that problem
they would argue the israelis are petty and must not want peace because they aren't willing to go half way (maybe 97% of halfway but they would dispute that too) and seem to expect peace for not going halfway.
They might also quote this film as one incites dislike of palestinians and encourages the israelis to engage in perpetual war
Last edited by Pedal2Metal; 05-18-2012 at 12:12 PM.
Even on an individual level like in a marriage, this is true for reconciliation to occur. I've been divorced & remarried & can honestly state, that fundamental good-faith principle was the difference between my first marriage & the second (to the same woman).
Reconciliation is a notoriously difficult accomplishment to achieve. It requires a great deal more than simple trite phrases & idealistic notions. It requires a genuinely life-changing commitment to "the path". Easier said than done & both sides must make actual genuine sacrifices & take genuine risks. There is no "safe" path to reconciliation, this I know.
thanks & best regards,