Category Archives for: Philosophy of Social Science

Time and Space in Anthropology

19 December 2015

[todo: kind of messy, but I think I got out the main ideas: comp lit / phil, the impossibility of mirror of reality, emphasis on time instead of space, should look at past pictures that I took to understand the world {mmmm, this is a good idea that I didn’t mention. Should look at pictures to remember one’s personal past as opposed to reading history one hasn’t experienced, or even experiencing more things. There’s much to understand from past experiences.}, should live in a city, or, take a scooter around.]

I’ve been moving around since I received a bicycle at age 4, and since at least then it seems, compared to others, I’ve always emphasized space over time. Contrary to me, people who write books don’t seem to travel much (probably reading and writing so much) and emphasize time, looking back in history. As a person who enjoys traveling and doesn’t enjoy reading, I’ve tended to disregard writers, many of whom maybe be classified as academics, and time.

As travel is more natural to me, so is comparing societies and the areas they exist in.

Academics seem to tend to look at societies historically, to gain ideas that worked in the past and reuse them for the future, or see compare the trajectories of societies in the past, but isn’t it easier to simply walk around one’s own country — from rural to urban, variously sized settlements, ethnic enclaves, and perhaps, to neighboring countries — to not just gain ideas, but a better understanding of the world?

One of the simplest and greatest learning experiences is simply going to the most developed city one can. One will immediately experience good urban planning, good neighborhoods, good creative and innovative environments, and good communities.

The next great experience is to travel from a good creative area to nature, experiencing all of the steps in the development of societies in-between — the entire spectrum of urban development. Though, I wouldn’t say the spectrum of human development. This experience is especially useful in a society under a capitalistic system, because capitalistic cities are so corrupt, and better values can be found outside of it, often, just outside of it.

What next? Travel more societies? Live in one of the past societies? [todo]

I always feel that one is able to have infinite experiences with the many societies that exist right now, at this time. Instead of looking at history, one could simply find some aboriginal tribes. Even just outside of the cities in Virginia, USA, where I’m from, one can probably find people living on a similar standard to aboriginals. The difference here is only the import of manufactured products, though, it’s quite difficult to evade global capitalism even in the most remote regions.

Hmm, I guess what I was getting at is that reading histories of societies cannot replace experience in contemporary societies, for the same reasons a book cannot replace an experience — it’s not holistic; It’s missing the ecology.

There is no way to mirror reality into the medium, though, film comes close. So reading histories will always be missing much information. The mind cannot form the precision that reality offers from media.

[todo: was trying to get to the point where the mind thinks with recent audio-visual experiences best, because the detail of it only constrained by the mind]

It seems higher order academic disciplines compare academic disciplines and hopefully by now more modern medias, titling it “comparative [subject]”, i.e. comparative literature, comparative history, etc. This discipline also seems to somehow overlap with my favorite direction: critical theory. The people who compare medias sometimes find light in their comparisons of societies at different times in history, i.e. Foucault’s findings of how institutions have developed over time.

That’s not how I think, and maybe, it’s not natural to think that way. I think about my personal experiences in societies, travel or living. How do the suburbs in Virginia compare to the city of San Francisco, San Francisco to New York, New York to other cities in the world, Singapore to Hong Kong, the culture of Korea to Japan, the culture of Taiwan to Nepal, the culture of Taiwan aborigines to the culture of Zomia, Taipei to Japan, the other cities in Taiwan to other huge cities, the slums in India to the Myanmar refugee camps in Thailand, the railway and railway towns of Asia, and so on. I just don’t think any amount of media can overcome the natural tendency to compare real experiences to real experiences. Certainly not in reading. Film has a chance, but it would have to be done in the form of lengthy documentaries.

So here again, I grind against academia and their use of a mirror of reality, as opposed to reality, to excavate knowledge and ideas. History is one way to compare societies, but it should be far less privileged than travel. I’d conjecture that academia’s tradition of privileging classics and privileging writing a medium has lead to academia privileging time over space. It’s true that global capitalism is eating away at all culture, but it hasn’t come to the point where one must look to the past through mediums for insight. The insight is in existing societies, in reality, and always will be, well, until the world loses to global capitalism.

Leave a comment | Categories: Anthropology, Experience, Humanities, Media, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of History, Philosophy of Social Science, Social Philosophy, Thoughts, Travel

The Categorization of Knowledge

14 December 2015

The category hierarchy of this blog naturally grew and naturally organized itself as I created more posts. Because I often write philosophically, the categories of my posts reflect the categories of knowledge.

The blog started with categories such as “thoughts”, “travel”, “art”, “film reviews”. Then, after a some more lengthy writings, more catch-all knowledge categories were thrown, such as “philosophy”, “sociology”, “experience”, and “psychology”. I didn’t know the meaning of those terms, or even of science at that time. They just made good containers.

Later, I tried to use the general outline of knowledge, especially the social science portion, as a foundation for my categories. I had hierarchies such as human geography -> geography -> social science -> science. Things got weird when social sciences overlapped with philosophy, such as in critical theory -> social science -> science and philosophy -> critical theory. And again with media studies or communication. Then interdisciplinary branches appeared, like cultural studies, sociocultural anthropology, political anthropology, and so on. The hierarchy became messy, and with more posts, even more so.

I’m guessing as schools change from specialized departments to mixes of specialized departments (“interdisciplinary”), they create these non-sensical categories, which is more of a statement objective of a school department more than an actual category of knowledge. Unfortunately, I use Wikipedia as my reference for knowledge, and it had led me to adopt these terms.

Post-reorganization, I began to miss my old simple catch-all categories; It was an extra unnecessary step — classifying thoughts. Furthermore, I felt quite sick of looking at my thoughts under “social sciences”, itself a part of science, as I always felt they fit in philosophy.

Luckily, some old philosophical terms and Wikipedia pages still existed: philosophy of mind and social philosophy, before they turned into cognitive science, and the billion things social philosophy could be. So, I used those, then threw the wild academic “social sciences” disciplines such as critical theory, human geography, anthropology, area [studies], beneath that. Psychology now fits as an in-between of philosophy of mind and social philosophy (behavior). Communication now contains media [studies]. Even urban planning fits in there, which I’m very happy about. Well, it was either that or renaming it to philosophy of the city. Whoa, that sounds way better! Eventually, everything under “social sciences” disappeared, and reappeared under philosophy, where everything rightfully belongs.

Alas, the categorization of knowledge according to my mind, which is, simply, a set of large catch-all sub-philosophy categories.

I’m quite happy with that. It’s such a delight not to organize things.

Perhaps the categorization of my posts have another fruit: A rather striking result of it is that it seems that I’ve never thought about science. I’ve thought about the philosophy of science, as this post itself may be about the philosophy of social science, but never science. All of my posts fit under the humanities, at first art, then later philosophy, including social philosophy. That might be a good indicator that I simply am not interested in science, and that I should avoid it in my future.

Looking back, I also think that the things I specifically think and write about are actually philosophy, in the continental philosophy sense, that is, observational writings and theories, not social science. The scientific method is never applied. Everything I think about is based on my experiences. “Social sciences” seems to have now adapted qualitative methods in addition to their quantitative methods. My social philosophy doesn’t contain any quantitative methods at all, and really, I’m still skeptical about it. Furthermore, my social philosophy usually only cites works if I quote someone. I never rigorously search and cite primary sources; That sounds much more difficult and far less fun than having a real experience. I just simply enjoy talking and writing some bullshit philosophy, which hopefully, some of which, turns out to be less bullshit than social science. This attitude may not be helpful in the scientific enterprise, but that’s less important than the social progress enterprise, especially now.

I peeked at a few more Wikipedia articles:

The humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element—as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences
Wikipedia, Humanities

I guess that makes me a humanist.

Previously, at this point, this post digressed after reading the Wikipedia article on humanism. That digression has now been moved to On Humanism.

It turns out that the term humanist refers to both, a scholar of the humanities and a person who agrees with humanism, so I guess that makes me a humanatee, a manatee of the humanities.

related resources:
Alan Watts talked about how science is merely a classification of reality into boxes

to read:
On the Logic of the Social Sciences by Jurgen Habermas published by MIT Press – “For two decades, the German edition of this classic has been a standard reference point for discussions of the social sciences.” Seems like a good place for further inquiry.
A Realist Theory of Science by Roy Bhasker by Verso Books – “In this analysis of the natural sciences, with a particular focus on the experimental process itself, Roy Bhaskar provides a definitive critique of the traditional, positivist conception of science and stakes out an alternative, realist position.”

Leave a comment | Categories: Humanities, Organization, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Social Science

I Can Almost See the Sun

11 December 2015

This is part of a series of thoughts that are thematically bounded by a criticism of capitalism, communication, and rationality.

This post contains three parts:

The Sun

Recommended listenings: “Sun in Your Eyes” and “Sun it Rises”.

I thought of the the sun, dreamed of hopping farms in New Zealand and Australia, checked the weather in southwest Taiwan. It is considerably warmer. Then I realized it.

All of this time I’ve been communicating through written language because the weather in Yilan, Taiwan is rainy, and recently, cold. Over time, reading and writing in an isolated dwelling, I lost weight, became habituated to communicating through this medium, prioritizing it over finding and talking to people with similar values. I was unable to fight it, media was easier, my physical condition made it a grudge to commute to the city. It’s the same experience I had at home. It stops me from acting, instead writing it down through ideals and directions.

At first, in addition to my physical condition and habituation, I thought it was the lack of money and a lack of desire to follow what capitalism wants. Perhaps they may be factors too, but recently it dawned that an alternate reason, a simple anti-cure exists: a lack of sun. The sun is what powers me to wake up, go out, and socialize.

The experience is very close now. I can almost see the sun. And the city.

The Experience

Excerpts from John Dewey, Art as Experience, end of chapter 1:

For only when an organism shares in the ordered relations of its environment does it secure the stability essential to living

The artist has his problems and thinks as he works. But his thought is more immediately embodied in the object. Because of the comparative remoteness of his end, the scientific worker operates with symbols, words and mathematical signs.

The artist does his thinking in the very qualitative media he works in, and the terms lie so close to the object that he is producing that they merge directly into it

This sounds like the distance between communication and rationality. Here it’s not just spatial distance, it’s temporal. The artist “thinks as he works“.

Dewey separates the two, artist and scientist. I feel the separation now too, I am definitely not a scientist.

Direct experience comes from nature and man interacting with each other. In this interaction, human energy gathers, is released, dammed up, frustrated and victorious. There are rhythmic beats of want and fulfillment, pulses of doing and being withheld from doing.

To overpass the limits that are set is destruction and death, out of which, however, new rhythms are built up.

The proportionate interception of changes establishes an order that is spatially, not merely temporally patterned.

Inner harmony is attained only when, by some means, terms are made with the environment.

The time of consummation is also one of beginning anew. Any attempt to perpetuate beyond its term the enjoyment attending the time of fulfillment and harmony constitutes withdrawal from the world.

Instead of trying to live upon whatever may have been achieved in the past, it uses past successes to inform the present.

Only when the past ceases to trouble and anticipations of the future are not perturbing is a being wholly united with his environment and therefore fully alive.

Sounds like Seneca here, with regard to past, present and future.

The live animal is fully present, all there, in all of its actions: in its wary glances, its sharp sniffings, its abrupt cocking of ears. All senses are equally on the qui vive. As you watch, you see motion merging into sense and sense into motion — constituting that animal grace so hard for man to rival.

His senses are sentinels of immediate thought and outposts of action, and not, as they so often are with us, mere pathways along which material is gathered to be stored away for a delayed and remote possibility.

Experience in the degree in which it is experience is heightened vitality. Instead of signifying being shut up within one’s own private feelings and sensations, it signifies active and alert commerce with the world; at its height it signifies complete interpenetration of self and the world of objects and events

Yes! The feeling of acting upon sense, the savage instincts, it is quite the experience. Does that make it irrational? It depends. Isn’t all one can do is to do one’s best within social time and space? Why is goal-oriented behavior better [beyond economic productivity]?

Because experience is the fulfillment of an organism in its struggles and achievements in a world of things, it is art in germ. Even in its rudimentary forms, it contains the promise of that delightful perception which is esthetic experience.


Well, it’s worth including in the series of posts. There’s surely things about communication I’ve missed here; Furthermore, it seems Dewey understands the way “artists”, or the artistic side of humans, communicate with the world. It’s something I feel Habermas glances over. What that something is I haven’t been able to explicate.

The City

Excerpts by Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, last chapter:

City processes in real life are too complex to be routine, too particularized for application as abstractions. They are always made up of interactions among unique combinations of particulars, and there is no substitute for knowing the particulars.

At first reading it sounded like hopelessness here, but upon rereading it seems to emphasize bottom-up thinking and relationships.

In the life sciences, organized complexity is handled by identifying a specific factor or quantity—say an enzyme—and then painstakingly learning its intricate relationships and interconnections with other factors or quantities. All this is observed in terms of the behavior (not mere presence) of other specific (not generalized) factors or quantities. To be sure, the techniques of two-variable and disorganized-complexity analysis are used too, but only as subsidiary tactics.

In principle, these are much the same tactics as those that have
to be used to understand and to help cities. In the case of under-
standing cities, I think the most important habits of thought are
1. To think about processes;
2. To work inductively, reasoning from particulars to the gen-
eral, rather than the reverse;
3. To seek for “unaverage” clues involving very small quan-
tities? which reveal the way larger and more “average” quantities are operating.

This sums up Jane’s method of inquiry: process otology, inductive reasoning, and street knowledge (gladly, no word for this). The process ontology is the method of observing behaviors (processes) and its relations to specific factors.

I’ve always been skeptical of anything beyond the third habit: street knowledge. Its not that I’m just skeptical of Jane’s method of inquiry, rather, in my mind, it all fell under street knowledge; I didn’t distinguish it.

Of districts, main streets, individual shops, public placss, public spaces, neighborhoods, people, gentrification, de-gentrification, ethnic enclaves — all of which have their own unique culture, the people individually, public transport, pedestrian and biking accessibility, and so on, is all magically inputed in the mind, and decisions come out. I don’t think of the method of inquiry. I only think of the particulars and creating a particular application. Never further.

Jane might be on to something, beyond spending half a book attacking quantitative thinkers, she’s able to talk to those thinkers, “scientists” in Dewey’s terms, she’s able to communicate. Every city dweller has the intuition of her book, but she seems to be the first to explicate it, and in doing so, she created an important urban planning book.

Instead of trying to create social movements, create technology to to enable people to make more political decisions, create anarchist spaces, create art which could convey the same messages in a much higher speed, she decided to talk to the scientists.

It’s strange that scientists can even talk. Perhaps the pertinent question is: why scientists are unable to learn from experience as opposed to the symbols of communication from others? Why did they fail to see this when they live in New York? Why did they fail to see it communicated through art? Does a strong artist-scientist dichotomy really exist?

I think the problem, perhaps missing from the book, is of culture and economy, in this case, American culture and American capitalism. Why the developers (private and public) have surplus wealth in the first place, spend it hastily on urbanization — likely pressured by capitalism, and the greater the city the greater the pressure, and what do they hope people will act like?; Why their culture brought them up to think scientifically, even on non-science topics. [todo: could continue this thought]

The surplus wealth, the productivity, the close-grained juxtaposition of talents that permit society to support advances such as these [the example was disease control] are themselves products of our organization into cities, and especially into big and dense cities.

I agree with the close position of talents communicating and acting, and the density factor of cites, though less so in a an exclusive capitalistic culture. I disagree on the fact they have to be big, and I don’t think it’s ideal either.

It may be romantic to search for the salves of society’s ills in slow-moving rustic surroundings, or among innocent, unspoiled provincials, if such exist, but it is a waste of time. Does anyone suppose that, in real life, answers to any of the great questions that worry us today are going to come out of homogeneous settlements?

Hah, this is quite persuasive. I agree that nothing comes out of homogenous settlements, but I disagree that things cannot be learned from other kinds of human settlements and societies. Human settlements and societies are the real experiments, and what works in one place could work in another. I disagree again: All cities depend on it’s rustic surroundings, and caring for them is a responsibility of the city, simply because they provide the sustenance. These areas do require more thinking, and one must be there to think about it. I disagree yet again: One can escape society’s ill’s by getting out of the society. When a city culture is so dominating and progress is too slow, outside of the city becomes a place with alternate possibilities (though, it’s sometimes possible to create alternative space within the city or make social progress for the entire city): where artists go to create villages, anarchists go to create their own districts, and generally where people go to form new communities, which themselves are vital, just on a smaller scale.

That leads to another point against big cities that Jacobs is missing: things don’t come out of big cities, they come out of particular people in it, as mentioned before, “the close-grained juxtaposition of talents”. A big city is just has more groups of organized talents, a university is supposed to have a higher ratio of these, a small town could have just as many equal to a vibrant neighborhood, down to a single group, which is probably around 2-15 people. It’s not the size, or even density in the case of China, it’s about throwing diverse people together and giving them space to allow them to self-organize.

Dull, inert cities, it is true, do contain the seeds of their own destruction and little else. But lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.

New York is constantly devouring capital by constantly gentrifying itself. It regenerates at the cost of the world’s labor. In the act of caring for her city, a city I love too, Jane ensues blind optimism for it.

Leave a comment | Categories: Aesthetics, Area, Art, Communication, Community, Critical Theory, Experience, Experience, Humanities, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Social Science, Social Philosophy, Urban Philosophy

The Distance between Communication and Reality

10 December 2015

This is part of a series of thoughts that are thematically bounded by a criticism of capitalism, communication, and rationality.

Some thoughts from this morning, which seem to be a continuation of Why did I read?, probably because I’m physically leaving this abode I’ve been dwelling in far too long.

The thoughts:
1. The amount of sense data gathered from real experiences is infinitely larger than those gathered from communication.
2. Therefore, it is impossible to communicate at the level that reality communicates.
3. I may have began reading because I wanted to talk, but in the act of talking, it seems much of the content was lost.
[todo: maybe missing some thoughts]

Thought 1:
1. The amount of sense data gathered from real experiences is infinitely larger than those gathered from communication.
2. Because of that I have always prioritized experience above communication.
[todo: could continue this thought]

Thought 2:
1. It is impossible to communicate at the level that reality communicates.
2. Because of that, it is not a good idea to communicate isolated from reality, especially for a long period of time, in which memory can fade and awareness may likely focus on communication (often distorted) in the form of media as opposed to reality (direct cinema, observational cinema, and cinema verite may be exceptions).
2.1. The distance between communication and reality is a reoccurring problem in decision-making: academia vs city, quantitative vs qualitative, instrumental rationality vs substantial rationality.
3. Because of that (2), one must learn to balance real experiences (reality) and communication, though submitting to the fact that their communication will always be distorted.
3.1 But is communication (perhaps an emphasis on media rather than everyday conversation) even needed (this was perhaps what I going to argue against in Communication and Rationality)? Beyond hard sciences, should one believe anything that is communicated (may have some post about skepticism)?
4. As the distance between communication and reality increases, the amount of distortion in communication increases.
5. In order to maintain a less distorted reality, one must maximize the amount of social time of having an experience.
5.1. In order to achieve a clearer communication, one must limit the communication to recent experiences.
5.2 These also work in the other direction. In order to picture reality while receiving communication, one must have more experience with reality.
[todo: could continue this thought]

Thought 3:
This thought has been moved to Why I Did What I Did.

Leave a comment | Categories: Communication, Critical Theory, Epistemology, Human Geography, Humanities, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Social Science, Rationality, Self-assessment, Thoughts

Communication and Rationality

06 December 2015

This is part of a series of thoughts that are thematically bounded by a criticism of capitalism, communication, and rationality.

[todo: THIS IS A DRAFT…What was initially a small post against communicative action or rationality turned into something too large: It seems to turn into the rationalization of a lot of my older ideas of how people act in reality without human language, prioritization of nonverbal communication over spoken and written language, why one should prioritize reality, academia’s priority of language as a means of communication, why I didn’t read a book until age 27, my education via films, why academia is irrational because of this (not including irks of capitalism, paradigms, and other problems), etc. I should remove the larger epistemology part and simply argue using tacit knowledge vs language as a source of knowledge, and enough reason to act. Though I’m trying to avoid the old critique of instrumental rationality, it may inevitably come up.

an extremely relevant original post from me long ago may be my initial writing of this idea.

can check my notes on Rick Roderick’s lecture on Habermas.

Alan Watts: The Discipline of Zen is also a good to mix in because he also opposes language, and even mentions Mead symbolic interactionism.

also process philosophy

Bergson might be good for prioritizing audio-visual over human language.

Polanyi for tacit knowledge

From Wikipedia:

Communicative action is cooperative action undertaken by individuals based upon mutual deliberation and argumentation.

Communicative action for Habermas is possible given human capacity for rationality.

…or was is communicative rationality that I was thinking of?

Communicative rationality, or communicative reason, is a theory or set of theories which describes human rationality as a necessary outcome of successful communication.

According to the theory of communicative rationality, the potential for certain kinds of reason is inherent in communication itself. Building from this, Habermas has tried to formalize that potential in explicit terms. According to Habermas, the phenomena that need to be accounted for by the theory are the “intuitively mastered rules for reaching an understanding and conducting argumentation”, possessed by subjects who are capable of speech and action. The goal is to transform this implicit “know-how” into explicit “know-that”, i.e. knowledge, about how we conduct ourselves in the realm of “moral-practical” reasoning.

[I wanted to argue against the requirement of argumentation to take a rational action, but I just noticed communicative action is cooperative, not of an individual…Anyway, I was going to say that people base their actions on tacit knowledge, not explicit knowledge, which is what language is made of. One could hypothetically learn and rationally act without ever using a written or spoken language (Is language required in order to have a longer thought in order to learn?). An example of rational action without language: the way that kids know something is wrong in a social situation and respond rationally. Then I was gong to tie that into how people naturally self-organize without much mutual deliberation (maybe I was getting at nonverbal language here?). This post is kind of a continuation of an older post: no more writing. Posting this for now, as it follows the last post, which mentioned instrumental action.]

from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Herbert_Mead#Social_philosophy_.28behaviorism.29

Human activity is, in a pragmatic sense, the criterion of truth, and through human activity meaning is made. Joint activity, including communicative activity, is the means through which our sense of self is constituted. The essence of Mead’s social behaviorism is that mind is not a substance located in some transcendent realm, nor is it merely a series of events that takes place within the human physiological structure. This approach opposed the traditional view of the mind as separate from the body. The emergence of mind is contingent upon interaction between the human organism and its social environment; it is through participation in the social act of communication that individuals realize their potential for significantly symbolic behavior, that is, thought. Mind, in Mead’s terms, is the individualized focus of the communication process. It is linguistic behavior on the part of the individual. There is, then, no “mind or thought without language;” and language (the content of mind) “is only a development and product of social interaction” (Mind, Self and Society 191-192). Thus, mind is not reducible to the neurophysiology of the organic individual, but is emergent in “the dynamic, ongoing social process” that constitutes human experience (Mind, Self and Society 7).

Leave a comment | Categories: Communication, Critical Theory, Humanities, Philosophy of Social Science, Rationality, Social Philosophy

Criticism of Innovative Urban Areas

05 December 2015

This is part of a series of thoughts that are thematically bounded by a criticism of capitalism, communication, and rationality.

[todo: almost complete?]

In the last post, I was trying to figure out “why consensual social action is more frequent in cities than outside of them”. Keeping that in mind, this third thought has a more skeptical view of cities. These two thoughts together hark much of yesterday’s thought, Free from Capitalism.

Let’s start with the project summary for Measuring Urban Innovation by MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places research group:

Cities are hubs for innovation, characterized by densely populated areas where people and firms cluster together, share resources, and collaborate. In turn, dense cities show higher rates of economic growth and viability. Yet, the specific places innovation occurs in urban areas, and what the socioeconomic conditions are that encourage it, are still elusive for both researches and policymakers. Understanding the social and spatial settings that enable innovation to accrue will equip policymakers and developers with the metrics to promote and sustain innovation in cities. This research will measure the attributes of innovation districts across the US in terms of their land-use configurations and population characteristics and behaviors. These measurements will be used to identify the factors that enable innovation, with the goal of developing a methodological approach for producing quantitative planning guidelines to support decision-making processes.
MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places research group, project summary for Measuring Urban Innovation

Could there be a better definition for instrumental rationality than this?

Instrumental rationality is a mode of thought and action that identifies problems and works directly towards their solution.

Instrumental rationality is often seen as a specific form of rationality focusing on the most efficient or cost-effective means to achieve a specific end, but not in itself reflecting on the value of that end.
Wikipedia, Instrumental Rationality

There is within me a desire to live in a vibrant neighborhood community, but is the “hub for innovation” utopia or is it the hub for rational instrumentality?

What is the value of that end? Something merely based on “rates of economic growth and viability”? Some quantitative fiction that overlooks the human condition?

It seems their utopia is Silicon Valley, as opposed to a country with a good culture.

Although in a “hub for innovation” there are more successful validations of a person’s rationality or social consensuses, and subsequently actions, there is a problem in the validation process: rationality is validated because the economic and social systems said it was okay. The validation didn’t involve an active argumentation.

This actually almost answers the question of the last post — “why consensual social action is more frequent in cities than outside of them”. Cities have a higher frequency of validated or consensual social actions because the economic system is more concentrated there. The drive of capitalism is stronger: competition creates a viscous work cycle, the privatization of basic human necessities forces one to at least work enough to pay for them, and, most notably, property rent is or will become the highest in the ‘innovation hub’. The property rent is so high that one almost must, as opposed to decide to, innovate in order to maintain basic human needs. All of these factors limit the social time required to make a social consensus through argumentation, instead, forced to make decisions based on the rational of the economic system: capitalism.

Which leads to another question. What is considered innovative?

[todo: to be continued? I was thinking how innovative is often limited to scientific application / instrumental rationality, as opposed to the infinitude of creative acts conducted by all societies.

Also, this entire post excludes problems of exclusion.]

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Communication, Critical Theory, Ethics, Humanities, Philosophy, Philosophy of Social Science, Rationality, Urban Philosophy