digloria at digloria at
Thu Mar 25 06:13:31 PST 1999

i wrote:

>> "i've been distracted by sin, sometimes without a reason"

Paul wondered:
>Mental space junk, perhaps.

no, just a certain bruno s. has been distracting me lately. he thinks i'm absent-minded in any event.

paul also asked:

>Is that enough?

ok, ok. stop already!

>I dunno, Kelly, I just thought I'd try responding to you as a text for a
>while, just to see how it goes. Not good, I take it?

well i dunno Paul. what do you mean by responding to me as a text? as if you knew nothing about earlier exchanges? now that wouldn't be responding to me as a text i don't believe. so.

>Well, anyway, it seems pretty obvious to me that your "pragmatism" has
>precious little to do with pragmatism as develioped by William James and
>John Dewey. Mine has a lot to do with theirs -- and with their quarrels
>against positivism.

what are you talking about? of course, it does: paul, i studied under a direct intellectual heir to dewey fercryinoutloud! i think the problem is that you're talking philosophy of social science and i'm talking what actually goes on. two different things.

>I'm not being vague, I'm being mysterious.

heh. and lazy. busy, ey?

>Eons ago. He was best as a refutation to his ideological kin.

exactly. weren't you the one who told me not too long ago, in a fatherly way (oh wait, you was a big brother! sorry!), that we should attend to what the positivists actually say amongst themselves?

>Language is NOT a system of representation.

so explain this one....backed up by empirical evidence and a thorough exposition of your claims and a clear statement as to how you shall defend those claims.

>> 2 refers to 2 of something.
>No it doesn't. Not unless it explicitly does. That's the whole point
>of abstraction.

paul, when my son comes home with math homework, he often has to change word problems into an abstract re-representation of them. mathematical equations stand in for--are highly refined abstractions--of what could be said in words:

miho buys two candy bars at the corner store each school day. candy bars cost 50 cents a piece. at the end of two weeks, how much will sally have spent?

2(10) x .50

>Are you SURE you're Kelly?

are you demanding some sort of coherent identity from me Paul?

>And what do transfinite numbers refer to?
>More to the point (passing from mathematical objects to statements [the
>closest thing to language you can find in math]): What does Goedel's
>Theorem refer to?

why does this matter?

anyway, meaningful mathematical statements exist that can't be proved or disproved--ever! it's a logic problem, not a problem with human knowledge.

well paul, if you like that, then why don't you like pomo? because so much of pomo seems to me to rest on exploiting these so called logic problems.

>There IS no such thing as "positivist research". That's the whole point
>of the pragmatist critique -- that positivism is FALSE theory of how
>science operates.

anyone who conducts research which refers, ultimately, to the experimental method--very, very much a part of cog sci, btw--is using a positivist model of research. they can't do pure pos in practice (hence all that stuff about probabilities previously), but all the tests re the validity and reliability of their findings are based on the probability that they've discovered a quasi-causal rather than acccidental relationship. *this* is neo-positivism in practice paul and that approach dominates the social sciences-- especially psychology.

>Research and statistics depend on common practice in the various
>fields. Positivism doesn't play ANY role in them whatsoever. It simply
>mis-represents the process.

you'll have to explain this one a bit more.

>Pragmatism is NOT simply a probabilistic rehash of positivism.

i didn't say it was. i wasn't explicating a pragmatist approach to the practice of social research. i was, rather, laying out the model against which much actual social research is measured. i don't like it either, but this is why the fetish for statistical methods.

>James grounded science in common sense. Which is not to say that common
>sense is sacrosanct. One of the notorious things that science does is
>confound common sense. Yet, what gives it power is that it does this by
>beginning with common sense.

ok. i was, again, speaking to both you and sam trying to show how neo-pos research operates, how it is actually conducts, what assumptions it makes, and the standards that are used to judge good/bad research, etc.

so, all this abstract philosophical speculation about pragmatists approach to social research is great, but i think you also have to make a case for how to actually conduct such research.

di-oxymorons to you too, kelley "jesus was a freak; king kong was a freak; just gimme a freak"

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