'Why Ontology?' (was Re: G. Bush: US in Holy War Against Iraq?)

Stephen E Philion philion at hawaii.edu
Sat Jan 22 16:30:05 PST 2000

I find most people who think of themselves as class traitors are referring to their having been born to a family that enjoys some degree or another of consumption, which thereby makes them not working class and therefore a 'class traitor'. They tend to share with liberals the idea that Marxist definitions of class revolve around how much money one has, especially income....thus is lost the qualitative difference between say a tenured prof who earns close to 65,000 a yr. and owns a house, two cars, and a sailboat and, say, Bill Gates or Phil Knight...

I'm not saying that Daniel does this necessarily, but that is what I usually encounter when I press so-called 'class traitors' on their self-appelation...


Stephen Philion Lecturer/PhD Candidate Department of Sociology 2424 Maile Way Social Sciences Bldg. # 247 Honolulu, HI 96822

On Sat, 22 Jan 2000, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:

> Roy Bhaskar's answer to the question "why ontology" is that we all possess
> at least an implicit notion of what the world must be like (for instance,
> what the world must be like for us to debate such questions as "why
> ontology"). So we are all ontologists, the only difference being that we
> differ in what ontology we prefer. Bhaskar then points out an inadequate
> ontology implicit in the prevailing mode of rhetoric:
> ***** ...I have argued that the chief metaphilosophical error in
> prevailing accounts of science is the analysis, definition or explication
> of statements about being in terms of statements about our knowledge of
> being, the reduction of ontology to epistemology which I have termed the
> 'epistemic fallacy'. As ontology is in fact irreducible to epistemology,
> this functions merely to cover the generation of an implicit ontology, on
> which the domain of the real is reduced to the domain of the actual
> (actualism) which is then anthropocentrically identified with or in terms
> of sense-experience or some other human attribute. Operating hand-in-hand
> with this overt collapse, engendered or masked by the epistemic fallacy, is
> its practical counterpart, the ideology of the compulsive determination of
> knowledge by being -- for instance, in the guise of reified facts or
> hypostatized ideas -- in what I have characterized as the 'ontic fallacy'.
> (Bhaskar, _Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom, 1993) *****
> So, there is no denying ontology, and denying it rhetorically makes your
> account of ontology merely implicit.
> Let's take a look at Daniel's pronunciamento:
> > I am also a class-traitor who thinks -- who knows -- that
> >"bolshevism" in-thought (at the level of thought or intellectual practice),
> >is deeply reactionary. And that references to the "objective interests"
> >of "the" working class are more phantasy than reality.
> It is his implicit ontology that makes him confidently assert that
> "references to the 'objective interests' of 'the' working class are more
> phantasy than reality" -- he must think he knows the objective reality of
> the world to make this totalizing truth claim about class (or perhaps he is
> merely shooting from the hip or repeating what some postmodern philosopher
> said about class in the last century). BTW, I wonder why he is sure that
> he is a "class-traitor" (to which class?) when he also says that it is only
> in fantasy one can make a reference to the objective interests of the
> working class.
> Yoshie

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