- Capitalism and Alternatives -

More amateur philosophy

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on February 29, 19100 at 13:58:24:

In Reply to: Apologies to McSpotlight & to possible allies posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on February 25, 19100 at 00:49:16:

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: McSpotlight: To be fair, SDF, there's a bit of a fuzzy line between what's real and what isn't; do justice or truth have any objective reality?

SDF: To me the whole dilemma has something to do with a confusion between objective uses of concepts and the normative use of concepts. Justice is an abstract concept, something to "stand in for" a wish we might have about reality that it conform to a standard of ours. I see no problem in arguing that "we ought to have justice," sure, humanity ought to work together in such a way that nobody can complain of "class warfare" or other such warfares interfering with mutual social benefits. Similarly, some might argue validly that we ought to have a God -- everyone should be entitled to a dignified belief in some imaginary friend out there, even if they've already graduated from elementary school (and in a society like ours it's no fun when they do, socialization into capitalist competition is a drag, especially at the rate at which our society is breeding "losers"). A superhero who always finds Cinderella's glass slipper would be a great thing too, tho' nobody really believes in that, however.

The confusion comes when they start to assume that normative concepts are merely objective, that they think they CAN'T say "we ought to have a God" because they take God so seriously that they think that either there is or there isn't a God, that they think the normative concept of God is INVALID even though they can't prove or disprove the "merely objective" existence of this God of theirs. They wish so hard that there's a God (& that such a God is "on our side" politically, of course) that they forget they're wishing. Well, the concepts that are "merely objective" out there are concepts that stand for objective realities according to a practical aesthetic frame -- "I'm typing on a keyboard" is "merely objective" because to say "there ought to be a keyboard I'm typing on right now" is a muddling of the practical reality in which keyboards exist for us.

To answer the question: if the "objective reality" of "justice" constitutes a "fuzzy line" between what's real and what's not, it shouldn't stop us from discussing the gray area normatively, in terms of "should" and "shouldn't" rather than creating a hard boundary between "is" and "isn't".

If we need to deny the normative existence of imaginary entities in order to do politics, if we have no disbelief to wilfully suspend, we're in political trouble. I want my utopian dreaming out in the open, not hidden behind theology.

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