- Capitalism and Alternatives -

With many answers

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on March 30, 1999 at 12:19:32:

In Reply to: Two questions posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on March 29, 1999 at 15:38:32:

: Jacobson's posts all point to one thing: he wishes to steer us away from debates he can't win, and toward pseudo-issues

Would've been courteous to bring even one of these to my attention. Oh yeah, the one's here don't even come close.

: where he can anoint himself the Guardian of Fact whose Word (excuse me, his Idea) is Truth.

You explicitly said "Words ARE Ideas" on this post. I fully concur that, yes, there are no ideas without landguage, but these are not the same things. When words=ideas then ideas become tied solely to the definitions of words; which in turn can be elucidated on through more words. Each word-idea can only be described by more words, ad infinitum. Eventually, we can solve this with two methods:

a) like Hume completely admit that words can be inferred into an infinite regress and begin to question any knowledge at all; this is pessimistic and skeptical of knowledge, but, at least, honest.

b) like Hegel provide a reference contained within its own conclusion, a reference entirely self-contained and circular. When we do this reasoning we are simply placing an arbitrary foundation, originating in our particular viewpoint and opinion, and eventually concluding with the same foundation. Heiddiger did this and actually admitted it was meaningles nonsense, in fact, quite knowingly so.

This is also what really happens to any idea that there is a specific source of knowlegdge that can provide a solid foundation for all other knowledge; historical materialism is one such foundationalist theory.

Let me show you how ideas are not one-to-one words:

a) take away 10% of our words. It's pretty obvious to me that doing this would not seriously impact our ideas and, thus, our lives.
b) take away 10% of our ideas. Here we would have a major upheaval in society and many of our words would cease to lose their meaning; we might even lose 10% of our words in the process
c) Henry For conceived of cars before the word car ever existed.
I'm sure I could come up with more.

Jacobson accuses others of 'philosophical definitionism' while

Definitionism (my word by the way) is an activity a person engages in and appears in two ways:
a) take a commonly used phrase with many different usages depending upon the person using them such as "social class".
b) define "social class" using the reference made to your particular mind such as "relation to the means of production"
c) transfer this particular reference of your mind back to the term "social class".
d) couch all discussions you have with others using the term "social class" as your particluar mind's reference to social class.
e) people must outright accept or reject your views as proper or invalid; where before there was no Identity of Opposites, one has been created through definitionism; we have not made analystical progress, and in fact have widened the gulf for separates us from meaningful social dialog with othe individuals.
a) take a various assortment of assortmetn of phenomena, selected by your particular mind, and bundle them together into a reference you call a certain label (say, "capitalism").
b) claim that this essence of "capitalism" is what dominates and dictates the various forms of structures found to coincide with it. While many particulars may be different within two manifestations this is to be ignored as, well, the two must actually be the same essence "capitalism" underneath all the surface dressing. (Just ignore the fact that the initial essence came from your mind anyway).
c) claim taht "capitalism" has only one alternative called "socialism". Provide a few vague platitudes (make them good such as "social" or "compromise") to make the person feel good about this particular "essence" (which is only from your mind anyway).
d) imply that "capitalism" is evil and taht the only alternative is "socialism".

People doing this are simply using definitionism, i.e. words, in order to slip their opinions and viewpoints into supposed "social analysis". I take back my previous comment. "Definitionism" as I personally refer to it simply describes people who don't argue with ideas or concepts from their value systems, but merely with words.

engaging definitional assertions about the essential nature of economics ("economics is about choice") and socialism ("true socialism requires unlimited production").

If you have ever opened any economics textbook you'd know that the first few pages give a more detailed analysis of what I said in a few words. When I say taht economists study the choices people make I make general non-exlusionary references to what, well, economists actually do. By non-exclusionary I mean taht I have not laid down specific rules about what "economics" is and isn't. The same cannot be said for definitionisms such as "capitalism", "socialism", "exploitation", "alientation", the whole M-C-M analysis,and I could go on.

And socialism promised that there would be no more scarcity. Meaning taht there would be no more desire in the world; i.e. all social needs would be fulfilled. However, any one person has a different idea of what "socially needed" entails and, in my opinion, these conflicting ends would require unlimited resources and, thus, production for "socialism" not to quickly degenerate into war between people of like values. The issues relating to this were such:

a) "socialism" will satisfy all needs
b) there are potentially, and currently, unlimited needs.
c) so either production will be unlimited or "needs" will be limited
Deathy claimed taht needs would have to be limited but no one has ever given me an explanation about how this could happen (behaviorists maybe?) except the vauge platatude "compromise", to which I am replying today.

Not to mention words ("You like most on this room actualy use words as if they determined one's ideas").

I think you're refering to "Behaviorists believe . . . behaviorisms do not" comment. Hey, in my defense, there are a lot of Hegelians here and they don't believe in behaviorists except as abstractions of the ideology of behaviorism; just like individuals are only abstractions of society. I was serious, and not being pedantic, and wanted to establish that there is no such thing as behaviorism outside of people who, at one time or another, advocate an idea called behaviorism.

: Verbal hide-and-go-seek is Jacobson's option when he doesn't want to debate issues or facts.

Maybe if you could give some examples I'd change the error of my ways.

: Jacobson likes to accuse others of stuff he's guilty of himself.

I do need to clarify this. I have historical evidence showing that, indeed, "power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely". No claims of historical laws here, but mere empirical observations. Incidentally, the kind of historical laws advocated by Marx, Compte, Hegel, etc. go way beyond the observations I was making here. If someone can show me how we can
a)centralize power, or
b)create tribal mutualism
without bringing out that horrors that these have produced historically then I'm all ears.

The guy likes to make rude comments (as he admits Yes, I did make rude comments; I was laughing at you (quite frankly I don't appreciate intimations of amorality) for deliberately trying to twist my ideas into somthing that I adamantly oppose. I could only suspect two things:

a) you were unable to follow the conversation
b) you were deliberately twisting my ideas and being openly and aggressively dishonest.

As I like thinking the best of people I assumed the first. Hey, if you're admitting the second, though, can I call taht an evil behavior?

About the whole "giving your opinions as objective facts" thing . . . I fully admit that I give my opinion. It's just that you and most here keep on trying to base your opinions upon facts; in essence, you are attempting to make your opinions the "objective set" of opinions. For instance, when you said "clean environment" you meant "clean environment by my value system". But, you clearly thought there was such a natural definition fo "clean environment" separate from any human value judgements.

On more thing: you were challengin me to reveal "the secret" of essentialism. You went on to say taht anything could be an essence, such as the World Bank or the IMF. No. The World Bank, IMF, etc. are specific and particular institutions created with certain guidlines and rules. We can create and abolish them at any tiem, althoguh the consequences are not under our control. Things like "capitalism" however are merely nominal concepts for general referential purposes. There is no essence or particular phenomena of "capitalism", and when someone claims we should abolish it they are simply not saying anything.

References are tools we use to operate in life. The refernce "end the IMF" has a particular reference we don't need to find any particular essence for it. "Capitalism" is merely a nominal reference for convenience and references a vast and complex array of both interrelated and unrelated phenomena. Thus, the words "abolish capitalism" are meaningless and an essentialist definitionism.

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