- Capitalism and Alternatives -

That's because 'socialism' is a definitionism

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on April 05, 1999 at 16:58:37:

In Reply to: What you describe is not socialism. posted by Christopotoclum on April 01, 1999 at 18:49:36:

Mmmm. Both of you seem to be missing the point of language and communication. Linguists have broken language into four areas:

a) expressive (personal/individual)
b) communicative (personal/individual)
c) descriptive/informative (social/public)
d) arguementative (social/public)

Both of you in this case are using a word ("socialism" in this case) in both the expressive and communitative functions of language. Actually, as you are both offering public reports of mental states internal to yourselves what we have is two "socialism"s with the same verbal sound. "Socialism" in both your cases is merely an external manifestation of a personal and internal state. It is neither representative of anything in the physical world or of the world of social ideas ("restroom", on the other hand, is both such a social idea and an object of the physical world). Expressive and communicative language adds nothing to reasonable discourse and simply leads to a nihilistic antagonism when used in such a fashion.

Yes, "socialism" is both:

a) good, and
b) bad

as both term's meanings are simply part of your individual thoughts and have no argumentative or informative function,and using them in an argument is useless. In fact, such behavior is anti-social as the whole public, and social, discourse of ideas is based upon attempting to understand one another's views and opinions.

A note to the rest of the board: this situation is, generally, what I refer to when I use the term definitionism. Both these people have offered arguements using words refering to individual mental situations and, thus, can never be accurately conveyed to other individuals. For instance, "socialism" and "capitalism", until all different sides have advanced beyond the propagandistic usage of these terms, will always be definitionisms. "borg" correctly, to her/him, identified "socialism" with "sovietism" and the responder also correctly, to him/her, identified "socialism" as a future "best" state of the world.

However, borg is wrong, and behaving anti-socially, in ascribing particular socially relevant aspects to "socialism". "Socialism" obviously possesses vastly different, and very moral, meanings to others in this debate room than that attributed by borg. People who, I assume, want good for human beings.

In the same manner, the responder is giving a completely personal and, thus, socially irrelevant argument in using the term socialism. There is no "socialism" except as individual minds conceive of and, thus, this term possesses no social meaning. It's "moral position" depends completely upon the inner state of the individual thinker, and those who think virtually identical to him or her.

As terms like "capitalism" and "socialism" possess no socially relevant meaning they are useless for arguementative or informative discourse. Phrases like "abolish capitalism" and "avoid socialism" are not only socially meaningless, but when attempted in social discourse produce pure babble. They are completely and utterly devoid of any possible social meaning and anyone using them is simply babbling by attempting to apply internal mental states to the external world, an idealistic mistake of the first magnitude.

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