- Capitalism and Alternatives -

remarkable argument

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on November 08, 1999 at 10:43:13:

In Reply to: Yes, Barry, they're arbitrary. posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on November 08, 1999 at 09:24:52:

Your post is a remarkable argument for seperation of state and economic activity too, read via the lens of seperation of state and science. You argued your points very well.

: Look, Barry, right now I'm writing a short story about an evil capitalist. Suppose I live in a community where no one else is interested in this use of my time, and they don't want me to work at this.

Spot on ! Write your novel, you dont have to ask other poeples permisssion, just as other people will not be requried to read it! A 100% control over economic activity essentially means 100% control over *you* as your every second exists at the behest of the 'state' and any free time is offered to you as a trip to town may have been offered to a slave.

: It would, I think be very difficult to run science in a centralized, 'social' manner.

It would Nikhil, as would running productive organisations for similar reasons.

: But when it comes to testing out ideas, designing experiments, which is teh meat and bones of science, to socialise the whole enterprise would be, I think, countreproductive. You'd need a committe representing the whole society to preside over teh decision of how many controls to use in an experiment. To do this would slow science down.

Wouldnt it skew science into being *wrong* aswell? when the scientists proposed test, worked out by the scientists because she knows what she is doing, is altered by the votes of all these external people?

The same with producing organisations - designing products and production methods, allocating resources to the process would all be slowed down if subject to centralised control and voting by anyone who turns up. More over the resultant organisation would be inefficient (wrong) if so operated for the same reasons the experiment would be. I hope you can see this - its isnt some trick I am playing on you.

: Yes! Science is devoted to teh pursuit of objective truth, not to teh bolstering of elite OR working class power.


: That is what allows us to say that Cyril Burt's hereditarianism was objectively false AS WELL AS immoral.Not only was hsi statement taht IQ is 80% inherited copmpletely immoral, but it was also teh product of a baldfaced fraud. he made up the sets of twins he used in his head.

This is significant : Isnt the above immoral *because* it is a fraud, not just aswell as?

: if you don't accept that science is objective and extra-societal. If science is merely societal, then what Burt did was merely immoral, not necessarily false. And if morals are a class / social construct, as soem say, then his conduct was neither immoral nor false. My argument is stronger, because I can argue taht he was both immoral AND false. But to do that, I have to first accept that 1) morals and 2) scientific standards are objective and not subject to the desires of classes or societies.

Youre on to something Nikhil. As I said, he was immoral because he was wrong (and claimed otherwise) and that he would be immoral in this sense regardless of whether a majority, a state or any other body supported his conclusion.

: More on the objectivity of morality in another post....

I look forward to it very much.

: No, but science is a self-correctinbg enterprise- and I don't belive taht ALL science should be free of state control and restriction, certyainly not abominations like human cloning....but come on, how is a hypothetical fringe issue like human cloning relevant to science as a whole. to say that one must be severely repressed by teh state is not to say that all science should.

If one can repress cloning science then why not any other? I think we need this guide to objectove morals dont you? Unless the reasoning is consequentialist? otherwise it does sound like science at the behest of state doesnt it?

: I knew it! Anti-clericalism reares its ugly head! How about this question. Why have priests been a necessary function in all societies, regardlkess of their mode of production; tribal, feudal, monarchic, democratoic, socialist, capitalist.

Thats a fascinating question - do you have an answer/suggestion?

: Yes, but I never got a relaly good answer to my querry as to how scientist can be expected to make any scintific rpogress working in their labs one day a week. is this really what you're advocating Barry? Mauybe, given my hard sciences background, I'm biased here- but still, I don't see how anyoen can think this is possible!

I think you have a point - especially if rotation ensures that your colleague is not really interested or learned - just doing his voted in science shift.

: Scientists become senators? How is taht going to happen? Actually, I would MUCH prefer engineers running the economy of this country than the current crop of philosophy or business grads. I think that lkarge scale economic industries should alrgely be controlled by engineers and otehr technology experts, who collaborate with democratic representatives of teh workers.

Thats an interesting proposal!

: Yes, but how undue? Do you really think taht a small caste of rainforest ecologists is going to take over the country? Most of those guys don't even WANT power.

I thought they wanted to stop other people from demolishing the rain forest? Is that not power of a sort?

: Science (pure, not applied), serves objective truth. What ahppens when 'social' needs do not coincide with objective truth.

Sums it up really.

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