Some time ago some musings had been published in this blog under the tile
science – new readings from the tea leaves
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Without any doubt, one gets easily caught, i.e. we all make easily some mistakes, follow simplifications and do so even without being aware of it; moreover: even circumspectly proceeding in our activities, we may end in some trap. Still, especially such general awareness should encourage being [self-] critical and it should also push our attention towards the roots.
This is important as such developments occur as a somewhat new methodological imperative – I talked about it during the third IsarKanalLecture, titled ‘Digitisation – Meta-Methodological Reflections‘. There I positioned besides methodological individualism and methodological nationalism the
Methodological Solutionismus as Strategy of Technizism, going hand in hand with permanent strategies of externalisation and relative downgrading of living standards.
Of course, there are two ways of looking at it:
- the one is part of the wider process of infantilisation, seeing it as part of a phase that will soon get in a mature form on its feet, being well able to firmly walk and stand
- we may call the other part of denialism – suggesting that such deviations are part of cultural and intellectual development – usually phases that are as short-lived as they are noisy for that period of time.
Sure, there is always some truth in the so-called country sayings – making weather predictions possible that are definitely correct – correct in 100 % of the cases. However, every country-person, doing some farming, knows that at some stage this is not enough, well formulated in the 11th thesis on Feuerbach,
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it
Every farmer will make some jokes while being at the cook-and-bull-story but will get serious when walking out on the field to get the work done.
Getting serious means at least the following – keep in mind that it is also some metaphorical talk:
- It is about dealing with contradictions here and now, not even thinking about the beautiful world of harmony where everything’s and everybody’s wings are clipped, ready to be stored away
- It is about the deep world, ‘measured’ by deep exploration – or as neighbour Andy, when I lived in Ireland, said: ‘All these measurements telling me about the chemical composition of the soil are grand – and still, I have to get the Wellies on, walk across the field and take a deep breath to know what exactly I have to do – in academia it is about reading books, engaging with complicate stuff instead of holding one of these fancy books in the hands, where looking at the title tells the entire content … – mushrooming, filling book stores, cash registers and too often emptying brains
- it is about reduction of complexity not by way of simplification through wing-cutting but by exploring the path of El Cóndor Pasa – that means it is about actors and contradictions in daily life. Taking time to be solved while there is no time for any delay.
This [way of] presentation may also help to approach two rather fundamental flaws we witness in two disciplines – academic issues but relevant as it is not least by this thinking that we are disciplied in our daily life.
Positive law and its extension into procedural law is always challenged by its own tendency to push aside questions that are concerned with right[eousness]. One point for the exploration is the thought that Gustav Radbruch formulated in his short ‘Fünf Minuten Rechtsphilosophie‘ in the following words:
Es gibt also Rechtsgrundsätze, die stärker sind als jede rechtliche Satzung, so daß ein Gesetz, das ihnen widerspricht, der Geltung bar ist. Man nennt diese Grundsätze das Naturrecht oder das Vernunftrecht. Gewiß sind sie im Einzelnen von manchem Zweifel umgeben, aber die Arbeit der Jahr- hunderte hat doch einen festen Bestand herausgearbeitet, und in den soge- nannten Erklärungen der Menschen- und Bürgerrechte mit so weitreichen- der Übereinstimmung gesammelt, daß in Hinsicht auf manche von ihnen nur noch gewollte Skepsis den Zweifel aufrechterhalten kann.
There are therefore legal principles which are stronger than any legal statute, so that a law which contradicts them is not applicable. These principles are called natural law or the right to reason. Certainly they are surrounded by many doubts in detail, but the work of the centuries has worked out a solid existence, and in the so-called declarations of human and civil rights with such far-reaching agreement that in regard to some of them only deliberate scepticism can maintain the doubt.
The other mechanism of disciplining is about economics: positive economics, equally focusing on procedural aspects, in this case dealing with exchange processes is caught in a similar vein, unable to deal with contradictions, – correctly, though not rightly – presuming equal exchange as core of the entire process determining value. However, here we are concerned with valuation – an individual issue: Everybody is allowed to highly value a palace and then pay for it – just a matter of personal choice, complementing the fact, pronouncedly highlighted by Anatole Frane:
La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain.
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.
Individualisation, the reduction of a complex and contradictory social relationalities to individual, isolated acts, performed by isolated individuals that relate to each other only by way of individual contracts is the ultimate way to avoid talking about value as it is produced, defined as social value due to the fact that the process of production is itself by and large a social process, its market-defiition only ex-post used as tool for the calculation of what had been defined a long time earlier.
There is a lot of fight in a seemingly simple flight.