[Marxism] To everything there is a shell game

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Fri Nov 28 04:07:15 MST 2003


Hi brother,

You:

But apropos of Chauncey Gardiner, I think most people miss the point of
*Being There*

Me:

Yes, I had to study Tarski as well. We didn't get Frege in courses, which I
regret. Interestingly, it was Noam Chomsky who sought to revive interest in
Gottlob Frege in the USA. Thomas Bayes's conclusions were accepted by
Laplace in 1781 and rediscovered by Condorcet, remaining unchallenged until
Boole questioned them again, in a book with the somewhat pretentious title
of "Laws of Thought". Since then Bayes' techniques have been controversial.
The Bayesian approach allows us to use objective data or subjective opinion
in specifying a prior distribution, facilitating exploratory data analysis.
According to the Bayesian approach, different individuals might specify
different prior distributions, but, classical statisticians argue therefore
Bayesian techniques suffer from "a lack of objectivity". But what is the
underlying problem here ? Not attention to empirical data as such, but
empiricism. The underlying idea is that, ceteris paribus, observed trends of
the past will necessarily continue into the future, and that means that
problems of history, ontology, epistemology and causality are simply
ignored, and the very concept of what "data" is, is ignored. We are left
with a postmodernist soup.

You:

In *Being There* Chauncey Gardiner is not a fraud; insofar as we know, he is
retarded.  However, there's nothing wrong with anything he says: some of his
*dicta* are passable transformations of widely-acclaimed deep sayings
("springtime is for planting") and he's not doing anything contrary to what
he says.

Me:

Yes, I agree. But if it is summer, then if somebody says "springtime is for
planting" then we question what this portends, because we planted already in
springtime.

The point is more about all the people around Chauncey Gardiner,
and that they seize on what is not obviously there (a profound subjectivity)
instead of attempting to seriously engage with the experienced profundity
"what is said" in the context of their own works and days.  But the usual
way with *Being There* (frauds aplenty, hold on to your ego-wallet) is far
too short, as is often the case at the present time.

Agreed. But the point is that this whole game depends totally on not
actually engaging or interacting with Gardiner directly, but engaging in
gossip or espionage to discover something about him. A series of assumptions
are made by others which generate a theory of knowledge which is highly
questionable, epistemically and morally, even although based on "facts"
about Gardiner. That is, even although the "facts" are respected, they cause
conclusions which produce a Popperian unintended consequence. Now how could
this be ? The answer is, because empiricism doesn't provide an adequate
epistemological foundation, the only thing we can do with theoretical
assumptions is to ignore them or disregard them. This question was thrashed
out very thoroughly by modern philosophy of science, including by Kuhn,
Lakatos, Feyerabend and Bashkar. But that does not mean that we can simply
disregard the facts, or that any old fact will do ! Marx deals with this
problematic in The German Ideology, where he was faced with the ludicrous
results of thought unrestrained and undisciplined by the facts of practical
experience of the material world.

I think I would support the occupation more if we didn't have to send Iraqis
all our favorite people.  They might not understand.

I seriously start to wonder sometimes what "our favourite people" really do
understand. Hilary Clinton and Jack Reed ate their turkey in Bagram, meeting
members of the 10th division, and met with Karzai and women's groups. That
wasn't on TV. I got to get on with my life now....

Regards

Jurriaan

As an encore, how about this one by Chuckberry:

New jersey turnpike in the wee wee hours
I was rollin' slow cause of drizzlin' showers
Here come old flat-top, he was movin' up with me
Then come wavin' goodbye to a little' old souped-up jitney
I put my foot in my Tank, and I began to Roll
Moanin' Siren, 't was a State Patrol
So I let out my Wings, and then I blew my Horn
Bye bye New Jersey, i'd be come and gone
Now you can't catch me, babe you can't catch me
'cause if you get too close,
you know I'm gone, like a cool breeze

Fly with my baby, Last Saturday Knight
Not a Gray Cloud, floatin' in sight
Big full moon, shinin', up above
Cuddle up honey now, be my love
Sweetest little thing, that I ever seen
I'm gonna name you, Maybellene
Fly on the BM, set on Flight Control
Radio tuned to, Rock 'n' Roll
Two, three hours passes by
I'll be two dropped to five-o-five
Fuel consumption, way too fast
Let's get on t' home, before we run out of gas.

Failng that, have a look here:
http://allafrica.com/stories/200311170303.html









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