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Everything posted by Screech

  1. The primary effect of space law will be in 1. privatization and property debates and 2. space militarization debates. It might be a disad uniqueness/link/internal (plan violates the OST, which is stable and effective in the squo) or aff inherency evidence. The Dolman book I posted a while back has a pretty good overview from the perspective of hypothetical future militarization).
  2. Typically, if you want to learn from your mistakes, you should listen when other people try to explain things.
  3. مصر حرة Mubarak stepped down today. I think he pulled a fast one one the military last night (they had indicated before the speech that he was going to step down, and then we got... that) and they finally exerted the pressure necessary to bring him down. The question is, where does it go from here?
  4. Defense. Just because it might not work isn't a reason to abandon empathy and reasonable arguments, which have independent merits.
  5. You must spread some reputation around before giving it to maxpow again. Thanks for expressing this much more calmly and effectively than I seem to be capable of doing.
  6. Yeah, that was pretty stupid. From my understanding, it does fulfill a language requirement (that the kids already had). So in a sense, it's mandatory that they take one of a group of classes, one of which is Arabic. But anyone who thinks going from "Language A or B or C or D is mandatory" to "Language A or B or C or D or Arabic is mandatory" is LULZ MAKING ARABIC MANDATORY is an idiot. They're adding options, not taking them away. EDIT: Also, now that it's come out that it's not mandatory, parents in the district are still acting like idiots because they're worried their kids will learn Islam, presumably by some kind of crazy osmosis whereby if they learn the scary-dark-primitive language they're more susceptible to scary-dark-primitive religion. [/sarc]
  7. http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/09/arabic_classes_nixed/index.html I guess the discussion I'm interested in is not so much whether this decision is stupid as whether it's finally time to reconsider whether secession should be illegal, at least in this one case. But if anyone wants to talk about the article, that's cool too.
  8. I'm not telling you not to do philosophy. I'm telling you to write better. No, epistemology does not refer to an individual theory that someone has about facts in the world. Epistemology is a meta-discipline about how that knowledge can (or cannot) be generated. If you want to use "epistemology" to refer to an individuated belief, that's fine, but saying "there is a deep connection between epistemology and ontology" is really just saying "there is a deep connection between theories people have and how they think about the existence of objects based on those beliefs" which is only vacuously true. I'm making a comment about style, not substance. I'm not telling you not to use specialized terminology, I'm telling you not to use it incorrectly, or assume knowledge on behalf of your readers that they can't be reasonably expected to have. Or, if you're going to use terminology in ways that are non-intuitive for readers with access to a certain specialized vocabulary, justify it. I'm not even going to tell you not to write like Foucault and Heidegger; I'm saying that you probably shouldn't suck at it. I prefer to explain things in the simplest, most straightforward, and best-organized way possible. If you prefer not to, there's not a lot I can do about it. But there's a difference between being complex and being merely confusing. Your paragraphs don't communicate ideas effectively; they're missing warrants, redefining words, getting derailed by examples, and missing basic important structures like contrastives and clear punctuation. Assertions are not arguments. Yes, at least if you're a foundationalist, you have to justify how you know stuff before you can know it. What this doesn't prove is that epistemology and metaphysics or ontology are bound up with each other; it proves that an accurate metaphysics is dependent on epistemology. You're not saying anything I don't already know, and you're not proving your thesis. In order for an example to be effective, you have to a. understand what the thesis is or b. understand what the example is and c. understand what the analogy between the example and the thesis is. You can explain a thesis by way of an example if you know b and not a or you can explain an empirical phenomenon by way of a thesis if you know a and not b, assuming you can get a handle on c. I do not know any of these three things. The example is not effective. Also, generally, if you're trying to make a self-contained argument, you should not presume any knowledge you don't reasonably expect your audience to have, or you're just creating more legwork and more confusion. Even if I do look it up, how do you know I'll interpret and frame the example in the context you want me to use to understand your argument? An epistemology is not a certain knowledge. An epistemology is a theory about how certain knowledge can be obtained (or not obtained). I don't care whether you argue with people. My comment was not prescriptive, it was intended to clarify. "Who are you responding to" means "what discourse community are you engaged in." I don't understand what accepting your theory (whatever it is) implies for my beliefs and actions and how they should be modified. Ignoring the arguments that other people make about metaphysics, epistemology, and ontology does not make you "better" and "above the fray," it makes you willfully ignorant and arrogant. This is partially problematic because it's so confusing, but it's mostly problematic because it's so fucking vapid. You're saying, essentially, "I want to know stuff about the world so I think about what I know and how I know it." Join the fucking club; it's called "every philosopher." There are several thousand years of Western philosophy that would beg to disagree that we can't demostrate certainty. I don't even agree with them, but if you want to prove this you might want to explain why you think certainty can never be demonstrated. Just one sentence: "certainty cannot be demostrated because..." Zealotry -> war and genocide. Gotcha. See how easy that was? This does not clarify this. Your argument primarily seems to turn on using epistemology and ontology interchangeably and then, voila! revealing that you've proving them to be the same thing. That is to say, you're begging the question and covering it up with a dozen paragraphs of nonsense. The argument you've offered is a red herring - just because affirming one theory implies negating all others does not mean that epistemology and ontology are the same thing. It could be that I've tested all theories that explain phenomenon X and all the ones I'm declaring false don't meet the criteria for truth as well as the one I affirm does! I'm still preserving the separation even if I accept your stupid model. Accepting and rejecting theories "willy-nilly" implies that I don't understand epistemology, it's not a cause of it. No, it doesn't. Are you trying to say that sociology subsumes epistemology because our social practices determine how we find truth? If so, you have to prove it, not make a series of assertions strapped willy nilly onto a theoretical framework I don't accept anyway that doesn't seem to be necessary or solve any particular philsophical problem. To call your argument sophistical would be a grave insult to Sophism, who could at least mislead effectively rather than just blow smoke. Yes, the fact that I think such a thing as a stable theory can exist implies that I think that ontology is possible. Some kind of ontology is a necessary condition to individuating things. What that doesn't do is imply that I am rigidly orthodox and unwilling to listen to your brilliant dissection of my pitiful beliefs. Not if my epistemology is based on abstract logical connectives empty of content or finds some other way to avoid appealing to ontological categories (like qualia, observational facts, rational foundations of knowledge, etc). I don't even subscribe to that kind of epistemology (I'm a Quinian and probably agree with you more than you know), but you're not proving your claims and so I have no reason to accept this argument even if I did disagree with you. I have spurts of understanding, largely because it's fragmented and incoherent. Assuming that others don't understand your argument because they're stupid rather than because you're explaining it poorly is usually an unproductive strategy. That's stupid, and you're a pedantic, sophistical elitist. Do you understand?
  9. Well, Dolman's (Astropolitik)discussion of geopolitics talks about the sociological importance of the frontier to the development of communities (to cite a cliche: "go West, young [wo]man"), and he cites some classical geopolitics authors that may be of interest. Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot and Billions and Billions would be a great aff author, as would many professional astronomers, astrophysicists, and members of space exploration programs, both public and private. There's probably an entire discourse community of futurists out there talking about space exploration, what effect it will have on humankind, and the best way to implement it. I'm also extremely excited and may cut cards just for fun on next year's topic.
  10. Haha, or plan planks about seizing Hohmann Transfer Points, Geosynchronous orbit, and Lagrange points. The geopolitics stuff occasionally wears thin but the Astrostrategy sections are fucking incredible.
  11. Epistemology is inquiry into truth by way of knowledge - how we can achieve it, if at all, how it should be justified, what sorts of things can be known, etc. Ontology is used to mean lots of different things, so it's a bit slippery, but generally speaking ontology is the investigation of being and what kinds of things actually exist. If you wanted to know whether we should treat "the mind" as having some independent existence, that's an ontological question. I don't want to get too much into it, though, as I don't have a particularly firm grasp of it myself. Maybe someone else has a more unified definition.
  12. Well, I know my favorite affirmative deont impact is going to be the moral obligation to explore. Maybe some kind of critique of manifest destiny? Like colonialism or imperialism, except a more specific critique of a certain kind of attitude towards the unexplored as presenting a unique responsibility, rather than implying the domination of others (who we are almost certainly not going to find near enough to us to dominate according to any probable values of the free variables Drake Equation). Response: I think I'd probably just extend case and get into a massive card war Space exploration demands existential humility (Sagan 94)! Discovery of extra-terrestrial life revolutionizes human conceptions of the universe (every sci fi author ever)! Space exploration is our cosmic destiny! The warrants may be thin, but the rhetoric will be AWESOME. Also, a critique of tech focusing on the infinite deferment of our moral obligation to help others - "tomorrow we'll have the technology, just wait and see." This could probably be meaningfully and contextually extracted from literature critical of post-humanism and futurism, incorporating stuff about the Digital Divide and critical of the concentrated ownership of capital (but not primarily focusing on it). On this interpretation, space is just the latest and greatest in a series of great experiments that were supposed to save humanity but ultimately just ended up redistributing wealth and resources and especially power to a select few. Response: A hell of a lot more people have internet access now than did 50 years ago (that is to say, all of them) and the majority of new internet users are not in the upper class. Even if relative inequality persists, absolute living standards (length of life, lower child mortality rates, etc) continue rising inexorably upwards for most of the globe. While probably true, this response won't be too hard to beat back in CX-world because everyone's so skeptical of cap and the K lit reads really well. Obviously, on the more militaristic affs a straight-up militarism K is going to have better impacts and links, but for more benign-seeming affs that use a national space agency you could do a critique of power-posturing and "national greatness"-fostering tech initiatives. A K of nationalism and patriotism would be easy to cut (just get some critical history guy ranting about the space race) and the internal links would be phenomenal (war, genocide, etc). Response: You'd have to beat back some pretty good defensive arguments that economic or scientific competition is significantly less nationalistic now (ISS, OST, etc). Also, that it's at least a healthier way of competing than bombing dudes (which I think is probably true).
  13. I'll try to illustrate a little bit by reading your text very closely. Epistemology is certainty, I don't care what your dictionaries say: language is organic. Fair enough, although it would be more accurate to say that epistemology is the study of certainty, or how we can achieve certainty. But it's unclear how "language is organic" relates to that clause. Are you implying a contrast? Is what you mean "Any decent epistemology should be certain, but language is organic" letting you introduce an argument about how language is developed gradually for practical purposes rather than being handed down to us in "perfect" form? And although Ontology's dictionary definition is being, it is the study of "bodies". In my opinion though these disparate definitions hide an intimate connection. I'm not clear on what your comment about Ontology is in reference to. What is the distinction you're implying between the study of being and the study of bodies? Metaphysics is already the study of bodies (in the physics sense of the term); do you mean human bodies? For the second sentence you could just say something like "Despite their differing areas of focus, ontology and epistemology are connected at the deepest level." You don't have to write like Foucault or Heidegger; many students of philosophy forget Foucault and Heidegger write that way because they're not writing in English (Undergraduates, graduates, or even professors of philosophy sometimes forget this). Metaphysics is pretty much having a firm epistemology to refer to, for example functionalism although stemming from a theory specific to the discipline of anthropology affects most other social studies curriculum. Why is metaphysics equivalent to "having a firm epistemology to refer to?" If that's your argument, you need to make it, not just assert it. The example itself is obscure and confusing; I have no idea what functionalism is without Google. Are you writing in a social science journal where we would know what that is? How does it prove your point in the first clause? Such a metaphysical certainty that all rituals and practices of present and past people is based on optimizing functioning may or may not be true. What's a "metaphysical certainty"? The obvious meaning would be being certain about something metaphysical, but it seems like this has more to do with your as-yet unwarranted conflation of epistemology and metaphysics. Also, who are you responding to? What debate are you participating in? But if one were to believe it is true one's epistemology would rely on a functionalist "framework". So you would think that religions and political systems were systems for making interaction more efficient in terms of survival. Okay, I think I have your argument (but I've had to dissect it sentence by sentence and comment on it extensively to get there). The problem is that it's just a total non sequitur. Why does the fact that I accept a certain theory about, say, the purpose of social institutions, mean that the lines between epistemology and metaphysics are blurred? What if I just test the theory against certain epistemological criteria before choosing to accept it or reject it? Don't I then have epistemological criteria that are independent from my metaphysics, and if not, why not? One could then argue that believing in this framework is actually just a reflection of the time it was originally conceived. It is an argument for the industrialization of society written at the dawn of the industrial revolution, You COULD argue that. I don't see any reason that you WOULD, or if you did, why I would believe you. You don't just get to jump right into your conclusion. On the argument itself: I think you're still talking about functionalism here, but it's unclear. What does functionalism have to do with the industrial revolution? Also, your argument is probably wrong. "Functionalism, as a school of thought in anthropology, emerged in the early twentieth century." which also justifies ethnocentrism through exoticisng the radical other as irrational because "they"(an ontology) are ineffecient. And thus requiring "management" (see: occupation). The certainties that inform our ontologies can act like an echo chamber with epistemology silencing the decrying of neutrality. I, er, what? As you can see, I've only gone through about two paragraphs and there are a lot of issues, primarily with clarity, unwarranted assumptions, and arguments that don't seem to follow. There's no real need to continue.
  14. That's kind of like asking me to critique Time Cube. What am I supposed to say in response to something that is basically gibberish? (cue a dozen angry continental scholars shouting) EDIT: I'm sorry, that was actually quite rude. Could you explain to me your intent better, maybe what this comment is in response to or in the context of, because I'm not really tracking your argument here.
  15. Is there room for someone doing a low-level contribution? I'm not actually doing CX right now, and I'm going to be extremely busy over the summer, but I like cutting cards and I love the topic. It would be pretty silly to cut cards outside the context of an actual argument that someone was going to use, so I'd like to have something productive accomplish for five to ten hours a week.
  16. QFA as a philosophy major, I've got to say, the extent to which K links are stretched beyond anything which the arguments that are actually being made would support is just ridiculous (to say nothing of what the philosopher themselves would support).
  17. Wow. This is like every ACA article I've ever read with a few search/replaces.
  18. Well, it would be hard for Dworkin to get increasingly rabid as she is dead. And even if you disagree with MacKinnon's work on feminism and CLS, to say that it does not exemplify "a productive discipline of critical thought" seems wrong given its influence and importance on legal thinking. In any case, the entire premise of this statement seems somewhat confused. How would the "hypocritical and increasingly rabid viewpoints" of the few invalidate the scholarship of the many, even if I accepted your examples? Don't the arguments need to be evaluated independently of the source, and individual scholars independently of each other? The idea that a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch in scholarship seems more like an excuse for partisan hackery than a powerful and telling indictment.
  19. I think you'd have some extra-topicality problems. The only thing I can think of would be to define "the Earth" as "the Earth in this particular universe as implied by the definite article," which is, um... philosophically weird, to say the least. It implies a whole bunch of stuff about your ability to use counterfactual reasoning, for example. Did you have any particular interpretation in mind that would justify that as space exploration, other than that they're both kind of sciencey?
  20. Well it's not so much about rights as it is about exploitation and oppression. While I'm not interested in getting into an argument about who is oppressed more, partially because it's counterproductive and partially because women would win, there are certain issues that affect men exclusively or disproportionately. Many of these are also the obverse of issues that affect women because of patriarchy. For example, men are disproportionately the victims of violent crimes other than rape, such as murder and manslaughter (as well as the perpetrators). Gender roles and sexual norms are much more rigidly and uncompromisingly policed for men than women (think about social reaction to a girl wearing pants vs. a boy wearing a dress). When boys are socialized to be traditionally masculine it often involves degrading their emotions and encouraging them to suppress and deny that side of themselves. There are also legal and social areas where men have certain disadvantages, such as parental rights. That's pretty non-comprehensive, but I think men are clearly hurt by patriarchy as well as benefiting from it. Hence why I like the bell hooks definition. Men are complicit in oppression and also suffer from it; women are complicit in oppression and also suffer from it. That's not to say no differences exist between the two, but just that we should all be on the same side and have the same goals.
  21. I like the bell hooks definition: "Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression." Simple, straightforward, non gender-specific (because both men and women do contribute to sexism and oppression, and while for the most part that oppression is directed at women, men also suffer from it).
  22. So here's a crazy thought. Maybe they're not burning effigies because the unrest has nothing to do with us, and is about Egyptians fighting for freedom for themselves from an oppressive regime that has subverted democracy for three decades! And your largest concern is that it will lead to the overthrow of the Saudis, which is important because they would be anti-US? Not every event needs to be filtered through the lens of US power posturing.
  23. Screech

    Virtue Ethics

    Ehh, I've never been particularly persuaded by virtue ethics, it never seems to get much further than begging the question. Plus, if you want to construct some kind of value framework rather than just letting moral decisions be completely subjective (which, okay, you can choose to be a relativist), then virtue ethics never seems to really build an evaluative toolkit with any real power to make distinctions. On the framework of the K Lazzarone laid out: you're confusing ethics and meta-ethics here. I would caution you not to conflate all non-VE moral theories with emotivism. VE is a morality that attempts to be based on character traits as opposed to acts (which is pretty dominant in Christian and post-Christian moral theorizing after Hellenism). Emotivism is a position in meta-ethics that moral claims express disapproval for an act rather than statements which are provably true or false around the world, and it's sometimes known as the "hurray/boo" theory - that saying "lying is wrong" is equivalent to saying "Lying! Boo!". It's contrasted with cognitivism - that saying "Lying is wrong" is equivalent to saying that the act of lying has certain facts about it, among which is the moral fact that lying is wrong, and that the statement itself could be proven true or false through some kind of investigation. I could be a cognitivist virtue ethicist (although MacIntyre is opposed to emotivism, I'm not aware of what his replacement for it is) and say stuff like "sentences about honor and charity and bravery have definite, logical meaning" or I could be a emotivist virtue ethicist and say "sentences about bravery really mean 'bravery! woo!'" or I could even be some other kind of non-cognitivist virtue ethicist. Which means that, in terms of ethics, there's no necessary contradiction between anti-emotivism on the one hand and moral values other than virtues (such as act-based moralities) on the other. There's all kinds of things you can appeal to to preserve act-based morality - util, social contract theory, psychological egoism, Kant, and probably others I can't think of right now. In fact, util probably lends itself better to a foundation in cognitivism (which is about as diametrically opposed to emotivism as you can get). That said, I like the framework of the K, and if you're actually willing to do an in-depth discussion of ethics and meta-ethics in-round at the level of ethics and meta-ethics (I've usually seen people appealing to consequences instead - why have a framework debate if you're just going to base it in util anyway?) I think it could be highly interesting and educational.
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