The Terminological Paradox

“Terminology”, as it’s normally defined, signifies specialized jargon. There’s medical terminology, biological terminology and so forth. Some terms refer to different objects within specific classes, broadly speaking, such as anatomical terms and taxonomic terms. Other terms refer to functionality within a system; biological terminology would be a prime example. Moreover, some terms refer to varying logical structures; think of “supervenience” in philosophy. And, of course there is a good deal of overlap between these categories, but these categories are good guides of thought nonetheless.

Today, I want to zero in on Economic terminology; not merely descriptive or functional economic terminology, such as ‘bank’ or ‘lending’, but more correlational terms, such as “adverse selection” and “division of labor”. The binding factor of these ‘correlational terms’ is that they are–in contrast to functional and easily explainable terms–terms that entail relational, sociological processes. Another way in which to think about these terms is that they are “snapshot definitions” of sorts. They attempt to describe complex, relational processes, by isolating certain aspects and solidifying them into an easy-made term. And, in my opinion, the use of terms to categorize and to translate these relations/correlations into varying domains is a risky business. Let’s see why.

Let’s say that, within the economics world, there is a consensus that there is a correlation between the variables, a and b. And let’s assume that they call this relation, C. Let’s also say that there is another accepted correlation between a and d, E. And let’s say that these economists have discovered an “economic law”, stating that:

C, in conjunction with E, leads to F, ceteris paribus.

This law is held to be the last word for quite some time, but one day, the economics world is shaken by the proclamation:

C, in conjunction with E, actually leads to G, ceteris paribus.

But let’s say that the initial effect, F, only known by economists to exemplify the correlation, x^y, actual entails another hidden correlation, b^d. So a variablistic translation of what the economists’ original law actually entailed would look like:

a^b, in conjunction with a^d, leads to x^y(b^d), ceteris paribus.

But, what if the correlation of x^y(b^d) is already recognized by the economists to fall under an entirely separate term, G? And here’s the thing: Even if the economists recognize that there is a hidden variable within the term, F, there is no guarantee that there isn’t another, ill-suited term in use that recognizes this relationship. This is what I call the terminological paradox.

This illustrates an inherent issue with an over-reliance on terminological structure. Economics is a prime example of this, simply due to current position that the discipline is in. Economics is stuck between a deductive, terminological form of reasoning and a relational, variablistic form of reasoning. This predicament can be better envisioned by imagining what predicament physics would be in if, for instance, physicists relied heavily on terminology, rather than mathematics. Terminology certainly has its place, but an over-reliance on it often leads to unnecessary confusion and impedes progress.

Issues with ‘Communalism’: A Practical Critique

The political philosophy of Communalism, first conceived of by the Marxist-turned anarchist-turned ‘social ecologist’, Murray Bookchin, represents a peculiar economic middle point, nestled between free market society and centrally planned society. Communalism, places the ‘confederal council’ at the forefront of society, structuring the economic system around communal ownership. Now, the initial charm of this philosophy is undeniable. Socialists, who have witnessed the extreme inefficiency and atrocities of centrally planned society, are given an enticing alternative to capitalism; and contemporary anarchists who are intellectually discerning enough to realize the severe complications that would accompany an ultimate ‘smashing of the state’ are presented with an appealing, seemingly feasible option of societal reconstruction in Communalism. But, as it seems to turn out with every alternative to capitalism, there are some major conceptual and practical flaws. In the following few paragraphs I will spell out these flaws in relative detail, beginning with some organizational and practical issues and then transitioning to some ethical and conceptual issues.

Extreme Complexity

In Communist, centrally-planned society, the ‘problem of allocation’ was one major component of its downfall. Simply, the extreme amount of information needed to accurately assess what people would buy, where they would buy it, and how much of it they buy relative to other consumer goods was far too much for the planners to assess and implement. In Communalism, we don’t have to hassle with any central planning but we do have to wrestle with the notion of ‘communal ownership’. We will be endowed with an entirely new political decision making apparatus, a network of municipalities and a confederal council, to accompany this shift in economic decision making. Now, Bookchin himself never formulated a viable political or economic framework within which his Communalism could operate. But, the more practically minded progressive thinker, Michael Albert has. Albert is the author of the book, Parecon: Life After Capitalism. Within this economic system he terms “parecon”, he proposes a system of worker councils and consumer councils. At the beginning of each year, consumers will draw up a list of “projected purchases”, that is, all of the items that they intend to buy for the upcoming year. Then, these lists will be sent to the worker council, which will determine how many hours of work and how many workers will be needed to produce the items. If there is sufficient convergence between the consumers and workers, then that is that, and the production and consumption processes will commence in pseudo-market fashion. But, if there is not sufficient convergence, then another iteration will be necessary. “In [Albert’s] example of ‘a typical planning process’, the iteration process goes back and forth five times, i.e., all 100 million of us are asked to redo our calculations five times.”

Now this tedious process in itself presents a major practical hurdle but there is an additional issue that would arise: the limitations upon consumer desires that would be inherent in this system of production. For example, let’s say that, out of a municipality consisting of three-thousand people, there are only ten people who desire good A. And if certain materials required to produce good A are relatively tough to procure and/or it takes many hours or much man power to produce A, it is unlikely that the consumers will receive it. I won’t begin to address this here, but I do have a few ideas as to how this dilemma could be amended. So, this is one ( though there are no current competing theories) example of how a society structured around communal ownership could operate economically.

Vocationally, Albert envisions a society in which workers are compensated in accordance with the amount of effort that they exert. He imagines that an employee’s fellow workers could assess the intensity with which he works. The issues inherent within this process are myriad. What would incentivize the workers to make accurate assessments of their coworkers? Would there not be a convergence towards a certain “norm” of compensated effort? This issue seems quite similar to the aforementioned “issue of motivation” inherent in the centrally planned society.

Enforced Community, Spontaneous Communities or Porous Communities?

Bookchin initially conceived of Communalism as embodying a “communal ethic”, or a collective state of mind in which one’s own community would be viewed as the ideal place to live. But how could this actually happen? It seems that various forms of technology that connect society would have to be either tampered with or abandoned altogether in order for this “communal ethic” to come to fruition. For example, let’s imagine that the structural form of Communalism was implemented, while all modern technological communication systems have been unaltered. Let’s assume that all citizens have had the freedom to chose their respective municipalities and that they are all initially content with their choices. But how can knowledge and information be freely transmitted between municipalities, all while maintaining a cohesive communal ethic within each municipality? It seems that a society attempting to conflate Communalism and modern communications technology would likely dissolve into a Porous Communalism, in which movement amongst municipalities were commonplace. But, it is unclear whether or not this permeability would hamper the possible benefits of a Communalist political structure.

Another alternative dynamic that could arise within this techno-Communalism scenario would be Spontaneous Communalism, in which all citizens, though aware that there may be better opportunities for them in other municipalities, are perfectly content to remain within their initial municipality. But it seems exceedingly unlikely that this spontaneous Communalism would remain intact for more than one generation, if it could remain intact at all.

And, if it were determined that a porous Communalism were a greater threat to personal freedom than were restriction of freedom of movement and/or freedom of free communication, then there could be a sort of enforced Communalism, in which either the confederal council were the “enforcer” or the municipalities themselves adopted anti-immigration as a norm and/or policy. This variety of Communalism seems at once the most implausible and the most restrictive form of Communalism that could take shape. It also seems implausible that an enforced form of Communalism could occur without the abolition or extreme modification of the currently existing communications technologies. This would either turn each municipality into an internally-deceptive, authoritarian cell or it would institute a sort of anarcho-primitivist society, erasing all progress.

There is also another element in play: the “confederal council”. In a porous Communalist society, would a constant stream of periodically recycled, cosmopolitan delegates not lead to inter-municipal coalitions? And in an enforced or a spontaneous society, would a constant stream of parochial, municipally-minded delegates not either lead to a porous society or a complete collapse of the Communalist system altogether?

So, ethically, in order for a Communalist society to function, we must find a way for the community to take the forefront of human value. This much, Bookchin was aware of and ardently preached. But, it is unclear how exactly citizens will resist extra-municipal opportunities that may arise. Will they, by convention, delude themselves into thinking that their best opportunities always lie within their own municipality? Will they be coerced into thinking this by their respective municipal governments? Or will citizens roam freely, from municipality to municipality, while the political and economic structure of Communalism remains fully functional?

Summary and Speculation

Economically, the main issue of Communalist organization–excluding the hassle of drawing up “consumption lists”–is that of availability of goods. As was mentioned before, the communal ownership structure, as does the central ownership structure, hampers the consumers’ selection of goods. One possible solution to this, would be to add a third nexus onto the structural chain: a “confederal economic body”. These economic bodies could be uniformly distributed throughout the society, such that each economic body could serve one or more municipalities. The position of confederal economic body member could be grouped with confederal council member or it could be an entirely separate position. But either way, the position would have to be an elective, periodically “rotated” position. In addition, this position would need to be incentivized in some manner, as members would engage in rather menial work.

Ethically, the main issue is one of balancing personal opportunity with personal obligation. However, it may instead be the case that personal opportunity and obligation can be balanced in much the same manner as they are in contemporary, democratic society, leaving the Communalist system intact.

 

David Schweickart, Nonsense on Stilts: Michael Albert’s Parecon , January 16, 2006

 

 

 

 

On The Reformation of Sociology

The field of variegated, tinkering inquiry into anything that can vaguely be deemed a “social” issue is called Sociology. In this article, I will wade briefly through the swamp of contemporary sociology, sifting through each element or “camp” in order to find the best elements. What I will eventually conclude, among other things, is that there is a large portion of contemporary sociology that is possessed by the demon of psychological reductionism, that is, the notion that all social process can be reduced to psychological motives or desires. This psychological reductionism, though claimed to have been addressed by contemporaries, has only been swept under the rug and risen again(though in slightly different form), such that there seems to be a trend of analyzing psychological questions and social question in tandem. Often, the psychological questions in mention have “social causes”, such that they are explained to be the result of something like “economic inequality” or “urban culture”. This approach is sadly mistaken and has fractured the so-called “discipline” of sociology beyond all recognition and coherence. And the main point to be made here is that the goal is not to gather sociology together again or to bind it into one coherent field. It may not even be the case that this much cannot be done, rather it is so that this shouldn’t be done. For if we are to salvage the redeemable “sociological qualities” of sociology, pulling them from the detritus and superfluousity, we must form a proper method of separating the discipline. Why? Let’s find out–

In the beginning–well at least one of the beginnings–there was a chap named Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes was initially a rather devout scholar of classical literature. He could quote his Aristotle. And until his early forties he was faithful to Aristotle’s philosophy. That is until he took a visit to France and had an encounter with Euclid. Euclid demonstrated to him the wonder and efficiency of geometric proof. Later, he visited Italy, attending a lecture given by the intellectual giant, Galileo. Hobbes assimilated the groundbreaking notion that statis is not the “natural” state of objects, and that, if left unmolested by external force, objects will “naturally” continue to move. (Visions of the Sociological Tradition, Levine) Conflating these new cornerstones of knowledge, Hobbes laid a cornerstone himself, that of the principle of societal change and dynamic direction. Yet Hobbes also opened up the door to psychological reductionism, or psychologism as we will use hereon. The conceptual leap dealt with by Galileo, from statics to dynamics, translated into a conceptual leap from the imposed, static configuration of men into an ideal, rigidly-hierarchical polis conceived of by Plato; to a chaotic society, fed by man’s psychological impulses and tempered by the state apparatus, a necessary force to keep the wretched citizens in line. And through the years, this psychological groundwork laid by Hobbes remained quite ingrained into social inquiry.

Both the brilliant social philosopher J.S. Mill and the man known as the founder of sociology, Augusta Comte, fell victim to the demon of psychologism. But there was one man of the times who knew better– Karl Marx. Marx knew that “It is not the consciousness of man that determines his existence–rather, it is his social existence that determines his consciousness.” (The Open Society and Its Enemies, Popper) But unfortunately, this astute assessment was diluted by his slew of specious reasoning. Namely, the vein of historicism running rampant through his works. That is, the notion that history moves according to different “stages” and that there are inexorable laws governing the transition between each stage. (The Poverty of Historicism, Popper) And the following sociological theories and “schools” built around Marx’s ideas, namely “Critical Theory”, exhibit(ed) much the same fallacy. And, sadly, the other German schools didn’t do much better. Phenomenology is flatly inadequate when it comes to analyzing the social realm; it amounts to nothing more than essentialist armchair psychology. This is not to dismiss the undoubted aesthetic pull of phenomenology. Admittedly, it has a certain artistic sensibility, as do many other fallacious notions. But in terms of building testable models and accurately explaining social phenomena, it amounts to nothing. And to be sure, it certainly isn’t only the Germans who have floundered. Overall, when it comes to “sociological theory”, something that proliferated wildly in France with Comte, to the other Frenchman Durkheim and then making its way to America with Parsons and Mills, nothing has amounted to much more than vague, mildly intellectually-pleasing social-musing. That is not to say of course that none of these theories were tested, rather, it is to say that something was and is fundamentally wrong, by and large, with the discipline known as sociology.

The problem begins with the vestiges of psychologism, is influenced by the Marxian relic of “adequate explainationism” and is magnified by the contemporary vein of social relativism.

The “vestiges of psychologism” noted above can best be described as lumping problems of psychology into sociological inquiry. It is the asking of “why?” questions for psychological human variables–a psychological “why?”, in place of a functional, sociological “why?”. For example, a sociologist may inquire into the causes of urban poverty. The sociologist may acquire information that leads her to believe that urban poverty causes increased rates of depression. Then she will ask “why?” Why does urban poverty lead people to become depressed? Is it the decreased opportunities for exercise? Could it be the poor diet of urban residents? Etc.. My assertion here is that these are not sociological inquiries but psychological inquiries, left to be studied by a new field of “Social Psychology”.

The Marxian adequate explanationism can be defined as the tendency to mistake interpretations of society for doctrines or theories. I use the term “Marxian” rather than Marxist to highlight the fact that the idea was never directly discussed by Marx, rather it is a fallacy, an intellectual blind spot of Marx. Marx, simply, was the first sociological “grand theorizer”, creating the first system of society. As Karl Popper states, “It is possible, for example, to interpret ‘history’ as the history of class struggle, or of the struggle of races for supremacy… But historicists do not present them as such; they do not see that there is necessarily a plurality of interpretations…”(The Poverty of Historicism). I will argue that all previously posited “sociological theories” have fallen under the umbrella of this adequate explanationism.

The “vein of social relativism” noted above can best be described as a combination of the inconspicuous presence of the vestiges of psychologism discussed above and an undue emphasis on the fact that, in the social world, no culture, environment or experience is exactly the same. These two notions conflated form a lethal cocktail of contemporary sociological hyper-focus on culture and tradition, to the detriment of developing a sound framework of sociological analysis. It is true that no social situation can be identical to another; it is true that different cultures have different norms; and it is true that the environment has an effect on both the psychological state and the social life of the individual. But these facts do not warrant the sort of reaction that has ensued in sociology. These facts do not warrant such a hyper-focus on the personal, phenomenological(not in the sense of the school of thought) aspects of social structure.

My answer to these issues will be formulated by parsing the current “discipline” of sociology into a different structure altogether, removing some components and consolidating and supplementing others. First, a new manner of sociological thought will be presented. Then answers, in terms of the parsing of the discipline, will be presented in the form of statements and explanations of each statement.

Sociological Logic

Sociological theory, by and large, attempts explanation via a top-down approach. A general “theory of society” is formed and then phenomena are explained away via this theory.

Sociological Logic attempts a bottom-up approach, citing the “building blocks” of society as motivations, actions and “viewpoints”. Combining these we reach a structure of agreements, executions thereof, and fulfillments thereof. Then we can form certain “structures” of action, in tandem with the motivations and viewpoints that accompany them, with the help of modal logics, namely, deontic logic, doxastic logic and epistemic logic. Sociological Logic is founded on the principle of methodological individualism, transcending the often inadvertent, rampant practice of methodological psychologism. Sociological Logic may be tweaked, corroborated or contradicted via the use of empirical experiment and computational data.

Reshaping The Discipline

I) The portions of Sociology that examine the effects of culture and social environment upon the psychological aspects of the individual should be left to the fields of Anthropology and Psychology.

II) “Culture”, as the term is used in contemporary Sociology is quite vague. The portions of cultural that deal with issues of structure and formation of social groups and institutions shall be addressed with Sociological Logic. The other portions, dealing with tradition, holidays and aesthetic difference should be left to Anthropology.

III) Psychology, as it currently stands, is narrow in scope. I suggest that it may be helpful to expand Psychology into two portions, Social Psychology and Individual Psychology. This will allow Sociology to more effectively answer questions devoid of intense psychological influence, while still allowing Social Psychology and Sociology to collaborate.

IV) The nascent quasi-field of Computational Sociology should be expanded. Computational Sociology and Agent-Based-Modeling are perfect “environments” for Sociological Logic to operate within.

V) Quantitative Sociological analysis is vital to the proper operation of Sociological Logic. Quantitative social data will be used to guide and check Sociological Logic.

The New Structure

[Sociology]

•SL

•Agent Based Modeling

•Quantitative input

[Psychology]

•Social Psychology

•Individual Psychology

•Cultural

•Etc.

[Anthropology]

•Cultural

•Etc.

The New Metaphysics

Many have heard of the CTMU, but few seem to see it as much more than obscure nonsense. This is a massive shame. The Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe by Chris Langan is a profound assertion and perhaps the boldest leap forward in all of philosophical history. The most commonly stated criticism falls under two similar categories: [(1) Those who have attempted to understand it but have given up. (2) Those who glance at it once and gripe about the abundance of “made up words”.] I believe both parties could benefit from a sequential, logically-guided restatement of its main points. And that’s what I’ll attempt below. I will provide an overview of the CTMU’s conclusions that many people deem as “leaps of faith” or “sheer conjecture”. In terms of format, I will do a sort of Wittgensteinian list of facts and logical conclusions, presented by order of logical conclusion.

[1] If time is merely a result of a “tool” of perception, then it follows that, in the absence of perception, there need be no linearity or regularity of time.

[2] If there is no regularity of time then there need be no regularity of matter–at least not in the manner commonly conceived.

[3] Therefore, it can be said that perception brings a stable “external world” into existence.

[4] But this “external world” was not simply brought into existence as is normally conceived.

[5] Before this external world solidified, so to speak, there must have been a potential for its existence.

[6] Therefore, the “universe”–as opposed to an aggregate of all ‘actually existing things’–is simply: a sum of all potential “external worlds”, things currently existing, in addition to the method of bringing these things into existence.

[7] For a potential to be actualized or brought to the external world there must be some method of transmission between the potential and the actual.

[8] But as this transmission originates outside of linear time it is not composed of “matter”, as is traditionally conceived.

[9] If, as was stated above, perception brings a stable “external world” into existence, then there must “exist” within this sort of potential store something in common with perception, a sort of isomorphism or common ground.

[10] That which possesses an isomorphism to consciousness or “perception” is of a logical/linguistic nature, as there must be logical coherence between an object and a perceiver.

[11] There can be no form of reference or accessibility without a logical/linguistic structure.

[12] It is a logical contradiction for something to have potential yet not be referenceable or accessible.

[13] This potential–as with all else– can be accessible only through a logical/linguistic structure.

[14] Therefore, the sum of all potential “external worlds” must be of a logical/linguistic nature.

[15] Considering that this “store of potential” exists outside of time and space, traditional notions of causality do not apply.

[16] The only option left is self-causality or self-determinacy.

[17] If this self-determinacy is paired with the logical/linguistic nature of the “store of potential” then the universe must exist by logical necessity.

[18] If something determines its own existence and must exist out of logical necessity, then does the universe not resemble some notion of God?

These are the main cruxes of Langan’s CTMU, and (most)everything else contained within is a logical corollary of these cruxes. Simply, there are no leaps of faith or illogical stretches of thought.

Moving Beyond the Graph: Ideas For an Economic Remodeling

Everybody has taken an economics course at some point or another, and everyone has likely seen something a lot like this: IMG_0876

It’s a simple enough heuristic to teach beginners how aspects of “the economy” interrelate. But unfortunately, it is often the same tool that is used by seasoned economists to “predict” how the economy will respond to various interventions and scenarios. Proponents of this tool (virtually everyone) could make such a metaphor as “it’s no different than using a two-dimensional playbook to model three-dimensional football plays. It works like a charm, for the most part!” And when the model does fail to match up with more empirical data gathered from the “real world” it’s chalked up to the immense complexity of the economy. “The economy is so complex, so it’s natural that our methods of modeling it will fail in some cases”, cry the economists. But, deep down, they know that there must be a better way. Many of them believe this better way is a form of strict empiricism, in the sense that surveys and raw data are the only tools that we can use to more accurately assess the economy. “Right now we currently don’t have enough processing power to gather enough data, but we will! And when we will then we will finally understand the economy fully” they say. But computing power without a proper method is no better than a shiny, top-of-the-line typewriter perched in front of a primate; and economics needs and deserves a better method. Some economists, still dissatisfied with the strict economic empiricism, turn towards sociology, perhaps analyzing the social situations and influences upon economic factors. But the methods in this domain are severely lacking and the economic empiricists are unwilling to consider such “relative” and “subjective” forms of economic analysis as sociologically-influenced economic research. So what’s the answer?

It’s certainly not simple, but I believe I have a rough starting point. We must first ditch the notion that, in terms of economic and sociological analysis, that emotions and motivations are “far too subjective and relative” to even be considered. By and large, in terms of economic and societal analysis, we need not know exactly what a person feels like to asses the impacts of his motivations and the way his actions effect society at large. The questions of why? are up to psychology. And, regardless, sociology cannot be reduced to any sort of “human nature” or psychology. The virulent spread of the false notion of sociological “relativism” has done nothing but harm to the social sciences, namely economics and sociology. And there are ways in which to economically model that include motivations, agreements and other such notions that are currently sequestered into the hermetic box of “messy social issues”. Let’s take a look…

As I’ve presented in my previous blogs, sociology can be presented, at base-level, as a web of agreement-execution-fulfillment interplay. And there is a form of “logic” (of modal nature)–that I’ve been developing–that can present the nature of both the motivations of individuals, households, groups, businesses and governments; the structures of their interrelations and even their personal views of various agreements. Now here’s the crucial point: agreements, executions and fulfillments represent the foundation for economic activity, in addition to sociological activity. For what is economics but the–often socially covert–layer on top of society? Agreements in many instances are created by an abstract “money motivation”, the execution of these agreements is financed through money and the fulfillment often depends on the quality of the resources that were financed in the execution stage. If we can develop a system of analysis that maps these different stages to their different constituent groups, while accounting for the monetary exchange that occurs, then we’ll be well on our way. Let’s look at a few possibilities…

So these first two diagrams show the first part of the process–agreement. With a little bit of tinkering one can find a number of different sociological agreement structures such as that represented in the lower picture. These “needs”, not arising from psychology per se, exist to serve societal norms and functions. And–in reference to the top picture–each agreement between two entities has four characteristics, and when we add the specific entities’ “motivations” into the mix, there are six characteristics. This is important as most times when the word “agreement” is used, in terms of sociology, only two characteristics are considered, with perhaps the “influence” of a third party. This form of agreement and sociological need modeling can also be combined with a form of modal logic. We can also formalize this model, creating statements that resemble something like:

Now for the macroscopic scale, we can introduce a network of different industry types (primary, secondary, etc), different companies, different households, spending/revenue flows, all this in addition to the aforementioned agreement-need modeling.

With such a model we can better model the various interconnections of industry and household. Certain groups of households are more likely to work in certain industries; yet these same households are unable to purchase from all industries, whether by functional or monetary constraint. This much is common knowledge, but within the vast expanse of macroeconomic modeling these details are often obscured. Now, the model seen above is just a two-dimensional sketch of what’s likely optimal. It’s possible that this sort of model may even work better as a kind of of three-dimensional matrix, plotting different entities and their interconnections in that manner. But all this is rather abstract and I’m still working on the best way to format this idea. But intuitively I feel that I’m moving in the right direction.

Another thing to mention is the possible compatibility of these models with agent-based simulations. In terms of current agent-based sim methods, I believe that these models could provide a bit more of a framework than is currently in place. Agent-based modeling can only go so far with its current methods of analysis, namely it’s extremely simple motivation-agreement structures. I’m definitely interested to see how my models can help ABMs.

So unfortunately that’s all for today guys, and as usual, there’s much more to come!

–JM

Sociological Logic: Weighted Agreements and Legality

So on my last post I introduced my system of sociological modeling, dubbed “sociological logic”. I said that all of “sociological” interaction comes down to two things at base-level, motivations and actions. And I introduced a system of operators and operations thereof, in order to better model the dynamic between motivations and actions on different levels.
In this post I’m gonna go more into depth about the AGREEMENT and FULFILLMENT FUNCTIONS that I talked about in the last post, and I’m also gonna add another function, the PERSONAL TERMS FUNCTION.
So here’s an intro to the ideas:
AGREEMENT [Α(sub)a | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l]*
* where A = a sociological entity of class A (individual level) • R = ASKING FOR operator• x—x = WHAT FOR function • t = an ABSTRACT FORM representing “time” • l = an ABSTRACT FORM representing “love” • ⇔ represents the “agreement” or implied contract between both entities
FULFILLMENT A | ♣R } x—x } M } A*
* where ♣ = the FULFILLMENT STANDING of any entity, or more specifically, in the agreement-execution-fulfillment cycle, fulfillment is the quantity and quality to which the execution was “fulfilled” or is “viewed to be” fulfilled
So it became immediately clear to me that these “agreements” and “fulfillments” could be used to model a variety of different dynamics and relationships and viewpoints therein, if I introduced one more, “gap-bridging” function.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
So let’s say that we have two entities, A(sub)a • A(sub)b. And these entities have a certain agreement between themselves, AGRx:
AGRx {[A(sub)a | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l]}
Now, we have a system of modeling each entity’s motivations but we don’t have a way to model an entity’s view of its motivation-agreement interplay or any way to weight or compare against one another different agreements. But now we do:
PERSONAL TERMS V {[A(sub)a | AGRx] CF(sub)m|s}*
*where V = the PERSON TERMS operator • CF = CERTAINTY OF FULFILLMENT • m | s = “middle and stable”, to elaborate, each CF can have 9 different combinations and there are 2 “classes”, with 3 in each, where class 1(progression) = s, stable • d, declining • g, growing • class 2(degree) = h, high • l, low • m, middle. And as a note, yes, these “classes” are quite “arbitrary” but that is the nature of subjective, motivation-based areas. These classes can be considered in a more “objective” light if we examine them within their entity’s motivation-agreement interplay and agreement-execution-fulfillment framework.
So now we have:
AGRx {[A(sub)a | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l]}
V {[A(sub)a | AGRx] CF(sub)h|s}
V {[A(sub)b | AGRx] CF(sub)m|d}*
*as an aside, from here on all WHAT FOR functions will be implied, with the “x—x” omitted
And to simplify, a plain English translation would be something along the lines of:
Two people, person A and person B, are in a relationship. This relationship can be viewed as an agreement between the two people. Person A wants “time” and “love” out of the agreement, and person B wants “time” and “love” too. However, the two are not on the same page when it comes to how they view their relationship. Person A feels very confident about the strength of the agreement that he has with his partner. Person B, however, feels less than confident, and in person B’s opinion, it is becoming less likely that the agreement will continue to be fulfilled.
So we’ve successfully modeled a very typical, “love dance”, all by using operations modeled around two simple base operators, based on the two, base-level components of sociological analysis, motivation and action. Now let’s get deeper…
So it’s clear that in “real life” that people don’t just have one agreement; they have many, each one with varying demands and intensities. Let’s go ahead and model a more complex agreement structure, using the same basic outline as above:
AGRx {[A(sub)a | R } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } M } A(sub)t,l]}
V {[A(sub)a | AGRx] CF(sub)h|s}
V {[A(sub)b | AGRx] CF(sub)m|d}
AGRy {[A(sub)a | R } M(sub)$ } A(sub)f,s]} ⇔ {[Δ(sub)a | R } M(sub)w,pc } A(sub)s]}
AGRz {[AGRx] ⇔ [AGRy]}
The above simply signifies that AGRz is a representation of a relation between agreements x and y, an agreement based on two agreements. And where AGRz is defined as:
AGRz [R } TS ω AGRy ⇒ AGRx ∼ γ]*
*where TS= the EXECUTION operator • ω = the IS SUCH THAT/IS connective, in the sense that the following statement is considered an EXECUTION RELATION • ∼ = the NOT operator • where ⇒ = the UPON connective, in that the following is the AGR being compared to, in a “secondary” sense • γ = the INTERFERENCE variable, such that various aspects of the agreement interplay lead to sizeable differences in CF variables
Now even deeper… Let’s assume for a second that A(sub)a is falling short on his end of AGRz; let’s assume that he’s spending too much time at work, engaging in AGRy, and the INTERFERENCE level begins to rise to such a level that A(sub)b gets worried. Let’s take a look at (sub)a’s views on AGRz in that case:
V[A(sub)a | AGRy } AGRx } c ⊃ ♣AGRz]
∴ V[A(sub)a | Wc AGRy > AGRx]*
*where c = a factor denoting the maintaining of a certain agreement or state of agreement dynamic, also denoting the “current” state • ♣ = FULFILLMENT of the agreement-execution-fulfillment cycle • ⊃ = IF THEN symbol from traditional formal logic • ∴ = “because”, as a personal reason, more so than a logical conclusion • W = PERSONAL WEIGHT, meaning the personal emphasis, in this case, emphasis on one agreement over another • > = “greater than”, in this case something like “possessing greater personal emphasis than”
And once more, to simplify, a plain English translation would look something like this:
Person A and person B not only have their “primary” agreement, where both of them request time and love, but they’ve got another agreement between each other. This agreement is a pledge that person A balance his agreement with his employer, company A. If person A begins spending too much time with company A, at the expense of person B or devoting other resources to company A, at the expense of person B, then this agreement will begin to crumble. Currently, person A, for unknown reasons, places a higher personal emphasis on his agreement with company A, than he does on his agreement with person B. His reasoning is that, at the current time, if he places a higher emphasis on his agreement with company B, this will actually help him to better fulfill his agreement with person B. He simply believes that, at this time, his agreement with his company is more important.
So that’s all I’ve got time for today. But next addition will be an intro to the legal viewpoint of “sociological logic” and maybe some more in depth analysis of some of the currently rather vague sounding terms and variables I’ve thrown in. Hope you guys (or the one person who actually read this lol) enjoyed!
Still much more to come,

-JM

Sociological Logic: An Intro

So for the past few months, this novel idea has been germinating in my head. It started when I began thinking about the world and its history as a sort of vast, computational process; a sort of extremely intricate, more dazzling game of John Conway’s Life. And now, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m convinced that all of sociology’s processes can be modeled and assessed with some basic, yet deeply interconnected and “layered” operators and operations thereof.

Here’s what I mean by operators:

All of sociological process, at its most fundamental level, comes down to motivations and actions. And surprisingly, there’s really not much else to it, at base-level of course. Everything else, such as finance, business operations and development of ideology and worldview is simply a function of the interconnections between various actions and their structures and various motivations and their structures. A lot of current sociology, I feel, is too concerned with isolated certain groups or phenomena and holding steadfastly to this idea that: “before we can even attempt to model society on its broader level, we must first figure out the exact motivations of this group and why this and how that of this group.” Sure, occasionally they throw in analysis of “this group/phenomenon” in terms of “another group/phenomenon” but this analysis, in all cases that I’ve seen, is barren in terms of motivational-functional interplay. They simply use a few hypothesized motivations and chalk up the dynamic of the groups to those motivations, such as “displacement” or “differing worldviews”. This is sooo inadequate. So inadequate in fact that it wouldn’t be too completely out there to say that sociology is still stuck in the “dark ages”. It’s not quite caught up with the all-consuming, all-figuring-out march of scientific analysis, instead it still goes for throwing a couple of likely motivations of certain groups out there and hoping they stick.

Anyways… Here’s what I’m thinking:

So we can start out with two basic “operators”, the first for motivation and the second for action,

x—x    the WHAT FOR operator And    TS|X    the DOING FUNCTION operator.

On top of this, we need a framework to handle the motivations at a more in-depth level. So now we’ll add,

}    the IN TERMS OF operator,    M    the MATERIAL variable And    A    the ABSTRACT variable.

So for instance, if we have,    x—x } M } A    then we’ve got the form of a basic RELATIONAL CONSTRUCT.

Now we’ll add some depth to our variables, M and A. Each variable can have a type, such that M(sub)a shows that M has a VARIABLE TYPE, a that specifies the MATERIAL aspect of the RELALTIONAL CONTRUCT that it appears in¹. Here’s an example of a full, specific relational construct:    x—x} M(sub)a } A(sub)b

But all of this is no use without having a set of sociological entities onto which these operators and functions can couple. So here’s the rundown:

There are 5 base-level CLASSES of sociological entities and 1 “emergent level”, seen separated from the others at the bottom,

Α    Individuals

Β    Households

Γ    “Groups”

Δ    Businesses

Ε    Governments

—————————-

Ζ    Ideologies

So now, we can model a few entities. Here we have an individual, Α,  and business, Δ,

                         A | x—x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s

                            Δ | x—x } M(sub)$,w } A(sub)s

where $ = profit, monetary gain • s = success/acheivement • w = work, labor

Fine and dandy. But now we need a way of modeling the two classes’ interaction amongst one another. So I’ve developed something that I call an AGREEMENT FUNCTION, such that,

Α | x—x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s    AND    Δ | x—x } M(sub)$,w } A(sub)s

represent an AGREEMENT FUNCTION that can be expressed as:

[A | R } x–x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s] ⇔ [Δ | R } x—x } M(sub)$,w } A(sub)s]

where R represents an ASKING FOR statement • ⇔ represents the agreement/ implied contract that stands between both parties, connected through their coinciding aspects of their relational constructs. Now we can move to the next step that follows–in an abstract sense–agreement: execution. I call the following an EXECUTION FUNCTION,

TS | X ◊ X⊕x, X⊗x

where ⊕ = a CLASS ACCOUTREMENT • ⊗ = a CLASS ACCOUTREMENT ENABLER • where ◊ = the WITH HELP OF operator

So basically, all this “class acoutrement” stuff is what allows the sociological entity to perform its duty and fulfill its agreement function. So a class accoutrement could be transportation, assets, investments, property, items of production or purchase, etc.. And a class accoutrement enabler could be fuels, resources, raw goods, that either enable that entity to possess the CAs or come before the CAs if the entity is in the Δ (business) class.

Now let’s move on to the third stage in the agreement-execution-fulfillment process, fulfillment. The following is what I call a FULFILLMENT FUNCTION,

A | ♣R } x—x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s

where ♣ = “FULFILLMENT”, which is a consesus-based standing involving the interplay between the entities involved.

So… I figure that’s a pretty decent intro to my ideas. I have much more developed but don’t want to muddy the intro by introducing fifty, crazy-ass concepts. But, with this system, I’ve been able to model class A (individual-level) personal agreements, agreements within these agreements, how these agreements are viewed and weighted by both indivuals and how these agreements combine with each individuals varying other agreements. And this is just the beginning!

Much more to come,

-JM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasm

Here’s a little poem I wrote recently. It’s kind of a lose sketch of the general feeling that looms in protests and rallies, whether the people notice it or not…

 

To dangle, a thread

A twitch, a stirring

To envy, a coupling

So seamless

So stunning

No

Not in the slightest

My apathy has left

And my words have grown feet

A sewing of ends

That may just never meet

My Intellectual Paradigm Shift

I figure everyone goes through periods when their beliefs are shaken and reshaped. And I figure that this is an awesome thing, most of the time. A few months ago I experienced a “reshaping” of sorts, and it was pretty damn awesome.

So it all comes down to something called historicism. I guess I’ve always been aware of the term but I never really probed it or investigated the crux or first principles of it. It was always more of a personal aesthetic leaning for me. I was drawn to that romantic, prophetic idea of having the awesome power of being able to not only see history but to see into and behind it, being able to predict its impending action. I was lured in by the idealistic prophesizing of Marx. I was tantalized by his feat of penetrating societal prediction. How beautiful it was that a man could place his sociological stethoscope on the heart of history and diagnose and predict its coming  “birth pangs”. I was hooked. That is, until I stumbled across a pdf of “The Open Society and Its Enemies” by the badass philosopher Karl Popper.

Wow. How wrong was I… Popper starts out with a view of Plato’s political philosophy and how it, in every instance, supports and proposes a totalitarian system. So apparently Plato had it all figured out. No wonder the democracy that was burgeoning at the time of his political writings was so “wretched”. Society was moving away from its Ideal Form. Everything in the “natural” world, you see, is a diluted, imperfect version of its Form. Form is something that exists independent of our realm, something that is untainted by the dirty progression of the natural world, something that is Ideal. And to change, to progress, is a furthering away from this Ideal. Progress!  Then, a guy named Aristotle, one of Plato’s students, took the reins. He liked the basic concept of his prof’s work. Ideals, sure, let’s keep ’em. But he wasn’t so keen on the idea that change was a sliding away from those Ideals. He decided that instead, Ideals are present inside each object, as it changes. No longer was the Ideal confined to the ethereal. As Socrates saw it, with each change, each object came closer to its ideal, “Final Cause”. So on the cover, since change is no longer demonized, this philosophy, at its base level, no longer advocates totalitarianism, right? Ehh… not really.

All is still fucked with the Forms. As it happens, Forms and Ideals aren’t that great of ways to look at the social world–or really any world for that matter. Let’s suppose you ask, “what is the “essential nature” of mankind?”. What would this entail? An infinite–nonsensical–regress. Because to discover an “essential nature” this nature must be defined. But how much better is that definition, as it is still only a basic lexical definition, lacking scientific specificity. An infinite regress like this isn’t so helpful when it comes to scientific, analytical thought. And such thought is extremely important when looking at near infinitely complex matters as society and history. You can’t just slap a term and a lexical definition on it, no matter how pretty and aesthetically awesome it sounds.

So, when we look at someone like Marx, it becomes brutally obvious how scientifically, analytically lacking his historical prophecies are. Society’s progression through time is an extremely intricate, multi-layered process that cannot be “read” and predicted with a few simple maxims directed at a strangely–and unduly supported through reasoning and evidence– specific bourgeois-proletariat dynamic. Such an idea is akin to isolating a few processes that are central to a cell in an organism and extrapolating those processes to produce a 50-year-long “prophecy” of that organism’s health and function. It simply does not work like this.

With that said, I’m damn happy I stumbled across Karl Popper’s ideas and I really hope other people can experience the same sort of “awakening” that I have.

Until later,

-JM