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Re: <nettime> Technological Construction of Society
Brian Holmes on Wed, 27 Mar 2013 12:24:05 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Technological Construction of Society



On 03/25/2013 08:19 AM, Newmedia {AT} aol.com wrote:

Based on the categories that have become widespread over the past 40
years, I guess that I am a "technological determinist" -- perhaps
the worst sort of "thought criminal" possible in social science.

Mark, the simple answer to your question is that causality is bunk.
Every human event is the singular outcome of a confluence of multiple
substances, forces and possibilities. No "cause" can be isolated as
the "determinant factor" because not only all of the raw materials and
forces, but also all the open possibilities at play in a particular
situation are required to make *that* singular outcome. Therefore,
s/he who isolates a singular "cause" is a determinist. And when the
cause is technological... well, you get it.

So yes, Mark, it's true, you *are* a thought criminal. You can persist
in your ways, it's fine, don't worry, no one will care, there are as
yet no "social science police" (that I know of, anyway). But if you
want to make amends to all those forty-something social scientists
whose disapprobation seems to be troubling you, just try, once or
twice, as an exercise, an experiment, a foray outside yourself, just
try describing all the aspects that feed into the emergence of a
singular social situation. Of course you will never prove anything
this way. Of course you will never get it "right." Of course you
will always miss one or many substances, forces, possibilities.
But maybe your approximative efforts will give people a greater
awareness of what *they* can do, within some particular concatenation
of substances, forces, possibilities.

I guess my point is that a world without determinant causes is a world
without masters.

in exactly that spirit, Brian

PS - For you philosophers out there, is this a more-or-less Spinozian
way of thinking? Maybe you can elaborate a little?




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