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Re: <nettime> Fwd: Re: Forms of decisionism
Brian Holmes on Sun, 24 Jul 2016 13:25:17 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Fwd: Re: Forms of decisionism


The type of theory being discussed here operates precisely at the point where the best attempts to understand and quantify what happened in the past shade over into an exhortative rhetoric that tries to help shape the still-open range of possible futures. You are right, Morlock, that this characteristic is often elided by people presenting such theories. Yet it is inevitable and by no means discounts the theorizing. As "objective" as it may strive to be, the prediction of future social development is part of the development it tries to predict. There's no way around that particular paradox.

A science like geology, which is constitutive to the technology of mining and all that it entails, is now recognizing human activity as fundamental to the very baseline of objectivity, namely, what used to be called nature. Scientific theory is one of the causes of the "new nature" that we experience in the Anthropocene. That too can no longer be denied. So the epistemological distinction between theory and ideology is necessarily changing.... The simplistic distinction between the two is way out of date. For at least half a century, circular causality has brought the deepest insights into the human predicament.

best, Brian

On 07/20/2016 12:12 AM, Morlock Elloi wrote:

Maybe I'm making mistake assuming that "theory" here means
normative/scientific theory, something that strives to provide
predictions in sustainable and repeatable fashion. Theories that predict
past are useless, and what someone feels the future should be and steps
to achieve that is, in my mind, ideology and not a theory.

There is a big difference: a theory can be wrong, ideology cannot. The
prevailing slippery allusions to the scientific meaning of theory seem
intentional.

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