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Which clippings match 'Reductionist Perspective' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 JANUARY 2016

Humanities aren't a science. Stop treating them like one.

"I don't mean to pick on this single paper. It's simply a timely illustration of a far deeper trend, a tendency that is strong in almost all humanities and social sciences, from literature to psychology, history to political science. Every softer discipline these days seems to feel inadequate unless it becomes harder, more quantifiable, more scientific, more precise. That, it seems, would confer some sort of missing legitimacy in our computerized, digitized, number-happy world. But does it really? Or is it actually undermining the very heart of each discipline that falls into the trap of data, numbers, statistics, and charts? Because here's the truth: most of these disciplines aren't quantifiable, scientific, or precise. They are messy and complicated. And when you try to straighten out the tangle, you may find that you lose far more than you gain.

It's one of the things that irked me about political science and that irks me about psychology—the reliance, insistence, even, on increasingly fancy statistics and data sets to prove any given point, whether it lends itself to that kind of proof or not."

(Maria Konnikova, 10 August 2012, Scientific American)

Bruce McLean, "Pose Work for Plinths 3", 1971, 12 photographs, black and white, on paper on board, 75 x 68 cm (Tate).

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TAGS

appropriately complex representation • attempts to quantify the qualitative • Carol Tavris • easy empiricism • erroneous • error in reasoning • fallacious arguments • faulty reasoning • generalisable simplicity • hard science • Herbert Gintis • humanities • ignorance • imperative of generalisable simplicityimperative of proof • irreducible elements • Isaac Asimov • Italo Calvino • Jerome Kagan • Maria Konnikova • metricisation • nonsense • over-reliance on empirical methods • over-reliance on science • overly reductive • perils of reductionism • post hoc explanations • post hoc hypotheses • pseudoscience • psychohistorical trends • psychology • qualitative phenomena • quantifiable certainty • quantification • quantitative analysis • reduced to scientific explanation • reductionist perspective • Richard Polt • Scientific American (magazine) • scientific-seeming approaches • scientification • scientism • unquantifiable • unsound judgement

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 JANUARY 2012

The Empathic Civilisation: our (collective) empathetic consciousness

"Never has the world seemed so completely united–in the form of communication, commerce, and culture–and so savagely torn apart–in the form of war, financial meltdown, global warming, and even the migration of diseases. ...

The human–made environment is rapidly morphing into a global space, yet our existing modes of consciousness are structured for earlier eras of history, which are just as quickly fading away. Humanity, Rifkin argues, finds itself on the cusp of its greatest experiment to date: refashioning human consciousness so that human beings can mutually live and flourish in the new globalizing society…

As the forces of globalization accelerate, deepen, and become ever more complex, the older faith–based and rational forms of consciousness are likely to become stressed, and even dangerous, as they attempt to navigate a world increasingly beyond their reach and control. Indeed, the emergence of this empathetic consciousness has implications for the future that will likely be as profound and far–reaching as when Enlightenment philosophers upended faith–based consciousness with the canon of reason."

(Jeremy Rifkin)

[A noble effort to explain the consequences of post–traditional society framed through a biological deterministic lens.]

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TAGS

biological determinism • blood-ties • civilisationcollective consciousness • collective resources • earlier eras • empathetic consciousness • empathic sociability • empathy • emphatic development • European Enlightenmentevolutionary determinism • evolutionary psychology • evolutionary theoryexistentialismfaith • faith-based consciousness • globalisationglobalising society • globalising world • glocalhuman beingshuman consciousnesshuman narrative • human race • human-made environment • humanity • Jeremy Rifkin • man made • modes of consciousness • narcissismpost-traditionalpost-traditional society • rational forms of consciousness • reductionismreductionist perspectiveRSA Animateselfhoodsocialisationthe past • think globally and act locally

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 FEBRUARY 2005

The limits of language (galaxies & cell division in a coffee cup)

"Perhaps it is a link enabling us...to pass from one subject to another, therefore to live together. But since social relations are always ambiguous...since thought divides as much as it unites...since words unite or isolate by what they express or omit...since an immense gulf separates my subjective awareness...from the objective truth I represent for other...since I constantly blame myself, though I feel innocent...since every event transforms my daily life...since I constantly fail to communicate...since each failure makes me aware of solitude...since...since I cannot escape crushing objectivity or isolating subjectivity...since I cannot rise to the state of being, or fall into nothingness...I must listen, I must look around more than ever. The world... my kin... my twin. The world alone...today when revolutions are impossible and wars threaten me...when capitalism is unsure of its rights and the working class retreats...when the lighting progress of science...brings the future terribly near...when the future is closer than the present...when the distant galaxies are at my door...my kin, my twin... Where is the beginning? But what beginning? God created heaven and earth. But one should be able to put it better. To say that the limits of language, of my language...are those of the world, of my world...and that in speaking, I limit the world, I end it. And when mysterious, logical death abolishes these limits...there will be no question, no answer, just vagueness. But what if things come into focus again...this can only be through the rebirth of conscience. Everything follows from this."

(Jean Luc Godard)

Fig.1 Godard, Jean Luc (1967). "Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle" [Two or three things I know about her]. 84 mins

[Godard uses a simple sequence of air–bubbles slowly decaying in a cup of black coffee as a metaphor to explain the perils of reductionist thought: bubbles decay; truth–claims limit. The sequence appears 29 minutes into film.]

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