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We tell ourselves conspiracy theories in order to live | The Outline
A conspiracy theory is an attempt to force a story on a set of disparate, though often distantly related facts and observations. But the real world is not a narrative, not a clever mystery to be unraveled by amateur detectives. Every baroque edifice of conspiracy rests upon a foundational belief that there is a singular truth that diligent investigation will reveal, even if the shape of that truth branches and swirls in an infinite fractal. What this mindset cannot accept is that there may be many simple truths for many disturbing facts, but no single, manifest, capital-T Truth, no secret cabal, and no guiding hand.
Pol._120  conspiracy  Power_in_America  Power_materials  Psychology  teaching_pol_theory 
5 weeks ago by Jibarosoy
6 Types of Social Power
Information power doesn’t last. Give away a piece of information and you give your power away.

On the other hand, knowledge and know-how is more enduring than informational power, but it’s limited to the area of expertise.

As you’ll soon see, a little know-how goes a long way, in more ways than one.

In the book, Social Psychology: Theories, Research, and Applications, Robert S. Feldman writes about the six bases of social power.
Power_materials  Pol.11  Pol.12  teaching_pol_theory  Psychology  influence 
8 weeks ago by Jibarosoy
On Geoffrey Benjamin’s deep sociology of the nation-state: EBSCOhost
What is the unseen presence of the nation-state? What is so mystifying about the state of social theory that has effectively masked the nature of its cultural hegemony? At the time of his initial writing, Geoffrey Benjamin’s ruminations on these themes were novel and theoretically critical. Thirty years on, many of these conceptual mysteries remain unresolved. However, like the advent of governmentality, neo-liberalism and biopolitics, the omnipresence of national imagination and violence of state power still warrant problematization.
Latino  war  state  Power_materials  Violence_y_Power  political_theory  teaching_pol_theory 
may 2019 by Jibarosoy
Opinion | At Long Last, a Glimpse of a Black Hole - The New York Times
Our current understanding of black holes is still built on indirect inference drawn from data collected at vast distances, using X-ray, optical and radio observations. We have been unable to get anywhere near the direct detection of an event horizon.

That is expected to change with the images obtained by the Event Horizon Telescope. Eight radio observatories around the world have combined forces to create, in effect, an Earth-size dish capable of detecting the event horizons of two nearby black holes. The first black hole is 26,000 light-years away, at the center of our galaxy, and weighs as much as four million suns. The second is a behemoth at the center of one of the largest nearby galaxies; it is estimated to weigh more than six billion suns.
pol.185  Science  physics  Methodology  teaching_pol_theory  Learning 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Marx's Dialectics & Mechanics of History: A Repair Manual for Society
After studying philosophy, Marx began to see things very differently. He noticed that civilization had to produce everything needed for human survival before it could develop culture, art, religion, or politics. Under every society, there was a system to produce and re-produce the food, shelter, and material conditions that sustain life, which he called its material base. Observing that the material base did not appear to be a result of the society’s particular values or beliefs, Marx concluded that the material conditions of societies were not the result of its ideologies. In fact, it seemed to be the other way around.
pol.505  political_theory  teaching_pol_theory  marxism  dialectic  philosophy 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
A Primer of the Philosophy of Nietzsche | The Art of Manliness
Friedrich Nietzsche introduced several ideas into Western philosophy that have had a huge influence on the culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Existentialism, postmodernism, and poststructuralism have all been touched by Nietzsche’s work.

His impact isn’t just seen in academic philosophies, though, but also in the way many modern Westerners approach their lives. The love of struggle, the quest for autonomy and personal greatness, the clarion call of following your passion and making your life a work of art — these are all cultural currents Nietzsche helped shape and set in motion. Thus to really understand modern life in all its wonder, and weirdness, one must understand Nietzsche.
pol.505  political_theory  philosophy  teaching_pol_theory  Learning 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Capitalism in crisis: U.S. billionaires worry about the survival of the system that made them rich - The Washington Post
Klarman wasn’t opposed to more progressive taxation or regulation. But he worried that these new proposals went much too far. “I think we’re in the middle of a revolution — not a guns revolution — but a revolution where people on both extremes want to blow it up, and good things don’t happen to the vast majority of the population in a revolution,” he said.

He wasn’t the only one who felt a sense of alarm. One of the most popular classes at Harvard Business School, home to the next generation of Fortune 500 executives, was a class on “reimagining capitalism.” Seven years ago, the elective started with 28 students. Now there were nearly 300 taking it. During that period the students had grown increasingly cynical about corporations and the government, said Rebecca Henderson, the Harvard economist who teaches the course.
pol.505  marxism  dialectic  inequality  Power_in_America  teaching_pol_theory  political_theory  political_economy 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Marxism and Organic Systems
To develop Marx’s ideas about dialectics, we will say that a relation between two or more entities is an organic relation if that relation determines, at least partly, the nature of the things that are related. The relation between workers and capitalists as an important example of this kind of behavior. You can’t be a capitalist without exploiting labor. You can’t be a member of the working class unless some capitalist exploits you. The relationship between capital and labor is essential for the capitalist to be a capitalist, and for the worker to be a member of the working class. It is thus an organic relation, and we say that labor and capital are organically related.
 
      The organic relation between the capitalist and working classes is fundamental to the whole capitalist system, but organic relations occur in all social and natural systems. Marx gives an example of an organic relation in the labor of making metal type for printing books.  In his day, this process required three kinds of workers, “founders” who cast the type, “breakers” who broke it into individual pieces, and “rubbers” who polished it. For every four “founders,” there had to be two ”breakers,” and one “rubber.” This mathematical relation of four to two to one was “the expression of an organic relation”[1] among the jobs of founders, breakers and rubbers, like the relationship that exists among different jobs in any modern factory. Each job was the kind of job it is partly because of its relationship to the jobs other people were doing to produce the same product. Each job was opposite to the other two, since each job required the other, but excluded those others, too, since each job was different, and usually done by different workers.
dialectic  marxism  political_theory  teaching_pol_theory  philosophy  pol.505 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Four Theories of Things: Aristotle, Marx, Heidegger, and Peirce
This essay is about the relation between meaning and materiality. It offers careful and coherent, albeit noncanonical, readings of particular themes in Aristotle, Marx, Heidegger, and Peirce. And it does this in order to draw together some classic understandings of value: use value, in particular, but also exchange value, truth value, and moral value ðand much else besidesÞ. Originating as a series of lecture notes offered to students interested in theoretical archeology, it culminates in a theory of embedded interpretants ðas opposed to enminded, embodied, or entextualized interpretantsÞ, with an emphasis on semiotic grounds ðas opposed to semiotic processesÞ. It is meant to offer a relatively accessible summary, synthesis, and extension of four seemingly disparate, and often quite difficult, theorists.
political_theory  philosophy  teaching_pol_theory  critical_thinking  marxism  dialectic 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Dance of the Dialectic by Bertell Ollman
Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx's Method
by Bertell Ollman
Entire Book...very good
marxism  dialectic  political_theory  teaching_pol_theory  Power_materials  critical_thinking 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Dance of the Dialectic - Chapter 9 - Why Dialectics? Why Now? < DIALECTICAL MARXISM: The Writings of Bertell Ollman
Capitalism is a huge structure very similar to the Great Attractor. It, too, has a major effect on everything going on inside it, but it is so big and so omni-present that few see it. In capitalism, the system consists of a complex set of relations between all people, their activities (particularly material production) and products. But this interaction is also evolving, so the system includes the development of this inter-action over time, stretching back to its origins and forward to whatever it is becoming. The problem people have in seeing capitalism, then—and recognizing instances of G.F.O.C. Studies when they occur—comes from the difficulty of grasping such a complex set of relations that are developing in this way and on this scale.
pol.505  pol.185  marxism  dialectic  teaching_pol_theory  critical_thinking  analysis  structure  class 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Distinguishing between description and analysis in academic writing – Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD
Now, when I read student essays, or Masters/PhD theses, I find myself writing similar comments: “this is a very good description, but lacks real analysis“. I asked both the Political Scientists Facebook group (of which I’m proud of being part of) and the Research Companion Facebook group (a fantastic resource created by Dr. Petra Boynton, author of the book “The Research Companion”).

I received A LOT of really good feedback on both groups (who said that Facebook was only good for posting photos of your kids?) which I am detailing here (I’ve asked for permission to attribute whoever recommended a particular book or reading).
Pol.11  Pol.12  pol.185  writing  analysis  questioning  teaching_pol_theory  Learning 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
Power, Sociologically Speaking - The Society Pages
That powerful actors have the capacity to create or invoke structure in their own interests while the less powerful are more constrained is an important sociological point, yet it is typically hidden by our everyday understandings of how organizations and institutions operate. Indeed, we tend to see contemporary structures and rules as more or less bureaucratic, rational, and neutral. And, to be sure, they are presented that way. Yet, significant inequalities exist across most institutional domains, including politics. Consider, for instance, who is represented, who has voice, who benefits from policies, and which agendas reach the table.
Pol.11  Pol.12  Pol._120  Power_materials  teaching_pol_theory  Teaching  Learning 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
What is the General Will? - Fact / Myth
The two main problems with the general will are 1. the problem of knowing what is in the best interest of the state and 2. the fact that few can agree on what the perfect state (a utopia) looks like (one party says it looks like social equality, the other the opposite, social hierarchy; one group wants total liberty, another protection; one wants church and state, the other secularism). Given this, an attempt to create a utopia can very easily lead to “the road to serfdom” and other forms of tyranny. However, if we understand Plato, Rousseau, and other thinkers correctly, we’ll understand that a “strong man” offering a utopia and a “philosopher king” trying to rule in the interest of the majority or minority will (or wills) are two totally different things. “Doing what is in the best interest of all citizens” and “creating one or more factions’ version of a utopia” are two totally different things. Good governance isn’t the art of people pleasing.
rousseau  pol.505  teaching_pol_theory  state  Power_materials 
april 2019 by Jibarosoy
(How) Capitalism is America’s Last Taboo – Eudaimonia and Co
The problem is that we are not allowed to discuss the issue underneath all of these things. Capitalism. How it’s failed. Capitalism is America’s last taboo. If a person breaks this taboo, they will be severely punished — they will face all kinds of sanctions. Their careers will suffer, their opportunities will dwindle, they will be ostracized, their networks will fray, and so on. If you think I’m kidding, just go ahead and ask yourself — when was the last time you saw anyone anywhere mainstream even dare to mention the word “capitalism”? Don’t you think that’s gruesome, hilarious, and tragic? I do.
There are three ways this taboo is expressed, which are weak links in American democracy.
Have you ever noticed how anything — literally anything — else is tolerated in American public life? You can be a racist, a misogynist, a bigot, you can be a predictable one, you can say the most disgusting and repellent things, you can even make a multi-million dollar career out of it — but question capitalism, my friends, and your days are numbered.
pol.185  capitalism  critical_thinking  questioning  Teaching  teaching_pol_theory 
march 2019 by Jibarosoy
(PDF) Hunter-Gatherer Societies: Their Diversity and Evolutionary Processes | Serge Svizzero and Clement Tisdell - Academia.edu
It is argued that attributes which have been widely used to typify hunter-gatherer societies are inadequate for several reasons. One is that they fail to capture the full extent of the diversity of these societies. We suggest some additional attributes which should be taken into account in characterizing these societies. Linear (unidirectional) models of the development of  prehistoric societies are criticized and multi-linear models are discussed. Currently, three main stereotypes of the nature of hunter-gatherer societies exist. While these indicate that they were diverse, they fail to capture the full extent of their diversity. It is suggested that this diversity increased with the passage of time and was shaped by the varied local eco-geographic conditions (local resource endowments) in which these societies existed. This raises the question of whether this development had the same basis as speciation in the  biological theory of natural selection. This is discussed and then particular attention is given to Adam Smith’s vision of the evolution of human societies. In conclusion, it is suggested that the evolutionary path of modern societies has diverged from that of prehistoric societies.
SON  state  Violence_y_Power  civilization  teaching_pol_theory  Pol.11  Pol.12  Power_materials 
march 2019 by Jibarosoy
An Introduction to Augustine
For Augustine, the One was embodied by God, the unifying source of all being, order, and goodness in both the material and the spiritual world. The bridge between the two worlds, however, was not philosophic contemplation, as Plato and Neoplatonism each suggested, but, rather, dutiful devotion to God. In addition, Augustine rejected the Neoplatonist notion that there existed any perfect happiness in the material world that human beings could enjoy if they led their lives in the appropriate manner. Instead, the material world was forever tainted by the allure of bodily temptations and the inescapable finality of earthly existence. According to Augustine’s understanding of original sin, human moral responsibility is meaningfully preserved despite original sin since the soul remains capable, if properly educated, of redirecting its attention toward God and the spiritual realm over which he presides. Goodness consists in the proper assignment of relative value to material and spiritual goods. Original sin can thus be understood in terms of mistaken perception, and is of intellectual rather than bodily origin (City of God 13.14-15).
pol.505  philosophy  Religion  Passions  reasoning  political_theory  teaching_pol_theory 
march 2019 by Jibarosoy
Faith and Reason | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Aquinas also elucidates the relationship between faith and reason on the basis of a distinction between higher and lower orders of creation. Aquinas criticizes the form of naturalism that holds that the goodness of any reality "is whatever belongs to it in keeping with its own nature" without need for faith (II-IIae, q.2, a.3). Yet, from reason itself we know that every ordered pattern of nature has two factors that concur in its full development: one on the basis of its own operation; the other, on the basis of the operation of a higher nature. The example is water: in a lower pattern, it naturally flows toward the centre, but in virtue of a higher pattern, such as the pull of the moon, it flows around the center. In the realm of our concrete knowledge of things, a lower pattern grasps only particulars, while a higher pattern grasps universals.
pol.505  philosophy  Passions  reasoning  Religion  political_theory  teaching_pol_theory 
march 2019 by Jibarosoy
Patrick Comerford: Lust, sex, original sin and war: Augustine and ‘Talking History’
Augustine taught that Adam’s guilt, which was transmitted to his descendants, much enfeebles their freedom of will, but does not destroy it. For Augustine, the ‘Original Sin’ of Adam and Eve was either an act of foolishness followed by pride and disobedience to God or the opposite: pride came first. The first couple disobeyed God, who had told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2: 17). The tree was a symbol of the order of creation. Self-centeredness made Adam and Eve eat of it, and so they failed to acknowledge and respect the world as it was created by God, with its hierarchy of beings and values. They would not have fallen into pride and lack of wisdom if Satan had not sown into their senses “the root of evil” (radix mali). Their nature was wounded by concupiscence or libido, which affected human intelligence and will, as well as affections and desires, including sexual desire.

Augustine’s understanding of the consequences of original sin and of the necessity of redeeming grace was developed in the struggle against Pelagius – who may have been of Irish birth – and his disciples, the Pelagians. They did not agree that libido wounded human will and mind, insisting that human nature was given the power to act, to speak, and to think when God created it. Human nature cannot lose its moral capacity to do good.
pol.505  philosophy  Passions  reasoning  individualism  teaching_pol_theory  political_theory 
march 2019 by Jibarosoy

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