Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Friday, May 16, 2008

A response to Restructure

Third update: The majority of this post is utter crap and are mistakes on my behalf. Once I work out what bits are crap and what arn't I'll strike them out. Perhaps it is best for the person who reads this post to take it with a grain of salt and read the comments section instead.

It has come to my attention that someone has been slagging me off in the blogosphere. Apparently two sentences of mine fit an entire psychological profile that she has concocted. This is a response to that post.

Charitable Argument and Suppressed Premises

In the one thread that I have interacted with restructure I was quite charitable to her position. When she had suppressed premises I looked for them and added them to the argument so I could understand fully where she was coming from.

So it went on through the discussion until I did mention that I was having brain farts and said I needed to end it. Up till then I had added suppressed premises to the arguments. I then took aim at a specific premise. She stated: “It’s possible for a white person to grow up using Band-Aids and never notice that they were designed for white people.” I took this as a universal syllogism and historical argument. Insofar as Band-Aids were specifically, and historically, created for white people. When you encounter a universal syllogism a singular counterexample can refute it. I gave two. One being there are spiderman band-aids. The other looking at a rival cause for the invention of band-aids and adhesive bandages i.e. they were light in colour for medicinal reasons like sterility and cleanliness. Restructure then modified her argument to give a specific colour of band-aid -- peach.

Apparently my two counter-examples were "exaggerated" and a "straw man" because I didn't add the suppressed premise (that of a specific colour). Straw men and exaggerations can come about unintentionally especially when responding to a writer like Restructure that never adds all her premises out on the table for everyone to see. Personally, I don't think my counterexamples to the specific claim is an exaggeration, nor a straw man. With an added suppressed premise it is. However Restructure never made her argument clear. She argued from generalizations then shifted to specifics. Apparently I am expected to read minds.

So that is the situation in which the disagreement occured. A situation in which Restructure didn't make her argument clear and I was tired and hence not charitable enough to think more indepth into what she was saying. I'll take responsibility for myself not adding premises to an argument. It is a lesson learned and next time I'll make sure I'm fully clear of terms used by specifically asking what a person means.

Fundamental Attribution Error

The situation in which that occured is important. Restructure thinks my behaviour, my internal state, is evidence of her theory that I have "fragile high self-esteem." She has committed the fundamental attribution error. The situation as I outlayed above speaks for itself. I wasn't charitable to the argument as I was before hand and she wasn't clear on her terms. Instead, she thinks my behaviour can be judged by an internal state. This is a common error. Her claim is also a very weak inductive argument. She thinks two sentences of written text can be used to infer a mental state. That is the smallest observed sample set in psychological research I've ever seen.

Self-Sealing Arguments

Restructure may see this response as proof of her argument. This is because she creates arguments in a manner that seal them off from criticism. For example, having argued against a person's ability to see white privilege, restructure shifted ground and claimed that a person who cannot see it is acting fallaciously. Shifting ground to make an argument immune to criticism is self-sealing argumentation. Therefore Restructure is engaging in self-sealing argument (whether this is inherent to white privilege theory I don't know, but it certainly is in the way that restructure uses it). The problem with this is that it is a fallacy. A vacuous truth to be exact. There are two ways Restructure could correct this method of argumentation in the future:

(1) Providing any possibly facts that would prove her view on white privilege or "self esteem" theory wrong. If restructure answers that there are no facts to prove it wrong than she has engaged in self-sealing argumentation.

(2) Providing specific predictions of certain things that will or won't occur. If any of her arguments fail to do this, then her argument is meaningless.

For the moment, the self-sealing nature of her specific take on white privilege theory, and claims of "fragile high self-esteem," puts restructures theories next to other self-sealers like Marxism, conspiracy theory, and Freudian psychoanalysis.

Aubade

In finishing, I think I'm done with white privilege argument on the Internet. Not because I don't think it is true. I haven't reached a conclusion on its inductive strength yet. However, it seems to have brought me into contact with individuals who think I'm their ideological enemy. I'm not. I'm just some dude who likes thinking about new ideas (new to me anyway). Apparently not accepting those arguments as self-evident truths is the equivalent of being an enemy of the idea and opens my reputation up to being slagged. I'd rather open discussion to see what the strengths and weaknesses of such an idea are. Restructure would rather I'd accept her truth and shut up. I think that is a fundamental difference between her and I. She uses argument and science to defend and support her existing beliefs rather than as a method of self-discovery. I use them as methods for exploration about what I allow, or don't allow, into my head. Because of these fundamental differences in worldviews, I won't be engaging in conversation with her, nor the topic, on the Internet again.

Update: The title of this blog entry was originally "Hate mail." Macon D has pointed out that I don't really know if she hates me or not. He is correct, so I have changed the title and the associated tag.

Secondary update: I was an asshat and had a memory fault. Some above writing struck out because it isn't true. See comments. That'll teach me next time to not rely on my memory and to reread what people state. Oh, and I also have learned how to do html strike outs.

44 comments:

Macon D said...

Wow, Restructure sure has a lot of power over you. I've never seen someone on the Internet of your obviously high intellectual capacity refuse to address an issue that clearly intrigues him because he doesn't like the way someone else discusses the topic.

I hope that refusal doesn't include discussion of the topic here in the comments to your post on it, because I have a question. You said here and in a comment at Restructure's post that you don't think know whether white privilege has any "inductive strength."

I don't know what you mean here--could you explain this point? Do you have to be convinced of white privilege's "inductive strength" before you'll discuss it as a societal problem that something should be done about?

About your refusal to address white privilege any further on the Internet--that's your right, of course, and if you're a white person, a very common refusal. And not HAVING to think about one's racial status, including, in the case of white people, the privileges it affords, is another white privilege.

Macon D said...

PS--I find it ironic that you object to Restructure's assessing the internality of someone she doesn't even know in a post that describes her post as "hate mail," and thus her as hateful. How in the world do you know she hates you?

Finally, your ground rule that disputants lay all their premises on the table is ridiculous. That alone would take all day. And night.

Münzenberg said...

Macon D, no your free to comment on this post, hence why I made it. Your free to question whatever assumptions I may have. Perhaps it may clear things up.

I'm curious as to why you think restructure has power over me. I'm responding to a post of hers that comes off to me as unfair. If I made posts about you that you thought were baseless personal attacks I'd expect you might feel a little bit peeved as well and want to address them. Would you not?

I don't have a problem with the way she discusses the topic. I think she discusses the topic very well. Perhaps looking back on it I may have been harsh based on her one post as she has been quite cordial the majority of the time. What I have a problem with is, what I perceive to be, a baseless personal attack that is inductively weak and succumbs to attribution bias.

Regarding inductive strength: White privilege is an inductive argument. It making specific observations about certain aspects of white advantage and non-white disadvantage. That is what I am to believe from what I've read so far. McIntosh lists 50 effects of white privilege. In scientific terms she's making causal generalizations that can be tested.

I don't think I know whether it has inductive strength because I haven't sat down and tested out the inferences to best explanations i.e. working out how deep the theory is, whether it is falsifiable, whether it multiples entities beyond necessity (occams razor). I also haven't sat down and worked out whether McIntosh's effects work on necessary and sufficient conditions tests. Which would actually take some time for me to do. McIntosh also works her theory from an argument from analogy i.e. arguing that racial hierarchies are similar to sex hierachies. I haven't sat down and worked out if these similarities are true in a rigorous manner.

I think to not do the above and accept the theory on face value wouldn't meet my own personal standards. Are you saying I should just accept your theory without ever digging into it? Because really, that is up to me to decide is it not?

Feel free to ask some more questions and poke holes in my argument. After we are done that'll be the end of it though, as I think I've been quite cordial to you the majority of the time however I'm beginning to find you quite patronizing. If you believe that it is conducive to good discussion to act in such a manner then you may want to go elsewhere.

Münzenberg said...

Macon D, no you are quite right. I don't know that. I'll change the title of the blog post.

Münzenberg said...

macon d, perhaps you could also answer a question for me. On the other blog you stated the following: "Restructure! I’m honored that you took up my challenge and so nimbly ran with it."

What am I to make of this? That both you and restructure confided on this post? Or that Restructure is your Cats Paw? Or am I thinking too much into it?

Macon D said...

m, in answer to your last question, I was responding to the last part of Restructure's post, where she wrote, "give good audio-visual comments at Stuff White People Do - While grinding away responding to the same old thought processes denying White privilege by a commenter, I was asked by the site’s author about why Whites would want to give up White privilege. This post is an attempt to address that question."

I, as the "site author," asked her that question in the comments section of a post at my blog. I had no idea she was going to write a post on hers about it (though I'm glad she did). I was just hoping for a "comment" reply at my blog. So no, no collaboration going on here.

Münzenberg said...

Ok cool. That is partly my fault for not putting 2 and 2 together.

Do you have any further specific questions or problems with me?

Münzenberg said...

Macon D I missed this question of yours: "Do you have to be convinced of white privilege's "inductive strength" before you'll discuss it as a societal problem that something should be done about?"

Yes and if you were serious about the activist nature of the argument you would too. When people concoct theories about reality we have to be sure that those theories are inductively strong. Otherwise we waste huge amounts of money, time, and people to something that may not be fully true.

Take two examples.

Pharmaceutical products are the end product of a process of induction. Individuals have made inductive arguments about what a particular type of chemical, in tablet or syrup form, will do in a human body. When these things go horribly wrong, like effecting pregnancy in strange ways then it is the scientists who are to blame for not being rigorous enough.

Another example is war. There are some wacko theories in war. These theories are accepted by nations as inherent truth and millions of dollars are wasted (network centric warfare comes to mind), not to mentioned hundreds of thousands of people killed based on weak inductive theories (Iraq).

So if you were fully supportive of white privilege then you'd put it through the most rigorous testing available to make sure you were solving exact societal problems associated with it.

Macon D said...

So if you were fully supportive of white privilege then you'd put it through the most rigorous testing available to make sure you were solving exact societal problems associated with it.

No, I wouldn't put it through such rigorous testing because I already find it quite obvious that white privilege exists, and that it has all sorts of influences on both white and non-white lives.

I don't have to do all sorts of philosophical and analytical gymnastics to realize that the color of my skin often functions like a wind at my back, while the color of non-skin often functions as the opposite. To realize, for instance, that when I'm out driving my car, I don't feel extra-cautious about the good possibility other people face of being subjected to harassment by a racist cop because of my skin color. I also know that my non-black name and appearance would in many cases make it easier for me to get a job.

I could go on and on, but I hope my point is clear--the existence of many such privileges in my life means I see no need to subject the concept of white privilege to rigorous testing before I'll admit it exists.

Münzenberg said...

Macon D, originally this was a discussion that Restructure started and I responded too. You felt the urge to jump in on her post and then this post. Again, you and I have different worldviews about how to come to conclusions about the world. Apparently my learning process is the equivalent of the dysphemism "analytical gymnastics." Anyway, if you have anything else too add then go ahead. If not we can wrap it up and go about our separate ways. I wish you good luck with the absolute truths that you've achieved without rigorous critical thinking. I'll still respond to others who may have a problem with this post, including Restructure.

Restructure! said...

Sigh, there are a lot of confusions here I need to clear up.

1a. I am a distinct entity from macon d, and our views are very different. macon d thinks that I am your ideological enemy or "antagonist", but I do not think this. (Perhaps macon d thinks of himself as your antagonist because of the nature and purpose of his blog; I'm not sure.)

1b. Because of 1a, your decision to stop discussing white privilege on the internet is based on a false premise. Therefore, the conclusion you reached, to stop discussing white privilege on the internet, is unsound.

2. I really, really disagree with macon d's assertion that the idea of white privilege does not need rigorous testing. I strongly agree with you that to be fully supportive of the idea of white privilege, one would put it through the most rigorous testing available.

3a. I was not trying to fit you into a "psychological profile". As I said in my comment to my post, I think of you as 'secure' in most instances from my brief communications with you, but 'fragile' at that particular instance (the Band-Aid point). For most cases, I hold the belief that people's behaviours cannot be explained in terms of "psychological profiles".

3b. I am not making the fundamental attribution error, because I simply do not view people and personhood that way, and I have a hard time understanding people that do. Even my idea that some (or most) Whites have a 'fragile' high racial self-esteem is based on the idea that this racial self-esteem comes from socialization. The reasoning associated with the fundamental attribution error seems tautological and vacuous to me, as if one is saying, "he is like that because that's the way he is."

3c. I am not saying that you have "fragile high self-esteem" or fragile high racial self-esteem. The post was not meant to be an ad hominem or personal attack on you, and you are not the focus of it. I was using your response as an example of certain behaviours.

3d. I wasn't making an inductive argument in the first place, with respect to mentioning your Band-Aid response. I was not trying to prove that you fit a psychological profile (see 3a), so I have no need for induction.

4. I still do not understand your explanation of your "light in colour for sterility and cleanliness" and "Spiderman" responses. I can see why one would interpret my Band-Aid statement as a universal syllogism, but your responses do not match up with a universal syllogism interpretation.

4a. "All Band-Aids are designed for white people."
"Bandages are literally white for medicinal reasons like sterility and cleanliness."


First of all, I said "Band-Aids" specifically, and not "bandages", which are more general. If you change my universal syllogism to

"All bandages are designed for white people."

then it would be a straw man. If I change your claim to

"Band-Aids are literally white for medicinal reasons like sterility and cleanliness."

then it would be odd, because most Band-Aids are not literally white in colour except for the gauze. If I change your claim to

"Some Band-Aids are literally white for medicinal reasons like sterility and cleanliness."

then it's a bit better as a refutation of my universal syllogism, but there are still some suppressed premises:

(i) "Restucture is arguing that all Band-Aids are designed for white people due to the Band-Aids' colour(s)," and
(ii) "Restructure is claiming that Band-Aids that are literally white are designed for white people."

Besides 'ii' being an uncharitable assumption, a suppressed premise behind 'ii' would be

(iii) "Restructure is claiming that Band-Aids that are literally white in colour were designed for white people to blend in with their skin."

This is becoming a bit absurd, unless white people's skin is literally white, or the literally white colour is the best colour to blend in with white people's skin for some other reasons, like limited colour choice. If 'iii' is not the correct suppressed premise of 'ii', then the ostensibly correct premise would be even stranger or at least very elusive.

A simple way to refute the universal syllogism would be just saying, "Some Band-Aids are designed for non-white people."

4b. "All Band-Aids are designed for white people."
"Spiderman Band-Aids are not designed for Spiderman."


I'm not even going to go into this one, because it doesn't even match the universal syllogism interpretation. To refute the universal syllogism one could just say, "Some Band-Aids have Spiderman designs on them," which would have suppressed premises: "Restructure is arguing that all Band-Aids are designed for white people in terms of colour", "Restructure is arguing that all Band-Aids are designed for white people to blend in with their skin colour", "Band-Aids with Spiderman designs do not match with white people's skin colour", and "If a Band-Aid's colour/design does not match with Person x's skin colour, then it was not designed for Person x."

To actually work from "Spiderman Band-Aids are not designed for Spiderman" as a refutation of my universal syllogism would lead to too many possibilities, because these possibilities would be equally implausible interpretations.

4c. Thus, the universal syllogism interpretation still does not explain your response (which I call 'straw men' and 'exaggerated'), or at best, it explains a bit but is still a straw man (see 4a).

There is the possibility that you interpreted my statement as "All Band-Aid gauzes were designed for white people," but this, again, would be a straw man, and it would have some of the same problems as in 4a.

There is another possibility that the colour you were referring to that you described as "light in colour" and for "sterility and cleanliness", was actually the colour peach/beige, but this would be absurd.

4d. Apparently my two counter-examples were "exaggerated" and a "straw man" because I didn't add the suppressed premise (that of a specific colour).

From both 4a and 4b, the suppressed premise you understood was that I speaking about a specific colour, or at least colour(s) that matched the Band-Aid wearer, not the Band-Aid's shape, scent, texture, or other properties.

5. Arguments for the existence of white privilege itself will be discussed in my next comment.

subadei said...

Macon D:

"To realize, for instance, that when I'm out driving my car, I don't feel extra-cautious about the good possibility other people face of being subjected to harassment by a racist cop because of my skin color. I also know that my non-black name and appearance would in many cases make it easier for me to get a job."

Through this process of logic one is lent to believe that you identify every plausible policeman and employer as being "white." Inductive, indeed. Subjective examples such as this are based on preconceptions and do little to support the argument for white privilege. Through this basis you could make an argument for the continued existence of racism, but how does it even begin to illustrate the culturally inherent (but somehow nearly subconcsious) "soft" ethnic supremacy that is described above?

Restructure! said...

On white privilege and self-sealing arguments:

"For example, having argued against a person's ability to see white privilege, restructure shifted ground and claimed that a person who cannot see it is acting fallaciously."

No, I did not claim that a person who cannot see white privilege is acting fallaciously. I was claiming that "I can't see it; therefore, it doesn't exist," was an argument from personal incredulity, and hence fallacious. It is also an argument from ignorance.

I will quote again what I said in my third comment to the "White Privilege as Rhetoric" post:

The argument by personal incredulity is a subset of the argument from ignorance. The argument from ignorance is concluding that P is true if there is no proof of not P (or that not P is true because there is no proof of P).

Of course somebody can disprove the existence of white privilege by showing a contradiction, but showing a contradiction is different from the argument from ignorance. A reductio, for example, is finding a contradictory conclusion like "Q and not Q", which means one of the premises are false. An argument from ignorance is not finding evidence of P and then concluding that it must be the case that "not P".


"I cannot see x," is not a valid reason for concluding "x is false" or "x does not exist" (unless x has something to do with what the person can or cannot see). A more reasonable implication would be "x does not exist; therefore, I cannot see x", or "x is false; therefore I cannot see x." In a reasonable debate, a debater would say something like, "x is false [for reasons a, b, c]; therefore I cannot see how x can be true."

Do you see the distinction?

On white privilege and induction:

"Regarding inductive strength: White privilege is an inductive argument."

No, I don't think white privilege is an inductive argument. That's not how I understand it. McIntosh's list items are not there to prove a larger point about white privilege as some theoretical entity. The individual list items themselves are instances of white privileges or "white privilege".

You can argue against this by:

a) arguing against the taxonomy, i.e., disagreeing with the classification of all these privileges under the umbrella term "white privilege";

b) arguing that the list items are not really privileges;

c) arguing that the list items are privileges but not privileges due to a white person's skin (where the white person is embedded in society).

On racial self-esteem and testing:

Experiment:

1. Have a group of White participants take an IAT, the skin-tone IAT or the black-white IAT, while recording their galvanic skin response. Show the participants their results. (On average, there will be a preference for white over black faces, and light skin tones over dark skin tones.)

2. Next, have the participants describe or select descriptions of their emotions after taking the IAT. Emotions could be "surprise", "curiosity", "anger", "feeling threatened/attacked", etc.

3. Next, have the participants rate on a scale how much they agree or disagree with statements like, "Ethnic minorities have a disadvantage in our society due to their race," and "White people have an advantage in our society due to their race." Record galvanic skin response here too for good measure.

Prediction: Participants with a high agreement rate with statements affirming the existence of white privilege (in part 3) will have a significantly higher galvanic skin response throughout (indicating greater relaxation) compared to participants who have a low agreement rate with statements affirming the existence of white privilege (indicating more stress or at least more emotional response). Participants who generally agree that white privilege exists will report less negative emotions (anger, feeling attacked) in part 2 compared to participants who generally disagree that white privilege exists.

Since probably very few individuals in the general population would have high agreement that white privilege exists, I think it would be better to recruit White sociology undergraduates. (Unfortunately, there are probably many White sociology undergraduates who still do not agree, even if they learn about it in class.)

On hate:

No, I don't think I hate anybody.

Restructure! said...

Through this process of logic one is lent to believe that you identify every plausible policeman and employer as being "white." Inductive, indeed. Subjective examples such as this are based on preconceptions and do little to support the argument for white privilege.

Really? I would think black policemen and black employers are also biased against black drivers and black job applicants. I think you're the one with preconceptions.

Through this basis you could make an argument for the continued existence of racism, but how does it even begin to illustrate the culturally inherent (but somehow nearly subconcsious) "soft" ethnic supremacy that is described above?

What do you mean by '"soft" ethnic supremacy'?

subadei said...

"Really? I would think black policemen and black employers are also biased against black drivers and black job applicants. "

How does this jive with the premise of white privilege? Are you sure you're not talking about elitism or casteism?

"What do you mean by '"soft" ethnic supremacy'?"

Isn't that what white privilege is? A softer or unconscious form of white supremacy?

Macon D said...

Thanks Restructure, I was about to say that to subadei about his or her assumption that black people don't discriminate against other blacks (they certainly do), but you covered it well.

Subjective examples such as this are based on preconceptions and do little to support the argument for white privilege.

False. They're not subjective examples; they're statistically proven recurrences, and they therefore demonstrate the existence in such instances of white privilege, i.e., something whites can generally count on, and something blacks generally can't. What part of this do you still not understand?

Macon D said...

"Really? I would think black policemen and black employers are also biased against black drivers and black job applicants. "

How does this jive with the premise of white privilege? Are you sure you're not talking about elitism or casteism?


Have you read McIntosh's article? You seem to have no acquaintance with her argument, nor the many, many subsequent published discussions of the topic.

This "jives" with the premise of white privilege by proving it. A black person has to be conscious of receiving negative treatment from whites, blacks, and others on the basis of their common conceptions and (yes, often unconscious) presumptions about race, and a white person needn't be conscious of that. A white person also needn't be, and usually isn't, conscious of this difference as "white privilege."

subadei said...

"I was about to say that to subadei about his or her assumption that black people don't discriminate against other blacks (they certainly do), but you covered it well."

I'm a "he," just for clarification.

You're assertions are about "white privilege" not the discrimination of blacks against blacks. Or is there some connection between wp and intra-ethnic discrimination? I never suggested that black people don't discriminate against black people. Are such cases indicative of white privilege?

"False. They're not subjective examples; they're statistically proven recurrences, and they therefore demonstrate the existence in such instances of white privilege,"

I wonder if you even understand the concept for which you argue? You can statistically prove that white American's have an inherent sense of ethnic superiority? Again: Are you professing the concept of white privilege or are you illustrating the existence of racism?

Macon D said...

You're assertions are about "white privilege" not the discrimination of blacks against blacks. Or is there some connection between wp and intra-ethnic discrimination? I never suggested that black people don't discriminate against black people. Are such cases indicative of white privilege?

Yes, there is a connection, and yes such cases are indicative of white privilege. A privilege is something positive to which some have access and some don't, correct? That's the difference between a "privilege" and a "right." Thus, what whites have in the case, for instance, of driving a car, is access to freedom from racially induced anxiety about being harassed by police (whether the police are white, black, or other--all tend to engage in "racial profiling"), simply because of their racial status. As I've said at my blog, white people have the privilege, in most situations and locales, of trusting the police, something non-whites, and especially blacks, have far less often.

I wonder if you even understand the concept for which you argue? You can statistically prove that white American's have an inherent sense of ethnic superiority? Again: Are you professing the concept of white privilege or are you illustrating the existence of racism?

A sense of ethnic superiority? I thought we were talking about white privilege. They're not the same thing in my book, nor in dozens of other books on the topic. Of course I understand the concept, at least as it's commonly understood in the realm of discourse commonly known as "critical whiteness studies." If you think white privilege is instead an "inherent sense of superiority," then you're coming at the topic from some other realm of discourse, or perhaps just your own.

To answer your last question, I'm professing the concept of white privilege, which is commonly understood by those who address the topic as a byproduct or manifestation of racism.

I have a question for you--how do you define white privilege? (nevermind for the moment whether you think it exists)

Münzenberg said...

Well, the discussion has certainly rocketed along since I lasted posted.

Restructure, You are quite right that my argument for not discussing it is unsound based on the false premise that you are my ideological enemy. However, I can still engage, and disengage, in discussion whenever I see fit, especially as the cross-discussion is not just distinct entities, but multiple entities interacting, some of whom have fundamental differences in worldviews that cannot be reconciled by discussion over the Internet. For me at least, it is best just to sometimes let things go.

Secondly, perhaps the term of my own making - psychological profile - is incorrect. It still stands you were making an inductive argument. You were putting forth a number of observations and reasons to support your conclusion. You also put it against a backdrop of psychological research to do so. You state you were using my response as an example of a certain behaviour (3c), yet you go on to state you have no need for induction (3d). What type of argument uses inductive research, then uses two observed behavioural examples to support a conclusion against the backdrop of that argument? It's induction. And if a large subset of observed instances put me as "secure" in your mind, but fragile in one instance of your sample set (3a) then what does that tell you about the nature of your inductive argument? It is very weak. There is no possible need to even mention it. It doesn't prove anything about my mental state in the framework of the theory. Yet it is used as a solitary example to support your overall theory. If it were to truly support your argument then you'd use an individual who clearly had multiple behavioural examples.

Regarding the nature of fundamental attribution error (3b). You assessed my argument based on my internal attributes of esteem, not on the situation itself. That is an attribution error. You state it seems tautological, yet the reasoning "he is like that because he is that way" doesn't really make sense to me. I understand that the use of the sentence is tautological but how did you analogously conclude that the phrase is like attribution error? The attribution error is a core concept in social psychology. Perhaps you can either outline in further depth the analogy between that phrase and fundamental attribution theory, or go and read the extensive literature.

In regards to the confusion over my claims of universal syllogism and your counterclaim that I knew what you were talking about. This is what I originally wrote: "Thirdly, I would go toe-to-toe with all your specific premises from your argument but my brain is fried. I'll have a shot at premise two.

The truth of your premise that adhesive bandages "were designed for white people" is a massive claim that needs backing up in the form of historical sources. Was the sole cause of white adhesive bandages because white people deemed it so? Or is the more likely rival cause because lightness in colour allows us to see cleanliness and hence the sterility of the bandage? Hospitals are also mostly white because of sterility and cleanliness. Perhaps we can claim along your same line of reasoning that the predominantly light-coloured architecture of hospitals were also designed for white people. Thirdly, my little brother has spiderman band-aids, does that mean that the band-aids were created for spiderman? (Or a person with thousands of tattoos of spiderman all over him?)"


Well, I feel like a right idiot right about now. You are right I included your premises into the argument and then wrote up a blog post that had faulty memory as a premise. So my faulty memory and the fact that I didn't go back and check what I had wrote indepth (only what you had wrote) has me looking like a right fool. I didn't do this on purpose. Just a mistake on my behalf.

I was wrong. Sorry.

I'm having a bit of trouble over what the significance of my mistake means for the argument itself. Hopefully it doesn't discount me from it. However, if you can see where I'm relying on that part that I made a mistake please inform me as it is sometimes hard to pick out the weaknesses in ones own arguments after a revelation like that (I will also cross out that part on my blog post once I work out how to do html strike outs).

Regarding, your band-aid argument. Firstly, I never said bandages, perhaps as a pronoun, but I said originally stated adhesive bandages. I'm under the impression it is a description of the same thing. Returning to my original claims about historical reasons, or rival causes, for band-aids being invented for the sole purpose of white people. Adhesive bandages follow an evolution from the surgeon Samuel Goss up to Dickson's invention of band-aids, which he invented to protect the wounds of his wife while she was cooking. The way you constructed the sentence came off that band-aids were specifically designed for white people. If I ran the argument about modern white skin coloured band-aids being conditionally related to white privilege through sufficient and necessary conditions it'd be arguing the following:

"White privilege is a sufficient condition for the use of white skin coloured band-aids iff anyone that has white privilege also uses white skin coloured band-aids."

As a historical condition it is clearly not true as Dickson created band-aids with a functional use for cooking. So White privilege is not a sufficient historical condition for the creation of white skin coloured band-aids. In the modern context of specific use it could be argued that anyone that has white privilege also uses white skin coloured band-aids. However, this is such an abstract claim that it is hard to test. Do we know that every person on the planet that has white privilege also uses white skin coloured band-aids? No, people with white privilege could also use other coloured band-aids. So white privilege is not a sufficient condition for white skin coloured band-aids.

If you argued from the other angle, that white skin coloured band-aids are conditions that give birth to white privilege it'd still not be a sufficient condition. For instance:

"The use of white skin coloured band-aids is a sufficient condition for white privilege iff anyone that uses white skin coloured band-aids also have white privilege."

Again, individuals without white privilege could use white skin coloured band-aids. This could be a historically true fact, according to the way you are arguing it i.e. non-whites have used white skin coloured band-aids. One might counter then "ah ha, so it is white privilege." No. It shows that white skin coloured band-aids are not a sufficient condition for white privilege because if a non-white used them, and this condition held true, then the non-white would have white privilege in an advantageous sense.

Let's look at necessary conditions.

"White privilege is a necessary condition for the use of white skin coloured band-aids iff anyone that lacks white privilege also lacks using white skin coloured band-aids."

There are individuals who lack white privilege and use white skin coloured band-aids. If the condition of lacking white privilege held true then a person lacking white privilege would clearly lack the ability to use white skin coloured band-aids. However, the lack of white privilege doesn't stop them from using white skin coloured band-aids. A possible counterexample to this is "Well, they can't use those band-aids because they are non-whites." True. However, take a blind person at a community centre for the blind who lacks white privilege. They can still use white skin coloured band-aids and it wouldn't matter within their social context. So white privilege is not a necessary condition for the use of white skin coloured band-aids.

"White skin coloured band-aids are a necessary condition for white privilege iff anyone that lacks white skin coloured band aids also lacks white privilege."

This isn't true at all. As there are claims that there are apparently a multitude of other conditions for white privilege. So for someone to lack a white coloured band-aid does not follow that the person lacks white privilege. Therefore the white person coloured band-aids are not a necessary condition for white privilege.

So I've gone through and shown that white skin coloured band-aids are neither a necessary, nor a sufficient, condition for white privilege. I also did the reverse and showed that white skin coloured band-aids are neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for white privilege.

I'll get to your other paragraphs later on.

Münzenberg said...

I see the distinction but I'm still confused. So white privilege can be falsified or proven false, yet you also claim white privilege isn't inductive. This is why your argument comes across to me as shifting your position. What do you suggest white privilege is then? In concrete terms. If you say it's a real phenomenon in the world then it can be explored in an inductive manner insofar as providing specific instances of falsfiability (where white privilege is not true) and predicting certain events that will or won't occur.

Also, the observed "instances" that Peggy McIntosh lists are under her heading of "Daily effects of white privilege." The key word being effects. She also uses the word "conditions" twice before listing them. She is using the language of causal and conditional generalizations that can be tested, falsified, and used to predict things. If she's using terminology about observing white privilege in the world and talking about conditionals and effects then she is using an inductive framework.

Your experiment sounds like a good one and you certainly have thought very thoroughly about it. I must say that I am not familiar with all the specific terminology that you are using, as I'm not a researcher in that area of psychology nor sociology. However, step two sounds somewhat soft. Isn't it implicit that white privilege has an element of self-deception? Insofar as white people are likely to reject the idea. How do you know the data measurements on emotions won't be overrided by self-deception and/or deception? Are you going to use the galvanic skin response within that step too?

Münzenberg said...

Actually, after thinking about the second to last necessary condition (with the blind example) it sounds kinda reaching. I'd have to think about it for a bit.

Macon D said...

M, I sense that you wish I would stay out of the conversation, and the one between you and R is clipping along just fine without me, so I'' keep my additions brief.

You wrote:

Again, individuals without white privilege could use white skin coloured band-aids. This could be a historically true fact, according to the way you are arguing it i.e. non-whites have used white skin coloured band-aids. One might counter then "ah ha, so it is white privilege." No. It shows that white skin coloured band-aids are not a sufficient condition for white privilege because if a non-white used them, and this condition held true, then the non-white would have white privilege in an advantageous sense.

No, the non-white would not.The question of whether the band-aid example is one of white privilege is not whether non-whites can use band-aids. It's instead about whose skin they match.

Historically, it was a white privilege to have "flesh-colored" band-aids match one's skin and to have easy access to band-aids that do, since so few, if any, were manufactured to match other skin colors.

What continues to be a white privilege in this regard is the relative ease with which a white person can find band-aids that match his or her skin. Yes, other colors are now manufactured, but many stores do not carry them.

And by the way, whether the white bandage wearer is blind or not doesn't matter. Since the white privilege here is that of having a band-aid more or less match one's skin, it's the visual perspective of other people looking at one's bandaged skin that matters, not one's own perspective.

Finally, must white privilege be a "necessary condition," rather than say, a likely probability in most societal contexts, before you'll admit that it's a real social phenomenon, and thus one worthy of working against?

Restructure! said...

Fundamental attribution error

You're right that the fundamental attribution error is not necessarily tautological or similar to "he is like that because he is that way." I was thinking of a specific kind of fundamental attribution error, the kind that people use to explain morally depraved behaviour. For example, people often explain the behaviour of mass murderers in terms of a vacuous personality-based reasoning, calling them "crazy" or "evil".

"Why did he kill people?"
"Because he is crazy."
"Why do you think he's crazy?"
"Because he killed all those people, obviously."

To me, saying that he killed people because he was crazy and we know he is crazy because he killed people is like saying "he is like that because he is that way." It seems like people often use this explanation to explain the behaviour of suicide bombers or school shooters.

I also retract my claim that I rarely make the fundamental attribution error, because I realized I made it in real life, now that I think about it. I guess I didn't compensate for the bias to see other people's biases (fundamental attribution error, in this case) and not one's own.

Now I am not sure if I made the fundamental attribution error with respect to your mental state. I looked up the explanation of the fundamental attribution error in a textbook, and it said:

It is not always wrong to make an internal attribution; clearly, people often do what they do because of the kind of people they are. However, there is ample evidence that social situations have a strong impact on behaviour; indeed, the major lesson of social psychology is that these influences can be extremely powerful. The point of the fundamental attribution error is that people tend to underestimate these influences when explaining people's behaviour. Even when a situational constraint on behaviour is obvious, as in the Jones and Harris (1967) experiment, people persist in making internal attributions.

So what were the situational constraints on your behaviour that made you respond to straw men of my Band-Aid argument? My explanation would be that your situational constraints were that you were socialized in the way that the vast majority white people are socialized with respect to thinking about race. I'm not sure if this is a "personality-based" or "situation-based" explanation. I think it is situation-based, but I think one can make a fundamental attribution error on top of that, by underestimating the immediate situation over the long-term situation.

Induction and my post on racial self-esteem

Sorry, I reread my comment and I was unclear. I meant that I did not use your two sentences as inductive evidence to prove that you had a "psychological profile". You said that two pieces of evidence was inductively weak, but I was not making an inductive argument with respect to your alleged psychological profile.

However, I was making an inductive argument about white people making defensive responses and "exaggerated excuses" when discussing racism or white privilege. (Yes, I assumed that you were white, based on what I perceived to be your strong identification with "Debater 1".)

This induction, however, does assume that you had a particular mental state. However, I took your two sentences to be self-evident of your mental states, rather than inductive evidence of your mental state.

Band-Aids and White privilege

You did write "adhesive bandage", but you used only "bandage" in the sentence about sterility: "lightness in colour allows us to see cleanliness and hence the sterility of the bandage".

When I read this sentence, I visualized a literally white bandage made of white gauze wrapped around a limb, rather than an adhesive bandage. If we changed the clause to "lightness in colour allows us to see cleanliness and hence the sterility of the adhesive bandage", then you would be implying that adhesive bandages are literally white, or that peach/beige colour allows us to see cleanliness and sterility, or that adhesive bandages are not dark-coloured to allow us to see cleanliness and sterility. (However, the last possibility is refuted by your knowledge of Spiderman adhesive bandages.)

As for modern white skin coloured band-aids being conditionally related to white privilege through sufficient and necessary conditions, I do not agree with any of your conditional constructions. I would say this instead:

1. If some proper subset W of set U has a benefit B, and another proper subset C of set U does not have benefit B, and W and C are mutually-exclusive, then W is said to be "privileged".

2. If you have a minor cut or scrape, having a Band-Aid that more or less matches your skin colour readily available is a benefit (over not having a Band-Aid that more or less matches your skin colour readily available).

3. If "Whites" have minor cuts or scrapes, they have the benefit of having Band-Aids that more or less match their skin colour readily available. If "non-whites" have minor cuts or scrapes, they do not have this benefit. ("Whites" and "non-whites" are mutually-exclusive proper subsets of the set "people".)

4. Whites are privileged.

If I wanted to put it into necessary/sufficient conditional statements, I would say these conditions:

C1: Proper subset W of set U has a benefit B
C2: Proper subset C of set U does not have benefit B
C3: W and C are mutually-exclusive

are sufficient for:

C4: W is "privileged".

Restructure! said...

White privilege and induction

If you say it's a real phenomenon in the world then it can be explored in an inductive manner insofar as providing specific instances of falsfiability (where white privilege is not true) and predicting certain events that will or won't occur.

I would say that if it's a real phenomenon in the world, then it can be explored in an empirical manner. It should be falsifiable, but I don't think it's making predictions; rather, it's describing the world. I suppose you can falsify the claim that white privilege exists by proving that non-whites do not have a disadvantage in society due to their race.

Also, the observed "instances" that Peggy McIntosh lists are under her heading of "Daily effects of white privilege." The key word being effects. She also uses the word "conditions" twice before listing them. She is using the language of causal and conditional generalizations that can be tested, falsified, and used to predict things. If she's using terminology about observing white privilege in the world and talking about conditionals and effects then she is using an inductive framework.

Hmm, that's a good point. I did not realize that it could be read that way. Maybe that is one of the main reasons why it sounds like a weak argument to white people who first come across the idea of white privilege, and why there is so much confusion.

This is how I interpret it, and I interpret it as a person of colour who was relatively conscious of most of these items before I read McIntosh's essay:

Daily Effect #46 for White people:
"I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin."

Cause of Effect #46:
White people are privileged with respect to adhesive bandage colour: Modern adhesive bandages' default colour is designed to more or less match with White people's skin colour, instead of non-white people's skin colours.

For step 2 of my proposed experiment (which probably needs more tuning), there is going to be self-deception, but some individuals may be more honest with themselves. The point is that I predict a difference in emotional reports between the group that accepts the existence of white privilege and the group that denies it. We can add instructions like "be honest" and also change the negative emotional descriptions to something that does not trigger a defensive reaction as much, such as "upset", "frustrated", "misunderstood", etc.

Restructure! said...

Re: Aubade

Can you also strike out the parts that imply I think you're my ideological enemy, that claim I want you to accept my truth or shut up, and that claim I use "argument and science to defend and support [my] existing beliefs rather than as a method of self-discovery"? I think you do not still hold these beliefs about me.

Münzenberg said...

Re: The situational constraints. Well I had written a sentence before the particular paragraph you took aim at stating that my brain was fried. It was fried because I was dealing with the high level of argument you were presenting and the fact that I had to write a whole load of stuff (and also deal with writing and thinking in my own life e.g. academic study). That could be seen as an outside factor, but now after thinking about it I'm inclined to think that perhaps it wasn't. It was probably just due to mistakes on my behalf as I outlined above. Straw men need not be intentional. So you could say nearly the majority of my attack on your blog post is utter crap. For that I apologise, I was too quick on the gun. Next time I'll know better to form my arguments and think more rather than relying on half-assed attempts.

I know you explained your intent but I still think you attributed a particular theory to myself with the two sentences I made. Even if unintentionally. In your post you outlined the examples then you followed with this: "Whites who behave in this manner in discussions about racism or White privilege have fragile high self-esteem. Their self-esteem is “high” because they stick steadfastly to their opinions despite evidence to the contrary, but their self-esteem is “fragile” because they exhibit verbal defensiveness and insecure behaviour." So, this time, rather than reading into it, I'll let you explain it as the phrasing is still ambiguous and could be interpreted in two ways. (1) On the one hand it looks like you were making an inductive argument about me given the pronomial phrase "who behave in this manner" i.e. the behaviour of the person who was in the preceding sentence has fragile high self-esteem. (2) On the other hand, as I read your intent, you were talking about examples of whites behaving in that manner that fit the behavioural mold. You know what you are writing, but to me it is ambiguous. Even if either interpretation is true they are both still problematic in an analogous sense. Insofar as the argument is an analogy to an analogy to an analogy. You've argued from research on self-esteem to white privilege then to specific examples. For your analogy to analogy to analogy to hold there must be some key feature of the original research still present. That key feature is individuals with the fragile high self-esteem were more verbally defensive. So for you to be using two examples of what you perceive to be verbal defensiveness then it must also correlate that I have fragile high self-esteem for the relevant analogy-chain to hold. From the two interpretations above number one looks like you were making the argument analogously and if number two were your intent then the only way for your intent to be true is for you to uncouple the correlation of the key feature, which doesn't make sense, because you arguing for the correlation in the first place. Again, I'm confused so perhaps you could explain it.

The Set Theoretic explanation you have given is very lucid. So if any of your three conditions are true, then C4 is true. I only need to prove one wrong to make the conditional unsound. C3 claims mutual exclusiveness insofar as a person of subset U cannot logically both be W and C. Yet in the world there are examples of persons both being W and C. For instance, there are Indigenous Australians here who have white skin and would be classified as subset W. Those Aboriginal Australians would strongly identify themselves as persons under subset C (see the interview in this book for example, which also has a short discussion on the highly ambiguous nature of the language of whiteness and non-whiteness) yet they would have benefit B insofar as having the benefit of skin-coloured band-aids. Can you correct your conditions to make it sufficient or is my invalidating example not correct by your terms?

Münzenberg said...

I'll respond to that other bit tmw. Will also strike out those parts.

Münzenberg said...

ah crap. I meant set U. Not subset U. But that should be clear from the sentence. It's bed for me.

Ymarsakar said...

Munzenberg, go read this.

This white privilege thing is the new noblesse oblige and justification to lock up blacks into slave cages once more.

As you can see, M, I'm never very charitable to such arguments, especially since i've seen them before and thus know from what foundation they were constructed from.

Did I say "foundation"? I meant circle of Baator.

Link

Recommend you read the background thread info first.

"Whites who behave in this manner in discussions about racism or White privilege have fragile high self-esteem. Their self-esteem is “high” because they stick steadfastly to their opinions despite evidence to the contrary, but their self-esteem is “fragile” because they exhibit verbal defensiveness and insecure behaviour."

Btw, that's common behavior for Jihadists, arhabis, black panther symathizers, and socialists.

Btw, M, I hadn't known that Roman and Greek, along with Bactrian and Bosporan peoples, were "White".

These Whites must then occupy a big part of half of the world's ancient history then.

A White person who accepts the existence of White privilege and recognizes it as a part of his personal existence will no longer feel threatened when confronted with evidence* for it.

A white person that can feel that much guilt won't be threatened by blacks demand restitution and payouts? They definitely feel threatened, which is why they pay out.

Don't feel so specialed out, M. This isn't about you, in the end. In point of fact, this isn't about anyone except the people desiring a justification to lock the downtrodden, poor, and non-white colored into white pockets.

Accepting white privilege means accepting your natural born aristocratic superiority, M. I doubt most people like you will "accept" such a thing in life.

Ymarsakar said...

I would say that if it's a real phenomenon in the world, then it can be explored in an empirical manner. It should be falsifiable, but I don't think it's making predictions; rather, it's describing the world. I suppose you can falsify the claim that white privilege exists by proving that non-whites do not have a disadvantage in society due to their race.

Since "whites", as you term it, really came from the Greek and Roman Empires, skin color is less of a factor than the military and imperial traditions passed on from Greece to Rome, from Rome to Britain, and from Britain to America.

Demonstrating that Roman and Greek culture has produced a Western civilization superior to every other culture and race, is just demonstrating the strength of Roman and Greek ancestors. It does not demonstrate any kind of racial or white privilege, although it does demonstrate the justifications for reverse racism and the Duke Rape fabricated attack on racial relations in this country.

Münzenberg said...

Restructure, I guess we'll just have to disagree with each other on the topic of induction as I think we are seeing it from different perspectives. For something to be empirical, to me it means, it can be tested. Again to me, that means it is tested against the background of some hypothesis that already exists. So there is an element of prediction, things that should or shouldn't happen, from the hypothesis to the observations for it to be empirical.

Ymarsakar, I'll come over and read your thread sometime this afternoon. I certainly agree with your last sentence about not accepting "aristocratic superiority." You are also right about it not being about me in the grand scheme of things (though I'm still somewhat confused with restructures explanation as to why she used my example even if unintentionally, although I have asked her to explain that and I'm sure she will). I was a little bit narrow-minded in that manner. Your historical explanations are interesting as well.

Macon D said...

Your historical explanations are interesting as well.

As you consider Ymarsakar's historical explanations, I hope you'll add to the mix an awareness that the concept of a "white race" is actually much younger that Ymarsakar implies.

As many, many historians have explained in detail, the fictional concept of a "white race" did not rise in significance as a group-bound identity marker until venturing Europeans encountered others whom they sought to steal from and/or enslave. That only happened a few centuries ago. Whiteness became a foregrounded social fiction attached to somewhat lighter, literally non-white skin in order to contrast it favorably with darker skin colors. And of course, it is not, as Ymarsakar suggests, indicative of inherent superiority.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of the white supremacist assertions contained in the links that you've enthusiastically promised to check out.

Restructure! said...

Racial self-esteem

Yes, it was interpretation 2, "examples of whites behaving in that manner that fit the behavioural mold." I do see that my post was problematic, and I don't want it to be interpreted as interpretation 1, but I'm still trying to pinpoint the exact problem before I try to rework my post.

I'm not sure what you mean by the analogy to an analogy to an analogy. I think my argument was as follows:

1. There is a difference between "fragile" high self-esteem and "secure" high self-esteem.
2. Individuals with "fragile" high self-esteem are exaggeratedly verbally defensive.
3. Some whites are exaggeratedly verbally defensive when it comes to discussions about racial inequity/white privilege.
4. This can be explained by saying that those whites have "fragile" high [racial] self-esteem.

It is true that this is not a deductive argument, but I'm trying to posit a hypothesis for an observed phenomenon. Whites who have fragile high racial self-esteem will be verbally defensive when it comes to discussions about racial inequity/white privilege, and I also predict that they will experience more emotional stress/anxiety when it comes to those topics because they feel it is more 'threatening'.

When I used you as an example, I used you as inductive evidence of point 3. Yes, according to my post, it follows that you had fragile high racial self-esteem, but this is a claim about your mental state, not your psychological profile. I suppose the problem was that I did not distinguish between (i) the "secure versus fragile high self-esteem" that was referred to in the article, which was more about personalities and psychological profiles, and (ii) what should have been called "secure versus fragile high racial self-esteem", which is about self-esteem in specific contexts, i.e., mental states. (Now I know some things I have to fix in my post.)

White privilege explanation using set theory

I realized afterwards that if all elements of W have benefit B, and all elements of C do not have benefit B, then W and C must be mutually exclusive. Thus, C3, is redundant.

As for your point about Aboriginal Australians, if we set B to be "having a Band-Aid that more or less matches your skin colour readily available", and U to "people", then there exist proper subsets W and C in real life, where W is "privileged". However, as you pointed out, subset W would not be called "Whites". In the case of Band-Aids, W would be people with white Caucasian skin.

Then the question becomes whether the Band-Aid privilege should be called a "White" privilege, since there are many people who have that privilege but are not white, including white-skinned Aboriginal Australians, white-skinned African Americans, and white-skinned Aboriginal Canadians. I would still call it White privilege, and I would also say that those non-white individuals have White privilege when it comes to Band-Aids. Those individuals also have the privilege to pass as white because they are not visible minorities.

Inductive versus empirical

I think if something it empirical, it can be tested, but I think 'inductive' and 'empirical' mean two different things.

induction, n.

3 Logic.
a. The process of deriving general principles from particular facts or instances.
b. A conclusion reached by this process.


empirical, adj.

1. a. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis.
b. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws.
2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine.

Macon D said...

I've noticed, out in the real world, that people with fragile high self-esteem also spend a lot of time and energy building up intricate, elaborate arguments in defense of their position, listening little if at all to points being made by people they've antagonized with their defensiveness, and then finally they'll do a 180 by saying that pretty much everything they've had to say is crap. At that point, since they can no longer argue from their usual, entirely defensive position, they usually withdraw entirely from the discussion. It tends to be all or nothing with such folks.

Restructure! said...

You are not helping the discussion between Munzenberg and I, macon d.

Macon D said...

Ah. In that case, Restructure, I'll sit back and continue to admire your incredible stores of patience. Should M ever decide to re-engage with you on this topic, that is.

Ymarsakar said...

though I'm still somewhat confused with restructures explanation as to why she used my example even if unintentionally, although I have asked her to explain that and I'm sure she will)

She was certainly thinking about you when she used you as an example, but as to whether her thoughts about you were negative or positive, just or unjust, warranted or unwarranted, is a different subject.

uropeans encountered others whom they sought to steal from and/or enslave. That only happened a few centuries ago.

Now we see the basic historical foundation upon which "white privilege" is often based.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of the white supremacist assertions contained in the links that you've enthusiastically promised to check out.

And of course, the wars over the history of European and American colonization efforts are such that any true historical account of the superiority of Western culture over other cultures are seen as "white supremacist assertions". Unfortunately for the race baiters, what matters is culture, not skin color. Being primarily concerned about skin color, or white privilege, is, in actual fact, very close to white supremacism, even if the intentions aren't the same.

As for the other topics,

inductive logic is the side coin of deductive logic. Inductive logic takes the premises that several statements about seeing black birds in trees, and comes up with the conclusion that all birds are black. Inductive logic is often faulty because it only has to be true within the set of assertions or logical axioms that the argument contains. Which is why logic is often seen as a way to be wrong and yet blissfully confident at the same time.

Deductive logic uses a set of laws that dictate what must be true, not just what is true based off of a couple of assumptions that are logically true, such as "10 birds seen to day are black". That's true, but you can't make too much of an inductive leaps off of that without more data, a lot more data.

Deductive logic is often used in computer programming, where the final end result depends entirely on the early axioms or the state of the early logic gates.

Münzenberg said...

Restructure, you have mail at email.restructure@gmail.com

Ymarsakar, thank you for your post explaining inductive and deductive logic.

Macon D, I'm in a bit of conundrum responding to you. I couldn't think of the right words to write without myself coming across as an arsehole. I've shown a lot of patience for your consistent snarks and jabs. You seem to have really taken to heart a conversation that started between Restructure and myself. Apparently you also think that apologising for one's mistakes is a sign of weakness and defeat. What a sad world we'd live in if we followed that moral code.

Anyway, perhaps you can go chill out elsewhere for a bit.

Macon D said...

M, as I said above in response to R's similar note, I'm glad to sit back and spectate. I originally joined the conversation because R left a comment at my blog alerting me to it. I didn't realize this discussion thread on a public blog was a private conversation, and indeed, it does look like the two of you have decided to retreat and get a room. I do hope one of you will put together for one of your sites a summary of the ensuing rhetorical intercourse.

My snark and jabs, if that's what they were, stem from what I see as your obstinacy regarding the existence of a phenomenon that seems obvious to me, "white privilege," a phenomenon the consequences are in need of address, much more so than it's mere existence. If you find my mode of discourse unworkable, well, I'll try to converse in a way that strikes you as more polite if I ever choose to do so in your house again.

It's been interesting to see two highly logical people discuss the issue, with one so aware of its existence and of its significance, and the other so unable, it seems, to see that. So again, I do hope and request a summary of the private conversation, if either of you are willing.

Restructure! said...

indeed, it does look like the two of you have decided to retreat and get a room.

Honestly, what is this supposed to mean?

I left a comment on your blog to alert you of my blog post. This is not a private conversation, but your comment that began with "I've noticed, out in the real world [...]" was an unnecessary ad hominem attack which does not contribute to the discussion. (Also, I generally get annoyed when people think that analytic philosophy is "philosophical and analytical gymnastics", and your trivialization of rigorous testing reminds me too much of science bashing.)

I do not think that I have "incredible stores of patience", as I believe my discussion with Munzenberg has progressed and developed in interesting ways, and I found the exchange rewarding. For me, what is more valuable than converting someone to my point of view is clarifying my arguments and the subject of discussion. (I do not find it shocking if yet another white person, out of millions, does not believe that white privilege exists.)

Anyway, I told Munzenberg that I preferred to keep the debate on an open forum. We also agreed to pace it slowly, as he has exams coming up. Hence, he will probably not reply to me on this topic right away.

Macon D said...

indeed, it does look like the two of you have decided to retreat and get a room.

Honestly, what is this supposed to mean?


Honestly, it was an attempt to make light of what I read as the decision to move a public discussion to a private venue because two of the discussants didn't like the way another discussant was discussing. If the attempt at humor was ill-advised, ill-received, or ill-delivered, I apologize.

I'm delighted that the discussion will continue in public. I promise to remain in the bleachers, if not the peanut gallery, especially since analytical philosophy appears to be a mode of discourse that gets thrown off kilter by the introduction of other discursive styles (or maybe just by my discursive style). If the discussion will continue in a public forum other than this one, please do let us spectators know.

M, I sincerely wish you the best of luck on your exams.

Restructure! said...

Macon D:

Oh, all right. I originally read it as snark.

No, analytic philosophy does not get thrown off kilter by other discursive styles. However, people who are debating in an analytic philosophy style may be thrown off kilter by other discursive styles or by distractions and personal attacks.

As far as I know, the discussion will continue on this comment thread.

Ymarsakar said...


My snark and jabs, if that's what they were, stem from what I see as your obstinacy regarding the existence of a phenomenon that seems obvious to me, "white privilege,"


M, the translated version of that means that Macon finds it entertaining and therapeutic to attack people when those people look like they might disrupt Macon's beliefs.

As such, it is a very similar reaction to the Dutch Cartoons. The Islamic warriors trained in killing women and children found a way to deal with people challenging Islamic views, views that the Islamics thought were quite obvious. The Islamics thus found comfort in touting their religion and making death threats.

Macon's response is different only in scale, not tone or principle.

a phenomenon that seems obvious to me, "white privilege," a phenomenon the consequences are in need of address, much more so than it's mere existence.

I propose for your consideration, M, that had Macon really been interested in addressing white privilege, Macon would not have used up his comment space talking about you, M. Thus we also can add self-deception to the mix, also similar to the Cartoon Jihad where the JIhadists said our religion is not violent and we'll riot and kill if you insult us again.

Honestly, it was an attempt to make light of what I read as the decision to move a public discussion to a private venue because two of the discussants didn't like the way another discussant was discussing.

Again, M, you have this pretension that Macon was talking about white privilege.

No, I wouldn't put it through such rigorous testing because I already find it quite obvious that white privilege exists, and that it has all sorts of influences on both white and non-white lives.-Macon

What Macon was really talking about was how Macon firmly believes in white privilege, including his white privilege assuming he's white. White privilege and Macon's certainty in it's existence as he sees it is not the same thing all in all. Personally, it is not very common to convince a fanatic that his entire world view is flawed and wrong and not only that, but that he has been believing in not just the wrong things, but had placed faith in the things that represented all that was wrong and malignant in the world. It is possible to convince a fanatic or a zealot, but it is not probable. For example, not even North Vietnamese torture could convince American POWs that their love for their country was wrong, that they had been abandoned, that they should betray their country for creature comforts in the here and now. Some were weak of mind and perhaps cracked, but most did not.

The difference between a fanatic and a true believer in the United States is that the fanatic is often a tool, rather than an independent citizen that made his own decisions. Of course, that's not true for every fanatic or zealot.

They're not subjective examples; they're statistically proven recurrences, and they therefore demonstrate the existence in such instances of white privilege, i.e., something whites can generally count on, and something blacks generally can't. What part of this do you still not understand?

To bring up a different subject than Macon, as that tends to get old after awhile, I'll devote some several paragraphs to white privilege and the state of its existence.

I'm not white and I don't believe in the white privilege world view. What I believe is that Western civilization has earned a reputation for fairness, military power, economic might, and technological progress based upon hard work, justice, security, and the American optimistic spirit.

Thus if blacks from Africa or born in the United States want to partake of the reputation benefits of America or of whites or of the West or the Romans or the Greeks at Thermopylae, then they have to earn it. Nobody simply gave out, like charity, the name "Scipio Africanus" without Scipio earning it through blood and toil.

Of course, most people that believe in white privilege, also believe that America the meritocracy does not exist. They believe that it is impossible and improbable, because white privilege and whites are institutionally oppressing blacks so that blacks can't get ahead.

Most of the things Macon says about whites oppressing blacks and holding them back because of white privilege, or about how blacks aren't given a fair shake because the meritocracy has been replaced by a "whites only institution", is mostly true, M.

But then why do I say that I don't believe in "white privilege"? Because it isn't white privilege as Macon means it. It is only fake liberal aristocratic privilege.

When blacks were going up on the economic ladder during and after the 60s, who was the one that broke apart black families and destroyed the black middle class? Why Johnson's Great Society of course. And, perchance, what was the skin color of Lyndon B. Johnson?

Blacks used to have solid family values and then came along Planned Parenthood, social welfare, and vote buying. Who were the ones in charge of Planned Parenthood and social welfare? Rich, white, fake liberals, that is who. And who particulary founded Planned Parenthood, even? A white eugenicist that believed blacks and other inferior races needed to be cleansed by killing their unborn, that's who. Less blacks, less black voting power, and easier time keeping them in check, obviously.

So are blacks oppressed and kept in the slave shacks? Yes, they are. Is it by whites? Yes, they are. Does any black person or white folks actually know which whites are the ones putting the bootheel on blacks? Not particularly. Most folks think it is Bush or the Republicans. Most blacks in the South also think Lincoln, who freed the slaves, was a Democrat.

In the end, facts can have more than one interpretation and only the fanatic demands that facts be interpreted in his way and only his way.

P.S.
Many African Americans born and raised in the US have what I call a dual inferiority and superiority complex. For one thing, blacks here believe that they are kept down by the Man and the whites (one primary reason why Obama is so popular, he is one of their own). Many minorities deal with the fact that they have disadvantages and aren't treated equally to the majority, by inventing or believing in some kind of "superiority myth" about how they are few and sparse because they are God's chosen people or something. This is not a riff on the Jews, it is just human nature. Any small group that is separated off from a large majority will develop myths and superiority legends amongst the small group. Look up Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee.

Blacks comprehend that they are inferior in status, yet they refuse to believe that this is due to their own actions or the actions of their own people. The myth of the minority is then often that the problem they have comes from the majority, the whites or what not. It was the whites that came and took our land and buffalo and it is the whites to blame. Therefore getting rid of the whites would return our lands and our way of life. Pure mythology and even self-delusion.

So while blacks comprehend that they are inferior in status, they actually also believe that the black race or African culture is superior to American materialism or what not. So how then do they explain why America has so much more wealth, power, and justice than is present in Africa? Why, because the white man, after having seen the superior qualities of the black race, went out and enslaved and exterminated blacks in order to keep the blacks from rising up in rebellion and taking control of things. This is not an uncommon underdog myth, after all. So long as there is a human race, there will be underdog stories about a small elite cadre, inherently superior, vs a great power that is oppressing the minority, yet is inferior to the minority. Star Wars, American Revolution, etc etc.

That's what the double inferiority + superiority complex is. You have an inferiority complex in that you know your people and yourself are weak, inferior, and what not. Your superiority complex then develops ontop of the inferiority one, in order to justify your condition and blame it on somebody else. You see, Islam Resurgent has always been kept in check by the greed of the Satans. If it wasn't for the Satanic things taught by the West, Islam would be glorious as it once had been before. Then peace and justice will rule over the Earth with Sharia. They actually believe this, amazingly enough.

The thing with white privilege, however, is like a inferiority complex placed over a superiority complex, in order to justify a white person's sense of guilt over having things that they never fought for and, in a small inner corner of their heart, things that they suspect they don't deserve.

I doubt an American Marine sniper, after having graduated from a school with a 50% failure rate, thinks of himself as only being able to do his job and be treated with respect because of "sniper privilege". He worked for it and he got it, so it sure as hell ain't no charity award or gift from an uncle to him. This is only to demonstrate that if the "white people" actually fought for their rights, liberties, and the state of their current civilization, they would not be talking about "white privilege".

Sure, there's a bunch of Democrat former veterans like Harkin and what not. But usually they are the ones that are exploiting their military knowledge and experience, rather than saying it was given to them as a privilege because of the color of their skin. I doubt that could do much in comparison to the Democrat chickenhawk attack.