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What I like very much about Michael Agar's book is the way he links the tradition of social science of the late 19th Century which had no problem in seeing anthropology, philosophy and psychology as interlinked ways of inquiring into being human with varying kinds of approach and relevance with the crisis in BSS. Before 1918 the intellectual space in which human experience could be legitimately discussed included high literature, psychological experimentation, philosophical speculation, the ethnological comparison of symbols across time and space: it was not the case that only one or a few of these approaches could offer the final answer. After 1918 with the rise of techno-military states, only answers that fulfilled the laboratory-style definition of replicability (the factory conveyer belt providing another model) were seen as truly valid.
BSS -- the laboratory approach to universal human experience is cracked and leaking; so there is a glimmer of hope for new more open linkages being produced between the 'two worlds' art and science and the 'plural universes' of human experience that William James talked about. I liked how the book draws to a close with a discussion of Edith Stein on empathy as a key. It strikes me that there is more to be said, though, about the historical-epistemological 'why now?' relevance of the concerns you raise in the book, Michael. Also, the wider contextual frame of Transition and Chaos that we said we were going to talk about but haven't. Also, the real problem that you raised in terms of funding.
On that, John, is probably right that a large part of the funding for solutions to problems, little and big, like the 4-way stop etc. will have major corporate and or military interests behind it. If it is no longer the state, but rather large corporations which set the goals for knowledge, what difference does this make to the benign intentions of an HSR researcher? He who pays the piper calls the tune. The crack in the BSS model is perhaps a sign of a more sinister or at least unpredictable transformation in how knowledge is validated. Once upon a time a member of the Bush family would have been a shoe-in for major political office, the Bushes have been political heavy-lifters since 1918, but currently it is the unprecedented Don Trump's turn--someone whose knowledge-validity criteria seem to work in a quite new way. We might say that a shift back or away from lab-factory-knowledge about humans can only be a good thing, but as an outsider watching the rise and rise of Donald Trump I am wondering what kind of knowledge validation processes we might expect from this brave new world.
Thanks for a Lively time.
Here's a good NYT Sunday mag article on the Target big data story that might be of interest.
And Huon, I agree that the historical/epistemological shift merits much more attention. I haven't done that, speculate some in talks, but think it has something to do with a threshold value for nonlinearities having been crossed among the powerful with HSR and data analytics then being used with positive outcomes. But really, I dunno.
Great cartoon. I had no idea the four-way stop has such traction.
Next steps: Organize symposia, apply for grants, establish departments . . .
Sorry, I sent the wrong URL link by accident. Here is the NYT feature I mentioned earlier:
Michael, interesting. This is the other side of a story that was hot online a few months ago. That story concerned a conservative father who was incensed when his sixteen year-old daughter received a mailing from Target directed at pregnant women. When he went to Target to complain, he asked, "How could you possibly think my daughter is pregnant," Target told him about the kind of research described in this NY Times piece. When he got home, his daughter confessed that she was, indeed, pregnant.
I note that this form of data-mining is the kind of thing Paco Underhill wrote about in The Science of Shopping, now equipped with an afterburner thanks to digital technology.
People who want to earn more should read Alberto-Lazlo Barabasi's Bursts and Alex Pentland's Social Physics.
Here in Yokohama, October 21 is drawing to a close. Tomorrow is October 22, when this forum is scheduled to close. Closing remarks, please.
Sorry to have by missed this excellent seminar. Just to announce the launch of a new book by OAC Press, Emancipatory Politics: a Critique, edited by Stephan Feuchtwang and Alpa Shah and an online seminar (see Forum notice) from November 23rd. Hope some of you can take part or at least look at the book. Closing the thread again now.