Posted by: glue | June 25, 2008

Argument (Logos)

Instruction:  inventory the arguments organizing the policy debate found within your disaster.

argument

Literacy institutionalized one axis of our intelligence:  true – false (this is not a quiz).  School is the institution, science the practice, argument the form, the movement from doubt to certainty the state of mind.  The steps of entailment follow one two three (syllogism:  major premise, minor premise, conclusion).  A claim, a reason, a warrant.  The premise should be something I already believe, a value, a principle, and then the entailment, connecting the particulars of the circumstance with this assumption produces an effect in me (persuasion).

Electracy similarly is institutionalizing another axis of intelligence:  joy – sadness (to use Spinoza’s terms).  Internet is the institution, but what is the practice, the form, the movement of feeling informing the state of mind?  What is the formal structure of the practice, and in what way does it engage with the arguments of the policy debate?  The purpose of heuretics is not just to answer these questions, but to supply the very practice required.

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Responses

  1. Measures Taken

    Theory reminds us that in our epoch there is still the Universal, but it is vacant. None of its former occupants remain: Polis, God, Reason, Utility. Part of the task of inventing electracy is to design and test a new manner of measure.

    Meanwhile, from its inception, argument generated its own rebuttal. Socrates against the sophists. Every policy debate circulates around an impasse (aporia): the conflicts (differend) between what we know and what we believe (formalized in different institutions, prototypically as science and religion). Fetish Logic (I know, but still… ) is the inheritance of this overlay of apparati (literacy, orality). Expression supplements this old duality.

    Recently belief has trumped fact, as in the Iraq war policy pursued by the Bush administration. But science itself has been used by corporations to allow them to profit as long as possible from harmful products, by exploiting the very state of mind of knowledge.

    “The strategy of manufacturing doubt was pioneered by the tobacco industry. Tobacco-funded studies threw up enough red herrings — ‘Psychosocial, Familial Factors May Have Role in Lung Cancer,’ ‘Lung Cancer Rare in Bald Men’ — to confuse consumers and delay the warinng label on cigarettes. Doubt is still a crucial product for any industry fighting regulations that would protect workers and consumers from exposure to toxic compounds. Now some industries argue that it would be wrong to reduce allowable exposure limits until science can prove exactly what level is safe” (Sharon Begley, Newsweek, May 12, 2008.


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