Puttin' On The Ritz

More sophisticated by the second, etc.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

On Humean Feeling

In an effort to understand society, I was just thinking about the thread of dominance in mysticism through the lens of Max Weber’s three basic legitimacy types of domination.

1) Traditional domination: belief in age-old rules/values; “eternal yesterday”; born into...habit to conform; patriarchialism[as a council of elders]/patrimonialism[as based on inheritance].

2) Charismatic domination: belief in an authority due to their charisma, devotion, and confidence -- a heroic leadership.

3) Legal/Rational domination: modern society is based upon impersonal methods as found in bureaucracy; people follow as it is assumed to be in the general interest of self/society.

Weber describes obedience to legitimacy types as based on our motivations of fear (fear of authoritative power) and hope (hope of good for oneself). This makes me think of Hume’s analysis of human feeling (why we believe in it in the first place) and Kant’s reaction to it -- how Kant reacted to Hume’s skeptical epistemological conclusion that there is no foundation for knowledge through induction, and therefore that there is no true knowledge. For Hume, one cannot experience the truth because there is no necessary relation between what is perceived and an actual thing out there a posteriori. But in the Critique…, Kant attacks Hume’s belief that observable reality is based on speculation by asserting that Hume’s method of reason confines itself to not knowing through empiricism (the world imposes upon us). Kant undermined Cartesianism and Hume’s belief that there is no proof to an objective, external world outside of our own mind and that therefore induction is irrational. For Hume, we can’t rely on existence because it is temporary and illusory. Kant revitalized science, and possibly mere pragmatism, but this brings up a whole new can of worms: to try and naturalize epistemology through neurobiology and psychology (Quine). This process of naturalization was begun by Marx in the 19th century and perpetuated the behaviorists and pragmatists such as John Dewey. Science might bring us back to Hume, in spirit anyway (direct synaptical correlations aren’t a necessary causality to venerated feeling).

In Puttin’ on the Ritz we are like you: our lust is to know/express final thoughts.


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