Tag Archives: ontology

Part 4: The Races of Humanity or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Socially Constructed Divisions – Part 2

In part 2 of my [IDEOLOGY IN PROGRESS] series, I argued that the concept of race is not a social construction like the left claims, but rather is a biological reality due to genotypical and phenotypical differences amongst populations.

Those who claim X as being a social construction assume the negativity of social constructionism. – Unknown

While I still think that is the case, I ended part 2 with the following statement: “Finally, stay tuned for part two of this post (it will come sometime in the “Ideology in Progress” series) where I ignore everything I wrote above and assume race is a social construct and then explain why division is good! *Basically an “even if it’s a social construct that creates division, that division is good and not discriminatory” argument*”.

And that brings us to this post. I am going to ignore everything I said in the previous post and jump on the liberal bandwagon yelling “race is a social construct!”. However, as the opening quotation points out, even if race (or anything) is a social construct, that doesn’t inherently mean that it’s a bad thing. Rather, just that it might create divisions amongst people. I shall argue after the jump that even if the concept of race is a purely social construction, it, and the divisions amongst people that it creates, are a good thing.

So, let’s begin.

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John LOOOcke – An Object-Oriented Ontological Critique of Lockean Property Acquisition

Part 0: Meta

What follows is a retooled version of a paper I wrote a while ago for a political science class. I did some reworking and editing both to make the argument better as well as to make sure the formatting was decent (eg. photos, relevant addons, etc.), but nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it!

 Part 1: Introduction

Although John Locke’s conception of the generation of private property from common property is profound in that it provided a new, pre-materialist[1], model of understanding how private property and value are created, it, like so many other historical models, has its own issues. Specifically, Locke’s view of nature as the common gift given by God to man in order to exploit for his own devices – namely for man to act upon and change to create value and property – is a fundamentally troublesome way of viewing the world because it defines humans as the sole arbiters of valuation and value creation by elevating the ontological status of humans above non-human objects in the world thus privileging an anthropocentric mindset. The creation of, what I call, an arborescent ontology that is inherent in this mode of thinking not only has been the justification for the destruction/objectification[2] of Indigenous Peoples (among other, “lesser” beings) and the expansion into America that Locke mentions, but also is a poor epistemic starting point for understanding policy making and governmentality as it already assumes some inherent “natural order” or teleological end point and is not self-reflective. This paper serves to function as an object-oriented ontological/epistemological critique of Locke’s concept of value creation and the implications thereof – the implications being arborescent ontology – in favor of a less hierarchical[3], more or rhizomatic ontology – flat ontology.

Before continuing, however, I feel as though some key terms and concepts ought to be defined and described in order to avoid confusion later on. Although I am using words like “arborescent” and “rhizomatic” in their Deleuze and Guattarian sense, I do not intend to drag along the baggage that comes with Deleuze and his seeming disdain for non-human object focus. When I say “arborescent ontology” I mean a very hierarchical focus on understanding being in the world such that one’s description of is very rigid and tree-like, that is to say very “unidirectional”.[4] When the rhizome is discussed (in the context of rhizomatic forms of knowledge), I mean less rigid and more free flowing – that is, grass like – forms of knowledge and understanding (at the least, bidirectional and arguably polydirectional).[5] Finally, when object-oriented ontology is discussed, I feel like there is no better definition than the following one given by Ian Bogost: [6]

Ontology is the philosophical study of existence. Object-oriented ontology (“OOO” for short) puts things at the center of this study. Its proponents contend that nothing has special status, but that everything exists equally–plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example. In contemporary thought, things are usually taken either as the aggregation of ever smaller bits (scientific naturalism) or as constructions of human behavior and society (social relativism). OOO steers a path between the two, drawing attention to things at all scales (from atoms to alpacas, bits to blinis), and pondering their nature and relations with one another as much with ourselves.[7]

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‘Transcendence’: Heidegger, Standing Reserve, and Gestell

I recently had the pleasure of going of out to see the new Johnny Depp film, Transcendence and despite the film’s lack of flair, its critique of technology and the technocratic future which some welcome can be examined through the lens of German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Specifically, Heideggers concepts of bestand (standing reserve) and gestell (enframing, for lack of a better word) serve as perfect tools for analyzing Dr. Will Caster’s transformation and subsequent interaction with humanity and his workers.

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Equal in Ability vs. Equal in Being

So there’s a sad trend that I’ve noticed that occurs both in neo-reactionary circles as well as on Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance and that is to conflate equal in ability to equal in being. Specifically, the argument that is often touted is that “well some people are stronger than others and some races are smarter than others etc. so you can’t say humans are equal!”.  (an example is this article)

But to say this is to commit a fallacy. It assumes that the argument egalitarians make is that true human equality means that humans are all the same, when in actuality the argument is not that all humans are exactly the same, rather, that there is some common standard amongst humans and this standard (which I’ll talk about later) is constant. And if this standard is constant, it is a baseline for what it means to be human and thus, on the most rudimentary level, creates possessing this standard or characteristic (humans) would be ontologically equal – that is, equal in being.

This would be, for the most part, a species classification. For example: some breeds of dogs are smarter than others, some are more aggressive than others, and some are just down right cute. [fig 1.] But at the end of the day, they are all still dogs and thus, if one assigns moral judgements based on species, they would be ontologically equal while not being physically equal.

[fig 1. – My little baby in a cowboy hat for New Years!]

Now humans are an interesting bunch (one that I don’t care for all too much) in that there is debate over whether there is a unifying standard, that is, something that every human has and is something that makes us human. Theists would argue a soul, Kantian’s would argue rationality (haha), and others would argue nothing. I honestly have no idea. I have no idea if such a standard exists. So I will leave with a comment and a few residual questions. I don’t know if there is some unifying feature in humanity and to be honest, I don’t care a huge amount. But I do care when people falsely conflate equal in ability to equal in being. They are not one in the same – someone can be one but not the other (much like a square is a rectangle but not vice versa per se).

So readers: is there a unifying human standard? I would love to hear what you think.

But in your analyses please consider the following questions:

  • is the standard inherent to what it means to be human – that is, do all humans meet it?
  • if some don’t meet it, are they not human?
  • and if so, how should one evaluate them?