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View Diary: A Good Week for Science — and Insight into Politics (194 comments)

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  •  I find this argument problematic (2+ / 0-)
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    Matt Z, Benintn

    My problem is with the whole framing of this argument/debate.

    There is a tendency in certain cognitive science circles to think of identity and behavior as resulting from rational choices of disconnected brains (I use "rational" not in the strictest sense of adhering to perfect logicality). Either an argument is rational or irrational based on a particular logic, experience, or memory of the brain.

    This article argues that people can be classified into a category of "liberal" or "conservative" based on whether their brain accepts or rejects a particular issue/idea/behavior because of some predilection of their individual, particular brain cognition resulting from individual experience.

    What this type of argument ignores is the massive role that social behavior and inclination plays in the decisions of individual human actors.

    Someone who at one time might identify with this label of "liberal" can easily at other times of their life identify as "conservative" depending on such a change in the identity of their peer group at different points in their life. This would refute the argument that liberal/conservative procedes from differing parenting styles or pre-determined ideational proclivities of individual brains.

    The reason a person can hold some views which are deemed "conservative" and other views which are deemed "liberal" is not because they are mixed-brain, or however it could be described-- but rather because certain social group identities are formed through the use of ideologies which choose one or another position/idea in order to distinguish and strengthen that identity.

    My problem isn't with the fact that particular words and phrases have certain connotations, but do these connotations arise from the word itself, or- as I admit is alluded to to a certain degree in the article- are the connotations socially determined/constructed?

    My approach to achieving growth for "progressive" causes by bringing people over to our side wouldn't just be through persuasion of argument or choosing to use "this word" instead of "that word", but by forming more and stronger social connections with people who identify as "conservative". Make them like you and connect to you, and in so doing they're more likely to accept this or that position/idea.

    Of course, my own solution is problematic because it would seem to against the social tendency for people to want to congregate with others who are like them- especially as it pertains to identification with a particular social group. But that's a whole other diary waiting to be written...  

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair via Al Gore; -6.62, -5.28

    by bluejeandem on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 08:20:55 AM PST

    •  Bingo. (1+ / 0-)
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      Matt Z

      "The heart has reasons that reason cannot understand." - Pascal

      And this is not simply saying what Lakoff is saying.  It's saying that the metaphors we live by are built in such unique ways that they cannot be manipulated.

      Framing doesn't fix what's broken with the human heart.  And the truth is, that's not Obama's problem anyway - he still has much more favorable poll numbers than the Congresscritters on either side.

      "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

      by Benintn on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 09:10:27 AM PST

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