George Martin Fell Brown – Marxism and the Philosophy of Science

Link to a review by George Martin Fell Brown of Helena Sheehan’s book Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History (1985/2018):

“Book Review: Marxism and the Philosophy of Science”

 

This review does suffer from a bit of a Trotskyist (anti-Stalinist) bias, but it still provides a useful historical overview.

Christine MacDonald – I Went to a Climate Change Denial Conference

Link to an article by Christine MacDonald:

“I Went to a Climate Change Denial Conference. It Made Even Less Sense Than You’d Think.”

 

This article was published on the magazine In These Times’ web site.  The publication is populist, meaning that it constantly strives to demonize its political opponents and construct an enemy.  Aside from that, what the article explains about climate change deniers is that they are engaged in what Jacques Lacan called “university discourse” in order to defend a particular social structureBruce Fink explained this concept of “university discourse” in his book The Lacanian Subject (1995):

“the university is an arm of capitalist production (or of the ‘military-industrial complex,’ as it was called . . . ), suggesting that the truth hidden behind the university discourse is, after all, the master signifier.  Knowledge here interrogates surplus value (the product of capitalist economies, which takes the form of a loss or subtraction of value from the worker) and rationalizes or justifies it.”  (p. 132).

 

“Working in the service of the master signifier, more or less any kind of argument will do, as long as it takes on the guise of reason and rationality.” (p. 133).

 

See also Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason (1983):

“What counts today is not the spectacular effects but the solid facades, respectability.  What was earlier called swindle today is called expert advice.  ***  Today, without an academic education one cannot even become a swindler anymore.”  (p. 488).

 

Populists generally avoid getting into these issues, because to do so would tend to reveal the large degree of agreement between them and the political far right.  But this article is still a good example of how the right doesn’t care about making “good” arguments as long as they serve their desired (if unstated) social arrangement.

John Molyneux – How Fast is the Climate Changing?

Link to an article by John Molyneux:

“How Fast is the Climate Changing?”

 

Bonus quote:

“That the capitalist class is most interested in protecting its power, position, wealth and way of life means that the struggle to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of global warming is a class struggle. It is a struggle for power — not a struggle over morality or individual consumer choices. The capitalist class holds out the promise of ‘more of the same’ because that is the way that it can continue to accumulate wealth while working people get the same raw deal of exploitation, racism and oppression that they have for centuries.”

Jodi Dean, “Climate Change Is Class War”

See also “Global Warming and U.S. National Security Diplomacy” and “The Discovery and Rediscovery of Metabolic Rift” and “Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?”

Philip Alcabes – No Peace of Mind in Psychiatry

Link to a review by Philip Alcabes of the book Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness (2019) by Anne Harrington:

“No Peace of Mind in Psychiatry”

 

Bonus links: “Psychiatry’s Incurable Hubris” (takes an implicitly anti-Freudian perspective, ignoring Lacan) and “Élisabeth Roudinesco Interviewed on the 30th Anniversary of Jacques Lacan’s Death”

Mertonian CUDOS-norms

Link to Robert Merton’s four norms that constitute “four sets of institutional imperatives taken to comprise the ethos of modern science… communism, universalism, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism.” (CUDOS is the acronym):

“Four Mertonian Norms”

 

(contrast that with this: “Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex”)