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).

 

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”)

John Steppling – Population Bomb or Bomb the Population?

Link to an article by John Steppling:

“Population Bomb or Bomb the Population?”

 

Bonus links: “Ashley Dawson: Extreme Cities” (Steppling’s article essentially provides the answer to an audience question that Ashley Dawson stumbled with in this video of an otherwise excellent talk) and “Population Explosion” and “Will Limiting Population Growth Solve the Climate Crisis?” and “Ten Reasons Why Population Control Can’t Stop Climate Change” and Too Many People?: Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis

T.J. Coles – Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex

Link to an article by T.J. Coles:

“Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex”

 

Note that this identified deGrasse Tyson as an old-fashioned shill rather than part of the “idiot pool”.  Anyway, this article doesn’t explicitly reach deGrasse Tyson’s secular humanist “scientism” ideology which is really what drives his sociopolitical status quo boosterism:

“The relevance of these practices is that they account for Tyson’s scientism as a tactic in a culture war. I’ll lay out some principles of Tyson’s apparent culture to show how the conflict arises. Tyson’s all-business impatience with philosophy and his allusion to progress indicate that he stands not just for the supremacy of science, but for the modern institutions (capitalism, private industry, democracy) that have exploited scientific knowledge. The liberal values (freedom of thought, environmentalism, admiration for underdog scientists) and inchoate pantheism that surface in his series, Cosmos, show that he stands also for secular humanism. Put these together and you have a culture that reduces to neoliberalism, an ideology that’s analyzed thoroughly by Philip Mirowski’s Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste. Neoliberalism is the rebirth of the social policies that led to the Great Depression, which rebirth was made possible by some propagandists’ mastery of the double standard. Neoliberalism is what powerful Republicans and Democrats have in common, the understanding that capitalism runs counter to democracy, but that a semblance of the latter is needed as the noble lie to sustain the magic of the former. Thus, neoliberals are both populists and technocrats, depending on their audience. In any case, in so far as Tyson despises philosophy for being useless in contrast to science, he must approve of the modern applications of science—not just the medical breakthroughs and technological advances, but the egoistic, materialistic mass culture of consumerism that bankrolls the loftier work of scientific inquiry.”

Benjamin Cain, “Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Scientism and the Scapegoating of Philosophy”

Bonus link: “Book Review: Marxism and the Philosophy of Science” (“Capitalism portrays science as a purely objective phenomenon and considers any attempt at understanding the political implications of science to be an intrusion of ideology into the sphere of objective, scientific neutrality.” *** “‘Positivism’ refers to the rejection of philosophy in favor of adopting an (often oversimplified) understanding of natural science as the basis for all theoretical and practical activity.”)

Zola Carr – Medicalizing Society

Link to an article by Zola Carr:

“Medicalizing Society”

 

Bonus links: “Are We Governed By Secondary Psychopaths?” and “The War Inside Your Head” and  “Mental Health and Neoliberalism” and “Are the Young People That Shrinks Label as Disruptive Really Anarchists With a Healthy Resistance to Oppressive Authority?” and “Social Service or Social Change?”