[extropy-chat] Self-labelling

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Mon Apr 26 23:30:07 UTC 2004

--- Harvey Newstrom <mail at HarveyNewstrom.com> wrote:
> On Monday, April 26, 2004, at 03:59 pm, Chris
> Phoenix wrote:
> > Note what I said: a crisis of faith with regard to
> *scientists*, not 
> > science.
> Agreed.  But are people who deviate from the
> scientific method actually 
> scientists?  Are theories that are not developed and
> tested with the 
> scientific methods really scientific?  I would argue
> that they are not.

In practice, one has the ideal of X, and then the
people who label themselves as practicing X, or Xists.
(Insert "science", "Christianity", or whatever for X.)
The ideal may be a useful thing, but when one talks
about Xists, one necessarily has to recognize that
those who label themselves Xists will interpret your
words as referring to them since, if you're not, then
by "Xists" you're not referring to anybody, which only
makes sense in a comment like "there are no true
Xists".  This interpretation is also likely to happen
in others who try to apply these comments to the real

Note who does the interpretation: everyone *except*
you, the speaker.  (I'm using "you" generically, not
referring specifically to Harvey, although the above
statement of his is a good example.)  You communicate
in order to be understood.  What is understood by
others is therefore the point of communication.

Therefore, I would conclude that there is little
practical difference in this context between talking
about Xists and people who call themselves Xists,
unless one is explicitly talking about hypothetical or
otherwise purely theoretical situations.

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