[extropy-chat] "Hierarchical power is out"

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Wed Dec 27 05:44:51 UTC 2006

Lee Corbin wrote:

> Samantha writes
>>> "Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to
>>> involuntarily behave in a certain way (whether through
>>> action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation
>>> <UL> or </UL> some other form of pressure or force....
> Underlining added by me  :-)


> And just why shouldn't "coercion" be available to describe 
> any sort of pressure or effect at all?  Isn't one's house 
> coerced into collapsing because of the hurricane's winds?  
> Aren't prisoners in the Sudan coerced into dying by the 
> bullets penetrating their skins?  And even if the farmer were 
> to fail to adopt the new technology because of his own 
> feelings of unworthiness, well, weren't those feelings 
> *caused* in the first place by the advent of new technology 
> over which he played no part and in which his voice was not 
> heard?  So, you see, he's coerced either way!
> I really don't understand why you resist these more 
> perceptive and broader applications of the concept---surely 
> we mustn't restrict our concepts and vocabulary to only the 
> most banal and blatant examples of a phenomenon! On the 
> contrary, as a fundamental principle of abductive 
> nonmonotonic reasoning, to resist instead coercion by 
> oppressive binary oppositions and dichotomies (cf. 
> aktuelisace) can only be liberating!

Bravo, Lee! (The verb, not the noun)

> Why shouldn't terms and concepts acquire increasing and 
> progressively greater scope until they all mean everything?

Or rather, we might become aware that the meaning of terms such as
coercion, self, free-will, rationality, morality and justice is
critically dependent on context.

- Jef

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