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Moses makes a key point about the relative autonomy of social or cultural
formations, including social networks.  If we phrase this issue in network
terms, would it not be an issue of -- at what point does the network take
precedence over its members, enforcing confirmity upon them -- that is,
becoming very "sticky" ?  

Jeffrey Broadbent


-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Moses Boudourides
Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2007 4:25 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Science Articles -- SNA and Being Human


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Well, I think I understand what Ryan wants to say - perhaps not. This could
be related to what Richard Dawkins has formulated as "God's utility
function" in living nature, by which he was implying that living beings are
the means for the self-reproduction of genes and not the other way around
(see the wikipedia page:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God's_utility_function>.) Slavoj Zizek has
held a similar position with respect to the self-reproduction of ideologies
too (in his forward at Peter Hallward's book on Alain Badiou's A Subject to
Truth). In any case, this issue has a tremendous theoretical interest and it
might be a good idea if we were exploring it in the context of emergent
phenomena like social networks: For instance, is there a "natural" purpose
as an intrinsic utility function over social conglomerations like social
networks? What about the unintended purposes/consequences (or "absent
causes" in the Althusserian/Lacanian idiom) emerging throughout such
structural aggregations? And so on..

--Moses Boudourides

On 1/3/07, Paul B. Hartzog <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
>
> On 12/22/06, Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> >
> > Said another way, smart apes evolved because they needed to deal 
> > with complex territoriality of overlapping networks-tribal rivalries 
> > versus needs for broader gene pools, mating opportunities, etc.  
> > Migrators or inter-actors inevitably evolve as smarter beings that 
> > can solve which groups it is smart to belong to.  Said another way 
> > still, ontologies are applied when they make sense.  The ontologies 
> > that win-including science-based reason-are those that are useful 
> > for surviving in complex group domains-or ecosystems...
>
> I can't believe I am hearing someone seriously suggest that the 
> ontology of "science and reason" is "winning" because it is "useful."
>
> The counter-arguments are too numerous to mention, but any climate 
> change, global poverty, or suicide index should suffice.  The 
> historical contingencies involved in the "evolution" of scientism and 
> rationality are legion.
>
> -p
>
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> The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms.
>                  --Muriel Rukeyser
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