The Instigator
Daktoria
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
zhangwn
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Social Empiricism Is Aristocratically Elitist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/16/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 599 times Debate No: 75362
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

Daktoria

Pro

Before starting, let me clarify that "aristocratic elitism" refers to social status which is endowed upon birth. This is in contrast to meritocratic elitism which refers to social status that is developed after birth.

The nature of social empiricism understands that evidence should be used to model how people get along. We learn about facts from experience, and make decisions based on those experiences.

The problem with empiricism is it ignores the innate inequality of people's access to facts. People can only experience what we have access to. On top of that, it ignores the innate inequality of people's ability to record facts. Even if someone accesses facts, those experiences are only used to model society if they are presented in the course of modeling society.

For example, let us consider an evidence focused model of criminal justice. In this model, people are only held guilty based on the evidence at stake, and we assess that evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

The problem here is that elites in society can exploit how the populace does not necessarily have the ability to access and present facts in a court of law. Aside from affording a lawyer and understanding due process within a courtroom, elites have more permission, familiarity, and resources to access areas in society where facts exist than the populace. Likewise, elites have more gathering and preserving mechanisms at stake to hold onto and protect facts that they have access to.

In turn, elites can get away with two things: 1) plausible deniability in the way of abusing the populace while the populace can't hold elites responsible for their actions, and 2) provoking the populace into retaliation such that it can access and present facts about the populace's reactions while the populace can't access and present facts about elites' original actions.

Hence, we see how social empiricism is aristocratically elitist. It exploits the inequality to access and record facts.
zhangwn

Con

Since my opponent is the instigator, the burden of proof falls on him.
Therefore, in order to win this debate, I only have to point out flaws in his argument.

His argument:
"The problem with empiricism is it ignores the innate inequality of people's access to facts. People can only experience what we have access to. On top of that, it ignores the innate inequality of people's ability to record facts. Even if someone accesses facts, those experiences are only used to model society if they are presented in the course of modeling society."

The problem with this argument is that it does not distinguish between "aristocratically elitism" and "meritocratic elitism."
As such, my opponent is rejecting that some amount of socioeconomic mobility even exists.
While elites often have an advantage in "social empiricism," my opponent makes the "Unwarranted Assumption Fallacy." He incorrectly assumes that all elites are "aristocratic elites" who were "endowed upon birth" and that "meritocratic elites" do not exist, and his argument is based on this assumption.

Therefore, here is my position on the topic: even though social empiricism does have an aspect of "aristocratic elitism," social empiricism is not entirely "aristocratic elitist."

For this reason, please vote CON.
Debate Round No. 1
Daktoria

Pro

My opponent is ignoring a very basic fact of life which is that different people are born into different times, places, and relationships. This doesn't deny social mobility, but rather recognizes that aristocratic elites can abuse the populace before mobility is achieved. For example, if someone is working on a project that would lead to future success and social status, but an aristocratic elite comes along and abuses someone, then that elite can use social empiricism to get away with that abuse.

The aristocratic elite can clean up facts, take advantage of how investigators won't investigate facts everywhere, and discourage facts from being investigated where they exist. Likewise, the aristocratic elite can take advantage of how the victim doesn't necessarily know where the facts exist that could prove guilt, and take advantage of how due to the victim's inferior social status, one is more vulnerable to trauma. Therefore, the abuse could literally force the victim to forget the facts that happened.

Meritocracy can lead to mobility, but only if meritocrats are free to pursue success that leads to social status. In a socially empiricist society, that freedom is not guaranteed.
zhangwn

Con

My opponent starts attacking my arguments by saying that I am "ignoring a very basic fact of life which is that" some people have advantages over others (paraphrased).
This is not true; I even stated my position on the topic: even though social empiricism does have an aspect of "aristocratic elitism," social empiricism is not entirely "aristocratic elitist."

My opponent's argument is that "the aristocratic elite can clean up facts, take advantage of how investigators won't investigate facts everywhere, and discourage facts from being investigated where they exist." However, as I pointed out earlier, this does not distinguish between aristocratic elites and meritocratic elites. Meritocratic elites are, by my opponent's definition, the people who rose into a high socioeconomic class from a low class and became elites rather than being born as elites. Meritocratic elites can clean up facts also, they can also take advantage of how investigators won't investigate facts everywhere, and meritocratic elites can discourage facts from being investigated where they exist. All of these forms of corruption require money, but both meritocratic elites who already earned their status and aristocratic elites who were born into their status or both capable of using these forms of corruption.

Since my opponent's argument is nonunique to aristocratic elite, his claim that "social empirism is aristocratically elitist" is false.

For these reasons, please vote CON.
Debate Round No. 2
Daktoria

Pro

To start, I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate.

My opponent confuses: a) possibilities with probabilities, and b) the people at stake. The argument at hand isn't whether aristocratic elites are the only ones who can exploit social empiricism, but whether there is equal opportunity for, and vulnerability to, exploitation. Likewise, this is not merely an argument between aristocratic elites and meritocratic elites, but also between aristocratic elites and the general populace. Also, please remember that I originally used the phrase "social status", not "socioeconomic class". Class can be status, but all status is not class.

Yes, others can exploit social empiricism, but aristocratic elites get the first chance to do so since they already have more permission, familiarity, and resources to access areas in society where facts exist. This immediately creates inequality of opportunity, and puts others at higher vulnerability. Does this mean aristocratically elites will use the chance? No. Does this mean others won't use the chance after? No.

What it means is that if aristocratic elites use the chance to exploit social empiricism, then they get an advantage, and they get the first chance out of everyone. Yes, it is possible for an aristocratic elite to not exploit social empiricism, and for others to exploit it after, but the probability of that happening is less than the probability of the opposite. Social empiricism doesn't account for time, yet timing makes the difference.
zhangwn

Con

I also thank my opponent.

On the last round of this debate, my opponent states, "The argument at hand is... whether there is equal opportunity for, and vulnerability to, eploitation." This is not what the topic is about; the topic is whether or not "Social Empiricism Is Aristocratically Elitist" (since that is, literally, the topic's title).
My opponent tries to turn this debate into something that it is not in order to win the round; he attempts to force me to argue that "aristocratic elites" and "the general populace" (people who were not born with status) have "equal opportunity." This is obviously not true; of course some people are born with advantages as we do not live in a perfectly egalitarian society. However, this framework should be dropped because it is abusive and not what the topic is about.

I am going to restate my position again: even though social empiricism does have an aspect of "aristocratic elitism," social empiricism is not entirely "aristocratic elitist."

My opponent essentially forfeitted this debate when he admitted, "Yes, others[, more specifically, meritocratic elites] can exploit social empiricism."
"Aristocratically elitist" does not accurately describe social empiricism when "meritocratic elites" are just as capable and likely to exploit social empiricism. However, both my opponent and I agree that social empiricism is elitist but not necessarily aristocratically elitist.
My opponent argues that aristocratic elites are more likely to exploit social empiricism than meritocratic elites because they "already have more permission, familiarity, and resources to access areas in society where facts exist."
However, my opponent provides no warrant for this claim. My opponent still has the burden of proof, yet he does not provide any evidence that this claim is true.
Meritocrats who earned permission, familiarity, and resources have just as much permission, familiarity, and resources as aristocrats who were born with these.
For these reasons, please vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Daktoria 2 years ago
Daktoria
The point here was to focus on forensic evidence. Natural science can only influence society if it has the ability to gather evidence to do so, but elites have the ability to cover up and anticipate where investigators will look for facts. Likewise, they have connections in police departments to influence how investigations are carried out.

That said, I'm not familiar with any of the literature you're talking about. It was a coincidence that you found something similar that applied.
Posted by hatshepsut 2 years ago
hatshepsut
The debate title is also the title of a book by Miriam Solomon on sociological factors in the development of the natural sciences. In fact, the term "social empiricism" seems to denote this study of science work from a sociological perspective: perhaps Thomas Kuhn's "Nature of Scientific Revolutions" (1962) and its paradigm shifts concept was the groundbreaker here.

Which means I'm not sure what social empiricism as defined above has to do with social class relationships or the advantages upper classes enjoy with respect to information access and security. Is there another philosophical study area also called "social empiricism" that I'm unaware of? If so, I would welcome an explanation or reference to literature.

Regards,
Posted by theisticscuffles 2 years ago
theisticscuffles
Nicely framed topic.
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