Monday, November 9, 2015

"We can agree with pick-up artists that men and women exhibit some behavioral differences. But the PUA framework places their sources in evolution instead of the sexual and social division of labor. In her essay 'A Marxist Theory of Women’s Nature,' philosopher Nancy Holmstrom argues that women’s lives are less free than men’s under capitalism 'both because they are dependent on men and because they have children dependent on them.' Therefore, 'traditional sexual values constrain women more than they do men,' and women 'are less able to act to realize their own desires' and must be 'more passive and oriented to other people’s wishes than men.'

"But in societies with a less marked sexual division of labor, those sexualized generalizations dissipate. Marginalized women who need male spouses to flourish might, indeed, find pick-up artists alluring. But women in countries that have gender-equalizing policies supported by an anti-individualist culture may not." - Katie J.M. Baker, "Cockblocked by Redistribution"

Twofer

"It is true that under the heading of human nature there often reside what one might call projects of deification; attempts precisely to unshackle humanity from nature, to liberate human beings from, or elevate them above, their own biology and indeed the corruption of materiality itself, by recourse to free will, the soul, notions of pure creativity, the spark of divinity within each person, and so on. Yet it cannot be an appropriate materialist response here simply to assert that, on account of man's social and historical formation, there is no human nature. On the contrary, this risks being but a covert form of the very idealism it purports to challenge. By setting up an absolute distinction between society/history and nature, it divorces humanity from the natural world - in particular from other species, which for their part are never denied to possess an intrinsic nature - and functions in this respect exactly like the theological conceptions just mentioned. Against these, any genuine materialism must insist rather that human beings, for all that is distinctive about them as a species, and for all of their traits, activities and relationships which can only be explained by specificities of society and history, are nevertheless, like all other species, material and natural beings; 'irredeemably' rooted in a given biological constitution; absolutely continuous with the rest of the natural world." - Norman Geras, Marx and Human Nature

Listen, Philosopher!

"Nothing is more requisite for a true philosopher, than to restrain the intemperate desire of searching into causes, and having establish'd any doctrine upon a sufficient number of experiments, rest contented with that, when he sees a farther examination would lead him into obscure and uncertain speculations." - David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature

Friday, November 6, 2015

One divides into two

"It’s no surprise that until we came on to the scene, there was no polarisation – because there weren’t two poles." - Kshama Sawant

Sunday, November 1, 2015

"The deepest significance of a relatively unchanging biological human condition is probably to be found in some of the basic material processes of the making of art: in the significance of rhythms in music and dance and language, or of shapes and colours in sculpture and painting. Because art is always made, there can of course be no reduction of works of this kind to biological conditions. But equally, where these fundamental physical conditions and processes are in question, there can be no reduction either to simple social and historical circumstances. What matters here—and it is a very significant amendment of orthodox Marxist thinking about art—is that art work is itself, before everything, a material process; and that, although differentially, the material process of the production of art includes certain biological processes, especially those relating to body movements and to the voice, which are not a mere substratum but are at times the most powerful elements of the work." - Raymond Williams, "Problems of Materialism"