Social network marketing: Getting from zero to critical mass

The problem for the practical conception of critical social inquiryis then to escape the horns of a dilemma: it should be neither purelyepistemic and thus overly cognitivist, nor purely moralistic. Neitherprovides sufficient critical purchase. In the case of the observer,there is too much distance, so much so that it is hard to see how thetheory can motivate criticism; in the case of the pure participantperspective, there is too little distance to motivate or justify anycriticism at all. It is also the same general theoretical andmethodological dilemma that characterizes the debates betweennaturalist and anti-naturalist approaches. While the former sees termssuch as rationality as explanans to explain away such phenomena asnorms, the latter argues that normative terms are not so reducible andthus figure in both explanans and explanandum. The best practicalaccount here reconciles Rorty's ambiguity by putting theepistemological component in the social world, in our various cognitiveperspectives towards it that include the normative perspectives ofothers. The ambiguity is then the practical problem of adoptingdifferent points of view, something that reflective participants inself-critical practices must already be able to do by virtue of theircompetence.

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Critical Mass Systems crafts high-performance vibration mitigation systems for high-end audio

Review: Critical Mass by Philip Ball | Books | The Guardian

There are two common, general answers to the question of whatdefines these distinctive features of critical social inquiry: onepractical and the other theoretical. The latter claims that criticalsocial inquiry ought to employ a distinctive theory that unifies suchdiverse approaches and explanations. On this view, Critical Theoryconstitutes a comprehensive social theory that will unify the socialsciences and underwrite the superiority of the critic. The firstgeneration of Frankfurt School Critical Theory sought such a theory invain before dropping claims to social science as central to theirprogram in the late 1940s (Wiggershaus 1994). By contrast, according tothe practical approach, theories are distinguished by the form ofpolitics in which they can be embedded and the method of verificationthat this politics entails. But to claim that critical social scienceis best unified practically and politically rather than theoreticallyor epistemically is not to reduce it simply to democratic politics. Itbecomes rather the mode of inquiry that participants may adopt in theirsocial relations to others. The latter approach has been developed byHabermas and is now favored by Critical Theorists.

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Before turning to such a practical interpretation of critical socialinquiry, it is first necessary to consider why the theoretical approachwas favored for so long and by so many Critical Theorists. First, ithas been long held that only a comprehensive social theory could unifycritical social science and thus underwrite a “scientific” basisfor criticism that goes beyond the limits of lay knowledge. Second, notonly must the epistemic basis of criticism be independent of agents'practical knowledge, but it might also be claimed that the correctnessof any explanation is independent of its desirable or undesirablepolitical effects on a specific audience. So conceived, socialcriticism is then a two-stage affair: first, inquirers independentlydiscover the best explanation using the available comprehensive theory;then, second, they persuasively communicate its critical consequencesto participants who may have false beliefs about their practices.

Taylor, Paul, and Jan Li Harris. 2008. Critical theories of mass media: Then and now. Berkshire, UK: Open Univ. Press.
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The antagonism between the police and Critical Mass riders is one result of what happens when the line between legality and disobedience is constantly shifting.

A critical thinker is always aware of the presence and power of suggestion in mass media

Dec 13, 2017 · News about Critical Mass

In the next two sections, I will discuss two aspects of thistransformed conception of Critical Theory. First, I turn to the role ofsocial theory in this more pragmatic account of critical socialinquiry. Contrary to its origins in Marxian theoretical realism, Iargue for methodological and theoretical pluralism as the best form ofpractical social science aimed at human emancipation. Second, Iillustrate this conception in developing the outlines of a criticaltheory of globalization, in which greater democracy and nondominationare its goals. This theory also has a normative side, which is inquiryinto democracy itself outside of its familiar social container of thenation state. In this sense, it attempts not just to show constraintsbut also open possibilities. Critical Theorists have failed not only totake up the challenge of such new social circumstances but also therebyto reformulate democratic ideals in novel ways. I shift first to theunderstanding of the philosophy of social science that would help inthis rearticulation of Critical Theory as critical social inquiry as apractical and normative enterprise.

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A practical approach to Critical Theory responds to pluralism in thesocial sciences in two ways, once again embracing and reconciling bothsides of the traditional opposition between epistemic (explanatory) andnon-epistemic (interpretive) approaches to normative claims. On the onehand, it affirms the need for general theories, while weakening thestrong epistemic claims made for them in underwriting criticism. On theother hand, it situates the critical inquirer in the pragmaticsituation of communication, seeing the critic as making a strong claimfor the truth or rightness of his critical analysis. This is apresupposition of the critic's discourse, without which it would makeno sense to engage in criticism of others.