Sunday, January 7, 2018

Ilana Strauss — Does punishing people actually work?

The conundrum arises from assuming methodological individualism based ontological individualism when humans are social animals embedded in a complex adaptive system in which increasing rate of coordination yield increasing return on coordination. Basic evolutionary biology, and team work in organizational behavior.

Methodological individualism based on the "ontology of common sense" is similar to naive realism based on the "epistemology of common sense." Naive realism holds that individual minds mirror "reality" similarly enough to conclude that minds mirror the same reality, providing the same information and stimulating the same or highly similar behavior as a rule. This assumption leads to such unresolvable difficulties that most epistemologists and cognitive scientists have concluded naive realism cannot be correct and something else has to be going on.

In both cases the issues arise from failure to understand correctly how individuals are embedded in the system they inhabit. It is basically a conflation of the micro scale with the macro, when the macro scale is influential if not determinative.

This shows up, for instance, in classical liberalism assuming utilitarianism, namely, that freely pursuing individual utility sums additively to the greatest good for the greatest number as a consequence of spontaneously natural order.

This is assumed as a general theory. However, evidence shows that this is not how social systems necessarily operate. That assumption turns out to be a special case that is rarely if ever actually achieved.

The same with punishment over rehabilitation in corrections.

From the Grapevine
Does punishing people actually work?
Ilana Strauss

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