Sunday, September 07, 2014

It Is Always True That 'Reality Is More Complex Than Your Social Theory'. And That Argument Is Never Helpful.

I have loved social theory since I started reading it in high school because it reveals something of the underlying structure of reality - the reasons behind the human world that we see on the surface.

And when talking about social theory, I often run across someone who dismisses the whole project because "reality is more complex than that."


But the same is true of a map.  A map simplifies, but shows the relations of the main elements.  A map that showed everything in its true proportions, in a 1"=1" scale, would be more accurate than any simpler map.

But it would be useless.

The alternative to social theory is not a completely complex picture of society.  The alternative to the simplifications of social theory is to argue that reality has no underlying structure at all.

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