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There is a substantial difference between "the similarities are actual" and "a body of linguistically similar utterances with shared formal rules utilized by mutually successful communicators". That's not a definition I've used in this exchange and it doesn't capture what I'm describing; in particular, "formal rules" is well off the mark.
In this thread I'm primarily contesting the idea of extant languages (e.g. English, German, etc.), which Marcus presented as an instantiation of non-abstract culture. Such languages do have formal rules, against which a person can speak incorrectly which suggests the rules exist outside of the individual (hence, "extant language"). This is different from merely shared language (i.e. at least two people can convey meaning between one another), where the capacity to convey meaning is centered over "correct" speech; I contest this, too, though it wasn't my original concern here.
Acknowledging the existence of some unspecified quantity of similarities shared between two people (myself and Marcus in the above exchange) alongside their evident ability to understand one another does not entail acknowledging an extant language. For example: I once learned an elaborate card game from someone with whom I shared very limited linguistic commonality. So, we had actual linguistic similarities and could convey meaning but it doesn't seem like we were using an extant (cultural) language like English or German.
Whether in that case we shared a language between us is perhaps less obvious, but I'm still inclined to say we didn't. While we had some actual similarities and these were sufficient to convey some meaning between us, those similarities represent only a portion of our respective linguistic ontologies. While this case is more extreme I think it holds even when there is a high proportion of similarity to dissimilarity, because whatever dissimilarity exists constitutes a difference in grasping and conveying meaning which is not shared in kind.
Put another way language is a cognitive phenomenon, an existential phenomenon that is resident in and unique to each being which possesses a linguistic capacity. I have my language and you have yours, and when we use these in relation to one another there may be communication (i.e. a transferal of meaning) between us. However, it is confused to consider this communication to be language itself.
Extant languages are abstract concepts that cannot reference a material reality for that reason. To say that people speak English or German is inaccurate because there is no such actual thing as English or German which they could speak. Extant languages are abstract, conceptional aggregations of individual languages derived from arbitrarily designated standards of sufficient similarity. The reality of language is more diverse and intrinsic than extant language grasps or allows.
When presented with a contextually obvious definition of language I'll of course call it language. However, identifying something through its tautology doesn't demonstrate its existence. If I define 'unicorn' and ask you what you'd call the thing which that definition describes and you say 'unicorn' I won't have established that unicorns actually exist.
The similarities are actual but do not constitute an actual, singular language because we also have linguistic dissimilarities. There are only individual languages unique to each person, which is not what I take you to mean by 'language' in your use (i.e. I take you to mean something like English or German).
This includes things like language. [...] that we can share this aspect of culture in such complex and consistent way indicates that it is remarkably UNabstract.
I disagree. The concept of 'language' is still completely abstract. We can communicate because we have sufficiently similar linguistic habits, but that does not mean we share the same language.
Temporal evidence absolutely would be necessary [...] it would have to be considered a possible or likely explanation.
I agree that it would have to be considered a possible or likely explanation (to a reasonable person). I think that's a bit different than your original claim which seemed to claim more certainty than that, but this is a landing point I'd agree with.
I don’t think a huge percentage is required to cause disruption. Admittedly, I won’t be funding a campaign. The success of such an endeavor would rely on social viral phenomenon.
Campaigns still take effort, even if they're using viral social media tactics. I could see some folks thinking the effects would be worth it, though. I'd love to see it play out at someone else's expense. ;)
Given the idea catches on, any data tossed around to support some racial narrative will begin to be met with skepticism. That skepticism undermines the narrative itself.
Why would skepticism about the data undermine the narrative itself? Racial narratives are deeply grounded in a lot of attitudes and beliefs that developed and can maintain themselves quite independently of such data, so the connection isn't obvious to me.
No doubt. However many people are angry about it, there will appear to be even more when watching evening news.
I'm not sure I follow your meaning. Are you saying that there will be more people watching the evening news and thinking about the data (and race generally) than people would be be angry at the subversion? If so, I'm not sure I agree but like before can't really back that up outside my cynicism.
Thanks for the clarification; I'm a bit clearer on your meaning now.
The two underlined portions of the statement are at odds. The first portion is saying that race is relevant, but the second portion is saying that culture is the relevant portion (because belief is part of culture, not race.)
I disagree that belief is a part of culture, because I think beliefs are necessarily individuated and actual whereas culture is necessarily aggregated and abstract.
When I said that adherents to racial thinking act differently than they otherwise would if they did not believe in race, I meant that an individual's beliefs in and about race (uniquely) inform how they act. I don't regard this as a cultural phenomenon, but as an expression of individuals' racial beliefs as they relate to their overall unique cognitive infrastructure.
Near as I can tell your position is that folks are individuals. I was discussing the problems that crop up whenever we discuss race, whether we discuss it as if it is a real thing, or just an abstract construct because the construct is so poorly defined.
That's accurate; my position does regard folks as individuals (and discredits race and culture as real things).
I agree that there are challenges to discussing something like race because the construct is poorly defined (whether it references something real or not, as you say). Are you familiar with Sally Haslanger's work on social identity? Or Natalie Stoljar? I think their ideas are a good starting point for being able to tackle the problems you've drawn attention to (glad to elaborate on their views and my thoughts on them if you're interested!).
I never identified culture as race. I indicated that culture, like race, is a generalized concept which also cannot be used to predict individualized behavior.
At this point I'm not clear what you believe my position is, but your comments seem rather detached from anything I've actually said.