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Thread: Self-fulfilling prophecies are actually lies

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    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    Self-fulfilling prophecies are actually lies

    I was thinking about this earlier and when I looked it up, I was surprised to see that self-fulfilling prophecy is practically defined as such. The original claim is a untrue, but making the claim causes what is claimed to become true at some point in the future.

    Since it is initially a lie, I cannot condone the telling of self-fulfilling prophecies.

    I began thinking about it when I saw something which reminded me of pretentious advertisements which make claims about a business's integration or influence in a community. Like "X community's #1 Y business." If the advertisement is successful people may believe that the company is indeed ranked #1 by some legitimate ranking system, and such might influence their business selection, and thus lead to that company actually holding a market share which effectually puts them at that claimed ranking. The initial claim, however, may have well still been a lie.
    Last edited by stealthyeliminator; 05-08-2015 at 01:48 PM. Reason: grammar is hard
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    All supposedly rational prophesy is fallacious for men and nature being capable of novelty.

    That is the thesis of The Poverty of Historicism, that men have free will, which foundations are developed in The Open Society and Its Enemies.

    One must dig a little deeper into quantum mechanics and cosmology for the reasonable observation that nature is capable of novelty. In Popper's terms, determinism and reductionism are fallacious. Smolin calls it The Cosmological Fallacy, trying to attribute the Newtonian Principle to reality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    All supposedly rational prophesy is fallacious for men and nature being capable of novelty.

    That is the thesis of The Poverty of Historicism, that men have free will, which foundations are developed in The Open Society and Its Enemies.

    One must dig a little deeper into quantum mechanics and cosmology for the reasonable observation that nature is capable of novelty. In Popper's terms, determinism and reductionism are fallacious. Smolin calls it The Cosmological Fallacy, trying to attribute the Newtonian Principle to reality.
    I had to make about 5 google searches to begin to understand what you're saying, but I think I learned something, so that's positive, eh? lol
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    First, don't use G00gle. Second read print books that have stood the test of time. Don't read on-line for enlightenment, if it's on-line then follow the money.
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    Regular Member stealthyeliminator's Avatar
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    Hmm breaking from the use of G00gle would be difficult, I use it hundreds of times per day at work, and probably on some days literally that instead of being an exaggeration. In the technology services business, I'm not sure how I'd function without G00gle. Do you use alternative search engines, or none at all? Of course, I could still use it at work and just not for enlightenment, I'm just curious if you use alternative search engines.
    Last edited by stealthyeliminator; 05-08-2015 at 08:55 PM.
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    We see this in a lot of areas in politics.

    Opponents of capital punishment have said that executions do nothing to deter crime and are more expensive than life in prison. They have done their level best to make sure it is more expensive and takes so long that it can't be much of a deterrent except to the criminal executed who then has a much harder time ever again committing another crime.

    Here in the Salt Lake area we had a new highway proposed. Opponents said it was too expensive. Then went on to double its cost with lawsuits, delays, realignments, etc over "environmental" concerns. We finally got it built and opened and on a per-passenger-mile basis it was still less costly than the heavy commuter rail line that went in on an existing right-of-way. Both the commuter rail and the new highway run parallel to the existing I-15 that was heavily grid locked at rush hour. Rail opened first, then a few weeks later the new highway opened. The rail made no noticeable effect on traffic load on I-15. The new highway made an immediate and noticeable improvement.

    A favorite tactic of tree huggers here in the West is to shut down dirt roads and motorized trails, close down grazing permits, and then claim, "There are no roads or trails, this land qualifies for Wilderness designation".

    Or, to put things another way, if you tell a big enough lie, often and long enough, enough people will believe you that those who don't, won't matter.

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    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stealthyeliminator View Post
    I was thinking about this earlier and when I looked it up, I was surprised to see that self-fulfilling prophecy is practically defined as such. The original claim is a untrue, but making the claim causes what is claimed to become true at some point in the future.

    Since it is initially a lie, I cannot condone the telling of self-fulfilling prophecies.

    I began thinking about it when I saw something which reminded me of pretentious advertisements which make claims about a business's integration or influence in a community. Like "X community's #1 Y business." If the advertisement is successful people may believe that the company is indeed ranked #1 by some legitimate ranking system, and such might influence their business selection, and thus lead to that company actually holding a market share which effectually puts them at that claimed ranking. The initial claim, however, may have well still been a lie.
    I would go back and take a hard look at whoever defined a self-fulfilling prophecy as a lie. There is something fishy about that which I cannot put my finger on.

    But, I can think through on it a little bit.

    The first thing I notice is your example, and the examples given by another poster, are not prophecies--they do not make a predictive statement about the future. "I am going to letter in football." "The dam is going to fail and wash out the valley."

    Separately, I wonder how the "definer" distinguished between statements of intention and predictions. For example, if I say it is going to rain tomorrow, that is a prediction. If I say during a sales meeting that I am going to be the highest-selling salesman next quarter, it can be a prediction or it can be a statement of my intention to work really hard for the next three months. I'm sure we've all had stuff like the latter thrown in our face later when it did not come to pass. I have this urge to ask the baiter if he is so dense he actually believed I was making a prediction rather than voicing an intention.

    And, when you think about it, there would be a whole category of "self-fulfilling prophecies" that nobody would argue are lies or bad. For example, the CEO who says "We are going to be number one in our industry by the end of the year." Then the CEO inspires most of the personnel to make that happen. And, then it does happen.

    So, something seems a little fishy about that definition. Just can't put my finger on it.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I would go back and take a hard look at whoever defined a self-fulfilling prophecy as a lie. There is something fishy about that which I cannot put my finger on.

    But, I can think through on it a little bit.

    The first thing I notice is your example, and the examples given by another poster, are not prophecies--they do not make a predictive statement about the future. "I am going to letter in football." "The dam is going to fail and wash out the valley."

    Separately, I wonder how the "definer" distinguished between statements of intention and predictions. For example, if I say it is going to rain tomorrow, that is a prediction. If I say during a sales meeting that I am going to be the highest-selling salesman next quarter, it can be a prediction or it can be a statement of my intention to work really hard for the next three months. I'm sure we've all had stuff like the latter thrown in our face later when it did not come to pass. I have this urge to ask the baiter if he is so dense he actually believed I was making a prediction rather than voicing an intention.

    And, when you think about it, there would be a whole category of "self-fulfilling prophecies" that nobody would argue are lies or bad. For example, the CEO who says "We are going to be number one in our industry by the end of the year." Then the CEO inspires most of the personnel to make that happen. And, then it does happen.

    So, something seems a little fishy about that definition. Just can't put my finger on it.
    I could be jumping to conclusions.

    Perhaps not everything that the average person would consider a self-fulfilling prophecy is a lie. However, I'm not sure if the average person uses the phrase a bit more loosely than it was originally intended. I'm not sure when the phrase was coined if it was intended to refer to actual prophecies, but perhaps it was. I don't necessarily believe predictions, guesses, explanations of beliefs about the future, or statements of intent are lies just because they're structured as statements of fact, since as you pointed out, that's just a common way of communicating them and isn't intended to be deceitful. I think there's a fine line, and it's a slippery slope, though.

    I do believe that some statements which could qualify as self-fulfilling prophecies are lies, even if not all of them necessarily do.

    ETA the definition I'm going by is "The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true." http://www.jstor.org/stable/4609267
    Last edited by stealthyeliminator; 05-09-2015 at 03:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealthyeliminator View Post
    I could be jumping to conclusions.

    Perhaps not everything that the average person would consider a self-fulfilling prophecy is a lie. However, I'm not sure if the average person uses the phrase a bit more loosely than it was originally intended. I'm not sure when the phrase was coined if it was intended to refer to actual prophecies, but perhaps it was. I don't necessarily believe predictions, guesses, explanations of beliefs about the future, or statements of intent are lies just because they're structured as statements of fact, since as you pointed out, that's just a common way of communicating them and isn't intended to be deceitful. I think there's a fine line, and it's a slippery slope, though.

    I do believe that some statements which could qualify as self-fulfilling prophecies are lies, even if not all of them necessarily do.

    ETA the definition I'm going by is "The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true." http://www.jstor.org/stable/4609267

    I found out what's going on. Couldn't access the jstor link, but I did google it.

    The Wikipedia article credits Merton as the guy who coined the term. If he coined it, he also got to define it.

    His definition expressly includes the falsehood. Thus, by definition, all the examples I gave which did not include falsehood were not self-fulfilling prophecies. In order to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, it must, by definition, include a beginning falsehood.

    The first three google returns that showed the meaning right on the google returns page omitted the falsehood angle. So, I am guessing that over time the usage expanded the meaning, in effect re-defining the term. Which is just another way of saying people who didn't know what it meant used it wrong.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    The Antioch Review Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer, 1948, article,'The Self-Fulfilling Prophesy' by Robert K. Merton includes this, "... the irascible genius Marx in his revision of Hegel's theory of historical change; ..."

    This is precisely the topic thesis of Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies (Princeton, 1945, 2013), Volume II The High Tide of Prophesy with sections and chapters:
    The Rise of Oracular Philosophy
    11 The Aristotelian Roots of Hegelianism
    12 Hegel and the New Tribalism
    Marx's Method
    13 Marx's Sociological Determinism
    14 The Autonomy of Sociology
    15 Economic Historicism
    16 The Classes
    17 The Legal and the Social System
    Marx's Prophesy
    18 The Coming of Socialism
    19 The Social Revolution
    20 Capitalism and Its Fate
    21 An Evaluation of the Prophesy
    Marx's Ethics
    22 The Moral Theory of Historicism
    The Aftermath
    23 The Sociology of Knowledge
    25 Oracular Philosophy and the Revolt against Reason
    Conclusion
    25 Has History Any Meaning?
    Addenda ... Notes ... Index

    All this premise to The Poverty of Historicism in which talons we struggle.

    http://www.amazon.com/Open-Society-I.../dp/0691158134
    http://www.amazon.com/Poverty-Histor.../dp/0415278465
    Last edited by Nightmare; 05-09-2015 at 04:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I found out what's going on. Couldn't access the jstor link, but I did google it.

    The Wikipedia article credits Merton as the guy who coined the term. If he coined it, he also got to define it.

    His definition expressly includes the falsehood. Thus, by definition, all the examples I gave which did not include falsehood were not self-fulfilling prophecies. In order to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, it must, by definition, include a beginning falsehood.

    The first three google returns that showed the meaning right on the google returns page omitted the falsehood angle. So, I am guessing that over time the usage expanded the meaning, in effect re-defining the term. Which is just another way of saying people who didn't know what it meant used it wrong.
    Yeah, I know, Wikipedia is where I actually copied the definition from. I just didn't want it to seem like I was relying on Wikipedia for my information The link I posted is the cite listed on Wikipedia. It looks like the site requires registration to read the full document, and I'm no inclined to have yet another online account at yet another website.

    I guess that kind of makes me a liar :O It's a fine line, eh?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    The Antioch Review Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer, 1948, article,'The Self-Fulfilling Prophesy' by Robert K. Merton includes this, "... the irascible genius Marx in his revision of Hegel's theory of historical change; ..."

    This is precisely the topic thesis of Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies (Princeton, 1945, 2013), Volume II The High Tide of Prophesy with sections and chapters:
    The Rise of Oracular Philosophy
    11 The Aristotelian Roots of Hegelianism
    12 Hegel and the New Tribalism
    Marx's Method
    13 Marx's Sociological Determinism
    14 The Autonomy of Sociology
    15 Economic Historicism
    16 The Classes
    17 The Legal and the Social System
    Marx's Prophesy
    18 The Coming of Socialism
    19 The Social Revolution
    20 Capitalism and Its Fate
    21 An Evaluation of the Prophesy
    Marx's Ethics
    22 The Moral Theory of Historicism
    The Aftermath
    23 The Sociology of Knowledge
    25 Oracular Philosophy and the Revolt against Reason
    Conclusion
    25 Has History Any Meaning?
    Addenda ... Notes ... Index

    All this premise to The Poverty of Historicism in which talons we struggle.

    http://www.amazon.com/Open-Society-I.../dp/0691158134
    http://www.amazon.com/Poverty-Histor.../dp/0415278465
    If one could only read one of the two, which would be your recommendation? Open Society and It's Enemies?
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealthyeliminator View Post
    If one could only read one of the two, which would be your recommendation? Open Society and It's Enemies?
    NO! The Poverty of Historicism is just 176 pages. My edition, hardback, is pocket sized and perfect for reading anywhere quiet. 'The Open Society' is 800 pages, with 250 pages of end material.

    'Open Society' makes frequent reference to Plato and Aristotle, so I have acquired 7,000 pages of their complete works on my e-reader.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    NO! The Poverty of Historicism is just 176 pages. My edition, hardback, is pocket sized and perfect for reading anywhere quiet. 'The Open Society' is 800 pages, with 250 pages of end material.

    'Open Society' makes frequent reference to Plato and Aristotle, so I have acquired 7,000 pages of their complete works on my e-reader.
    Ahh, good thing I asked, then
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealthyeliminator View Post
    SNIP I think there's a fine line, and it's a slippery slope, though.
    I don't know why this jumped to mind only now; but, you'll also want to factor in the intent behind the deception.

    One the biggest self-fulfilling prophecies in English political history was (committed?) by Sir Edward Coke with regard to Magna Carta.

    Magna Carta was originally statement of rights of the nobility against the king, obtained by the nobility at sword-point at Runnymeade in 1215.

    Edward Coke was an interesting fellow. For much of his early legal career, he was a bit of a lackey of the monarch. When he was elevated to a senior judgeship, he suddenly, inexplicably changed his stripes and became an ardent supporter of rights and freedom. So much so that King James I or Charles I promoted him to Chief Justice of the Kings Bench to shut him up--as chief justice he would rule on fewer cases. It didn't particularly work.

    It was Coke who turned Magna Carta into the palladium of liberty it is viewed today. Out of the sky blue. With no historical support. Basically, he just lied Magna Carta into something with a much greater scope than it had before. He didn't really change the rights enumerated in Magna Carta; he greatly expanded who it applied to.

    And, today, many people consider Magna Carta as a great document upon which many English rights are founded. A textbook example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    There has always in recorded history been tension among the Tyrant(s), the nobility and the commoners.

    Aristotle, Politics 4, folio 1294 paraphrased: It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic [among the aristocracy] when they are filled by election.

    Now these things, as being common to both, are fit to be observed in a free [1294b] state which is composed of both. This, then, is one way in which they may be joined together. In the second place, a medium may be taken between the different methods which each state observes; for instance, in a democracy the right to vote in the public assembly is either confined by no census at all, or limited by a very small one; in an oligarchy none enjoy it but those whose census is high: therefore, as these two practices are contrary to each other, a census between each may be established in such a state. In the third place, different laws of each community may be adopted; as, for instance, as it seems correspondent to the nature of a democracy, that the magistrates should be chosen by lot, but an aristocracy by vote, and in the one state according to a census, but not in the other: let, then, an aristocracy and a free state copy something from each of them; let them follow an oligarchy in choosing their magistrates by vote, but a democracy in not admitting of any census, and thus blend together the different customs of the two governments. But the best proof of a happy mixture of a democracy and an oligarchy is this, when a person may properly call the same state a democracy and an oligarchy. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/6762...#link2H_4_0050
    Last edited by Nightmare; 05-10-2015 at 05:50 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    There has always in recorded history been tension among the Tyrant(s), the nobility and the commoners.

    Aristotle, Politics 4, folio 1294 paraphrased: It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic [among the aristocracy] when they are filled by election.
    Holy smoke! I'd come across the idea of elections by lot before, but it never sank in. What you're saying (Aristotle) is that democracy is not one-man/one-vote, but selection of office-holders from among all by lot.

    Oh! My! God! Is that ever a massive change in definition!
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    Holy smoke! I'd come across the idea of elections by lot before, but it never sank in. What you're saying (Aristotle) is that democracy is not one-man/one-vote, but selection of office-holders from among all by lot.

    Oh! My! God! Is that ever a massive change in definition!
    Yes. I agree. Search on the terms sortition, pinakion, kleroterion - the concept of allotment, VoterID and the mechanism.

    Selection of an office by lot from among volunteers could do no worse than we now suffer.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleroterion
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition
    See the Notes, References and External Links
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition

    The Wikipedia is always a good first introduction to a new topic. I am a sustaining contributor to The Wikimedia Foundation.

    It has been a while since I read the Wikipedia article 'Sortition', I was tickled to see the Internet Engineering Task Force IETF identified, which I have always thought as particularly effective in their commission.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition#Non-government
    Last edited by Nightmare; 05-10-2015 at 06:45 PM.
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