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Conceptual Diagram - Variable Relationships

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Conceptual Diagram - Life Cycle of Idea Systems

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Chapter Summaries and Outlines


Chapter Abstracts and Outlines

 

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

Abstract: The introduction uses a building block analogy to explain the concept of idea systems and a computer programming analogy to explain codification.  It discusses the objectives and approaches of the study.  It describes the three Cases of idea systems explored in this work, and how they illustrate different forms of codification.

 

1.1 The Spontaneous Formation of Ideological Ideas

1.2 Scholarly Engagements with “Ideology”

1.3 Utilities of a System Perspective

1.3.1 Considering the Dynamic Part-Whole Relations

1.3.2 Delineating Causal Relationships

1.3.3 Identifying Situated, Competent, Artfulness Ideological Works

1.4 Definition and Characterization of Idea Systems

1.4.1 Invisible Control of Building Block Patterns

1.4.2 Observing and Deconstructing Codification

1.5 Seven Domains of Components for Idea Construction

1.6 Social Actors Who Design, Manipulate, and Activate Idea Systems

1.6.1 Active, Grand-Scale Manipulators or Designers

1.6.2 Small-time Manipulators

1.6.3 Passive, Conduit-Like Users and Activators

1.7 Methodological Choices to Study Idea Systems

1.8 Three Cases of Idea Systems

1.9 Academic, Humanistic, and Practical Connections

1.9.1 Engaging Ideological Problems in the Present Time

Notes

 

PART I: THE EUROPEAN WITCH HUNTS

 

CHAPTER 2: Making Compact Symbolic Structures

Abstract: This chapter provides readers with an insight into the basic processes of an evidentially driven idea system.  It uses a concrete case analysis to explain how social actors create and assemble information, codes, preexisting ideas, and other elements from visibly extraordinary occurrences and correlations and other signs that are ultimately useful for witchcraft accusations.  

 

2.1 Pre-existing Knowledge

2.2 Compact Symbolic Structures

2.2.1 Seven Domains of Components

2.2.2 Pre-coding Assembly

2.2.3 Compactness of Idea Sets

2.2.4 Structures of Idea Sets

2.2.5 Diverse, Intricate Justification Structures

2.3 Flexibility and Restrictedness of Empirical Referents

2.3.1 The Case of Anna Fessler in Langenburg

2.4 Causal Linkage from Repeated Associations, Co-Presences, and Correlations

2.4.1 Dataset: How Much Correlative Evidence is Enough?

2.4.2 Using Language to Organize Co-present and Sequential Correlations

2.5 Causal Linkage from Experiments and Miscellaneous Testing Mechanisms

2.5.1 Backstage Manipulation

2.5.2 Interpretive and Design Manipulations

2.6 Types of Definitive and Uncertain Signs

Notes

 

CHAPTER 3: Building Internal Coherence

Abstract: This chapter explains the principle of internal coherence within an idea system.  It presents how witch accusations in early modern Europe acquired a strong coherence within local contexts, achieving strikingly detailed congruity in evidence. 

 

3.1 A Common Code System and Its Set of Coded Things

3.1.1 Defining a Cohesive Pool of Qualifying Evidence

3.1.2 Converged Matching Evidence as Seen in Confession Accounts

3.2 Remarkable Account Convergence and Detail-Congruity

3.2.1 The Trier Episode

3.3 Backstage Processes and Internal Coherence

3.3.1 Coercion, Seen and Unseen

3.3.2 Narrative Shell and Other Institutional Elicitation Structures

3.3.3 Undisclosed Informational Leakage

3.4 Material Verification and the Loudon Possession Episode

3.4.1. The Loudon Possession Episode

Notes

 

CHAPTER 4: Building External Coherence

Abstract: This chapter explains the principle of external coherence within an idea system.  It presents how witch accusations in early modern Europe acquired a strong coherence beyond the local contexts—venturing into trans-local and regional contexts.  The principle of oracular reasoning—consisting of core propositions and secondary elaborations—is explained through an idea-orbit visualization.

 

4.1 Relational Bridges: Thin vs. Thick Parallels

4.2 Multiple Voices and Multivocality

4.3 Preemptive Design and Secondary Elaboration

4.3.1 Parameters of Acceptable Contradictions

4.4 External Coherence with Competing Knowledge Systems and Authorities

Notes

 

CHAPTER 5: Stepwise Inferences and Chain-Complexes of Ideas

Abstract: This chapter explores how complex idea systems take the form of a chain-complex, within which social actors inference step by step. Deduction, induction, and abduction operate in this manner.  Social actors could incite stepwise inferencing rapidly in a community of people that shared an acquired competence in codification particular to an idea system.  Minor distortions in the chain-complex of inferencing can make a significant impact, depending on the nature of such distortions.  An analysis of a few cases of witchcraft accusations reveals these processes. 

 

5.1 Two Types of Stepwise Inferencing

5.2 Step-by-Step, Chain-by-Chain Constructions

5.2.1 The Bizarre, Brutal Acts Toward Magdalena Bollmann

5.2.2 Long Chain Extensions: Unto the Very Far

5.2.3 Portal-Like Chain Extensions: Unto the Very Fast

5.2.4 Extending and Multiplying Errors: Unto the Very Wrong

5.3 The Chain-Complex that Entrapped Magdalena Bollmann

Notes

 

CHAPTER 6: Ideas as Chemical and Biochemical Reactions

Abstract: This chapter breaks away from mechanical metaphors of idea systems (e.g., building blocks, computer programs) and adopts a metaphor from chemical (and biochemical) reaction processes.  It explores how idea systems can operate as intricate chemical reactions.  Any one element with a unique content, formed situationally, or slightly differently, could lead to dramatically different effects or implications.  An intricate difference in the beliefs of demonic possession and counter-magic in different locales, for example, could create substantially different interactions and reactions among people. 

 

6.1 Empirical Rigor: A Physical Safeguard or Chemical Poison?

6.2 Catalysts and Inhibitors

6.2.1 Catalysts

6.2.2 Inhibitors

6.3 Poison or Medicine?: The Intricacy of Chemical Reactions

6.3.1 Creative Agency: By a Hair’s Difference

Notes

 

CHAPTER 7: A Five-Tier Model of Idea System and Ideological Creativity

Abstract: This section summary chapter proposes a five-tier model to assess the quality of the idea systems that guided European witch hunts: (1) believability; (2) resiliency; (3) adaptability; (4) development potential; and (5) ease of use.  Further unique strengths and weaknesses of the evidentially driven idea system are highlighted by employing this model. 

 

7.1 Believability

7.2 Resilience

7.3 Adaptability

7.4 Developmental Potential

7.5 Ease of Use

Notes

 

 

PART II: THE NEW REVOLUTION IN CHINA

 

CHAPTER 8: Compact Symbolic Structures in a Futuristic Idea System

Abstract: This chapter briefly reviews the origins of the Chinese Communist Revolution as it pertained to the formal and informal leadership of Mao Zedong.  It explains how this idea system, which predicates heavily on futuristic, theoretical visions, was constructed through an ideationally driven mode of codification.  The building blocks of ideas were “fitted images”—made by people fitting information into clear-cut, categorical codes.  Creative numerical and metaphorical aggregations were key techniques to generate basic information. 

 

8.1 An Ideal Vision as Pre-Existing Knowledge

8.1.1 Theoretical Contents

8.2 Compact Symbolic Structures: Based on Fitting Images

8.3 Clear Categories and Categorical Aggregates

8.3.1 Categorical Versus Continuous Thinking

8.3.2 Aggregation

8.3.3 Categorical Aggregates as Filters

8.4 The Idea System in Basic Use

8.4.1 Enumeration

8.4.2 Escalation, Re-Direction, De-Escalation

Notes

 

CHAPTER 9: Totality as Internal and External Coherence

Abstract: This chapter breaks down the overarching design of the Chinese Communist Revolution idea system, explaining how four operational characteristics are made to function optimally together: totalistic, purity-focused, outwardly collective; and preemptive design. 

 

9.1 Totalistic—Ideationally, Spiritually, and Institutionally

9.2 Purity Focused and Pollution Conscious

9.3 Outwardly Collective and Public

9.4 Preemptive Design and Secondary Elaboration

9.4.1 The Chicken Lot Example

9.4.2 The Tsinghua University Example

Notes

 

CHAPTER 10: Detailed, Rigorous Thinking in a Complex Chain of Elastic Codes

Abstract: This chapter explores the idea system of the Chinese Communist Revolution by viewing it as a chain-complex.  An exceptional element that enables the formation, extension, and extrapolation of ideas is the “elastic codes” that were deployed to create various “fitted images.”  With the codes having an elastic quality, any idea-equivalent relationships could be made to link the most concrete to the most abstract ideas, and one idea could be “equated” with another.  Various detailed, stepwise meticulous documentation, calculations, and extrapolations based on elastic codes drove some revolutionaries to form farfetched ideas and mobilize extreme actions.

 

10.1 Theorizing Elasticity: Using Elastic Constructs

10.1.1 Elastic Constructs vs. Visual Symbols

10.1.2 From Resemblance to Equivalence

10.2 Substantiating Elastic Constructs with Evidence: The Case of Peng Zhen

10.3 Other Creative Inferencing

10.3.1 Forging Connections: Cognitive Portal and Chain-Like Complexes

10.3.2 Using Deep Theories: Example of a Volleyball Match Incident

10.3.3 Assessing the Great Leap Forward at a Time of Terrible Aftermath

Notes

 

CHAPTER 11: Destabilizing Contradictions and Implosions I: Synchronic Contradictions

Abstract: This chapter explains the concept of “synchronic contradictions” that can make an entire enterprise of ideationally driven codification fragile.  A case analysis of the “Background Theory Debate” during the Chinese Cultural Revolution is used to illustrate the implosive processes brought forth by the “synchronic contradictions” that were built into the idea system.

 

11.1 A Catalogue of Elastic, Approximated Categories

11.2 Basic Origins of Unresolvable, Built-In Contradictions

11.3 The Case of the Background Theory Debate

Notes

 

CHAPTER 12: Destabilizing Contradictions and Implosions II: Diachronic Contradictions

Abstract: This chapter explains the concept of “diachronic contradictions” that can make an entire enterprise of ideationally driven codification fragile.  A case analysis of the “Li et al.” (or “Li Yizhe”) controversy during the Chinese Cultural Revolution is used to illustrate the implosive processes brought forth by the “diachronic contradictions” that had been accumulated into the idea system.

 

12.1 Accumulating Diachronically Developed Contradictions

12.1.1 Series of National Dramas of Inversal and Reversal

12.2 External Sources of Contradictions: The Accumulation of Counter-Images

12.2.1 A. Technical Inefficiency and Limitation

12.2.2 B. Hypocrisy and “Other” Truths

12.2.3 C. Relative Cruelty

12.2.4 D. Growing Personal Competence

Notes

 

CHAPTER 13: A Five-Tier Assessment

Abstract: This chapter utilizes the five-tier model to reflect upon the quality of idea systems that guided Mao-era revolutionaries.  Unlike the preceding chapters that focus a particular aspect of the idea system, this chapter considers the changing shape and condition of whole idea system, reflecting on its strong and vulnerable points.  

 

13.1 Believability

13.2 Resilience

13.3 Adaptability

13.4 Developmental Potential

13.5 Ease of Use

Notes

 

PART III: THE WAR ON TERROR

 

CHAPTER 14: Encoding the War on Terrorism

Abstract: This chapter analyzes the idea system (which this book terms the “War on Terrorism script”) that the early George W. Bush administration established immediately after the 9/11 attacks.  This idea program was employed to make coherent sense of the situation in public political discourse.  It was also used to justify the ousting of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan by military action, even though concrete information regarding the 9/11 events was ambiguous and scarce.

 

14.1 From 9/11 to the War on Terrorism Script: Using the American Civil Religion

14.1.1 Days 1 and 2

14.1.2 The 30 Days Following 9/11

14.2 Establishing the Case for the War in Afghanistan

14.2.1 Equivalence through Common Group Membership

14.2.2 Streamlining the Mode of Reasoning

14.2.3 The Design of Political Demands

14.2.4 The Design of “Draining the Swamp” Policy Metaphor

14.2.5 Maneuvering over Contesting Epistemic Conventions

Notes

 

CHAPTER 15: Extending the Idea System to the War on Iraq

Abstract: This chapter analyzes the idea system (which this book terms the “War on Terrorism script”) that the George W. Bush administration employed during 2002-2003 to establish the case for the second Iraq War.  The administration incorporated a vast amount of concrete empirical information into codification activities.  The main assertions against Iraq were that it possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and had formed ties with terrorists.  This chapter examines how these ostensibly evidentially driven claims were embedded with an ideational mode of codification.  Hence, the codification was hybridized: empirical information was amassed to support aggregate ideational constructs, while ideational constructs were employed to clarify ambiguity of empirical materials.

 

15.1 The Threat of Iraq: Codification in the Face of Empirical Ambiguity

15.2 Secretary Powell’s U.N. Presentation

15.2.1 Intelligence Sources as a Superior Kind of Information

15.2.1 Detailed Congruity and Account Convergence from a Polyphony of Authorities

15.2.1 Accounting and Displaying Patterns in Ambiguous Empirical Materials

15.2.2 Defectors’ Accounts: Detailed Congruities

15.2.3 Using Ambiguous Signs in Stepwise Inferencing

15.2.4 Hybrid Codification Processes: Imbricating Ideational Codification into Empirical Codification

15.2.5 Displaying Nation-Terrorist Connections

15.3 Integrative Arguments Delivered to the American Public

Notes

 

CHAPTER 16: Encoding the Prisoner’s Abuse Scandal

Abstract: This chapter covers part of the backlash faced by the George W. Bush administration following the successful ousting of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq in 2003: the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.  It systematically documents how the idea system (which this book terms the “War on Terror script”) was rapidly activated by political actors from both Democratic and Republican parties to make sense of the events, even if they criticized each other in public political discourse.  This chapter shows that, besides the Bush administration, media pundits, experts, and party politicians all shared a profound familiarity with how the idea system operated.  Overall, the contradictions were largely managed well, as all unfavorable information was cohesively reencoded by multiple actors to support the primary idea system.

 

16.1 Outbreak of the Abu Ghraib Scandal on CBS 60 Minutes II

16.2 Early Codification by the Bush Administration

16.3 Varied Codification by Republicans

16.3.1 Tentative Idea One: Technical, Systemic Failure to Blame

16.3.2 Tentative Idea Two: A Few Bad Soldiers to Blame

16.4 Varied Codification by Democrats

16.4.1 Tentative Idea One: Critiquing Anonymous Authorities and Administrative Incompetence

16.4.2 Tentative Idea Two: The Fault of Secretary Rumsfeld

16.5 Policing the War on Terrorism Script Parameters

Notes

 

CHAPTER 17: Encoding the Absence of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Abstract: This chapter covers another backlash faced by the George W. Bush administration following the successful ousting of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq in 2003: the failure to locate stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq even after an extensive ground search.  It systematically documents how the idea system (which this book terms “the War on Terror script”) afforded a multi-layer codification, after which the outcome reported by the administration was that, based on the discovery of the ground search efforts, Iraq posed an even greater level of threat than was previously estimated.

 

17.1 Timeline of the Iraq Weapons Search Scandal

17.2 Tabulating Threat from Summative Capability

17.3 Tabulating Threat from Uncertain Signs

17.4 Stepwise Division in Constructing Threat

17.4.1 An Alternative Theory of Threat: Iraq’s Chaotic Environment

17.4.2 Further Extrapolations: Judgments Encoded in “the Language of Washington”

17.4.3 The Hybrid Codification of Costs and Benefits

17.4.4 Demarcating the Causes and Nature of National Errors

Notes

 

CHAPTER 18: A Five-Tier Reflection

Abstract: This chapter utilizes the five-tier model to reflect upon the quality of idea systems that guided the War on Terror idea system formulated by the Bush administration.  The following five topics are covered: (a) How the administration made the system believable during different phases; (b) how many constructs were made to last through scrutiny for a long period of time; (c) how the system changed and adapted as new campaigns and projects were proposed; (d) how the idea system developed longitudinally; and (e) how it enabled members of the public to easily derive and repeat a set of ideas. 

 

18.1 Believability

18.2 Resilience

18.3 Adaptability

18.4 Developmental Potential

18.5 Ease of Use

Notes

 

CHAPTER 19: Conclusion

Abstract: This last chapter uses the analogy of a cognitive, information matrix to describe the properties of an idea system.  It first conducts an academic recapitulation by stating a few unfinished, synthetic, essential observations from the past chapters about the nature of idea systems.  Following this, it conducts a humanistic recapitulation in light of the complex situation we face in the contemporary world.  The latter part culminates with a discussion of “fairmindedness”— a virtue and principle that can be considered to mitigate the worst atrocities identified in this book.

 

19.1 Idea System as a Matrix

19.2 Academic Recapitulations

19.2.1 A Three-Stage “Life Cycle” of Idea Systems

19.2.2 Basic Mechanisms of Idea Systems

19.2.3 Typologies and Mixtures of Idea Systems

19.3 Humanistic Recapitulations

19.3.1 Intensified Vestiges from Past to Present

19.3.2 The Limitation of Scientific and Rationalist Mentalities

19.3.3 Fairmindedness as a Thought Ability, Attitude, and Principle

Notes


Exercises - Coming Soon