[discuss] [bestbits] Representative Multistakeholder model validity (was: Re: Selection RE: 1Net, Brazil and other RE: BR meeting site launched)

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sat Jan 18 23:31:04 UTC 2014

Hmmm.. but isn't "workiness" like "truthiness" in the eyes of the beholder...

What is "working" for some is, in many instances, not working at all for others... and that's the issue... how do we decide on suitable measures/criteria for what is "working" and what is not and how do we ensure a suitable degree of validity, equity, fairness, respect for diversity, etc. in those criteria and those assessments. 

It may be relatively easy to determine if a machine is working or not (you turn it on and it goes buzz or whatever), but the same doesn't and can't hold for a system of governance.


-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] On Behalf Of Andrew Sullivan
Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2014 11:59 AM
To: discuss at 1net.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] [bestbits] Representative Multistakeholder model validity (was: Re: Selection RE: 1Net, Brazil and other RE: BR meeting site launched)

[cc:s trimmed]

On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 09:56:31AM -0800, michael gurstein wrote:
> prove positives i.e. as for example the “validity” of this or that, 
> but rather by demonstrating the “invalidity” (falsifiability*) of this 
> or that…

Ah, yes, Karl Popper, the only philosophy of science that anyone can understand in under 10 minutes.  The only problem is that the falsifiability story falls down whenever one looks at the actual historical details of significant cases of scientific progress.  So that we don't drag this completely off-topic, I urge people who are remotely interested in this to read Kuhn's _Structure of Scientific Revolutions_, Feyerabend's _Against Method_, Davidson's "On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme", almost anything Ian Hacking wrote after
(say) 1975, and anything Donna Harraway ever wrote about science.
Popper's a nice story, but it is rather a long way from the final word on this.  So, to drag this back onto the topic at hand,

> So in this instance the burden of proof surely falls not on those who 
> are demonstrating that the “multistakeholder model” doesn’t provide an 
> appropriate approach to governance but rather on those who are 
> attempting to assert that it does…

this is poppycock.  If we're going to invoke philosophy of science, then I state my belief that a scientific theory is true only if it works.  More importantly for this current discussion, I think a political structure is good at least partly to the extent that it works.  And despite my very deep reservations about the way representation can work in represtentative multistakeholder systems, some kind of multistakeholder approach has been working in many different forms for the Internet so far.  Therefore, I say the burden of proof most certainly lies with those who want to replace it in favour of something else.  An argument that the current system is not perfect is by no means an argument that it must be replaced wholesale, any more than troubling inconsistencies at the edges of theory were trouble for Newtonian mechanics in the absence of a much better alternative.

Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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