Kuznetzova wrote:The bankruptcy continues to play out today on modern university campuses; particularly among people on campus who refer to themselves as "phenomenologists". They can be found in philosophy depts. They can be found in Literary Theory depts. They can be found in Critical Theory depts, and they can be found teaching Comparative Studies. The essential thread that ties all these people together is their adherence to the axiom that they cannot be sure that there is a real world outside of them. You will know when you see one because they will say something about "Post-
colonial theory" or they will mention something about "existential psychology".
Now instead of taking that position as theoretical postulate at the very edges of their knowledge (which I am completely open to!) , they instead take "No Objective World Exists" as a foundational pillar of how they operate and how they think.
I see the point that you're trying to make. It could have been the departure for an interesting discussion. After all, relativism, post-colonial theory, comparative studies, etc., are all descendents of post-structuralism (specifically Derrida's, I believe) of which there have been many attempts to link with Husserl and Heidegger, the founders of Phenomenology. And undoubtedly, Descartes is at the center of Husserl and Heidegger's meditations. So, finding the germ of today's "descentered" subject in Phenomenology and all the way back to Descartes, is a line of argument that could prove to be
intellectually profitable. It's a project that I find appealing, too, since I'm more inclined towards the old "centered" tradition that these guys supposedly have "deconstructed". Unfortunately, that's not quite your aim, because that would put you in the same battlefield of "Western Philosophy", in which different traditions and individual perspectives collide, allowing differences (either deep or subtle) even among those who are supposed to be members of the same school of thought, and also allowing similiarities among opposite forces. The differences can be found betweeen Husserl and Heidegger and between both of them and Descartes. We see that marxists are confronted with post-colonialists, but still they share some common conceptions. Renowned structuralists are labeled post-structuralists depending on which agenda is being tried to advance. Even the whole postmodernism movement itself is said to be pursuing the ethos of modernism. Phenomenology itself, in a broad sense, not always ends in Idealism, that is, in the negation of objectivity or the noumenon. So, the whole fictional tale of an epistemological unity, the "essential thread that ties all these people together", written in full conspiracy-theory fashion in your manifesto-type post that inaugurated this thread, does not hold water.
Even though I don't hang around philosophy departments, I share the impression that most that comes out of academic circles denotes a decadent state of Humanities. But I don't think it has only to do with the evolution of ideas, but also (and specially because of) how some intellectual fields are configured when they become institutionalized as "professional practices" or "careers" in the context of capitalism. The elite of Descartes-type philosophers that wrote centuries ago have little in common with the unaccountable bulk of professional philosophers thrown at the world by academia (which looking at the positive side, brings undoubtedly enormous benefits, too).
It is the adherence to NO-objective-world as a foundational , axiomatic pillar, is where the bankruptcy takes place. Now please do not sit there and tell me "I've never seen them" or "Those people are a minority that don't count" or some such other marginalizing dismissal.
Let me show you two examples of them which you can immediately interact with on the internet.. today. 69721953
Mathew Segall http://www.youtube.com/user/0ThouArtThat0/videos
Cory Anton http://www.youtube.com/user/Professoranton/videos
Well...certainly these pretentious wannabe philosophers (sorry, I couldn't watch their take on any subject for long, it's all so embarrassingly stupid) represent a problem at many levels of modern culture. I'm with you in the need to denounce it. But unless you show me these guys have something more than a small level of influence in social networks, I mean, a real driving force for a particular way of thinking in academia or publishing world, I am forced to dismiss them as marginal. Let's get real with folks like Enrique Dussel or Ramón Grosfoguel, which I'm more than willing to battle against from my humble trench, but they are real thinkers (not "philosophers" per se, but their interdisciplinary approach always makes them deal with epistemology). They have interesting things to say about Descartes, too. And they advance their post-colonial theory agenda not based on the abstract, idealist, universal premise of "no objective world", but on the concrete premise of a locally experienced, material objective world.
And I completely agree with Arising_UK in that you are confusing "objective" with "external".
Well this is you talking, this is not science. This is not biology. In your earlier post you just said it as a given fact, as if to attribute your opinion to established science.
I'm not sure I understand what you meant there. If you don't mind, please ellaborate a little more.
Kuznetzova wrote:You have completely dodged what I actually said to you. You attributed "Survival of the Fittest" to Darwin and you acted like it was a valid summary of the theory of evolution by Natural Selection. Number one, it is no such thing, and number two, Darwin neither wrote nor said the phrase during his entire life. I then told you that the phrase was coined in a piece of writing that was not even a scientific article or publication. It was a purely political book. (I believe the actual book that the phrase appears in is Herbert Spencer's Man Versus State. But you might want to fact-check me on that one).
I never said "survival of the fittest" was phrased by Darwin himself, although I did assume it could be equivalent of "natural selection". But let's see, this is quoted from Darwin's "On Origin of Species", chapter III, fifth edition:
"I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of Nature."
Now, is it "On Origin of Species" a political book, too?
I never brought up "sociobiology" ever in any part of my post. You did.
If you stir lemon juice, water and sugar, you don't need to call "lemonade" for me to know what it is.
Apparently I made the mistake of assuming I am interacting with a person who already has the facts in front of him. Homo sapiens are said to be the predecessors of a hominid line that began 6 million years ago. Six. Six million. Dinosaurs were the dominant apex predator as well as the dominant herbivores for over 250 million years. There was no change in their brains. No change in their vision capacity. No measurable change in their intelligence. (They did however, grow really large and start to carry around very heavy body armor.) If you are suggesting some Telos in nature, I just ain't seeing it. The facts are not lining up with such a proposition.
I don't know where you are going with this. I made an off-topic commentary to your off-topic commentary, I wasn't trying to prove anything or suggesting some Telos in nature, which is precisely what sociobiologists do. But anyway, if my memory from high school biology classes does not deceive me, hominid lines didn't burst into existence out of nothing. They are mammals and came from ancestors that were also mammals. And mammals were around by the same time the dinosaurs were. So, if one day, boom, a cataclysmic event happens and the dinosaurs go extinct, and surviving mammals continue to evolve until the first hominids begin to appear, it would be a reasonable hypothesis to propose that if dinosaurs had not gone extinct, and the existing natural conditions prevailed for a long time, mammals might have evolved differently, and perhaps (just perhaps) hominids might have not appeared in their evolution line. I'm just speculating, I'm not laying out new facts, but just using known facts to reach a logical conclusion about possible scenarios.
Conde Lucanor wrote:
You brought up the philosophy of naturalism, and that immediately calls for a debate on determinism (you should add it to the philosophical Jiu-Jitsu).
Kuznetzova wrote:I did not call for a debate at all. Where are you getting that? You might try responding to what I actually wrote.
That's exactly what I did. And yes, you brought determinism to the table the moment you flashed the philosophy of naturalism when facing the problems of the human condition.
Conde Lucanor wrote:
I don't need to support Berkeley or Descartes to reveal how untimely your manifesto on naturalism is, and how absurd it is to make your call for western philosophy bankrupcy based on cartesianism. It's like calling modern science bankrupt because Newton didn't get it all right.
Kuznetzova wrote:No that's a terrible analogy and that does not hold at all. Let me explain why it does not match this situation. See with Newton's scientific theories, those propositions about the real world were taken at the edges of our knowledge. They were taken to be hypotheses to be subject to investigation. That is, their truth is tentative and subject to scrutiny. The difference with the phenomenologists, and other adherents to the cartesian tradition, is that they take "NO Objective World Exists" as a binding axiom -- an unquestionable truth sitting at the core of their knowledge. At the outset they assume its binding truth. It is not tentative with them, they are not merely proposing it -- they are demanding that it is true right out of the opening gate. That is a crucial difference, and that is why your silly analogy does not fit here.
You missed the analogy and ended up tangled with the demarcation problem, because you focused on the terms of the relationship, in its content (which you tried to match), rather than the relationship itself, which is what an analogy is supposed to reveal. It doesn´t matter that it's Newton, Darwin or Einstein, it doesn't even matter that it's modern science. What matters is that you can't dismiss an entire body of studies and all of its epistemological traditions based on the flawness of single contributors to that tradition. You can't, unless you figure out the demise of the central paradigm of that tradition. That's what creationists and Intelligent Design advocates try to do (a monumental failure, of course), for example, when they dismiss evolution theory as a whole, looking just at the holes in the structure, rather than focusing on what gives strength to the structure itself. Sure, you can choose the proposition "no objective world exists" as the binding axiom, the central tenet or paradigm of Western Philosophy and then aim your weapons at it, but as explained before, I don't buy this perfect, dogmatic, uncritical, epistemological unity. The intellectual world is far, far more complex than that.