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Source: (consider it) Thread: Post modernism is illiberal
Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Makepiece:
I am taking meta narratives to be the ultimate thick conception of the good. The one thing that is non-negotiable to a person. I mean this in the Rawlsian sense that people will have particular life goals that they wish to pursue.

A meta-narrative is an overarching theory of where history is going. The most obvious example is Marxism; other examples are Christianity and a narrative of progressive secularism. A narrative is a particular story: the English Civil War, the French Revolution, the life of Francis of Assisi, the life of William Wilberforce, the life of Charles Darwin. A meta-narrative is a general story that gives the particular story a context and meaning.
Rawls' term for what you're describing is a theory or conception of the good.

quote:
Now of course I take the point that Rawls' Theory of Justice could in itself be described as a meta narrative but it is clearly a liberal meta narrative in that it affirms meta narratives in the private sphere. It seems to me that post modernists, at least in the Nietzchean sense that I am talking about, are illiberal precisely because they wish to suppress meta narratives (i.e. the ultimate thick conception) in the private sphere.
The thing about metanarratives is that they don't want to be confined to the private sphere. They're fundamentally descriptions of public history. A metanarrative that is purely private is immediately stripped of its meta. Richard Dawkins doesn't think the advance of science is merely a matter of private choice that he keeps to himself.
Marxists don't think that its ok for one person to be a capitalist who exploits their workers as long as they keep it to themselves.

It is true that postmodernists are sceptical of the private-public distinction: wherever there is interpersonal interaction we are arguably public. Although they'd be equally sceptical about state regulation.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What political party does Nietzsche lead? Wait don't answer. His belief in the Übermensch and the right of the strong to rule it over the weak was adopted almost unchanged by Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand is the de facto god of the U.S. Republican Party.

Rand's version of Nietzsche has about as much to do with Nietzsche as the US Republican Party's version of the New Testament has to do with the New Testament.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What political party does Nietzsche lead? Wait don't answer. His belief in the Übermensch and the right of the strong to rule it over the weak was adopted almost unchanged by Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand is the de facto god of the U.S. Republican Party.

Rand's version of Nietzsche has about as much to do with Nietzsche as the US Republican Party's version of the New Testament has to do with the New Testament.
Actually, Ayn Rand didn't like Nietzsche as a philosopher, but thought he was an okay poet.

From what I assume is an Objectivist site

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Dark Knight

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
The buzz phrase doesn't have to actually have anything to do with the meaning of the words; it's just that usually when there is a rant about how not being allowed to discriminate is the REAL oppression it's accompanied by denunciations of "cultural Marxism". It serves as a useful catchall to condemn anything from racial equality to sex education.

Of course, there's the common joke today that Trump is the first postmodern president, in the sense that notions of truth and factuality have been dissolved. Instead, we have a world of images, which are 'hyperreal', and where the surface of reality is dominant over any 'depth', and words mean exactly what I want them to mean.

Well, it's not really funny.

Trump is the first truly neoliberal president, in the sense that he has no convictions, and so can adapt quickly to the "market" of ideas as they change, and he appears to be 100% brand.
This is why the idea that the left created Trump is an extraordinarily ballsy lie - much like the one in which the GFC was caused by government interference (which is exactly the opposite of the truth). The neoliberals got us into this mess, and now the US electorate have chosen a man they don't really understand, simply because he promised to protect them from the economic and cultural "other" through tariffs and walls. This is what they have wrought, and now they want to be absolved of responsibility for it.

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Kwesi
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It would help me if we could establish what is understood by 'Liberalism'. As I understand it an important element is the notion that political societies can be created by contracting parties for an explicit purpose or set of purposes, often expressed through a formal constitution. The nature of the contract will determined the degree of liberty afforded to an individual. For Locke, the contract existed for the purpose of better protecting natural rights that existed in a state of nature, and is expressed in the US constitution by the Bill or Rights. If government abrogated those rights then the contract was broken and rebellion justified. Hobbes, on the other hand, regarded the contract as entered into to rescue individuals from the violent anarchy of a state of nature, and envisaged strong authoritarian government as necessary to preserved citizens from violent deaths. Thus viewed liberalism does not prescribe what should constitute matters for the private or public spheres because that is a matter for the contracting parties.

For me, postmodernism is an epistemological challenge to the scientific method associated with modernism. It seems to have had some traction amongst the arts and social sciences but has had less attraction for natural scientists. Its extreme relativism may be a consequence of its development from liberal (and less liberal) traditions, but its radical subjectivism, IMO, is less than convincing. Some ideas really are objectively more deserving to be held than others.

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quetzalcoatl
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Very interesting point about scientific method not being subject to postmodern critique. However, I recall as a postgrad having a lecture about scientific method, which stated that scientists make observations about appearances. The corollary is that science does not aim for truth or reality, and does not decide what the relation between appearance and reality is. That last bit is debatable, actually.

This struck me as a kind of pm thing to say, but of course, it doesn't really affect method itself, but rather the philosophy of science.

It does arouse strong passions sometimes, as some people insist that science is after truth, and/or reality. But that is a philosophical idea, I think.

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no path

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Very interesting point about scientific method not being subject to postmodern critique. However, I recall as a postgrad having a lecture about scientific method, which stated that scientists make observations about appearances. The corollary is that science does not aim for truth or reality, and does not decide what the relation between appearance and reality is. That last bit is debatable, actually.

This struck me as a kind of pm thing to say, but of course, it doesn't really affect method itself, but rather the philosophy of science.

If that's postmodern, then Locke, Hume, and Kant were postmodern.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
If that's postmodern, then Locke, Hume, and Kant were postmodern.

I don't think Locke thought science only investigated appearances without regard to reality.

Hume and Kant are I suppose grandfather and great-grandfathers to postmodernism. (I don't swear to the number of generations.) Where they differ from what is generally called postmodernism is that they're committed to there being a universality of appearances. Appearances may or may not be a guide to reality (Hume), or are definitely distinct from reality (Kant), but they still both believe that there is a single rational account of the appearances which all rational observers will assent to. (Hume may have left open the possibility that non-humans wouldn't converge on the same science; Kant is committed to the position that aliens would have a compatible science.)

A postmodernist in the popular sense will say that scientific method is sufficiently determined by culture that we can't say whether or not independent scientific cultures would converge upon the same account.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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