Contradictions in Contemporary Philosophy.... From Culture Wars, November '95
Contradictory (ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE) Philosophies are alive and well...
The Enemies Science Deserves.
Book review of Higher Superstition: The
Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science by
Paul R. Gross and Norman Levitt, The Johns
Hopkins University Press, 1994.
p. 40 Postmoderns presume that reality is
inaccessible, or at least incommunicable,
because of the inherent unreliability of language.
Science to postmoderns is only one of any
number of possible "discourses," no one of which
is fundamentally truer than any other. This is
because there are no foundations to thought,
which is everywhere radically determined by the
interests and history of the thinker. Those who
claim to establish truth by experiment are either
lying or self-deluded.
P. 42 Simply false, however, is the postmodern
conviction that Goedel's Theorem proved that all
language is fundamentally self-contradictory and
inconsistent. Postmoderns find the idea
attractive, however, because they believe that it
frees them from the chains of logic, and
undermines the claims of scientists to have
reached conclusions dictated by logic.
p. 42 Postmodernism, say the authors, is the
deliberate negation of the Enlightenment project,
which they hold to be the construction of a
sound body of knowledge about the world.
p. 43 ...the authors note that Logical Positivism,
with a little help from the philosophy of Karl
Popper, remains the philosophical framework of
working scientists to this day. The problem,
however, is that Logical Positivism leaves science
as a little bubble of coherence in a sea of
"nonsense," of thought and ideas that cannot be
directly related to measurable physical events.
p. 43 Logical Positivism has many inherent
problems as a philosophy (the chief of which
being that its propositions cannot themselves be
derived from sense experience)...