Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

In 2008 book, philosopher of consciousness John Searle warns against the post-modern will to power in science

arroba Email
John searle2.jpg
John Searle, 2005/Matthew Breindel, GNU

Wintery Knight reminds us that philosopher of consciousness John Searle wrote about the basic instincts behind post-modernism in Mind, Language and Society: Philosophy In The Real World in 2008:

I have to confess, however, that I think there is a much deeper reason for the persistent appeal of all forms of antirealism, and this has become obvious in the twentieth century: it satisfies a basic urge to power. It just seems too disgusting, somehow, that we should have to be at the mercy of the “real world.” It seems too awful that our representations should have to be answerable to anything but us. This is why people who hold contemporary versions of antirealism and reject the correspondence theory of truth typically sneer at the opposing view.

I don’t think it is the argument that is actually driving the impulse to deny realism. I think that as a matter of contemporary cultural and intellectual history, the attacks on realism are not driven by arguments, because the arguments are more or less obviously feeble, for reasons I will explain in detail in a moment. Rather, as I suggested earlier, the motivation for denying realism is a kind of will to power, and it manifests itself in a number of ways. In universities, most notably in various humanities disciplines, it is assumed that, if there is no real world, then science is on the same footing as the humanities. They both deal with social constructs, not with independent realities. From this assumption, forms of postmodernism, deconstruction, and so on, are easily developed, having been completely turned loose from the tiresome moorings and constraints of having to confront the real world. If the real world is just an invention-a social construct designed to oppress the marginalized elements of society-then let’s get rid of the real world and construct the world we want. That, I think, is the real driving psychological force behind antirealism at the end of the twentieth century. More.

As we all know, it has got to the point that the basic operating principles of science can be portrayed as just one or another example of bigotry. Science boffins say nothing because they dare not confront the toxic snowflakes Bret Weinstein had to face when they can hide out in the comfort and safety of their offices instead, concede key points, and emit soothing blather to no effect.

See also: Bret Weinstein, the Evergreen prof who got SJW-d? It’s partly the fault of creationists! Here’s the problem Francis and so many others do not want to face: Current science boffins, with way more reach than any native American activist, are unwilling and unable to take stand against post-modernism (and its inevitable results), possibly because they believe it themselves and just want to stay on top anyhow.

Can science survive long in a post-modern world? It’s not clear.


How naturalism morphed into a state religion

Good points, Eric MH at 1 and polistra at 2. If polistra at 2 is right science will need to be rescued from the outside by people who still think reality is a credible idea. Fat chance they'll e Darwinists. Darwinists have benefited hugely from the turn away from asking hard questions safely. News
"Science boffins say nothing because they dare not confront the toxic snowflakes " Not the true cause. The silence started long before the snowflakes ran wild. In fact most of the boffins agree with the snowflakes because tenure has selected them for orthodoxy. If there are any dissidents, they have stayed silent because they want to keep their jobs. Grantors and admins and accrediting agencies have been rewarding lunacy and punishing realism for decades. polistra
Perhaps it is also a recognition of the fallen nature of our world, that it does not match the moral ideal. Yet, left only with materialistic view of the objective world, which makes no room for all the core subjects of the humanities, such as the soul, free will, beauty, goodness and a transcendent truth, then there is no choice but to rebel against "reality." And it is rational to do so. If there is nothing besides this world, and we cease to exist immediately upon death, then there is no reason to live according to anything other than what we want, as the ultimate way that reality kicks us back (i.e. death) does not harm us as we cannot be harmed if we do not exist. There is no reason to care about such things as science and logic and math if they do nothing to answer our fundamental interests. In short, anti-realism is merely the rational response of immortal souls to being told the material world is the entirety of reality. EricMH

Leave a Reply