“Postmodernism Unpeeled” discussion with David Thompson

ep_50x78 David Thompson is a critic and commentator with strong interests in pop culture and postmodernism. His interview with me based on my book Explaining Postmodernism is now posted at his site.

Previous interviews I’ve done on postmodernism’s themes and roots were published in Navigator and New Individualist magazines.

The following scholarly reviews of the book have been published:
Professor Curtis Hancock in The Review of Metaphysics (and can be read online here);
Professor Gary Jason in Liberty;
Professor Marcus Verhaegh in The Independent Review;
Dr. David Gordon in The Mises Review;
Professor Max Hocutt in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies;
Professor Steven M. Sanders in Reason Papers.

.
.

This entry was posted in Economics, Education, Entrepreneurship, Philosophy, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “Postmodernism Unpeeled” discussion with David Thompson

  1. Rafe says:

    Various people have pointed out that the matter of rationality and belief, or the rational justification of beliefs remains a weakness in the resistance to POMO. It may be helpful to take on board some ideas from Karl Popper and Bill Bartley, especially the suggestion that the justification of beliefs along the traditional foundationist lines will never work, so we should settle for a different kind of justification, that is the justification of PREFERENCES.

    At the philosophical level this is based on the rejection of a doctrine that Popper and Bartley called “justificationism”, which they located at the core of the western epistemological tradition. So far this approach has gone down like a lead balloon in the philosphical community, especially among the people influenced by the late Australian David Stove.

    For further reading.

    1. Popper paper on “sources”, the paper which inspired Bartley’s work on rationality. http://www.the-rathouse.com/CRIntroductionSources.html

    2. Bartley, “Rationality versus the theory of rationality.” http://www.the-rathouse.com/2008/Bartley1964CCR.html

    3. Review essay on Bartley’s “The Retreat to Commitment”. http://www.the-rathouse.com/bartagree.html

    4. These ideas applied to a book on deconstructionism in literature. http://www.the-rathouse.com/bartdeconstruct.html

  2. Bob Marks says:

    Some of the claims of postmodernists are simply unreal. In “Challenging Postmodenism”, David Detmer tells of an exchange he had with Laurie Calhoun:

    “According to Laurie Calhoun, we never believe anything on the basis of rational considerations of arguments. Rather, we are seduced, by non-rational means, into believing what we are predisposed to believe. On her view, there are no facts. When I had occasion to ask her whether or not it was a fact that giraffes are taller than ants, she replied it was not a fact, but rather an article of religious faith in our culture.” (pg. 245)

    Of course, on can ask Calhoun if what she just said was a fact. If she answers yes, then she is being inconsistent. On the other hand, if she answers no, then on what basis are we to believe her?

    Bob Marks

  3. Thanks, Rafe and Bob.

    Your comments jointly point to the key issue to direct future thinking:

    Given the fundamental incoherence of pomo, as Bob points out, what’s the positive alternative? There, as Rafe points out, developing a compelling rational epistemology is a work-in-progress.

    So who out there in this generation is, in your judgment, doing the best work in naturalistic, realistic, objective epistemology?

  4. Bob Marks says:

    Stephen wrote:

    “Given the fundamental incoherence of pomo, as Bob points out, what’s the positive alternative? There, as Rafe points out, developing a compelling rational epistemology is a work-in-progress.

    “So who out there in this generation is, in your judgment, doing the best work in naturalistic, realistic, objective epistemology?”

    Unquestionably, John Searle. He not only defended consciousness in “The Rediscovery of the Mind.” He was largely responsible for making consciousness once again a legitimate object of study. In “Rationality in Action”, he defended free will. The title of “The Construction of Social Reality” was chosen deliberately to counter the notion that reality is socially constructed. IMO, “Intentionality” is one of the most important books in 20th century philosophy.

  5. Bob Marks says:

    Some people may wonder what the big deal is over an irrational philosophy. After all, if postmodernism is so bad, who would possibly believe it or apply its principles? Take a look:

    “German Judge Cites Koran, Stirring Up Cultural Storm

    Published: March 23, 2007
    FRANKFURT, March 22 — A German judge has stirred a storm of protest by citing the Koran in turning down a German Muslim woman’s request for a speedy divorce on the ground that her husband beat her.

    In a ruling that underlines the tension between Muslim customs and European laws, the judge, Christa Datz-Winter, noted that the couple came from a Moroccan cultural milieu, in which it is common for husbands to beat their wives. The Koran, she wrote in her decision, sanctions such physical abuse.

    News of the ruling brought swift and sharp condemnation from politicians, legal experts and Muslim leaders in Germany, many of whom said they were confounded that a German judge would put seventh-century Islamic religious teaching ahead of German law in deciding a case of domestic violence.

    The court in Frankfurt abruptly removed Judge Datz-Winter from the case on Wednesday, saying it could not justify her reasoning. The woman’s lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk, said she decided to publicize the ruling, which was issued in January, after the court refused her request for a new judge.

    “It was terrible for my client,” Ms. Becker-Rojczyk said. “This man beat her seriously from the beginning of their marriage. After they separated, he called her and threatened to kill her.””

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/23/world/europe/23germany.html?ref=world

  6. At Augean Stables, Richard Landes has further wry commentary on David Thompson’s interview with me: http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2009/05/18/pomo-unpeeled-david-thompson-talks-with-stephen-hicks/.