Challenging Postmodernism: Philosophy and the Politics of Truth - David Detmer

Windmill knight

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Truth limits freedom. Psychopaths can't thrive in a society where trying to be objective is the norm.

I'm not saying all people promoting this "social construct" idea are psychopaths. Most are just indulging themselves in the pleasure they get from caring (for victims, real and imagined) and denouncing (their own group). The psychopaths learn what will get other people to do what's best for the psychopaths.
Yes. I think that the whole anti-truth word-salad is designed as a narrative offered as justification of any and all moral transgressions its proponents have committed in the past or plan to commit in the future. If nothing is true, then everything goes so leave me alone to do as I please. They only express sympathy with 'oppressed' groups so they will not be condemned for their own tresspasses themselves later. But because it is presented as a defense of the oppressed, many people fall for it and think it's a good thing.
 

luc

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Just a comment about how interesting I found the discussion of Jean-Paul Sartre. Having never looked into it, I always kind of lumped him together with the French postmodernists, but it turns out that he actually has a very sound understanding of truth and its prime importance. But he also isn't a naive relativist - rather, he has a "phenomological" view very similar to Jordan Peterson's: our perception of the world depends to a large extent on what we are up to; or as JP puts it: we don't just see objects, we see tools. Like in Sartre's example of the small rock on a field: if we want to tilt the field, we see an obstacle to be removed. If we want to reach something, we see the rock as something to climb. If we are just taking in the landscape, we see it as either beautiful or ugly etc. So there is an infinite amount of "true statements" to be made about the rock.

So indeed, there is objective truth: the rock can be heavy and therefore hard to remove; it can be "climbable" or not; it can be elegant or ugly etc. But what is the "absolute truth", independent of our perception and meaning? Or in Kant's terminology - what is the "thing-as-such"? We cannot know. We would have to know the infinite set of all possible truth statements and perhaps even the infinite set of all possible meanings to all possible beings. It's impossible.

And this is also what so bugs me about what I call the "enlightenment warrior" crowd - while they are rightly appalled by postmodernist relativism, their view is so naive - they think that the absolute truth is obvious and that we can know it; an atom is an atom, a table is a table, full stop. And they hate all philosophical objections to such naive realism, which makes them hate philosophy in general. The reason I think is obvious: if we cannot know the absolute truth, this leaves the door wide open to different planes of existence, which would contradict their rigid materialism and atheism. They hate that.

Now Sartre is an atheist too, but the thing is, he drew the right conclusion from putting his atheism and his decent understanding of truth together: life is absurd. This is because we are frantically searching for something that unifies the material world and our consciousness, i.e. how we make sense of the world, but all in vain. Pretty depressing, actually! In one of Bishop Robert Barron's talks, he called Sartre and Camus "great atheists", as opposed to the new atheists like Dawkins, Harris and so on, because they really thought things through and naturally came to the depressing conclusion that life is absurd if God doesn't exist. He said "never trust a happy atheist", which I found pretty funny. Those enlightenment warrior types seem to be precisely that: happy atheists. People full of themselves who love a world without God. Ironically, they share this sentiment with the postmodernists they so detest!
 

Laura

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Well, I finally finished the book and it was sure a roller coaster! The last two chapters are rather priceless because you get a succinct analysis of the issues by way of an analytical comparison of the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the Alan Sokal Hoax. Very juicy! In the last chapter, he brings it home from the evidence available at his time of writing and this made me realize that there isn't anything wrong with my Leftist tendencies and aspirations because they are well-grounded; what is wrong is the hyper-radicalization of the Left by means of Postmodernism's nihilistic anything-goes negation of truth. This hyper-radicalization is being done for a reason, I believe, and is actually being controlled by the Right (there goes my conspiracy minded brain again!) so as to create the very thing we fear: the reaction from the vast majority of ordinary folks who are/will be utterly repelled and repulsed by such blatant disregard for reality.

It reminds me of the way they handled the whole UFO phenomenon thing and which was pointed out by Vallee: if a train is chugging away toward the truth, how best to stop it? Accelerate it massively so that it runs off the track and destroys itself. The Left is destroying itself and the strings are being pulled by the Right, including such as Hillary Clinton and gang. In fact, it would probably be better to not call it the Right, in the sense of those of the Right in Jonathan Haidt's book, but rather call it The Elite, the Deep State, etc.

It's all for show. And the sincere Lefties that have been sucked into it are pathetic, just as are the vast majority of normal people being sucked in by the Right because they are so repelled by the Left.

Indeed, a most valuable book for stimulating thinking and insight.
 

fabric

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Indeed, a most valuable book for stimulating thinking and insight.
I'm a couple of chapters in and it really is great reading! I know that the post-modernist arguments are completely nutzoid but seeing him take them apart in such a rational way makes me realize it's much much worse than I had originally thought!
 

msante

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In the last chapter, he brings it home from the evidence available at his time of writing and this made me realize that there isn't anything wrong with my Leftist tendencies and aspirations because they are well-grounded; what is wrong is the hyper-radicalization of the Left by means of Postmodernism's nihilistic anything-goes negation of truth. This hyper-radicalization is being done for a reason, I believe, and is actually being controlled by the Right (there goes my conspiracy minded brain again!) so as to create the very thing we fear: the reaction from the vast majority of ordinary folks who are/will be utterly repelled and repulsed by such blatant disregard for reality.
I've been thinking about just this for the last few days. I too have always felt more inclined and identified with the principles of the left, fundamentally with everything that tends to improve the distribution of wealth and to position the State as an arbiter that generates a more balanced playing field for the forces that move the economy. Also, the denunciations of the left regarding social asymmetries and the perversity of the capitalist system have aroused my sympathy.

The issue seems to be that today the battle between left and right has almost abandoned the economic realm, and the battlefield has been moved to the moral realm. And this terrain, morality, is an extremely swampy terrain, very manipulable from the point of view of discourse (exacerbating strong emotions and mitigating the use of reason), and in most cases, totally removed from practical issues, which ultimately allow people to meet their basic material needs.

That's why today, old identification with the ideas of the left or the right can turn out to be a deadly trap. Both ideological aspects seem to be increasingly dominated by subjects whose ideological affiliations are not in themselves what determine their actions, but rather a certain predisposition to conceive the world in black and white terms and to consider that THEIR superior vision of reality should be imposed by force on everyone else.

Curiously enough, in my country, the term "militancy" is widely used for those who explicitly embrace a leftist ideology, and actively act as a collective force in favor of the agenda that their ideology proposes. The term "militancy" is connected with the term "military", which refers to a certain submission to authority, as is the case with a soldier in an army.

Interestingly, it seems that the use of this term is not so common to apply it to those who identify with right-wing ideologies, which leads me to think that there is perhaps a higher degree of intellectual independence in those who are more seduced by the more conservative ideas of the right.

I dare to assume that ordinary people, when left to act without interference, have a natural tendency to lean toward those things that simply work, without the need to build an ideological scaffolding that supports these inclinations. Obviously, there is no such reality, that is, a reality that is not interfered (be it 4D STS or more earthly interferences). On the contrary, people are mobilized from certain emotional triggers to identify themselves (and often submit) to ideological lines that often present in combo a lot of ideas that in more natural conditions would possibly seem totally irrational.
 

nature

Jedi Council Member
From link to link on sott articles, I came upon this article by Laura 10 years ago ! It suits to what is happening now in the West.
Order Out of Chaos -- Sott.net
Some quotes:
...
It is easier to resist evil at the beginning than at the end.

And it is oh, so easy to excuse yourself from resisting by just saying: "Oh, it's just a movie! We can all go home at the end and know that everyone played their parts well..."

There is more than a little scientific support for the above ideas that consciousness - the root of existence and BEing - has two fundamental states: on, or off. In the final analysis, it seems that the metaphor of humanity and its collective "higher selves" being a movie and an audience, may be simply anthropomorphizing creative and entropic forces of the universe for the purposes of "self-calming." The stakes, it seems, are a lot higher and more real.

This brings us to the issue of subjectivity vs. objectivity. In recent weeks, I have been queried by several people who want to know just HOW "Knowledge protects."
First, the top Bush insider mocked the journalist and all those "in what we call the reality-based community," i.e., people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." Suskind's attempt to defend the principles of reason and enlightenment cut no ice with the Bush-man.


"That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality," he said. "And while you're studying that reality, we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."​
Anyone with any knowledge of 20th-century history will know that this same megalomaniacal outburst could have been made by a "senior adviser" to Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or Mao. Indeed, as scholar Juan Cole points out, the dogma of the Bush Cult is identical with the "reality-creating" declaration of Mao's "Little Red Book": "It is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever." For Bush, as for Mao, "discernible reality" has no meaning: Political, cultural, economic, scientific truth -- even the fundamental processes of nature, even human nature itself -- must give way to the faith-statements of ideology, ruthlessly applied by unbending zealots.

Thus: The conquered will welcome their killers. The poor will be happy to slave for the rich. The Earth can sustain any amount of damage without lasting harm. The loss of rights is essential to liberty. War without end is the only way to peace. Cronyism is the path to universal prosperity. Dissent is evil; dissenters are "with the terrorists." But God is with the Leader; whatever he does is righteous, even if in the eyes of unbelievers -- the "reality-based community" -- his acts are criminal: aggressive war that kills thousands of innocent people, widespread torture, secret assassinations, rampant corruption, electoral subversion.

Indeed, the doctrine "Gott mit Uns" is the linchpin of the Bush Cult. Tens of millions of Americans have now embraced the Cult's fusion of Bush's leadership with Divine Will. As a Bush volunteer in Missouri told Suskind: "I just believe God controls everything, and God uses the president to keep evil down ... God gave us this president to be the man to protect the nation at this time." God appointed Bush; thus Bush's acts are godly. It's a circular, self-confirming mind-set that can't be penetrated by reason or facts, can't be shaken by crimes and scandals. That's why Bush's core support -- comprising almost half of the electorate -- stays rock-solid, despite the manifest failures of his administration. It's based on blind faith, on poisonous fantasy: simple, flattering ("We're uniquely good, God's special nation!"), comforting, complete -- so unlike the harsh, bewildering, splintered shards of reality.

This closed mind-set is constantly reinforced by the ubiquitous right-wing media -- evoking the threat of demonic enemies on every side, relentlessly manufacturing righteous outrage -- and by Bush's appearances (epiphanies?) at his carefully screened rallies, where even the slightest hint of demurral from his Godly greatness is ruthlessly expunged. For example, three schoolteachers were ejected from a Bush rally under threat of arrest last week. Not for protesting -- they hadn't said a word -- but merely for wearing T-shirts that read, "Protect Our Civil Liberties." Thus the faithful "create the new reality" of undivided loyalty to the Leader.
At Signs of the Times, we are not in the business of telling anyone what to do. We are only here as a lighthouse, a constant sweeping illumination that goes around and around and says, basically, the same thing over and over again. Our readership is growing by leaps and bounds, and we know that there are new readers every day who have not read every daily report for the past couple of years. We also know that there are regular readers who, after reading the page, go back to sleep and think "it can't be THAT bad." And so, again and again we shine the light, ring the alarm bell, and try to think of different ways to get through to others the extreme peril in which we stand. This brings us back to the issue of how does Knowledge Protect?

In the past three years, as I noted above, we have made some considerable progress on our mandate of discovering what really makes reality tick and how does humanity fit into it. Much of this work is pure science - physics and mathematics - but I'm not going to give you the formulas or the computer simulation codes, I'm going to explain it to you in simple terms.

Our universe seems to be made up of matter/energy and of consciousness.

Matter/energy by itself "prefers", as it seems, a chaotic state.

Matter/energy by itself doesn't even have a concept of "creation" or "organization". It is the consciousness that brings to life these concepts and by its interaction with matter pushes the universe towards chaos and decay or towards order and creation.
The rest of the article is about importance of Objectivity and Truth as antidote to chaos. It's a very good reminder, so important today.
 

Jeffrey of Troy

Padawan Learner
Just a comment about how interesting I found the discussion of Jean-Paul Sartre. Having never looked into it, I always kind of lumped him together with the French postmodernists, but it turns out that he actually has a very sound understanding of truth and its prime importance. But he also isn't a naive relativist - rather, he has a "phenomological" view very similar to Jordan Peterson's: our perception of the world depends to a large extent on what we are up to; or as JP puts it: we don't just see objects, we see tools. Like in Sartre's example of the small rock on a field: if we want to tilt the field, we see an obstacle to be removed. If we want to reach something, we see the rock as something to climb. If we are just taking in the landscape, we see it as either beautiful or ugly etc. So there is an infinite amount of "true statements" to be made about the rock.

So indeed, there is objective truth: the rock can be heavy and therefore hard to remove; it can be "climbable" or not; it can be elegant or ugly etc. But what is the "absolute truth", independent of our perception and meaning? Or in Kant's terminology - what is the "thing-as-such"? We cannot know. We would have to know the infinite set of all possible truth statements and perhaps even the infinite set of all possible meanings to all possible beings. It's impossible.

And this is also what so bugs me about what I call the "enlightenment warrior" crowd - while they are rightly appalled by postmodernist relativism, their view is so naive - they think that the absolute truth is obvious and that we can know it; an atom is an atom, a table is a table, full stop. And they hate all philosophical objections to such naive realism, which makes them hate philosophy in general. The reason I think is obvious: if we cannot know the absolute truth, this leaves the door wide open to different planes of existence, which would contradict their rigid materialism and atheism. They hate that.

Now Sartre is an atheist too, but the thing is, he drew the right conclusion from putting his atheism and his decent understanding of truth together: life is absurd. This is because we are frantically searching for something that unifies the material world and our consciousness, i.e. how we make sense of the world, but all in vain. Pretty depressing, actually! In one of Bishop Robert Barron's talks, he called Sartre and Camus "great atheists", as opposed to the new atheists like Dawkins, Harris and so on, because they really thought things through and naturally came to the depressing conclusion that life is absurd if God doesn't exist. He said "never trust a happy atheist", which I found pretty funny. Those enlightenment warrior types seem to be precisely that: happy atheists. People full of themselves who love a world without God. Ironically, they share this sentiment with the postmodernists they so detest!
Each kept to the bargain sporadically. Sartre camouflaged many of his relations with his string of mistresses - up to nine simultaneously - while de Beauvoir was less than honest about her relationship with Nelson Algren, the American author of The Man with the Golden Arm (though here, apparently, of The Man with the Golden Gun).

For long periods, the couple became a "trio", though the arrangement rarely worked out well for the third party: at least two of de Beauvoir's former pupils found themselves becoming first her lover, then Sartre's, only for the couple to close ranks against them once the fun wore off.

Was de Beauvoir passing lovers on to Sartre - who enjoyed taking girls' virginities, though he could muster little enthusiasm for the sex act itself - to ensure the continuance of his relationship with her?
Simone de Beauvoir? Meet Jean-Paul Sartre
 

Ant22

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Due to all the book bans on Amazon and Kindle books disappearing from devices I was checking this tits title on Amazon from time to time to see if it would go down in price as £80-140 is very expensive. I didn't have my hopes up too much so if the price remained the same I was going to get it as a Christmas present for myself.

But prompted by another post on Facebook about Amazon banning an author I checked Amazon again earlier this week again. And there it was, one and only copy conveniently available from a UK seller at £28!
It arrived today:cheer:

Those who are still interested in purchasing a printed copy but are put off by the price, this is just to let you know that miracles do happen ;-)
 
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