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Plasmatic

Constructivist Prof. says reason is a "white male construct"

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A nutty Professor promoting the constructivist irrationalism claimed that reason itself is a "white male construct". This is another instance of the onslaught of postmodernism against the existence of universal-context transcendent truth...(timeless)

http://dailycaller.com/2015/07/03/professor-reason-itself-is-a-white-male-construct/#ixzz3f2KHNaeD

Edited by Plasmatic

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Every time I read something like this - the method, not the conclusion necessarily - I wonder if the author is joking.  I understand his conclusion after a few paragraphs and then I continue to read - I read and I wait, read and wait.  Then I get to the end and ask, "where was the argument?"  This guy thinks he's a philosopher?  This article is a wonderful example of how pragmatics don't need an argument.

 

Plasmatic - you offered this for its comic value, didn't you?  Attempting to counter conclusions, offered without argument, is a waste of time, so I have no comment on his conclusion.  This guy makes a living as a professor of philosophy?

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Notice how the professor says he conceives of reason: "the Cartesian ego cogito and Kant’s transcendental consciousness." So, maybe this is a case of a philosopher having his context set by intrinsicists, denying the intrinsicist premise, and swinging over to subjectivism.

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The headline in the link and topic title is misleading, as it's about "pure" reason.

 

He's talking about "pure" reason, not reason wholesale. But what he does is worse - he racializes the whole topic. Yes, Kant and Descartes' view on reason is wrong, but it's not their whiteness or culture. It phrases the issue as though philosophers are merely products of society's norms. I'd agree that, say, Kant has had a negative impact on society, but to go on to make it about white males is a cop out for a real criticism of pure reason.

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The headline in the link and topic title is misleading, as it's about "pure" reason.

 

He's talking about "pure" reason, not reason wholesale. But what he does is worse - he racializes the whole topic. Yes, Kant and Descartes' view on reason is wrong, but it's not their whiteness or culture. It phrases the issue as though philosophers are merely products of society's norms. I'd agree that, say, Kant has had a negative impact on society, but to go on to make it about white males is a cop out for a real criticism of pure reason.

Like this post.  Could you define your take on "pure" versus "wholesale" reason.  Is it simply reason with or without innate content, or is it more?  I could learn something from your definitions.

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Thats what social constructivism is....

Yeah, I didn't say it wasn't. I'm not saying that if I asked him what reason is, I'd agree with him. My point is that the article says pure reason, so he probably accepts SOME notion of reason. That is, his notion of reason is not Kantian. The Objectivist notion of reason isn't Kantian either. As bizarre as it might be, he could think "reason is a set of norms social relative to a society!" which is a different monster than "reason is a white male construct!" Compartmentalization versus rejection of a valid concept are two different errors.

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Pure reason is objective truth.  What is non-pure reason?  What is less pure reason?  If reason is objective truth, how does one arrive at objective truth and what can a person do with it after they found it?  Must one refer back to reason/objective truth to draw conclusions?  I know you're joking and must understand that "comedy isn't pretty."

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Louie said:

Yeah, I didn't say it wasn't. I'm not saying that if I asked him what reason is, I'd agree with him. My point is that the article says pure reason, so he probably accepts SOME notion of reason. That is, his notion of reason is not Kantian. The Objectivist notion of reason isn't Kantian either. As bizarre as it might be, he could think "reason is a set of norms social relative to a society!" which is a different monster than "reason is a white male construct!" Compartmentalization versus rejection of a valid concept are two different errors.

I know you didn't say it wasn't. He is attacking a certain view of reason that he sees Kant and Descartes as sharing in common. A view that is the result of their "white male" "cultural context". He deconstructs the language of "pure" as a consequence of white male subjectivity. He likens this to his "true north" insensitivity to others cultural context. The point being that what is true is true from a perspective. The whole program here is to make the notion of a culture transcendent "Truth" an oppressive institution from white european culture.

Any doubt about what Caputo thinks truth and reason is can be answered by consulting his book Truth: Philosophy in Transit

Edited by Plasmatic

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Jack said:

Plasmatic - you offered this for its comic value, didn't you? Attempting to counter conclusions, offered without argument, is a waste of time, so I have no comment on his conclusion. This guy makes a living as a professor of philosophy?

I offered this to heighten awareness of this cultural poison.

Edit:

Pure reason is objective truth. What is non-pure reason? What is less pure reason? If reason is objective truth, how does one arrive at objective truth and what can a person do with it after they found it? Must one refer back to reason/objective truth to draw conclusions? I know you're joking and must understand that "comedy isn't pretty."

I don't understand this post. Satire?

Edited by Plasmatic

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Plasmatic - The post is a combination of satire and real confusion.  I'd really like to read a definition of pure, versus, wholesale, logic.  If reason is synonymous to objective truth, that is, if process is the same as content conclusion and reflects truth, I'd love to hear the argument. 

 

I suspect most of my comment here is objection to bad formulation of argument in language and grammar. Many writers don't mean what they say. But, if the writer is a young person, still studying, they should learn that words mean things - that combinations of words into ideas have specific meanings.  The equivalence of reason and objective truth is absurd at its base.

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Jack said:

I suspect most of my comment here is objection to bad formulation of argument in language and grammar. Many writers don't mean what they say. But, if the writer is a young person, still studying, they should learn that words mean things - that combinations of words into ideas have specific meanings. The equivalence of reason and objective truth is absurd at its base.

Do you know much about postmodernism? Deconstruction is all about subverting meaning. Derrida loved to do this. He once wrote a book called "Beauty in the Eyes of its Pupils"..... Elsewhere he spent many words criticizing Searle for signing and copywriting a paper critiquing Derrida. Derrida claimed to show a paradox between presence in communication, while absence being the thing making a signature necessary....

Edit:

Jack said:

Plasmatic - The post is a combination of satire and real confusion. I'd really like to read a definition of pure, versus, wholesale, logic. If reason is synonymous to objective truth, that is, if process is the same as content conclusion and reflects truth, I'd love to hear the argument.

I hope you don't think that I am claiming that those words are synonymous apart from Caputo's intention in using them....???

Edit:

Think of objectivity as a process of reason that leads to objective truth.

Edited by Plasmatic

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Plasmatic - While I am aware of post-modern philosophers, I gotta tell you - I know very little and I'll tell you why.  I struggled thru reading the originals of people like Hume, Kant, academic Russell, etc.  I'm just not gonna waste my time trying to understand every post-modern who I know from literary reference is going to propose an argument I will not agree with.  I resorted to commentaries because I have better things to do then read the original words of people I already know I will not agree with. I know this path limits my exposure to the ideas of the post-moderns.  I've spent some time with Chomsky, but little else.

 

I know this view limits my understanding.  But it limits my understanding of convoluted explanations of ideas based in fundamentals I would dispute in the absence of the convoluted arguments.

 

I gotta tell ya.  I'm just plain tired of reading academic papers in a language style that is suppose to appeal to other academics by its unique specificity.  What's the point?

 

I once published an academic biology paper in grad school and my major professor kept correcting me until I got it right.  He insisted on a specific format and a language style that could be understood by anyone with a basic education.  Modern academic works in philosophy just take to damn much time to understand and the person making this claim is a person who knows the philosophy and made a living writing technical manuals.

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Plasmatic - While I am aware of post-modern philosophers, I gotta tell you - I know very little and I'll tell you why.  I struggled thru reading the originals of people like Hume, Kant, academic Russell, etc.  I'm just not gonna waste my time trying to understand every post-modern who I know from literary reference is going to propose an argument I will not agree with.  I resorted to commentaries because I have better things to do then read the original words of people I already know I will not agree with. I know this path limits my exposure to the ideas of the post-moderns.  I've spent some time with Chomsky, but little else.

I know what you mean. I can barely read Rorty even though he is a fairly clear writer, because I disagree with everything he says on such a fundamental level.

 

I've mentioned this on this forum before, but there is a really nice short book on constructivism called Fear of Knowledge by Paul Boghossian. It argues for the claim that there is an objective reality and objective standards for knowledge. Boghossian is arguing against the constructivists, but he also explains their positions pretty clearly and sympathetically, since he studied under Rorty.

 

If anyone knows of any other books like this, I would be interested in reading them.

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I know this path limits my exposure to the ideas of the post-moderns.  I've spent some time with Chomsky, but little else

I'm not sure you're talking about post-moderns at all. Plasmatic means people like Derrida. Chomsky isn't like that. Why use specialized language? Precision and clarity. The thing is, academics sometimes hide behind manufactured complexity or issues.

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William said:

I've mentioned this on this forum before, but there is a really nice short book on constructivism called Fear of Knowledge by Paul Boghossian.

Speaking of fear of knowledge, Caputo speaks in one of his books about "truth without knowledge"..... Boghossian mentions the "colonialism" Caputo speaks of in FOK too.

Edit:

William, have you looked at A house Built on Sand and A Nice Derangement of Epistemes? Don't remember the authors names... (Zammitto?)

Edited by Plasmatic

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William said:

Speaking of fear of knowledge, Caputo speaks in one of his books about "truth without knowledge"..... Boghossian mentions the "colonialism" Caputo speaks of in FOK too.

Edit:

William, have you looked at A house Built on Sand and A Nice Derangement of Epistemes? Don't remember the authors names... (Zammitto?)

Thanks for pointing these out! I just bought A House Built on Sand, and it looks like Amazon has a bunch of similar books for me to look through.

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William, if you want an anti-constructivist view of "institutional facts" (man-made) Searle has a book called The Construction Of Social Reality. I think the title is meant to be a provocation....

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I'd really like to read a definition of pure, versus, wholesale, logic.

"Pure" reason is the Objectivist Epistemology.

The problem is that when most people say it, they use it the same way they use the term "selfishness"; as an anti-concept. By "pure reason" they mean "what Kant said".

In the Introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason Kant said that the entire point of philosophy is to protect Christianity from science. He used it as an apparently innocent way to advocate faith (just like "faith" is a cleaner way to talk about evasion).

Most people who talk about "pure reason" are preachers in their hearts (and not the warm-fuzzy kind; the kind that like to scare the britches off of kids). If you understand that then you already understand Kant and all of his intellectual brood; the only difference is that they've learned to be sneaky about it.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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In the Introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason Kant said that the entire point of philosophy is to protect Christianity from science.

Yes, I think this is a really interesting feature of early modern philosophy, because at that time they were still grappling with the relationship between religion and science / reason. Nowadays pretty much everyone outside of Christian apologetics just views religion as a subjective arbitrary thing, but back then there were still major philosophers trying out a variety of putatively rational approaches to religious belief. Examples that come to mind are Descartes, Spinoza (sort of), Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and of course Kant as you note.

Edited by William O

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... back then there were still major philosophers trying out a variety of putatively rational approaches to religious belief.

I think it's also interesting to compare and contrast Locke and Kant. Both lived in roughly the same area around the same time (more or less) and came from the same sort of proto-philosophical background and yet one of them spent his life trying to protect Christianity from science while the other explicitly argued that if God gave us brains then He must expect us to use them (and accordingly, whatever Christian says that God doesn't want us to think is calling Him a sadist).

That also ties directly back into the claims referenced in the OP, about "reason" being a white man's idea. The difference between Locke and Kant alone, given how similar the circumstances of their births, empirically contradicts it.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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I think it's also interesting to compare and contrast Locke and Kant. Both lived in roughly the same area around the same time (more or less) and came from the same sort of proto-philosophical background and yet one of them spent his life trying to protect Christianity from science while the other explicitly argued that if God gave us brains then He must expect us to use them (and accordingly, whatever Christian says that God doesn't want us to think is calling Him a sadist).

That also ties directly back into the claims referenced in the OP, about "reason" being a white man's idea. The difference between Locke and Kant alone, given how similar the circumstances of their births, empirically contradicts it.

Another interesting point of comparison is Samuel Clarke. He's not that well known today compared to Locke, but he was a major figure at the time, and he tried to take a rational approach to belief in God based on the physics of Sir Isaac Newton. He also had a couple of fairly interesting debates with Leibniz and Anthony Collins.

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