Truth Imperiled

We join our hero as he seeks aid in his quest to save truth, science, and western civilization itself.

OUR HERO: Sir! Sir! Am I to understand you are a philosopher?

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER: Why, yes, that is my trade.

OUR HERO: And are you one of those—one of those villainous characters who believes that truth is relative, or there is no such thing as reality, or what have you?

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER (offended): I should say not. Truth and reality are the whole point of our enterprise!

OUR HERO: Forgive me. I have just finished watching several videos on YouTube which have disclosed some rather alarming revelations about the state of our culture. Were you aware, sir, of the pervasiveness of postmodernism?

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER: Don’t even get me started. All these “critical this” and “critical that” fields, the impenetrable prose…believe me, my colleagues and I are well aware of the problem.

OUR HERO: It is a great relief to hear you say that. Did you know, for instance, that they do not think one can merely observe reality? As if I couldn’t just reach out and touch this table right here, right now!

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER (smirking a little): Well, what you’re saying is naive empiricism. Everyone knows that doesn’t work. But the postmodernists certainly go too far.

OUR HERO (uncertain, but pressing on): Yes…for example, they think that knowledge is merely a product of social relations! As if science itself just rested on the flimsy basis of trusting one another and behaving in a trustworthy manner! But any schoolchild knows that with the scientific method you can directly test hypotheses!

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER (growing smug): Well…that’s just naive realism. Knowledge is a product of social relations, though I wouldn’t say “merely”.

OUR HERO (baffled): What are you saying?? Are you one of them?

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER: Come now, read a book once in a while. Philosophers like Sir Karl Popper, for instance, are very popular with scientists themselves, and he agreed with every word of what I have just said to you. That’s not the problem at all.

OUR HERO: Then…then what is the problem?

ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHER: Well those damned continental postmodernists just don’t see that [long angry rant fleshing out a set of highly technical distinctions]. I mean, whatever happened to basic academic standards?

NEXT TIME: Having discovered how deeply the cancer of postmodernism has spread even among its critics, our hero must venture into the Intellectual Dark Web to find his true allies in this glorious struggle.

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