Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Is this a Real Project? Or What?

Whenever someone charges at the world waving the flag of truth, they almost never mean truth in and of itself; they mean some particular claim that for them burns so bright as to blot out everything else. 
Trying to get a handle on truth in and of itself seems to me a lot like wrestling Proteus, or the "Old Man of the Sea", as described by Menelaus in the Odyssey. The Old Man can answer any questions if captured, but capturing him means holding on as he changes shapes from a horse to a serpent to water to fire to whatever until he is worn out if one has the strength to wear him out.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

On Asking "What if Race is more than a social construct?"

A friend recently sent me to an article "What if Race is more than a social construct?" by Margaret Wente in the (Toronto) Globe and Mail more or less a review of

A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History
The title of Wente's article: It takes aim at a troublesome postmodern-ish tendency of the last decade or so of calling race a "social construct".  One of its major themes is a favorite meme of the right: "Why can't liberals be rational about race?" Why all these taboos on what words are proper?  Why can't we just follow science wherever it leads (supposedly)?
   I can sympathize with one reaction to the "social construction" construct.  Aren't there really a lot of differences in skin color, hair, shape of facial features which we did not strictly speaking imagine?

Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by Massimo Pigliucci

I just finished listening to the Audible.com edition of
 Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk The book does quite a thorough job of covering the many ways facts and science lose out in the popularity wars.  Also, it mentioned many issues and people I've thought about over the years, and made strong connections to my most recent thinking.

So I went to look at the author's blog, http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/ only to find he ended it 3 months ago (in March 2014).

Kornblith (ed) Naturalizing Epistemology, and Stich: "Naturalizing Epistemology: Quine, Simon and the Prospects for Pragmatism"

I've been dabbling more and more in academic philosophy, specifically epistemology, some of which seems like it might have some use to the world.  In my 62 years, I've never been much drawn to people calling themselves philosophers, but one day many years ago, it occurred to me that, in what I was calling a "Truth Project", I was trying to do "practical epistemology" (for some idea of "Impractical epistemology" see NOTE 1 below).