Re: MD Pirsig and Rorty the inadequacies of post modernism

From: David MOREY (
Date: Fri Feb 06 2004 - 18:55:19 GMT

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    Interesting question. Mathematics is a language
    with more rigorous defintions and uses of its components.
    Is there such a thing as a mathematical metaphor? Is there
    a problem of intention/interpretation in maths? Maths is ruled
    by the equals sign where static relationships dominate.

    David M
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: joan vollmann
      Sent: Friday, February 06, 2004 5:47 PM
      Subject: Re: MD Pirsig and Rorty the inadequacies of post modernism

      Platt Holden <> wrote:
        Hi David M,

    > I have been thinking alot about post-modernism and
    > its denial of realism and its relationship to human agency.
    > I found the item recently posted by Anthony close to my current
    > thinking on the subject of realism and its relationship to
    > science. It seems to me that realism and human agency and actual
    > practical engagement with the world are closely tied together.
    > I have been recently drawn to the work of Roy Bhaskar and the
    > philosophical school he started called critical realism. I have
    > found than Roy is very interested in starting a dialogue between
    > eastern and western philosophy, that he is well grounded in a realist
    > philosophy of science, that he is anti-dualist and talks alot about
    > dynamic quality and freedom in a way very close to Pirsig. This
    > week I found a fragment from a very interesting book by Margaret
    > Archer that discusses the limitation of post-modernism and Rorty's
    > conception of human agency.

        The limitations of postmodernism are, as you suggest, becoming
        increasingly acknowledged in academe, and it seems "critical realism" is
        gaining popularity. Roger Caldwell goes right to jugular to expose why
        Rorty's ideas are rapidly being abandoned:

        "If, as Rorty proposes, we replace the notion of truth with that of
        usefulness, so that we accept only those propositions which we find in
        general to the 'useful,' then the question arises as to whether they are
        really useful or not. That is, the very criteria by which we judge a
        proposition to be useful involve the same recourse to a correspondence
        with reality which the theory denies in advance. We are left, inescapably,
        with the conclusion that the theory is incoherent."

        From what I can discern, critical realism restores the view that there is
        such a thing as objective truth, which will be a blessing if! the idea
        takes hold again in the humanities that for too long has been dominated
        by the same crowd who prefer astrology over astronomy.


        Post-modernism (social quality) denies objective truth (intellectual quality). Objective truth excludes post-modernism. Go figure. Is there such a thing as post-modernist mathematics?


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