Thursday, January 03, 2008

My talk next week

I have agreed to give a talk matching this description next week:
Rob Loftis "Realism and the Reality Based Community: A Retrospective Look at Postmodernism"

A variety of skeptical philosophies with names like "postmodernism" "constructivism" and "relativism" were popular in large swaths of American universities in the late twentieth century. This talk will examine what these movements were and argue that their influence is fading.
Any advice on what do to from here is appreciated. (I agreed to do the talk mostly for an excuse to read Paul Boghossian's Fear of Knowledge, which I haven't done.)

2 comments:

dbm/gaa said...

I don't have anything helpful to say, but I'd love to hear what you have to say when you figure it out! What are those 'isms' being replaced with, anyway? Someone recently told me 'pragmatism' was the new ism, but that didn't seem very helpful.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

"Pragmatism" is the ism embraced by post-toasted types when they start to mellow because it is a closely related philosophy that gives them the image of trying to get things done rather than obscure everything.

This really is a positive move when the more moderate philosophy actually resembles classical American pragmatism. It was less helpful for someone like Rorty who simply wanted to take the mantle of great American philosophy without actually having to become useful.

At some point in my talk, I want to quote Simon Blackburn to the effect that Rorty should have learned, as the classical pragmatists did, that reality has its uses.