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Re: <nettime> Why I won't support the March for Science
Prem Chandavarkar on Mon, 24 Apr 2017 11:42:16 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Why I won't support the March for Science


It is a problem when an issue is polarised across two extremes without exploring some substantive middle ground.  Am reading Thomas Nagel, whose views are quite useful on this subject.  He argues that the objective viewpoint that science prescribes is extremely useful, but if you extend this viewpoint to all of truth, then it is destructive.  Scientific objectivism only allows intelligence and is relatively impotent in handling consciousness.

Nagel says in The View from Nowhere, “What really happens in the pursuit of objectivity is that a certain element of oneself, the impersonal or objective self, which can escape from the specific contingencies of one’s creaturely point of view, is allowed to predominate.  Withdrawing into this element one detaches from the rest and develops an impersonal conception of the world and, so far as possible, of the elements of self from which one has detached.  That creates a new problem of integration…One has to be the creature whom one has subjected to detached examination, and one has in one’s entirety to live in the world that has been revealed to an extremely distilled faction of oneself.”

Having said that, Nagel refuses to allow the pendulum to swing to the other extreme of total relativism, one has to build on the utility of the objective viewpoint in order to make a complete life.  One cannot deny objectivism totally.  

So if the March for Science is primarily to protest against the denial of the sciences in the current political climate, then it is both useful and necessary.  But if it seeks to extend that to all truth being only objective knowledge, then it is problematic.  

The question is how we can construct and sustain the middle ground.


> On 23-Apr-2017, at 10:24 PM, Florian Cramer <flrncrmr {AT} gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> (This was a social media posting, but I thought that I should share it with
> the larger Nettime community. -F)




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