Sunday, April 26, 2009

A gem from being in a "Continental" department.

"For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation. Up to this very day there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a post-national constellation, we must draw sustenance now, as in the past, from this substance. Everything else is idle postmodern talk."

Jurgen Habermas

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4 Comments:

Blogger brianna. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:12 PM  
Blogger brianna. said...

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6:57 PM  
Blogger Daniel Ambord said...

I will see your modernism and raise you postmodernism...

"I can summarize the line of thought that Vattimo and I are pursuing as follows: The battle between religion and science conducted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a contest between institutions, both of which claimed cultural supremacy. It was a good thing for both religion and science that science won that battle. For truth and knowledge are a matter of social cooperation, and science gives us the means to carry out better cooperative social projects than before. If social cooperation is what you want, the conjunction of science and the common sense of your day is all you need. But if you want something else, then a religion that has been taken out of the epistemic arena, a religion that finds the question of theism versus atheism uninteresting, may be just what suits your solitude."

--Richard Rorty, "Anticlericalism and Atheism," The Future of Religion, ed. Santiago Zabala (New York: Columbia University Press 2005), 39.

I hope that this finds you well and enjoying the first couple weeks of summer.

Pax Vobiscum,

Daniel Whitcomb Ambord

P.S
Credere di credere!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

I’ll miss you Ambord! Congratulations with graduating. I hope our paths will cross again someday.

“The battle between religion and science conducted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a contest between institutions, both of which claimed cultural supremacy. It was a good thing for both religion and science that science won that battle.”

If by “good” Rorty means that it was good for his project, then this proposition is both true and uninteresting.

“For truth and knowledge are a matter of social cooperation, and science gives us the means to carry out better cooperative social projects than before. If social cooperation is what you want, the conjunction of science and the common sense of your day is all you need”

Why relegate “truth and knowledge” to being a matter of social cooperation? Why not just say “science and the common sense of the day gives us the means to carry out better [sic] cooperative social projects than before”, and leave truth and knowledge out of it? To relegate truth and knowledge to this is to say something substantive, and the proposition P, as always, needs an argument.

Furthermore, science and the common sense of the day worked well for those orchestrating the gulags (surely this counts for “cooperative social projects”), but that’s not “better” than Imperialist Orthodox Russia. So clearly, science and the common sense of the day is not all we need. To say otherwise is a tacit acceptance of such atrocities-or at least an admission of philosophical impotence and/or cowardice.

Suck it, Rorty.

5:44 PM  

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