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01/11/2010

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James Street

All of these books, and the entire deconstruction movement started by Derrida, are a modern revisitation of Nominalism which is opposed to Realism, or what today we usually think of as the scientific method.

It is certainly true that human beings contact reality through their senses and that we don't write symphonies for dogs just because there are registers that we can't hear and dogs can, but Realists think that sound waves actually exist, independent of minds.

Of course, Nominalists deny that reality exists independent of minds and kick Realists in their imagined faces by telling them that science is just a series of mental constructs and that anyone can be anything s/he wants to be.

Realists respond by saying that this is the basis of modern narcissism, irrational behavior and cultural decadence.

This philosophical argument is very old, going back to the Middle Ages and having roots in Classical Greece.

Too bad that it has reappeared as a quasi war between the sciences and humanities.

Many, if not most, Nominalists consider scientific theories, as disparate as global warming and evolution, as memes competing for minds that give them life, and not as truths or falsehoods which can only be verified by careful experiments.

It's so depressing for some people to think that all behavior is determined by scientific laws that they jump off bridges just to prove to others and themselves that they are ultimately free.

Whoopie.

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