Tuesday, November 22, 2016

David F. Ruccio — Richard Rorty, postmodernism, and Trump

Good observations but I would disagree with the conclusion that "… we still have two formidable weapons: critical thinking and political organizing. And, while liberals continue to deny it, the Left is still the best place to find and develop those weapons." 

The human pursuit of truth is dialectical. The Left enunciates a particular POV in terms of an interpretive narrative that combines descriptive (representational), normative and prescriptive aspects, among other factors. The Right articulates an opposing POV. There are nuances in  the POVs on both the Left and Right. 

Some of these come into conflict with each other and others cooperate. This is a dynamic process that continually unfolds over time in a series of historical moments that are shaped by individuals interacting in changing conditions, subject not only to individual dispositions but also cultural and institutional influences.

Differences in POV are now being trace to cognitive-affective-volitional factors based on brain functioning. Differences in neurological functioning are correlated with differences in POV. It remains to be determined in which way the causation runs but it seems clear that feedback deepens neural pathways and therefore intensity of commitment to a POV.

People like to think that they have the "facts" on their side, which is only true to a degree. Thinking about subjects of any complication or complexity involves conceptual models based on assumptions and methodological approaches. There are no independent criteria for deciding the "best" assumptions or method, other than in aspects of human life. 

What is ideal may not be realistic, e.g., utopian thinking. Too much political thinking on both Right and Left is utopian or dystopian, driven by desire and aversion, and to that degree, irrational.

Moreover, history is dynamic as well as dialectical. What is suitable at one time may not be at another.  The Ango-American contemporary Left tends to be mired in gold standard thinking.

Postmodernism is a dialectical "retort" to Modernism. POVs tend to be characterized by their extremes, but those are more caricatures or stereotypes. But it is the extremes that provoke reaction and drive the dialectic.

Donald Trump is an iteration in the political dialectic of US left and right, who views the task at hand to be moving beyond the current oppositions by forging a new POV.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Richard Rorty, postmodernism, and Trump
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame


Matt Franko said...

The right is still immersed in the gold too....

Matt Franko said...

It's a libertarian utopia we've been in for quite some time...

jrbarch said...

It’s a fascinating subject, the human mind.

For me, the pursuit of truth is dichotomic [1) - division into two parts, kinds, etc.; subdivision into halves or pairs; 2) - division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups] but one branch goes largely unrecognised. This is the Self in man; the soul or heart, the consciousness, the true being, the witness, the watchman, the conscience, the wisdom, the higher Self as it known in the vernacular: - in the Ageless Wisdom it has much more descriptive and technical names.

Nonetheless, this Self puts down a small aspect of itself into the human persona, and its presence is reflected in the mind as an ‘I’. Evolution is in part, a process of growing awareness of the Self within the human persona. As awareness of the Self unfolds, the ‘I’ is eclipsed and dissolves (the thought of which will make the psychologists distraught). The Self, in its own realm, expands its awareness to that which it too stands as an aspect.

Now, it seems to me, that the ‘I’ is the linchpin in any discussion of the human mind.

All of the cognitive biases, often highly emotionally charged, flow around the ‘I’, in much the same way as masses of cloud flow around the center of a cyclone. The further out towards the periphery one goes, the more intense the storm (hence the world today) and the further from home has the ‘I’ wandered (the prodigal son). The ‘I wants its world to be real and the role that it plays in it to be real. It defends itself and its creations. In the Ageless Wisdom, mind is known as ‘the slayer of the real’.

So, there is another pov. If the Self is a reality, then a human being is something entirely different to the conception we have of ourselves, and Life and evolution, have other plans. The human quest is the heart; peace, that energy in which consciousness of the Self unfolds. The rest is a cyclone of our own creation, that one day we will have to calm.

The ‘I’ wars with other ‘I’s, and this spills out onto the global stage; but really, it is just warring with itself. That is why harmlessness and sharing, friendliness, are evidence of our next step.

Bob said...

What happens when you play Devil's Advocate?

jrbarch said...

Bob – despite all the cynicism in the world, this is what I was taught: -

Success is built on our ability to evolve, learn and grow. In order to take the next step, we must leave the last one behind. We take along with us what is good, and leave the rest. The more we can do this, the better we succeed.

At times, we are our own worst enemy, because we see everything through our own filters. Our own confusion leads to bad choices, and creates most of our problems. These are our signatures. When we can let go of our ideas about how things should be, we begin to see things as they are. Then we choose wisely, simply.

Two Ants

Bob said...

One should be able to clear the plate of any idea that is not necessary for one's survival.

jrbarch said...

“All this was not to be, had the salt remained in the mouth. That’s why clean the table. Clean the plate and taste this. As it should be tasted. Not mixed with something else. Taste this, so you will know what its flavour is. That’s all. This is not a blend. This is about you. This is not about your accomplishments. This is about you, you being alive. I know one thing and this is so simple, it’s almost ridiculously simple and it is, the coming and going of this breath, is the most amazing thing happening in your life.” [Prem]

Bob said...

Clean your plate, or your palate, human doing.

the activities in which a particular person engages.
"the latest doings of television stars"
synonyms: performance, performing, carrying out, execution, implementation, implementing, achievement, accomplishment, realization, completion; More
effort; activity.
"it would take some doing to calm him down"
synonyms: effort, exertion, work, hard work, application, labor, toil, struggle
"that would take some doing"

jrbarch said...

Am not sure why you mention ‘doing’ now Bob? (Something to do with your love of being contrary am suspecting; Stalin the ultimate devil’s advocate, with either an itchy moustache or a nervous tic? One way to test the mettle of anything is to hit it with a hammer, stab it with a sword. Another way is to simply listen and feel. But shall leave that with you).

But anyway, going with the flow:

We are human ‘beings’ first; doings later.

We must ‘be’ before we can do.

In the qualities of the ‘being’ arise the expression in the doing.

So, the quote is all about removing the flavour, the colouring of the salt from the being so that you can taste the more natural flavour of the sugar (the natural sweetness). Other analogies are washing the dirt from the cloth so that the colours shine through. The world is always staining this cloth so there is always a need to wash it each day.

Mind is the thing that tells us we are above all of that!

Bob said...

It occurred to me that most of the people I have met in real life have been human doings. They are very focused on their accomplishments, and the accomplishments of others. They are what they do. They invariably ask, what do you do?

Do human doings become human beings at other times, when they are not in public? I do not know. I assume they have a choice.

The little ant might have forgotten about the salt it was carrying. Its actions suggest an open and thoughtful mind. Are we not absentminded from time to time?

And now I am a salty bumblebee.