I want to explore the possibility that their deepest guiding impulses don't derive from an intellectual conversion to social constructivist theory, but rather from a profound and rather frantic discontent with the world-view science forces them to confront. Most of the visitors to this site have accepted that view to a great degree, regarding the knowledge of the natural world that science affords and the consistency of its knowable laws as adequate consolation for the eclipse of a vision of the universe as governed by a divine purpose, moral equality, and ultimate justice ... ... I think that the persistent popularity of the notion that science is a historically contingent social construct, a narrative not necessarily superior to other accounts of the world, a kind of cognitive imperialism devised by the western ruling caste to humble and demoralize subaltern cultures, stems not from the philosophical plausibility of social constructivism as such, but rather from the deep discontent with the death of teleology to which I have alluded.It would be interesting to try to trace out of this line of thinking more generally, although hopefully with not such a polemical aim. For it seems that much of the resistance to the rise of analytic philosophy in the 1960s also stemmed from the desire to retain a central role for philosophy in spiritual and political arenas. If such a pattern could be uncovered through more sustained historical research, we might finally see how misguided some alternative histories of analytic philosophy, like McCumber's, really are.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
A colleague recently drew my attention to this 2006 essay by Levitt on Steve Fuller. Levitt assails Fuller for his sympathies with Intelligent Design (ID) and concludes by trying to link social constructivism with the reactionary politics of the advocates of ID: