Saturday, October 10, 2009

Truth Matters?

Responding to more brazen intellectual dishonesty from Chris Mooney, Ophelia Benson issues a reminder of what is and is not eligible for compromise:

[W]hat's at stake with this disagreement - atheism v vague woolly whateverism - is basically epistemological, and that's not about what is or isn't in the center. It's not about majorities, it's not about polite conformity, it's not about not alienating people. That's what Mooney always refuses to get, or else to accept, or else to care about - that there are principled reasons not to compromise or split the difference or 'move to the center' on epistemic issues, and we bristle at being told to treat truth claims the same way we treat campaign promises or votes on highway bills.
Truth claims either succeed or fail: either sacrificing foreigners to the great pyramid god will bring favorable weather or it will not, either prayer cures disease or it does not, either it is possible or impossible for a person to live a few days inside a whale, and so on. Whether such truth claims appeal to 'the center' or 'the majority' or any other group is a different matter. The difference matters if truth matters.

4 comments:

Jake said...

Well put: "The difference matters if truth matters." I'm going to have to think about this for a while--

You give me pause.I've been looking for an academic sort of blog on existential issues etc--and your blog description caught my eye--particularly the "with exceptions noted herein."

I've always had a hard time with "whatever is, is right."

I'll likely be back sometime.

Dale said...

Jake, thanks. "Whatever is, is right" is one of those appealing oversimplifications, probably not the most damaging, that we tend to fall for. I do not.

I'm not the most academic-y or existential-y blog out there, but sure, whatever works. My moods swing hither and yon, and with those go the post topics.

I appreciate the comment.

Montag said...

"Whatever is, is right" is so obvious, it is an axiom...in other words, its is "right".

It is, however, not necessarily true.

I suppose this is the time for some profundities, but I am fresh out. Sorry.

Dale said...

Montag, it's always time for profundities, but they're famously hard to come by. I'd tell you that effort counts as much as results but we all know better. ;-)

I appreciate the comment.