Friday, December 14, 2007

A Problem for Postmodernism

Consider the following dilemma discussed by David Detmer, in his Challenging Postmodernism: Philosophy and the Politics of Truth. Those who call for a rejection of rational inquiry must either do so in conformity to the principles of rationality or not. These principles include consistency, commitment to fact, and the basic tenets of logic. If they call for this rejection in conformity with these principles, then their arguments are self-referentially inconsistent (because, for example, they would be employing logic in their case for the claim that we should abandon logic). On the other hand, if they do not call for this rejection in conformity with the principles of rationality, then they should not be taken seriously unless they offer a developed alternative framework. Simply asserting that truth is perspectival or a social construct is insufficient. Given that such an offer has not been forthcoming, it follows that we should remain committed to the principles of rational inquiry.

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