Re: Subject: Re: A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies

J. R. Molloy (
Sun, 14 Nov 1999 09:47:08 -0800

Greg wrote,
>While Sokal's well-publicized nuking of postmodernist BS is a laudable
>exercise, it by no means establishes the irrelevancy of the traditional
>questions addressed by the humanities.

Perhaps so. Can you relate a few of the traditional questions addressed by the humanities which science does not (or can not) also address (besides the singular issue of moralism, which I think avoids the hard questions)?

>Science and technology can tell you the "is", but the scientific method,
>standing alone, cannot tell you the "ought". Ultimately, science and
>technology will provide us with a complete list of what we CAN do, but we'll
>still have to face the question of what we OUGHT to do.

As for what we "OUGHT" to do:
Authority belongs to the one who best answers those who question authority. Anyone who wants to know what we ought to do can ask me. <innocent grin> You "ought" to see my list.

But seriously, I think Richard Dawkins has contributed to the clarification of how scientists can identify "what we ought to do" in his essay "The Biological Basis of Morality." I suspect that deep down, everyone really agrees on "what we ought to do." We just disagree (sometimes) about how to do it.

As I see it, science can achieve success in social policy making ("political science"? Not!) equivalent to what it has achieved in chemistry or astronomy. As neuroscience reveals more about how human brains function, we can learn more about what we ought to do to extend and amplify our sentience. One thing I advocate that we do involves further debunking of "Cultural Studies" and other pseudo-science nonsense.

Grok it and rocket,

--J. R.