Re: Public Funding vs Free Inquiry

Daniel Fabulich (
Wed, 20 May 1998 08:05:36 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 20 May 1998, Technotranscendence wrote:

> As long as one is able to verify their truth and their lies outside of what
> they say. My point, however, was that poststructuralist, postmodernists
> and hermeneutics is equivalent to lying. At least, not all of it is lying.
> Surely, some of it -- like any philosophy -- is off the mark.

Well, this is a tricky point. As you must know, Rand herself was quite
hostile towards post-structuralism in particular, and I'm fairly certain
that political postmodernism, at the very least, wouldn't sit well with
her, though I can't recall her writing anything in particular about the
postmodernists herself. On the other hand, she was also quite hostile
towards libertarians, a position which I find puzzling to say the least.

As for hermeneutics, as I seem to recall, one of its central ideas was
that supposedly contradictory elements within a text would coalesce into a
meaning by virtue of the fact that they contradict. Depending on which
hemeneutic school you're addressing, this is either a restatement of
Rand's flavor of the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction or its
very antithesis. Is hermeneutics trying to say that the contradictions
never truly existed, or that they are able to agree despite the fact that
they contradict? Different writers have answered this question
differently; I think most modern academics would agree more with the
latter than the former, and that Rand would disagree passionately.

Anyway, I don't assert that poststructuralists are lying to try to get
themselves better funding; rather that they may simply be wrong. :)

> The thing to do is to look dispassionately at the methods and ideas.
> For example, it seems that Sciabarra is onto something when he says
> Objectivism is dialectical in method -- even if Objectivists don't know
> it. It might disagree with other dialectical philosophies, such as
> Hegelianism and Marxism, but this doesn't change his point. Both
> Newtonian and Einsteinian physics lead to different conclusions
> despite having similar methods.

I'm having a hard time reconciling these ideas in my mind, especially with
respect to individuality vs. collectivism. Applying the dialectic to
politics, as Marx points out, seems to lead us to a certain inevitability
in history. I'm quite certain Rand would disagree with this, emphasizing
instead the role of the individual in historical events. Maybe I'm
looking too much at the philosophy itself rather than its methods, but in
my mind the two seem inseparable.