RE: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.)

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sun Jul 15 2001 - 09:39:57 MDT

Russell wrote

> Lee wrote
>> I entirely reject the domain of aesthetic/cultural value as supplying
>> anything for the purpose of ferreting out objective truth and reality.

> Lee, I'd like to know a little bit more about what you mean by the first
> paragraph before I answer that question. :-)
> For example, there are some complex questions about whether it is possible
> to be objective in giving an interpretation of a work of art. I think there
> might be a sense in which you can be, at least sometimes.

It's possible for someone to be objective about a work of art
in only two possible ways:

1. It can be claimed that the work has certain properties in
   the value system of all the participants of a certain culture

2. It can be claimed that the work has certain properties for
   all normal human beings.

Given that some of our aesthetics are genetic, even #2 has to
be correct (although any particular claim itself could be false,
of course). I think that #1 is true, and not new. It's objectively
true, for example, that Jerry Lewis is very funny in France, and
that in America rap lyrics are crude and stupid for most people.

Does that seem right to you?

> However, my answer to your question would almost certainly be "no". Your
> second para seems to make pretty clear that you don't reject the
> aesthetic/cultural domain. My point wasn't about whether this domain is, in
> some sense, a source of facts about "objective truth and reality". It was
> about whether this domain is *of value*.

I guess that everyone on this list agrees that, for them, all
the soft stuff has value. I think that it's objectively true
that everything in the aesthetic/cultural domain has, or did
have, value to someone, or it wouldn't exist.

> Moreover, I've tried to bracket off, throughout this discussion,
> issues of whether values are ultimately objective or subjective.

That sounds like our best try, at present.

> I'm happy to discuss such issues, but they didn't seem relevant
> to the point I was trying to make to Samantha. I was actually
> trying to narrow the use of the term "scientism", not broaden
> it to include people like you.

:-) Well, I don't use the term "scientism", just as I don't use
the term "spirituality", and I'm just trying to learn what people
mean by them, and whether they are useful for communication.


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