Thursday, 19 July 2007
Jonah Goldberg points out this Richard Rorty quote. It is an exceptionally pure specimen of blank-slatism.
"This hard saying brings out what ties Dewey and Foucault, James and Nietzsche, together- the sense that there is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves, no criterion that we have not created in the course of creating a practice, no standard of rationality that is not an appeal to such a criterion, no rigorous argumentation that is not obedience to our own conventions."
I.e. What is "deep down inside us" was put there either by ourselves, or by God. In the absence of God, we create ourselves.
In fact, careful inquiry shows that most of what is "deep down inside us" was put there by Ma Nature (who may, of course, have been operating under God's supervision). This may even include the moral sense. At least, there are very plausible, though at present speculative, theories explaining the moral sense in naturalistic terms.
These theories will be rigorously proved, or refuted, when we know much more about the history and function of the human genome. Given the track record of science vs. supernaturalism, I wouldn't personally bet my house on a supernatural origin for the moral sense.
(Incidentally, is Rorty being fair to Nietzsche there? I thought the old boy was more sypathetic than that to naturalism... but my knowledge of Nietzsche is sketchy, derived mainly from the Solomon/Higgins Teaching Company lectures, which someone told me are a bit of a whitewash. Elucidation from better-informed Nietzscheans would be appreciated.)
Posted on 07/19/2007 3:43 PM by John Derbyshire
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