A Conversation for The Sokal Affair

"Pragmatism? Is that all you have to offer?"

Post 1

Steve K.

As an engineer (of the chemical persuasion, not trains which looks like more fun) with a physicist wife, I've always been partial to Pragmatism, the American style philosophy of James & Peirce. And generally the black sheep of the Philosophy Dept. (except for Richard Rorty, the gadfly, "Truth is simply a compliment paid to sentences seen to be paying their way.") But I do try, having recently finished a series of lectures on tape covering philosophy in the 20th century: Heidegger, Sartre, Marcuse, Habermas, Foucault, Derrida, and Baudrillard. It makes thermodynamics look almost understandable.

So I enjoyed the article, a good satire. Some of the ideas in the lectures were interesting, but overall ... my eyes glazed over.

One item in the entry reminds me of a story: The sea squirt, a small, sedentary sea critter, is born with a minimal brain, which it uses to find a spot to anchor for life. After that, it no longer needs its brain, so it eats it. Really. Some consider this analogous to a professor receiving tenure.

P.S. The title of this Conversation is a line from Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead".

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"Pragmatism? Is that all you have to offer?"

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