A Conversation for The Sokal Affair
"Pragmatism? Is that all you have to offer?"
Steve K. Started conversation Jul 8, 2004
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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