Where to draw the line: how Platonism haunts our discourse and the search for exorcism
I drew a graph.
Finally, someone who understands!
Cofty you are constructing our conversation in a way as to make it appear that I am not a serious person arguing for a sensible point of view.
No Slim', you're the one doing that.
Really? Cofty says he has difficulty understanding where I'm coming from. So I go out of my way to find poststructuralist ideas expressed by one of his own favourite authors, Richard Dawkins. I use the example of defining the beginning of humanity that Cofty is already familiar with to illustrate the point. Cofty then says he finds my further explanation ambiguous so I point out a couple of books I found give good clear explanations of social construction, to be met with:
If I was to say "so what?" I wouldn't mean that flippantly.
As if his endless threads and posts, with links to pages, books and videos promoting scientific discourse and realist interpretations are normal and to be welcomed. But me citing sources with an alternative constructionist way of looking at reality on a thread I started is as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit.
In a surprising turn Cofty then defends his realist position on pragmatic grounds. I point out the irony, which he ignores. I then cite historical examples that show a constructionist approach undermines various intolerant essentialist positions. Cofty singles out medical discourse on mental illness and expresses incredulity that the current orthodoxy should be viewed as anything other than self-evident. I acknowledge that medical discourse on madness is now dominant. For some reason this acknowledgement pushes Cofty over some realist cliff edge and he absents himself in an ostentatious display of frustration. Thereby attempting to construct the exchange as between a reasonable person and a malignant obscurantist rather than between someone trying to explain social construction and someone trying not to understand it.
It's a way of looking at things I suppose. Being generous.
"Where to draw the line ?"
Simple : Never try to draw a line. There is not such a thing in nature... Everything is continuous!
I go out of my way to find poststructuralist ideas expressed by one of his own favourite authors, Richard Dawkins
Actually you also quoted me in your OP without giving credit.
I also said - "Somebody who claims to hear voices telling them to strangle women has a medical condition. They are not possessed by evil spirits nor do they have an interesting unique perspective on reality. They have disfunction in their brain chemistry."
You replied - "Medicine is the dominant discourse surrounding madness at the moment"
I saw no attempt at honest dialogue. Too many other interesting things to read.
I gave credit to you for the quote in the previous thread.
I also linked an argument against the chemical imbalance theory of psychiatry. Never mind among constructionists, even within psychiatry itself the chemical imbalance theory is no longer taken-for-granted if it ever was.
Medicine is the dominant discourse surrounding madness at the moment. If you can't explain what you find objectionable about such an obvious statement I guess there is little to discuss. I guess you take offence that I should describe the medical view of madness as contingent where you presumably view it as straightforwardly factual in some positivist absolute sense. But that is our very point of disagreement. So you are quite literally saying you won't discuss your disagreement with me because I disagree with you. And you paint me as being the one not interested in constructive dialogue.
Some things can be called 'true' or a 'fact' without any nod to relativistic caveats. Go on, ask me for an example . . .
Okay, go on then.
I just find these sort of conversations to be pointless.
I remember when you objected to my assertion that the earth is not flat. In the context you knew precisely what I meant but you had to witter on about the perspective of an earthworm and totally derailed a thread in the process.
I have no interest in holding a conversation with somebody who pretends to misunderstand. It's tiresome.
Lots of things are just facts beyond all sensible debate but no matter how carefully somebody states something you will find a way to object to some trivial detail. Lots of others who want justification for believing bullshit - like pantheism or that rocks are conscious for example - will applaud and think it is clever to assert that nobody knows anything.
I have zero interest.
Fair enough. I find constructionism liberating. But also more satisfying than a narrow commitment to one particular window on the world. Scientific discourse is one way of describing the world but it isn't the only one. Pointing this out is not trivial pedantry, it gets to the heart of how we understand reality. Not only that but it has huge implications for how we understand our own relation to the world and its possibilities.