Re: Dennett article on post-modernism

Date: Sat 15 Mar 2003 - 15:21:06 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Scale-Free networks and memes"

    In a message dated 3/14/2003 6:49:10 AM Central Standard Time, writes:

    > Subj: Dennett article on post-modernism
    > Date: 3/14/2003 6:49:10 AM Central Standard Time
    > From: (Wade T. Smith)
    > Sender:
    > Reply-to:
    > To: (Memetics Listserv)
    > Dennett has a wonderful little talk at
    > about,
    > mainly, the criticism of science.

    Here's a worthy quote that applies even beyond memetics:

    "... but science almost never looks as uncontroversial, as cut-and-dried, as arithmetic. Indeed rival scientific factions often engage in propaganda battles as ferocious as anything to be found in politics, or even in religious conflict. The fury with which the defenders of scientific orthodoxy often defend their doctrines against the heretics is probably unmatched in other arenas of human rhetorical combat. These competitions for allegiance--and, of course, funding--are designed to capture attention, and being well-designed,
     they typically succeed. This has the side effect that the warfare on the cutting edge of any science draws attention away from the huge uncontested background, the dull metal heft of the axe that gives the cutting edge its power. What goes without saying, during these heated disagreements, is an organized, encyclopedic collection of agreed-upon, humdrum scientific fact."

    From "Post Modernism and Truth" by Daniel Dennett, talk presented at the 1998 World Congress of Philosophy.

    --Aaron Lynch

    PS., notwithstanding my past argumentation on many topics, I don't wish to get into a new and potentially ironic argument over how this quote may apply to various areas of science -- including my own work and competing or contrary lines of work.

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