Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Quest for Objectivity

By now everyone has heard of the rioting in Ferguson last night after a Grand Jury decided that the policeman who shot Michael Brown would not be indicted to go on trial.


I would think there was tremendous pressure on the Grand Jury to indict him. Then again, I don't know the people who were on the Grand Jury. YOU AND I JUST DON'T KNOW. I'd like to think that the system works most of the time.

What I bemoan is rather what I see as a loss in the US of any valuing of objectivity. We have dethroned modernism with its primacy on evidence and logic as the basis for sound thinking. So among the intelligensia we have created a space for a postmodern academia without any clear standards of truth... and we have re-empowered the pre-modern majority to rush forth unbridled in unreflectivity, including the church.

The rule of law is based on evidence and logic. That is a sign of high civilization. I realize that could be perceived as a prejudicial comment on the superiority of the West, so I want to make it clear that 1) most Americans aren't there and 2) plenty of non-Westerners are.

I've thought recently that, next time I teach philosophy, I really need to spend more time on logical thinking and rampant fallacies like hasty generalizations, the fallacy of subjectivism, etc. And the church is no better at thinking than anyone else in America. Indeed, because Christians often assume that the starting assumptions of whatever group to which they belong are revealed from God, Christian thinking is often skewed from the start.

Modernism wasn't the boogie man. It is what is responsible for the development of the West these last three centuries, hands down. It had a standard for truth that was tangible and that allowed for arbitration between competing claims. Now that it's had its spanking from post-modernism, how about we reclaim the quest for objectivity with the appropriate cautions? Modernism strikes back.

I don't know what the truth is about this situation... but neither do the imbeciles burning things in Ferguson... and neither do you or I.

P.S. Please do not make any racist comments if you comment on this post. I will delete them. Most African-Americans do not support the rioting in Ferguson, and there are just as many idiotic whites who have similar thought processes. Think Timothy McVeigh.


Abe Rosenzweig said...

It's nice that you have the luxury of thinking that a people who have been pushed so far to the edge that they lash out are imbeciles.

Ken Schenck said...

Like I said, most African-Americans would reject burning Little Caesars and police cars. In saying that, I am not at all making any claims about people being pushed to the edge. I could easily believe it, but if I try to be objective, I simply do not have enough information for *me* to draw a conclusion.

Susan Moore said...

These kinds of things are always confusing to me, because they go against my presupposition that a person demonstrates to the world what one values through one's actions.

Therefore, regardless of the situation, in the U.S., in non wartime situations, it goes against the grain to see a peace loving people act violently to demonstrate to the world that they abhor violence. How deep can that peace-loving value be? And what legacy are they leaving the children?

Regardless of the answers, it remains very sad for everyone, indeed. The earth moans...