Socially Construct, This By Chris Knight

     Relativism, the philosophical position that there is no objective standards of rationality, and that truth can only be defined with reference to some conceptual framework, has led to the position, championed by modern Leftism, that reality is a social construction. A classic article defending even the most extreme forms of relativism is D. Edwards (et al.), “Death and Furniture: The Rhetoric, Politics and Theology of Bottom Line Arguments Against Relativism,” History of the Human Sciences, vol. 8, 1995, pp. 25-49. This article was essential reading in my daughter’s Psychology methods class.

     The paper by Edward (et al.), attempts to knock over the two main bottom-line arguments given by common-sense realists against relativism. The “furniture” argument is that there is a bottom-line physical world that we live in that does supply an objective basis for existence. The relativist philosopher attacks this by attacking the notion of material objects; if really educated they may refer to quantum mechanics, which shows that there is no objective world outside of observations, and observations are social constructs. It is clear that such a line of attack cannot be defeated by appealing to common-sense. However, we should ask; why stop with the social construction? What is this mysterious entity “society’ from which all in the universe flows? Who says that even this exists, even relativistically? Surely the idea of social constructionism is itself, a social construct, and true relativistically only within that paradigm or frame of reference. Outside of that framework, it can say nothing. Ergo, we critics are free, by the Leftoids own standards to ignore it.

     What about “death”? That is the moral attack on relativism, and here the Left really get into politically correct trouble. If there is no objective reality, then history is just another social construct, and thus events like the Holocaust must be too. It would seem that relativism constitutes a form of Holocaust denial because it explicitly denies the objective truth of the Holocaust. This sort of argument is mentioned on page 33 of the Edwards (et al.) paper. The response is that “Claims for the unreality of the Holocaust are, like all preposterous claims, like all claims of any sort, examinable for how they are constructed and deployed. Realism is no more secure than relativism in making sure the good guys win, nor even of defining who the good guys are.”

     The problem here is that realism operates in the context of believing that an objective world exists outside of social constructs, that there is a history. Mind, or at least, not the human social mind, does not determine reality. The relativist denies this. Lacking any basis except that derived from their own position, they have no non-question-begging response to Holocaust denial, Hitlerian philosophy, or anything else obnoxious one could name. Subjects are epistemologically trapped in their own socially constructed worldviews, and cannot escape.

     It is ironic that the whole deconstructionist/relativist circus was devised to attack Western science and rationalism. Pushed to the extreme, it undermines Left values and even deconstructs that holy of holies, Sociology. Thus, relativism, in its own terms, is internally incoherent, and self-refuting.

 

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Monday, 22 April 2024

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