February 14, 2003

twin monster trucks of knowledge

Just another day in class…

“So, how can we learn more about the silenced viewpoints of marginalized people?”

“We can use our burgeoning abilities for logic and reason.”

“Well, yes. That approach is definitely valid, but it represents a masculine, Western, intellectual understanding of the world. You need to understand that there are other people that follow a different worldview, that take a more subjective stance and are more likely to use emotion instead of reason in expressing their thoughts.”

“Sure, but here we see the disjunction between my concept of the world and yours. I am an objectivist. I believe that there are facts and truths out there in the physical world than can be discovered. I also believe in an objective moral theory; one that argues that what one ought to do is what one has the best reasons for doing, and that those reasons can be found out. I’m not a fan of self-refuting, wishy-washy relativism.”

“Well, there are some truths in the world, but those truths also change and can be changed by our mental framework. The positivist view isn’t the only one out there. You need to get out and explore the world.”

“O.K. But I disagree that just because truth can change, and just because the truth is elusive, that we should deny its existence and hold no convictions. As we explore the world and find out more details, more evidence and more facts, we can arrive at a more accurate concept of truth.”

“Moving on, then…”

Masculine. She said to the guy in pigtails.

What’s so funny about that is that in almost any other context, if you suggested that logic and reason are masculine traits, and emotion and rejection of linear thinking are feminine, you’d be called a sexist…

hehe… it’s a slippery world that these people have forced themselves to navigate.
“How can you live with such inconsistency in your theories?”
“Well, even consistency is an arbitrary objective standard, and through relativism I deny any objective standard.”
“You do realize that you’re saying it’s OK for a culture to set all 10-year-olds on fire, without any need for justification, and yet give all 10-year-olds that were born in September cake and ice cream.”
“Do they get cake and ice cream before they’re set on fire, or are they given cake and ice cream in lieu of being set on fire?”
“Well, do you want them to be set on fire?”
“Yes and no.”
“Good enough.”