Sunday, September 4, 2016

Score One for Objective Reality

       John Searle, the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at University of California-Berkeley, makes an increasingly rare defense of objective reality against postmodernism by making the claim “There is no way we can state that two plus two equals four or that snow is white with being committed to objective truth.”
       At the risk of opening Pandora's Box, the definition of postmodernism I am working with here is an embrace of the ironic, the virtual over the real, and cultural nihilism. It is a philosophy of anything goes. Since 1999, there has been a frequent notion to carry the idea out even further to the idea nothing can be known objectively because our reality might be similar to The Matrix. The concept has become popular enough to suggest philosophy is now in a post-postmodern era of anything goes. But post-postmodernism, if it even exists as a legitimate school of thought, is so new as to not be well defined.
     If postmodernism or post-postmodernism sounds like so much pointless babble, that is because it is. Both boil down to there is no objective truth other than the objective truth there is no objective truth. Although this is a state I would rank higher than the self-contradictory absolute statement that everything is relative. But as Searle correctly says above, what can be perceived as objectively real must be considered real. Or else we will get caught up in that never ending idea of reality might be a virtual reality like The Matrix, but we can never know for certain.
       So the bottom line is an objective reality exists. Even though we all experience the objective reality subjectively, there are still observable objective concepts, such as two plus two equals four. (I am no mathematician, so let us just assume numbers are objectively real. I imagine there are plenty of mathematically inclined philosophers ready o pounce this second.) an objective truth exists, though it may remain mysterious, for which to strive.     

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