File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1998/bhaskar.9803, message 23

Subject: BHA: Re: Truth and Objectivity Problems
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 22:03:18 +0200


Thanks for posting your debate with Plantinga on documentary films.  It's a
bit difficult to respond to it essentially out of context (not having read
Plantinga's book, or the rest of the debate).  I am of course in sympathy
with your desire to develop a critical realist approach to matters of
aesthetics, genre, etc.  However I do want to raise a couple points.

First, at times you seem to slide between truth claims and the reasons we
might have for accepting them.  These are Bhaskar's "normative-fiduciary"
and "warrantedly assertable" concepts of truth, respectively.  Clearly, a
documentary (or anything else) can make a claim to truth while being in fact
erroneous or even a total fabrication.  At times you seem to suggest that
this disjunction isn't possible.  But since you make the distinction
elsewhere (by quoting RB), this may be an issue of how you stated a few of
your arguments.

More worrisome, however, is the following:

>        In other words a film is objective
>when it uncovers the truth.

I don't think this works.  As I read it, this is as if to say that because
the theory of phlogiston was false, it was therefore subjective, or
politically motivated, or "bad science," rather than a scientific theory
that happened to prove wrong.  Your assertion thus implies a sharp
science/ideology distinction which doesn't hold water.

I'm actually not entirely certain what valence "objectivity" is carrying in
the discussion.  It seems at times to be more of a value judgment than an
epistemological one.  Can't "subjective" statements be true?

Tobin Nellhaus *or*
"Faith requires us to be materialists without flinching": C.S. Peirce

     --- from list ---


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005