File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1998/bhaskar.9810, message 41

Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 21:17:54 +0100
Subject: Re: BHA: I'm right (cos i create my own truths) and if you

Footstamping realism.

The point is don't disparingly name it, refute the argument. Your room had
an is, which you were in the process of denying. Also you weren't
presenting an ontological argument but an epistemological one as you admit:

Well, for better or for worse, in many ways that *is* my

Fine, as an epistemologoical argument, but it does nothing to refute the
ontological one.

As I say at the beginning of the excerpt, my position is that we
>need to come to terms with the apparent paradox that it is in the nature of
>the world for there to be no way that the world is.

Yet you talked of your room as having an existence, a way of being, a way
*it* was and that the reason for its mode of being was infitite
(potentially)- itself an *is* statement. I'm stamping my feet again. And
proud of it.

 I am making an
>ontological statement. The world is such that there is no way that the
>world is. 

No you are most certainly not you are confusing a potential description of
why your room is the way it is with the way it is (oopss silly me, that
bloody *is* again). You are making an epistemological argument and drawing
unwarranted, and quite frankly nonsensical conclusions.

>iaThe reason for this has to do with the complexity of the world,

Well pardon me, and yes I am stamping my foot again, but aren't you here
appealing to the way the world is - i.e. that is *is* complex? Calling an
argument footstamping hardly engages with the argument. This argument has
the equivalent staus of calling someone N****R (I apologise to everyone)
and as much intellectual content. 

>this just makes the explanation large. Well, there is large and there is

large world or description is that?

re is a good example given by the economist Paul Romer of what happens
>when we get into the kind of really big number territory that is involved
>here. He points out that a child's chemistry set with 100 different jars
>would yield about 10[30] different mixtures that an adventurous child
could conceivably
>put in a test tube and hold over a flame. If every living person on earth
>(about 5 billion) had tried a different mixture each second since the
>universe began (no more than 20 billion years ago), we would still have
>tested less than 1 percent of all the possible combinations.

Sorry, is it me or am I recieving mail form the Foucault list. you are
still here assuming a way of the world. A way the world is:

>What then could be the truth about the way this chemistry set is? 

Well even according to your acccount it's a 100  bottle chemistry set with
X number of potential combinations. Footstamping agin I suppose, or have I
missed something really profound?

You also argue that you can still decide on truths of the world.
How if the world has no way of being? what constrain?

Surely if the world is only as we wish to describe it, that is its
"issyness" is a function of our descriptions, then we can describe it
anyway we want can't we? Each description equally true. Ontological realism
has gone out of the window. Oh no it can't, sorry, that would imply an is
to it wouldn't it??????

t We
>continue to pursue truth, while abandonning the quest for a single theory
>of truth.

For a what? Don Quixote my friend, let's sit down on the couch and talk
about things - the birds and the bees perhaps......What kind of debate is
this? I have to say this is the most facile post i have ever had to send to
this list, but then again, I'm working with the *is* of what i am given
here. By the way Howie, did my reply to you *Really*, contain what i said.
That is to say was its *issyness* as you describe it. 

>As realists, we all agree that there is a subject-independent world. I have
>no quarrel with this and this is not what I am trying to deny. What I am
>stating is that it is possible to accept the apparent paradox of there
>being a subject-independent world without there being a way that it is.

Well it is certainly possible to state it, and I suppose on your theory
this is the same as it being so, yes? You make the world the way it is,
because it has no issyness until you describe it? A curious realism indeed.

>only that, but I would contend that it is in fact a better ontological
>description of that world. 

I'm sorry, i'm even beginning to doubt my own sanity in replying to this.
Just think about this statement in terms of your own argument. 

I am tempted to argue that it expresses the
>primacy of non-identity over identity. The world is never a single thing
>that can ever be captured as a single truth. This applies to all its parts,
>tendencies, etc.

Now isn't there an is in that sentence? Aren't you claiming that the world
*is* never a single thing that can be captured as a single truth? But I
agree with this anyway, the idea that anyone has ever suggested that there
is a single truth is (oops) simply facile. Footstamping again I suppose......

>In the end, I find Colins position to be a variety of what someone I read
>recently (but cant recall who) called 'footstamping realism'. Colin says,
>in concluding that I tacitly acknowledge the reality of the life history of
>my study: "Yes, but this doesn't entail the denial that there *is* and has
>been such a life history." This strategy amounts to believing that if you
>are in doubt and simply stamp your feet hard enough and insist that the
>world really does exist, this constitutes a convincing argument. 

No it doesn't, it amounts to displaying the stupidity of an argument that
denies what it depends upon. If you are consistently denying the *issyness*
of the world, then the attempt to look for the reason of your study, is
pointless. Try looking for your study first. Now that most certainly is

Your strategy, Howie, amounts to avoinding the argument and and name
calling, and I have  never been both so annoyed and so disgusted at a post
on this list. Still, it tells it's own story, if this is the tactics
(violent ones at that - the outrageous manner you claim the political high
ground for your position) you have to engage in in order to deflect the
debate. Quite frankly, i get better (at least more coherent) arguments on
the Baudriallard list.

>problem is that ultimately this does not tell us very much, and if it is
>conjoined with a belief that 'The' truth about that existing reality is
>somehow accessible it opens the door to the kind of dogmatism that has
>serious epistemological and political consequences.

This is plainly nonsense. Show me where I have ever said that the alethia
of things is accessible. But i tell you what it does tell me Howie. It's
called a reductio ad absurdum. and the stress is very clearly on the absurdum.

Bored, stunned, and awaiting the wrath of the list. 


Dr. Colin Wight
Department of International Politics
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
SY23 3DA
Tel: (01970) 621769 

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