Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Empire of Reason and the Denial of Irrationality

I'm only a lowly philosopher, not a scientist, so even as I chastise Dawkins and Harris* for engaging in scientism, or what I was calling radical-reductionist empiricism or hyperempiricism, many may discount my arguments as so much philosophical humbug in the face of the plain, limitless, and self-evident truth of Science (= empiricism). Which is why it's nice to see scientists say exactly what I'm saying, except, well, even better. Scott Atran, in a conference available at Edge, sums it up nicely:

I find it fascinating that brilliant scientists and philosophers have no clue how to deal with the basic irrationality of human life and society other than to insist against all reason and evidence that things ought to be rational and evidence based.
Maybe part of the problem is that we (modern learned culture) have decided that Freud (and Lacan) are so wrong that we don't believe any more in an irrational sub-conscious that cannot be rubbed out or conquered and that fucks with us when we ignore it.

Anyway, more on this conference to come, for sure.

*Harris is worse, actually, because he then insists on the importance of religiosity that he considers "scientific." Or something. And then there's the Islamophobia.

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