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When words no longer have specific meanings

Actual comment by a right-winger on Facebook: “Fascism is a liberal ideology. Being used currently by liberals.” Showing that in some circles words no longer have any actual meaning, but should simply be thrown around based on connotation. For example, “fascism” is simply something that describes “that which we should hate” rather than an actual political ideology with a specific history....

Conspiracy Theories

I don’t have much use for conspiracy theories. Most of what happens in the world can be explained with basic sociology and economic analysis. Positing that some secret group is pulling the strings and always getting exactly what they want is a kind of intellectual short-cut that serves to make sense of the world without doing all the work of mastering the detail of how things actually function. This is not to say that...

Are there Evil Virtures? Slavery, virtue, and prac...

Alasdair MacIntyre’s concept of “practice” is a comprehensive one and transcendent of any particular culture. It is precisely in his distinction between the “codes of practices” (193) and the “core virtues” that are expressed within these codes that allows virtue to be independent of particular actions. While MacIntyre uses the morality of lying in different cultures as an example of...

The epistemological problem of pure of discourse a...

Epistemologically, if you spend all of your time analyzing a discourse without reference to the original subject of the discourse, you run the risk of remaining so highly abstracted from the subject of study that you get not closer to the truth, not closer to reality, but further away from it. This of course presupposes that you believe in such a thing as “reality”. An alternative point of view denies that there...

More thoughts on Said’s Orientalism

Said’s claim essentially that the Orient as anybody in the West knows it doesn’t exist is an interesting one epistemologically. "I have begun with the assumption that the Orient is not an inert fact of nature." (71) The way this is phrased is certainly quite defensible. He elaborates "There were-and are-cultures and nations whose locations is in the East, and their lives, histories, and customs...

Thoughts on Edward Said’s Orientalism

I find Said’s application of Foucault’s concept of Discourse to be closely related to Thomas Kuhn’s concept of Paradigms. Both refer to unconscious mental structures that both assist and limit human thinking. They it assist in that they create mental shortcuts, categories for rapidly understanding the whirling chaos of perceptions and impressions that constitute realities direct approach on our senses....