foucault? relativist? ROTFL!)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Mon Nov 1 08:34:11 PST 1999

>James Farmelant wrote:
>>Radical skepticism has throughout history been
>>more often an ally of conservatism rather than radicalism.
>Where'd this opposition between "radical skepticism" and personal
>possession of scientific truth, with no apparent intervening ground,
>come from? Since when does a bit of doubt - including self-doubt -
>lead you down the proverbial slippery slope to conformity to the
>existing order? It's especially odd to see these claims to certainty
>made in the name of the fellow who wrote that fine letter about the
>ruthless criticism of all that exists. I'd have thought that one's
>own habits of thought might be subject to criticism as well as that
>of those who disagree with you.

The object of James F.'s criticism here is not 'a bit of doubt,' unless you want to argue that 'radical skepticism' means the same thing as 'a bit of doubt.' Criticizing radical skepticism in no way precludes 'a bit of doubt' in one's inquiry, I'd think. Or is your argument that doubt is unquantifiable after all (despite your wording) and therefore that a criticism of radical skepticism is in effect the same as an exclusion of 'a bit of doubt' and qualifies automatically as unthinking 'dogmatism'?

The Foucauldian struggle against the 'regime of truth' is not about having 'a bit of doubt' about truth. Foucault and other postmodernists refuse to make the science/ideology distinction, which, pace Angela, Marx did make (anyone remembers the distinction of scientific vs. utopian socialisms?). And that's the problem, because postmodernists can't defend the validity of their argument, nor do they practice what they say.

Angela wrote:
>she can't manage to say that ideology is also true, like
>marx did.
>the guff about ideology as a set of ideas one says 'yes' or
>'no' to

Is Angela (implicitly if not explicitly) saying that the science/ideology distinction is itself always false or ideological? In that case, there is a performative contradiction. (BTW, where is 'a bit of doubt' in Angela's remarks? I can't find any.)

Or is it that, for Angela, all discourses are ideological but neither true nor false? That's a truth claim in itself (which self-deconstructs), though Angela wouldn't admit that it is. Anyway, why should we agree with her that 'all discourses are ideological but neither true nor false' to which we can't or shouldn't say 'yes' or 'no'? Or is it that only certain discourses are like that? If so, which ones? How does she make a distinction, and is her distinction not a truth claim after all?

What should compel our assent to Angela's or postmodernists' dogmatic assertions supported by neither evidence nor arguments?


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