[lbo-talk] Oh! Bitchery!

// ravi ravi at platosbeard.org
Sat Dec 17 06:17:43 PST 2011

On Dec 16, 2011, at 11:57 PM, James Heartfield wrote:
>> Ravi: ‘I am curious — how does one objectively judge these things? Perhaps Eric is using that same objective method and arriving at different conclusions?’
> The answer is that *you* don’t judge, you listen to the judgements of others. Read over the obituaries, and the many life assessments before he died. The weight of the judgements are that he was a sharp critic and commentator.

How does that make it objective? Surely majority opinion does not equal objective fact? I have always seen “objective" to mean almost the opposite i.e., a statement that can be verified independent of those who propose it i.e., in fact, given the energy and resources *I* *can* determine the truth of an objective statement (that typically involves/requires a “neutral” method that contesting parties agree on. Hence my mention of method).

We hear statements such as this: It is an objective fact that climate change has occurred.

Though many often back this up by quoting this or that consensus of scientists, that is either wrong or really shorthand for pointing to their results. The “objective fact” itself is established by pointing to measurements and charts, etc.

In stating all of the above, which might be patent, my intention is not to lecture, but to put it out there, to see where we differ.

Actually, there are ways, I think, to objectively judge the value of Hitchens as a “critic” (if not as a writer). The purpose of criticism is to examine and possibly refute or reveal information about some person, event or idea. We can, I think, walk through Hitchens’s writings and see how good a job he does of it.


Please note that I am not unaware of issues of underdetermination and “facts are theory laden”, etc, in the philosophy of science. However, they do not introduce a point of differentiation here, as far as I can tell i.e., either “objective” can be used meaningfully or not.

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