So what is going on? The National Science Foundation put 400K into a study of glaciers and gender, and the results are now in. Ice is “not just ice.”
“Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”
Our philosophers and thinkers of deep thinks have gotten themselves into a pother, and don’t know how to get out again. Not that they are trying all that hard. If they were seriously interested in a do-over of the last few centuries, I would recommend that they head on back to Thomas Reid and his Scottish common sense realism, and start again from there.
But because they are not quite yet willing to do anything quite so sensible, we have to deal — in our day-to-day lives, and while watching the evening news — with all kinds of exotic fauna.
The root difficulty is that our generation has a distaste for what is called the correspondence view of truth. That view is that as I think that there is a laptop here in front of me, and that out there in the world-as-it-is, there actually is a laptop, pretty much as I thought, such a thought is true. There is a correspondence between what I believe to be true and what actually is true. That correspondence is what in fact makes something true. “The vase is on the piano” should be considered a true statement if there is a piano, and there is a vase, and if the vase is actually on the piano. Still with me?
But when we take out the scissors of self and snip the connection between the two — for we found that standing connection much too confining for our pride — we start to encounter difficulties down the road, among them the development of feminist glacial theories. But the reason we still want to go ahead and snip the connection between the two is because that connection makes it possible for us to be . . . brace yourselves . . . wrong. Better to eliminate the possibility of being shown wrong and live in bizarro world than to remain in the ordinary common sense world as our plain old fallible selves.
Truth is confining, at least until it is detached from the need to be actually truthful. Examples are manifold. This is why an aspiring actress can tell a compelling story of the abuse in her past, and people use words like compelling to talk about it instead of words like true. This is why Donald J. Trump can say bananas are yellow on Monday, with all the cameras running, and on Friday, with twice as many cameras there, say that he never saw a yellow banana in his life. This is how theologians can sign inerrancy statements, and argue learnedly at academic conferences that all the mistakes in the Bible just strengthen their commitment to inerrancy.
I am not accustomed to quoting Keynes with any kind of approval, but his observation about economics goes double for evangelicals and dead philosophers.
“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”