Postmodern undecidability

29 Sep, 2021 at 13:26 | Posted in Theory of Science & Methodology | 1 Comment

Realism and Social Science: Sayer, Andrew: 9780761961246:  BooksFor the idealist, the fact that the Inuit have many words for snow while the bush people of the Kalahari desert have none is merely a function of their different languages and has nothing to do with any extra-discursive reality … However, those who claim that reality is a discursive construct don’t believe what they say, for their practice — for example avoiding extra-discursive dangers, such as oncoming cars — shows that they cannot make the world a slave to their discourses …

Part of the function of communicative action and associated material acts is to indicate which of those many possible meanings apply in a given situation. When we read a final demand for payment of our electricity bill and the accompanying threat of disconnection, we could play endless parlour games running through diverse constructions of what this text says, showing off our ability to construe it in imaginative ways. Never-theless, which of the many possible meanings is supposed to apply, is usually pretty clear; if it isn’t, it might register when the lights go out.

1 Comment

  1. Why is the author so emotional about forcing his story on me?
    Do the Kalahari come up with a word for snow, if shown a (frozen?) snowball?
    Don’t power lines hum because there is more supply than demand, so the excess electricity generated can but radiate away into the air (ionization produces the buzzing sound)? Why do I regularly see wind farms turned off? Isn’t the electricity bill itself a fiction?
    Maybe I could change the author’s mind about the reality of the story the electricity bill is telling?
    In the meantime, can I pay my bill while grumbling about how it’s a total lie, because I don’t want society to use violence on me?
    In other words, is the author relying on man-made violence to enforce his peculiar story?

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