There’s a bit of an intellectual turf war going on in the Western world. I suppose it’s been going on for a while. Here are some recent public skirmishes:
-Steven Pinker, Harvard experimental psychologist and cognitive scientist wrote a piece in the New Republic, entitled: ‘Science Is Not Your Enemy‘
-Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic since the 60’s, responded at The New Republic: ‘No, Science Doesn’t Have All The Answers.‘
-Ross Douthat, conservative Catholic columnist at the Times jumped in the fray: ‘The Scientism Of Steve Pinker’
-Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist, responded to Douthat.
-Wieseltier jumped back in with: ‘Crimes Against Humanities: Now science wants to invade the humanities. Don’t let it happen.‘
-Now Daniel Dennett, philosopher, cognitive scientist, one of the New Atheists and Boston-based secularist responds to Wieseltier:
‘Pomposity can be amusing, but pomposity sitting like an oversized hat on top of fear is hilarious. Wieseltier is afraid that the humanities are being overrun by thinkers from outside, who dare to tackle their precious problems—or “problematics” to use the, um, technical term favored by many in the humanities. He is right to be afraid. It is true that there is a crowd of often overconfident scientists impatiently addressing the big questions with scant appreciation of the subtleties unearthed by philosophers and others in the humanities, but the way to deal constructively with this awkward influx is to join forces and educate them, not declare them out of bounds.’
Got all that?
Why does Wieseltier have his dukes up?
Is the intelligent design debate the right one to have? Whence the humanities?
Terry Eagleton, British Marxist and professor in the humanities, is debating Roger Scruton in the video below, a conservative British philosopher focusing on aesthetics and the humanities, with a lot of German idealist influence:
Will Marxism & continental philosophy, become further guiding lights for the humanities here in America, as we find much more so in Britain?
Aren’t we already thick in the postmodern weeds?
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