Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Return of Positivism as Neoconservatism

Calling it "[m]ore a habit of mind than a rigorous philosophy," T.J. Jackson Lears laments the return of "the reductionist belief that the entire universe, including all human conduct, can be explained with reference to precisely measurable, deterministic physical processes" — Same Old New Atheism: On Sam Harris.

The author singles out those who "embraced, from a safe distance, the 'war on terror' as an Enlightenment crusade," saying, "Despite their disdain for public piety, the New Atheists provided little in their critique to disturb the architects and proselytizers of American empire: indeed, Hitchens and Harris asserted a fervent rationale for it. Since 9/11, both men have made careers of posing as heroic outsiders while serving the interests of the powerful."

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OpenID danightman said...

The problem with the "new" atheism is that, along with the secularism that is now the prevailing heterodoxy, it not only disregards the spiritual truth as unknowable or false but even holds all claims of truth as unknowable in an objective manner. This sophistry (it can hardly be called a philosophy) thus holds that the only thing that can be held and promoted is "the text", otherwise known as the party line.

It is the very sophistry that binds liberals and neocons.

8:05 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Sophistry, indeed. I was happy to see the article, despite its many errors, published in The Nation. I always hold out hope for American liberals (in the contemporary sense of the word) and other leftists.

11:51 PM  

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