Tuesday, 31 July 2018

QotD: "You have people with a predisposition to nihilistic, amoral power seeking who don’t necessarily buy into the postmodern philosophical framework, but who adopt it as a set of 'tools' for them to advance their own personal and social agendas, whatever those happen to be."


Stephen Hicks"So [for the postmodernist] power in the service of Truth; power in the service of Justice: that goes away. All that we are left with is Power..."
Jordan Peterson: "And so here’s the simple and easy explanation [for that]:
You [the postmodernist] want to dispense with the idea of 'justice' and 'truth' because that lightens your existential load, because now there’s nothing difficult and noble that you have to strive for, and you want to reduce everything to 'power' because that justifies your use of power in your pursuit of those immediate goals that you no longer even have to justify because you don’t have to make reference to any higher standards of, say, 'justice' or 'truth.' It’s certainly not reasonable either for those who claim that 'all there is is power,' that they’re not themselves motivated equally by that power."
Stephen Hicks: "So ... what you can always say, in effect, is that philosophy is autobiographical. In many cases philosophers will put their pronouncements in third-person form, or in generalised form, but if you always put it down to third-person formulations, it can be profoundly self-revelatory.
    "So if you say, for example, 'Human beings are scum'—there you have some sort of a pessimistic assessment of the human condition. Well, built into that then is the idea that I, if I 'first-personalise it,' that 'I am scum.' What you’re really doing is a first-person confession. And it’s always then an illegitimate move to exempt yourself from the general principle.
"Or [you might say]: 'Everything just is 'power relations' and 'people imposing their agendas on other people.' Then what you’re saying is: 'Well, my fundamental commitment is power, and I just want to impose my agenda on other people.'
So ... it can go both ways: It can of course be that you have people who, for whatever reason, have a predisposition to nihilistic, amoral power seeking, and when they become adults and 'intellectual,' they latch onto theories that indulge them, that enable them to rationalise their predispositions.
"And ... a lot of Postmodernism ... is disingenuous in that form. People don’t necessarily buy into the postmodern philosophical framework, but rather ... [adopt it] as a set of 'tools' for them to advance their own personal and social agendas, whatever those happen to be."
~ from a conversation between Jordan Peterson and philosopher Stephen Hicks about Hicks's book (which is excellent, by the way) Explaining Postmodernism.
NB: The Youtube conversation is here; the transcript is here.
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