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Augustine’s Cup: Boundary Conditions and Relocating Science in a Post-postmodern World
Unformatted Document Text:  testable claims. However, social philosophy and criticism are essential to assemble empirical evidence into socially meaningful wholes, to speculate about the larger processes that are not always amenable to quantitative data collection, to consider the normative implications both of what is (probabilistically) known and what is not, and to suggest novel avenues for empirical exploration. One suspects that what might be a comfortable and productive partnership becomes adversarial as a function of Snow’s oft-remarked differences of culture, 24 and simple conflict in academe over resources such as faculty lines. In addition, another culprit may be a culture in the humanities that emphasizes oppositional dialectic as a means of staking out an intellectual position and building an intellectual career. It seems at times that there is an inherent intellectual disability afflicting most human beings, even very bright ones. When it comes to considering ideas and beliefs that we hold close to our identities, it becomes difficult to count beyond two: that which I believe and that which I perceive as opposed to those beliefs. Dialectic, after all, is basically a dichotomizing system. A thesis has its opposition. The development of ideas in the humanities often seems to occur on a one-dimensional continuum. Ideas are refined primarily in response to the rebuttals of one’s intellectual competitors. And in the public arena, Orient and Occident, socialist and Thatcherite, believer and unbeliever, are quickly invoked to create a continuum with which to characterize and judge a person or idea. There may be more productive, more nuanced, alternatives. Moscovici makes a proposal, for example, for encouraging “double-dialectic” thought, 25 thought that engages in the process of locating itself by engaging with both poles of a dialectic. Consider, as she does, Said’s Orientalism, 26 and the emergence of an equally distorted “Occidentalism” in the middle East. Western political orthodoxy might learn much of use by recognizing the residue of its colonialist heritage in its Orientalism; Islamic orthodoxy might gain as much by

Authors: Slater, Michael.
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testable claims. However, social philosophy and criticism are essential to assemble empirical
evidence into socially meaningful wholes, to speculate about the larger processes that are not
always amenable to quantitative data collection, to consider the normative implications both
of what is (probabilistically) known and what is not, and to suggest novel avenues for
empirical exploration. One suspects that what might be a comfortable and productive
partnership becomes adversarial as a function of Snow’s oft-remarked differences of
culture,
24
and simple conflict in academe over resources such as faculty lines. In addition,
another culprit may be a culture in the humanities that emphasizes oppositional dialectic as a
means of staking out an intellectual position and building an intellectual career.
It seems at times that there is an inherent intellectual disability afflicting most human
beings, even very bright ones. When it comes to considering ideas and beliefs that we hold
close to our identities, it becomes difficult to count beyond two: that which I believe and
that which I perceive as opposed to those beliefs. Dialectic, after all, is basically a
dichotomizing system. A thesis has its opposition. The development of ideas in the
humanities often seems to occur on a one-dimensional continuum. Ideas are refined
primarily in response to the rebuttals of one’s intellectual competitors. And in the public
arena, Orient and Occident, socialist and Thatcherite, believer and unbeliever, are quickly
invoked to create a continuum with which to characterize and judge a person or idea. There
may be more productive, more nuanced, alternatives. Moscovici makes a proposal, for
example, for encouraging “double-dialectic” thought,
25
thought that engages in the process
of locating itself by engaging with both poles of a dialectic. Consider, as she does, Said’s
Orientalism,
26
and the emergence of an equally distorted “Occidentalism” in the middle East.
Western political orthodoxy might learn much of use by recognizing the residue of its
colonialist heritage in its Orientalism; Islamic orthodoxy might gain as much by


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