Tag: postmodernism

Bioethics Blogs

MST3K is the perfect embodiment of postmodernism

The observers become part of the text. Criticism of the text exposes intertextual connections and undermines the intent of the author. Nothing in the text is treated with reverence, the forth wall is constantly broken, and reference to the film as a film while also taking its constructed reality at face value. Two of the observers are ostensibly robots whose existence as puppets is constantly referenced.

Even the theme song calls out the inability of the text to hold together under scrutiny, so you should really just relax.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the perfect embodiment of postmodernism. Discuss.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Let’s do a Better Job Educating Everyone

Last week we posted an article to our Facebook page from the
Washington Post entitled “We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM
majors with liberal arts training
”.
  

Reading this got me to thinking and a bit of reminiscing
about my own education. Long before STEM meant science technology engineering
and math I was a STEM major. I received my undergraduate degree from the University
of Illinois in 1972 from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. That is, I
was a STEM major who received a liberal arts education. The replacement of the
word “education” for “training” is intentional on my part as I value education
far beyond training but I digress.  I
focused on science to the greatest degree possible with a biology major and a
chemistry/physics minor. But as a student in the College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences I was required to complete requirements which were satisfied by
sequences in social sciences, humanities, foreign language, and rhetoric. I
remember these experiences to varying degrees. Some are fond memories, some
seemed more like torture. Collectively, however, I look back on these courses
as a great well rounded and very rewarding educational experience. I do have
every confidence that I benefited greatly from my non-STEM courses and they
helped me with the skills and the experience to better communicate as a
scientist and the non-scientific responsibilities I also had as a faculty
member.

I remember as well that these courses were very contextual
of the time I was in school.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Motte and Bailey Doctrines

One of the difficulties of getting people to behave better epistemically is that, whilst intellectual dishonesty is wrong, it is difficult to convict people of intellectual wrongs. As David Stove showed in his wonderful paper ‘What is Wrong with Our Thoughts?’ (The Plato Cult and Other Philosophical Follies Chapter 7 ), there are indefinitely many ways of cheating intellectually and for most there is no simple way to put one’s finger on how the cheat is effected. There is just the hard work of describing the species in detail.

Some time ago I wrote a paper entitled The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology (here or here  or here ) in which I described and named a number such cheats that I detected in postmodernism. One of these I named the Motte and Bailey Doctrine. There has recently been a flurry of use of this concept to analyse ethical, political and religious positions (e.g. here, here, here, here, here )  so I am taking the opportunity to have a look at it again.

A Motte and Bailey castle is a medieval system of defence in which a stone tower on a mound (the Motte) is surrounded by an area of land (the Bailey), which in turn is encompassed by some sort of a barrier, such as a ditch. Being dark and dank, the Motte is not a habitation of choice. The only reason for its existence is the desirability of the Bailey, which the combination of the Motte and ditch makes relatively easy to retain despite attack by marauders.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.