Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Beyond Monism and Dualism

That’s the place Arnhart is aiming for with his Darwinian conservatism. And he criticizes his postmodern conservative and Straussian critics for implicitly assuming the truth of the dualistic distinction between nature and history. I think that criticism really is true of Bloom, who seems to write as if history has come to an end and we’ve returned to the asocial state of nature of Rousseau (which is not even an accurate description of what we gregarious animals are like by nature). But because I think genuine postmodernism is realism, I think that truth about who we are really is beyond monism and dualism in some sense, and I’m for a comprehensive but not homogeneous science of nature. But I have to add that the actual Darwin seems to dogmatically deny its possibility.

Discussions - 7 Comments

So for Rousseau, the problem is how we get from an original/natural condition that is essentially subhuman to the modern human being. The tension between nature and history has to end with the decisive victory for History since nature is so amazingly impersonal and non-anthropocentric---his tension gives ways to social constructivism (and the contingency of nature). Larry wants to avoid the dualist tension in R so he reads us back into impersonal nature---even our defiance of nature is ultimately absorbable into a naturalistic account. Larry's anti-historicist naturalism collapses history into nature and that may be more satisfying than the other way around, but for me, not satisfying enough.

Really? I'm pretty satisfied. Arnharts avocation that "Instead of the artificial separation between the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, we need a new science of nature that would integrate all the intellectual disciplines as we try to understand human nature within the natural order of the whole" is right on. The question I have for you (either Lawler or Kenneally) is do you even believe such a thing exists?

Wow on many levels. Liberals see Darwinism as a replacement for religion in that Evolution and its corallaries answer the great questions. I don't think conservatives are going to gain anything by a if you can't beat em join em thing.

The combining of disciplines is dangerous. I can't believe that this is not obvious. Just think back to Dr. Ze'us being in charge of faith and science and Heston mocking him for it. You are not going to combine things without one coming out on top and the other things being scorned. To harp on Orwell some more this sounds a little like shortening the dictionary. As I see it the natural sciences have contempt for the humanities. How do you think that meta physics and physics can combine? I did not catch real talk of methodology amongst the name dropping. I mean you could write a book that says all this stuff and you could get people to believe it, but it would have no basis. Trying to say some state of human affairs is natural and the other is not does not work. I see this coming to a basic nihlism in the end. Chaos reigns, values don't exist, and nature is what we say it is. Calling man's drive toward civilization, natural or a product of do you propose to prove that? Is man really any different? When you strip away the technology and creature comforts he is the same thing he always was: A lying, cheating bastard who sometimes listens to jimminy cricket.

Bloom didn't believe in the asocial nature, neither did Rousseau. If this were understood pehaps modern conservatives would be able to effectively communicate.

Come back to us after you've read Hilary Putnam.

Clint, That's surely true, but they did not, in fact, communicate that to us. ren, you've outdone yourself with pointless snottiness this time. I have in fact yawned through some HP. Ben, I answered your question in the original post. Ivan is right about the attractiveness of and the limits to Larry's naturalism. If I didn't like Larry, I would bother mentioning him, although I like Rorty too. Larry's limits are displayed in the excessive anger he displays toward existentialism and real Christianity. Larry still needs to get at home with his homelessness, which would free him even better to be at home with the good things of this world. Having said that, Larry remains much better than the various new atheists.

I read quite a bit of HP in graduate school and it was not that memorable. Part of the problem for Larry's view, too, seems to be that while he wants to roll history back into nature, the evolutionary character of nature ultimately re-prioritizes History--instead of the Lockean individual who transforms nature you get the blind processes of evolution changing the Lockean individual. You end up with a weird version of constructivism where we aren't doing the construction. This is probelamtic for Larry since I think much of the point of Darwinian conservatism is reasserting naturall limits in the face of various kinds of fashionable social constructivism,

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