From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Thu Jan 05 2006 - 12:31:55 EST
Hi Jerry > PS: I'm not really keen on the idea of "deferring." Authoritarian > structures, even on the Left, often send the message that members > should "defer" to the judgement of "the leadership" since they, > after all, supposedly have the most information and know what's > best for us. Kind of creeps me out. As I understand Howard's point about "deferring" it has the most important anti-authoritatrian consequences. By trying to defer to social reality we acknowledge there are facts of the matter independent of our theories; that the ultimate arbiter of truth is "de re" not "de dicto", what there is, not what we think there is. By not trying to defer to social reality, as per postmodernism, there is no method in principle from which to rationally compare and judge different social theories (a point often made themselves by postmodernist theorists). In my view, this opens the door to all kinds of voluntarism and incommensurable conservations, and ultimately the bad practices you mention. This is why the Royal Society motto caught my eye -- "in the words of no master" -- i.e., we do not have to listen to any human authority. Best wishes, -Ian.
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