Objectivity: Recovering Determinate Reality in Philosophy, Science, and Everyday Life

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Ashgate, 2004 - Philosophy - 123 pages
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The question of objectivity is whether human beings are capable of knowing reality just as it is, or whether there is some necessary distortion in our grasp of the nature of things imposed either by the very nature of our cognitive mechanism, or by such factors as language, culture, personal ambitions, psychological disorders, and class interests. Could it be that we do not see the world at all, since we see it from a particular point of view? Can we ever satisfactorily establish that our understanding of reality is accurate, or must that always remain in doubt? I everyday life from its many critics. Objectivity stands in need of a defence because it is a difficult ideal to serve, especially in an era of multiculturalism, deconstructionism, feminism, and diversity. People from different cultures report having radically different experiences, indeed radically different worlds. They usually claim that their experiences are as true as anyone else's. Deconstructionists tell us that we know nothing determinate beyond language, ie, that we don't know what we are talking about. Feminists often maintain that women and men see the world in significantly different ways. The idea of diversity gains much of its plausibility from the idea that people from diverse backgrounds all have their own valid ways of seeing the world. The most prominent movements in Anglo-American and continental philosophy are against objectivity. Such figures as Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida unambiguously deny that human beings are capable of knowing the world as it is. This book considers and responds to these and similar challenges to objectivity.

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About the author (2004)

Tibor Machan is professor of philosophy at Auburn University. His articles have appeared in "The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, "and "The Los Angeles Daily Journal. "He is the author of "The Virtue of Liberty; Capitalism and Individualism: Refraining the Argument for the Free Society; "and "Individuals and Their Rights. Nicholas Rescher "is professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.

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