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Re: Richard Dawkins, Knowledge, and Faith

Re: Richard Dawkins, Knowledge, and Faith

I agree.  There is a value in making such distinctions.  As Richard Rorty nicely put it:

All the descriptions we give of things are descriptions suited to our purposes.  No sense can be made…of the claim that some of these descriptions pick out ‘natural kinds’—that they cut nature at the joints.  The line between a giraffe and the surrounding air is clear enough if you are a human being interested in hunting for meat.  If you are a language-using ant or amoeba, or a space voyager observing us from far above, that line is not so clear, and it is not clear that you would need to have a word for ‘giraffe’ in your language.  More generally, it is not clear that any of the millions of ways of describing the piece of space time occupied by what we call a giraffe is any closer to the way things are in themselves than any of the others.  Just as it seems pointless to ask whether a giraffe is really a collection of atoms, or really a collection of actual and possible sensations in human sense organs, or really something else, so the question, ‘Are we describing it as it really is?’ seems one we never need to ask.  All we need to know is whether some competing description might be more useful for some of our purposes.”

 

Richard Dawkins, Knowledge, and Faith By: Jacob (60 replies) 6 February, 2010 - 01:49