Re: Postmodernism and Truth (was Re: virus: Simulacrum)

Bill Godby (
Thu, 23 May 1996 01:15:35 -0400

At 06:20 AM 5/20/96 -0600, Duane Hewitt wrote:
>On Sun, 19 May 1996, Bill Godby wrote:
>> You forgot to mention quantum mechanics, which certainly is wreaking havoc
>> on all approximations of truth, and I would say it has convincingly affected
>> western views of objectivity. In all cases, Newtonian, Einsteinian, and
>> Heisenbergian there certainly existed/exists the belief that a closer
>> approximatation of objective reality/truth was being reached, that's the
>> nature of the game. However to recognize the nature of knowledge is another
>> thing.
>How is quantum mechanics wreaking havoc on all approximations of truth?
>With my admittedly limited knowledge of the field the only implications
>that I see are that at the level of particles there is a limit beyond
>which information can be gained. The only implication from this that I
>infer is that there is a limit to how good an approximation we can get of
>certain phenomena. How does this lead to a confirmation of a subjective
>universe like some claim?

Perhaps the statement was a bit strong, it probably should have read
"certain approximations of truth", I get a bit zestful at times. I don't
believe it necessarily leads to a _confirmation_ of a subjective universe,
but rather I believe that physics has a trickle down effect on language and
how we represent reality. Heisenburg has an entire chapter on this in
Physics and Philosophy. My basic argument is that norms of objectivity,
concepts of space, time and matter have historically appeared as objective
truths. The advent of modern physics, beginning with the theory of
relativity showed that space and time were not as we thought, followed by
quantum physics, which showed us that matter also is not as we thought. I
believe the impact of these two combined are having a profound effect on
language, i.e. our representations of reality and notions of objectivity.
Bill Godby