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

J. McVean (
Thu, 23 May 96 9:48:31 MDT

> 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.

Perhaps so... but I'm not so sure that they should have such a
profound effect. Newton's laws work perfectly well for almost any
situation we are likely to encounter in ordinary life. Unless you
are moving at a pretty good fraction of the speed of light, there
is no need to use messy special relativity equations. And unless
your mass is on the order of that of an atomic nucleus, QM is
well outside the realm of everyday experience. I don't mean to
imply that these theories are not worth learning about, but
extending them into the realm of everyday life, which seems to be
the region of "truth" that concerns most people, is probably not
justified. You just end up with statements like "Everything is
relative, dude." and "We're all one with the cosmos, man."