Fort the Post Modern?

Alexius4

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#1
The squabble of the age in journals nobody reads is being played out between the 'analytic' school of philosophy derived from Russell & co. and the Post Modern wedge taking their lead from Derrida, Foucoult and counterless other black polo-neck wearing Galoise smokers.

It is a savage cat fight and a half - Sokal & Bricmont's 'Intellectual Impostures' captures the spirit of it, as academics accuse one another of all manner of deviancy.

So, where does Fort fit into this? Pipe smoking Russellesque logical vigour or cappucino-sipping, reclaiming the 'excluded' and posing on a book cover deconstruction?
 

Yithian

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#3
Alexius said:
So, where does Fort fit into this? Pipe smoking Russellesque logical vigour or cappucino-sipping, reclaiming the 'excluded' and posing on a book cover deconstruction?
I would have said his pursuit of damned data and shoe-box method would make him a swaggering Foucaudian.
 

giantrobot1

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#4
The Yithian said:
Alexius said:
So, where does Fort fit into this? Pipe smoking Russellesque logical vigour or cappucino-sipping, reclaiming the 'excluded' and posing on a book cover deconstruction?
I would have said his pursuit of damned data and shoe-box method would make him a swaggering Foucaudian.
I agree completely. Forteanism is all about pointing out the paradigm-breaking Damned Data.
 

Alexius4

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I would have said his pursuit of damned data and shoe-box method would make him a swaggering Foucaudian.
I agree - he was very much in the Pargmatist tradition; he believed in criteria of truth, but felt some scientists and philosophers of his day were riding rough shod over it.

I agree completely. Forteanism is all about pointing out the paradigm-breaking Damned Data.
And there's the rub - a Post Modernist could point to the questioning of the hierachy of data as a Post Modern trait.

So, he can be viewed either side of the line, meaning that it is open for Forteans to fall either side of it too.

Or is it? :sceptic:
 

giantrobot1

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Alexius said:
I would have said his pursuit of damned data and shoe-box method would make him a swaggering Foucaudian.
I agree - he was very much in the Pargmatist tradition; he believed in criteria of truth, but felt some scientists and philosophers of his day were riding rough shod over it.

I agree completely. Forteanism is all about pointing out the paradigm-breaking Damned Data.
And there's the rub - a Post Modernist could point to the questioning of the hierachy of data as a Post Modern trait.

So, he can be viewed either side of the line, meaning that it is open for Forteans to fall either side of it too.

Or is it? :sceptic:
Did he really go in for positing a positive truth?

To me, the fun aspect of Fortean subject matter is strictly in negating 'truths' - a case of "well if that theory's true, explain this"

But that's just me. :roll:
 

Alexius4

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Reading Fort, I believe he subscribed to the scientific method, and so had a criterion of truth. However, he objected to its being applied selectively - the curvature of space is fair game, but fish falls in Montana are dismissed or explianed away a priori.

I guess he was saying science is trying to understand what is there, rather than what you expect to be there.
 

giantrobot1

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#8
Alexius said:
Reading Fort, I believe he subscribed to the scientific method, and so had a criterion of truth. However, he objected to its being applied selectively - the curvature of space is fair game, but fish falls in Montana are dismissed or explianed away a priori.

I guess he was saying science is trying to understand what is there, rather than what you expect to be there.
Reminds me of the UFO researcher John Alen Hynek. He seemed to get very annoyed at the selective use of the scientific method w.r.t. UFOs. And he should know - he was one of the folks responsible for dismissing them as a load of nonsense, even being the guy responsible for inventing the 'swamp gas' explanation. :)
 
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#9
Mmm...

I wouldn't call Fort a Post Modernist but rather a prophet of Post Modernism.

I don't see any 'truth' in fort but rather I see someone deconstructing the scientific methord to such an extent that the verry act of theorising becomes problamatic. Didn't he ask readers to send him a list of data and he would find a theory to explain them?

I think in fort you can see a groaping towards an idea of knowlage as a power relationship and a deconstruction of the binary opposition of 'truth' and 'untruth' perhaps you could even say it contains the seed of foucolt's opposition of 'Natural' and 'normal?'
 
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#10
fort and post modernism

interesting points all around here. i recall reading fort couldn't conceice of anything conceivable worth believing in. furthermore, the acceptance of multiple "truths" certtainly seems to paralell breakdown of the "grand narratives" within post-modernism.
 

dreeness

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#11
Edgar Allen Poe also came within hailing distance of Structuralism.
link
(Read the last paragraph of the entry for April 3.)
 

Yithian

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#12
One word more on this topic and I will be done boring you. Is it not passing strange that, with their eternal prattling about roads to Truth, these bigoted people missed what we now so clearly perceive to be the great highway–that of Consistency? Does it not seem singular how they should have failed to deduce from the works of God the vital fact that a perfect consistency must be an absolute truth! How plain has been our progress since the late announcement of this proposition! Investigation has been taken out of the hands of the ground-moles and given, as a task, to the true and only true thinkers, the men of ardent imagination. These latter theorize. Can you not fancy the shout of scorn with which my words would be received by our progenitors were it possible for them to be now looking over my shoulder? These men, I say, theorize; and their theories are simply corrected, reduced, systematized–cleared, little by little, of their dross of inconsistency–until, finally, a perfect consistency stands apparent which even the most stolid admit, because it is a consistency, to be an absolute and an unquestionable truth.
In case it goes walkies.
 
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#13
GiantRobot said:
The Yithian said:
Alexius said:
Forteanism is all about pointing out the paradigm-breaking Damned Data.
Although I'm wary of comparing Fort and Thomas Kuhn's respective philosophies of science, I think they had the same general idea concerning the process of science: however what is distinctive about Fort is that he was working from the perspective of the anomalies and not the orthodox: a question I'm interested in at the moment is whether Fort was trying, or considering trying, to push science (or, certain suspect theories in certain of the sciences) into what Kuhn termed the ''crisis'' that precedes a ''scientific revolution.'' Fort essentially says ''Here is xyz data of anomalous phenomena: they say x, your theories say y: respond!'' in his gadfly mode. Fort does seem very aware of the successional aspect to scientific enterprise (Kuhn's paradigm shift-normal science-paradigm shift pattern) and I wonder if he's trying to push sciences into internal dissension? I'd balance this by saying that this isn't due to some vindictiveness on his part - that ''arch-enemy of science'' nonsense - but in a very pragmatic vein: ''past theories have failed under stress of anomalies - here are anomalies for our current theories - respond or the theory will fail'' - Fort is pointing out, or warning us of, the (inevitable) deficiencies in our scientific accounts of reality and so does us a very great (and pragmatic) favour. The ''arch-enemy'' of science turns out to be its best friend. The problem, as Fort always said, is that people start to think that their hypotheses and theories are true and complete - a persistent belief that history (and Thomas Kuhn) show to be quite unsubstantiated.

As the Godfather opined, Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer...perhaps Fort really *should* be on the syllabus for every scientist...

Ian
 
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Anonymous

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#15
As much as I hate,detest, mock, deride (ho ho) and generally shake my head at the intellectual weakness of post modernism (and the many, many flaws it has logically, philosophically etc)....I would suggest that Fort took a reasonable and whimsical stance based on good evidence (scientific) and reported evidence (personal/post modern - if you will) and decided to let both figure and ground (ooooh, how gestalt of me) live. In more modern times, with the increase in measurement and the widening of scientific methodology I believe that Forteans have changed in stance since the great man's day.

PS. When the above poster mentions structuralism, are we talking Chomsky or the useless sign,signified and signifier nonesense (de Saussage or something).

Derrida, Barthes etc...bleugh bleugh bleugh. Gah! (oops, did I take a stance?)
 
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