By F. Allan Hanson
How the pc revolution can ease polarization and support calm the tradition wars.
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Additional info for The Trouble With Culture: How Computers Are Calming the Culture Wars
That position, which Michael Lynch calls “simple relativism,” is even more clearly vulnerable to the accusation of self-contradiction or incoherence. He writes: Suppose I am such a relativist and announce that there is no such thing as truth per se, there is only truth-for-me or truth-for-you. A fair question to ask would be whether the statement I just made is true or just true-for-me. If I say that relativism is simply true, then I have apparently contradicted myself. For if relativism is true (for everyone, as it were) then it is false—it is not true that all truth is relative.
It is a pathological condition of anomie and nihilism, where nothing matters and anything goes. People have no reason to follow one moral code rather than another, or, indeed, to follow any moral code at all (see Lindholm 1997). And, indeed, certain postmodernist writers do seem to embrace such nihilism explicitly. The name Jean Baudrillard often turns up in this context. With reference to the countdown to 2000, in just one of many passages expressing his belief that contemporary culture has come to a state of utter exhaustion, he wrote: “We have nothing else now but objects in which not to believe” (1998:3).
But, alas, postmodernism has not been widely accepted. As has been indicated already, critics claim that its emphasis on indeterminacy and uncertainty dissolves all standards or criteria against which beliefs may be measured and actions evaluated, thus undercutting any foundation upon which one might affirm something, or dissent against anything (Zerzan 1994). It even removes grounds for feelings of alienation, because it disallows any concept of a natural or original condition from which we have become alienated (p.
The Trouble With Culture: How Computers Are Calming the Culture Wars by F. Allan Hanson