Friday, January 28, 2011


In these essays, I am not concerned to tussle in detail with any of the panoply of agnostic philosophies currently on offer in the cultural Mall of America, nor even particularly to distinguish among them.  Their various designating terms may even be used loosely, as the phrase requires -- “nattering nominalists”, “sodden solipsists”, "deviant deconstructionists", "prurient proctoscoptists", and so on.  The point is rather to explicate, and make more plausible, Cantorian Realism, with a nod in the direction of its nice fit with theism.   I capitalize the word Realism, not to exalt it, but to distinguish it from the everyday use of the word, which can shade over into almost an opposite meaning, as in Realpolitik (the capitalization there is an artefact of German).   I don’t capitalize nominalists because, well, they suck.
Nor, despite the keystone role of “visibilium omnium et invisibilium”, am I the least interested in any philosophical debates about Abstract vs. Concrete.   The integers could be made of green cheese, for all that matters.

So, here’s all you need to keep track of the action:

The Good Guys (in the golden jerseys):

A typical Realist, in native dress

The Bad Guys (in the purple jerseys):
nominalists, solipsists, subjectivists, perspectivalists, epiphenomenalists, eliminativists,  phenomenalists, behaviorists, occasionalists;
finitists, intuitionists, constructivists, formalists [these, all in the mathematical sense -- in particular, game-formalists];
fatalists, predestinarians; instrumentalists [by which I mean, not strummers of the ukelele, but the theory-dissing attitude to science],
idealists [in the non-idealistic sense],
sociologismists [an awkward coinage, but we need to distinguish these from actual sociologists, who are  in principle  honest souls  like plumbers];
gnostics;  cultural constructionists, moral relativists, ‘internal’ ‘realists’, situation ethicists, irrationalists, tribalists, identity-politicians, deconstructionists, post-modernists, nihilists, diabolists, atavists, primitivists, Donald Trump, bestialists, methodological onanists, proctoscopic introspectionists, ……

A clowder of Nominalists

Guys we bar, though there is something to be said for them :
empiricists, verificationists, logical positivists; existentialists

Guys that maybe get a bad rap:
mysterians, mystics, quietists; coherentists

The score so far:
Good Guys: 700000.    Bad Guys:  0.

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