Archive for the ‘constructivism’ Category

To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs

November 10, 2009

You can only be truly tolerant of other people’s realities by having found some new way to inhabit your own…To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs.

Anderson, W.T. (1990). Reality isn’t what it used to be: Theatrical politics, ready to wear religion, global myths, primitive chic, and other wonders of the post-modern world. San Francisco: Harper & Row. p.267f.

In other words, Anderson prescribes that ‘real’ tolerance (to ‘be truly tolerant’, like him) you must (no room for tolerance there, you must) have a constructivist view of ‘the nature of human truth’ and ensure that you say you hold your beliefs provisionally and not as the last word. You must, in short, change your beliefs (albeit allowing local colouring) to be like Anderson’s. Tolerance of intolerance is not tolerated of course. Got that?!

Constructivism and its consequences

August 4, 2009

Sir, Dr Sacks believes that the young people of today ‘urgently need a coherent narrative’ in their ‘search for solid ground on which to build their lives’.

I very much hope that he is mistaken and that today’s youth realise that everything is provisional, contingent and ambiguous, rather than solid, absolute and certain.

Learning to live without meaning and purpose, beyond that which we ourselves create, may not be easy. But without this, we shall continue to chase the fata morgana, utopias and chimeras of the sort that have haunted the blood-stained century that is now drawing to a close.

Mr George Ross, letter to The Times, 16/1/99

NB 1. Mr Ross presupposes that certainty is the precondition of violence and that toleration can only be had by those who are uncertain about everything (except the need to be uncertain about everything)

2. Dr Sacks, by being non-specific about a ‘coherent narrative’, leaves the door open for Jihadists with a great deal of certainty in their ‘coherent (at least to them) narrative’ . Some metanarratives are evil.

3. Mr Ross and his ilk unwittingly play into the hands of the Jihadists who will enter into the vacuum left by their ‘thinking’. Once in power, they will not allow the Mr Rosses to indulge their opinions so openly.

Religious Pluralism

August 4, 2009

a universal frame of orientation for human understanding and life is no more available to us than is a universal language…if we understand human historicity in the sense that I am urging here, Christian faith, (like every other faith) will be seen as one perspective, one worldview, which has developed in and through a long history alongside other traditions…we now see the great theologians of Christian history … not simply as setting out the truth that is ultimately salvific for all humanity, but rather as essentially engaged in discerning and articulating one particular perspective on life among many others.

Gordon Kaufman, in Vinoth Ramachandra, The Recovery of Mission, p.140, n.3

Ramachandra comments:

Presumably, Kaufman’s thesis is itself simply one particular, historically-conditioned, perspective among others; for, if not, his thesis would be falsified by his own example. Why then should others accept it?

Kaufman, life all relativists (whether historicists, cognitive relativists, social relativists, religious pluralists etc.) propound a grand theory that relativises all (prior) interpertations and always leave one, striking exception to this relativising procedure – their own grand theory. |Similarly, postmodernists reject all metanarratives by means of  the metanarrative that ‘ all metanarratives are to be rejected’.