Interesting. I was about to type up a quotation from Simon Blackburn for something I’m working on, and before doing so thought I might as well check our Quotations in case we already had it there (then I would only need to copy it instead of typing). We don’t, but we do have one that is pleasingly relevant to the subject we’ve been discussing lately, along with Brian Leiter. So I thought I would put it here. It’s from Prospect, April 2003.
It is not the slavish remnant of a religious worldview to admit that the person who has gone and looked is more of an authority than one who has not. It is not just convention which dictates that years of surveying, or years in the archive or laboratory give you a better title to be listened to on your subject than years spent ignoring the issue.
And I also thought I might as well give you the quotation I typed up. It’s from the ‘Postmodernism’ entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy.
While the dismantling of objectivity seems to some to be the way towards a liberating political radicalism, to others it allows such unliberating views as the denial that there was (objectively) such an event as the Second World War or the Holocaust…The postmodernist frame of mind…may seem to depend on a cavalier dismissal of the success of science in generating human improvement, an exaggeration of the admitted fallibility of any attempt to gain knowledge in the humane disciplines, and an ignoring of the quite ordinary truth that while human history and law admit of no one final description, they certainly admit of more or less accurate ones…