And this dude starts off by talking about how he was bffs with Christopher Hitchens, which is sort of like kicking off a conversation by saying ‘I have massive brain damage and I’m a pathological liar, so you can just ignore everything else I’m about to say…’
Raina nails it while discussing that garbage Atlantic article about physics making philosophy and religion obsolete. (For a good response/takedown, go here.)
If calling the author stupid and ignoring an opportunity to participate meaningfully in public discourse is nailing it then I guess I feel ill equipped to participate in the conversation.
Do go read the response to The Atlantic article Tony references, it’s fantastically interesting.
So, I don’t normally go back and caveat or explain or elaborate on flippant Tumblr posts (also: in the context of this Tumblr “flippant Tumblr post” is decidedly redundant), mostly because I don’t really care all that much about engaging subsequent reblogs, but I like jennaddenda and I generally find her to be thoughtful and fair and fun and I like to engage people who are thoughtful and fair and fun. So…a few remarks:
1) This quote, in some ways, is less about the article referenced and more a dig at Christopher Hitchens. I lol’d when Raina typed this at me mostly because I very much dislike Christopher Hitchens.
2) I don’t believe Krauss’ statements constitute “meaningful public discourse.” I mean, sure - it has a meaning (in as much as he is saying words that are meant to mean something), it is aimed at some sort of reading public, and - yes - it connects up to discourses of popular science and philosophy. But, at its core, it is a poorly constructed attack (and I mean that - this interview is an attack, it isn’t an argument, but I’ll get to that in a second…) driven by, I don’t know? An intense love of seeing one’s own words in print, probably. Hubris. Whatever.
3) A concession that he means to be provocative doesn’t relieve him of the task of constructing an actual argument for his (self-serving) claims about the irrelevance of philosophy. He sets up philosophy as a straw-man (repeatedly mischaracterizing philosophers and sub-disciplines, carving them up in ways that are conducive to his ego but that are not at all grounded) and then lobs his bombs at it. That is an attack, not meaningful public discourse. (Note that the interviewer is pretty quick to call him on this, too.) That’s why I called it a “garbage article.”
4) Last, I use the word “garbage” as an adjective a lot, so it shouldn’t be considered a particularly damning description from my end. If I call something garbage it just means I think it isn’t worth much time or effort. And, on that note…
:: drink ::