Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bryant on ontological pluralism

After a couple month hiatus Bryant is blogging again. He has a few new posts on plurarlism but this one caught my attention. He is concerned that pluralism has lapsed into cultural relativism, where there is no way to ascertain 'truth' because all views are ok. He even accuses Latour of this. And as realists we need to say what is right and wrong. There is a Real beyond any particular point of view (aka perspectivism). (I'm reminded of Harris in this recent video and commentary.)


I still think that some form of developmental psychology would help him to distinguish better views. We could still have a plurality of different views at a similar level, or different peaks in Harris's terms, all of which would be more based on the Real than less evolved views. And still just be contingent, not final. In Bryant's own terms, it's not just balancing the different domains of the Real, Symbolic and the Imaginary, but levels within each of those domains. He does talk about the mereology of assemblages in other contexts so it would help if he applied that to psychological levels.

Although his point is accurate, in that some make claims from one domain about another domain that just aren't true. In kennilingus, they make a category error based on (con)fusing the value spheres in Habermasian terms. While there are areas of overlaps between the domains, and they can inform each other, they nonetheless have their own set of validity claims.

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