Posts tagged deconstruction

Posted 3 years ago
There are several disquieting things about all these attacks on realism. The first is that the arguments against our commonsense idea that there exists an independent reality are vague and obscure. Sometimes no clearly stated arguments are even presented. Second, the alternative views, the views that are supposed to be presented in opposition to realism, are often equally obscure and unclearly stated. Even among analytic philosophers many recent discussions of realism are symptomatic of the general looseness that has set in over the past couple of decades. What exactly are the propositions being asserted? What exactly are those denied? And what exactly are the arguments for both assertion and denial? You will look in vain for answers to these questions in most discussions of these matters. I think, furthermore, that this general carelessness is not accidental. It is somehow satisfying to our will to power to think that ‘we’ make the world, that reality itself is but a social construct, alterable at will and subject to future changes as ‘we’ see fit. Equally, it seems offensive that there should be an independent reality of brute facts- blind, uncomprehending, indifferent, and utterly unaffected by our concerns. And all of this is part of the general intellectual atmosphere that makes antirealist versions of ‘poststructuralism’ such as deconstruction seem intellectually acceptable, even exciting. But once you state the claims and arguments of the antirealists out in the open, naked and undisguised, they tend to look fairly ridiculous. Hence the obscurity and even obscurantism of many (not all) of these discussions.

John Searle, The Construction of Social Reality, p. 158

I wish I could quote all of the three last chapters, but I’ll have to settle for a few choice excerpts.