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Old 11-28-2011, 08:51 PM   #3 (permalink)

feat. Otto Neurath
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,093

I worry when people talk big picture in such a way that they tell a false narrative due to lack of expertise in some of the particulars. The topic is so complex I'm not sure exactly where to start, so maybe a pointless gripe:

Paradigm is such an overrated word. Damn you Kuhn...

Anyway, I'll speak about university and academia as that is what I have the most recent experience with. Universities have been going through an odd transition for longer than I've been alive. The intellectual values that gave them soil to sow in have been scrapped for a view that asks for tangible evidence of productivity, all the while watching a culture that is completely fixated on just the opposite. This lack of attention, this failure to properly consider what Robinson refers to as the aesthetic, is a big reason why, I believe, so-called Western culture has, of late, been unable to find its way, and instead finds itself distracted with meaningless filler (like basketball ).

It is a rare kind of mind that takes relish in testing for the sake of testing. This trend towards a focus on the the productivity of the individual, which is a long standing trend, is directly counter to the many lessons from history (I speak here especially referring to my areas of interest in philosophy and science): the best thinkers have been those who could afford, either due to affluence or moral courage, to avoid becoming a regular 9-5er at the local mill. And oh yes: how they've collaborated! How they've depended upon their historical context, and those that came before them. Yes, this modern idea of the productive man is a farce and is directly counter to the mode of thought that has given us the little progress we have made.
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