Posted by Keith E. Buhler


  1. I do find the ‘new tribalism’ thesis persuasive but the author of the article to which you linked is correct in criticizing the shallowness of the culture upon which the formation of these ‘tribes’ are now based. Generally speaking, these are not tribes for which people would give their lives.

    “We are increasingly living is a faux world of perceptual experiences rather than a real world based on our actual experiences.” That’s not McLuhan but it relates to the individual (or group) construction of social reality, which is a perceptual frame based on one’s experiences and beliefs.

    What do you think about that?


  2. While I don’t want to downplay or ignore social reality and perceptual frames, I think the important question is “Which perceptual frame is correct?”

    Which “social reality” is the real reality? That’s the one I’d like to be a part of.

    Even if my beliefs are unique and personal to me, even if they are originally biased and flawed, yet through reasoning, education, perseverance, and a platonic trust in the logos, I can transcend these errors to arrive at correct beliefs. And so can you.

     The human mind, with great effort and much assistance from others, can overcome immature errors, prior social contexts, long-held false presuppositions, and constructed realities, replacing them with mature truths, truth-conducive social contexts, true suppositions, and uncreated reality. I have a human mind. And so do you.


  3. As always, the normative dime.

    The Stoics first defined logos as the immanent ordering principle of the universe that provides the natural world and human life within it an apparently rational and purposive structure. Anyway, the concept has been defined and employed in many different ways and was appropriated by early Christians. The concept was then adapted to that context and Christ was seen as the embodiment of the logos. So, in what sense do you mean the logos?

    Nevertheless, I do agree that some social realities are “righter” than others but there is no single “correct” version of reality. And I would also argue that thought is linguistically structured so even contemplation of the Platonic forms can not produce “correct beliefs.”

    Hey, I’m all for certainty but, if most people do not do the type of deep thinking required to discern the real reality, the “unconstructed” reality, they can only be said to be living in a social reality that does not transcend their biases.



  4. When I typed “purposive,” I was thinking of telos not logos. My mistake.

    Strike that from the record.


  5. Prufrock,

    You say, “Nevertheless, I do agree that some social realities are “righter” than others but there is no single “correct” version of reality.” I was hoping you would say that.

    You know, let’s say you’re right. There is no single correct version of reality, nor is there a non-linguistically structured thought. Amazingly, you have accurately captured in your thinking (and in writing, on this very blog) the correct version of reality when you say, “some realities are ‘righter’ than others but there is no single ‘correct’ version.” Your analysis is complete and sound. I am glad we have come to the truth. Or do you want to modify what you’ve said at all?


  6. You have also said that that most (if not all) people are living in their social reality that does not transcend their biases.

    When you say this, one of two things is possible.

    Either a) you have done the deep thinking required to discern the real reality, that social biases are almost impossible to transcend, or else b) you are one of the many people whose speech arises from mere bias rather than truth.

    If b), then I dismiss your attempt at truth-speaking, and so must you. Your statements come from your background and environment, whatever those are, and your seeming attempts to “persuade” me of the “truth” of what you say are quaint but pitiable exercises in lack of self-awareness. Further, I must dismiss my own speech, this very paragraph, as non-truth-telling, and you musn’t respond, but must dismiss it as empty noise, like the sound “cooee.” (But that’s not much of a conversation is it?)

    If a), then I do not know what to make of your first thesis, that there is no single correct version of reality.

    Is there anything I have missed that you would like to clarify?


  7. Sometimes I fancy that arguing is like a fist fight.

    If I were in such a fanciful mood then I’d think Enthusiasmos just double-punched Prufrock’s unguarded face, spilling his nose blood all over the ring floor.

    … but I have a feeling that K.B. would disagree with the image, probably preferring a more team-centric metaphor… like two dudes roped together climbing a mountain or something.


  8. In this metaphorical fistfight, dthompson, you are just standing on the sidelines. Throw a punch, why don’t you?


  9. I appreciate your set-up and, simply by responding, I am forced to acknowledge the normative dimension of my position in this debate with you. But your appeal to truth in our debate was unwarranted by my statements.

    My statements–like yours–have only the force of opinion, not the force of truth, and our attempts at persuasion should not be confused with truth-claims, although both of use believe that our perspectives, biased though they may be, are more accurate ways of looking at the world.

    The statement that you picked out as a truth-claim should have been explicitly qualified as opinion. I thought that would be clear, given my previous statements. But thank you for praising its soundness, if only to prove your point about its normativity.

    There is an objective state of affairs but it has no meaning apart from the meaning that we ascribe to it. Social reality is based on a consensual understanding among people of the world in which they live and reinforced by interaction with their environment that affirms or denies their beliefs about it.

    Truthfully, I think that it behooves both of us to continue these discussions. It’s fun. And let’s keep in mind Emerson’s sage advice that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”


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