Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Confronting the Postmodern Epistemology Disease Tonight

Tonight I begin teaching my Introduction to Logic class at MCCC. I will give a brief overview of the class. I'll tell them that logic is about learning to formulate and evaluate arguments. Students will need to understand and recognize what an argument is.
Postmodern Ivy in my backyard

An argument is a set of statements, one of which is a conclusion. Every argument has one (and only one) conclusion, with one or more supporting premises.

Premises and conclusions are statements. A statement is a sentence that describes a state of affairs that obtains. Statements are either true or false. They are true if the claimed state of affairs obtains; they are false if the claimed state of affairs does not obtain.

Here is where it will get interesting and confusing for students tonight. If a statement is true, it is true for everyone. In logic there is no such thing as "subjective truth," meaning Claim C is "true for you" but "false for me." That's called the "subjectivist fallacy." Some students will fail to understand this, as they are infected with the "postmodern epistemology" disease.

For example, the doctor tells you: You have a bacterial infection. You respond: "That's true for you but false for me."

No. If the statement You have a bacterial infection then it's just plain true.

Students today are so saturated with postmodern epistemology that this will be very difficult for them to understand. Here is where, for me, the fun begins.