Friday, May 13, 2005

A reply to Kent

In this post by Kent, he bemoans the fact that Pragmatism is still alive and well in this country. I found this doubly surprising- Pragmatists don't usually generate much ire, and anyway, Kent is a Mormon. I left this comment to his post:
"No offense Kent, but I would think that a Mormon would take a kinder view of Pragmatism."
He replied that he was not sure what I was getting at. Since Haloscan comments cut ya' off at fifty words, I've had to move the whole shindig over here. Here we go:

Kent, you probably know better than I what critics and skeptics of the Mormon faith say, but even a generous analysis shows that many points are demonstrably false (i.e. Israelites in the New World). Now some will say that those false tenets would indicate that Joseph Smith was either disingenuous or deluded. A Pragmatist however, would point out that in practice, Mormon doctrine and moral codes lead to happy, productive lives for their practitioners. Therefore, the original veracity of the faith's origin is not (as) important. Truth is defined by a Pragmatist as that which succeeds in practice, and all of the Mormons I have encountered seem to exemplify "success in practice" for the belief system in question.

That's why I think that Mormons would take a kinder view of Pragmatism, since the faith will fare less well against a more rigid epistemology. In addition, I am baffled by your statement that Pragmatism is not a philosophy that should appeal to conservatives. If that is so, what is a philosophy that should appeal to conservatives?

10 comments:

Red A said...

Ayn Rand, BABY! I shall now only make bets in poker with pure gold bullion.

Karl said...

Bzzt. Not a philosophy. Collect your door prize on the way out.

Kent said...

Kent, you probably know better than I what critics and skeptics of the Mormon faith say, but even a generous analysis shows that many points are demonstrably false (i.e. Israelites in the New World).

You lose me there, Karl. I really do believe that a small group of Israelites made it to the New World.

Russell Kirk did about as as good a job as anyone of identifying some philosophical premises that are compatible with conservatism. Not all conservatives accept all of his premises, though. Conservatism isn't keen on settled ideologies.

Karl said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that DNA analysis of indigenous peoples in North and South America have turned up zero connection to Semitic DNA types?

Red A said...

Unless you are sampling every indigenous person, you can't say that. and I don't think any study could be definitive.

Let me know when they show Viking DNA in tribes with contact with the Greenlanders.

p.s. I'm depressed that Ayn Rand is not a philosophy.

Angus said...

Objectivism IS a philosophy. And appparently the Mormons run on that "but you can't conclusively PROVE me wrong!" side of the burden of proof. (Annunaki? Nope. Hmmm. Maybe they were erased by the big 'ol meteor strike there in AZ) And Karl, you know that Mormon-Baiting will cause you to go blind. And "what would be a philosophy for conservatives?" Well, I'd say it would be similar on the Mormon burden of proof thing there. You can't PROVE the Iraqis didn't move the WMD to Syria, can you? So there. BTW - Have a Miller Light? They're free and I don't drink....Too bad you are so dang far away. Endorsements are cool!

Anonymous said...

I'm depressed that Ayn Rand is not a philosophy.

But don't worry! Even if Ayn Rand isn't a philosophy, Beyonce is definitely a whole religion.

Michael

Robin said...

I haven't seen Kent confuse his religious beliefs and his scientific knowledge to date. And so for that reason, I don't think it is appropriate to mock his religious beliefs nor his expression of his faith.

Karl said...

What is "Beyonce"?

Red A said...

Beyonce is an incredibly hot singer. I'm not sure how a married, Tan-ze living geek like Michael would know about her. (Ah, perhaps his daughter watches MTV.)

Beyonce supposedly is one of only a few superstars who looks BETTER on HDTV.

http://www.beyonceonline.com/