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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: March ::
Re: Postmodernism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0271  Saturday, 28 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Pat Dolan <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 06:16:00 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 13:19:35 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   RE: Postmodernism

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:12:28 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 06:16:00 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism

William Godschalk writes,

If I read a long s as an f in one of the Folios, I am in error; but the
long s remains a long s.  And, yes, this is a matter of faith. I cannot
prove that my inadequate perceptual system does NOT affect external
reality.

A long s is only a long s within a system of letters. When I say to a
student, "Oh, that's really an s," I think I mean something quite
different than when I say, "Oh yes, there's "really" some sort of
physical world out there that functions without respect to my
perceptions of it." In the student's case, I'm making an ultimately
rhetorical point, "Your reading will be easier and make more sense if
you understand that mark as we do." I firmly believe the two statements
are fundamentally different.  One urges us to join the conventions of a
linguistic system. The other expresses faith in something that causes
our perceptions and the knowledge we build out of them.

Hamlet may not be "really" fleeing his father in the swearing scene, but
it sure makes sense to me to see him as doing so. (It's a new one on
me.)

In haste,
Pat

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 13:19:35 +0000 (GMT)
Subject:        RE: Postmodernism

Sean Lawrence quotes Gabriel Egan:

>> And if anybody has the cheek to tell me that I'm not
>> qualified in the subject, I shall remind them that the
>> Internet email discussion lists are places where
>> amateurs and professionals meet as peers.

and comments:

> Don't you think it in rather bad faith to write this while
> bewailing (on Ardennet) the fact that SHAKSPER "has suffered
> increasing trivialisation as Internet access has spread
> beyond academia"?

That's not 'bad faith' but rather irony. I used a rhetorical device to
suggest that those who believe that amateurs should be treated as the
peers of professionals would have to give as much credence to my amateur
physics as they would to any professional's ideas.

Sigh!

Bill Godshalk jumps into the amateur physics debate with me:

> Newtonian mechanics works just fine on this planet.

If the sun ceased to exist in an instant, Newtonian mechanics would have
the earth flying off at a tangent at that instant. Einstein would have
the earth continuing on its orbit for 8 minutes while the flattening of
the space-time continuum spreads out, at the speed of light, from the
centre of orbit.

This is space-time, nor are we out of it.

I would second any motion that we take this debate off of SHAKSPER and
onto alt.physics.amateur.

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Mar 1998 10:12:28 -0500
Subject: 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0266  Re: Postmodernism

>What is at point is
>how any knowledge claim about, say, the physics of flight or the editing
>of the first folio, has a history that continues into the present.  Of
>course, if you insist that in our post-Enlightenment "brilliance" we
>somehow have complete insight, then history can be forgotten.

Okay, granted. I suppose the point here is that our model of the
universe WILL undoubtedly change as time goes by.  Ptolemy was wrong,
and, as human instruments became more reliable, we humans realized that
Ptolemy's model was incorrect. I believe that our current model is
better than Ptolemy's, but that it too will be replaced.  However, the
fact that we can build airplanes that fly (i.e., when a model leads to a
usable technology) indicates that we are on the right track. Or so I
pragmatically think.  As Aldous Huxley used to point out, even the
smartest caveperson could not fly to the moon.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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