Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Alex; "In all fairness, everything is important ..."

No, it isn't - this is relativism gone mad. "Important" is a useful valuation, if everything is important then nothing is and it loses its utility as an evaluation. Of course what is important changes with a change of context, but this still doesn't make "everything" important.

Jerry Fodor has written a very good review of a book of philosophy by a Michael Frayn (novelist and playwright), bringing out related errors:

"The implication is that, since there's no fact of the matter about when a thing starts to be a car (or ceases to be one), there is likewise no fact of the matter about whether a thing is a car; it may be a car according to your story but not according to mine and, in principle, there's nothing to choose between the stories. So, it's all or nothing: if there's no matter of fact at the margins, there's none in the middle either.

I look out of the window . . . I tell you that the sun is setting . . . But, even here, in this simple factual report of what is before my eyes . . . there is also a performative element . . . I am deciding that the sun is setting . . . even though we have no agreement on what precise relationship between sun and horizon constitutes the sun's setting . . . All narration and description . . . is indissolubly subjective because it involves selection.

I'm not saying the bridge is open because it is; it's open because I say it is.

And finally, with a flourish: `The story is the paradigm. Factual statements are specialised derivatives of fictitious ones.'



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Oct 3rd, 2006 at 06:02:34 PM EST

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