The case for critical thought : an investigation into contemporary determinist knowledge, its social effects, and the alternative offered by a 'mode 2' approach to teaching, learning and research.
This thesis is centrally concerned with the current nee-liberal world order and its effects upon society. It is concerned to expose the contradictions and weaknesses within the knowledge systems that underpin our political reality. It considers economics as the determining discourse of neo-liberal politics, analytic biology as its determining discourse of individual persons, and analytic and neo-pragmatist philosophy as its leading systems of thought. In each case it finds a linear rationalism compatible with the determinist materialism of noo-Darwinism, and indeed explicitly invoking Darwin. This seems to vindicate Manuel Castells's fmding of this 'Knowledge Society' as driven by 'an abstract, universal instrumentalism'. The thought systems of this economic liberalism have seen politics subsumed within economics, de-humanising most of the institutions of the earlier Liberal tradition, to the detriment of both freedom and democracy. But it disputes Castells's assumption that this is a necessary reality and finds in neo-liberal education the exception to this dehumanising trend. Revitalised as 'Mode 2' knowledge production, this form of teaching, learning and research is found to be ideally suited to challenge the underpinnings of the very social order which initially produced it. The thesis as a whole is designed to employ Mode 2 methods in order to support this contention. Using this approach it seeks to demonstrate that in place of neo-Darwinism the ideas of the South African natural scientist Eugene Marais, concerning the significance of conscious thought itself within evolution, can provide a more convincing epistemoloy than the behaviourism and materialism of analytic biology. It finds John Maynard Keynes's acceptance of economics as a moral and not a natural science, more logically convincing and more inherently useful for social reconstruction than the current mathematicisation of economic theory. Prevalent philosophical approaches appear to serve only to reinforce the systems of thought already found (and found wanting) in politics, biology and economics. But again these philosophies are shown to be vulnerable to a Mode 2 critique, particularly employing the ontological understanding of the contemporary pragmatist philosopher Joseph Margolis, whose strong version of relativism allows for both bivalent and multivalent truth values more appropriate to understanding the complex realities of ethical and democratic societies.
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Matolino, Bernard. (2008)The communitarian conception of person is the dominant view of personhood in African philosophy. This view centrally holds that personhood is something that is attained in direct proportion to one's moral worth and one's ...
Can we be particularists about environmental ethics? : assessing the theory of moral particularism and its practical application in applied environmental ethics. Toerien, Karyn Gurney. (2008)Moral judgments have tended to be made through the application of certain moral principles and it seems we think we need principles in order to make sound moral judgments. However, the theory of moral particularism, as put ...