Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MacIntyre in nuce

I had to take this sociology class over the summer to be graduated with a B.A.  One day the professor started class by talking about how artificial insemination gives women the opportunity to have children without ever knowing a man.

"But that would be boring,"  I said.

"Paul, that's sexist," she said sternly.

"Sorry," I responded sheepishly and did not speak for the rest of the class.

But that did not sour me on academia.  This did:

It was a class on arguments for and against the Enlightenment.  This was the class that introduced me to MacIntyre.  I have not been the same since.  Anyway, towards the end of the Semester we were  discussing Hume's Treatise, and a rather testy exchange was had between a dandified graduate student of English Lit. and a diehard defender of Aristotelian Logic (he was also at the time a rabid Randian--he is no longer.  He's Catholic.).  The exchange was rather sharp, but no foul language was used, no voices were raised, and it was a minor disruption, if that.  The professor managed to get back to the subject of Hume's philosophy easily.  Nevertheless, the tone of this brief exchange has forever registered in my mind as thus:

The Dandy:  There is no absolute truth, you anachronistic fool.
The Schoolman:  Yes,  there is, you limp-wristed asswipe.

And I remember thinking, "Get me the goddamn fuck out of here."

Since then I've discovered that you don't need to attend a prestigious university to be exposed to such philosophical insights.  Facebook will do just fine.

Incommensurability, baby, incommensurability!

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