Monday, November 03, 2008

meaningless noises

For those interested in Argumentation Ethics, you can find an echo of it in Steven Pinker's The Stuff of Thought in his analysis of the claims of linguisitical relativists- those who hold that there is no truth, "only competing metaphors, which are more or less apt for the purposes of the people who live by them."
"As such, Lakoff's version of relativism is vulnerable to the two standard rebuttals of relativism in general... The other rebuttal is that by their very effort to convince others of the truth of relativism, relativists are committed to the notion of objective truth. They attract supporters by persuasion — the marshaling of facts and logic — not by bribes or threats. They confront their critics using debate and reason, not by dueling with pistols or throwing chairs like the guests on a daytime talk show. And if asked whether their brand of relativism is a pack of lies, they would deny that it is, not waffle and say that the question is meaningless."

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