Well, I have read your piece on realism, published at least a few months back as I recall. It seemed at least potentially relevant to this discussion. My most recent comment was meant to point to some possible agreement re biases but I accidentally highlighted the previous paragraph, which has probably led to some confusion. Alas, my phone wouldn’t allow me to correct it. That said, I don’t disagree that knowledge or truth claims are a source of power, or at least can be, but power can be used for relatively better or worse ends. My main issues here are 2-fold. First of all, the claim that truth either doesn’t exist or tends to be misused (or some combination of these) is itself a truth claim. We can no more not reach conclusions about reality as a self aware conscious species (be they ultimately proven right or wrong) than forego food. Second, denying the existence of some sort of actual determinable relationship with the larger reality we are a part of precludes the possibility of changing how we relate to that reality. You may very well be right about some of the problems and biases you describe (we are probably closer in our thinking on that point than this conversation would lead either of us to initially believe). But I keep getting stuck because any argument for changing our biases or the way we interpret reality and use whatever knowledge there is to be had about the world and our relationship to it must start with the premise there’s an interpretable reality in the first place and demonstrably better and worse ways to interpret it. Nothing follows from either nihilism or solipsism. We can argue there is no truth but we can’t argue the claim is itself in any way either ultimately or proximally true. Even the statement the only truth is that there is no truth must accept that all supporting arguments for it lack truth and therefore undermine the argument they claim to support. Personal and collective awareness, however we define it, MUST start with the premise that there is something we are a part of (no person exists in a vacuum) of which we can be aware, even if only imperfectly. Only once that premise is accepted can we move on to a discussion of what a healthy awareness might look like. I would take issue with any scientist who claimed water is “just” H2O. It has considerable meaning besides: biological, cultural, and personal. However, anyone arguing we have no idea what the fundamental building blocks of water are is making no less serious mistake than the reductionist, ultimately perhaps even a more dangerous one.

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US citizen residing in British Columbia, Canada. Degrees include anthropology and environmental studies. Activism, politics, science, nature.

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