Saturday, December 31, 2011

a coherence conception of truth as global locality
of ultimate value

20th century coherence theories of truth (which aren’t tenable) might be appropriately read as plausible intuitions of theories of validity containing a conception of true statements and other kinds of “truth,” like normative validity and genuineness (or sincerity, to use Bernard Williams’s preferred term in his bi-modal theory of truth as a matter of accuracy and sincerity). In any case, I find old coherence theories of truth interesting as promising miscarriages.

Yet, a tenable theory of coherence is only as good as the discursive cohering that designs. That might imply a sense of “the” Good which is discursive, but doesn’t imply that an appropriate theory of “the” Good is about discursiveness! Philosophy itself might be about discursiveness, but what we want backing (warranting) a conception of “the” Good is, I think, a conception of valuing that integrally serves Our flourishing, which is individuational, communitarian, vastly systemic (hyperNetted, politically economic, environmental, etc.), and evolving (a disursive notion which would be also about its own discursive“ness”).

Discourse that may proximally look like a confusion of conceptual, psychological, and literary genres may be made quite fruitfully exacting, I hope. Potentials of the word embody possible synergies of conceptual, trOpical, analytical, and scientific appreciation that can be shaped into exacting foci of inquiry that remain flexible and sensitive to emergent talents grown to exemplify humanistic excellence.

I’m hoping to clarify a good sense of generative consilience, which would necessarily be highly conceptual, given my interest in cohering very different standard domains of inquiry (which is also the interest of the group I’ll engage myself with, which is overtly trying to create an interdisciplinary sense of consilience).

I know I have to be highly sensitive to the pretense of progressivity implied by what I’m doing, but we can’t overestimate the importance of biomedical science for soon making life very different in coming decades from what life could hope to be in the 20th century (implying a growing datedness of research based in that Era). What’s to be made of a healthy life of 150 years? And our planet is psychologically shrinking. We’re Given by Nature to increasingly govern our evolution, whether or not we know yet how to do so democratically.

A deeply lived bias of mine is seeing the university community as paradigm of city life and “my” Bay Area as paradigm of metropolitan culture (especially given its “green belt” ethos and leading examples of environmental ethics). The university is a global thing, as academic domains are global communities (and science is essentially transcultural). There is, therefore, increasingly the universCity of our globality, with degrees of exemplarity in Its so many localities of higher education, with a trend toward global consensus about what excellent higher education is and what research has potentially leading importance.

There is no good enough reason (no tenable warrant, I would argue) to think that human reality must be ultimately relativistic (nor is there reason to be presumptuous about what non-relativistic human evolving must mean), though we are countless localities because that’s how anyone lives. There are evolving organons of locality enlightening each other through prospecting sustainability, mediated by the netweaving trusts of higher education which tend to emulate global standards of inquirial excellence. We locally govern ourselves by knowledge-intensive resourcefulness that tends to be globally evolving, but we live locally.

The geographical state and nation are becoming less important than the metropolis, which tends to build ever stronger bonds with other metro regions, such that civilization is increasingly a singular lattice of metro areas, each at best struggling to ensure as much green locality as can be preserved and restored. At best, the metro is becoming a netweave of green localities, while the challenges of environmental engineering are singular: species-general and planetary. That—and the nature of the universCity—makes “our” presence incomprehensibly paradoxical: manifoldly and emergently universalist, yet universally local.