Re: Materialism and Spirituality

In Article <199409180013.AA25784@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
WIDDER@xxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:

> Regardless of the path chosen, the pre-packaged options given
> to Foucault (you are either a materialist or an
> idealist/spiritualist) end up being insufficient.
> All for now.
> Nathan
> widder@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Nathan's post helps me some, in understanding the nature of materialisms,
but I haven't been able to apply it directly to the questions I posed in
my last post about dealing with F on "true" discourses.
Here, then, is a sort of footnote or addition to my last post in which I
asked for help in pinning F down on the question of hard, "true" science.

Since representation is discursive, and, since discourse ALWAYS
operates within the economy of the "more" of which F speaks, could not the
following be asked:

"How would we ever "know" that this discourse was the "right" one?"

The visual image of this problem as I try to express it is this: I am
imagining a discourse machine cranking out every possible combination
/permutation of discourses produced by every possible
combination/permutation of statements. Sort of like a famous modernist
sci-fi tale called the nine billion names of god, or something like that.
When the "right" combination occurs, however, unlike the original story,
nothing happens, and the machine keeps cranking away. Three gold bars turn
up in the window of this imaginary one-armed bandit, and there's no payoff,
nothing special, no way to know that the three gold bars are the payoff.

If this metaphor/analogy is apt, it is impossible to
think the solution of one discourse being "truer" in the sense I am trying
to get at than another. I conclude, perhaps quite incorrectly, that F's
reasoning could not have allowed him to state that any discourse could
be "true" in any useful sense of the word except the instrumental. Nor can
this problem be solved by a metadiscourse or discourse of discourses...this
simply moves the identical problem up (or down) a notch.

Since some writers seem to believe that F might have concluded other than
this (I've been told that Gutting says this), where am I screwing up? Are
there traditional metaphysical/ontological ways out? Or, are these writers
trying to salvage metaphysical/ontological approaches to all of this????

To put it another way, doesn't the question of relating words and things
deconstruct immediately one sees the inevitable supplements in discourse
theory? I am not one trained in history of philosophy and
I don't know its words and things very well, except as I pick them
up along the way. So I may be putting the question badly. If so, I could
use some help here as well.


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