"Something Akin"

Michael Calvin McGee michael at mcgees.net
Thu Sep 21 18:13:07 EST 2000

You have surely hung yourself, Robert, and you require
resuscitation.  Or a gentle swat of the stool you used to be
standing on, but I'm too tired today to wield my oxygen bottle.
(Both of the previous statements are intended to tickle the funny
bones of Burkelers, not to put Bob down for an excellent post.)

Dan wants specifics because some writers fashionably bash PM with
arguments that reveal pretty clearly they've not read much
Baudrillard, Lyotard, Rorty, or Fish.  Some believe that a charge
of "relativism" still has meaning, and so take up a burden of
proving that we should be exercised by living in a world devoid
of the possibility of absolutes.  Now I say that's what DAN
wants.  That's a convenient way of saying it's what I interpret
Dan as saying and it's what *I* would demand in any *serious*
discussion of KB and PM.

Nor do I think Ed was/is thinking in terms of "essences" --
although he is still infected with the virus we call modernity.
I praise him for having arrived at perhaps the single proposition
that everyone I've read who has been forced to the vocabulary of
PM would find agreeable.  I also agree that KB's answer regarding
various constructionists would likely be "Yes, but."  I remember
discussing a title that actually appeared, or KB wanted to see,
representing one of his attitudes about pluralism:  "Pluralism,
When Decidedly and When Decidedly Not."

I hope we proceed with this discussion.  As we go, however, I
want to make Ed and every other participant stick to the ENTIRE
"Burkean" response to PM.  The YES comes before the BUT, and
should be fully explored.  I say this because the trajectory of
Ed's comments seems to be to use the "But" as an excuse, a
rhetorical device to move discussion away from KB's early vision
of the postmodern condition toward . . . . . . well, Ed hasn't
told us yet.  How about we START with the "Yes," just so THIS
discussion of PM doesn't resemble others that pre-judge PM or
judge it with such alien principles as "PM's too humorless and
gloomy for my taste."

Also, could we bring the Burke-infected "social sciences" into
this?  I'm reading papers Bernie Kaplan wrote on "genetic
epistemology" in the field of psychology, for instance, and I
think these are EXCELLENT exemplars of KB's "Yes."


Michael Calvin McGee, Ph. D.
970 Applewood Court #2 Coralville, Iowa 52241
319-338-1796 (FAX) 319-338-8214 (Voice)
mailto:michael at mcgees.net

More information about the KB mailing list