Post-modern Pre-modernism

Richard L. Warms (RW04@SWT.EDU)
Mon, 2 Oct 1995 09:26:41 -0500

I found Tom Byers' posting interesting and don't think that he is likely to
find the page references he seeks. Post modernism has made extremely valuable
contributions to anthropological research and science in general, but finding a
way to base positivist science in post-modern philosophy is just like debating
creationists or Von Daniken fans. The positivist wishes to decide cases by
some sort of appeal to evidence but the creationist, Von Daniken fan, or the
post-modernist makes such an appeal impossible. The creationist says that
since God can do anything he wants with data, no data can ever disprove the
literal truth of scripture. The Von Daniken supporter says that since ancient
astronauts wanted to make it difficult to detect their presence, they simply
removed all decisive evidence. The post-modernist says that all evidence, and
indeed the very questions asked, are corrupted by the positioning and interest
of the researcher. Unless we can agree on what general types of questions
should be asked and what general types of evidence can be applied to answer
them, it is impossible to decide the merits of competing ideas. Hence, a
positivist post-modern position is impossible. However, this shouldn't conceal
the fact that the positivist/post-modernist discourse has been very fruitful in
anthropology over the past ten years or so.

Best regards,

Rich Warms