Friday, September 16, 2005

Getting Off the Dime

I've been meaning to post something about post-modernism for a while and since I still haven't been able to get my thought together, I figure I would just throw this out there.

Post-modernism provides useful tools of deconstructing human institutions, and gaining a better understanding of the evolution of those institutions, i.e., they are product of social norms and human evolution. I do think post-modernism is given a little too much credit in that department, since most of its conclusions are really just products of the scientific revolution that began way back in the Enlightenment and the science of the 20th century.

Many post-modern thinkers freely adopt scientific principles to deconstruct a concept, but are then reluctant to use scientific methodology to posit an alternative. My biggest frustration with post-modenrism is akin to GH's frustration with skeptics who "make no claim." But is it wrong to look to science for normative choices? If you recognize that there is no basis for promoting an individual value over the values of others, isn't welfare maximization the next logical step? Most of the post-modern though I have read refer to scientific literature to demonstrate the flaws in a policy choice and then revert to an appeal to emotion in formulating their alternative. Welfare maximization is the way of "getting off the dime" and the first step to choosing how a society should function.