…economic determinists denying they are economic determinists… May 29th, 2018
The Marxist left has a great core product, but its materialist/theoretical wrapper has produced its own ‘Iron Cage’ and the result is no longer able to communicate with the larger public.
As with the new atheists who have defined secularism as atheist, Marxists tend to
produce hard boundaries where a more dialectical approach would enlarge their audience. I actually have no problem as such with an atheist left, but a more flexible perspective, perhaps a critique of monotheistic exploitation and one that acknowledges some kind of spiritual dimension at least as an hypothesis, would reopen the door to a new public…
In general historical materialism has made the left into economic determinists denying they are economic determinists…
archive: new robust definitions of modernity/secularism
July 24th, 2017 ·
The crisis of so-called ‘secularists’ is to define modernity. It is remarkable that this simple task eludes them. And it leads to endless efforts to press religion into the failures of scientism. And that simply muddles the issues even more. The failure to define modernity is endemic and we see the first failures in the wake of the collapsing Hegelian movement. The rise of positivism colored everything and we have had the failures of historical materialism, Darwinism, and economic theory, and much else. The problem lies in the stupefying complexity of the modern transition from the sixteenth century onward. From Reformation to Revolution suggests the complexity of the modern transition, defining the secular, which includes religion.
Instead now we find a very oversimplified Spinozist pastiche adopted by minds competent in advanced physics, or reductionist biology (Darwinism), and this applied to all forms of knowledge, and the result is a culture with a flat tire. And the distance now from the early modern makes it all the harder to produce a correctly balanced rendition of modernity. And the cadres of narrowly trained devotees of scientism make discussion almost impossible.
But there’s the problem to be solved: new and more faithful renderings of the meaning(s)
of modernity and secularism. Scientists are hard of hearing here and often stupidoes
hiding behind science knowhow.
History gives us a good example of the difference: the Darwinists versus the teleomechanists at the dawn of biology. The former is the classic case of scientism replacing the more nuanced complexity of the innovations of the early modern.